Make by TFS

SQ Front Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS

Sparrow Tiered Dress Pattern Hack

22—August 2022

Try this simple Make by TFS Sparrow Shirt pattern hack for a chic, trans-seasonal tiered dress!

Make by TFS — Sparrow Tiered Dress Pattern Hack
Aug 22 2022

Tiered dresses are everywhere at the moment and we're loving the simplicity of this throw-on style! The TFS team have been planning a Make by TFS Sparrow Shirt hack for a while, and the recent arrival of some spectacular designer deadstock embroidered cottons provided the perfect opportunity to try it out. Read on for our Sparrow Tiered Dress pattern hack, very kindly modelled by Sarah from our HQ team!

Front Crop Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
Side three Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
About The Pattern We Used

Our popular Make by TFS Sparrow Set of patterns offers a modern alternative for lounge and everyday essentials, perfect for beginner sewists with just a little sewing experience! Our Sparrow Set features the full bundle of Sparrow patterns — the Sparrow Shirt and the Sparrow Pant + Short. A dreamy balance of simplicity, clean lines and unrestrictive comfort, the Sparrow Set is perfect for wearing in bed or out!

This week on the blog we choose to hack the Sparrow Shirt into a tiered dress! Oh la la! If you're unfamiliar with this pattern, the Sparrow Shirt features a wide boxy cut with a relaxed shoulder, single front patch-pocket, turned down collar and ¾ popover button placket. Sparrow's casual silhouette is the perfect blank canvas for a dress hack, read on for how we achieved this look!

Twirl Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
Back Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
Side Crop Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
Gathering Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
Pattern Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
Creating Our Tier Patterns

To make this hack as simple as possible, we chose to work with basic rectangular tier pattern pieces! To begin the hack, we used the waist line marking on the Sparrow Shirt body pattern pieces as a guide to where we wanted the first tier of the skirt to start. The waist line reference was handy guide; we simple added a 1cm seam allowance from this point, drew a straight line (90 degrees from the grainline) all the way around the body and cut our new body pieces to length. In total, this meant we shortened the original shirt pattern by about 24.5cm from the centre front.

Our aim was to create a full playful skirt with two tiers! We followed a very basic ruffling rule of cutting our top rectangular ruffle at 1.5x the circumference of the waist seam in width. In our case, the newly trimmed back waist line of our Sparrow Shirt was approximately 120cm in total, all the way around the body. A quick calculation of 120cm x 1.5 meant our top tier ruffle width needed to be around 180cm in total. Factoring in the side seams of our shirt meant dividing this measurement in half again, which gave us 90cm for the width of our pattern piece.

We then settled on ruffle tiers of 30cm in depth, making our final top tier pattern piece 90cm by 30cm. We then repeated the exercise for the lower tier, by multiplying 180cm (total top tier width) by 1.5, which gave us a 270cm width. Depending on the width of your fabric, you can either divide this in half (135cm) or quarters (67.5cm), to allow it to fit within the fabric width. Note that if you chose quarters, you will have additional seams visible in the tiers of your skirt. Our Doodle Embroidered Cotton - Periwinkle was 142cm in width, which made the half division the easiest. Adding 1cm seam allowances to our pieces, plus an extra 8cm for the hem of our lower tier, gave us the following:

Top Tier Pattern Rectangle — 92cm x 32cm (Cut x2, one for the front and one for the back)
Lower Tier Pattern Rectangle — 137cm x 40cm (Cut x2, one for the front and one for the back)

Depending on the width and amount of fabric you have, you could add more gathering into the ruffle by making wider pieces, or less by making narrower pieces.

Flat Lay Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
Hand Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
Sewing Our Tiers

To create the skirt, we stitched the front and back pieces together at the side seams of tier one, to create a big tube. We then ran two lines stitching along the top seam allowance using a long stitch length, and then gently pulled these threads to create an evenly gather that matched the measurement of the bottom edge of the shirt body. A useful tip when gathering is to make a small chalk mark at the centre front and centre back of both the ruffle and the shirt body - to help match everything up evenly when sewing. We then simply repeated this step for the bottom tier!

We then stitched our top tier to the shirt body, and then attached the lower tier to the base of the top tier, finishing with overlocking the inside seams, and lastly turning up the hem of the skirt. All in all, this was a pretty simple hack!

SQ Back Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS
SQ Embroidered Cottons
Fabric Notes

For this project, we used our fabulous new Doodle Embroidered Cotton - Periwinkle. This whimsical embroidery design is made up of lucky charm symbols in black thread, scattered across a periwinkle blue cotton fabric. The incredible pattern features eyes, cards and card suit motifs, the ace of spades, hands making the heart symbol, "take it easy", "now or never" text, signs, small stars, lips, constellations and lucky horseshoes and angel number 72. A must for any serious sewists stash!

Bear in mind that different weight fabrics will work differently when gathered. Lighter weight fabrics like silks or cotton lawns, and shirting weight cottons like this one work well and give a full look. Heavier linens or cottons may not only give a bulkier look, but start to get rather heavy to wear with multiple tiers. It can be helpful to whip up a mini ruffle sample first to test out your fabrics fullness.

As we move into spring here in the Southern Hemisphere, loads of new and unique cottons are arriving. Head into store or shop ruffle-worthy cottons in an array of prints, stripes and colours online here!

SQ Front Sparrow Dress Hack Make by TFS

We're obsessed with this simple hack! Sparrow is such a great pattern for customisations like this, we'd highly recommend giving it a go if you're on the hunt for a tiered dress pattern. Share your Make by TFS hacks with us over on Instagram and TikTok using #MakebyTFS

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