Have you ever had an idea you just couldn’t get out of your head? Back in architecture school that meant many late nights at the studio slaving away on my latest design. Lately it means slaving away in my sewing room. I love that I am starting to get comfortable enough in my sewing that I can branch out from the original patterns and start adding my own ideas. In the case of the bombshell dress I combined two patterns from Patterns for Pirates and then altered the back and neckline. If you are like me the thought of combining and altering a pattern probably freaks you out. I promise it is really simple and not as scary as it sounds! I will walk you through how I did it.
I made two versions of the bombshell, my first was out of a floral double brushed poly from Knitpop and my second was a black lace with nude brushed poly lining. The black lace is from FabricSupplier on Etsy and the nude brushed poly is from Knitpop. The lined version fits pretty snug, if I were to do it again I probably would have added in about a half inch at the seam allowance to make it a bit looser, but it still works as is.
How to make your own bombshell
The first thing to do is assemble the patterns. For this dress I used two patterns from Patterns for Pirates, the pencil skirt and the sweetheart dress. If you join their Facebook group there is a code to get the pencil skirt for free! Once your patterns are assembled determine which size you are in both patterns (I was a small in the sweetheart and an extra small in the pencil skirt). Using tracing paper or wax paper trace the sweetheart bodice front and back pieces, you will use the non-color blocked version. Make sure you trace the lines for short sleeve AND tank top. Also trace the short sleeve piece. Next trace the front and back of the pencil skirt, using the version with high rise waist and below the knee length.
Now for the fun part!
Combining the patterns
Take your front sweetheart bodice and align the fold line with the top of your front pencil skirt piece. Tape them together. You will see in the back the pieces will not align, you need to blend the pieces together. Put a piece of paper behind and draw a line connecting the two pieces. It will work best if you slightly curve the connecting line and connect a little bit higher on the sweetheart bodice piece.
To combine the back pieces start by laying your newly made front piece out on a large flat surface. Align the bottom hem of your back pencil skirt with the bottom hem of your front piece. Then align your bodice pieces at the base of the armscye. You should have approximately a two inch gap between your two back pieces. Connect these the same way you did the front pieces. Now onto the neckline.
Altering the neck/back line
The neckline will be raised and widened. First measure 2.5 inches up from the existing neckline then draw a slightly curved line from that point to the back of the tank top strap line.
The back can really be altered any way you please, just make sure you start at the back of the tank top line like you did on the neckline or else the shoulder seam won’t match up. For my version I measured from the base of my neck to the top of my bra band to determine how far down to make my scoop. (This was 7.5 inches)
Congratulations now you are ready to cut and sew!
Assembly is very simple:
- Sew or serge the front and back pieces together
- Sew or serge the sleeves on
- Sew or serge the side seam
- Turn and topstitch the neck opening
- Hem if you are doing a single layer dress, if using a lining as well see the note below
Note: If you are doing the version with multiple layers it is easiest to treat the pieces as one piece when assembling. I also recommend basting the lining and lace together to make sure it doesn’t Make sure you pre-hem the lining layer at the sleeves and bottom so that when you sew up the side seam the raw edge of the lining doesn’t get left exposed.
I would love to see your final products, tag me on Instagram @sew_youthinkyoucansew!