Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

A Linden sweater dress hack AKA Secret Pyjamas

I love a sweater dress. They’re just so darn comfy! 

When I picked up some grey sweatshirt fleece whilst in Paris, I knew I’d have to have some amazing loungewear out of it. It’s got a brushed back and is so super soft! After much umm-ing and ah-ing (I was also considering making a cardigan out of it), I decided to go with a sweater dress in my effort to embrace the “athleisure” look.

I went with the Linden sweater from Grainline Studios for my pattern for this make. It’s my second time using this pattern already (and I’ve already got plans for a third)!

It’s a simple raglan sleeve sweater with options for a hip length version or a cropped one. I used the long version and added 20cm to the end of the bodice pieces to make it long enough to be a minidress length.

Apart from the extra length, I pretty much made it up according to instructions. It such a lovely pattern to sew up and literally takes no time at all. The only hiccup with this make was the neck band.

The sweatshirt fleece I was using had very little stretch in it and there was no way I could stretch the band around to fit. So I had to wing it a little and re cut myself a longer band to work with. The upside – it fitted like a charm! The down – it’s a lot larger than the original band which means the neckline is a lot wider than intended. Not necessarily a bad thing though as it gives it a cool slouchy appearance.

You might’ve noticed the stitching on the sleeves. 

It’s not part of the fabric. I chose to do some sashiko embroidery across the upper sleeves. 

I was initially planning on doing some standard floral hand embroidery but it didn’t seem to sit right with this outfit. I’ve been seeing a lot of sashiko around lately and thought it might work instead! 

If you don’t know what it is, it’s a traditional Japanese embroidery stitch originally used to decorate and reinforce fishermens jackets. It uses running stitches to create the design. 

I went with a simple design – repeating crosses (or plus signs). I drew out lines in chalk 2cm apart along the grain and then 2cm apart again going horizontally so I note had a big grid.

At each point where the lines crossed, I’d create a 1cm stitch (0.5cm on either side of the line). Now with sashiko you do all the lines going in one direction first. So in this case I did all my vertical stitches first and then went over them with the horizontal stitches in the exact same method.

It’s not particularly even but I think that adds to the charm. I like that it kind of creates a quilting effect.

I had thought going all the way down the arm but I realised sashiko leaves a lot of long threads behind the fabric and I was afraid I’d keeping catching them as I like to roll my sleeves up and things. So I left it as a shoulder thing.

I loving so far though. It’s definitely a method of decoration I’ll use again!

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  1. It’s funny it was the shoulders on your lovely dress that caught my eye immediately and I thought, “Oh only in Paris would you find a sweatshirt like fabric that has a border print on it!” 🙂 Then as I read along about how you did the Sashiko work yourself by hand I was just so all out impressed! Beautiful! It perfectly suits the fabric and the design of your dress.

  2. This looks so comfy and I bet it is! I absolutely adore the sashiko stitch detail… I just recently got into hand embroidery and I love it! Can’t wait to try out this technique too. Thank you for sharing… <3

  3. It’s so funny that you don’t think it’s even, because my first thought was “Wow! She got that so even!” This is such a cute make. Everything has turned out perfectly.

    1. LOL. Thank you! I always think we see our own errors way more than anyone else would. I’m trying not to focus on little errors that no-one else would notice!

  4. I love this dress! Winter is on its way here, and I’ve been trying to figure out what I would like to wear to combat the cold, and this looks perfect!! Thanks for sharing!

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