Pattern Hacks & Modifications

Lined Bodice/Bridesmaid Dress Adaptation: The Summer Staple Dress

Hi, I am Debbie a qualified designer & tailor but never had the opportunity to work in the industry, so I enjoy sewing as hobby, but I do like to experiment when I have time. Right now time is what we have a fair bit of and like so many others I have been using the forced lockdown to expand my wardrobe.

I stumbled on BnB through a FB group and found the Explorer Cloak pattern, it was exactly the coat I had been wanting to make for a long time. The pattern worked really well and I liked everything about it including the built-in FBA. I’d like to try the The Rogue Cloak next for a more informal coat.

After joining the BnB fb page I welcomed the chance to test the BnB Summer Staple Dress; after the first test I saw its potential for lots of adaptations (don’t like to call them ‘Hacks’) but the first one was to make a very simple bridesmaid dress, that beginner sewers could also manage.  However, I also wanted to add my own twist, with a lined bodice, as I think it looks so much more professional and sometimes it can be easier than a banded neck-band.

For this example I chose: V-neck, drop waist, maxi length with flutter sleeves.

To start: cut out your paper pattern with your choice of sleeve, neckline, waistline and length according to your measurements. (For my first lined bodice practice I used the standard bodice pieces, but when completed the neckline showed way too much cleavage for any respectable bridesmaid) so… On the front bodice piece, in order for the neckline not to be too revealing, I would recommend you extend the neckline 1cm reducing to 0.5cm at the shoulders and on the back bodice use the upper line for the crewneck. (Trust me it will make a lot of difference, unless you want that look!)

Use these fabric pieces as pattern pieces to get an exact copy of front and back bodice pieces, in your chosen lining fabric.

Mark the seam allowance and the centre line on the lining and the main fabric, stay-stitch the v-point, clip to but not through the stitching, as shown.

Join the front and back bodice pieces together at the shoulders, for the main fabric and the lining fabric, you can also add 3mm wide tape to the lining or main fabric shoulder seam to stop it stretching.

Press shoulder seams in opposite directions (main fabric to the back, lining to the front).  Position the main and the lining bodice pieces on top of each other, with right sides together, matching up the shoulder seams and aligning the v-point, pin or clip the seam together.

Stitch around the neck seam, being careful not to stretch the neck and stitch right next to the v-point. Press the lining to the centre, turn and press the lining to the inside.

Optional: Understitch the seam allowance to the lining, using a stretch-stitch, again making sure not to catch the main fabric or stretch the seam.

Sleeveless Option: Use the roll-up or ‘burrito method’ (shown in Kristy’s post for a lined bodice on the Danica here) and pull the bodice through the shoulder, then understitch around the armhole, as far as you can reach without catching the bodice.

Sleeve Option: From here on, the main and the lining fabric of the bodice act as one piece of fabric and you will now be able to follow the original instructions from BnB to complete your dress.

For my sleeve option I used the flutter sleeve and used my overlocker to create a lettuce edge, which I repeated on the hem.

The sash was created with 3 sections of fabric: middle section with stretch across the body, was gathered and then attached to the long ties, cut on the grain with very little stretch.  So sorry but I forgot to take pictures of this process, but here is a close up.

Hope you enjoy creating your own adaptation x Debbie

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