MN2107 Olive / Sewalongs / Tips & Tutorials

Hacks for the Olive Dress & Top!

Hacks for the Olive dress and top pattern

Can you believe the Olive sew along is all finished? We had so much fun taking you through each step and can’t wait to see your Olive makes! We talk a lot about all the different looks you can create using simple hacks for our patterns. So today’s blog post is all about the super simple ways to change up your pattern pieces to create a different look! If you have any ideas or if you’ve made some hacks of your own, be sure to share your makes with us so we can take a look! Just tag #MNolive and @megannielsenpatterns!

Let’s get going with all of the ideas we’ve put together!

Make your Olive top a peplum top!


You will need: View A or C, together with the skirt pattern piece from View B.

To create this easy look, use the width of the skirt pattern piece as the base for your peplum, but play with the length! You can attach it to any of the three bodice lengths for different effects as well. Try pleating instead of gathering, add multiple layers, make it out of a contast colour or lace, the possibilities are endless!

Change your Olive to have a round neck!ROUND NECK

You’ll be changing: The V-neck to a round neck.

Olive is such a great shape, it’s one you can reuse again and again, and by playing with the shape of the neckline you can create so many different looks.

  • Take out the v-insert and raise the neckline for a simple v-neck, or keep things simple and clean with a beautiful round neck.
  • Just remember to make sure your neckhole is big enough to get your head through! (I speak from experience).
  • If you want that higher neck look, you could always just add a little keyhole opening in the back!

Flounce up your Olive top with poet sleeves! Megan Nielsen Patterns BlogPOET SLEEVES

You’ll need: Some elastic and extra fabric for the ruffle cuff.

I think my heart might have exploded with joy when I first saw the gorgeous photos of Pauline from @sewuthinkucan’s Olive top hack (take a look at the yellow gingham photo above)! She is like sunshine in human form. If you want amazing sleeves like Pauline that are gathered at both ends here are some helpful tips!

  • All you need to do is slash your sleeve pattern piece and spread both the sleeve head and sleeve end.
  • Alternatively, if you just want a sleeve gathered at the cuff, spread only at the sleeve end.
  • If you did spread the sleeve head, gather it up to the size of the armhole before attaching it, and either add elastic to the sleeve end using the hem as a channel or just stretched and sewn to the sleeve, a bit before the sleeve end if you want the ruffle cuff.

Add a Tiered skirt to your Olive dress! Megan Nielsen Patterns BlogTIERED SKIRT

Make sure: you have enough fabric to add on some extra tiers!

Does a double gathered skirt mean double the fun? Looking at Tino from @sewstartino’s gorgeous pictures, we reckon it might!

  • Just use half of the length of the skirt pattern piece in your first tier and the rest in the second.
  • To be able to gather your second layer, and to get the nice increase between the layers, your second layer will need to be approximately double the width of your first.
  • Depending on how wide your fabric is, this might involve making the tier in more than two pieces, but with the busy-ness of the gathers and all that twirling you’ll be doing, no one will spot the extra seams!

Adding flared sleeves!FLARED SLEEVES

Who doesn’t love a bit of drama in their sleeves?

  • If you’re looking to add a bit of flare, all you need to do is slash your pattern from the sleeve end to the sleeve head and spread the cuff end to add the volume you need.
  • To keep your sleeve head curve nice, and to get even more volume, cut multiple slash lines. A simple hack, but a stunning end result!

Patch pockets for the Olive dress!PATCH POCKETS

Perfect for: Anyone who needs easy access to pockets!

The Olive dress has inseam pockets, but we also think some big gorgeous patch pockets sewn to the skirt sides or front would be awesome too! Just scale up the breast patch pocket included in the pattern, and attach them to the skirt before you gather. Easy as!

Add some frills! Olive top hacksADD SOME FRILLS

How cute are the sleeve ruffles on Mel from @melt.stitches’s olive dress! Such a gorgeous, easy hack!

  • All you need to do is cut strips of fabric a little wider than you’d like your ruffle length to be, hem one long edge, gather up the other side and attach it to the armhole.
  • Or alternatively, how about making a flounce by cutting spiral or donut shapes to straighten out into lovely waves!
  • How cute would they be in a little cropped Olive top! Have you noticed the bonus cropped cut length included in the pattern? It’s just perfect for wearing with your favourite high waisted bottoms, or for showing off a bit of your gorgeous midriff!

I hope you enjoyed all of these fun Olive hack ideas! If you’ve some hack ideas of your own let us know in the comments we’re always looking for more inspo!

We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNolive  and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!

Don’t have the pattern yet?!

Don't have the Olive pattern yet? Order it here!

Order Olive sizes 0-20 or curve sizes 14-30!

About Author

Anita is the Operations Manager here at Megan Nielsen Patterns, and happily works on multiple areas of the business in any one day! Anita is the first port of call for any of your customer service enquiries, manages daily operations and oversees all pattern production, graphic design, website maintenance, inventory management & drinking all the coffee/eating all the cookies in the cupboard.

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