Monday, January 30, 2017

Mad for Plaid // Novelista Pattern Hack

Hello and Happy 2017!! I realize it is almost February, but I am so excited to be back blogging and share this project with you! Ever since I saw this amazing Novelista hack  from Falafel and the Bee, I knew I needed a Novelista dress in my life. To add to the fun, I decided to make it in plaid and use the skirt from the By Hand London Anna Dress, which happens to be seven gores. To say cutting it out was a headache would be an understatement!

The plaid fabric is Robert Kaufman flannel and after sewing with it, I'm not sure if I can ever use anything else. It is amazingly soft and high quality. I only had 3 yards of it too, so I was holding my breath to get all the pieces cut.

Hacking the Novelista Shirt  into a dress was pretty simple. First, I held the pattern pieces up to myself to decide where I wanted it to to end. I sewed the shortened bodice following the pattern instructions. Next, I sewed the skirt panels together and added a four inch wide band to the top of the skirt. Then I sewed the skirt and bodice together. At first the bodice was too big and I was not able to ease it in to fit the skirt. My aunt gave me the genius idea to gather the bodice slightly and I love how it looks!

You may be wondering how I got the dress on since the snaps only go half way down the bodice. Enter, the side zipper! There is a funny story behind this. I had finished my dress and there was no side zipper. I tried it on and forced the dress over my head. It fit really, really well. In fact, it fit so well that I couldn't get it off! I had a feeling that might happen, but I was hoping I wouldn't have to sew in a zipper. I ended up using my seam ripper and taking out enough of the side seam to get myself out of the dress. Seam rippers are lifesavers!

I am really happy with how well the plaid matches up where the zipper is sewn. You can hardly even see it!

The contrasting grey fabric is scraps of wool from my stash. It is almost a perfect match to the grey in the plaid. I hate the itchy feeling of wool, so I interlined the yoke and waistband with some brown linen (also from my stash). The button placket and sleeve cuffs are interlined with the flannel. The dress is soft and cozy all around!

The button placket ended up being super thick with the wool and flannel, so I decided to use snaps instead of buttonholes. The only snaps I could find at Joann's almost didn't go through all my layers of fabric, but somehow it all worked out!

I also topstitched the waistband with one of my machine's decorative stitches. It's adds a really subtle detail to the dress.

I am trying to embrace the cold, but my hands were not having it! By the time I was finished, they felt like ice. Minnesota is not the best place for blog photo shoots this time of year!

The only change I made to the skirt pieces was to lengthen the midi length by 4 inches. I also sewed a one inch hem. 

Here is a look at the inside of my dress with the brown linen interlining. All of my seams are finished with my overlock stitch on my sewing machine. It is time consuming (and uses so much thread!) but worth it to have nicely finished seams. 

Sleeve plackets are not my forte, but I'm improving! I really wanted the plaid to match here, but I ran out of fabric.

This is the first time I have successfully hacked a pattern and I love how it turned out! I think a chambray, short sleeve version with a circle skirt would be lovely for spring! 



  1. That's an incredible hack! I wouldn't even want to attempt getting plaid lines to match on the seams - yours have come out really well :D

  2. It looks so warm and comfortable! You did a lovely job, Elizabeth! I need to get back to sewing more...

  3. This dress is so pretty on you!