Heirloom Inspired: Modified Storybook Blouse & Every Which Way Dress

(Feel free to scroll to the end if you are just looking for pattern links. 😉)

Just about this time last year I made a layered Lowrider and Every Which Way (EWW). I love how the tiered skirt of the Lowrider served as a kind of poofy underskirt that gave the EWW some lift that just adds to that sort of Shirley Temple flouncy cuteness.

This is one of my all time favorite sews and pictures.

But I don’t especially like to create the same exact thing twice… although this adorableness tempted me.

Even though it was 98° in the shade yesterday 😅, I need to be thinking about fall clothing. The season just sneaks up on you. One minute it’s hot and humid, and the thought of a sweater makes you uncomfortable. Then suddenly you go out to the mailbox in shorts and flip flops one morning, and it’s somehow 58 degree weather on the way back into the house. Besides, wardrobes don’t sew themselves over night.

New Outfit Criteria:

* Must have long sleeves (I love sweaters! Too bad whenever I absolutely need one they are always in the laundry pile. To Do List: Learn to knit because quality sweaters made out of natural fibers are expensive. That’ll get done before my almost three year old is 25, right? 😉)

* Must have adorable flouncy lift

* Vintage Inspired is always a plus

* Must have some unique, new features so it’s not a replica

Duchess & Hare’s Storybook blouse has been on my list. I love the easy dolman cut and the elastic gathered sleeve bottoms. Vintage swoooon.

However, my two year old approved “bug” fabric is too busy for my tastes as a straight cut. I don’t think the inverted pleats will break it up enough, so we’re going to add a button placket… and some thin pleats.

I’m not adding trim, so I want my pleats to lay right on the stitch line, and because I spend too much time thinking about sewing, I’ve finger pleated my fabric and decided that the more typical 1/4 inch pleat also isn’t quite right for the fabric so 3/8 inch pleats it is.

I could just do the math, but I need to micromanage everything and think out any possible flaws so out comes the medical paper roll. I size a 3/4 inch placket, 3/8 inch pleats and then overlay my patterns. I want the storybook sleeves and the Lowrider neckline and skirt. I like to do my general size blending adjustments and then decide how different the parts are when making pattern mashing decisions. My kid is thin and tall, so I last minute adjusted for that because I forgot to go with the smaller size blend on the arms. Thanks medical paper. Seeing it drawn out there made me realize. Once I cut and unfold it, all of my necessary trued up corners and bits will be there.

Duchess & Hare has a more detailed blog on adding buttons to a non-button bodice here and a tutorial on adding pleats too. My pleats and plackets are slightly bigger, but that’s just a matter of adding a bit to the measures.

Also if you worry about sewing down the folded under edge of your packet neatly, with nearby pleats you can sew your first placket edge from the top and then catch the underside in the first pleat during construction for an easy clean finish as I did on the inside of my garment here.

So here is my Lowrider/Storybook. I cut the layered skirt and neckline shape from the Lowrider. All other features are from Storybook.

If it’s your first time adding piping, you just sew the end slightly off center as it meets at the seam. I also tack down that bulky overlap since my kid has sensitive skin.

On to the Every Which Way (EWW). This is just a really solid base for anything you want to hack. It comes with two skirt and and bodice lengths, ruffle option, and multiple collars. However, I need to show off these sleeves. Vintage swoon again.

I’m using a wine colored homespun, which sort of gives that linen look at a much cheaper price point.

To get this look I used a 3.5 inch deep hem (again I caught that extra 1/2 inch in my pleats so no hemming required). The upper pleats are 1.5 inches. These are folded of course so you’ll need to double the measures. I used 1.5 yards for each dress. Once it’s all pleated, I just sewed a decorative leafing in gold thread around the stitchline.

The only down sides I can think of to doing this is that these types of vintage hems are often used as “grow with me hems,” but releasing that leafing would be quite a bit of work! Also once you do your deep hem, it’s set there. If I did it again I’d make the skirt just 1/2 inch or so shorter so the underskirt shows more, but after the pleating the measure did match the cut chart. I can’t remember if I accounted for the 1/2 inch that would have gone into a traditional hem… 👀 so I’m going to say that is why mine was a little longer than desired. 😅

This first picture is the inside clean finish… after she wore it so it’s a bit wrinkled up.

For the bodice I used a 2 mm double needle and the matching small pintuck foot before I did the bodice construction. Make sure to account for seam allowances so you sew within the visible areas. Use an erasable marking pen or your fingernail if it’s a fabric that will hold a mark. I found the center bodice and put a little finger crease there to sew my decorative leafing. Then I spaced the pintuck and went back to add the side leafing. Trim was added after construction with the back edge wrapped around and folded over a bit to catch the raw edge in the topstitching .

And now the fun part! After it’s all sewn up, you get to see the pay off. ❤️❤️ Thanks for following along, and happy sewing! If you feel inspired to sew a similar combination, my affiliate link is below. ❤️

Shop Duchess & Hare Patterns. (Affiliate Link)

Patterns: Storybook, Lowrider, Every Which Way

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