I feel like I say this with every post, but this one really is massively overdue. It’s been sitting in the ‘to-do’ pile for over 6 months after I got quite a few requests on how I made my midi version. So here it is! (Finally!)

I’d seen Trend Patterns pop up on my Instagram a while ago and really liked the way they released capsule like collections with every season. Check out their designs- I guess its in the name, but they’re really great at picking up a trend and creating a garment which is not only on season but would last long beyond. Like the frilled hem top: frills are eeeeverywhere which makes anything frilly fashionable right now. But too much frill and a garment will age quickly when the new season’s trend comes in. Just the right amount of frill and you’ve got an outfit with some longevity. And that’s what I like about the top- it’s got the balance just right.

Back detail

It’s quite a dramatic and structural design- especially with the frill that goes all around the back, but that’s what I was looking for to shake up my wardrobe. I actually planned to make the top when I bought it but when I got around to making the pattern I was more into wearing midi length dresses so decided on lengthening it. I wasn’t sure how it would work but I was up against a deadline so went for it without a toile (shock horror!)

I love it in this length, it makes it much more wearable for me. But it does make it a much more statement look. I can generally tell how ‘fashiony’ a design is by looking at Taufiq’s face when I ask him what he thinks. This one was received with a wide-eyed “umm…yeah…it’s…nice?”, which translates to a winner in my opinion!

Onto the review! Be warned, this is a long one with a bit of a tutorial on how I made it into a dress…

Pattern Review: TPC5//Basics//Frilled Hem Top 

Difficulty: Moderate

Sizes: UK 6-16 (EU 34-44)

Type: Print only

Price: At £20 it’s definitely of the more expensive patterns in my stash, but I think I bought it on sale.

Fabric: I used this Instagram-famous cupro from Rainbow Fabrics in black (£3.99). Check their Instagram account for special offers. I got 3m (I think I needed less but can’t remember now!) It’s not a deep solid black, more of a very dark sooty/ashy black. It’s a dream to cut and sew, and having worn it a billion times, washes very well too.

Sizing and fit: I cut a size 10 and it fits pretty well apart from the arms- but thats a classic fit issue for me. I always struggle with across the chest/back (you can see the slight stretching/bunching of fabric around my armpits across my chest) and upper sleeves tend to be a bit tight (I like to think it’s all those press ups I do, but it’s more likely my awful posture). But after reading Emily’s (Self Assembly Required) review I made a slight large bicep adjustment so that was fine in the end.

For my muslim gals/medics who might need to roll their sleeves up over the elbow (if you know, you know) , the sleeve is a little tight. You can get it there but its a real squeeze. 

While the upper half is a little bit on the small side, the lower half is much more forgiving with a trapeze like shape. If you do decide to make this midi version- be warned extending it does make it go from being a bit loose to positively billowing. But I think that adds to it’s charm 🙂 (and is perfect for hiding a food baby or real baby as you can see below!)

Construction and instructions: The pattern pieces are quite something and was definitely not what I was expecting. They’re all very unusual shapes but come together perfectly. It’s so satisfying when that happens- like putting a puzzle together (especially creating the armhole!) It did have me scratching my head. I also had trouble when I was trying to work out how/where to lengthen the pattern pieces- I could’ve done with a few more notches/waist or hip lines etc. but that’s personal preference seeing as I pretty much only ever do a hacked version of a pattern! I also find that helps when I need to make adjustments for my small back length. The instructions are laid out in photo form as opposed to illustrations which i quite like, but thats a personal preference. There’s also less instructions in it for basic things (which you might expect as a beginner) e.g. theres no instructions other than “insert zip”.

Adaptations/hacks: So obviously there’s the big change- the length, but I’ll go into more detail on that in a second. Another change I made was to remove the zip and make a smaller keyhole opening with hook and chain fastening. It’s still easy to pull on and off with little fuss. The final change I made was that I added a pocket. But annoyingly I only thought of adding a pocket after I had made the dress and worn it out with nowhere to put my phone. DUH. Why didn’t I see this coming? So I actually unpicked a bit and added the pocket. As you probably could’ve guessed, that’s not the best way to go about things! But I knew that even a slightly rubbish pocket was better than no pocket and would save it from being relegated to the back of the wardrobe. So I went ahead and did it. Again (not sure why this time) I was in a rush and didn’t double check the position so it ended up a little higher than I would have wanted. Unfortunately I nicked a bit of the fabric with my seam ripper when I was unpicking it so it got moved into my work wardrobe. Not that I’m complaining! It’s gotten me lots of compliments on the wards- making me look a lot more put-together than I normally would! And the pocket works a treat.

Front seams
Tips ‘n’ tricks: Tips ‘n’ tricks: Ok, first up- making it into a dress. I really did ponder over how to do this- I’m not saying this is the best way but it worked for me. It’s not as simple as slash and spread. You do end up with this double seam down the middle but I liked the finished look. I’m gonna try my best to make this clear but it was a bit of a ‘meh, let’s see how this goes’ hack so might not make sense!

First off I’d recommend you pin your pattern pieces together to get an idea of how the garment is constructed e.g. the back piece actually wraps around to the front so there are no side seams.

The pieces you need to adjust are the front and back pieces (the back yoke stays the same).

Front piece: Extend the hem down to your desired length with straight lines (a big rectangle). It looks pretty strange, but it works. Cut this on the fold as instructed. I’m 5’2″ and added 50cm.  

Back piece: This is where it gets a bit complicated because of how it wraps around the front with no real side seams. Lets start with the easy bit: extend the centre fold line by the amount you added to the front hem (line 1).

For line 2 we’ll be lengthening the seam by the same amount but at an angle (kind of A line shaped) to match the new front piece. I did this by lining up my pattern pieces with the notches matching and used the edge of the front piece (that we’ve just created) as my guide.

Then you join the dots and replicate the curved hem from the original pattern piece (line 3)- you could do this by tracing the original hem and extending as needed. The pieces should fit in like a puzzle.

When sewing these seams be careful around that corner edge, take it slowly on the machine. You’ll need to clip into the seam allowance to get the fabric to sit nicely before pressing.

Now onto the pocket. Seeing as I added this in as an afterthought this is going to be more like ‘inspiration’ on how you could do it rather than a tutorial. These are in seam pockets. Draw a pocket shape (which you’ll cut 2 of) once you’ve cut out the main pattern pieces out pin them together and try it on to get an idea of where you’d want your pocket to be (probably around the hips). Mark that spot with a notch/pin/chalk mark. You’ll be inserting the pocket into the seam between the front and back pieces so that the frill falls on top hiding the entrance. I think that will be around step 4-8 in the intructions


Like I said, I would’ve liked to have seen more notches/lines to indicate where the bust/waist/hips are to help me make adjustments. It actually comes together quite quickly once it’s done. I’m not sure I would do the zipped version (mainly because I never seem to have the right zips in my stash!). Not only is it easy to dress up and down and super comfortable it was perfect for me with my growing bump. I definitely see more of this dress in my wardrobe- especially as this version is now part of my workwear. It’s the perfect pattern for some colour blocking and stash busting for a contrast frill… Ooo the possibilities are endless!

Let me know if you make this version and how you get along. Do you prefer this length or would you stick with the top?



4 replies on “Pattern review: TPC5 Frilled hem top (plus midi hack)

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