The Merryweather Top & Dress is already a very versatile pattern, “3 neck options, 3 sleeve lengths, and 2 widths along with optional color blocking and tunic and dress lengths”. But when someone showed me a shirt with an envelope opening in the front, I knew I could do it with the Merryweather! The envelope serves three purposes, it’s really cute, it creates more room for a pregnant belly, and it makes access for breastfeeding possible. Follow this tutorial to create your own Merryweather with envelope front. If you don’t own the Merryweather pattern but would like to create this look, you can get 30% off the pattern through 4/27/16 using the code Aurora30
To create this look, you’ll need to cut the Front pattern piece on the “Loose Fit” line and the Back on the “Fitted” line. First, we’re going to modify the Front pieces of the pattern to create the “Underlay” which is the rust fabric in my example, and the new “Front” which is the envelope front in my example. If you don’t want the nursing option, just use a regular Front piece rather than the Underlay.
Print and assemble the Front pattern piece. Mark on the neckline, 1″ or so from the fold and about 5″ down from the armpit on the side (blue lines in my pic). I measured my own body to get these locations for the breast cut-outs. You can measure yourself and make the marks accordingly.
Attach the two marks with a curved line, like in this picture.
Then cut on the line and discard the top portion. The remaining piece is your underlay. You’ll need to cut 1 on the fold.
To create the new Front, you need two existing Front pieces. You can either print two or print one and trace it. I chose the latter. You’ll tape the two pieces together on the fold.
Measure 1″ in from the outside of the shoulder (either side, it doesn’t matter), and 13″ or more down from the neckline. However far down you measure is where your envelope will cross. And let me tell you that the farther down, the better because if it’s too high you will be flashing people on a windy day! Connect those two marks with an almost-straight line and then continue the line down at a curve to the opposite corner.
Cut on the line and discard the bottom portion. What you have left is the new Front. You need to cut two of these mirrored.
Cut out all pieces (2 New Fronts, 1 Underlay, 1 Back, 2 Sleeves, 1 Neck Band and optionally, 2 Sleeve Bands). To finish the breast cut-outs on the Underlay, measure the curve of the holes then take 2″ off the measurement and cut two pieces of elastic that length. Sew the elastic to the edges with a serger or a zig zag stitch, stretching it to fit. (I did not take 2″ off my original elastic which made the holes stretch out and too big. Live and learn.)
Finish the curved edge of the Front pieces by turning the edge in 1/2″ to the wrong side and sew in place.
Place the Back down with right side up. Lay one Front piece on top, with RSF, and pin together at the shoulders.
Lay the remaining Front piece on, in the same direction as the first, and pin together at the shoulders.
Pin the Front pieces together at the neck opening.
Sew together at the shoulders.
Attach the sleeves as directed in the pattern.
Pin the Front to the Back at the side edges. Notice that the Back piece is 1/2″ longer than the Front? That’s because we already hemmed the Front but have not yet hemmed the Back.
Place the Underlay on the Front so the wrong side is up. Pin together at the sides and neck.
Finish sewing together according to the pattern directions. Start with the side seams. Then add the Neck Band and Sleeve Bands (or hem the sleeves). Then hem the bottom using 1/2″ hem allowance.
Don’t forget to “show it” once you “sew it” in our Facebook chat group!
Thanks for reading, Stitch Junkies!