Today we will take you through a pattern hack for our Lin jumpsuit pattern. The hack involves adding a centre front opening, which makes the pattern breastfeeding friendly, and adding a skirt to the bodice so it’s a dress. You won’t need any more fabric than the regular pattern requirements, and the extras you will need are buttons and/or poppers.
This hack was featured in an interview with The Fabrics Store, who gifted us the beautiful 100% linen we made this dress in. You can read the interview here.
For this hack we simply gathered a rectangle of fabric that was the whole width of the fabric, so from selvedge to selvedge (about 150 cm for the fabric we used). This way we wasted as little fabric as possible. The two selvedges then form the centre back seam on the skirt. You could also make up a skirt from another pattern, like our London pattern, and add this to the bodice. You can be inventive and experiment with a skirt pattern you know you love already.
Making a Centre Front Opening
- Ignoring the trouser pattern pieces and the pocket pieces, cut out the sleeves and bodice. The centre front bodice pattern is normally cut on the fold, however we will need to cut two for this hack. Let’s prepare the pattern first!
- Extend the centre front by making a button stand: add 1.5 – 2 cm, continue the neckline and the waist. Unless you are using very big buttons, this extension should look and measure similar to a button down shirt that you have in your wardrobe. You could measure from the centre of the shirt button to the edge of the centre front as a reference; that measurement would be the width of the button stand. The new pattern piece will be the same for the left and the right.
- Cut out two centre fronts in your chosen fabric, and two in your lining fabric.
- Construct the Lin bodice as per the regular pattern instructions. Leave the under stitching of the neckline until you have finished the centre fronts.
- Turn the bodice and bodice lining wrong sides out and sew the open centre front edges on both. Trim the seam allowance and then turn the bodice right sides out. Give the centre front edges a good press so they are nice and flat. You now have the garment’s bodice in two halves. Understitch the neckline as per your pattern instructions.
- If you want to make functioning buttons, now would be a great idea to add buttonholes as it’s easier to add these now than when the garment is finished. The buttonholes should be vertical and made on the wearer’s right side of the bodice (so when you wear the bodice and look down, the buttonholes are on your right and the buttons on the left).
You can also make fake buttons and add poppers to the centre front, which is what we did as we found it easier to undo quickly for breastfeeding. In this case you attach the button as per below, and add poppers to actually close the bodice (these will be invisible).
The buttonholes/poppers go exactly on the old centre front line of the pattern.
The buttons/poppers go exactly on the old centre front line of the pattern.
- Overlap the button stands at the centre front edges (when you wear the garment, the right side should overlap the left side) and then machine tack the waist of the bodice as per your pattern instructions. Your bodice is now in one piece.
Adding the Skirt
- Gather the whole top of your rectangle of fabric by adding two rows of gathering stitches from one selvedge to the other. The selvedges of our piece of fabric will form the centre back seam of the skirt.
- Pin and sew the skirt to the bodice in exactly the same way as the jumpsuit trousers in the pattern instructions. Your dress is now in one piece with an open centre back. Overlock the two edges of the centre back.
- Construct the centre back seam and sew a regular or invisible zip.
- Hem your new dress and wear with pride!