As soon as we saw it on Instagram, we loved Janine’s 70s inspired Casssiopée dress made in a lovely Liberty fabric from her own shop, Lilly Paris in Switzerland. Her version features a slit neckline which you can close with ties, bell sleeves and another tier of ruffles for the skirt. In fact, we loved it so much that we asked her to help us publish a tutorial so you can make your own too. The best about this version is that there are so many possibilities… You can either make all the hacks and create the same dress as Janine or you can pick one of them only.
The original Cassiopée dress
The seamstress : Janine
« Adapting patterns to your personal ideals makes people unique and happy! »
My name is Janine and I started sewing when I was a child. Together with my mum and later with my girlfriends I made great dresses and masks to celebrate Carnival in Lucerne, my hometown. The origin of Lucerne Carnival traces back in time, to the 15th century and is still one of the biggest events of the year. I am still very impressed by the creativity of people during this time.
After several years of working in human resources and many long journeys as a backpacker around the world, I became a mother of twins. At this time, I started sewing again. However, it was difficult to find fabrics that I liked and that were more special than what you could buy in Switzerland. Therefore, five years ago I started my own business, my own fabric shop Lilly Paris. Customers can buy fabrics and haberdashery in our shop in Rüschlikon a lovely little town close to Zurich, which is also easily accessible by boat. We also have an online shop, where you can easily find all our beautiful products from Europe, specially France but also from Japan.
Cassioppée is one of my and my favourite customers dress patterns, easy to sew and easy to wear, even for beginners! Perfect for young girls but also stylish women. Whether in chambray, viscose, Tana Lawn, linen or wool, it always looks great. With flip-flops or sandals in summer, with sneakers or boots in winter.
Finally, something about my pattern hack; adapting patterns to individual ideals makes people unique and happy!
How to sew the dress
You’ll find the instructions to hack your I AM Cassiopée dress like Janine below. Do them all 3 or choose your favourite and add it to your next I AM Cassiopée dress.
You will need the I AM Cassiopée dress original pattern to sew this version. If you do not have it yet, discover it now.
1 – Preparing the pattern pieces
You will need an extra 12” (30 cm) of fabric to sew tis Cassiopée dress.
To add the slit at the neckline
Print and cut the Front Facing pattern piece (n° 5). Use this piece rather than the one in the original pattern.
Trim the Front pattern piece (n° 3) at the center front as shown on the illustration below and cut the pattern piece.
Cut a strip of 20’’ (50 cm) by 3/4’’ (2 cm) for the ties.
To add the tiered skirt panel
Shorten the skirt pattern piece (n°1) by 11” (28 cm).
Prepare a pattern piece for tiered skirt panel as mentioned in the table below and cut x 2 in your fabric.
|Size||Tiered skirt panel (length x height)|
|34||94 cm x 35 cm|
|36||96 cm x 35 cm|
|38||98 cm x 35 cm|
|40||100 cm x 35 cm|
|42||103 cm x 35 cm|
|44||106 cm x 35 cm|
|46||108 cm x 35 cm|
|48||110 cm x 35 cm|
|50||113 cm x 35 cm|
|52||115 cm x 35 cm|
To add the bell sleeves
Shorten the Sleeve pattern piece (n°2) by 8’’ (20 cm).
Prepare a pattern piece for the bell sleeves as mentioned in the table below and cut x 2 in your fabric.
|Size||Bell sleeve cuff (length x height)|
|34||76 cm x 18 cm|
|36||80 cm x 18 cm|
|38||84 cm x 18 cm|
|40||88 cm x 18 cm|
|42||92 cm x 18 cm|
|44||96 cm x 18 cm|
|46||100 cm x 18 cm|
|48||104 cm x 18 cm|
|50||108 cm x 18 cm|
|52||110 cm x 18 cm|
2 – Sewing process
1 – Assembling the front
Place a sleeve and the front bodice right sides together and pin in place. Sew at 3/8’’ (1 cm). Finish the seam allowances and press the seam downwards. Repeat for the back bodice and for the other sleeve.
2 – Preparing the ties
Fold the piece in half lengthwise right sides together. Sew all along at 1/2’’ (1.3 cm).
Trim to 1/8” (3 mm) seam allowance.
Turn the ties right side out and press. Cut the strip in two equal length ties. At one end of each tie, fold 3/8’’ (1 cm) and then again 5/8’’ (1,5 cm). Sew to maintain in place.
3 – Assembling the facing
Finish the raw edges of the facings at the shoulders and along the outer edge. Place the front and the back facings right sides together and align the shoulders. Pin in place and sew at 3/8’’ (1 cm). Press the seams open.
4 – Sewing the neckline
On a table, place the garment right side up. Place the raw edges of the ties on each edge 3/8 (1 cm) from the top of the neckline.
Place the facing wrong side up. Align the center fronts and center backs of the facing and the garment. Match up the shoulder seams of the facing with the notches on the sleeves. Pin in place and stitch at 3/8’’ (1 cm). Start at the center back and go around the neckline. When arriving 3/16” (5 mm) from the center front slit, put your needle in the work and pivot the fabric. Sew along the slit 3/16” (5 mm) from the edge. When reaching the center front, pivot to form the V-shape angle and sew along the slit. When arriving 3/8”(1 cm) from the neckline, pivot again and finish sewing the neckline.
Tip : Use tailor’s chalk or an erasable inked pen to trace the sewing line on the wrong side of the fabric and sew following the lines. Always test erasable inked pens on a scrap before doing it on your garment.
Notch into the curves to allow the seam to sit flat. Carefully clip the seam allowance of the center front V-shaped angle up to 1/16’’ (1 mm) from the seam.
Turn right side out and press to ensure the facing stays inside the garment without showing. On the right side of the garment, topstitch around the neckline, 5/8’’ (1,5 cm) from the edge making sure the ties are out of the way. Start at the center back and go around the neckline. When arriving 5/8” (1,5 cm) from the center front slit, put your needle in the work and pivot the fabric. Sew along the slit 5/8” (1,5 cm) from the edge. When reaching 5/16” (8 mm) below the center front V-shaped angle, put your needle down again and pivot. Sew for 1 3/16” (3 cm) and pivot again to stitch 5/8” from the edge towards the neckline. 5/8” (1,5 cm) from the neckline, pivot again to finish topstitching the neckline.
Astuce : Use tailor’s chalk or an erasable inked pen to trace the sewing line on the wrong side of the fabric and sew following the lines. Always test erasable inked pens on a scrap before doing it on your garment.
5 – Assembling the skirt
Sew a row of long length stitches 5/16’’ (8 mm) from the top of each skirt. Do not backstitch and leave around 4’’ (10 cm) of thread at both ends.
Place one skirt and the front bodice right sides together. Pin at both extremities and at the center front. Pull the thread tails until the skirt and the bodice are the same length. Spread the gathers evenly and pin in place. Sew at 3/8’’ (1 cm) and finish the raw edges. Repeat for the back.
Sew at 3/8” (1 cm) and finish the seam allowance. Repeat for the back and to assemble the tiered skirt panels to the skirts (front and back).
6 – Sewing the side seams
Place the front and the back right sides together and pin along each side seams making sure to match the seams. Sew at 3/8’’ (1 cm) and finish the raw edges.
6 – Hemming the skirt
At the bottom of the skirt fold 3/8’’ (1 cm) towards the wrong side and press. Fold again 1 5/8’’ (4 cm) towards the wrong side and press. Pin in place and topstitch all around.
8 – Preparing the bell sleeves cuffs
Sew a row of long length stitches 5/16’’ (8 mm) from the top of one bell sleeve cuff. Do not backstitch and leave around 4’’ (10 cm) of thread at both ends.
Place one cuff right sides together widthwise and align the edges. Pin in place and sew at 3/8’’ (1 cm). Finish the seam allowances press. Turn right side out.
9 – Sewing the bell sleeve cuffs
Place the top of the cuff and the bottom of one sleeve right sides together matching up the seams. Pin at the seams. Pull the gather thread delicately until both pieces are the same length. Spread the ease evenly. Pin in place and sew at 3/8’’ (1 cm). Finish the seam allowances. Repeat for the other sleeve.
10 – Hemming the sleeves
At the bottom of one sleeve fold 3/8’’ (1 cm) towards the wrong side and press. Fold again 3/8’’ (1 cm) towards the wrong side and press. Pin in place and topstitch all around. Repeat for the other sleeve.