WENDY SMOCK HACK | I did a little hacking of our Wendy Smock pattern and, if I do say so myself, made a rather splendid dress!
This was actually a salvage job from a previously failed hack and that poor thing has lain, neglected, in the pile of doom all lockdown. But then the sun came out and the UK got hot. And nothing fits anymore (I’m talking body and mood, here! hello menopause, lockdown and well…cake and beer) so I needed a new plan. And voila…she’s now a cool frilled hem dress that’s perfect for the heat!
There’s no actual tutorial just these ramblings…it really is just a case of making our Wendy pattern longer and attaching a frill, but check out our French Dart Frill Sleeve Hack tutorial if you are looking for a little more in the way of detail – it’s exactly the same process just on a different scale.
You’ll need to make a few decisions |
- how long you’d like your dress
- how deep you’d like your frill
- how full you’ll like your frill
- I’ve included my measurements as a guide but I’m only 5’2″ so bear that in mind. This dress finishes about 5″ above my ankles so adjust to your height/needs/desires!
First up: lengthen the bodice pattern.
- overall length – frill depth = amount to add + seam allowances
I added about 5cm extra to the length of the bodice patterns and added 1cm SA to attach the frill. Please remember I am short! And keep in mind we are still going to add more length with the frill. Don’t over-complicate this bit, I literally just extended the side seams and added on the extra length. Do take the time to check your side seams are the same length and that they will create a smooth hemline when you join them.
FRILL | I didn’t actually make a pattern I just chalked it straight on my fabric as the frill is just made up of 2 rectangles, one for the front one for the back.
DEPTH | You’ll need to decide how deep and how full you would like your frill to be.
I made my frill to finish 33cm deep and added 1cm SA to attach to the body and 2cm hem allowance so I could turn it twice and have a cleanly finished hem, so I cut the rectangle 36cm deep.
WIDTH | The width of your pattern will dictate how gathered your frill is. I decided on a gathering ratio of 2:1. That just means whatever the hem width of the front or back panel is, I doubled it for the frill width. My front had a hem width of 65cm; 65cm x 2 = 130cm + 1cm each end for the seam allowance = my rectangle was cut 132cm wide.
You can change the ratio to suit you and your fabric, a bit more or a bit less gathering to work with the amount of fabric you have will be fine! If you are short of fabric you can join several rectangles together to make your frill. I just made the same size for the front and back panels as they weren’t very different in size and I was very short of fabric!
GRAINLINE | I cut the frill across the piece of fabric so it is on the same grain line as the bodice. If you have a plain fabric you can cut the frill with the longest length parallel to the selvedge, but be aware if you have a printed fabric it may look odd.
CONSTRUCTION | remember to press everything as you sew.
It’s all very straight forward – make your Wendy as usual and when you get to the hemming stage, just stick a frill on the bottom!
- Run gathering stitches across the top of each rectangle. I did 2 rows, but do 3 if you prefer, and I gathered each rectangle in 2 sections so I could gather half a rectangle at a time to make it more manageable.
- With right sides of the fabric together, join the frills at the side seam. Neaten and press seams open.
- Hem the frill.
- Attach frill to the body with a 1cm seam allowance. Neaten the seam together and press upwards away from the frill.
- Waft around the house/park/shop at whatever is this week’s acceptably social distance.
- If you need a little more frill info see our French Dart Frill Sleeve Hack tutorial as the method is the same.
- I decided later to run my dress in a little at the sides and our High Neck Smock tutorial has instructions to help you!
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted a couple of other differences. I used a wider elastic, 2.5cm wide, at the cuff and I can confirm it’s quite comfy! And the neckline of this Wendy is different too as I have elasticated her rather than finished with the usual binding. This was actually the first method I tried out for Wendy at the toile stage many moons ago before settling on the binding method, but I think that will need to be a whole different tutorial!