March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

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March Apron Dress Hack

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

It’s time for another pattern hack tutorial! I’ve been wanting to play around with this apron wrap dress concept for a while now. I love the idea of wrap-clothing in general because it is so changing-body-friendly. I also love a good apron-inspired look so it’s no surprise I was drawn to this design. 

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

This hack uses the March Dress sewing pattern but with the sides left open, so it is like a giant over-the-head bib. We then add some ties at the waist so we can wrap it around the body and overlap the sides to create a dress! The March pattern is ideal for this hack because it already has the volume required to wrap around. Very few changes are needed!

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns
Helen's Closet March Top and Dress Sewing Pattern, View B
March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

You Will Need

  • The March Dress pattern (specific pieces listed below):
    • Top Front
    • Top Back
    • Front Panel
    • Back Panel
    • Gathered Peplum/Skirt
    • Neck Tie (optional)
March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Quick Guide:

  1. Lengthen the bodice and trim off the sleeve attachment to smooth out the arm openings
  2. Sew the bodice with no sleeves and finish the arm openings separately (no side seams)
    • You can sew this hack with or without the neck tie
  3. Finish the sides of the skirt separately (no side seams, no pockets)
  4. Gather and attach the front and back skirt to the front and back bodice
  5. Sew four ties: 30-40” (76-102 cm) long each
  6. Attach the ties at the front and back waist seams
March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Making the Apron Dress Hack

The first step is to alter the bodice and front/back panel pieces slightly. We are going to eliminate the poofy sleeves and add some length. I added 1.5” (4 cm) to my bodice. You can measure the front pattern piece from the shoulder to hem and then compare that to your body. You want the bottom of the bodice to hit your natural waist (make sure you consider seam allowance). Add this length to the front piece, back piece, and front/back panel pieces.

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

We also want to trim off the sleeve attachment and smooth out the arm opening. Just eyeball this and make a nice smooth curve here. 

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Note: I also added length to my skirt pieces, approximately 12” (30.5 cm). I am 5’9″ (1.75 m).

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

The March bodice is constructed as normal with the exception of the side seams. You can sew the view with or without the neck tie, it is totally up to you. Instead of sewing the side seams, we are going to finish the edge of the arm openings separately. You can turn the edges under 3/8” (1 cm) twice and edgestitch, or you can finish it with bias binding like I did. I made extra bias tape when I made my neck tie so I could add this detail.

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns
March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Next, we can hem the skirt (only if you already know you are happy with the length) and finish the sides. Once again, we aren’t going to sew the side seams closed on this skirt, so we need to finish them separately. I hemmed my front and back pieces first and then I turned the edges under ⅜” (1 cm) twice and edgestitched. 

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Gather the front and back skirt panels as instructed and then attach them to the front and back bodice respectively. Distribute the gathers evenly as you go (check out our tutorial on gathering here). You can finish this seam with a serger/overlocker or you could finish it with bias binding. Press it up and topstitch it onto the bodice to make it extra secure.

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Construct your four ties. I made mine a 1” (2.5 cm) finished width so I cut them 4” wide by 40” long (10 cm x 102 cm). I folded the raw edges in towards the middle and then folded them in half again. I edgestitched on both sides. If you prefer a narrow tie, you can totally do that! I did not interface these ties because I wanted them to be nice and soft. Mine are really long and I like having lots of length for tying in a bow or wrapping around the body completely.

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Sew the ties at both sides of the waist of the front/back dress. I’m placing mine so it just overlaps the waist seam for extra strength. Sew it on with the tie facing towards the dress at about ⅜” (1 cm). 

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Trim the tie seam allowance and then fold it over itself so it is facing away from the dress. Sew it in place again, close to the edge of the dress. This encloses the raw end of the tie and secures it really well. Repeat for all four ties

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Finish the ends of the ties however feels good to you. Turn them under twice and topstitch, tie them in a knot, or simply sew a line of stay stitching and let them unravel so they have a cute frayed appearance!

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns
March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Now you can style your apron dress hack! I like to tie the back first and then the front, so the overlapped skirt is visible on the front of the dress. You can also tie it the other way and have the visible bow in the back. The side where the ties are under the skirt can feel a bit bulky, so you can wrap them all the way around to the other side and tie them there, or you can shorten these ties and add a closure like a button to hold it in place.

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns
March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

I am pleasantly surprised by the coverage that is achieved at the underarm and along the thigh. The wrap overlaps a good amount and does not leave me feeling exposed. The underarm is nice and snug and covers my bra. This may vary depending on body proportions. One thing you can do to add coverage here is sew a small triangle of fabric to connect the tie and the bodice to create more tension here and pull it closed more. If you feel the legs are too exposed, consider a small button or snap closure to secure the skirt overlap (or a safety pin works, too!).

FAQs 

Can I add pockets to this hack?

You can add patch pockets either on the front skirt or on the sides of the back skirt. I think this would look really cute!

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns

Can I make a wrap top using this method?

Yes! You can make View B or C of March (the top views) and make a wrap top. The process is the same. If making View C (with the straight peplum), you may wish to hem it shorter. The straight peplum has no shaping and it may feel snug on the lower tummy. 

Can I make this hack with the poofy sleeves?

This hack works best without the sleeves due to the wrap-style. 

Can I add gathered tiers?

Yes! I love this idea. You can add as many tiers as you would like.

March Dress Sewing Pattern Apron Dress Hack Tutorial - Helen's Closet Patterns
About the author

Helen

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.

11 Comments on “March Apron Dress Hack”

  1. I love your hacks and the instructions are very nice but please consider adding a PDF feature. It would be so nice to be able to save these via a button that transforms it into a simple PDF with some important photos. Thanks.

  2. There are some really fun possibilities here! I can’t even settle on an idea before I think of another one. Maybe making colour blocking the bib and front skirt in one colour and everything else something else for a bit of 18th century history bounding … or adding tiers to one skirt and not the other … or some hidden pockets … or … 🙂

  3. This looks super cute! Do you find there is any upper arm movement constriction due to the fabric being pulled to the front (or back)?

    1. Thanks! I don’t find it to be restricting, it moves with me when I reach forward or back. Maybe a little if I reach straight up, but I can still do it!

  4. I just love it! And I love the fringe (bangs, I’m British,) it sooo suits you.this is the perfect spring dress. Your patterns never disappoint.

  5. This is for Robin: Hi, Robin. You can save the blog as a pdf document. Right click and select “print” from the menu. Ensure that your printer selection is on “Microsoft print to PDF”. Then click on “Print” at the bottom of that window. Give the document a file name and save it. Unfortunately, the pictures are split across pages, but at least it provides the gist of the procedure. I hope this helps. Yvonne.

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