Saturday, September 15, 2018

After 3, You Gotta Change it Up!

When you sew the same pattern several times in a row, there are two things that might happen. Either A) you will get completely sick of the pattern and never want to see it again, or B) you will begin to think of all the ways you can alter the pattern to make amazing new garments that look very little like the original. Personally, I fall into the second category.

Back in April I was testing the Beltaine Fires Tunic, by Mother Grimm. Throughout the course of that test, I made my little sister three new tunics (one never got blogged). These tunics looked so cute on my sister, I began to want one for myself. But. . . I don't wear leggings. And I didn't think I'd really wear a tunic with jeans. So, there seemed to be no point in making the pattern for myself, unless I changed it up a bit! Luckily, I already had a plan brewing to do just that.

I would "hack" the pattern into a dress! I'd make the skirt longer and fuller, lengthen the bodice, and add a bit of interest to the back. It would be a quick and easy project, leaving me with a comfy, easy to wear, summer dress. That was the plan at least, and, for the most part, it worked out!

I found a 2 yard piece of striped poly/rayon/cotton/spandex jersey in my stash, and began playing with the pattern. First, I tackled the skirt.

Please excuse my poor photo editing.
 I didn't want to share the picture with all the designers' pattern markings visible, in order to protect her intellectual property.

I used the "slash and spread" method to add both length and fullness to the skirt pattern. When all was said and done, the skirt had a generous flared A-line shape, and was about knee-length on me.

Next, I changed up the bodice a bit. Mother Grimm patterns are awesome as they come in three heights, Petite, Standard, and Tall. (All 3 are included when you buy the pattern, you don't have to buy each separately! Perfect if you happen to be long or short waisted and want to mix one height bodice with another height skirt.)  Personally, I fall into the "standard" category. However, I wanted my dress bodice be a little longer than the tunic bodice was. So, I opted to use the "Tall" bodice for my dress. The bottom of the "tall" bodice hits me at the bottom of my ribcage, rather than right under the bust as the "standard" would.

Between the bodice and skirt, I decided to add a waistband. Still wanting to add more length to my bodice, I used the Beltaine Fires waistband, and just doubled the width of it. So my dress waistband is now over 2" tall, rather than just over an inch.

For a bit of extra interest, to an otherwise basic dress, I cut the back neckline just as low as the front neckline, then filled it in with some angled straps. This is an incredibly easy "alteration", and I just love the effect it gives!

I added basic inseam pockets to the skirt, because what is a dress without pockets? Sad, that's what! To minimize the pockets dragging down the dress when I filled them with stuff, I stabilized the waist seam with 1/4" elastic.

Then, because the pockets were still dragging down the dress a bit, I stabilized the side seam, from armpit to just below the pockets, with rayon ribbon. This worked pretty well, but you can still tell by the drape of the dress if I have something in my pockets. Pockets in knit dresses are hard!

Once my dress was done, I still had some of the striped fabric left, so I decided to make my sister yet another tunic! No changes to the pattern this time!

I didn't have enough of the stripes left to make a full tunic, so I pulled some solid gray rayon jersey from my stash and made a color blocked tunic.

I made her the "round hem with pockets" option included in the pattern, and added a ruffle to the bottom. That ruffle makes this tunic pretty much dress length.

These dresses have served us both well all summer long. Both have been worn regularly, just as I hoped they would!

And, I don't think I'm done with this pattern yet! Between these dresses, the tunics I made my sister during testing, and the rabbit costumes I made for Mulan, I've made the Beltaine Fires pattern 7 times now, and I can still think of ways to change it up and have fun with it!

So yes, just in case you were wondering, the Beltaine Fires Tunic, was a pattern well worth testing!

*I received this pattern for free in exchange for testing, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.


  1. I love how you make semi matching clothes for you and your sister.

    1. Thanks! It's fun to make things with a similar "Theme"!

  2. I like how your dress looks on you. Cute! Bella’s is also cute. Again, you amaze me with your talents. Love you❤️