Just like glamping, this voluminous tent dress combines comfort and style with its relaxed dropped shoulders and rah-rah ruffle sleeves, reversible V-neck or button up options, and secret pockets. It’s the ultimate throw it on and go, go, go dress. Download the free pattern now and put it at the top of your sewing pile– if you aren’t already one of the clever cats who got the free printed copy of the pattern in our autumn issue!
This sweet pattern was created in partnership with our good friends at Spoonflower. The world’s largest marketplace of independent designs from global artists, Spoonflower is leading the way in sustainable textile printing. Their on-demand process significantly reduces materials, energy and water, and uses non-toxic inks and fabrics that are ethically sourced. For more inspiration for your next me-made project, pop over to spoonflower.com! To make our dazzling dress we used Organic Sweet Pea Gauze from Spoonflower, printed with a spectacular sun-speckled terrazzo pattern by illustrator and graphic designer Eva Matise.
Dress up to an art show or dress down to the beach and wear it as a coverall, the Bowen Dress can do it all. To showcase its fabulous range, we asked six fantastic sewing influencers to create their own dresses in a Spoonflower fabric of their choice.
From @Kindred.Red’s beachy blues, @WhatTeganMade‘s girly gingham, @SelfAssemblyRequired’s sweet sunflowers, @IslandSewcialist’s terrific tiers, to @PostModern.Meg’s dreamy strawberries and cream and @Full.Fat.Milk’s tropical realness – we love all these spectacular makes!
Read on to hear all their secret thoughts on the pattern and get inspired to create your own version!
Fabric Choice – Cotton Lawn in Boho Paradise Jumbo
“Haven’t made anything or posted in a while due to my workload and hand issues, but I’m back online with this freshly sewn blue bébé! It’s kinda channeling early 90s beachy upholstery fabrics… do you know what I mean? I could easily be camouflaged by a deck umbrella or a sun chair and my weather finally matches the vibe (it was snowing a week ago, but now it’s balmy, albeit very windy).
This pattern is the Peppermint Bowen Dress, the newest FREE pattern from Peppermint magazine and designed by Hubba Ding Patterns. I modified mine a bit to suit my style, but I think it stays true to the design as well! Peppermint gifted me this dreamy cotton lawn from Spoonflower, which is called ‘Boho Paradise Jumbo’ by Michelle Aitchison.
As for the pattern, my bust size put me at size H, but after looking at the finished measurements, I made size B. I wanted to maintain the breezy look, but didn’t want mine quite as voluminous as the pattern is meant to be. I used the leftover fabric to add a bottom tier and side waist ties! It’s hard to spot the ties because they are obscured by the print, but they are threaded through side buttonholes.
I ended up lengthening the bodice by about 5 inches to ensure the seamline would sit in a place that’s comfortable for me, then curved the bodice’s centre edge lower. These changes were essentially a boxy cut’s FBA, because I wear a G cup with a long torso… the bodice’s lower edge was higher than my bust apex before I lengthened it!
I preferred wearing the V-neck on the front, but check out the pattern-matching on the buttoned side. The polkadot buttons are ceramic ones that I got at Rhinebeck 2019.”
WHAT TEGAN MADE
Fabric Choice – Petal Signature Cotton in Gingham in Belgian Linen
“I’m so happy to share with you my Peppermint Bowen Dress!
This pattern is by the very talented Hubba Ding Patterns and the beautiful gingham fabric is from Spoonflower.
This pattern is so well written with really helpful tips and illustrations and the dress comes together really quickly and easily! And it’s like, the most comfy thing ever to wear!
I added some elastic around the sleeves for a little extra PUFF! And I used some pink linen scraps for the pocket bags. Otherwise I made very few adjustments.
If you like a loose fitting, flowy dress like I do, this one should go on your list! Now for the rain to stop so I can enjoy wearing a dress!”
SELF ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Fabric Choice – Organic Sweet Pea Gauze in Sunflowers
“The Bowen Dress is the latest free pattern from Peppermint magazine’s Sewing School. It’s a boxy loose fit summer dress – very much leaning into the oversized and gathered trend – designed by Hubba Ding Patterns, a new-to-me pattern company. It features a short wide bodice with a slight V-neck on the front and buttoned back, though it can be worn both ways round. The sleeves are full length and super gathered as is the midi length skirt.
I feel like I’ve made lots of these big rectangle dresses in the past couple of years or so. To be honest, I still really like them in the right fabric – they can look super cute and have plenty of room for a big dinner!
I was given the opportunity to pink out any print and substrate from Spoonflower. I picked a summery sunflower print on the Organic Sweet Pea Gauze. The fabric was lovely for this project. The loose weave and lightness makes for a great summer dress but still had plenty of body for those ruffles!
After analysing photos of other people’s versions of the Bowen Dress (thanks Instagram!), I knew I would want to change up a few bits to make it suit my height/shape as well as elevate it from the norm.
I always think a free pattern is a great place to start from for a pattern hack – for whatever reason it feels less silly than if I’d paid for a pattern to just chop it up! For this hack, I decided to eliminate the button back entirely. I cut a centre front seam on the V, adding in a seam allowance and adding on two sets of skinny ribbon ties. I also drafted a new ruffled flat collar aiming for the ruffle edge to sit just off my shoulders. I finished the neckline with the prescribed facing though obvious making some slight adjustments for my altered neckline.
The ruffle edges and the skirt hem have been finished with the rolled hem setting on my overlocker. Makes for a super quick and neat way to finish a project!”
Fabric Choice – Cotton Lawn in Energy Blue
“Meet my rendition of the Peppermint and Hubba Ding Patterns Bowen Dress! I added some island girl spice to the pattern with ruffles and tiers and a cinched waist! I feel like such a doll in this dress!
This is also a collab with Spoonflower and they provided this stunning Cotton Lawn for me to play with!
This is easily one of my proudest makes ever! My favourite pattern hacking project for sure! I really let loose and allowed my creative juices to flow with this one!
All the details of my hacking process, picking a size and sewing this fabric are on my blog.
Also this is a free pattern sooo… get your butt on over to download ASAP!”
Fabric Choice – Organic Cotton Sateen in Strawberries and Cream
“Peppermint have been doing amazing, free patterns for years now and I was super excited when they reached out to me to make up their newest pattern in collaboration with Spoonflower.
This is the Bowen Dress by Australian indie pattern designer Hubba Ding Patterns – an oversized, big sleeve affair perfect for hot days. Unfortunately in Liverpool we don’t see too many of those, but I’ve got high hopes for June.
About this gorgeously fruity fabric; I love that Spoonflower lets you discover surface pattern designers and I just fell head over heels for this strawberries and cream print by Ceri Gwen, a fairly local designer to me in Wales. I chose a Cotton Sateen base for the fabric and it was gorgeous to work with and a lovely weight.
I did a few hacks on the pattern. Firstly, I sized down on the bodice considerably – about four inches down on their smallest size and I knew I wanted much less ease. I also did the sleeve pattern hack on the Peppermint website to make it a puff gathered sleeve. I didn’t read the instructions properly though and you were supposed to double the sleeve length, which I didn’t oops! But I do love the length it is actually.
Love the finished result and ready for a few canned G and Ts and a picnic.”
FULL FAT MILK
Fabric Choice – Organic Sweet Pea Gauze in Elegance Tropical Woman
“The lovely people from Peppermint asked me if I’d like to make their new Bowen Dress! I love a floaty oversized dress and was stoked to see that the pattern came in a decent size range.
I was gifted the fabric from Spoonflower and I chose a print by Alenka Karabanova on the Sweet Pea Double Gauze. Based on the double gauze I’ve used in the past, I was expecting the fabric base to be softer, so I’m hoping that with a bit of wear (and maybe a spin in the dryer) the dress will soften over time.
The size chart put me in the largest size (N) but I could tell from the finished garment measurements that I would want to size down a fair bit. I settled on the size K for the bodice but would possibly size down further next time.
I lengthened the bodice by four inches to a) account for my height and b) to make some semblance of a full bust adjustment.
I used the full width of the fabric for the skirt, and lengthened it by at least 20cm compared to the pattern recommendations.
The dress is reversible which I absolutely love – one side of the bodice has a V neckline and the other has a curved neckline with buttons. I didn’t make real button holes because I didn’t think the double gauze would handle them very well.
The Bowen Dress is designed by Hubba Ding Patterns and is available for free or by donation from the Peppermint website. A printed copy is also included in the magazine for the first time, which I think is super cool! On that note, their office was badly damaged during the QLD floods in March so if you download the pattern from their website it would be worthwhile making a donation if you can afford to do so.”