This is the last in my first series of patterns that are free to subscribers. Throughout the series I have based all the designs around a simple dart free boxy top pattern. For this version I am hoping to encourage you to have a go at a simple hack. With this hack you can adapt the 3/4 sleeve top into a lined dress with pockets. As we head into the cooler months a dress like this usually becomes an everyday staple for me. The addition of a lining and pockets means I can wear it comfortably with tights or leggings. I always need pockets!
The boxy top pattern is free to subscribers who will have received the information for how to download the pattern in the latest newsletter. These are the instructions for how to make this dress.
Size chart for the body measurements:
This dress works in a variety of fabrics including, medium weight cotton, linen, lightweight denim, stable knits like ponte roma and other medium weight fabrics. I made this version in linen.
The quantity of fabric needed will vary depending on length and size. Start with the quantities needed for the 3/4 sleeve top and add the additional length you are adding to make the dress length. If you cut the pieces side by side (for wider fabrics and/or smaller sizes) you will only need the additional length plus hem allowance. For narrower fabrics or larger sizes you may need twice the additional length.
Lining fabric – You will need the length of the front/back dress piece if you can place the pieces side by side on the lining (smaller sizes and/or wider fabric). If the pieces won’t fit on the width of the lining you will need twice the length of the front/back dress piece. The sleeve is not lined.
Use pieces A and B from the first basic pattern. Use piece C from 3/4 sleeve pattern.
Before you begin take some measurements. Measure your bust, waist and hips. Keep a note of these measurements. Your measurements will determine how to create the pattern. Take a measurement from side neck point to hem for where you would like the dress to finish. You could measure a dress you have that has a length you like. Add 4.5cm to this length for hem and seam allowance.
Ideally draft your pattern on a piece of paper, you could also work directly on the fabric if you feel confident. Start by drawing around the front bodice pattern piece.
How to alter the pattern:
Extend the centre front and side seam lines down to finish at the measurement you would like the dress to finish (adding an extra 4.5cm for turnings). Using a ruler with a right angle square across joining the side seam line to the centre front line.
Based on your measurements and taste you can now bring the side seam in or out or leave it straight. If your hips are bigger than your bust you might need to bring the line out to allow enough ease at the hips. If your hips are narrower than your bust or the same size you could bring the line in. For both these options you can bring the line in or out by approximately 3cm. Much more than this is likely to distort the shape and not work particularly well. Once you are happy with the measurements repeat with the back piece.
You can check the amount of garment ease allowed here: Boxy top garment measurements
Lastly if you would like to add a pocket you can draft a simple pocket shape. Draw a straight line, place your hand against this line and draw roughly around it with space for movement as you would expect with a pocket. You can sharpen up the line once you have it roughly drafted, remember you will have a seam allowance to come off. The pocket I designed measured 30cm high and 20cm at the widest point width wise.
Cut 1 front on fold
Cut 1 back on fold
Cut 1 pair of sleeves
Cut 2 pairs of pocket bags
Cut 1 front on fold
Cut 1 back on fold
How to make:
Unless otherwise stated the seam allowance is 1.5cm
- Join outer fabric shoulder seams – With right sides together (RST) pin and stitch the front and back together at the shoulder seams. Press the seams open.
2. Join lining shoulder seams – With RST pin and stitch the lining front and back together at the shoulder seams. Press the seams open.
3. With RST pin the lining neck edge to the outer fabric neck edge. Stitch and clip around the curves.
4. Understitch around the neck edge. Turn the lining to the inside and press.
5. Make the pockets – Pin one pocket piece RST to each side seam – front and back. This position may vary slightly depending on your height. For this dress I positioned the pockets 18cm from the underarm point. I measure 5’6″ tall and made a size 14. Stitch each pocket piece in place using a 1cm seam allowance. Neaten the raw edge of the side seam from the underarm to the hem. Press the pocket away from the dress.
Join the side seams above and below the pockets. Pinning along the seam beyond the cut edge of the pocket for 4cm. Leave a gap large enough to fit your hand in then pin from 2-3cm above the lower edge of the pocket. Pin to 15cm above the hem edge (this is for side vents). Stitch reinforcing well with back stitch at the start and finish of the pocket opening. Press the seam open.
6. Neaten the raw edge of the pocket bags. Press the pockets towards the front of the dress.
6. Neaten the raw edges of the lining side seams. With RST pin and stitch the lining side seams together, stopping 16cm from the hem edge.
7. Pin the outer fabric to the lining fabric around the armhole. It is worth trying the dress on or putting it on a dress form to check the lining is not pulling the outer fabric. Even quite small discrepancies between the lining and the outer can distort the shape. Once you are happy machine stitch the two together.
8. Neaten the side seams and sleeve edge of each sleeve. With RST pin and stitch each sleeve together at the underarm seam. Press the seam open.
9. As the sleeve is designed to be attached flat rather than on the round you might find it seems a little big for the armhole. If so scoop 1- 1.5cm out at the underarm of the dress to allow the sleeve to fit comfortably. It should have a little ease but no gathers.
With RST, the centre of the sleeve head matched to the shoulder seam and underarms matched pin the sleeve into the armhole. Stitch, neaten raw edges.
10. Turn and press a single 3cm deep single hem around the sleeve edge. Press and hand stitch. You might prefer to turn a narrower double turned hem and stitch by machine.
11. Before turning your hem check the length by trying on the dress. Once you are happy with the length neaten the raw edge, press a single turned 3cm hem to match the sleeve edge. At the side vents turn the hem RST, stitch the hem along the seam line at each edge.
12. Turn the hem to the right side, pin and finish by hand.
13. Trim 3cm off the length of the lining. Turn and press a 1.5cm double turned hem. Stitch and press. Press the vent open in line with the side seam.
14. Turn the dress inside out bring the upper end of the lining vent above the upper edge of the outer fabric vent. There should be a bit of ease to prevent the lining from pulling and distorting the dress from the outside. Pin the lining to the vent 5mm away from the vent edge. Slip stitch discreetly in place.