I just have to show the back first on this dress right?! I need to first start out by giving credit to the photographer Michelle of Michelle Wallace Photography who did such an amazing job capturing me in my Hallon Dress! I decided to style the dress with my favorite Isla Slide sandals from Nisolo and I love the simple, classic silhouette.
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This is the Hallon Dress by Paradise Patterns and is most well known for that gorgeous low back! There are two different views included in the pattern and I chose to sew view A because I love the ruffles at the hem and the gathers in the back. I had been eyeing this pattern for a long time and saw so many beautiful version searching the hashtag on Instagram but I was hesitant to make it…and I’ll tell you why and what I did to make this pattern for me!
I’m not super confident making mods to patterns but I spent a little time looking at mods that others had done and took my time figuring out what I wanted to try. Then I just went for it – and it all turned out ok!
The pattern has great instructions included on how to shorten the dress based on your height. I followed the instructions (I’m 5’3”) and took 2” out of the top and 2” from the bottom hem. You can see in the photos above what it looks like when I shorten at the top on the Front and Back pattern pieces. I then folded over the edge of the pattern at the left (the side seam of the dress) to merge the pattern pieces.
I also raised the back curve by 1” because I didn’t want it too low (see photo above) by tracing the back curve onto a separate piece of paper. I then placed it 1″ higher than from middle back and taped it on making sure the curve gradually connected back up to the straps.
I cut the back on the fold so I wouldn’t have to worry about pattern matching and this is where I made a mistake…I had wanted to only take about 4” out of the middle back (which is also supposed to help raise the back) but ended up taking out 8” total! I didn’t realize this until later but it all turned out ok!
I’m very happy with the height of the back, but on my next one I will make sure not to take out so much out of the center back because it did take out a lot of volume. I had to cut out 8” from the middle on the ruffle piece as well. And finally I lengthened the straps by about 3” which probably canceled out some of my other mods…haha…but I did this because I didn’t want the armholes too high.
And finally I followed the Bella’s built-in bra hack from What Bella Made where she walks you through adding in a shelf bra specifically for the Hallon Dress. When I found out about this hack, that’s actually what finally pushed me to sew this pattern because I wasn’t sure I would be totally comfortable going sans-bra.. I used some leftover jersey fabric that I had to make the shelf-bra – it’s not the neatest sew
And finally I followed the Bella’s built-in bra hack from What Bella Made where she walks you through adding in a shelf bra specifically for the Hallon Dress. When I found out about this hack, that’s actually what finally pushed me to sew this pattern because I wasn’t sure I would be totally comfortable going sans-bra.. I used some leftover jersey fabric that I had to make the shelf-bra – it’s not the neatest sewing ever, as you can see above, but it does the job!
On my second Hallon dress I had learned a lot more about sewing with knits and did a much cleaner job on the inside. I first attached the elastic, then folded it over twice to enclose it before finishing it with a zig-zig stitch. This is how it’s done in the built-in bra hack video by What Bella Made. The first time I was somehow too worried it wouldn’t work out, so I’m really glad I took the time to make the elastic look cleaner the second time around.
The fabric I chose for my first Hallon Dress is gorgeous gingham stonewashed linen from Blackbird Fabrics which just has the loviest texture. Linen is a great choice for this pattern but any other lightweight to medium woven fabric would work beautifully too. I made a second Hallon Dress (with the same modifications) in a lightweight floral cotton lawn and I love how lightweight and floaty it feels.
Love, love, love this dress and I feel amazing in it! I’m so glad I tried this pattern and took the time to make all the modifications I did – You never know unless you try, right? You can find the pattern here if you’re interested in sewing your own! Hope that reading through my Hallon Dress sewing experience has been helpful and maybe encouraged you to try a pattern you’ve been nervous to start. Thanks for reading, and happy sewing!