Small Tweaks to make my Ideal Tessa

I love sewing. It's not just because it gives me a creative outlet. I love that I can make small tweaks to a pattern that gives a completely different look. Making my own changes doesn't mean I don't love the original pattern. It can mean that my body shape lends to something else, I have an inspired idea or I just want something new. I've become a more confident sewist as I make modifications to patterns to make them more me. 

Today I want to walk you through the small tweaks I've done to the Love Notions Tessa Sheath dress to get my ideal version of it. This may not be your preferred version and that's okay! If you don't try to hack, mash or tweak though, you'll have no idea which is your favorite version. Tessa is a solid base pattern that I know the shape fits me well. 

Today's the last day of the Love Notions Mother's Day 40% off site wide sale so scoop up any patterns you've been considering. Site wide sales don't come around often! 

First up, here's what the Tessa Sheath Dress has for options. The neckline features a scoop or bateau, both finished with a hidden binding. There is an optional yoke and back center seam to provide a built in sway back. 

I chose to start from the knee length, short sleeve, scoop neck version without a color blocked yoke. The fabric I used is the Mily Mae Fabrics abstract rib knit in pink. This fabric is 180gsm which would be the lightest I'd recommend for a sheath dress otherwise it'll be too sheer. This fabric has 4 stretch which I prefer on a more fitted pattern. 

I've also made the Tessa with similar hacks using the Swiss dots from Mily Mae Fabrics. That fabric had 2 way stretch and feels tighter across the shoulders and chest. 

According to the size chart, I fit right into a size medium which is what I cut using my projector. My first hack/change was during the cutting phase when I cut out waist ties. This is a hack that I followed from the Love Notions blog thanks to Keira. It's not my first time using this hack and definitely won't be the last. What's great about this hack is that it can be used on so many patterns. 

Following Keira's hack, I cut out notches on the front and back bodice pieces at the waist (where the waist stars are). Those marks helped to line up the ties during construction. 

One BIG tip I have for customizing your clothes is to try them on! I change throughout the process of sewing almost every single item. When I tried this Tessa on the first time, I realized the length wasn't quite for me. I also had some rippling along the hips indicating it could be taken in there. I started with addressing the fit at the hips. The best way I find to do this is to turn the dress wrong side out then clip out the extra fabric. By doing this inside out, you'll be able to sew or serge the side seams where you've marked already. 

Then I tried it on again to address the length. Keeping in mind that the dress wasn't hemmed yet and had a 1" hem allowance, I clipped to give an idea what length I'd prefer. I found shortening the dress 2" was my preference. This means I cut 1" off the dress and then hemmed it 1". I'd highly recommend trying it on with the shoes that you intend to wear with it prior to hemming. I plan to wear sandals so skipped that step this time. Also, the fabric plays a role in the length so don't assume this should be the adjustment you use next time. 

I really love that these waist ties provide definition at the waist. Plus since they are attached at the side seams, they can be tied at the front or back. I find if they are tied too tightly, it pulls and is less flattering. 

I've made several Tessa's now with the hidden binding neckline finish. While it can be really nice to have the finishing hidden, I think I prefer a visible binding or neckband. For my next version, I'll modify that. Again though, that's my own preference. 

Here's more photos of my last Tessa made from swiss dots. I also added the waist ties and shortened this one but used the bateau neckline and long bishop sleeves. 

I hope this gives you the courage to make your own modifications to patterns as you sew. Sewing is meant to help get an ideal fit and that's what I believe I've found with my Tessas. It can be intimidating to find what fits your body and preference so I'd recommend just doing one thing at first. Play with the hemline to see what lengths you like. Then browse the Love Notions Blog to see if anything leaps out to you for ideas. It's full of great ideas!

Today's the last day where all Love Notions patterns are 40% off during the Mothers Day Sale happening through May 10, 2021. This is a great time to stock up on patterns you've been eyeing. If you have any pattern questions, feel free to ask below or message me on instagram

My posts may feature affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase from these links, I receive a small percentage in compensation at no cost to you. I may have received patterns or products to test or review but the opinions I voice are my own. 


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