How do we love the Albion Blouse? Let us count the ways… She’s classy, she’s comfy, she’s cute. She comes with her own special variations – a short-sleeved version for skipping your way through various sunny scenarios and the voluminous full-sleeve version for when you want to unleash the drama, mama.
And she offers even more possibilities as a pattern because where there is a sweet blouse pattern, there is, very often, a cool dress hack!
In fact, you could make multiple Albion Dresses using a veritable variety of skirt styles from circle skirts, curve front with ruffle, or multiple tiers. For the sake of simplicity, here we’ll show you how to make a simple gathered skirt wrap dress using the Albion Blouse pattern. We whipped our version up using an old doona cover from the op-shop – sustainable, affordable and cute – plus it came with its own matching buttons!
What you will need
Let’s get dressy!
STEP ONE // Download and print out your Peppermint Albion Blouse pattern. Follow the instructions as written until you get to step 4. When sewing your facing to the body of the blouse (4.1), DO NOT sew down the little bottom bit of facing at the hem. Skip steps 4.4–4.8 entirely leaving the waist hem unfinished, for now.
STEP TWO // Continue finishing the blouse up to the point of adding buttons and snaps– you’ll want to leave that until last to see if the weight of the skirt adjusts the fit.
STEP THREE // Draft your skirt pieces. Measure the width of the back bodice and front bodices (including seam allowance). Multiply these measurements by 1.5 to get the width of your skirt pieces – a standard rule of thumb for gathering ratios but if you want a more voluminous skirt, you could try multiplying your measurements by 2 instead.
Decide how long you want your skirt to be. Remember to factor in a seam allowance of 1cm at the top and a hemming allowance at the bottom.
STEP FOUR // Cut out two front skirt pieces (front bodice x 1.5 wide and chosen length long) and one back skirt piece (back bodice x 1.5 wide and chosen length long).
STEP FIVE// Overlock or otherwise finish both side seams of the back skirt piece and the side seams that will attach to the back seams on the front skirt pieces. On the side seams that will align with the front edges of the bodice so finish with a double fold hem instead.
(At this point, if you wish, you can add in pockets! We used the Peppermint Bowen Dress pattern’s pocket piece and attached them 10cm from the top of the skirt pieces).
STEP SIX // Sew side seams together and put in two rows of gathering stitches 0.5 and 1cm away from the top of your skirt. A gathering stitch is a straight stitch with the stitch length set between 3 and 4 on your machine.
STEP SEVEN // Gather down until the edges and side seams of the skirt match the bodice.
STEP EIGHT // Because the Peppermint Albion Blouse finishes below your natural waist you may want to try it on at this point and mark where your waist is (as that is the most flattering place for the skirt to sit). With right sides facing, pin the bodice and skirts together, matching side seams and edges, and sew together.
STEP NINE // Finish the waist seam with an overlocker or encase in bias binding and press towards the bodice. Fold the bottom of your front facings over to encase the waist seam and slip stitch in place.
STEP TEN // Attach buttons and snaps as described in the original instructions.
STEP ELEVEN // Hem the bottom of your skirt as you desire – we used a classic double-fold hem.
STEP TWELVE // You are finished! Venture out into the world and endeavour to accept the many, many compliments you receive with humility and grace.