Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - Bustier to Skirt Pattern Hack! #RetroTikiCollab

by - 8/05/2016

My finished B6354 bustier to skirt pattern hack pencil dress!

As promised, here's the second part of my Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - Bustier to Skirt Pattern Hack post! Part of the very exciting #RetroTikiCollab I'm participating in with fellow vintage style sewing bloggers Akram's Ideas, Gussets & Godets and Vintage on Tap...

You can see the first part of this post HERE, all about my rather sassy Wanda Woodward style wearable toile. And if you're wondering what the hell 'tiki' even is, I've got you covered as I wrote a post about that too! Read the post HERE.

But for my main post, this pattern just had to be tiki, so I went for it 100%! I picked up my Hawaiian style fabric a while back in my local Textile Express store in their bargain bin. At the time I had no idea what to use it for, I just knew I needed it. Then this collaboration appeared and it was meant to be.

A peek at everyone's finished tiki looks!

Here's a peek at the pattern we all used to create our vintage inspired tiki looks:

I used option B and C to create my pencil dress.

Like I said in my previous post, this tropical, tight fitting pattern is totally out of my comfort zone. So this make was a little challenging for me for a few reasons. I had never made a fitted garment, sewn with boning since uni, attempted a pattern hack or even bothered to make a toile (I know I know - terrible sewing practise). So why not chuck it all in one post, eh?

All four of the bloggers involved in this retro tiki collab are sewing the same B6354 pattern in various ways. Personally I felt like I would get more wear out of a dress than separates. The pattern options are high Summer pieces and with the weather like it is here in the UK and my lack of holidays, I just didn't think I'd get much wear out of a sarong! So I thought I'd try my hand at turning the bustier top and sarong skirt in to one pencil dress. It's a style I love, but hadn't yet attempted.

I actually found the whole sewing process and alterations really simple, I was quite surprised! To create the pencil dress I didn't have to make as many alterations as I initially thought, so I would definitely recommend this pattern hack to any adventurous beginners out there!

I found the pattern nice and easy to follow, the instructions were clear and the illustrations were helpful. Compared to the previous Butterick patterns I've tried, this one was a breeze!

So let's talk about my pattern hack! Essentially to make the separate bustier and sarong patterns in to a dress, a long concealed zip needed to be inserted down the centre back of both. The bustier already has a zip allowance, so it's simply a case of splitting the centre back sarong skirt in to two pieces, instead of cutting on the fold, and adding seam allowance.

I took some snaps during construction to demonstrate what I did...

I'd just like to point out I am in no way qualified to do sewing tutorials, but if I can do this, anyone can! But please ask in the comment section below if you'd like any more details or have any questions.

Image 1 (clockwise from top left):

Follow the bustier instructions like normal up to Step 7. Ignore instructions 8,9,10 and pick up again at 11 for the boning and lining.

Image 2:

The centre back sarong piece is no longer cut on the fold and needs a seam and zip allowance added. I added 2cm to either side to enable plenty of adjustment room. Then cut 2 centre back pieces.

Sew all sarong panels as shown in instructions.

Image 3:

Sew the gathered up darts on to the sarong front as shown, then lay this piece on top of the bodice, line up all seams and sew as far the the front sarong piece will take you. Mine was almost to further side seam. But any un-matching seams can be covered by the fake sarong tie sewn on top.

This step is much like sewing a skirt to a lined bodice in most dress patterns.

Image 4:

Sew the other sarong panel to the bodice, overlapping the two sarong pieces. Tada! This creates the sarong effect!

Then you need to insert the concealed zip down the centre back, I left room at the bottom of my dress to create a little split. A kick pleat would be great too.

To finish off the tiki look I made a fake bow and hand sewed it to where the sarong would tie.

Pattern: hacked!

I used a concealed 22" zip for my pattern hack.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - £8.00 - WeaverDee

Fabric: 4m of tropical print viscose fabric, 1m of Value Interfacing - Iron-on Lightweight - £1.99 - WeaverDee

Notions: 1x Concealed Nylon Zip - 22" / 56cm - £1.38, 3x Cotton Covered Boning - White / 12mm - £1.75 pm - WeaverDee

Sewing time: The best part of a day. Sped up thanks to my previous toile.

Modifications: Read above to see the alterations I made to turn the bustier and sarong skirt into a pencil dress.

Fit: I'm really happy with the fit of my final dress. I did ALOT of fittings to get it right and took quite a lot out in the end. But, with good underwear, it fits like a dream!

Difficulty: Surprisingly simple! Definitely worth a try for advanced beginners looking to challenge themselves a little

Watch out for: Be careful sewing with the boning - you don't want to break any needles!

Pattern hacked!

Overall, I'm super impressed with myself and this dress. Considering I don't think I would of chosen this pattern on my own accord, let alone attempted a fitted & boned dress, I'm very surprised at how this turned out! I certainly see the benefit of sewing a toile before sewing the main garment. Especially on a make like this where I was altering the pattern. However, I'm not totally converted and you won't be seeing a toile for each make any time soon! But for fitted and adapted garments, I'll be sure to make a mock up.

Let me know if you try this Butterick Patterns by Gertie B6354 - Bustier to Skirt Pattern Hack - I'd love to see your versions.

So let's see what the other Retro Tiki Collab sewists got up to...

Vintage on Tap:

Check out her AMAZING reversible version, what a great idea!

"Sewing a reversible garment can be fun, and the amount of hand sewing should definitely not turn you off from trying it! There’s only a few special considerations to take into account for this particular piece..."

Read the full post HERE.

Follow Bianca on Instagram!

Akrams Ideas:

You can't go wrong with the classics! Akram has you sorted...

"My twist on this pattern was to basically rock the original, and make it as directed. This also would help to give a point of reference for creative changes that Bianca, Abi and Christina made to their pattern...."

Read the full post HERE.

Follow Akram on Instagram!

Gussets & Godets:

This pattern makes for an incredible play-suit, and check out those spaghetti straps...

Read the full post HERE.

Follow Christina on Instagram!


Check out everyone's posts to see all the amazing things you can do with this awesome tropical pattern! I hope you enjoyed this Retro Tiki Collab and my first pattern hack post! Don't forget to follow the hashtag (#RetroTikiCollab) on Instagram to see lots of behind the scenes snaps.


Thanks for reading, pinups!

P.S. A huge 'thank you' to Bianca from Vintage on Tap for organising this awesome collaboration! Don't forget to comment below if you have any questions about my pattern hack, and let me know if you want to see more of these retro sewing blogger collaborations in the future....

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  1. Amazing dress! I absolutely love this look. And you are right about the holiday element of the separates, the dress feels more wearable for the climate in the UK. Fantastic collab!

  2. I love how your dress turned out! It's so fun to hack patterns sometimes. I am guilty of looking at the options that patterns give, and then deciding that I don't want to make any of their suggestions, and instead make up my own combination :) Turning this two piece into a dress was a great idea, and it turned out beautifully!
    The Artyologist

  3. Gorgeous fabric choice, I love the navy background. Suits you so well! x

  4. You did a fantastic job on this hack! I especially love your fabric choice.

  5. Love the dress and the fabric! Would you mind me sharing any of your sewing projects on Sassy Sewing Bees in the future? I link to your post and let you know when, on the post in question . https://www.facebook.com/SassySewingBees

  6. Thanks. I will let you know when, on the posts in question. https://www.facebook.com/SassySewingBees

  7. OOOH I love your dress, I'm looking around for my daughters prom dress to sew as she has always said she loves classic vintage and I can see this in a plain color for a stunning classic evening dress.

  8. To be shared on SSB tomorrow. Thanks for permitting. https://www.facebook.com/SassySewingBees