I’m a huge fan of the Sew Liberated Hinterland dress, and after coming across Sara Johansen’s (of TheSaraProject Blog) bishop sleeve hack tutorial, I knew I wanted to create my own version. (By the way, this isn’t a sponsored post, I’m just a huge fan of the Hinterland and bishop sleeves!)
A Hinterland Hack Inspired by the 1830-40s
Like many others, I am a fan of history bounding. History bounding, if you’re not aware of the term, is a category of style that broadly encompasses dressing in historically inspired – yet not necessarily or strictly historically accurate – clothing. The clothing can be vintage, modern, handmade, or ready-to-wear, it’s more about the overall spirit of the outfit that counts.
Heavily inspired, in particular, by this dress from the collection of the MET, I felt Sara Johansen’s bishop sleeve hack tutorial for the Hinterland dress on the We All Sew blog seemed the perfect way to achieve a modern version for my wardrobe. Her instructions on exactly how to draft, slice, and split the bottom half of the sleeve, and finish with a simple cuff, worked perfectly. I didn’t duplicate the process here because she explains it really well with easy-to-follow images.
Instead of using a ruffle, as in Sara’s tutorial, I opted to use a small bit of crocheted lace I found in a local antique store. I dyed the lace dark brown with RIT dye, as it was rather dingey and several gentle washings did not budge the grayness (I wish I had a good pre-dye photo, but I forgot to take one). I suppose I could have used bleach, but I really didn’t want a harsh white result anyway. To apply, I stitched the lace on by hand, just over where the seam between the sleeve cap and the bishop-portion are joined.
The Sew Liberated Hinterland Dress comes in sizes 0-34. At the time of sewing this project, my measurements were 36″ bust, 30″ waist, 42″ hips. I cut the size 10 with no initial grading adjustments, however, the double gauze I used ‘grew’ during sewing. I ended up installing shaping darts in the front and back to remove about 2 inches from the waist, and the waist is still very loose.
I’ve made another hacked, size 10 version of the Hinterland dress in the past in a Robert Kaufman linen and it did not end up with this much ease, so I suspect it was the fabric having a natural stretch in it. As a huge lover of double-gauze and this pattern, it’s highly likely I will sew another but I will probably cut either a size 8 or maybe even a 6, but more testing will be needed. Even though I added shaping darts, the bust and shoulders are just a little baggier than I would prefer.
Modifications for My Hinterland Dress Hack
Aside from the bishop sleeves, my Hinterland hack includes:
- Lengthening the skirt to 29.5″, with a hem depth of 4″ (the original pattern skirt length is about 27″ with a 1″ hem depth for the size 10)
- 4 Vertical shaping darts along the waist at the front and back to bring the extra, unwanted ease back in
- 2 small darts at the neckline in back – This is a hack I often add to my bodices to prevent gaping at the neckline in the back. I think the gaping is due to my shoulders being rounded from years of abysmally poor posture? I’m not entirely sure, but this little hack usually does the trick!
- Giant patch pockets
One modification I forgot to make on this version that I did make on my previous Hinterland hack was raising the bust darts a little. I need to examine that version more closely to identify how I raised them, but I can tell that the ones on this version are a little too low for my bustline.
Despite my difficulties with the fabric creating unexpected ease, I really love this dress. It’s very cozy, warm, and easy to wear, and I suspect it will now be a fall/winter staple for me. It also helps that I feel a bit like sitter in a Pre-Raphaelite painting while wearing it!
More Hinterland Hacks
I was a bit late to the Hinterland dress hacking train, as a year-or-so ago there was a hackathon on Instagram hosted by Sew Liberated. However, judging by an examination of the Instagram hashtags #hinterlanddress, #hinterlandhack, #hinterlandhackathon, and #hinterlandsewoff, the hacking never stopped. This pattern is clearly highly customizable and versatile – definitely a wardrobe staple if it is your style.