Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

The Bowen dress // Peppermint Magazine

[AD – gifted fabric in collaboration with Peppermint Magazine and Spoonflower]

The Bowen dress is the latest free pattern from Peppermint Magazine’s Sewing School. It’s a boxy loose fit summer dress – very much leaning into the oversized and gathered trend – designed by Hubba Ding Patterns, a new-to-me pattern company. It features a short wide bodice with a slight V neck on the front and buttoned back though it can be worn both ways round. The sleeves are full length and super gathered as is the midi length skirt.

I feel like I’ve made lots of these big rectangle dresses in the past couple of years or so. To be honest, I still really like them in the right fabric – they can look super cute and have plenty of room for a big dinner!

I was given the opportunity to pink out any print and substrate from Spoonflower as part of the Peppermint Mag launch party for the Bowen (which got sadly delayed due to the unfortunate flooding in their hometown of Brisbane). I picked a summery sunflower print on the organic sweet pea gauze. The fabric was lovely for this project. The loose weave and lightness makes for a great summer dress but still had plenty of body for those ruffles!

After analysing photos of other peoples versions of the Bowen (thanks Instagram!), I knew I would want to change up a few bits to make it suit my height/ shape as well as elevate it from the norm.

I always think a free pattern is a great place to start from for a pattern hack – for whatever reason it feels less silly than if I’d paid for a pattern to just chop it up! For this hack, I decided to eliminate the button back entirely. I cut a centre front seam on the V, adding in a seam allowance and adding on two sets of skinny ribbon ties. I also drafted a new ruffled flat collar aiming for the ruffle edge to sit just off my shoulders. I finished the neckline with the prescribed facing though obvious making some slight adjustments for my altered neckline.

The ruffle edges and the skirt hem have been finished with the rolled hem setting on my overlocker. Makes for a super quick and neat way to finished a project!

I initially planned to have the sleeve like normal but knew immediately when I sewed them in that it would drown me as well as being very impractical. I ended up trimming them down to a similar length to the collar ruffle which gave a better balance.

The print and fabric is everything here, taking it from a bit Victorian nightgown to a summer dress. This is definitely an “extra” dress but I love it!What’s life without a little fun and frivolity?

About Me

Related Posts


  1. I love your dress, it looks so cute on you! I really like your hacks and my give it a try based on your hacks. Keep sewing!! I’m not sure how you have the time for all the garments you churn out!

  2. Hi I wanted to ask you how did you make the collar? Do you have some pattern for it? I want to try your hack but I don’t know how to do the collar. Thanks 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.