My Bonny Bird – an Indie Mash Up

Another week, another very last minute post…



For the Franken-Indie patern challenge I used two Cake Patterns – the Bonny Knit Sailor Top and the skirt from the Hummingbird Pattern. When the Bonny Top was first released, I loved it but I am not sure that I have the flare to pull off the full on sailor look. (Unlike Stef, the designer behind Cake Patterns) So my aim with this project was to create a slightly sailorish dress that a 40 something woman could wear to work and be taken seriously!!

I used a ponte knit from spotlight (unfortunately polyester but the only navy I could find at the last minute) and some ribbon that has been in my stash for far too long. The ponte is quite firm with minimal stretch, but just enough that I can pull this dress on over my head and didn’t need to fuss with a zipper. I used the ribbon to trim the neckline and bind the sleeves. I anchored it in place with fusible webbing and then hand stitched it to attach it permanently.

The sailor collar is very cute but just not me, so I chose to use the version without it. Other than that I left the front of the Bonny top unchanged. I squared off the back neckline and added some princess seams down the back to mirror the front of the dress.

Because of the way that Cake patterns are sized and are so easily modifiable, the merging of the skirt to the top was not too tricky. I traced off the top exactly as I normally would and then used the correct skirt pattern based on my hip and waist size. I needed to alter the position of the seams down the front of the skirt to match the ones on the top. The back of the original skirt uses darts for shaping. I modified the shape of my princess seams to reflect the shaping created by these darts but this was probably unnecessary. I could have relied on the shaping at the side seams and the stretch in the knit I used and created a better fit with much less fuss. There was a lot of ease in the skirt but this was easy to fix by taking in the side seams.

I started off merging the patterns with lots of measuring and maths but then got confused along the way and resorted to fudging and hoping the stretch knit wold compensate for any inaccuracies. It’s interesting – it’s not until I have seen these photos that I realise that this dress is generally too big – I should have downsized in the bodice to start with. So maybe in the end good concept, not so fabulous execution.


The machine sewing of this dress was so fabulously quick. All my time went into drafting up the pattern and hand stitching that ribbon. Glad I did though – I think the ribbon makes the dress…


4 thoughts on “My Bonny Bird – an Indie Mash Up

  1. Great first attempt! So clever to do all those alterations! I love your door too (I have a thing for red doors, and have painted the inside of my front door red as I couldn’t do the outside!)


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