pattern hack: the warehouse dress

Earlier this year Ty and I had the opportunity to go to Amsterdam for a week. We went in March, so it wasn’t quite winter weather, nor was it warm enough that you could go without a coat. For the tourist-walking-around-all-day-taking-tons-of-pictures days, I went with skinny jeans, boots, sweaters, and my trench coat. Easy, comfortable, and I could get away with wearing everything two or three times. (I went to London for three days after, so I really had to make what I’d packed stretch to last.) We had a couple of dinner reservations at nice places, so I knew I also wanted something in my suitcase for those occasions. Enter, the search for the denim dress(es). Now, I’m not talking about a super fitted, uncomfortable dress here. I’m talking about something with a little give in it that would go effortlessly with my tights and boots, and that would also stand up to being worn a few times without missing a beat. (A cute little jersey dress would have been great too, for those of you thinking of that, but remember how chilly it was. Denim was better this time.) Finding something that wasn’t a mini dress or something that didn’t look frumpy was a challenge, but I found a couple great pieces. In the process, I  also discovered a great brand. There’s a company out of the UK called Warehouse and they have the best stuff, you guys. It’s a little more on the modest side (which I love, of course), but overall it’s very pretty and sophisticated. The quality is great too. I believe they recently hired a new creative director, so I hope the aesthetic doesn’t change too dramatically. Anyway, back to the dresses. Here’s what I ordered and wore (and have worn tons of times since the trip):

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Of course, now I’m completely obsessed with the brand and their dresses. I kept my eye on ASOS for new arrivals or sales over the summer, and I discovered another dress I had to have. Almost immediately, it sold out in my size. It was a linen/cotton blend, but I happened to have a cut of a gorgeous linen chambray that would be a nice alternative. So, I decided to make it myself. I studied the design carefully, noting the length, the flared sleeve, the seam above the bust, the patch pockets, and the belt casing.

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Earlier this year, I made a dress using Simplicity 8014, and I loved it. It was denim, coincidentally, and I liked how it fit. It wasn’t too tight, but it also doesn’t look like a tent either. I knew I could use that pattern as my base, and make changes to match the Warehouse dress. I went with view C, eliminating the bodice pockets, sleeve tab, and collar stand.

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Based on the length of the Warehouse dress and where it hits the model on the leg, I figured it would be about 27″ from the waist. This is the perfect midi length for me, so I measured from the waistline on the pattern and added length to the hem. Then I drafted a hem facing, basically because I love hem facings. They are so easy and they look clean and professional.

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The shoulder seam on the Warehouse dress sits at the shoulder, not forward on the front bodice like the yoke on the Simplicity pattern (which is more common for shirtdresses). I moved that seam back to the shoulder and split the pattern above the bust to create the seam as seen on the Warehouse dress. I liked this detail. It’s small, but interesting.

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Notice in the picture above that I also determined the pocket placement using a pocket piece from a Butterick pattern. It’s one of those pieces I keep out and use on other projects. The pocket on the Warehouse dress extends all the way into the side seam, but I didn’t want the bulk of that, so mine is a single pocket sewn on the dress. The corners of the pocket are angled, so I copied that as well.

One detail I did not copy was the hidden button placket. I don’t always like those. They can look a little messy, so I just went with a regular placket. I added a neck facing, checked the length of the sleeve, and drafted a pattern piece for the belt casing.

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And here’s the result. Besides my dress being a little darker than the Warehouse dress, it’s almost a seam for seam copy. I am over the moon for it!

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You’ll have to excuse my photos here, guys. It’s been about a year and half since I set everything up to take pictures, and most of my effort was ruined due to poor lighting. I’m a little rusty. I’ll get back on track soon, I promise!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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While not totally necessary, I did line my back yoke. Because of the facing, you could go without it and just serge the back yoke seam, but I like a little personality on the inside of my garment.

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The fabric I bought is sold out now, but it was $9.95/yard. I bought 3 yards, plus buttons and thread. I spent about $45 on supplies, but the real cost was the time it took to adjust the pattern. Sewing was easy. I still love the color of the Warehouse dress, so I will do this project again in a lighter color. I love the design so much that I’d love it in a print too.

So, a long story and tons of pictures later and there you have it! A successful pattern hack. Later this week look for a tutorial on drafting half and full circle skirts. You’ll need this information for upcoming projects like the tulle skirt and striped skirt. Did I just sound like a teacher? “Be sure and take notes, pupils!” 🙂

Have a great Monday, and I’ll see y’all later this week!

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