Sewing: Transforming a Top into a Flattering Dress

Hacking guru, Annie Stafford (@ford_wardrobe) has been at it again with the Nerida Hansen Cuff Sleeve Top and transformed it into a dress with a waist flattering tie.

Annie added length, flared the skirt and included a belt. 

Her hacks are as follows:

  • This is probably the most obvious hack, but I think it turned out pretty well. I lengthened the pattern so that my shoulder to hem length was 105cm. 

  • I also flared out the skirt extension, the hem width was 45cm from the centre front fold of the dress. I kept the hem straight, and finished it off with a 1cm-1cm folded hem. 
Side seam belt loops

  • As it was my intention on adding a waist tie to this dress extension, I also wanted to include two different variations on how to tie said waist tie.

  • The first method was to leave an opening in the side seam, this would allow me to thread through the wait tie in a verity of different ways and allow me to style the dress for different looks. To do this, I left a 5cm gap in the side seam (around where my waist is) to allow me to thread my waist tie through.

  • The second was the classic belt loop style, I made these from a 6-8cm piece of fabric that I fused, overlocked and then presses and folded into a belt loop. I then topstitched this on top of the side split. This not only offers me a second variation of how I wear my belt loop, but also covered the side split when not in use!

Waist tie
  • My last addition to the dress was a simple, yet effective waist tie. As an hourglass body shape, I find that having a waist tie defines my silhouette and makes the chances of me reaching for a garment much higher (if it has a waist tie). 

  • For this addition I used the width of the fabric and cut two 12cm strips of fabric to make my waist tie. I then joined the two lengths, to make my waist tie 150cm long, I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle and sewed it all up!

Shop the fabrics and sewing patterns at and tap into Annie's engaging content at @ford_wardrobe.