Dakota Sewalong - Customisation Tips & Inspiration

Guess what Dakota sewalong-ers?!? We're done! I hope you don't have much catching up to do, but if you do and for future convenience, find links to all the sewalong posts here or via Pinterest. Don't forget you can also get 10% off dress fabrics from Minerva Crafts until the end of the year!!!

Rachel and I will be revealing our Dakotas on Monday 2 December, but we're also having a 'party' to celebrate your makes on Wednesday 4 December...woohooo! So send us photos (my email address is here) or post links to your makes below by the end of Monday please.

Right now I'm handing over to Saara and Laura from Named, who are going to share some excellent inspiration for customising your Dakotas...

One thing that we especially love about sewing clothes is the fact that you can make the garment very personal by changing the shape, fabric and details. Once you buy a pattern, you actually get a potential for many different garments, not only the one you have purchased! You can choose different materials and make minor modifications to create personal and well-fitting pieces of clothing, but you can also use the same pattern over and over again for several different garments. And, you won’t even need to make drastic adjustments to the pattern itself, even if it looks like you do.

Our Dakota Dress pattern is one style that is especially versatile. For your inspiration, we are sharing some ideas with you today - unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to make a tutorial for each style, but the purpose is to inspire you to design your own Dakota style!


Make different kinds of dresses for example by adjusting the skirt length and fullness, shape of the hemline, sleeve length and ease. You can choose a very well draping fabric and make a sleeveless dress for summer. Leave the waist darts open to create a lot of volume at the waist, add width to the skirt and gather the waist with elastic.


Remove the bodice altogether and use the bottom to make a fabulous skirt! You can add or remove width and length, remove pockets or replace them with in-seam pockets. Make an elastic waistband, or fit one to your waist and add a zipper opening to the back.


You can easily make short or long jackets with different shaped hemlines. Take the collar off or make it bolder! You can add lining if you want, but these work just fine even without one.

Blouses & Tunics

Make beautiful and feminine blouses that can be open at the front or closed as the original Dakota dress. Play with sleeve length and cuffs – you can remove the cuffs, or adjust the width and shape of them and the placket.


Make trendy vests by taking off the sleeves and maybe adjusting the shape of the armholes – add a couple of centimeters to the shoulders and use interfacing to create sexy sharp shoulder line!

As you can see, often it’s a matter of making some straight lines, very minor changes and removing some parts, to turn the dress into something completely different! Recycling is good, and the same rule applies to the patterns as well. Of course, if you make chances like this, it’s always recommended to make a toile first.

These are just a few of our suggestions for Dakota customisation, but as you can see, there are so many choices! Can you think of something else that you would like to do with the Dakota pattern?

-    Saara & Laura


  1. Oooo this is great! Never thought about turning this into a blazer. Also love the elastic waist idea.

    1. They're such clever options aren't they!

  2. I love all of these ideas, I'm saving them for next time

  3. Wow! These are absolutely lovely variations! I had no plans to sew/buy this pattern, but you and Rachel have convinced me!

    1. Yay!!! Go Sonja! So glad we've convinced you!

  4. What a brilliant post, it's great to see what you can do with just one pattern. I especially love the jacket and blouse variations.