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Introducing // the Sudley dress and blouse!

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.

My dears I am so beyond excited to introduce you to the Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern! I love this pattern so much and I hope you do too. As per usual I’m going to share a little bit more about how this pattern should fit, what fabrics you should use, and how you can alter things if you need to. Lets get started!

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.

This design is one of my very favourites, and first appeared in my ready to wear clothing line a few years ago. It really started with a love of 70’s bohemian dresses, and from there grew the idea of a reversible dress, you know for days when you may not want to wear a keyhole in the front. And as things always go for me, the second i had done that, I couldn’t stop myself from making a blouse too! Both the blouse and dress have been wardrobe staples of mine for years, i come back to them over and over again.

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.

Sudley is one of those designs that i just loved so much that i couldn’t shelve it. I had to make it into a pattern. I’ve been slowly working on it for years, fussing here and there, so i’m really glad to be able to share it with you now!

I spent a lot of time on this pattern and included a lot of new ideas and pattern pieces so you can make it unique. As you can see from the blouse image above, i actually changed the collar a bit from the original design. This has always been a reversible design, but in my original draft, i had made the collar different on the keyhole side than the other side. Initially i thought that was very clever of me, making it different – but over time, i just really didn’t like it. It’s now symmetrical on both sides and I think it’s much better this way.

I also experimented a lot with variations on the dress – so this pattern actually includes some bonus cut lines to create two different kinds of dresses!

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.

Choosing the right fabric for your project is always really important. For Sudley I recommend light to medium weight woven fabrics with drape. Ideal candidates are things like crepe de chine, voile, lawn, rayon, chambray etc. The stiffer the fabric, the boxier this design is going to look. For more of a flowy drapey garment you want to go for a flowy drapey fabric. I’ve even used chiffon like in the dress above – since the dress is fully lined you can get away with this no problem.

If you’re planning on adding the collar, make sure you use a lightweight interfacing. An interfacing that is too stiff is honestly not going to help at all.

I’ll share a few of my favourite fabric picks in a few days!

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.Megan Nielsen Sudley blouse sewing pattern. Available in sizes 0-20 and Curve 14-30.

OH variation potential, how i could talk about that till the cows come home! This is a super versatile pattern which is packed with loads of different variations.  Though the pattern states that it includes three variations, there are actually more possibilities than i could count. It’s easy to mix and match pattern pieces to create your own unique garment. I even did something a little different with this pattern, and included extra variation ideas in full diagram form with all the pattern pieces you’ll need to make them.

Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.

So to recap: You can add a pretty peter pan collar or go with a minimalist neckline. Add ties or use hook and eye closures. And since this pattern is reversible, you can even choose whether to wear that keyhole opening at the front or back. So much choice!

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.

This pattern is intended to have a loose fit and has completely reversible pattern pieces. You can choose to make either a sweet, loose fit dress or a flowy blouse.

The Version 1 blouse has a generous enough length, and when i say that the Version 2 blouse is cropped, I don’t mean belly baring cropped. This is a modest crop. The kind of crop that just covers  your waistband so you don’t need to tuck your blouse in.

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.

I’ve tried to keep alterations really easy on this one. If you need to add length or remove length you can simply extend or reduce the hemlines, easy peasy. If you’re between sizes, simply cut between the size lines you are inbetween. If you would prefer the dress to be more fitted, you can easily add elastic to the waistline, or a belt made from self fabric. In fact I made a really cute dress with elastic added to the waistline, and i seriously can’t wait to show you.

Since this is quite a boxy style, there is very little ease in the sleeve head – which makes it nice and simple to insert! If you need a longer sleeve, just lengthen at the sleeve hem. Done and dusted.

I’ve also left the ties quite long, partly because it looks quite dramatic, but mostly because it makes it really easy for you to adjust the length to your preferences.

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.

Styling handmade pieces is one of my favourite things! This pattern can really take you anywhere depending on how you style it, and is fantastic for layering.

Version 1 (the blouse with peter pan collar) has a generous length to make it perfect for wearing out loose, or tucking in. I love to wear it with jeans, or tucked into a highwaisted skirt (try Veronika, Brumby or Kelly). This design is also versatile enough to allow you to wear it to work, or out or on the weekend – all in one blouse. I love that. Personally i love a peter pan collar peeking out from under a sweater.

The crop top is great for highwaisted skirts and trousers if you are not a tucker. I know a lot of people are not tuckers! It also lets the details of your skirt or pants shine – i always hate that about wearing a blouse loose, it hides the details in my skirts! With the crop top, you really don’t need to worry about it.

And the dress, i mean seriously, who needs an excuse to wear a flowy pretty dress? For something a bit different why not try layering it over jeans or some leggings? Dresses over pants are a real thing this season, so give it a go! You might just love that look, i’m certainly really enjoying it.

Megan Nielsen Sudley dress and blouse sewing pattern // Reversible loose fit blouse and gathered waist dress. Pattern features keyhole cut out, ties, a peter pan collar and three sleeve lengths. Can be worn with keyhole in the front or back. Version 1 is a blouse with above elbow sleeves and a peter pan collar. Version 2 is a cropped blouse with short sleeves. Version 3 is an empire waist dress with gathered skirt and ¾ length sleeves.Order Sudley

I know you are going to love this pattern as much as we do! We would love to see your Sudley’s, so make sure to tag #MNsudley  and @megannielsenpatterns  when sharing your makes on Instagram. (You’ll also be able to see some gorgeous makes by our lovely pattern testers!)

If you have any questions at all about this new pattern let me know in the comments!

Happy sewing!
Meg xo

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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Caroline Flynn
Caroline Flynn
6 years ago

Hi, I was wondering how this top worked in a big bust? My bust measurement puts me off your size chart (45in) and I’m not sure if it would be better to grade the pattern up or do an Fba (I’m about DD). I know adding a dart would stop this top from being reversible but good fit is more important.

Caroline Flynn
Caroline Flynn
6 years ago
Reply to  Meg

Thanks Megan, my high bust is 41, so taking into account the size chart and finished measurements, I could probably get away with doing an Fba on XL.

Liliana
6 years ago

Wonderful pattern! I love how versatile it is. I’m very much into bohemian-style clothing at the moment, so this comes at the perfect time!

brigidboyer
6 years ago

I am so excited for this pattern Meg! When I first discovered your blog, I fell in love with the Sudley blouse. It is so fun and simple. Good for you for tweaking it to be such a versatile pattern!