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Free Pattern Hack: Dahlia with an Articulated Shoulder Seam


Sometimes the best hack is the simplest one. Dahlia is such a classic dress, it is hard to add to it without creating something that is too fussy. For this month’s pattern hack we decided to do something a bit different. Instead of showing you how to create a yoke, or change the silhouette of Dahlia, we wanted to offer a hack that would create fit solutions.


Dahlia is a classic dress with a fitted waist yoke and soft gathers that are very feminine. On broad shoulders, Dahlia’s wide vintage inspired neckline is gorgeous, but it can be challenging to fit on narrow shoulders. In this month’s pattern hack, we are showing you how to create an articulated shoulder seam to make your Dahlia super easy to fit. Many vintage garments feature this design detail. Despite the subtlety of this hack, it can add elegance to your Dahlia and help you achieve the perfect fit.

Don’t forget that through the end of the month you can get 20% off Dahlia when you use the code DAHLIAMONTH at check out!

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Haley Glenn

Editorial Director

Five years ago, Haley left the apparel industry to join the world of home sewing. She has been empowering women to sew ever since – first through years of in-person teaching at Sew LA, and now through her writing at Colette. Haley writes tutorials and articles on our blog, teaches sewalongs, and writes and edits for our magazine, Seamwork.



November 19, 2015 #

This looks like it will be a great solution to the Dahlia shoulder gape, but I have no idea what an “articulated shoulder seam” is! Could you please add a couple of pictures showing what it looks like once this hack is done? Looking forward to fixing my Dahlia, which remains one of my favourite patterns!


November 19, 2015 #

Above I have updated the post with a more clear image.


November 19, 2015 #

And how do we do when the dress was gaping originally ? I had to add a dart on the original model but I would like to fix the problem better with this hack ..
If I don’t add seam allowance would that work ? All the more than sleeves are always to wide for me ..


November 20, 2015 #

Lovely lovely lovely!

Francesca a

November 23, 2015 #

I really don’t get this. How can adding a seam in the sleeve help with fitting? Unless there’s some shaping built in at the shoulder? A bit more detail would have been helpful, especially considering so many of us had the same huge neckline problem.

Subtle natural (sic) just about describes this non hack. Very disappointed compared to your usual ones.


November 24, 2015 #

See reply below


November 24, 2015 #

@Francesca A: I haven’t made this pattern yet, but in general, adding extra seams allows more opportunities for fitting because you can simply add or remove fabric along the seamline as needed, without using darts, gathers or other shaping techniques.


November 24, 2015 #

Yep, that is the idea. An extra seam allows you to add your own shaping, and to fit it better than a dart, etc. It’s the same concept as adding princess seams to a bodice, for example.

Francesca a

November 25, 2015 #

Oh thank you, now I get it. Off to experiment:).