The School of Making offers a wide range of beloved sewing patterns, available in our Studio Book Series and as standalone patterns. We’ve also adapted sewing patterns from other designers using our techniques and materials with beautiful results. Some of our favorites from the past are from Merchant & Mills, DKNY, and Vogue Patterns.
Our latest installment in this series is the Fen Dress from Fancy Tiger Crafts. We have a long history of friendship and collaboration with Fancy Tiger Crafts, from wholesale partnerships to our Swatch of the Month subscription. Fancy Tiger is a staple in the making community offering range of sewing and knitting patterns plus beautiful fabrics and yarns, all available through their online store.
The Fen Dress is a fun take on a relaxed T-shirt dress with its drop shoulder, gathered skirt, and pockets. Originally designed for woven fabrics, the Fen Pattern lends well to our Medium-Weight Cotton Jersey with a few adaptations, outlined below. We made View B with the scoop neckline and short sleeves using Camel 100% Organic Medium-Weight Cotton Jersey and Sage Button Craft Thread. (Consider sizing down if you’re using a different fabric with more stretch.) To make your own hand-sewn jersey Fen Dress you’ll need:
Fen Dress Pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts (Paper version or Digital PDF version)
2 yards of 60”-wide Medium-Weight Cotton Jersey
1 spool of Button Craft Thread
Basic sewing supplies: scissors, pins, needles, ruler, rotary cutter
The School of Making Studio Book Series: These books contain the basic sewing and embroidery techniques we used to make our version of this dress.
We reduced the 5/8” seam allowances on every pattern piece to 1/4″ by removing 3/8” from every seam. Reduce neckline and hem by 5/8”. Hand-sew all bodice seams with a straight stitch, leaving 1/4” seam allowance, using a double strand of thread on medium-weight cotton jersey.
First, we constructed the bodice—sewing together at the shoulder seams and side seams—and then felled all seams toward the back.
We followed the instructions in the pattern to sew the pockets into the skirt then the side seams, which we also felled towards the back. Next, we gathered the skirt at the top edge between the notches indicated on the pattern. After gathering the skirt, we lapped the gathered edge of the skirt on top of the bottom edge of the bodice, 5/8” up from the bottom, and attached it using a zigzag chain stitch. You can use the stretch stitch of your choice.
For the neckline, we omitted the binding pattern piece included with the pattern and instead used our standard 1 1/4″ binding cut cross-grain. We applied the binding as instructed in The School of Making Book Series.
When you say you reduced the neckline, do you mean that it is less deep or that you trimmed 5/8″ fabric away?
We trimmed it away. Usually, there’s a facing that gets sewed in, so the neckline has a seam allowance included. Since we bound the neckline with rib, the seam allowance wasn’t needed. Happy sewing!
Did you use one book in specific to show how to sew the hand stitching for adding the skirt and around the neck?
I have a lot of sewing experience and using a pattern….just curious on the embroidery stitch that you used…I bought the kit recently at Fancy Tiger Crafts but live in Chicago so can’t return to the store for clarification…would purchase a book if I knew which would be of the most help.Thank you!
Thank you for your comment, Jill.
The stitching for the binding around the neck and on the gathered skirt is a stretch stitch, the zigzag chain stitch I believe. You can find instructions for this stretch stitch, and several others, in our book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design on page 26. A link to purchase the book is below:
Hi There. So. I have made it to my gathering an am about to attach the skirt and bodice. I do the 5/8″ overlap in the back as well? Any secret to getting my neck binding to quite curling or just a crazy amount of pinning? Thanks!
You are correct – the 5/8″ skirt overlap should go all the way around the bottom hem of the bodice when you attach it. As for the binding, we recommend ironing it folded in half; if that does not prove effective enough to keep it from excessively curling, then pinning will work as a backup.
Looking to stitch this up. Did you omit the darts on the bodice top?