Friday, September 26, 2014

secret garden knit top

Before I start this post, I just want to note that I received this pattern for free as part of the blog tour.  However, I only do blog tours for patterns that I wanted to sew in the first place, so you can rest assured that everything I say in this review is how I actually feel about the pattern, and it is not biased due to the pattern being free :)

I love the overall look of the Secret Garden Dress pattern, but it's a bit less than practical for the Michigan winter to come :)  So I made just a few modifications while keeping the feel of the original dress.  In other words, I kept the v-back, the bow and the circle skirt because those felt like the essential components of the pattern, but then I added sleeves and shortened the length to make the dress work better for us right now. 

I started with the size two, but since I was planning to make the dress from a knit, I knew I would need to size the dress down about one size.  Unfortunately, the pattern doesn't go any smaller than a size two, so I just winged it, and I think the fit turned out pretty good!  I eliminated the side zipper (not needed with the knit) and added binding to the neckline instead of using a lining.  I also added sleeves from the knit tee pattern I used here, shortened to just below the elbow length.  I'm not sure what you call that length, but it's not quite elbow or 3/4.  I've heard people refer to 5/8 sleeves before, and although it seems like such an odd length, I'm guessing that this is what you would call a 5/8 sleeve :)

I love circle skirts because they are so much fun for twirling, but Mae really doesn't need any dresses right now, so I drafted a high-low hem to turn the dress into a top.  I didn't hem the skirt for these pictures, since my stretch twin needle broke the other day, but I think I will hem it before Mae wears it the next time so the sides hang a little neater.

The last thing I did was finish the back of the dress with a small knit bow just below the v-back.  It's not nearly as impressive as the original flounce included in the Secret Dress pattern, but it fits the scale of the top much better.  Plus it's a bit more practical for tucking into snow pants when it's -20 outside!

Red Stripe - Funkaliscious Fabrics
Bindings & Bow - Cotton/Rayon jersey from
Leggings & Shoes - Target

If you want to buy your own Secret Garden Dress pattern, use the code "SGTOUR25" until the end of the day Saturday either in the Etsy shop or on the E+M website.  Or you can purchase through Craftsy which already reflects the discounted price.

Here are a few links for you to check out - the blog tour has so many great versions of the Secret Garden Dress!

September 22
September 23
September 24
September 25
September 26

Make sure to enter the giveaway for patterns from all these great sponsors before you go!


  1. Awwww! I really like what you have done with this pattern. Looks great in stripes. Not keen on the little bow, but that's just me. Apart from that it's lovely and I'm really impressed at how you adapted it into a more everyday top.

    1. Thanks! Normally I'm not a huge fan of bows either, but sometimes I just need to remind myself that Mae is only three and cutesy still works at that age :)

  2. I love it Teri! I shortened ours to a top too. :)

  3. If this already posted I apologize. I am very new to altering patterns so I don't want to mess it up. How did you change it from a regular dress pattern to be a high low top? When attaching the sleeves do you alter the size of the armhole as well or leave it the same? Thank you so much for sharing such a cute take on an already adorable dress!

    1. To change to a high-low hem, I just took off some length from the front of the skirt piece and drew a smooth curve to the length I wanted for the back piece. There are lots of tutorials on the internet that will show you how to do this if you do a search.

      You do not necessarily need to alter the armhole for the sleeve, but the sleeve pattern I was using had a different curve so I did choose to alter the armhole slightly. The sleeve pattern you choose to use will determine if you need to make any changes to the armhole.