My Maisie Dress - Hacked!

As a pattern maker, I have to think about construction when making patterns, imagining how all the pieces will fit together. As a teacher, I try to imbue my students with a sense of confidence so they can go away and create on their own.

Sure, they might make mistakes, but more than that, they are learning on the way, realising that there are multiple ways to achieve an outcome, and that there is no such thing as the 'right' way (mostly!). With this, comes confidence and self belief. With Maisie, I wanted to encourage you to have a go at making a pattern and thinking about how you would put it together. But, I am aware that this does not come easily for everyone, so I today I am sharing a hack of Maisie that is essentially the same as the pattern, but with the following alterations (hacks):

I shortened the skirt, then added gathered layers, for a boho feel. Each layer measured 30cm deep. Each layer was cut into a front and back pattern piece.

Widths of each layer are as follows:

Layer 1: hip + 6, in my case 108cm

Layer 2: 178cm

Layer 3: 238cm

I decided to add a cuff sleeve, it measures 16cm deep x 42cm wide.

Don't forget this pattern does not have seam allowance, so you must add your preferred amount; mine is 1cm. All measurements shown do not include seam allowance.

To start with, relax! That's right, this is fun! So enjoy the process...

Next, look at your pattern pieces, placing the front and back shoulders together to determine what type of neckline you have (see blog post 13/11/18). As you can see, mine is a boat neck because the curves meet at a point on the shoulder, so I need to sew the neckline first, then the shoulders.

Then choose your neckline finish (see blog post 13/11/18). I decided to go with a raw bias edge as it seemed to suit the fine cheesecloth I used. The following is the order of work I used:

1. Sew bias binding to the front and back neckline. Overlock the seam.

2. Press the seam allowance down, and edge stitch on the bodice.

3. Place the front and back right sides together. Sew the shoulder seam, then overlock. Thread the overlocking tails back into the seam at the shoulder point.

4. Press the shoulder seam towards the back.

5. Sew the sides seams and overlock. Press the seam towards the back.

6. Sew the seam on the cuff. Press open. Wrong sides together, fold the cuff in half and press.

7. Pin the cuff to the bodice, lining up the seam of the cuff with the underarm seam of the bodice. Sew the cuffs to the bodice and overlock.

8. Press the cuff seam.

9. Press the short edge seam allowance to the wrong side of your waist placket. Using a fabric marker, draw a line 2cm above the waistline. Place the seam allowance of you waist placket along the seam, matching the turned under edges with the centre front. Sew the waist placket to the bodice.

10. Fold the waist placket down and press.

11. Sew the side seams of the skirt. Press the seam allowance to the back.

12. Right sides together, place the skirt over the bodice, matching the sides seams, centre front and centre back. Sew the seam, then overlock.

13. Turn the dress to the right side and press the seam allowance towards the skirt.

14. Thread elastic through the placket to hold the gathers in place.

15. Sew the elastic closed with a zigzag stitch. Press the gathers.

16. Make the ties. If the fabric is not long enough, sew two pieces together by doing a mitre seam. TIP! doing a mitre rather than a straight seam reduces the bulk when making a rouleau.

17. Right sides together, sew your rouleau tube and turn through.

18. Thread the tie through the waist placket. Shorten if necessary.

If you have followed these instructions, but made a long skirt, simply hem and your dress is made!

If you are making layers like I did, gather each layer and sew to the one above, then hem the dress. I had very gentle gathers as by the third layer, there is a lot of volume in the skirt!

Have fun making your Maisie dress and don't forget to tag @patternunion #masiedress

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