1 September 2021

Team Buttons Try... Skye Pattern Hacks!

Skye hacks header

Pattern hackers assemble! We love a pattern hack here at Tilly and the Buttons and our Skye sundress sewing pattern has inspired a whole bunch of stylish hack ideas we've been bouncing off each other in the office. We had to try some for ourselves ASAP and even better if it means we can take our Skye makes through the seasons with us and not just save them for summer.

Team Buttons have been busy trying a few out since Skye launched in July, so not only are we sharing inspiration and ideas in this post, we'll show you our finished hacked Skyes too. Enjoy!

Skye is available in TWO size bands UK 6-24 / US 2-20 / EUR 34-52 or UK 16-34 / US 12-30 / EUR 44-62. Get your copy HERE and to learn more about the difference between our two size bands, check out this handy blog post

Being a simple pattern, Skye lends itself so well to hack ideas, there's a whopping 8 to try in our Skye hacks blog post. The easy-fitting empire waist bodice is gently shaped with pleats under the bust and has a neat bias binding finish on the inside. Choose from mini-, knee- or maxi-length hemlines for the floaty gathered skirt. And, of course, it has side seam pockets for your ice cream money!

Let's get into it...

Real tie shoulders

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Turning your Skye's faux-tie shoulder straps into real-time shoulder straps is likely the first hack that'll come to your mind when you see Skye. It was certainly ours! Abi tried out this hack and you don't even need to edit or retrace your pattern...

Here's Abi's quick how-to:

1. Cut your Skye pattern pieces out as normal. Find the middle of each strip and cut your tie shoulder pieces in half, creating 4 individual long strips.

2. Trim down the width of the long shoulder ties pieces to match the width of the shoulder seams. 

3. Stitch the ends of each tie strip to each shoulder seam, right sides together with a 1cm (1/4in) seam allowance. 

4. Apply bias binding around the neckline and armholes as instructed in the pattern (or check out our tutorial!). When you reach the end of the shoulder ties, trim the bias binding to the end.

5. Fold over the end of the shoulder ties twice, concealing your raw edges, press and stitch across for a neat finish (you could do this by hand too for an invisible finish).

Tada! Your super-simple real tie shoulder straps. 

Bonus hack: Try extending your tie strips for more to play with, or colour block them for a stylish statement!

Button placket 

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Along with adapting your Skye dress to have real tie shoulder straps, adding a cute button placket detail also doubles up as a great maternity hack - pretty and practical! Or go all the way and split Skye down the front from neckline to hem to add a full-length button-up detail.

Frances created a scrap busting Skye top with a faux button placket! Not having enough fabric to cut Skye on the fold, Frances split the Skye bodice into two pieces and added a strip to create this gorgeous faux placket. Perfect for showing off buttons that are cute as these black flower ones! 

Ruffle shoulders 

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As seen in our Skye inspiration blog post, how sweet would little ruffles look on the shoulder straps? And don't worry we've got your ruffle pattern piece covered too! Check out Tilly's ruffle shoulder Billie hack blog post, where you can download this shoulder ruffle pattern piece for free. 

First, hem the curved edge of the ruffle, you could do this with a rolled hem foot for a mini delicate hem. Sew your gathering stitches on the straight edge (as instructed in Tilly's blog post), and gather your ruffle to suit. Attach this to your Skye shoulder straps by laying the ruffle on your shoulder right sides together, matching the raw edges (try your bodice on to help guide your placement). Baste the ruffle to the shoulder strap. Continue with bias binding steps as normal.

Patch pockets 

Have you got our Stevie Add-on pack? Pinch the large patch pocket pattern piece and sew it onto your Skye skirt instead of in-seam pockets. Play with the size and make them as big or small as your like! Abi pinched the Stevie pocket to add one to her gingham Skye dress, perfect for popping your essentials in.

Bonus hack: Patch pockets don't just have to be square, try a heart shape or adding ruffles to the 3 sewn pocket edges for extra pizazz!

Tiered skirt 

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You know we LOVE a tiered skirt, just look at our Indigo add-on and Lyra dress! Already have these patterns in your stash? Give your Skye a trendy tiered skirt with the help of the tier skirt pattern pieces from either Indigo or Lyra. But you can easily draft your own rectangle, and depending on the amount of gathers you want your tier to have, make it at least 1/3 extra in length. 

This tiered skirt hack was high on Abi's list and she created an almost unrecognisable Skye with two simple hacks (see the sleeves below!)! She pinched the tiered midi skirt from our Lyra dress pattern and made no adjustments. As the waist of Lyra is also gathered, Abi was able to gather the skirt to fit the Skye bodice and the two are a match made in sewing pattern hacking heaven! 

Add sleeves 

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This hack is probably the trickiest in the line-up and it can be done, but it isn't as straightforward as grabbing any old sleeve pattern and simply sewing it in (speaking from personal experience...ahem). Sleeveless dresses are designed to be sleeveless, the armholes aren't drafted to hold a sleeve and tend to fit lower down your armpit. 

For Abi's Skye sundress with sleeves, she took a puff sleeve pattern that has lots of room and wouldn't restrict movement when sewn into the original Skye armhole. She took a smaller seam allowance (approx 1cm or 1/4in) so too much wasn't taken out of the shoulder seam allowance. Whilst this method isn't the most technical, it worked really well here, but only because the sleeve is very generous in size (for example, this would not have worked if you used a normal straight t-shirt sleeve). 

However, if you're interested in adapting your Skye pattern to include sleeves, a full tutorial blog post is probably the best place to really dig into it! Let us know if you're interested! 


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You can never go wrong with the 'jeans and a nice top' vibe and Skye can be easily hacked into a cute cami top just by slicing off the hem wherever you fancy. 

Kate got straight to it, whipping up two gorgeous Skye tops for her holiday wardrobe! Making one with the original faux tie shoulders and cut on the hip, with her second a bit longer in length with smaller shoulder ties - such a cute detail!

Sew nice Kate made it twice!

Waist Ties

Sometimes it's small details like waist ties that just take your sewing project to the next level. If you find your Skye dress a little roomy in the bust, adding waist ties will help to pull in your dress. But be aware Skye has an empire waist, so the ties won't sit at your waistline if you're after more waist definition. 

To demonstrate, Abi added side ties to her Skye dress (pinching the waist tie from our Lyra pattern), but having a larger bust it's more of a decorative addition but we're here for it!

We hope this post has filled your head with Skye potential, these hacks will help you take Skye through all the seasons. We're already plotting our Autumn Skye dresses, layered over a high neck Freya top and paired with chunky boots - we can see it now. The Skye's the limit!

Get your copy of Skye HERE and make sure to tag us in your Skye hacks on Instagram @TillyButtons using #SewingSkye - we can't wait to see yours.

If you liked this post check out 10 Design Hacks For The Dominique Skirt and Tips For Sewing Slippery Fabrics.


Author: Abi Dyson