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Olive Dress Sewing Hack

Olive Dress Sewing Hack

Let me invite you into a world of possibilities and welcome to the Flora Blog! I’m absolutely delighted you've decided to be here.

Today, I want you to inspire with the Olive Dress!

This truly versatile pattern will set the foundation to let your creativity flow. It’s the perfect basis with its dramatic sleeves, a beautifully gathered neckline, AND plenty of possibilities for customizing! In this post I'll show you how you can make some tiny yet transformational adjustments to this pattern with an outcome which is unique and oh so fun! So, let's get started.


What you need

This hack requires the Olive Dress Pattern for women, cotton cord, some lightweight iron-on interfacing and fabric of your choice.

I made the mini dress version in size B and used a medium weight European linen. I had around 2,5 meters with a width of 135cm from it at my disposal. I needed to shorten the sleeves (about 8 cm), otherwise the fabric would not have been enough. So if you prefer the original length of the sleeves, want to sew a bigger size, or have a narrower fabric available, you'll have to plan on more fabric but you can basically pretty much follow the fabric usage information from the instructions. I also used about 2,5 meters of cord.


Pattern Pieces
Cut these pattern pieces according to the instructions

  • 2 x Sleeves
  • 1 x Back
  • 4 x Pockets (optional)

Hack Pieces
Cut out the following modified pattern pieces

  • 2 x Front – with a 1,5 cm seam allowance added to the center seam
  • 1 x Neck binding (cut on the bias)
    Size B: 48 x 6 cm
    Add 2cm length per size or shorten by 2cm for size A
  • 2 x Sleeve binding (cut on the bias) 
    Size B: 82 x 5 cm
    Add 1cm length per size or shorten by 1cm for size A

The Prep


  • Mark your desired length of the front slit (between 10 and 20 cm) with a pin or chalk.
  • Finish each center seam of the front ­pieces with an overlock or zig-zag stitch.
  • With right sides together, close the seam with a 1,5 cm seam allowance. Start at the indicated mark and make sure to backstitch a couple times. Cut the threads long so you can tie a double knot before you cut them off.
  • Press the seam allowance open and sew all the way around the opening.


Neck Binding

  • Fuse lightweight interfacing to your neck binding piece.
    Keep the seam allowance (1cm all around) uncovered.
  • Press the binding in half lengthwise.
    Open it up again and press the ­seam allowances in.
  • Mark the center of the binding with a notch.

 Olive Dress Pattern Hack - Neck Binding Prep

Sleeve Binding

  • Press the binding in half lengthwise.
    Open it up again and press one of the long sides about 0.7 cm inward.
  • Mark two small buttonholes, each about 1 cm long, positioned symmetrically from the center and attach a small piece of interfacing to the back.
  • Sew the buttonholes by following the instructions of your sewing machine and open up the slits.
  • Sew the binding (the side with the buttonholes) to the hem edge of the sleeves with right sides together.
  • Press the binding down, to make sure that the right side of sleeve and binding are both facing up.


Now all you have to do is to follow the instructions and replace these two steps.

Step 4: Neck Binding

  • Turn the blouse to the wrong side and line up the raw edges of your  unfolded binding and your gathered ­neckline (right side of binding is facing the wrong side of the dress).
  • Fold back the short ends of the ­binding at the center front opening and sew the binding in place.
  • Turn the dress right side out again.
  • Pin your ties (approx. 45cm each) to each side of the front opening.
  • Wrap the binding around the raw edge of the neckline, bringing half of the bias binding to the right side of the dress. Pin carefully in place and edge stitch close to the fold with the right side of the dress facing up.
  • Don’t forget to sew around the corner to secure the drawstrings as well.
  • Remove visible ­basting stitches.

    Step 6: Sleeves

    There is no need to add any basting stitches to the sleeves since the gathers are going to be created by the ties.

    Continue this way after you have sewn the side seams:

    • Wrap the binding around the raw edge to the right side of the dress.
    • Adjust the binding, so that the fold overlaps the stitch line underneath for 1-2mm. Pin and carefully edgestitch close to the fold with the right side of the dress facing up.
    • Cut off two 75cm long ties (you may want to cut it longer if you wish to be able to make a bow).
    • Attach a safety pin to one end of the cord, pull it through the casing and both openings. Tie a knot at both ends.


      Proceed with the instructions to finish your dress.

      If you end up making this hack, don't forget to tag on social media! I would be thrilled to follow your sewing journey and see all the exciting projects you have created. Don't forget to check back for more fun hacks and projects!


      With Love,

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