Sleepy Gowns – Patsy Party Dress Hacked or Mashed
When I first read the topic for the Rebecca Page Double Duty Blog Tour I was unsure what to make. I then remembered wondering whether the Patsy Party dress could be made with a knit back when I planned out my recent LEGO® version and figured this would be the perfect time to experiment. Once I started thinking about cozy Patsy nightgowns I couldn’t help but wonder how the Patsy skirt would look with the Olivia top and decided “why not?”. I went on to make both versions for my girls.
I’d previously sewn the original versions of both the Patsy Party dress and the Oliva top if you more details about them. I’ve also customized both garments with LEGO® inspired fabric marker created panels too.
For this hack and mashup I sewed two versions of each (one for Ada and one for Zoey) so you may see two versions of each dress in the photos below.
Patsy Party Nightgown with Knit Back Hack
Originally, the Patsy dress is made with a woven elasticized back so I wasn’t sure if replacing the back with knit fabric would work. Specifically, I was worried the back wouldn’t stretch enough to get the dress on or off and if it did stretch enough would it have enough recovery to act as tight as the original version once the dress was on? Now was the time for answers; but first we needed to decide on fabric. I had been planning on taking the kids to our local JOANN’s to pick out their fabric but Ada wanted to stay home, build LEGO®, and shop my stash so between the crazy stash busting kid-chosen fabric combinations I figured would happen and the fact I was deviating from the pattern made me decide to make our hacked version of the Patsy Party dress into nightgowns. Since we were making nightgowns I wanted them to be comfy cozy so I limited the fabric selection to our snuggle flannel fabrics only. For the knit fabric I chose some thick cotton lycra I had on hand from Whimsy Baby Customs as I knew I trusted their fabric’s stretch and recovery while also knowing the kids loved the heart fabric I already cut into once before.
Since I had finished a Patsy Party dress for either girl before I was able to use their finished garment to measure and compare with the corresponding pattern pieces. To check whether the knit fabric I chose would stretch as far as the original elasticized back I sketched out the measurements including the width of the center back bodice and the side back bodice pattern pieces (with the seam allowance overlapping) along with the finished garments back and side widths. I had assumed the knit wouldn’t stretch enough so I was going to combat that by potentially extending the center back pattern piece to include the side back pieces too. Once they were sketched out I took the folded knit fabric, lined it up with the fold, grasped it at the edge of the finished garments edge, and stretched it out to the original pattern pieces’ width. I found when I stretched it from the finished back center to the pattern pieces’ back center width it barely reached. When I stretched it from the combined back center and side back edge to the finished width to the combined pattern pieces’ width it was able to reach a bit further than needed. This justified combining the back center and side back pattern pieces into a single new pattern piece but I still needed to account for how much I should shorten the back center pattern piece before combining since there was going to be no elastic to shorten it up later on. I ended up getting confused by my first set of measurements and had to redraw it out from scratch but determined, for my daughters’ 12-18 month and 2-3 year sizes, that I needed to reduce my back center panel to 60% of it’s width (cut off 40% of it) and then overlap the pattern piece with the side back bodice piece (to include either piece’s seam allowance) and tape them together to make the new knit pattern piece. The fold line wasn’t touched (since I cut off the other end of the center back pattern piece) and the knit’s most stretch direction would stretch horizontally.
After combining the center back and side back bodice pieces into a single knit piece I cut the rest of the pattern pieces according to the Patsy Party dress’ instructions. Since I was scrap busting I ended up cutting some of the skirt pieces at a different direction than the specified grainline but that was the only other change I made while cutting.
Sewing the Bodice
Since I wasn’t going to line the back of the bodice I had to come up with another way to finish it. The original bodice had a half inch seam allowance so I marked (one inch) and folded over the top of the knit back bodice a half inch. I then used my stretch stitch (zigzag on my sewing machine) to finished the edge.
I followed the original instructions to piece together the front of the outer and lining bodice. When sewing the two bodice layers together along the top I left the first and last half inch unsewn. When following the directions to understitch the top of the bodice I also stopped a half an inch from either side so the space between the outer and inner bodice wouldn’t be closed.
To attach the knit back to the bodice I first prepped the bodice front by opening it up, marking it, folding it over a half inch, and then pressing the fold into place.
I marked a half inch on either end of the knit fabric so I could quickly sandwich it between the outer and inner bodice layers without second guessing how far it was tucked in. After clipping the top and bottom so it wouldn’t move I made sure the right side of the knit was facing the outer bodice with the wrong side facing the lining of the bodice so it wouldn’t be inside out.
And then do the same to the other side of the back piece.
I then marked an inch from the bottom of the bodice (to leave unsewn) before topstitching over the layers from the top of the bodice to my mark. I left the space at the bottom so I’d have room to sew the bodice to the skirt (half an inch) and turn up the seam allowance into the space (another half inch). As a precaution I chose to topstitch two separate straight lines in case one popped in the future while getting the dresses on and off.
For the straps I wasn’t sure if they’d end up pulling too much on the knit and stretch it vertically. Since I didn’t have any better idea I ended up sewing them to the knit fabric anyway and made sure each dress had the straps spaced the same distance away from the edge (Zoey’s was 1.75″ and Ada’s 2.5″). As a caution, to not disrupt the horizontal stretch, I attached the straps with a vertical stitch.
And the altered bodice was done.
Attaching The Skirt To The Bodice
I sewed up the skirts according to the original directions and even hemmed it before attaching it to the bodice. When attaching the two together I started by pressing the liner, placing the outer bodice and skirt right sides together, moving the liner out of the way, matching the front and sides seams, and then clipping them together. I then deviated from the instructions. When I came to the edge of the knit section on the back I had to make sure to get both the folded woven (outer bodice) and knit edges clipped together while keeping the liner out of the way (easier since the bottom inch of the bodice hadn’t been sewn together).
For the rest of the knit section I marked the center of the knit and the center of the skirt’s back panel before clipping those two spots together. Then I chose a half to focus on and stretched the knit to match the width of the skirt while clipping them together. My original plan was to gather the skirt then sew them together but I hoped this way would allows the skirt to stretch with the bodice like the original Patsy did just over a wider area with this version (since it included the center back and side back pattern pieces). I then stretched and clipped the other half of the back together.
After I was happy with how the bodice and skirt lined up I sewed the two together making sure the bodice liner stayed out of the way. When I sewed over the knit back I made sure to keep the fabric taunt so it wouldn’t bunch up.
I then pressed the seam allowance up towards the bodice so I could hide the seam allowance between the layers in the front and sides. The instructions have you hide your stitches when attaching the liner but I decided it would be simplest, in this case, to topstitch the liner down. To make sure all the layers were caught I carefully pinned the liner overtop of the seam before sewing it in place (hiding the original seam allowance). Since the knit back was only one layer I wasn’t able to hide the seam allowance in the back (though looking back I guess I might’ve used bias tape before topstitching so the edges got caught under the liner). When I reached the back I stretched out the knit and continued to topstitch the seam allowance down. I was originally going to zigzag stitch the back but figured by stretching the knit a straight stitch would be fine to continue since the woven fabric might stop the stitches from getting overstretched and popped.
And you’re done… or you just have to hem if you wanted to try it on your model first.
Zoey absolutely loves the train fabric so I made sure to use as much as I could for her dress. When I didn’t have enough for the side panels of the skirt she picked dinosaurs to go with it.
Ada wanted some of every color. I cut out her bodice to match Zoey’s and so she’d also have some of the train fabric. I then cut each panel of the skirt with a different fabric paying attention to which was what so I’d be able to alternate the solids and prints.
I did notice the Ada’s nightgown is a bit loose whereas Zoey’s was fine. Since they’re nightgowns I’m not too worried but if I was I could see maybe sewing some elastic along the top of the back bodice to further cinch in the knit fabric.
Patsy Skirt Mashed With The Olivia Top
When I started planning the above hacked Patsy I couldn’t resist doing another nightgown using a mashup of the Patsy skirt with the Olivia top. When I started planning this I had already made five Olivia tops and was in the process of making two more. Like before I started by sketching out the measurements, starting with the width of the Patsy skirt, so I could figure out how to mash the two together. At first I forgot to factor in the height of the Olivia top and was going to taper the sides in to match the width of the Patsy skirt top. That would’ve created a really long dress. Luckily I realized I needed to shorten the Olivia’s pattern pieces to match the Patsy bodice height. Once I shortened the Olivia bodice piece I realized the width wasn’t that much different than the Patsy so I didn’t change anything else.
To figure out how much to shorten the Olivia pattern piece I measured both girls’ original finished Patsy from the top (folded strap on the hangar) to the seam connecting the skirt and bodice. I measured four times; the left and right side on both the front and back. I then averaged that number (with a bit of rounding up since apparently Ada’s straps were uneven on the original… oops) and transferred that number to the Olivia bodice piece. The childs’ Olivia has the same pattern piece for the back and front; otherwise I would’ve averaged the back and front measurements separately. To transfer the measurements I measured and marked both along the foldline and near the armpit of the Olivia pattern piece. I then started with a straight line from the foldline for about an inch or so and then used a french curve to join the started line with the second marking using a slightly curved line.
Other than using an altered bodice piece I followed Olivia’s original instructions but skipped hemming it. For the skirt I cut out the original Patsy skirt pattern pieces and sewed it up according to the original instructions and, like the previous hack, I also hemmed the skirt ahead of time.
Once the Patsy skirt and the unhemmed Olivia bodice was completed I compared their width to see which was wider or if they matched. Here’s where the different sizes came into play more. Zoey’s patterns were a lengthened 12-18 months and when I compared her shortened Olivia bodice with her Patsy skirt they were practically the same width. To attach them together I started by marking the center front and center back of both the top and skirt. Since the skirt’s back panel was slightly larger than the front I matched the front and back to find the side seams. I then put them right sides together and clipped them at the marked front, marked back, and the marked skirt sides with the Olivia’s side seams. I then kept clipping each large section in the middle until I wasn’t worried about the two layers shifting while I sewed.
In contrast Ada’s outfit was 2-3 years in size and her skirt ended up being wider than the bottom of her Olivia bodice. Since it wasn’t too much wider I decided to run two basting stitches along the back center skirt panel so I could gather the back later. If there was a bigger size difference I would have run the basting stitches over more of the skirt panels. I then marked the center front of both the bodice and skirt before putting the bodice inside the skirt so they’d be right sides together. I lined up and clipped the front center points along with the side seams before clipping around the circumference until I arrived at the back panel. At this point I pulled the top threads of my gathering stitches until the back panel was the same width as the remaining space on the back of the Olivia bodice. All I had to do was clip it in place before sewing them together.
If there’s only a slight difference in widths between the bodice and skirt I’d recommend matching and clipping as best as you can before sewing them together with the larger side down since the feed dogs on your sewing machine will help cinch the bottom fabric in to match the top fabric while you’re sewing. For Zoey’s dress I made sure the skirt side was down while sewing the two together since the skirt was vaguely larger than the Olivia bodice.
Once sewn together I trimmed and pressed my seam allowance up towards the bodice before topstitching the seam in place.
And your mashed Patsy skirt with the Olivia is done…. and adorable. I absolutely love this mashup. I ended up using our ‘race cars’ for both girls Olivia bodices. Ada really wanted the snowman fabric and I had enough to make her whole skirt snowmen (snowy road theme?). Since I had more of the cars I used the remainder on Zoey and I let her choose which fabric she wanted to add to the skirt when the cars ran out. Funnily enough the first time Zoey wore this she wanted to change before bed. Lately she’s been wearing these more than Ada and reaches for the Olivia mashup before the hacked Patsy. Not sure if the Olivia one is more comfortable or if she prefers the ‘race cars’ over the trains.
With dresses like these you can’t stay still and must dance the evening away!
I loved how these nightgowns turned out. The kids were so happy with them and they were both impressed with how well either nightgown spun. I could definitely see these being worn as much as possible.
Please visit all the stops on the Rebecca Page Double Duty Blog Tour for more great inspiration:
- Monday, February 25: Rebecca Page (Intro), Sarcastic Sewist, Sewjourns
- Tuesday, February 26: Stitched by Jennie
- Wednesday, February 27: SimplyKyra
- Thursday, February 28: bigflynotions
- Friday, March 1: Patchwitch
- Saturday, March 2: twofiveohnine, Soul Fed on Thread, Sequoialynn Sews
- Sunday, March 3: Livality, Mama Sew Vintage
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