Fern Top and Dress Hack

September brings with it the promise of sunshine and finer weather. So, naturally, I’m starting to think about a summer wardrobe. I do often wonder if I should start working on my summer wardrobe in winter and sew up my cold weather wardrobe in summer. Anyway, I had always meant to sew up another Fern Top from Pattern Scout Studios. I then saw a mention of a dress hack so I decided to go ahead and do this!

The original pattern is a pretty top that has a central panel with a round collar which the dolman sleeve pieces attach to. Then Pattern Scout released the square neck extension pack which was what really sold me. I really love a square neckline! So, my first version of this pattern was the square neckline version of the top. 

This time I’ve sewed the square neckline again but decided to use the free tutorial for the flutter sleeves. So, most of the hard work for this hack was actually done! I just added the skirt by using two rectangular pieces and gathering the top of the skirt and attaching this to where the “skirt” of the top would’ve attached to.

I should also mention that I had fully lined my dress with muslin. I used a divinely floaty, sheer, lightweight “seaweed stripe” linen that I was lucky enough to score at the in-store sale at Megan Nielsen’s shop in June. I didn’t know at the time what I was going to make out of the fabric but it was too good to pass up and I’m only just starting to feel confident enough to invest in my fabrics. I bought two meters of this linen which was just right for this make. So, getting back to the sheerness of the fabric, it’s beautiful and light but quite see-through so for modesty’s sake and so my family don’t disown me in public, the muslin was a perfect pick to line the dress with.

This dress is so comfortable to wear. It’s not quite warm enough yet but the baby-doll style is great for those sticky and humid summer days. Hopefully this will inspire someone to give it a go! The Fern Top is great as-is but such a wonderful bonus with so many options to customise it.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

Mash Up Fun

Facing lockdown again, there has to be an upside and that upside is time. Time to indulge in a bit of sewing and to do something I’ve never attempted before. A mash up of two sewing patterns and to start a new hobby … blogging.

Patternscout and Marshastyle are two seriously talented independent sewing pattern makers. I’ve sewn quite a few of the Patternscout patterns, they are beautifully drafted and as a beginner, I find the instructions easy to follow and I’ve just learnt so much by sewing her patterns. The sizing is also always a great fit for me. I came across the Leila Dress by Marshastyle last year when I had just started out on my sewing journey. What’s not to love with the beautiful boho look of this dress? The statement sleeves are so unique and so was the tiered gathered skirt. The combination was just too hard to resist!

When I sewed the Leila Dress, I made a blouse hack to try out the bodice and discovered that the v- neck neckline was a bit too low for me. When I wear it, I usually have a cami top underneath so I found myself not reaching for this in summer when Perth hits 40 degrees celsius. As a result, I didn’t sew up the dress. I knew I would come back to it when my skill level improved and in fact, Marshastyle did a blogpost on how to modify the neckline to move it higher.

Leila Dress hacked into a top

Fast forward to the start of 2021, I found the Hana Dress Pattern from Patternscout. This is a lovely shift dress and she has given two options for the dress. One is a simple pull over the head shift dress and the other is made with a button placket starting from the neckline all the way down to the hemline. I have reached for these over and over again. I think what I love about the Hana Dress Pattern how the bodice fits me. The neckline is especially flattering on me which gave me the inspiration to try this mash up.

Hana Dress – button up version

When I came across this beautifully spring patterned Japanese cotton lawn, I immediately thought of the Leila Dress again. The fabric is so soft and lightweight. I haven’t had much experience sewing with cotton lawn but it would be the perfect warm weather fabric. I decided that I would use a muslin to line the dress as the fabric was quite sheer due to being so lightweight. The muslin also provided me with the chance to test the fit without cutting into that beautiful Japanese cotton lawn. The original pattern is not lined but lining a dress can be thought of as just an extension of the facing. From the Hana Dress, I used the bodice pattern pieces (front and back) measuring about 6 inches from the bottom of the sleeve hole (armscye) and cut straight across. From the Leila Dress, the tiered skirt was cut out but the sleeves were left off for the muslin.

Muslin lining

From there, it was a simple matter of trying on the muslin for fit and then using the same pattern pieces, now including the sleeve pieces, for the shell of the dress. The lining is attached to the shell via the neckline and the arm holes (armscye) and there we have it! A mash up of the Hana and Leila Dress. If you love the Leila Dress as much I do then check it out at www.marshastyle.com and enjoy her fabulous blog.

The final product!
I’ve always wanted to do this with the sleeves.
Two beautiful patterns in one

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