It’s time for another Sheona hack and this one is going to be a tiny bit more challenging. We are making a dress with gathered skirt! In order to do that, we will modify the top a little bit and then add a gathered skirt at the bottom to create a completely different look. It’s all very straightforward and if you follow my instructions you have nothing to fear.
Let’s get started!
What you’re going to need:
-your Sheona top pattern
-a large piece of paper (I am using stabilizer from my embroidery machine, as it comes in a big roll)
-a measuring tape and a straight ruler
-a pen or a pencil and a pair of scissors
-a piece of 1 cm (3/8″) wide elastic, enough to go around your waist + 5 cm (2 “)
-a sewing machine and/or overlocker and your basic sewing tools
The first thing we are going to do is trace both our front and back bodice pieces of the Sheona top on a new piece of paper, in order to not ruin our original pattern piece. Then, I want you to measure from your shoulder down to your natural waist and mark this point on the front pattern piece. Draw a line perpendicular to the center front (the dashed lines on the photo below). Add your seam allowance below that line, which is 1 cm (3/8”) using a straight ruler again and cut the pattern piece. Do the same for the back bodice piece.
I personally like this style of garment to be a little bit more nipped in at the waist, so what I did next is reshape the front and back pattern pieces by redrawing the side seams a little bit towards the inside, like you see in the photo. If you choose to do that as well, make sure that you do it equally on both sides and that the overall width is a bit bigger than your waist measurement, in order for the dress to fit you.
And now it’s time to draft the skirt piece. At this point, you have the freedom to create a shape according to your taste. Measure the length from your natural waist all the way down to the length that you want your dress to be. Add 2 cm (1″) hem allowance and 1 cm seam allowance for the waist seam and write down this number. I am going to call this number ‘X”. For reference, I chose to make a midi length dress and this number for me was 87 cm.
Then measure your waist, multiply this number by 1,5, add 1 cm (3/8″) seam allowance and write that measurement down. I’m going to call this number “Z”. My waist is currently 69 cm so 69 x 1,5= 103,50 plus the seam allowance = 104,50 cm. What this means is that the top part of your skirt will be almost double your waist measurement and you are going to gather it to fit your waist at the next steps. If you prefer your gathers to be fuller, you can multiply your waist measurement by 2 instead of 1,5.
Now that we have both these measurements, we are going to draft a rectangular piece that is Z wide and X long.
Little tip: because my piece of paper wasn’t so wide to fit my Z number (104,50) what I did is I divided this number in half and simply created a foldline. So I cut my skirt piece on the fold, instead of in one big rectangular.
What is also important at this stage is that you can design your skirt piece exactly as you want it. If you want your dress to have more of an A-line shape, then instead of drawing an even rectangular skirt piece, you can extend the bottom a bit and create an A shape. This is completely up to you. In my version, I kept the skirt straight.
Once you are happy with the shape you created, cut out your skirt piece. And then cut out all the pieces out of your fabric. You are going to need 1 piece on the fold for the front bodice, one piece on the fold for the back bodice, two sleeves, your neckband and one skirt piece. Then sew the top part following the steps in your Sheona instructions booklet, until you reach the hemming step. Don’t do that. Try on the top and make sure that the hem hits you approximately at your natural waist. If you prefer it higher, now it’s time to crop off the length a bit more. Also, make sure that you like the fit around your waist. If it is too loose and you prefer it more figure hugging, take in the side seams.
To sew the skirt piece, fold it in half, right sides together and pin the center back seam. Sew with 1 cm seam allowance using either a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine or your overlocker. Press the seam allowances open, if you used a sewing machine, or to one side, if you used an overlocker. You have created a tube (Note: the skirt we drafted has only a center back seam. If you want to, you can draft it with 2 side seams instead).
Now we are going to gather the top part of the skirt. Measure the waistline of the bodice you sewed (all around) and write down that number. Add 2 cm (1″) and cut your elastic. The extra length is for you to be able to hold the elastic’s edges better when attaching it. Fold the elastic in the middle and mark the center point with a marker or a pin.
On your skirt, make a little notch at the center front fold. Position one edge of the elastic on the center back seam and position the center fold of the elastic that you marked at the center front fold notch on your skirt. Pin it in place. You are now going to stitch the elastic on to the skirt at the waistline, using a zigzag stitch or your overloocker and staying inside the 1 cm seam allowance. You are going to be stretching the elastic as you sew. When the elastic goes back to its original length, it’s going to create gathers. Try to stretch it evenly along the way and sew it all around the waistline.
We are almost done. It’s time to attach the bodice to the skirt. To make sure that the center back seam of the skirt is on position at the center of the back bodice, fold the bodice in half and snip a tiny notch at the center foldine in the back. Next. with the bodice right sides out and pointing downwards and the skirt wrong sides out, insert the bodice to the skirt and match the waistline. Make sure that the center back seam of the skirt matches the center back notch you snipped on the back bodice piece. Pin all around and stitch with 1 cm (3/8 inch) seam allowance.
Last but not least, we have to hem our dress. Turn the hems on both sleeves and on the dress 2 cm up, press and stitch in place, using either a wide zigzag stitch, a twin needle or your coverstitch machine.
Give everything a very good press, cut off any loose threads and you are ready to wear your new dress with pride 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this Sheona hack! It was a tiny bit more complicated than the other ones and it involved a little bit of drafting, but I think it’s not that hard after all, is it? If you give it a go, make sure you share it and tag me on IG @athinakakou or use the hashtag #aksheona so we can all admire your make!
The beautiful jersey fabric used in this tutorial is cotton jersey from Lamazi Fabrics. It is a very high quality fabric, super soft and easy to work with. Make sure you check out their beautiful selection of jerseys, you will not be disappointed.
And if you haven’t got a copy of the Sheona dress and top pattern, you can find it here.
Want more hacks? Check out how to create a maxi dress with a slit HERE.
Check out how to make a tie front top HERE.