Sarah's Tudor Blouse Dress Hack

Sarah's Tudor Blouse Dress Hack

Pattern-drafting is a skill that I have been eyeing up suspiciously for some time now. I am getting married next year and planning on making a reception dress, which currently will involve parts of existing patterns alongside some custom elements.

The problem is, I have been terrified to even attempt straying from a pattern! The wedding is still over a year away so I thought that now was as good a time as any to dip my toe in and hack a favourite top pattern in to a dress. It would provide a first step in pattern drafting without any of the tricky bodice fit issues. 

I decided to go with the Stitch Witch Patterns Tudor blouse. I have found a hack for this which achieves my preferred fit and has become a staple of my summer wardrobe. The pattern is only available in PDF, and fortunately, Jenny Stitches has a fantastic A0 printing service for all of your PDF pattern needs.

The original Tudor blouse pattern comes with two front bodice options, either a button up or wrap closure. I discovered early on that in order to get the best fit for me, I would add a shirred centre back panel (pattern piece adjusted to be twice the width of the original piece) and adapt the front bodice in to one piece with no front opening. This is simply achieved by folding/cutting along the line for the button placket and cutting the fabric on the fold. I discovered this using a tutorial by @tartan_tarlatan on Instagram. The Tudor blouse is available in two cup sizes, up to a chest measurement of 59inches, and a 51inch waist.

I went for the easy option regarding the skirt, and went for a gathered waist. The bottom edge of the front bodice is longer than the back bodice therefore the width of the rectangles were different. For the front piece I simply measured the length of the front bodice edge and multiplied the amount by 1.5. I then added on an extra 1 inch to cover seam allowance.

The back piece was slightly more tricky, as the centre section would be attached to the shirred back panel. I measured the length of the lower edge of the back panel and added notches to the skirt and then sewed gathering stitches from the side seam to each notch. This meant that the skirt attached to the shirred panel would be able to adjust with the elastic, and the rest would have a nice gathered finish.

I initially pinned the skirt to the bodice to decide how much length to remove. It is important to make this adjustment as the weight of the skirt will drag the waistline to a lower position. In the end I remove 1.5inches from the bottom of the bodice, and then attached for skirt with a half inch seam allowance. 

I contemplated a few further additions, including a belt, which I made but am undecided on. I also considered tiers and adjusting the fullness of the skirt, both elements which I might explore in future makes.

Now, for the all important fabric. I selected this gorgeous cotton lawn from the Fabric Godmother range. Jenny Stitches has a really lovely selection of these. The prints are always excellent (I purchased one of the other prints when I visited the store recently) and the quality is really top notch.

I selected the Richmond print, which involves large scale leaves scattered with pretty pale pink flowers. Cotton lawn is so lovely to work with - nice and light but stable and easy to use. I always feel with Cotton lawn that any garment you make immediately feels top quality, even on some of my early garments that are full of errors!

Another great touch from Jenny Stitches is the thread matching service. I was lucky to be able to choose this fabric in store during a trip to the nearby Lake District, but I always struggle with prints that include multiple shades to decide which is the best to go for. Jenny had me sorted out really quickly with the perfect match. Obviously it is even more difficult to get the perfect match from an online order, so I definitely recommend utilising this service to help achieve the perfect garment! 

Jenny Says:

"I love that Sarah has been brave and challenged herself with this make. Her finished dress is absolutely stunning! It really shows off this beautiful print, it was a pleasure to see you in person at the shop too Sarah, what a treat!"

Inspired to make your own version? Here's what you'll need:

The original pattern which Sarah hacked is the Stitch Witch Tudor Blouse, which can be purchased and downloaded here.

Fabric Godmother - Richmond Cotton Lawn

A0 Pattern Printing Service

If you're in search of more beautiful prints like Sarah has used, the new Fabric Godmother summer collection has just arrived in store, and can be found in the new arrivals section!
Sarah was provided with the materials for her project free of charge and received a gift voucher in recognition of the time spent on her project.
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I love what you’ve done with this – looks great. I’ve got this pattern, but not attempted to make yet. I’m a bit daunted by the fitting issue – so i like your idea of a gathered back.


All I can say is I wouldn’t have the nerve, but your finished dress is absolutely lovely. X

Ann Smith

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