great pattern hack: tulip antalya dress

hello purple lovers!!  welcome back, i have another dress for you, yep two purple dresses in a row on the blog, you’re so welcome.

my friend Melissa of A Happy Stitch partnered with Michael Miller Fabrics for an event called THE GREAT PATTERN HACK (which sounds so epic it needed caps i think).  we chose from a selection of brand new fabrics from Michael Miller, a selection of patterns from indie designers, and got to hacking.  here’s mine!

tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

after seeing some really cool versions of the Antalya Dress by Willow & Co on the blogs, I was intrigued to give it a whirl.  i made a size 6 for E and figured the roomy fit and length would last her a bit, because she couldn’t possibly be a size 6 yet, right??  it seemed too big while i was sewing it but she really has grown a lot lately.

the fit is perfect.

tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

the very cool print fabric was designed by Thomas Paul for his Seedling line for Michael Miller Fabrics.  it’s called Tulip in orchid and the side panels are Cotton Couture (my favorite solid) in Mauve.  since i ordered it online and the fabric line is new, i didn’t expect the tulips to be as large as they were!  but i really love the scale and it was fun playing with the symmetry of the design on this particular dress.

tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

frankly i didn’t want to hack the Antalya – the design is cool and there’s plenty going on already, so i had to think a bit on how to go about changing it without losing its essence.  plus it was my first time sewing it and i wasn’t too sure how it was all going to come together.  the pattern is called “confident beginner” level but with the curved piecing and zipper, i’d probably label it more intermediate.

in the end my alterations were more like tweaks than hacks, but i think they made a nice impact.

tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

the first change i made was around the neckline.  the original neckline is pretty high and i have a thing about bias tape that “stands up” at a neckline, so i wanted to finish it a little differently.

first, i scooped out the neck about 1/2” at center front and tapered it to the original width at the shoulders, then i used single fold bias instead of double fold to widen the neckline even further and hide the finish inside the dress.  i cut the bias tape 1” wide and folded it all the way under to the inside of the dress before topstitching (good tutorial on this method here).

tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

for the back closure, i went with the exposed zipper option (i wanted to try an invisible zipper but my brain was tired from the rest of the hacking).  i folded the zipper tape down and had to add some heavy zigzagging at the top so the zipper wouldn’t fly off the end!  that wouldn’t be good at all.

tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

the second change was to add pockets!

tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

when i first saw the Antalya dress i wondered if the gathered panels in the front might be pockets like the Cappuccino Dress (you can see them really well in this version).  since they weren’t, i went about creating my own.

antalya edit

to do this, extend the side panel pattern piece about 5-6” and then drew a gentle curve from the upper notch to meet it.  then create a pocket facing (right above) by tracing the piece you just drew and adding a seam allowance to the top (where you’ll be sewing it to the dress).  i also added the “gather front skirt to here” notch as a dot on the pocket facing.

you only need to apply this change to the front, the back side panel can stay as is.


when it’s time to gather the front bodice skirt parts, gather them to fit the pocket facing dot and sew from side seam to the notch/dot.  baste from the dot to the upper tip of the pocket facing piece, making sure the top edge tapers out and away from the seam allowance.  trim and finish your seam allowance just up to the dot; i also recommend understitching the pocket facing to the seam allowance to keep it in place.  i skipped that step and mine likes to peek out.

sew the side panels to the dress as instructed, only match up your pocket and pocket facing and sew down and around them (being careful not to catch the pocket in the seam allowance when you get to the point where they meet).  that’s the tricky part, and i recommend basting it first if you’re unsure of how it will work.

once you’ve got it sewn, finish your seam allowance then baste the pocket to the side of the front.  it’ll be secured when you sew the side seams.

tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

E loves this dress!  she was very excited when she saw it and wore it all day after our early morning photoshoot.  the girl will never shy away from bold prints and i think the design of the Antalya suits her really well too.

thanks so much for having me, Melissa and Michael Miller!



DISCLOSURE: i received the fabric shown and the Antalya dress pattern in exchange for this blog post.  

20 thoughts on “great pattern hack: tulip antalya dress

  1. Brian Harvey's Mother says:

    The pockets are a must for this beautiful and talented girl-on-the-go. She’ll need the space to help and to keep up with you and your creative ventures.

  2. kait says:

    SO CUTE!! I really love how this dress turned out. Also, I agree with Brian Harvey’s Mother– pockets are a must! Great hack, Kristin!

  3. rachel says:

    Wow, this is so, so perfect! I can’t tell you how much I love your changes! You couldn’t have hacked it better. You’re right, it is such a great pattern to begin with and these subtle changes are exactly the right fit for it! You did such an awesome job with the large scale tulips. I will definitely keep this in mind for when I make this dress again! Way to go, K!

  4. gail says:

    Perfect tulip placement! And what are ya gonna do, purple is a very good color on her! Even I love that shade – it’s a great one! 🙂

  5. lucinda says:

    Way to take an already great pattern and tweak it to perfection!:) Love the addition of pockets – how clever of you to figure out how to add them. Glad that E loves the finished product so much – always a win for a sewing mama:)

  6. deliacreates says:

    ooh! So pretty. Such a lovely hack and I can’t believe how grown up E is! (Love your new blog layout as well btw!)

  7. Lightning McStitch says:

    What a fortunate accident in print scale. it turned out to be perfect size for the bodice width. nice touch with the pockets, they absolutely look like they were meant to be there (pattern designers take note!)

  8. girllikethesea says:

    Your hacks are perf. They improve on the original design of the dress. Even though I’m not a purple person, the fabric combo is pretty great. I like the large scale

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