Esma Top Hacked to Dress

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Most days during this shelter in place situation, I am dressed in my workout gear which is great for ensuring I get my workouts in. Some days it does seem to improve my mood when I put on makeup and fix my hair though. Finishing this Esma Top to dress hack was a great excuse to dress up even for a couple hours. The Esma Top by Blank Slate Patterns is great basic, easy fit pattern to have in your stash.

Check out the original Esma top makes here. I hacked the Esma top into a dress once already simply by adding length. This time I opted for more of a babydoll dress look with a gathered skirt. 

I wanted this dress to be a bit higher waisted, so I determined the bodice length from top of shoulder to 1" above my natural waist would be 17" including seam allowances (1/2" at shoulder and 1/2" at waist). I simply cut the top front and back pattern piece off with a straight line to create the new bodice pattern piece. 

Next, I determined the length and width of the skirt rectangles. I wanted the finished dress to be 36" long, so I started with 36" + 1" shoulder seam allowance + 1/2" hem allowance = 37.5". From there 37.5" - 17" bodice length = 20.5". Add in the seam allowance at the waist for 20.5" + 1" = 21.5". My skirt height needed to be 21.5". For the skirt width, I measured the flat width of the bodice. For a flat width of 19", use 19" + 1" seam allowance = 20". To allow for gathers I used 1.5 times this width, so 20" x 1.5 = 30". To complete the dress, I cut two rectangles 21.5"h x 30"w, stitched the side seams RST to create a tube, gathered the top of the tube, and attached it to the bodice. The final step was creating a 1/4" hem.

This is such a simple way to create a v-neck babydoll dress, since the most difficult part, the bodice fitting, is already done for you. When you have a great base like the Esma Top, the pattern hacks are endless. I used a linen from Joann's that I purchased last summer. I'd love to see this dress style in rayon challis too.

Verbena Dress by Blank Slate Patterns

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Verbena Dress and Peplum Top is here! Let me introduce you to this latest sewing pattern from Blank Slate Patterns.

The Verbena sewing pattern comes with a dress and peplum top view. 

More features include:
  • Scoop or V neckline
  • Snug fit through shoulders, bust, waist, and sleeves
  • Invisible elastic reinforcement at the slightly above-waist seam
  • Short, elbow, 3/4, and long set-in sleeve options
  • For light- to medium-weight knit fabrics with four-way stretch only (DBP or cotton/spandex recommended)
  • Sizes:  Women's XXS-3X (bust 30-53")
The most unique aspect of the Verbena pattern is the tiered style. While there are plenty of tiered dresses on the market, Verbena starts with a 3/4 circle skirt upper tier that minimizes bulk at the waistline. The lower tier connects with a ruffle that adds to the interest of the dress.

I sewed the Verbena Dress with a scoop neck and elbow length sleeves using a rayon spandex knit from Joann. This fabric grew on me a bit, so I would suggest hanging the dress overnight and checking the hemline before actually sewing the hem if you use this type of fabric.

As far as personal adjustments go, I added 1 1/4" to the bodice for my height. The waist seam is designed to hit 1" above the natural waist. The pattern includes detailed instructions for taking your measurements and adjusting the bodice to get the placement just right. I ended up cutting off some inches off the bottom tier to even out my hem as I indicated above and have the length at just above my knee. 

The pattern includes 5 main pattern pieces depending on your neckline style, and you can opt to cut the bottom tier rectangles using an additional pattern piece or a cutting chart. The peplum portion comes together very quickly. The bottom tier to create the dress requires a bit more time as you are gathering and attaching a very long section of fabric. 

The Verbena Dress and Peplum Top is on sale for 20% off until Friday 3/13. Be sure to grab it now!

Zipper Heart Pocket Monroe Turtleneck

Friday, March 6, 2020

Two days before Valentine's Day, I saw someone at my bible study wearing this sweater. I determined to make one for Valentine's Day, as one does. Am I right?!? Nothing like a last minute sewing project.

My friend had said she received the heart sweater as a gift last year, so I didn't think I would actually be able to find the inspiration image, but my google search was successful. It is currently on sale at Neiman Marcus for $180 down from $245. Yikes! 

I wanted to mimic the slightly boxy, dropped shoulder style. I knew the Monroe Turtlneck pattern I had just made would be the perfect starting point. With only 4 pattern pieces, it is a breeze to sew. 

Of course the hack took a bit more effort. First, I color blocked the sleeves. Next, I scooped out the neckline and swapped the turtleneck for a neck band. Finally, I reduced the style ease in the body of the Monroe Turtleneck pattern from the size 2 to a size 1. Sizing down would have made the sleeves too short and tight. Reducing the style ease made for a loose, not too boxy fit. Adriana wrote a great article differentiating the types of ease. Be sure to check it out!

The olive sweater knit fabric came from a warehouse in Dallas. I followed Melissa's helpful tips for sewing with sweater knits with great results. 

The star of the show is of course the heart zipper pocket. While it is fully functional, I'm not sure I would really use it for storage. The pocket might come in handy for a lone key or stick of gum. Let me know if you would like to see a full tutorial on this zipper heart pocket. Basically, I used two heart shaped pieces of woven fabric. After attaching the exposed zipper to one, I sewed the hearts right sides together and turned it right side out through the zipper opening. I reinforced the wrong side of the sweater knit where I would attach the heart, and topstitched around the edge to secure the pocket to the sweater. Even with the hacks, the heart sweater came together in just enough time for me to wear it to classroom parties on Valentine's Day. I call that a success!

Tillery Skirt and Monroe Turtleneck

Monday, February 24, 2020

I've been on a mission this winter to sew a few basic turtlenecks. You've seen my Paola Turtleneck Tees, and now I bring you the FREE Monroe Turtleneck pattern paired with a Tillery Skirt by Blank Slate patterns. The combination makes for a great handmade winter style, especially in Texas where I can still keep my knees bare.

I purchased the gray and black sweater knit from Fabscrap in NYC during my visit in December. Fabscrap is a unique fabric shop whose aim is to reduce and reuse fabric waste from the fashion industry. I sewed up a straight size 2 in the Monroe Turtleneck which gives a boxy shape with fitted neck and sleeves. This is a must sew FREE pattern! I love how easy it is to wear with jeans and a half tuck. Just search the hashtag to see what I mean.

I confess that I continue to make skirts that look better on people with more of a defined waist, but I still like the result of this Tillery Skirt. I didn't add any length, but I did have to grade out the waist a bit for my rectangular shape. The bias finished waistband and flat felled seams result in the prettiest finishes on the inside. Be sure to check out the fun gingham detail on the inside

I had just enough corduroy left over from this Modkid Sierra Jumper for my tween. The Dritz Heavy Duty Snaps in Antique Brass were easy to install. I opted to skip the front pockets and belt loops, but I love the look both ways. I'd love to know if you have a favorite winter skirt pattern!
** This post contains affiliate links.  By purchasing through my links, I receive a small compensation 
which I will in turn use to share more inspiration with you.**

Pop Tart Valentines

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Just in time for your last minute class valentines, I have a free printable valentine for your use! This is one valentine idea your kids will love! Homemade Pop Tarts would sent these treats over the top, but for a speedy valentine, store bought works just great.

Here’s what you need to do:
  • Click below to download your Valentines.
  • Purchase Pop Tarts from you local grocery store. We used strawberry, but cherry would also be a great choice.
  • Print Valentines on heavy cardstock.
  • Cut out your Valentine cards using scissors or a paper cutter.
  • Adhere your Valentine to the Pop Tart package with glue dots or other adhesive.

There you have it! Super fun, super cute and super easy.

For handmade Pop Tarts, wrap each Pop Tart individually and adhere the card to the outside of the packaging. You could also use the option for giving individual store bought Pop Tarts instead of the double package.

 I've created a  file for you in Canva to print and use. Enjoy!
** This post contains affiliate links. By purchasing through my links, I receive a small compensation which I will in turn use to share more inspiration with you.**
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