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Jennifer Lauren Handmade - The 'Gable' Top to Dress Pattern Hack!

My finished 'Gable' dress!

I started this make pretty much as soon as I finished my original 'Gable' top, a fabulous new pattern from indie designer Jennifer Lauren Handmade. You can see the post all about the top HERE.

I originally ordered this polka dot jersey for the top version, but I was impatient and did some stealthy cutting out of some striped jersey from my stash. Then on the day I finished my top, this gorgeous polka dot jersey arrived in the post and I couldn't resist.

I can't resist a polka dot!

I'm a sucker for a comfortable jersey dress and I decided adding a simple gathered skirt to the t shirt version of the 'Gable' top pattern would make for a fabulous everyday, but also smart sometimes, dress. Of which I also hoped would be simple to make because I was feeling especially lazy...

Que awkward hand pose...

Again, I just love the neck line of the pattern. A vintage style slash neck, with some interesting stitching detail. It makes a nice change to the usual top stitched round neck jersey patterns.

Since I made the 'Gable' top, I must have worn in every few days! So I'll definitely be making more. I'm really happy with the outcome of my dress too, and I think it'll be great with tights and boots in the winter.

So, to hack the 'Gable' top in to a dress, I turned to my Tilly and the Buttons self drafted skirt pattern. I've previously used this skirt pattern for my Tilly and the Buttons 'Lilou' Dress which you can see HERE. It's the easiest skirt to make ever and would definitely recommend drafting it as it's a great pattern to have in your arsenal.

Sew your dress following the instructions up until sewing up the side seams. Then it's hack time!

Step 1:

Draft skirt and gather front and back panels.

Step 2:

Sew the front panel of the skirt to the front of the t shirt (like you would for any dress). Repeat for the back panel.

Step 3:

Turn inside out and sew both side seams from the sleeve cuffs, joining up the underarms, waist and finally the long skirt side seams. Pivoting at the underarm corner as the pattern instructions say to.

Step 4:

Hem the skirt and tada!

Pattern: hacked!

One thing I'd like to point out is that this dress is loose fitting. Whilst the fabric is stretchy, the waist seam is not. I took the pattern in at the waist but was careful to not take it in too much to allow me to get it on over my head (but mainly my boobs!). Alternatively, you could sew an elastic channel into the waist or some kind of fastening, like a zip.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Jennifer Lauren Handmade 'Gable' Top Pattern PDF - £10.40 

Fabric: 2ish metres of jersey

Notions: I used satin ribbon for the shoulder seams.

Sewing time: An hour and a bit.

Modifications: I shortened the bodice to my waist point to attach the skirt pattern. Further detail above.

Fit: Just what I wanted.

Difficulty: Easy-peasy.

Watch out for: Getting the gathers even in the skirt and make sure you stitch the waist seam a couple of times to secure it as the jersey fabric can be heavy and pull the top down.

Make again?: I want to make 100!

Serving accidental 80s in this photo!

Overall, I'm really happy with my finished dress. Easy to sew, quick to make and super comfortable to wear - my kind of make! It even saw me on a 4 hour car journey to London and back on a super hot day (that's 4 hours there AND another 4 hours back uhh!).

Let me know if you give this pattern hack a go!

Thanks for reading, pinups.

The top pattern was supplied to me free of charge by Jennifer Lauren for purposes of review. All thoughts & opinions are my own.
The Crafty Pinup
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Jennifer Lauren Handmade - The 'Gable' Top

My finished 'Gable' top!

Whilst I love sewing 1950s dresses and swanning about in them on sunny days, I couldn't be without my jersey basics, perfect for some lazy 1960s style. So in my ongoing quest to build my own everyday handmade wardrobe, when Jennifer Lauren asked me to review her gorgeous new 'Gable' slash neck jersey top pattern, I knew it would be just what I wanted!

My version of the Gable top had me feeling all Brigitte Bardot

I love glamorous 1950s pinup style but I'm far to lazy to commit to it for everyday. 1960s style is great when I'm not feeling the red lipstick or when washing my hair is too much effort! Eyeliner, beehive and go!

Here's a peek at the pattern:

Lots of great variations and a wide size range.

Here's Jennifer's own description of the pattern:

"Ladies long and short sleeve, 50s inspired seasonal knit top PDF sewing Pattern. Multi-size 6 to 24. A4 and US Letter compatible.

With a classic 50s-inspired slash neckline, a long-line body for extra comfort and three different sleeve options, The Gable Top will become your new favourite go-to knit top pattern.

Gable is perfect for wearing all year round — layered with dresses and cardigans on chilly mornings or worn on its own with 3/4 skinny jeans or a high-waisted skirt à la Audrey in spring. Gable is a stylish weekend basic that can be easily dressed up and added to your office outfit rotation.

Made with comfy stretch knits, Gable is a quick and easy sew that doesn’t use much fabric and turns out perfectly every time.

Designed for confident beginners through to advanced seamstresses."

I've never tried a PDF pattern before, I thought they required a bit more effort then I could be bothered with, but I'm very glad I did. I'm converted! I printed off the entire pattern which I think came to 38 A4 pages (eeek), but when it's something you'll be using time and time again it doesn't seem so wasteful. But you can also select just the option you want to use, but I knew I wanted to try a couple so it seemed logical to print off all the style options.

Trying my best vintage pose! Featuring my 3 quarter length sleeve version.

The 'Gable' top comes with 3 sleeve options. A t shirt, long, and cuffed sleeve. However, I'm not much of a long sleeve girl, I didn't fancy a t shirt as I wanted to utilise my fabric, but I wasn't keen on the cuff version. So I found a happy medium with a 3 quarter length sleeve, for which I used the cuffed sleeve pattern, just without the wrist section! Simple.

Jennifer's instructions were really easy to follow and she provides a great guide for printing and putting together the pattern - which I certainly needed! She also provides clear illustrations for reference throughout.

Just check out that neckline! I love the vintage style 1950s slash neck. I think it's a flattering neckline and makes a great change from a regular round neck and it makes this jersey basic feel just a little smarter. I also like how the slash neck stitching turns in to a bit of a feature. But I must have used about 20 pins to make sure it was symmetrical!

Slash neck detail.

One thing I personally found tricky was the sizing on my short torso (wap wap wahhh). I shortened the pattern where the usual 'length/shorten' line is thinking that would be enough. But the finished top is still pretty long on me - like cover bottom long - which I'm just not used to wearing but some people might prefer that. Having shortened the pattern, I found that the curved side seams didn't quite hug my body where they were suppose to. But this is something I'd be more than happy to tweak myself next time.

However, that's just my personal fit issues! I think I could have even made a size smaller which may have provided me with a better fit. I'm just so paranoid about making a garment too small, but in this case, a size down would have fit comfortably.

Front & back views.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Jennifer Lauren Handmade 'Gable' Top Pattern PDF - £10.40 

Fabric: Under 2m (I had to do some stealthy cutting using leftover fabric from my stash) of navy and white striped jersey fabric.

Notions: I used satin ribbon for the shoulder seams.

Sewing time: An hour!

Modifications: I shortened the pattern quite a lot to fit my short torso.

Fit: Good! Still a little longer on me than I would like. I don't think the curved side seams sit where they should do on my body. But that's something I can tweak for next time.

Difficulty: Very straight forward!

Watch out for: Getting that neck stitching even! My back curved stitch line is a little wonky, but I'm very happy with the front. It turns in to a nice little feature!

Make again?: Hell yeah! And I certainly did....

The day after I made this top, some jersey I had previously ordered arrived in the post. And being on a pattern hack high from my previous alteration post, I thought I'd have a go at turning the 'Gable' top into a dress!

Here's a peek at my upcoming 'Gable' top to dress pattern hack post:

Overall, I really enjoyed my first PDF & Jennifer Lauren pattern. It was simple to construct, easy to follow, quick to sew and I'm really happy with my finished garment! I will certainly be making more of this stylish retro slash neck.

You can buy Jennifer's gorgeous 'Gable' pattern HERE. She sells a great range of patterns, I've certainly got my eye on a couple more - I love the 'Bronte' top!

Have you tried any Jennifer Lauren Handmade patterns? Who are your favourite indie pattern designers? I'd love to try more.

Thanks for reading, pinups!

P.S. Stay tuned for my 'Gable' top to dress pattern hack post coming up next!

The pattern was supplied to me free of charge by Jennifer Lauren for purposes of review. All thoughts & opinions are my own.
The Crafty Pinup
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Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - Bustier to Skirt Pattern Hack! #RetroTikiCollab

My finished B6354 bustier to skirt pattern hack pencil dress!

As promised, here's the second part of my Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - Bustier to Skirt Pattern Hack post! Part of the very exciting #RetroTikiCollab I'm participating in with fellow vintage style sewing bloggers Akram's Ideas, Gussets & Godets and Vintage on Tap...


You can see the first part of this post HERE, all about my rather sassy Wanda Woodward style wearable toile. And if you're wondering what the hell 'tiki' even is, I've got you covered as I wrote a post about that too! Read the post HERE.

But for my main post, this pattern just had to be tiki, so I went for it 100%! I picked up my Hawaiian style fabric a while back in my local Textile Express store in their bargain bin. At the time I had no idea what to use it for, I just knew I needed it. Then this collaboration appeared and it was meant to be.

A peek at everyone's finished tiki looks!

Here's a peek at the pattern we all used to create our vintage inspired tiki looks:

I used option B and C to create my pencil dress.

Like I said in my previous post, this tropical, tight fitting pattern is totally out of my comfort zone. So this make was a little challenging for me for a few reasons. I had never made a fitted garment, sewn with boning since uni, attempted a pattern hack or even bothered to make a toile (I know I know - terrible sewing practise). So why not chuck it all in one post, eh?

All four of the bloggers involved in this retro tiki collab are sewing the same B6354 pattern in various ways. Personally I felt like I would get more wear out of a dress than separates. The pattern options are high Summer pieces and with the weather like it is here in the UK and my lack of holidays, I just didn't think I'd get much wear out of a sarong! So I thought I'd try my hand at turning the bustier top and sarong skirt in to one pencil dress. It's a style I love, but hadn't yet attempted.

I actually found the whole sewing process and alterations really simple, I was quite surprised! To create the pencil dress I didn't have to make as many alterations as I initially thought, so I would definitely recommend this pattern hack to any adventurous beginners out there!

I found the pattern nice and easy to follow, the instructions were clear and the illustrations were helpful. Compared to the previous Butterick patterns I've tried, this one was a breeze!

So let's talk about my pattern hack! Essentially to make the separate bustier and sarong patterns in to a dress, a long concealed zip needed to be inserted down the centre back of both. The bustier already has a zip allowance, so it's simply a case of splitting the centre back sarong skirt in to two pieces, instead of cutting on the fold, and adding seam allowance.

I took some snaps during construction to demonstrate what I did...

I'd just like to point out I am in no way qualified to do sewing tutorials, but if I can do this, anyone can! But please ask in the comment section below if you'd like any more details or have any questions.

Image 1 (clockwise from top left):

Follow the bustier instructions like normal up to Step 7. Ignore instructions 8,9,10 and pick up again at 11 for the boning and lining.

Image 2:

The centre back sarong piece is no longer cut on the fold and needs a seam and zip allowance added. I added 2cm to either side to enable plenty of adjustment room. Then cut 2 centre back pieces.

Sew all sarong panels as shown in instructions.

Image 3:

Sew the gathered up darts on to the sarong front as shown, then lay this piece on top of the bodice, line up all seams and sew as far the the front sarong piece will take you. Mine was almost to further side seam. But any un-matching seams can be covered by the fake sarong tie sewn on top.

This step is much like sewing a skirt to a lined bodice in most dress patterns.

Image 4:

Sew the other sarong panel to the bodice, overlapping the two sarong pieces. Tada! This creates the sarong effect!

Then you need to insert the concealed zip down the centre back, I left room at the bottom of my dress to create a little split. A kick pleat would be great too.

To finish off the tiki look I made a fake bow and hand sewed it to where the sarong would tie.

Pattern: hacked!

I used a concealed 22" zip for my pattern hack.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - £8.00 - WeaverDee

Fabric: 4m of tropical print viscose fabric, 1m of Value Interfacing - Iron-on Lightweight - £1.99 - WeaverDee

Notions: 1x Concealed Nylon Zip - 22" / 56cm - £1.38, 3x Cotton Covered Boning - White / 12mm - £1.75 pm - WeaverDee

Sewing time: The best part of a day. Sped up thanks to my previous toile.

Modifications: Read above to see the alterations I made to turn the bustier and sarong skirt into a pencil dress.

Fit: I'm really happy with the fit of my final dress. I did ALOT of fittings to get it right and took quite a lot out in the end. But, with good underwear, it fits like a dream!

Difficulty: Surprisingly simple! Definitely worth a try for advanced beginners looking to challenge themselves a little

Watch out for: Be careful sewing with the boning - you don't want to break any needles!

Pattern hacked!

Overall, I'm super impressed with myself and this dress. Considering I don't think I would of chosen this pattern on my own accord, let alone attempted a fitted & boned dress, I'm very surprised at how this turned out! I certainly see the benefit of sewing a toile before sewing the main garment. Especially on a make like this where I was altering the pattern. However, I'm not totally converted and you won't be seeing a toile for each make any time soon! But for fitted and adapted garments, I'll be sure to make a mock up.

Let me know if you try this Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - Bustier to Skirt Pattern Hack - I'd love to see your versions.

So let's see what the other Retro Tiki Collab sewists got up to...

Vintage on Tap:

Check out her AMAZING reversible version, what a great idea!

"Sewing a reversible garment can be fun, and the amount of hand sewing should definitely not turn you off from trying it! There’s only a few special considerations to take into account for this particular piece..."

Read the full post HERE.

Follow Bianca on Instagram!

Akrams Ideas:

You can't go wrong with the classics! Akram has you sorted...

"My twist on this pattern was to basically rock the original, and make it as directed. This also would help to give a point of reference for creative changes that Bianca, Abi and Christina made to their pattern...."

Read the full post HERE.

Follow Akram on Instagram!

Gussets & Godets:

This pattern makes for an incredible play-suit, and check out those spaghetti straps...

Read the full post HERE.

Follow Christina on Instagram!


Check out everyone's posts to see all the amazing things you can do with this awesome tropical pattern! I hope you enjoyed this Retro Tiki Collab and my first pattern hack post! Don't forget to follow the hashtag (#RetroTikiCollab) on Instagram to see lots of behind the scenes snaps.


Thanks for reading, pinups!

P.S. A huge 'thank you' to Bianca from Vintage on Tap for organising this awesome collaboration! Don't forget to comment below if you have any questions about my pattern hack, and let me know if you want to see more of these retro sewing blogger collaborations in the future....
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Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - Wanda Woodward Wearable Toile

My wearable toile of my B6354 bustier to skirt pattern hack!

Hi everyone! This post is a little different from my usual for quite a few reasons! To start, it's my first 'pattern hack' post, my first fitted make and my first wearable toile! Also this post will lead on to another post with the final make and full instructions on my pattern hack. That's why this post will be a little shorter than normal as it's more of an introduction to the main dress - if that makes any sense...

But stay with me!

So here's a peek at the pattern I'm using:

So many awesome possibilities!

First things first, I should explain this make is for an exciting sewing blogger collaboration I'm working on with some fabulous vintage style sewing bloggers. We're all sewing this Butterick Patterns by Gertie B5654 tiki pattern, but all in different ways! For me, this tiki pattern is totally out of my comfort zone, but I've loved the look of it since I first saw it. So even though I probably wouldn't have chosen it on my own accord, it was great to broaden my sewing horizons and try something new.

Personally I felt like I wouldn't get much wear out of separates, and I didn't want to spend time and resources sewing pieces that would just sit unloved in my wardrobe. But I thought if it were a dress I'd be far more tempted to wear it. So I decided my take on this pattern would be a bustier to skirt pattern hack! Creating a super sassy, boned pencil dress.

Sewing Supplies from WeaverDee

If you've read any of my previous pattern posts, you've probably noticed toiles (or mock ups) are something I tend to 'forget' to do... Much to my later self's annoyance. But this time I wanted to do things properly, especially since the dress would be tight fitting.

My default choice for practice garments is always polka dots. I could happily make everything in polka dots forever. Then I spotted this super affordable black and white polka dot cotton on WeaverDee and I knew it would make such an awesome toile with some serious Wanda Woodward vibes!


Queen! (Wanda Woodward Cry-Baby 1990)

Wanda Woodward from the 90s Johnny Depp film Cry-Baby is a badass rockabilly style icon. And this polka dot, strapless pencil dress had her name written all over it, don't you think? As soon as I wiggled in to it and put on my red lipstick I was totally in character!

I'm not going to go in to detail on the construction and my pattern hack instructions as I'll be writing all about that in my upcoming main post: Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - Bustier to Skirt Pattern Hack! #RetroTikiCollab. I also didn't want to overload my other post with images and I thought this sassy toile deserved a post all of its own!

But what I will say is, I totally loved this pattern and I'm such a fan girl for Gertie Hirsch I couldn't wait to finally try one of her designs. I've got 2 of her books but am yet to delve in! I'm also really proud of my pattern hack and the two dresses I created with this pattern. I hope you guys will love it too and be inspired to try it out!

Creating this dress has certainly had a boost to my dress making confidence and ability to play with patterns and designs. I did a lot of it at university, but lingerie design is a whole other game! It was also my first time sewing with boning since uni, so that took a bit of getting used to, but certainly isn't anything to be scared of.

It took a lot of trying on to get the fit just right, but I'm really happy with the final outcome. It fits my shape really well, and I feel totally supported. For these images I wore a strapless bra and a corset to create a 50s hourglass shape and the effect is perfect for this wiggle dress! I did go to make the halter neck strap, but I really liked the strapless look instead for this number.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - £8.00 - WeaverDee

Fabric: 4m of Polycotton Candy-Spot Fabric - White on Black - £2.99 pm , 1m of Value Interfacing - Iron-on Lightweight - £1.99 - WeaverDee

Notions: 1x Concealed Nylon Zip [580 Black] - 22" / 56cm - £1.38, 3x Cotton Covered Boning - White / 12mm - £1.75 pm - WeaverDee

Sewing time: A full day including my pattern reworking.

Modifications: Wait and see!! Stay tuned to see all the modifications I made to this pattern to turn the bustier and sarong skirt in to a pencil dress.

Fit: Tailored to my figure, with more detail in my next post.

Difficulty: Surprisingly simple.

Watch out for: Shhh... Details to follow.

Make again?: Yes and I certainly did! ....

Sorry for such a cryptic, un-informative post but I promise all the details will be in my next post. I hoped you enjoyed seeing my first toile for my first pattern hack. I can't wait to show you the final dress and tell you all about how I created it. Along with sharing some fabulous content from other vintage inspired sewists and show you our interpretations of this awesome tiki pattern!

Get this super sassy Wanda look for yourself at the fabulous online haberdashery Weaver Dee!

Thanks for reading, pinups!

P.S. I hope you like this new style of photography. I bought a photo back drop to shoot my new collection for My Retro Closet and thought this would be a good excuse to test it out!

The pattern, fabric and notions were my choices supplied to me free of charge by Weaver Dee. But all thoughts & opinions are my own
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