When Megan asked me if I would like to write a guest blog for the re-release of the Rowan bodysuit & tee pattern, I was so excited! This is such a timeless pattern and there are so many ways I could hack it; I was just buzzing to get started. I initially wanted to make a bishop style sleeve to go with the turtleneck tee, View C (there is an amazing tutorial for bishop sleeves on the blog if you’re keen to give it a go yourself). But when I received the fabric, I had an even better idea…a bodycon dress!!!
I am so pleased with how this turned out! Bodycon dresses are a staple piece in the wardrobe and a turtleneck, long-sleeved version would be great for the cooler days. I can picture myself wearing this dress casually in the day with sandals, or on nights out, dressed up with heels. I was going for a slim, pencil style skirt that drew in around the calves; a shape that hugged the body. Mine includes a side split but you could omit this and have an even more snug shape.
You’ll need a little bit of extra fabric to make your bodycon dress. As a guide, I just added the length of my skirt to the required fabric for my size.
Also, make sure you use fabric with at least 40% stretch! I used a Cotton Jersey from Maai Design. This fabric is a lovely rose pink colour, true to the colour in the listing and provides enough stretch to make a Rowan tee or bodysuit.
I also opted for matching rose pink ribbing for the turtle neckpiece. I find using this gives a more sturdy neckpiece and a more professional look.
It matched the old rose cotton jersey perfectly!
You will need:
Front and back pieces (1 & 2) of Rowan Bodysuit Pattern
Pencil / pen
Hacking your pattern pieces:
Take the front pattern piece and measure from the armpit, down to the hemline – this gives an indication of where the pattern would sit on you. I cut size 4 and got a measurement of 45cm. This would sit just at my hip bone. Then measure how long you would like your dress. I wanted a midi-length so I decided on a 44cm extension (which includes the hem).
Lay the front pattern piece, the centre front, along the straight edge of your paper.
Draw a line, the length of your desired skirt length, perpendicular from the end of the pattern piece. I drew a line 44cm down from the outer edge of the pattern piece. You may need to increase the width of your skirt extension. Because the hemline sat just above my hip bone, I wanted to increase the width to accommodate my hips. It was a bit of guesswork here – but I decided to add 2cm extra to the width, after the hemline.
Repeat with the back pattern piece.
Here is what your hacked pattern pieces should look like:
Cut out your fabric. Remember to cut the front and back on the fold, and make sure to cut 2 sleeve pieces. The sleeves are symmetrical; don’t worry about cutting a matching pair. Also be sure to double-check the direction of stretch: the fabric needs to be cut with the stretch going horizontally, across the pattern pieces.
Sewing the Bodycon:
When you get up to page 15 of your instructions, ”Sleeves & Side Seams”, you’ll want to pin down the side of the dress, but leave an opening on one side. This will be below the hip but above the knees. The amount you leave unpinned will depend on how high you’d like your split. Sew where the pins are.
Now flip your dress wrong side out and pin the seam allowances open, at the split. Press these flat – I know the fabric may curl and make it tricky but try your best!
Come back to the sewing machine and sew along the folded seams, starting from the hem (arrow 1 in the diagram). I sewed with a 1cm seam allowance to make sure I caught the curled seams. When you reach the top of the split, leave your needle in the fabric, lift your presser foot and turn 90 degrees (arrow 2). Sew across to the other side and continue sewing down to the hem (arrow 3).
Hem the dress as Megan advises on Page 18 of your instructions and you’re all done! Enjoy your new dress!
Some Extra Tips
I would love to share with you some of my tips!
- Make sure to choose a ballpoint stretch needle when working with stretchy fabrics. These will make all the difference and not damage your fabric while sewing.
- Try a twin needle for hems for a professional touch. Be sure to choose one suitable for stretch fabrics.
- When setting up a twin needle you’ll need 2 threads. Instead of purchasing 2 spools, I load up a second bobbin.
- Test your stitches before sewing into your pattern pieces. I tend to use a narrow zig-zag stitch rather than overlocker, as I feel more in control. I usually set my machine on a width of 2, and a length of 2.
- Make sure to check your seam allowances to ensure they are the 1.5cm as drafted in the pattern, or it may not fit quite right!
- Attaching the neckband: I like to pin around the neckline with 4 pins, evenly spaced apart and repeat with the neckpiece. That way I can match up the pins and ensure the neckpiece is sewn on properly.
This was a fun, creative process and I’d like to thank Megan and her team for inviting me to write a guest blog. I had so much fun creating a hack for the Rowan bodysuit and I hope you like what I’ve done with the pattern. I would love to hear your thoughts on my hack, comment below!
// LOOKING FOR MORE ROWAN POSTS? //
- Inspiration and ideas for sewing your Rowan
- Rowan Pattern tester Roundup
- Rowan Curve Pattern Tester Roundup
- How to stabilise fabric with tissue paper
- How to lengthen or shorten the pattern
- How to sew a V neck on knit fabric
- How to insert a neck back with a regular sewing machine
- How to sew a snap crotch bodysuit
- Pattern Hack: How to Add Ruffle Shoulders
- Pattern Hack: Rowan maxi dress variation
- Pattern Hack: Scoop neckline variation
- Pattern Hack: Bodycon Dress (this post!)
- Pattern Hack: 3 Ways to Sew Ringer Tee (coming soon!)
- Pattern Hack: Tiered Gathered Dress (coming soon!)
// SHOW US YOUR CREATIONS! //
What about you?! We’d love to see what you’re creating from the new Rowan bodysuit & tee pattern or the new Rowan Curve bodysuit & tee pattern! Don’t forget to tag your creations #MNrowan and @megannielsenpatterns to share what you’ve been working on, and check out what everyone else is up to!