Time for a Bonnie dress – #SwapShareSew

It is nearly the end of the month so it is time to show my makes for #SwapShareSew challenge organized by Rosy @rosysewsmodernvintage and Jayne @loopymsbels_closet. They started this little challenge with a goal of bringing the sewing community closer by making new sewing friends.

This was a simple sewing challenge but with a twist. It was divided into 4 parts:

  • Meet your friend
  • Pick project
  • Swap goodies
  • Sew

Once I signed up to take part I was paired with my new sewing buddy, lovely Katie @katiebrownless. Then it came a second stage,where I choose 3 never made by me patterns with a specific fabric from my stash, took a photo and sent it to Katie. She then had to decide which one I had to make. All my 3 patterns were by Sew Over It and included Erin Skirt made from nice denim fabric (which I had cut out at the begging of the year), Alex shirt-dress made out of some olive mixed fiber fabric (pattern in my stash since last year) and Bonnie dress made from burgundy crepe. The pattern Katie had chosen for me was Bonnie Dress…but wait a minute Monika! Didn’t you made this pattern already??? ….well, yes and no! If you scroll few posts down you will see I had made this summer a Bonnie blouse (version 1), but if you compare the pleated blouse with a dress version 4 they look so different. There are separate bodice patterns for each version so I had to start from the beginning. So to answer your question…No I never made Bonnie dress before 🙂

(The pattern I chose for Katie was Anna dress from BY Hand London. Her other options were Linden sweatshirt or Kielo wrap dress.)

photo by: Sew Over It


The next part of the challenge was to send each other small parcel of goodies that we could in-cooperate into our makes. The parcel I received from Katie blew my mind! Not only she was very thoughtful by picking certain items, but she also made me cute leather logo which made my day! In her letter she explains that by looking at the pattern she noticed I would need some buttons and snaps (which was passed onto her from her Nan, I’m touched!) , red bias tape would be good to finish any seams and fat quarter fabric for pocket linings.

(To see what I had sent her check out her Instagram @katiebrownless)

I love my leather logo so much that I get to have it with my anywhere I go!

For the other goodies from Katie’s parcel I used them exactly as she predicted….apart from fat quarter fabric…just because my dress does not have pockets! SHOCKER!!! Instead i transformed it into a flower necklace (short tutorial at the end of this post).

The pattern

Bonnie Dress pattern similar to Bonnie blouse comes with options of pleated and non pleated bodice, cute flat collar and hidden button placket. In contrast the dress comes with elasticated waist and knee length skirt, but this is easy to change if you want to.

Pattern alternations

Making previously Bonnie blouse I used size 18 as my base again and completed the same alternations to the bodice as before. In short: FBA by 2.5 cm, shoulder seam shorten by 1 cm, bust dart angle raised. I had shorten sleeves this time by 4 cm and also widen the skirt by 9 cm- by slashing and spreading- as I wanted a little more volume at the hem. Although the pattern comes to knee length I had to shorten it by 10 cm (being petite is fun hihih)

Fabric choice

Just before the challenge started I had purchased 2 meters of Lisa Comfort’s  Burgundy wild flower crape from Sew Over It. It was on sale and I paid £7.00/ meter at the time as Lisa introduced her new Sprinkle collection. This fabric has a luxurious feel and great quality. It can shift a little while handling, hence I used a rotary cutter to cut out the pattern pieces, but you need to be careful while ironing to avoid melting of fibers….something I learned very fast. I used a middle heat setting throughout and pressed it through a press cloth (read cotton fabric).

Sewing the pattern

I had made this dress during the period of two weeks and it took me 8 hours in total….same amount of time as making Bonnie blouse in fact. As before I wanted this dress to be as beautiful inside as it is outside, so again used a French seam method on all seams (that includes bust darts). I think it elevates the quality of the garment to the next level.

 I had to improvise a little to ensure that waist seam is “clean” without using serger (as per instruction), so I followed the steps up to attaching the skirt to the bodice with right sides together, next (ignored over-locking the seam) I trimmed only the skirt seam in half and turned the bodice seam allowance underneath covering any raw edges.The pattern instruction recommends to press the seam towards the bodice, but I did not want so much bulk at the front button placket. I basted the seam living the open gap to insert elastic and only then I had top-stitched the seam in place.

This time I also decided to machine stitch the bias binding at the neckline instead of hand stitching. to ensure it was not visible from under the collar I stopped at the placket seam and finished the end by hand. This had saved me some time, but I felt it was a better choice because the bias tape was different weight than the dress fabric.

With pressing being somehow difficult I finished off the skirt hem in two steps. First turned it by 5mm and edge-stitch it. Next, I turned it again by 15mm and using the first as a guide a sew it again. This provided more stability to the fabric and as long as you sew on top of the first line the double stitching is barely visible from inside.

The last thing I changed was to press the skirt seam towards the front….why you may ask?…well, again is all about reducing bulk. Using French seams doubles the fabric layers, so by pressing the seams in opposite directions it makes the garment hang nicer, plus it looks better from outside….my opinion anyway!

Necklace tutorial

To use this pretty fat quarter gifted by Katie I cut the fabric in 4 cm bias strips and join them together creating 5 different lengths, which will make different size flowers.

I pressed each strip in half and randomly twisted it and pressed in flat.

Next, using hot glue gun I started wrapping the strip at one end to make individual flower.

To make a flower leaves I took some green lace from my stash and folded it to resemble a triangle.



After deciding on flower and leaves placement and joined them with rough stitches (run out of hot glue).

I used some white felt as a necklace backing, by tracing around flowers and cutting the felt out.


Sew by hand the felt onto the back of the necklace next following by making a braid from Crotchet yarn or Embroidery floss and attach it to felt.

Final thoughts

You may know that I was a little disappointed with my cropped Bonnie blouse, because I was not sure if it suits me, but since then I found new ways to style it and wore it twice already. How do I feel about my Bonnie dress ??? I love it!!! It is very comfortable and I will get a lot of wear out of it in the coming months. There is nothing I would change about it, which tells you all you need to know hihihi

Stripy Bonnie blouse by Sew Over It – Pattern review

Hi sewing friend, in today’s post I will be sharing my thought on the newest pattern edition from Sew Over It. The moment I lay my eyes on the cover photo I had this instant urge to make one for myself.


The pattern comes as a cropped blouse or a dress option that can be made with or without pleats on the front. The other main details are: concealed button placket, turn up sleeve cuffs and flat collar. The top is slightly looser and gathered into a waistband. and Bonnie dress features a gathered knee length skirt which is cinched in at the waist by an elastic.

Pattern alternations

With Sew Over It patterns I usually have to make some adjustments to improve the overall fit of the garment, so making a toile first was a necessity. I had put on some weight recently so had to cut out size 20 based on my bust and waist measurements. I ignored looking at hips measurements because the blouse should sit at the waist level. I made my first toile from cheap cotton fabric to check what alternation I would have to make to the pattern. I always find it very useful to take this also as an opportunity to practice and learn new techniques or just to check if the pattern instructions are clear and concise.

I established (top two photos) that I will need a number of adjustments to make this garment fit my body better. I would need to reduce shoulder seam and adjust armhole curve, plus a full bust adjustment is necessary because the front hem is raising substantially. Also the bust dart placement needs to be altered as it is too low.

I considered simply raising the bust dart first, but it would sit very close to an armhole seam, which I did not think would look nice and instead I chose to alter an angle of the dart, following by 2.5 cm FBA. This made the bodice even more boxy, hence my decision to size down to 18. Since my waist circumference falls closer to size 20 I also had to extend the waistband by 10 cm, which in turn meant that my bodice will net be as gathered as much. Next I decreased the shoulder seam by 1 cm and smoothed the armhole curves on both front and back pattern pieces. My last alternation was to shorten the sleeve length by 2 cm, because I felt it looked a little of balance and also would be more comfortable.

Fabric choice

I had purchased 2 meters of this beautiful lightly sheer viscose and poly blend fabric from myfabrics.co.uk for £7.45 per meter specially for this project. I really liked the color combination of white , black and blue and thought it would be easy to put together with other items from my wardrobe. The material is very delicate and shifts a lot, so I had used some spray starch to stabilize it more. I took my time (90 minutes) cutting out individual pattern pieces by laying the fabric on a cutting mat and using a rotary blade to allow for as little movement as possible. Even this was not enough and I still had some stripes that way a little bit off grain. Once the fabric was cut it was not as bad during sewing and pressing stage.

What I forgot to consider when choosing this fabric was that vertical pleats on the front would distort the fabric pattern. This is clearly visible here because the stripes are not symmetrical it was impossible to mirror match both left and right front pieces. This is something that I realized only after I stitched all pleats already, but it does not bother me and I consider it a design choice hihihi

Sewing the pattern

From the very beginning I wanted to make this blouse as neat and beautiful inside as it is on the outside and finishing all seams with a french seam was a clear winner here. Also choosing the right interfacing for this delicate fabric was very important. I needed something that was lightweight but with enough body to enforce the button placket. Lucky for me I have a number of different interfacing at home, because I always experiment with it to find out how it will affect and change the fabric. I must say I really love the hidden placket, but somehow missed that you supposed to put press studs on the beginning and at the end. Instead I simply made 6 buttonholes, and not 5 as instructed and placed the first and the last as close to the edge as possible. I am happy with the result, however it can be a little bit tricky to button up the top one.

I made this top in a total of 8 hours, giving as much attention to details as much as I could. I really like that there is some hand stitching involved, because it makes the process more thoughtful and professional looking finish.

Due to doing a full bust adjustment the width of the bust dart increased quiet a bit and it was very noticeable on this fabric, which made me unhappy to say the least! I never used a french seam on darts before so it did not crossed my mind, but I knew I had to do something to make this dart “disappear”. The easiest way for me was to make a fake french seam, because I was afraid to damage the fabric while unpicking those darts.It worked like a charm.

The pattern may look complicated, but in all honesty is not that difficult. To make hidden placket and pleats all you need is it to fold the fabric and stitch in specific places….very easy, but precision is a key here. One thing I found a little confusing while following the instruction on making the pleats is that the booklet tells you to fold the fabric right sides together and stitch, but the illustration show that wrong sides are together….go with an illustration here, otherwise you will end up with plackets on the inside of your garment. If you look closely you can see on my first toile left side is done as per instruction and right side per illustration.

Final thoughts

This is a lovely pattern with lots of interesting details, but I am not sure if the cropped version suits my body type. I like it and will definitely find a way to style and wear it, but if I make another version I will omit the waistband and extend the bodice to reach hip level…..saying that you will see very soon a dress version without pleats, that I will make in October as part of a #SwapShareSew challenge. More on that later!

~What do you think about Bonnie pattern?~

Monika xxx