Every time I teach my pattern reading and layout class I demo how to cut out another dress. As you may imagine they are starting to add up. Because I do not need the same dress style over and over I also show how easy it is to hack or alter a pattern using the slash and spread method. This amazing technique will dramatically alter a simple pattern.

I use this fitted pattern as the class demo because it has four simple pieces, grainlines, fold lines and darts. The class gets a birds eye view of the many different symbols all in one pattern.

The slash and spread method is exactly what it sounds like. I cut slashes from the bottom of the skirt  stopping before I reach the waistline. The fuller I want to spread the skirt out the more slashes I make. The waistline remains the same size since we do not cut through it. Check out my illustrations.

To get started with this pattern I first need to take the original skirt pattern and pin the darts together as if they do not exist. Wider skirts do not need darts. I trace my original skirt pattern onto transfer paper leaving those darts out.






After class I always finish the dress. Most are made of donated fabrics. Picking the zipper color can be tricky. If you put your zipper in correctly the only part that shows is the pull tab. I could have gotten away with any of these zippers.

The sheath dress hemline was 1′ to 1 1/2″ wide. Now the new skirt of my dress has a much wider, rounder circumference. It really just needed a narrow hem if I wanted it to lay flat. Remember, keep it simple when you start out.

It’s hard to believe these are from the same dress pattern.

This method can also be used on pant legs and tops to get a wider effect. It is a lot of fun and the possibilities are limitless.

Thank you reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!



Tracy McElfresh
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