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Turn a Shirt Into a Dress | Pattern Hack

Get extended benefits from your favorite blouse pattern
Threads #204, Aug./Sep. 2019
Extra length and ease turn a shirt pattern into a flattering dress design. Pattern: Butterick 6488, modified. Fabric: polyester crepe, EmmaOneSock.com.

Every once in a while, you come across a blouse pattern that’s pretty, flattering, and has design details and a silhouette you can’t get enough of. You fit it and, perhaps, sew multiple versions to pair with skirts and pants. Why not let it shine as a dress, too? A few pattern adjustments turn it into a shirtdress that’s perfect for a study date, the office, cocktails, or casual wear. We’ve made this change on a number of blouse patterns; the one shown is Butterick 6488, view C. 

Most blouses fall to about midhip; you’ll lengthen the pattern to the desired hem level. This can be at, above, or even well below the knee. To keep the buttons from gaping in front and to provide extra ease through the lower hip for sitting and walking, the pattern alteration explained on the following pages adds ease from the waist to the new hemline. All you need to do is measure your body along the side seam to determine the desired length, and extend the blouse front, back, and placket bands or facings to
accommodate the needed increase.

If the pattern you choose has vertical waist darts, we recommend leaving them unsewn initially. Because you need extra ease from the hip to the hemline, you may prefer not to sew the darts at all or may want to reduce them in length or width. Make a muslin, or try the dress on before sewing the darts. Then pin in darts to suit the fit you like best. Shirtdresses are often worn belted, and you may not need to sew the darts at all.

Stephani L. Miller is a former Threads associate editor.


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  1. fashionmavin | | #1

    While I appreciate the diagrams, it is a lot easier with a video where you have a voice and illustrations available. Also, a short pod cast version of the item to transform would be great as well.

  2. user-7026438 | | #2

    Great description of the steps which are easy to follow. Thank you.

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