Pattern Hack: The Bowline Sweater Dress


This month is Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch, with its weekly sewing challenges. It’s always been hard for me to maintain my own blog and even though I wanted to participate in their monthly challenges, I could never find the time to do so. Enter this week’s challenge called Hack it.


And you know how much I love to hack existing patterns! I decided not to pass this one up. And to kill a bird with two stones, I will also enter this dress into another challenge organized by a fellow French blogger


As the title stated, I used the Bowline sweater pattern by Papercut Patterns and turned it into a sleeveless dress! When this pattern came out, I loved its originality and saw some cute version on the blogosphere.


Then last Christmas, I wanted to make a dress out of a gorgeous dark red animal print knit I’ve been hoarding for the longest. I started roaming through my PDF patterns and had a lightbulb moment. What if I took the sleeves out and added a skirt, it would make a cool top with an equally cool neckline.


I read the instructions over and over again to understand the sort of burrito method they used for the shoulder drape. And since when it comes to knits, I can be quite fearless, I cut a medium size, pinned it all together (ouch, I need to stop doing that!), tried it on and I was sold!


Since it was drafted to be a sweater, the armholes were really low but that was an easy fix.  I ended up not sewing the dress because I had promised my youngest one that I would make her a Christmas dress.


Fast forward July, and the Indie Pattern Month challenge. I initially wanted to do yet another hack of the Lodo dress but figured I should take a break from that pattern after making 5 of them. Looking through my stash, I came across this cute tie-dye rayon knit fabric bought in May from Califabrics.


I went through my PDF patterns again and decided to make the sleeveless Bowline. I dug out that UFO from Christmas and studied it carefully along with the instructions because I had completely forgotten how I put it together the first time. It wasn’t too hard to figure it out. Below are pics (I apologize for the crappiness!) of the construction.


In order to sew the straps down, you have to hem or coverstitch the armholes beforehand.


The pattern instructions are very well done! No surprises here.


The next 2 steps are in the instructions but I’m adding the pics anyway.



Below is the burrito that makes the cool drape happen.


And voila! C’est fait! I did take a wedge out the side seams about 1 1/2 inches off at the armholes tapering to nothing at the waist. Otherwise, it would have been indecently low.


The skirt is pretty straightforward. I drafted 2 rectangles the same width as the bottom of the bodice and added pockets and an elastic at the waist. Threads magazine offered a inseam pockets template in one of their recent email newsletter, so I used that.



There you have it. It took a day to sew this up. Okay maybe under pressure! But honestly, it’s truly easy! You can check out my other hacks on my blog.

Word 4

16 thoughts on “Pattern Hack: The Bowline Sweater Dress

  1. Pingback: IPM2017: And the Hack It! contest winners are…. | The Monthly Stitch

Join the conversation! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s