Hinterland Sew-Off and Pattern Review


Several weeks ago, when Tori of The Doing Things Blog and Sara of The Sara Project announced the Hinterland Sew-Off, honestly, I wasn’t super-pumped. I was feeling kind of overwhelmed by the projects I had lined up for the fall, and wasn’t interested in buying any new patterns. They were hosting a giveaway of the pattern (by Sew Liberated) on Instagram, so I entered, because I thought it was a pattern I would want to make at some point in time.

I forgot about the sew-off, until I won the pattern giveaway (yay!). Still, I didn’t think I’d get to be a part of the Instagram challenge, as the pattern was being mailed to me from the States and I didn’t expect it to arrive with enough time for me to meet the challenge deadline. Spoiler: It did. It arrived by courier 4 days before the challenge was scheduled to end.

Once I had that pattern in my hands, I knew I had to make one.

I am not exaggerating here – I got started immediately. Within 6 hours of opening the package, I had the fabric cut out and ready to go (luckily I had this lovely Cotton+Steel rayon in my stash already washed and it just needed a quick press). I didn’t even bother with a muslin – I did a hasty tissue fit to make sure everything seemed to be in order and moved right along.

I made a few changes to the pattern that used up more fabric than I would have normally used. It was actually very satisfying to see a small pile of cut bits remain after moving away all the pattern pieces. It was tight, fitting it all in to 3.5 yards of 44″-wide rayon. I opted for a facing rather than a bias-bound neckline, and even squeezing that out was tight. But I did it.

I followed Sara’s instructions for hacking the sleeve to make a bishop-style sleeve, but I reduced the fullness quite a bit. I wanted more of a subtle “poof” in the sleeve, since my fabric already has quite a detailed pattern. As Sara did, I also raised the neckline (by 2″) and made the bodice without a button placket. In an effort to copy the style of a RTW dress I own and love, I added a 1″ waistband along the bottom of the bodice – I sewed the waist ties into the waistband, rather than into the main bodice pieces.


I was a little concerned when I tried on the bodice (I like to try on after every step of sewing – I’m impatient to see how it’ll look before it’s finished) – the darts didn’t look right at all. I hoped the fabric print would hide it and I could still get away with wearing it. Once the skirt was sewn on, it added some weight to the dress and the darts “grew” – and they ended up looking fantastic! I do think that if I make this dress again in something stiffer like a cotton (which I already have in mind), I would have to do some sort of bust dart adjustment. Also, like some people commented on Instagram, this dress needs a major forward-shoulder adjustment for me. This is a change I always need with Big Four patterns and only with some indie patterns, so when I sew indie patterns I always wrongly assume this isn’t a change I always need to make. So next time, I definitely need to make that fix.

I honestly didn’t have high expectations for this dress. I always feel unsure about boxier dresses, and even though the Hinterland looks great on so many other sewists on Instagram, I wasn’t sure it would suit me. Once I added those waist ties and cinched everything in the back – I was in love. The bishop sleeves were the clincher for me. I am crazy about this dress. I stared at it and stared at it when I finished it.

I love how many variations of this dress can be made and the hacking possibilities it has (I’ve already considered trying a version with a gathered waist or elastic-cinched waist). I would love to make one with a button-placket when summer rolls around again. Once I get the right alterations down, oh baby, the possibilities are endless!


4 thoughts on “Hinterland Sew-Off and Pattern Review

  1. sorry if i’ve missed it, but did you add a zipper to the back since you skipped the button placket? I don’t want to do the button placket (too fussy) and trying to sort out what my options might be. your version is LOVELY!


    1. Hi Megan – yes, I did add an invisible zipper down the back (which means you’ll have to add seam allowances to the back pieces which would be cut on the fold). I think some people have found there to be enough ease to get the dress on over without a closure, but I struggle getting woven dresses on without one. Even for buttoned dresses (like my Myosotis dress), I added a side zipper because I can’t live without them!


  2. Hi Rebecca, do you have to do any adjustments to the front bodice to do it without the placket?
    Also, what do you mean by forward shoulder adjustments?
    I have just taken this pattern out to start it and am wondering if the sizing is American, so am I a UK 12 or a US 8?
    Think your dress is lovely by the way!


    1. Hi Maggie! Thanks so much for reading! It’s been a little while, but I believe I followed Sara’s adjustment notes – https://thesaraproject.com/2018/09/24/hinterland-sew-off/
      This is where I learned about forward shoulder adjustments – https://www.mariadenmark.com/2012/08/forward-shoulder-alteration/ You’ll usually know if you need one if your garments tend to slide back and “choke” you.
      In terms of sizing, whether it’s UK or US or European, I always, always check the size chart as it can really vary between brands. I always prioritize my full bust measurement (for me, it’s 36″ – a size 10 for the Hinterland Dress) and make adjustments if I vary in size in the other areas. Measure yourself first if you’re unsure – it’s the best way to choose which size you should be making.
      Thank you so much ! 🙂


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