D’oh {Megan Nielsen Sudley hack}

I will preface this by saying – I love Megan’s Sudley pattern. I already have two that are in high rotation. This one seemed like such a good idea in my head, sensible black but with fun, roomy bell sleeves as I need to be able to move my arms around a lot when I’m shooting. Win win, eh? Maybe not.

I actually bought 4 metres of this rayon earlier this week, but with a different project in mind, Simplicity 8103. It’s a maxi wrap 70s number and when I saw the rayon on sale, I thought ‘heck yes, S8103’. Trouble is, I hadn’t looked at the pattern before I left home and thought, ‘Meh, 4 metres should do it’. Wrong again. Try 10. YES, TEN METRES. The 70s was all about big things, I guess that includes fabric. So a longer version of Sudley was my next choice, it loves a bit of drape. The extra length would make it more suitable for work and I’ve also had shrinking issues with rayon in the past. Yes, the black rayon will make it understated and classy (in hindsight, that’s where I went wrong. Nothing about me is understated and classy). But hang on, how about I get my 70s fix by changing the sleeves?! Oh yes, silent high fives to me. These turned out to be short lived.


But first, let’s look at the really nice details of Sudley. She’s simple, she doesn’t have a right way or a wrong way – you can choose whether you want to wear her with the keyhole at the back or at the front. Genuis. Because of her flowy boho vibe, there’s no need for any closures either. Or darts. Excellent.

I decided that going black with the facings and pockets might make my dress a bit too Morticia Addams (HA) so I dug out some scraps of this rad Alexander Henry print I had left in my stash. Oh yes, what cute little floral hints there will be. Sudley doesn’t have pockets on the pattern, but of course I added them anyway. She has this really lovely bias facing around the keyhole too, which I thought I would continue on through the sleeves. Cute, but not cute enough to save it from the inevitable. It also has these long narrow ties which look beautiful, but are a pain to turn. I use this little guy and just knot the ends.


I’ve been upping my collar game lately and found clipping with pinkers really helps to get a nicely turned out collar. I needed to be particularly careful with this collar because I used that printed fabric for the under collar.


Collar attached.


As tempting as it is to neglect some of that pressing, it’s really necessary with collars and facings. Next level stuff. Pressing that bias into a round shape really helps that keyhole look ace. There’s an excellent tutorial for this part here.


Bias facing done. It’s peeking out a tiny bit from the keyhole, but nothing I can’t live with. After this I attached the sleeves and did the facing on their hems. I was very bloody pleased with myself, I must admit. It looked like a dark modern take on the 70s. Maybe a bit witchy, but I really dug the movie The Craft when I was a teenager.


Pockets for the skirt. Oh yeah. Still none the wiser.


It was attaching the bodice to the skirt and holding it up to admire my handiwork when it dawned on me. I felt butterflies of disappointment start to roll around in my stomach. Oh no. I’d had such high hopes for this dress.

Oh god. The sleeves. The empire waist. The black. The fabric. The sensible length. How could I not see it before?


I made a graduation gown.


Could it be saved? The sleeves are kimono-ish. Maybe my obi belt?

Jury is still out.

Just realised it could be a judges robe too. Excellent.


4 thoughts on “D’oh {Megan Nielsen Sudley hack}

  1. Oh goodness, you’re too funny. I never would have even thought of a graduation gown, but now that you say it, I can see the resemblance. It looks cute with the belt though, I think you can definitely rock it- I’m a big fan of using belts to add an accent color. I’ve never heard of Megan Nielsen, but I love the pattern, I’ll have to check out her site. Also, I love that you started a blog, I’m a sewing dabbler, trying to sew more and get better- it’s fun to see your projects


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