Pattern Hack | Alea x Grace Dress by Marsha Style

Marsha Style Alea Dress pattern hack

If you follow me on Instagram, it will have been clear by the slow-up in my feed that I haven’t been sewing so much over the past few months.

My Sew-Jo has taken a major battering, for a number of reasons. I’ve had a string of pattern-project fails, a few projects that I really didn’t enjoy as well as a general lack of inspiration. The “I need to sew this now’ moments have just been missing.

It occurred to me that I’ve often had the best fun sewing when I’m hacking together patterns, or even drafting my own and so in a desperate bid to end my months-long lack of sew-jo a pattern hack was in order.

I think the inspiration for this dress had been lingering in the back of my mind, having seen a few similar styles in the stores and being blown away by a similar billowing dress I spotted on a girl in my local BP!  

I did wonder if deep in my pattern files I had a similar style to what I wanted, but I didn’t and  I needed a pattern that was a TNT – I didn’t want any more pattern-fail surprises as I was not sure my sew-jo could take it! I know that Marsha Style patterns are well made and fit my body well so heading to these was an easy choice. 

I’ve been meaning to make another Alea for a while now and I though if I could blend it with the tiered, gathered skirt of the Leila dress, I would be onto a winner!

So I hatched a plan..almost!

Without too much planning, I jumped straight in. I decided that I would use the bodice, full collar and gathered sleeves from the Alea pattern but when I came to cutting out I switched my skirt pieces from the Leila to the Grace. The skirt for the Grace dress had proportions that better fitted my plan, although to be honest, any gathered skirt panels would have worked.

I had plans for the button placket to extend down the whole front of the dress but this was my biggest mistake. The Alea button placket is made by folding back the front centre seam. I didn’t account for this which just wouldn’t have worked with the skirt seams and gathers in tow.

To achieve this I should have created a separate from placket, and reduced the width of the bodice pieces accordingly, which I may try next time. 

Sewing up my Marsha Style Mash Up

Marsha Style Patterns - Alea dress hack

Sewing up the project was very straightforward. I created the shirt top first, following the instructions in the Alea pattern files., and then added the tiered skirt. This was when I realised my planning error and instead of the full buttons I needed to attach my skirt panels at the centre front. While this has left me with am unnecessary centre seam, it hangs in the folds of the gathers and so luckily isn’t too noticeable!

When I first tried on for a fit check, I knew it would be love, but I questioned adding the sleeves as I really liked the shorter sleeve/sleeveless  look. The Alea style has a drop shoulder with a few different sleeve styles and so I took to Instagram, who agreed with me, not to add the sleeves. 

Instead, I added the sleeve cuff which comes with the Alea pattern. 

When it comes to the shirt top, the only thing I did differently to the pattern was add more buttons. I did this using my trusty button-lattice-measuring-thingy. I know that on my current Aleas, I have just a little bit of gape at the bust and in an attempt to avoid an FBA, I just added more buttons! Lazy sewing, but it has worked!


Marsha Style Alea dress pattern hack

I am so happy with how this has turned out, even despite the issues caused by my lack of a plan. 

It is the perfect dress for this fabric which is so light and breezy and oh-sew soft! 

I know I shall be twirling my way through the summer in this, now I just need the Spring sunshine to arrive. Note, as I write this we have snow in the South Island in our NZ Spring and grey skies all week in Auckland where I am!).

Still, nothing better to revive my sew-jo than a summery make that’s something a little different!


Marsha Style Alea Dress Pattern hack
Marsha Style Alea dress pattern hack


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