First clothing make of 2020! I’d say we’re off to a good start!
So I’ve been blabbing about this dress for SO LONG! Okay, and maybe all the blabbing has been in my head…to myself, but either way I’ve had this dress on my mind a lot! And I’m surprised it’s already been turned into a reality. And, spoiler alert, I’m in love!
Maybe I just say that about all my newest makes, but seriously this one was a win!
The Background Story
Okay so rewind to Labor Day weekend when I went shopping with my sisters.
I tried on this dress from Downeast (if you’re from Utah, chances are you know and love this store…for good reasons!) and I really loved it but it was 50-60 dollars which is hard for me to justify. I immediately thought of the Hinterland dress from Sew Liberated (you can view my version of the unaltered pattern here) as a starting point and then took a picture so I could remember the details while I took off on brainstorming. I will note that I don’t think I looked at this picture until pulling it up just now, because I had totally forgotten most of the details (in my mind was “embroidered” and “tiered”).
Anyway, if you’re in the sewing community at all, it’s common to hear about how sewing for yourself is not cheaper than buying ready to wear. And in many instances this is true. Definitely don’t pick up sewing to try and save money because you won’t. But, in my opinion (and maybe it’s just my penny pincher self trying to justify this relatively costly hobby), when all is said and done I think it oftentimes is cheaper to make your own clothes. This is conditional on a few things including that, with practice, you can make your garment to your specifications. You can exact fit, color, fabric, and finishes to your preferences. I won’t pretend that I have a particularly hard body to fit, because I don’t. I can buy ready to wear and have it fit pretty okay. But I love that when I make my own clothes I can adjust hem, neckline and sleeves to a place that I feel good about. If I were to request clothes like this-tailored to my preferences-they would cost a lot more than what it costs me to make them myself.
After seeing the dress at Downeast, I just made a mental note to make this dress someday. My mom has an commercial size embroidery machine and I knew she would be happy to help with this project as soon as I found some fabric that would work. I have a running list (mental and physical) of fabric I’m on the lookout for for specific projects. After some time I decided I wanted this dress to be in a neutral colored linen. Mentally noted.
So when I was visiting my parents for the holidays, my mom and I went to Hobby Lobby where I found this Robert Kaufman linen in gray. I bought 3 yards for about 30 dollars (I did use almost all of it). The timing was perfect! I had my mom get started on the embroidery right away so that it could be ready by the time I headed back home. (P.S. my mom is awesome. Have I mentioned that?). (Also, the embroidery is Fall Flower Border (vintage) from Embroidery Library for anyone who’s interested).
So it happened much sooner than I had anticipated but no complaints here!
I will be honest. When I started sewing I was always surprised when sewists would “hack” something and still credit pattern designer. Their finished product looked nothing like the original! Now I can can confidently say that I was dead wrong. Using the Hinterland Dress as a starting point made all the difference in this project! Since I’d already made myself a Hinterland dress, it was such a breeze to try on the dress and notice exactly where I wanted to make adjustments. The pattern itself was one that I totally loved and it really provided the exact building blocks I needed to make this dress come across as I intended.
So, for the very basics: on the front bodice I cut on the fold (rather than cutting two) to eliminate the buttons/placket. I also raised the neckline by 1 inch and the waistline by 1/2 an inch (and consequently raised the waistline on the back bodice as well).
For the bishop sleeves: I used the 3/4 length sleeve pattern and I did the old slash and spread method by following this tutorial from By Hand London. I didn’t add any height/puffiness to the top of the sleeve. And for the hem of the sleeve, I created bias tape (2 inches wide). I sewed it to the wrong side and, after flipping it over, hand stitched it on the right side.
For the tiered skirt: I measured from my waist to where I wanted my hem to fall, divided that number by 3 and then added seam allowance. I believe I did 5/8 inch seam allowances, so 1 1/4 inch to that final number. (I chose 5/8 so that the bottom hem would have enough allowance for a rolled hem but it could still have the same amount of seam allowance as the rest of the tiers because lazy). For the width of those pieces I used this diagram as a guideline:
I adjusted my final numbers slightly because my third tier’s measurement was something like 53 inches when the linen’s width was only like 48 inches or something like that and I didn’t want to have to sew in more fabric-just one seam on each side, please. But I think the ratios are good.
And that was literally all I did to make this hacked Hinterland dress! It wasn’t too bad to sew at all!
Pattern: Hacked Hinterland Dress from Sew Liberated
Adjustments: Cut front bodice on fold, raised neckline 1 inch and waistline 1/2 inch, made a tiered, gathered skirt (more info above, under Hacks)
Fabric: Robert Kaufman linen (maybe a blend…I can’t remember!)
Cost: about $30 for fabric; pattern, thread and facing/pocket fabric I already owned
Would I make this pattern again?: I seriously love this look and YES I could definitely see myself making this again!
And I was really excited when I realized I could definitely pair these: