Our women's top pattern Linnéa is just begging to be made into a dress, right?! There are endless modifications you could make to Linnéa and I decided on a dress with a gathered waist. I'll show you how I did it!
With this dress I also made a second modification, to the sleeves. Linnéa includes three sleeve lengths (short, 3/4 and long). But with this dress I decided to make above elbow sleeves which I love. We'll get into that as well. In fact let's start there.
Above elbow sleeves
This sleeve length is quite popular these days. The sleeve is somewhere between a short and 3/4 sleeve. To get this length I measured 12 cm (4.7") down from the short sleeve and drew a new line. This is our above elbow sleeve and a 2 cm (3/4") hem is included.
Linnéa with gathered skirt
On to the actual dress hack! First a few words about the fabric. I've used viscose jersey here, which is really great because it has great stretch and drape. When sewing a dress like this I really recommend you to look for a fabric with drape, and stretch of course, at least 40% is needed for Linnéa (the pattern includes a stretch guide).
The Linnéa pattern has waist notches. Split your front and back pattern pieces at the waist notch and sew the top just as in the tutorial, except for hemming the top.
Below is my finished top, shortened at the waist.
1. Measure the waist
Measure across the waist, on the front or back. The waist measurement of this top/bodice is 34,5 cm (so it's not the circumference, just the width measurement of the front, or back).
Take that measurement and multiply with 1,5 (or 2 if you want a more full skirt with more ease). Add 2 cm seam allowance to your measurement.
34,5 x 1,5 = 51,75 cm. I round that up to 52 cm and add seam allowance = 54 cm. 54 cm is the width of my front and back skirt pieces.
2. Decide on length
How long do you want your skirt? Mini, midi, maxi? I decided on a midi (knee length) skirt. I took a tape measure and measured from my waist down to just below my knees. I added 1 cm seam allowance + 2 cm hem allowance. The measurement I got was 65 cm. For reference, I am 1,63 m tall, or short :)
3. Cut out skirt
Cut 2 skirt panels with your measurements. Mine are 54 cm wide and 65 cm long.
4. Sew skirt side seams
Place the two skirt pieces right sides together and sew the side seams, with 1 cm seam allowance (3/8"). Use a stretch stitch, for example a narrow zig zag stitch or overlock.
5. Gather the top edge
Time to gather the top edge. Sew two parallel lines of straight stitches with the longest stitch length, all around the top edge, front and back. Sew within the seam allowance, for example one line of stitches 4 mm from the edge, and one line of stitches 8 mm from the edge.
Pull the bobbin threads to make the fabric gather (if you want to you can use a contrasting color for the bobbin threads, which makes it easier to see which ones to pull).
Gather as much as is needed so that the skirt has the same waist circumference as the bodice.
6. Stabilize waist seam
Before we can sew the skirt to the bodice/top we need to stabilize the waist. So take your top and turn it wrong sides out (not right sides out like my first picture).
Using clear elastic or a strip of woven fabric cut on the bias, place it on the bottom edge of the top, on the wrong side, within the seam allowance and sew it with a zig zag stitch. Make sure not to stretch the fabric or elastic while sewing.
My clear elastic is hardly showing in the picture below, but you can see the stitches.
7. Sew together bodice and skirt
With the bodice with right sides out and the skirt wrong sides out, place the bodice inside the skirt. Match up the side seams and distribute the gathers evenly. Pin and sew with a stretch stitch, for example zig zag stitch or overlock.
8. Hem the skirt
Finally you just need to hem the skirt. Fold up 2 cm (3/4") to the wrong side. Press and topstitch with a stretch stitch, for example zig zag or twin stitch.
I hope you enjoyed this pattern hack! There are endless modifications you could make. How bout a circle skirt instead of a gathered? Or a high-low hem? Maybe a maxi skirt with a slit on the sides?
Time to get creative with the Linnéa top :)