There’s still something undeniably charming about the cottagecore aesthetic. From gathered dresses with puffed sleeves, to hand embroidery and nature inspired prints, we’re still seeing this trend being embraced by top designers such as Simone Rocha, Erdem, and Batsheva.

But what about those who want to incorporate hints of specific trends without fully committing to them? This week we wanted to sew a cottagecore inspired top, by using the bodice of our Anthea Milkmaid Dress Free Sewing Pattern. It’s been a popular request from our Sewciety members, so we took the hint!

Purchase Materials Used Below:
  • 4 yards of Mood Exclusive Elliana Ivory Sustainable Viscose Fluid Satin
  • 1 pc of 099 Off-White 9″ Invisible Zipper
  • 1 pc of Vintage Crystal Rhinestones and Gold Rectangular Plastic Slider – 1.375″ x 1.75″
  • 1 spool of Antique 100m Gutermann 100% Recycled Polyester Thread
  • 1 yd of White Elastic – .25″
  • MDF317 – The Anthea Dress Sewing Pattern (free download below!)
  • MDF301 – The Nova Pants Sewing Pattern (free download below!)
Alternative Recommended Fabrics:
  • Linen
  • Batiste

For Anthea Dress Sewing Instructions, Click Here

For Nova Pants Sewing Instructions, Click Here

All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise stated. See chart below for sizing specifications. Note, this specific pattern is available up to a size 32.

The following adjustments were made:

  • I omitted the front tie at the bust, opting for elastic instead. 
  • An invisible zipper was set-in upside down, on the wearer’s left side seam.

A few notes before getting started:

  • The bodice pages to print are: 4-13, 16-18, 21-23, and 27-34.
  • Decide on the length you want the bodice to be, and cut the pieces accordingly.
  • Read through the original instructions here first, as they will be referenced in this tutorial.
  • I did not shorten the bodice, although next time I definitely would!
  • If you’re sewing with this fabric, I strongly recommend using fusible interfacing, as the fabric grows substantially.

How to sew the top:

1. Sew the G pieces together, up the center back.

2. Sew F to G, so the entire back bodice is assembled as follows: F, G, G, F, pictured below.

3. Separately, sew B & C together, pictured below. 

4. Repeat with the lining.

5. On the side where the zipper is going, sew C & F together at the top, until about 1.5” down from the armscye. 

6. Baste the zipper upside down into the side seam of your choice, stopping once you get to that 1.5” seam. 


7. Sew the other side seam closed. 

8. Repeat steps 5 & 6 with the lining, sewing the zipper instead of basting, so it’s set into both layers now.  Cut the zipper if it’s too long, and secure the teeth.

9. Sew the bottom hem closed.

10. Turn right side out, and sew the shoulder straps to the bodice, as pictured below.

Pin the strap to the self.
Turn the self and lining away from each other.
Pin the self and lining, right sides together. Sew.
Turn right side out. Repeat on the back.

11. Sew the back top edge together, from strap to strap. You’ll have to go in from each armscye and do it in sections.

12. Press everything.

Optional: Add a hook & eye closure for extra reinforcement. You could also finish the bottom hem with a rolled hem!

How to sew the bust panel:

1. Do not sew the buttonholes. Just fold in half lengthwise, press the fold, and sew the casing channel. 

2. Gather the bottom edge and sew to the bodice.

3. Measure the distance between the inner edges of the C pieces, where the top of the bust panel will sit. Subtract 1”, then cut a strip of ¼” elastic to that measurement. 

4. Feed the elastic through the casing, stitching at each end to secure. 

5. Finish the raw edges. If you want, you can stay stitch the edges to the bodice. 

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