Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

A button front pattern hack of Dress 47

I love that this pattern is just called Dress 47. It’s weird and awesome at the same time!

So this new pattern is from Cali Faye. To be honest I’ve not made many things from this company in the past – mostly because they’re often not really my style and I find that their “fit size” is very far from my own. Frankly, I just can’t be bothered to do all the adjustments needed to get it to fit!

That being said, when Sarah sent out the call for testers I was absolutely entranced by the photo of the sample dress. It’s a style of dress I’ve always wanted to make (and if anyone checks my Pinterest boards you’ll probably find an almost identical one on there). I saw it and knew that this was a pattern I had to try.

The dress features a tie front top and a gathered skirt with a zip in the side seam. It has grown on kimono-esque sleeves and pockets of course!

Now this was the first time I’ve tested a pattern where it wasn’t already in its final stage of design. We would send feedback on our muslins back to Sarah and she would then apply that to the final draft. It was nice to have input in an earlier stage!

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect either as I’d just been sent a bolt of calico from William Gee – perfect for muslins and pattern testing!

The first draft of this was quite a way off in terms of the fit but it allowed me to see what changes I need to make in order to get this pattern to fit my body.

One thing you guys should bear in mind is that Sarah is over half a foot taller than me and built like a rake. Her “customer” or fit model’s measurements are going to be be way off from a petite curvy girl like myself.

I did expect this but at the same time I was kind of scared as to how much I need to alter the pattern!

In the end I had to take 5cm off the neck of the back pattern piece (drawing a straight line from them to the back centre waist). That’s 10cm total I had to remove as it’s on the fold.

That meant I had to reshape the back waist slightly and also redraw a new back neck facing piece too.

I also took 3.5 cm off the length of the bodice to get it to sit on my natural waist. So the adjustments on my final back bodice pattern piece looked something like this.

It was worth playing around with it because I loved the fit of the final draft!

I’d recommend making a muslin of the bodice and waistband (ignore the skirt) if you’re unsure of the fit.

The skirt was a little bit of a conundrum for me. It used elastic into the back waistband and a side zip as means of getting in and out of it.

I have a weird thing against using zips AND elastic. One or the other in my opinion!

And whilst I understood the reasoning for this as part of the design I decided to do a little hack and avoid this pet hate.

So I added a button front to the skirt!

Instructions to do this…

– Cut the front waistband in half and add 2.5cm to the new CF. This is going to create a 3cm overlap for the buttons. (You’ll need to cut 2 of these now instead of just 1).

– For the skirt, you’ll need to add an extra 5.5cm to the centre front to make it wider. Cut 2 of these panels.

– To assemble, start with the skirt pieces. Fold 1 cm off the centre and press. Fold again at 3cm. Top stitch this down.

– (You may need to interface this section if you have a lightweight fabric. Add a 4cm wide strip down the edge of each skirt panel before folding).

– You can now attach the front skirts to the back skirts. Don’t forget the pockets!

– Gather the top of the skirt as instructed.

– Sew the the side seams of the waistband together. Press seams open.

– Fold lengthways right sides together and stitch the short sides together with a 1cm seam allowance. Clip the corner and turn right out and press.

– Follow the instructions to add in the elastic in the back waist. You can opt to do without it if the waistband is snug enough.

– Attach the skirt to the band making sure to match up the centre fronts.

– Add buttons and buttonholes! (Remember it’s always right over left! 🤣)

If you want to be fancy you can split the waistband pieces lengthways and sandwich the bodice in place and also use it to hide the skirt seam. (In other words, creates waistband and separate facing piece). I think it’s a neater way to finish the insides.

Happy sewing!

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  1. This dress is SO cute on you! Suits your curvy body so well – honestly Emily I think it suits you better than almost anything I’ve seen on you this year 🙂 I would make a BUNCH of these if I were you 🙂

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