How to be your own Sewist? #2 Hacking the Ashton top into a Tiered Dress

How to be your own Sewist? #2 Hacking the Ashton top into a Tiered Dress - Fabriclore

Hello everyone,

Welcome back!
For today’s post, I will show you how I hacked the Ashton crop pattern into a tiered dress. Most patterns that you can purchase can be hacked into multiple other garments with relative ease.

There are many tutorials to help you with this. This will allow you to get so much more out of the pattern that you have invested in.

The Fabric

For this hacked dress, I chose one of the most beautiful loom textured cotton fabrics from the Fabriclore collection in the colorway maroon. This cotton is lightweight but also has some structure to it. It is perfect for this gathered dress and the summertime. 

The fabric is very easy to work with and washes well. I washed in cold water and tumbled dried low when I received the fabric. I also like to steam iron the fabric prior to cutting the pattern pieces out. 

I highly recommend you try this fabric!

The Pattern

For a more detailed review of the ashton top pattern and how I chose the right size for me, please read the previous post. For this post, I took the same size as I used to make my top (size 6) and then performed my modifications. Here are the steps I followed. You can use these same steps to change any top pattern you have into a dress. 

This hack will allow you to jump much further ahead in your sewing journey and give you the confidence to take on more challenging projects. If you are new to sewing garments, you will be learning by watching videos and tutorials and overall having a lot of fun!

To do this hack, you will need a total of about 3-4 yards (roughly 3-4 meters) of fabric (depending on the length of the dress you want to make and the width of the fabric). 

1. To change a top to a dress, you first may have to shorten the bodice so that it finishes closer to your natural waist. How much you want to shorten depends on where you would like your skirt to begin. I decided to shorten my bodice by 2.5”. To do this- 

  1. Draw a parallel line 2.5” above the lengthen/shorten line.
  2. Cut the front and back pattern pieces at the lengthen/shorten line
  3. Move the pattern piece up and tape it with the line you drew above. 
  4. Make sure that the side seams are even 

2. Do the same to the back pattern piece, so the side seams are even. 

3. Now let’s work on the skirt pieces. The gathered skirt is basically a rectangular piece of fabric. We cut 1 for the front and one for the back on the fabric fold. The width of the rectangle is determined by the circumference of the bottom of your top. 

Follow instruction below –


4. Choose the length of your rectangle depending on where you want your dress of tier to stop. I decided to make a dress with 2 tiers. I want to have the dress be at a more midi length and I am 5’3” tall. So, I decided to make my top tier 17.5” long and by second tier 13” long which includes 3/8inch seam allowance on the top, bottom and the sides of the skirt. See below

    5. I also love having pockets in all my clothing. So, I added pocket notches to my top tier (on the opposite side to the fabric fold) and also drafted a pocket. See dimensions below and the general shape. You can also choose a pocket pattern piece from another garment if you prefer. I added tth top notch 2” from the top of the skirt and the second notch 10” below the 1st notch. 
    6. Now with all these new pattern piece, you can go ahead and cut out the fabric pieces and the fun begins!!

    Sewing up the Ashton hacked dress

    Sew the bodice

    1. Sew the bodice and finish the neck and armhole binding as described in the ashton top instructions. Do not hem the bodice. Set it aside for now.

    Sew the pockets to the skirt

    2. Finish the side seams of the skirt pieces and the edges of all 4 pockets using a serger or an over-cast stitch. If you do not have an over-cast stitch on your machine or it requires a special foot, just use a zig zag stitch.


    3. Pin the pockets to the top tier front and back pieces, right sides together. Sew the pocket pieces to the skirt with a ¼” seam allowance.

    4. Understitch the pockets to the skirt. Please look at this video to learn how attach in seam pockets and understitch

    5. Repeat the same for the back skirt piece

    Sew the top tier of the skirt

    6. Sew the front and back skirts together on the sides with a 3/8” seam allowance. Follow this video to see in detail.

    7. Finish the side seams with a serger or an over-cast stitch. Press to the front of the dress.

    Gather the skirt

    8. Gather the top of the skirt using  long stitch slength. I like to sew 2-3 rows of stitching to then gather the stitches. Watch this video to learn to gather your skirt.

    Sew the bodice to the skirt

    9. Turn your bodice right side out.
    10. Insert the bodice into the skirt so the right sides are facing. 
    11. Watch this video to learn to sew the bodice to the skirt.
    12. Finish the seam with a serger or an overcast stitch. Press towards the bodice.

    Sew the bottom skirt tier 

    13. Similar to the top tier, sew the front and back of the bottom tier. Finish the seams with a serger or an overlocker.
    14. Gather the bottom tier the same way and sew it to the dress, similar to how the bodice was attached to the top tier.
    15. Finish the seams with the serger or an overcast stitch. Press towards the bodice.

    Hem the dress

    16. Fold the hem by 3/8” two times and sew the hem in place 1/8” from the folded edge.

    Iron the dress & live in the story you just crafted!


    Techniques you will learn

    If you endeavor to make this beautiful hack, you will -

    1. Learn to modify the pattern
    2. Learn to draft a gathered skirt pattern
    3. Learn to draw a pocket pattern
    4. Learn to gather a skirt
    5. Learn to attach inseam pockets
    6. Learn to attach a skirt to a bodice

    Other resources:

    There are so many ways to change this top into a dress. Check out all the different ways this top can be hacked in Helen’s blog. Helen’s blog has detailed instructions as well about how those hacks were done to explore and get more out of the same pattern. Using many different fabrics will also give you many different silhouettes, so try that as well.

    Once again, Helen has generously given all Fabriclore customers a 20% discount code on the Ashton top pattern. USE CODE fabriclore2021ashton during checkout at the Helen’s Closet website. This code will be valid for both the Ashton top and the sleeve expansion pack. The code is valid until May 31st, 2021. So go on and order you pattern so you can get sewing!

    If you do try the pattern or simply sew your own patterns, share in the comments below. Let's inspire each other

    Author: Swetha Mohan

    Reading next

    How to be your own Sewist? #1 Ashton Top - Fabriclore
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    Swetha Mohan

    Swetha Mohan

    Thank you all for the messages! I hope you will all have a chance to make this dress for the summer!



    WOW! This dress is gorgeous! the colour is fantastic. Thanks for sharing this hack, perfect for summer.

    Balwinder Handa

    Balwinder Handa




    Very creative. I would like to try this out. I love sewing and I think of new ways of cutting and stitching. My main passion is to play with the way I cut the pattern. Not yet a pro, but I enjoy doing it.

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