My Lady Skater Hack: Hoodie Style

Bird and Bicycle in lady skater pattern hack

I am very proud of a recent make for myself and felt like I would quickly write down my process for adding a hood to a knit dress. It all comes from this picture I saw on twitter by KirstyTeaCat one night, and I knew I had to have a hoodie dress. I took a screen capture, added it to my pinterest, and daydreamed about it. It is Butterick 4416, and likely hard to find although I didn’t even look.

Awesome butterick pattern inspiration

Next came a Curvy Collective Facebook Event. I wanted to attend the Very Curvy Sewing Celebration and Melizza and I had made a sewing date (kinda on accident on the same day.) We both decided we would focus and whip up a new dress to celebrate! I had two evenings to make a dress. I had to choose something I had already fit so it came down to the Lady Skater or the Myrtle. I love them both so much! My husband advised me well and I choose the pattern that I knew needed no alterations. The Lady Skater is such an easy fun pattern! I love it! So I cut it out of a stash black sweater knit with tan hearts that I am sure was from FabricMart in 2012 maybe? Or before?

Melizza PincushionTreats and Bird and Bicycle celebrating a Very Curvy Sewing Celebration

Before I decided to add a hood, I decided to play with the neckline. I raised the back neckline a bit, maybe 2″ and the front about 1.5″, redrawing the curve of the front and back bodice pieces. I sewed it all together with my serger, a little top stitching on the shoulders (reinforced with clear elastic) and I followed Gillian’s advice and used the gathering stitch on the bottom skirt to make the hem easier. I finished the cuffs with the hearts backwards on purpose because all the hearts are upside down and I wanted to look at some of them right side up. Call me whacky, but I like it. I also made the sleeves extra long and the cuffs actually cover my knuckles when pulled down all the way.

I was looking at the neckline and thinking about what to do. I googled “lady skater hacks” and found some brilliant alterations. Heather had added pleats, and some other people had added color blocks and all types of things. Then I suddenly remembered the hoodie knit dress and ba-bam! I made one.

I have been making t-shirts with hoods for my son and his pals lately, and I have sewn hoodies before, so the general shape and construction is known to me. It is not that complicated, but if you haven’t done it before maybe find a google video to watch first.

I measured my neckline so I would know how long to make the hood, and drew a rough sketch. I knew that I needed a large piece that would connect to the front of the bodice because it was still a scoop neck shape. You can just barely see the small pencil line that marks my shoulder seam. I came up with this:

Hood Pattern

I drew a giant circle, added the front scoop piece, and wished myself good luck. I cut the fabric and serged the two hood halves together. Then I finished the front edge of the hood with my coverstitch. I marked with a pin the shoulder seam (I had measured it and knew it was 5.5″ inches from the center back) and pinned it. Then I pinned it right sides together all around the neckline. I serged the hood to the neckline, and tried it on. It was darn near perfect! I was worried about stability, so I also coverstitched the hood seam to the body of the dress, keeping that seam flat.

I love how it came out! I will be pattern hacking a Comino Cap Dress skirt to the Lady Skater bodice with my drafted hood next, although who knows what whacky decisions I may do next!

Lady Skater with Hood by Bird and Bicycle

If you are nervous about drawing your own hood shape, maybe you can trace a hood pattern you already have (I love the hood from the Jalie hoodie!) and measure the neckline, and then add you own additional front piece to give it extra drape if you need more length. Ask me any questions if you have them!


Bird and Bicycle in lady skater pattern hack

Comino Cap Top

I have yet to make the actual dress from the Comino Cap pattern, because the top is just so dang cute. It’s probably the most flattering garment I have made (except for maybe the Tiramisu Dress, always a winner.) It’s very quick to stitch up with no sleeves and just bindings for the finish.

Comino Cap Top by bird and bicycle

My coverstitch really hated this fancy layered fabric, and my sewing machine made it ripple a little around the neckline. Sometimes I may over do it a little bit with my love of top stitching. I should learn some tiny hand stitches to keep the neckline flat without topstitching. Anyone have good ideas?

Comino Cap Top by bird and bicycle

This fabric is surprisingly awesome. The mesh over the bold pattern makes me happy. Are you every surprised by what fabric you purchase? I am trying my best to swear off purchasing fashion fabrics online anymore. It’s cheaper I know, and a better selection, but I am often disappointed in color or texture, which you just can’t tell from purchasing fabric online. How do you guys deal with this?

It’s so tricky for me to visualize fabric on the body, especially patterns. What colors and fabrics and textures attract my eye, ironically I do not enjoy wearing. I first began sewing, as so many do, with quilting cottons. The bold colors and designs are a delight to have around you, I see why so many people make clothes from them. I just prefer to wear dark colors. The other day my 3 year old asked me if my favorite color was black. When I asked why he thought do, he said because I always wear it. So maybe I should expand my style to include colors?

Comino Cap Top by bird and bicycle

Thanks for reading as always. I know this has been a bit of show and tell lately, and I appreciate the feedback! You can see how pink my cheeks are from the cold. It’s not snowing in Seattle but the wind can be pretty chilly! This is definitely a summer top! Hope you are all snuggly warm, enjoying the last bit of winter (or summer, you international globe trotters!)

Lady Skater

When I first saw Katie’s lady skater I wanted one. As in, I need this! so, now, months later, I have one of my very own! The fabric isn’t identical to Katie’s but pretty dang close with a pale pink background. I am one step closer to creating a wardrobe appropriate to be in The Misfits!


The dress was an easy make, maybe too easy?! I haven’t used clear elastic around a waist before and frankly, I dislike it. I am curious to see how it holds up over time. I didn’t realize the pattern repeat was so very obvious until I took these pictures.


If I make this again, I will raise the waistline and lengthen the skirt. I will also not at all use cotton interlock. I made one from cotton interlock, after this cute leopard print one, and the darn fabric was frankly, sucked.

Recently a friend, a professional costumer, mentioned something about me and technical knowledge and drape and all I can remember exactly was that I need to learn how to drape muslins on myself as fit that way. So, instead of my usual nip tuck, I ignored all previous ideas about what I thought my “body fit” is and instead just sewed a muslin with almost no flat pattern alterations. All formal like, I basted and measured and tucked and took it apart and put it back together and carefully measured again and again. I was able to use the same fabric for three muslins because I just kept taking in and in and in. So who knew I had such a weird body?


Does anyone else take your body measurements and then consider health? I have had back problems off and on my whole life. I have to alter all patterns with a sway back of at least 2″, and shrink the shoulders/sleeve height down usually about 1.5″ and what does this say about bone structure? I won’t deny the advantages. Lacking height in my shoulders makes my bosom look nice and perky when in fact, I am just short! Ha!

Sewing this up taught me a great deal about shoulder fit. And I can now take what I have learned and alter other patterns easily. In fact, doing this helped me understand what was wrong with my Ziggi moto jacket! So hopefully I can find some time to work on that this winter.

I don’t know if I particularly like the lady skater, but I drafted a great t-shirt from it, and learned so much sewing it, that I am very pleased. I do think this is a fantastic beginner knit dress, and would look better on people with longer bodies/more waist than me. I am forever learning about sewing. So my hobby keeps me in a whirlwind of pride and humility, discovery and challenge. It’s the ideal craft for me! But what about you? Have you been successfully challenged by your own crafts lately?

It took me far too long to post about this dress, and I have already made another one. I find they can be casual as in the above pictures, with flip flops, or more dressy, for the ever attractive date nights. Mojito, anyone?