Creative articles about sewing

Sewing the Inspirations Irina dress as a lightweight linen top

Today I have a super easy pattern hack to share with you! The Inspirations free pattern for May was the Irina dress, (It’s no longer free, but still available here) and I’ve taken this pattern and converted it into a linen top that is going to be so perfect for warm weather! For me in the southern hemisphere, it’ll be a few months before I can wear it without a sweater, but that’s okay – I can wait!


This is a relatively easy pattern adjustment, but it’s not as simple as just removing the skirt, since the waistline of the pattern as drafted is quite high up! Therefore, we need to add a bit of length to the pattern. In this version, I also chose to sew a neckline facing instead of binding my neckline since the fabric I used was lighter weight than the denim the Irina pattern calls for.


You will need:

Inspirations Irina dress pattern: We’ll use all pieces except skirt and pocket

Pattern Paper, if you’re not comfortable lengthening the bodice directly on your fabric

Fabric: 1m of the main colour and 1/2m of the contrast, if you’ve opted for a contrast like mine!

Thread, interfacing, and your sewing machine of course!


Preparing and adjusting the pattern


Start by selecting a size. I chose the smallest based on my bust measurement. Cut the pattern pieces out for your chosen size – you’ll need the front, back, side insert, and sleeves.


Next, we need to add length to the three bodice pieces. I did this the fast way, by tracing directly onto the fabric, but you may wish to trace your pieces onto pattern paper, add the length, and cut fresh pattern pieces instead of working directly on the fabric. Either way, you’ll need to know how much to add.


I held the front pattern piece up against my body, and used a ruler to measure the distance from the bottom of the pattern piece to the waistband of my jeans, which is where I wanted the hem to fall. In my case, this was 6”. I added 1.5” to this for a double-fold hem allowance, and then, just to be safe, I added an additional 1.5” so that I could adjust the length during hemming. This means the total added was 9”.


I was too absorbed in my project to remember a photo, so here’s a diagram of the pattern pieces!



Seam allowances are not included either, so be sure to add these before cutting your pieces as well!


In addition to the length adjustment, I made facings for the neckline instead of following the pattern’s suggestion to bind it using bias binding. I did this simply by folding up the bottom of the front and back pattern piece, and cutting shortened versions of each one. I hemmed each of these with a double-fold, and stitched the facing to the neckline.

The facing is also understitched to help keep it from rolling to the outside. Then, it’s caught in the armscye so that it stays put.

Sewing the pattern


Sewing this pattern is extremely straightforward – just stitch the body pieces, set the sleeves, and hem! I chose to use french seams for the body to keep things nice and clean. I opted for a zig-zag overcast finish on the armscyes though, as sewing a french seam with all the layers of the facing didn’t sound appealing.

Next up, I hemmed the sleeves following the original length of the pattern, but when it came time to hem the body, I did end up making a last minute change! I cut a very gentle high-low hem using the extra 1.5” I’d added during cutting. I love this effect! Especially in a floaty, linen fabric, I think it creates just enough interest.


The final step was to hem the body with this new high-low addition, and then it was done! I am definitely looking forward to wearing this top in warmer weather!

If you’d like to keep up with my projects and see what else I’m currently working on, I’d love for you to come say hi on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube – and, as always, let me know in the comments  if you have any questions!

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