By Sarah from Sewitbetter
Do you ever get an idea in your head that seems to stick even though it doesn’t have a concrete basis in reality? I know it sounds like I’m going down some deep philosophical road here, but the idea that got stuck in my head is about dresses. Specifically summer dresses. I thought I had a lot in my closet and didn’t need more. So I wasn’t sewing any. For a long time.
Then one day I actually took the time to look for a dress and found that I don’t actually have many summer dresses. And more specifically, none that are one-and-done work looks. At my day job we usually wear some amalgamation of business casual with jeans. Usually my uniform is skinny jeans and a nice top, but I do like the kind of dress I can just toss on and be put together for the day.
Looking through my existing collection it consisted of only a few sleeveless options, some of which are more formal than I’d like. Sleeveless is great for hot summer days, but I’d prefer wearing short sleeves to the office rather than having to search for the perfect cardigan or jacket to match a dress on a busy morning before work.
So, with the goal of casual short-sleeved dresses in mind, I’ve made a project list for the season. First up, I hacked the Seen and Sewn Tracy Bee top into a dress! It was so easy and fun and is a unique pattern. Here’s how I did it!
The Tracy Bee pattern already has some intriguing options with the piecing around the yoke, but I wanted to take it up a notch. I ran across this semi-sheer fabric in my stash and thought it would be fun placed strategically in the dress. In addition to the front triangle pieces, I blocked off two pieces opposite the back V to be sewn in this fabric as well.
Hacking this top into a dress is so quick and easy! I simply added about 8 inches length to the longest version of the top. I really liked the curved hemline, so I preserved that by marking my 8 inches at both ends of the pattern pieces and moving the whole piece down to those marks to trace the original shape of the hemline. I simply continued the angle of the side seams to keep the swing silhouette with plenty of room for hips. See? Easy and fast!
I used a mystery floral fabric I’ve had in my stash for a while. It’s a knit, but a pretty stable one without much stretch at all. Maybe some sort of ponte? It has an almost spongy texture. Because of this, the seams for the piecing didn’t press flat, so I topstitched them. This also gave the benefit of positioning the seam allowance so it wouldn’t show through the sheer panels.
The swing silhouette of the longer version of this top transitions into the perfect easy summer dress! Here she is, in all her swingy, flowery glory.
Oh! And don’t forget to add some side seam pockets for yourself. I simply used my favorite pocket pattern (And by favorite, I mean the last one I sewed that I could dig out of the pattern box the quickest, which is maybe a signal I should make myself a dedicated pocket pattern piece to keep on hand, but why do that when you can frantically dig through piles of tissue paper?) and sewed them in place as you would normally.
The Tracy Bee is definitely a pattern I’ll be coming back to for tops or perhaps more dress hacks! It leaves lots of room for creativity!