Welcome back to Ashton August! This week we have some really fun guest bloggers here to show you their Ashton hacks. First, we welcome Sue from A Colourful Canvas. Sue is a fellow Vancouverite, a big supporter of Helen’s Closet, and an amazing sewist!
You can grab the Ashton Top this month for 20% off using the code ASHTONAUGUST.
Sue’s Ashton Dress Hack:
Hi everybody….it’s me, Sue. I’m here visiting Helen’s Closet as a guest blogger. In this post I will be sharing my method for hacking the Ashton Top into a dress. Helen, thank you so much for the privilege of contributing to Ashton August!
I was a pattern tester for the Ashton Top, and all the while, I could not get the thought of a dress version out of my mind. No surprise then, that post-testing I quickly pulled some cheery gingham from my stash, put pedal to the metal, and sewed myself a dress.
Ermmm….I may have made it sound easy. And…spoiler alert….it totally is!
My blue and white dotty dress is the heaviest fabric of the three; it’s 100% cotton and has a texture similar to a waffle weave. For this version, I lengthened the original side seams with no other changes. My pink and white gingham dress is a crisp mid-weight cotton and it has a slightly exaggerated A-line shape. My bright blue and white plaid dress, also with an exaggerated A-line shape, has a soft hand and a swishy drape. The fabric is a bit sheer, so it has a full lining.
Ah….so many possibilities. The simple yet chic silhouette of the Ashton Top really lends itself beautifully to a wide variety of fabrications and prints.
How to make the Basic Ashton Dress Hack:
Please note that while the method and photographs are my own, credit for the masterful illustrations goes to Helen herself. Thank you Helen!
Requirements: Ashton Top Pattern View A (hip length version)
First up…determining how much length to add to your top. While wearing your hip length Ashton Top, measure the distance from the top’s hemline to the desired finished length of dress. I found that standing in front of a full length mirror was helpful at this stage. For reference, I’m 5’2″ (1.57m) and I added 12″ (30.5cm) to my top.
Beginning with the Ashton Top View A pattern front, use a straight edge to extend the existing side seam by your desired number of inches (or centimeters). Repeat at the center front fold line.
To draw your hemline, you will need your Ashton Top View A hem facings. Place the side seam edge of the hem facing so that it lines up exactly with the new side seam, with the bottom edge of the facing matching the bottom edge of the extended side seam. Using the facing as a template, draw the dress hem. You will notice that the facing does not extend all the way to the center fold line of the dress. With your straight edge, continue to draw the hemline with a horizontal line beginning at the end of the facing and ending at the center fold line. It is important that this line intersects the center fold line at right angles!
Please note: The finished length line at the center will end up being slightly shorter than originally drawn.
Alter your hem facing to reflect the additional length required. It’s a good idea to add the “place on fold” pattern notation to your altered facing.
Sew the garment following the directions for the top. You can use the bias facing finish or the all-in-one finish. Ta-da! You now have an Ashton Dress!
Whether for preference or perhaps for needed additional ease, the Ashton Dress readily adapts for added width at the hip. I did so with both my blue check and pink gingham dresses.
With your straight edge guide aligned along the side seam of the Ashton Top Front; begin just below the dart line and pivot the straight edge out to the angle of your choosing. For reference, my exaggerated A-line side seam is 5/8″ (1.6 cm) wider as measured at the original hemline of the Ashton Top.
On the back pattern piece, I started my new side seam at the armhole and pivoted the straight edge so that the seam was also 5/8″ (1.6 cm) wider at the point where the original hemline for the Ashton Top intersects.
Ashton Dress Variation 2: Full Lining
Two of my dresses are finished with the Ashton Top’s brilliant all-in-one facing. The other is fully lined.
To make my lined dress I cut a duplicate of my dress pattern out of lining fabric minus 1/2″ (12mm) at the hemline. After following the construction steps for the all-in-one facing I had a fully lined dress! All that remained to do was to turn up the lining hemline by 1/4″ (6mm), press, fold it up again 1/4″ (6mm), and secure with machine stitching.
Alrighty, that’s the Ashton Dress hack. I do hope you find it easy to follow. I welcome your thoughts and/or questions in the comments section below.