1 March 2013

Pattern Hack! Mathilde Dress Variation

Have you seen Katy's amazing Mathilde Dress? Yes - dress!

Isn't it gorgeous? The perfect opportunity to introduce a new feature - Pattern Hack! I love the idea that makers of the Mathilde Blouse feel free to adapt the pattern, build upon it and create the garment just as they like it. For me, the DIY revolution, of which the resurgence of sewing is a part, only goes so far if we feel we're restricted by the patterns we use. The Mathilde Blouse is my design, but it's also a canvas for you to add your own design flourishes and make something that's really you. A collaborative effort, if you will. So please - play with it! Puffed sleeves not your thing? Change the sleeves! Fancy adding a collar? Do it! Slash and spread. Embellish and experiment. And then please share with us how you did it!

Righto, that's enough philosophising - let's get on with Pattern Hack! and find out how Katy adapted the blouse into a dress...

Katy, what was the inspiration behind your Mathilde Dress design?

"I think the Mathilde blouse pattern has the potential to be so romantic, with those sleeves and those gorgeous tucks *swoon*. Once I had finished my blouse version I had a burning desire to make a 60s inspired dress version, and wanted to include sheer sleeves à la Marie of A Stitching Odyssey."

How did you adapt the pattern?

"Changing the pattern was really easy! I essentially just lengthened it. Before starting I measured how long I wanted the dress to be. I wanted it to hit just above the knee and know that this is about 37 inches for me - I am very tall though, so that's likely to be a bit long for most people. I added the hem allowance to this measurement (if following Tilly's tutorials add 3.2cm/1 1/4 inch hem allowance) and noted this down. 

"I stuck to the pattern size I had used before and knew fit me, and graded it out to a larger size round the hips (I graded out from a size 3 to a size 5). This may not have been necessary but as I have large hips I wanted to make sure that there was enough room to move easily. Seeing as it's 60s inspired I want to be able to have a boogie! 

"I then traced this onto pattern paper, taking care to transfer every mark from the pattern to the pattern paper. Using a ruler I continued the graded line until I hit my desired length (luckily for me, this was the length of my pattern paper).

"I followed these steps again for the back bodice pattern piece, making sure to continue the lines marking the placement of the buttons. And that was it! I didn't change the pattern any further as I wanted to maintain that 60s shift dress shape. It was so easy, and as the pattern has only been lengthened and not changed hugely you can still follow Tilly's tutorials to help when sewing it together.

"I made my dress in a sheer material which meant I need a lining too. This was also super easy to draft a pattern for: I just folded the pattern pieces for the dress along the tuck lines as I would when making the dress - in order to take out the excess fabric - and then traced the folded pattern piece onto some more pattern paper. Super easy!"

Is there anything in particular we should bear in mind when adapting the blouse into a dress?

"I think it's important to think about what sort of buttons you are going to use for the back. You're going to be sitting on those buttons so it's best to make sure that they are not going to dig into you! I was careful to buy flat buttons for this reason. Other than that it's really easy, I love my dress!"

We love it too, Katy! I can't wait to make one for myself for the Spring.

Have you hacked the Mathilde Blouse pattern or are you thinking of doing so? I'd love to see! Watch out for more Pattern Hack! variations coming soon...