A Tried and True (TnT) pattern is invaluable, and always hackable. The #Lenahornedress pattern by @TabithaSewer

I enjoy sewing with patterns. I’ve used the Mccall’s, Vogue, Simplicity, and Butterick patterns for years and years. In the 80’s I used to subscribe to Burda magazine, back before the internet, there were pullout pages with multiple lines for multiple patterns on every page. Have you ever seen a Rand McNally city road map? These brought out about the same amount of anxiety for me. I made a few things, but man there was a ton of work before I even got to cut into my fabric! Oh, and they were in German, I took one year of that in high school so…Nichts.

Burda magazine https://www.pinterest.com/pin/155303887189693019/

Now, since we do have the internet, I’ve come to love independent pattern companies and purchasing PDF’s here at home. Having done pattern drafting, my hat goes off to all these independant designers. This is a lot of work, so I want to support them anytime I get the chance. I have a bunch of new favorite indie pattern designers now, if your interested, I’ll tell you about a few. Ask away in my comments section.

The Lena Horne dress pattern by Tabitha Sewer

One newer pattern to come on the sewing community scene, is the Lena Horne dress pattern by Tabitha Sewer. I love everything about this pattern. I did not buy it in PDF form, though so you know, it’s offered digitally as well. I purchased it through her website and got it in the mail because it comes in a iridescent mylar envelope which is basically like having a little rainbow at all times in my sewing room, and who doesn’t want that?

Being a sewist who does alot of refashioning, I often hack patterns because with refashioning you have to work with the fabric you have and there is no getting anymore. So with this pattern, Ive made two dresses. The first one a refashioning and the second is out of thrifted fabric yardage. With both dresses I did some hacking, I’ll explain.

Lena Horne dress out of a Refashioned thrifted vintage pieced
quilt from the 70’s
Trifted vintage pieced quilt from

I found this queen sized pieced vintage quilt made from early 70’s prints and Hawaiian bark cloth. In the early 70”s my family lived Hawaii and all these fabrics reminded me of that time and place. The amount of time that pieced quilts take To make, it killed me to see it there for under $5 dollars. So I refashioned it into the #lenahorndress. I did hack the skirt by using vintage pattern by McCall’s 3396 because of all the pieced seams, gathers would have been too many layers.

I did add the pockets from the Lena Horne dress pattern back into the vintage Mccalls pattern so I guess I hacked the hack.

One thing I did do with this make that I had never done before, is I followed along with the tutorial video that Tabitha has created. It was great! My first tutorial. What have I been doing all this time? Her printed instructions are easy and clear but sewing along with a video is awesome. What can I say, I was born in the 60’s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vYgL4zymgE

Tabitha’s method for gathering by zig zagging over yarn was the way to go because again this was a pieced quilt there was alot of random seams and selvages, so with some gathers there were places that were 4ply thick.

I lined my “angle wings” which is what I was taught these kinds of pinafore ruffles are called. I lined them because the back side of a quilts wouldn’t be a good look.

See? Backside of quilt, meh..
Even my dog Zoey is unimpressed.

Lastly, I made the pom poms for my purse using Clover brand pom pom makers. https://www.clover-usa.com/en/ and the purse is from Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GCHZ27X/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_Zp8kDbTN576J1

For my second dress, I worked out of My stash again. I got this roll of 8 yards of silk shantung from @colleaguesroom (another great thrift store here in Los Angeles, a designer resale store)

Another #Lenahornedress hacking the pattern, just a little. I wanted to pleat some of the fabric. A couple years ago on @pinterest I found a video on how to make your own pleater board. I made mine and It works great! Mine makes 1″ pleats.

@pinterest link for making pleater board:


Pleating Angle wing ruffles on my DIY pleater board

I cut out the above the knee skirt length view of the pattern and added 12″ of width to the skirt. I wanted denser gathers at the waist seam. Then I made the second skirt tier one and a half times wider than the first skirt tier and 9″long (finished this tier ends up 8″long) The last tier is pleated so I cut out 5″ long (finished this tier with hem is 4″ long) and 2 times the width of the bottom second tier circumference.

3rd skirt tier pleated

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: