Plain Top to Cute Smock! Hack-Along for The Eve Appeal - Simplicity 8658

by - 10/03/2019

Hi guys! Today's post is all about pattern hacking. If you've followed for a while, you'll know I'm partial to a simple pattern hack or two, and when I was asked if I wanted to be a part of this year's Simplicity Hack-Along for The Eve Appeal, I couldn't say no!

Since changing my blog from Crafty Pinup to What Abi Makes, I'm definitely feeling a little more relaxed with my style and I'm enjoying sewing garments I know are more 'me'. One of my favourite styles at the moment are smock dresses. I've always had a few on rotation in my wardrobe and I love that they can be styled with a 1960s flare, which is always a style I lean to in the Autumn. When I spotted the Simplicity 8658 top pattern in the hack along line up, I knew that this was the pattern for me. Its simple design lends it's self perfectly to multiple styles, but it wasn't until I'd found my fabric that I had a lightbulb moment.

Here's a peek at the pattern:

We've all got garments in our lives that we loved and lost and my memory was sparked when I spotted THIS stunning hydrangea print viscose crepe fabric. Years ago I had this TopShop smock dress, with a Peter Pan collar, full length sleeves which were elasticated around the wrists and it was made in the loveliest blue hydrangea print jersey. I wore that dress to death, quite literally. I had forgotten all about it until I saw this fabric and it came flooding back into my mind. Then I went back to my 8658 pattern, realised the sleeves were literally the same as my TopShop dress and all I needed to do was draft the smock skirt and a design a collar.

Then on came the mega sewing excitement feels!

How I hacked this pattern:

1. Firstly, you need to decide where you'd like your skirt to start and mark it on the bodice. The first time, I drafted it at my natural waist, but it ended up dropping a bit over night and looked quite unflattering, so I shortened it again to more of an empire waist. So have a play around and choose what works best for you.

2. Once my shortened bodice was sewn up, I drafted my Peter Pan collar by eye. Lying my garment on pattern paper to roughly trace the shape and curve of the neckline, and after a couple of trial collars and playing with the size, I got my perfect collar!

3. I pinched the skirt pattern piece from the Tilly and the Button Indigo smock dress, which is just essentially a rectangle, but I already had the piece to hand. I gathered the top of the skirt slightly and attached it to the bodice, matching up the side seams.

Simple as that!

I'm so happy with the final dress and other than a different shade of blue and not being made from jersey, it's a pretty accurate replica of my old TopShop dress.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Simplicity 8658 Top

Fabric: Lady McElroy Stretch Viscose Crepe Fabric Green & Black

Notions: 1cm wide elastic for the wrists. Button and hoop for the centre back.

Sewing time: About half a day.

Modifications: See above for the details on my hacked dress!

Fit: It started off a little big but the final dress is much better. Next time I would cut the size Small.

Difficulty: Simple.

Watch out for: Getting smooth edges on the Peter Pan collar.

Make Again?: Yes! I love smock dresses and now I have my own collar drafted, I can see myself making another one of these very soon.

Overall, I'm so happy with how this dress came out. I'm even happier I decided last minute to slice it at the waist and shorten the bodice. And when I say last minute, I mean one hour before I headed out to take these photos! Looking back, I think it probably looked a bit frumpy initially, but in the space of about 15 minutes, I whipped the skirt off and stuck it back on again!

I really enjoyed the whole sewing process for this one and the fabric was lovely to work with. It's a simple pattern to follow and because of that it allowed me to concentrate on finishing my seams really nicely and take a bit more care over the simple things. I'm really proud of this dress and how it's finished. I'm hoping it'll last as long as my original TopShop number.

So if you fancy making yourself a cute, raglan sleeve smock with billow-y sleeves, this pattern is a great place to start! Check out all the details on Simplicity's Pattern Hack Along for The Eve Appeal and how you can join in HERE. Simplicity will be making a contribution to the Eve Appeal for every ‘Hack-Along’ pattern purchased in the UK during the event.

Hack-along banner

Join in and don't forget to use the hashtag #hackalong. There are three categories for makers to enter to win prizes and these hashtags are: #hackalongday #hackalongparty #hackalongvintage - I'm choosing the vintage category for mine as I love the 60s vibes of my swishy smock!

Are you taking part? Make sure to follow along to see what the other bloggers featured in the hack along are making. I can't wait to see...

Thanks for reading!
Abi xo

Disclaimer: contains afflilate links. Pattern & fabric gifted

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  1. Your dress is fabulous!! Love the fabric, those sleeves, the collar - you did a great job.