Ashton Butterfly Sleeve Dress

HelenAshton Hacks, Ashton Top, Helen's Makes, Pattern Hacks23 Comments

Ashton Hack: Butterfly Sleeve Dress

You knew this was coming, right? Since the release of the Ashton Sleeve Expansion Pack, I have been itching to share some more Ashton hacks (this time with sleeves)!

Ashton Top Butterfly Sleeve Dress Hack in Leopard Print Tencel Twill
Ashton Sleeves Expansion Pack, butterfly sleeves.
The Ashton Butterfly Sleeve Expansion

This hack is very simple – lengthen the Ashton Top to a dress and add a little optional waist tie. I used a leopard print Tencel from Blackbird Fabrics and I looooooove this dress. It feels so chic and cool while still being super comfy and easy to style.

Ashton Top Butterfly Sleeve Dress Hack in Leopard Print Tencel Twill
Ashton Top Butterfly Sleeve Dress Hack in Leopard Print Tencel Twill

How to lengthen the Ashton Top:

All you need to do is extend the sides of the Ashton pattern all the way down to where you want your dress to end. I added 22″ to mine.

Technical illustration to demonstrate how to extend the side and center seams to create a dress from the Ashton top pattern.

Before you cut your fabric – make sure the dress is going to fit over your hips! Measure the pattern around the hip area and times those measurements by 2. Subtract 2.5″ for the 4 seam allowances and you have your finished hip measurement. If that is smaller than or close to your hip measurement, you may want to make the dress more a-line in shape. See below.

Technical illustration to demonstrate how to extend the side seams in an A-line shape to create more room in the hips.

You will also need to adjust your hem facings. Make sure that they are the same width as the new hem on your dress.

Technical illustration to demonstrate how to trace a new dress hem using the original hem facings.
Technical illustration to demonstrate how to extend the hem facings.

I used the butterfly sleeve of the Ashton Sleeve Expansion Pack for this look and I love the gentle drape of the fabric off the shoulder and the swish when I move around.

Close up of the Ashton butterfly sleeves, sewn in tencel twill.
Ashton Top Butterfly Sleeve Dress Hack in Leopard Print Tencel Twill
Helen models her Ashton dress hack with her hands on her hips.

I also sewed a waist tie to cinch this dress in, but that is totally optional! I didn’t sew belt loops or anything fancy, just a separate tie piece that you can optionally wear.

For this butterfly sleeve dress, I sewed a simple belt in self fabric to cinch in the waist.

I think this little dress is a winner. I may not have anywhere to wear it just yet – but I’m going to be ready when I do!

This Ashton dress hack is an easy way to dress up a tried and true sewing pattern!
Ashton Dress hack in leopard print tencel twill, shown seated.

I want to wish you Happy Holidays! We are going to be taking some time off over the next week or so and cozying up with a good book by the Christmas Tree. I hope you and yours are safe and well and I look forward to continuing our sewing adventures in the new year!


About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

23 Comments on “Ashton Hack: Butterfly Sleeve Dress”

  1. I *love* this. And such a great fabric choice! This will definitely make it on my (ever-expand) spring/summer to-sew list 🙂

    1. Thank you! The shoes are from a thrift store, originally from H&M. Unfortunately they are not the most comfortable, but they sure are cute in photoshoots!

  2. This turned out beautifully! As I get more experience I’m getting more comfortable with fluid and drape-y fabrics. This hack will be perfect for trying out my skills!

  3. Hello Helen,
    Just so lovely. I enjoy seeing all of your makes with your own patterns. I’m going to use this hack to make seersucker, summer house dresses for my mother in North Carolina. You know they have the kind of days down there where you don’t feel like wear clothes because it soooooo hot hot hot hot!

  4. OMG! This was meant to be! I was given some beautiful Liberty cotton lawn fabric for Christmas, last night I was piecing the PDF Ashton pattern together and I thought I’d get so much more wear out of this if it had sleeves! Open my emails this morning and there it is LOL!

  5. Ahh I love this! I have a fabric in my stash that I’ve been saving so I can make this exact dress (now that I know it exists 🙂 ). I’m VERY excited now.

  6. I love this dress and bought the pattern and I have made up a trial top with butterfly sleeves in size 4 just to check sizing.
    It fits in the bust and at the shoulders but the neckline is not really wide enough. Would it be better to make the next size up (6) or adjust the neckline and make the neckline wider?

    1. Thanks Ingrid! If you want to make the neckline larger, you totally can! Just remove a bit from the neckline and go from there. You may want to make a second muslin to test this or consider cutting some off your first muslin to see if you like it!

  7. Thank you. I’m always a bit scared cutting and changing patterns but I will try on my muslin and trace the pattern again before using my lovely drapey fabric. Looking forward to making and wearing this gorgeous dress!

  8. I love the fabric you used and you look lovely and flowy. That isn’t a word apparently. What I don’t get it how to be in a fabric store with all that fabric and being able to see the potential. I wouldn’t pick this out! I love your story which I listened to on the Seamwork podcast today – how thrilling!!

  9. Helen, you are a genius! I love how hackable your patterns are, I think my whole wardrobe will be Helens Closet soon!

  10. With this just hitting my email in November 2021, it’s absolutely Perfect for those of us on the other side of the world (Australia) entering a hot summer. This will be a ‘wear anywhere’ dress.

  11. I need a baby bump-friendly simple dress pattern for an upcoming wedding and this is perfect! I already have the Ashton and sleeves patterns and hadn’t thought of this combo but it looks so clean but appropriate for nicer occasions. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes it does work with Lawrence! It takes a little fiddling but you can get it to work with the Lawrence shoulder/armscye and you’ll be good to go!

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