Sewaholic Lonsdale dress sewing pattern |
Sewing Projects


I‘m rather ashamed to admit this, but I used to have a linen hang-up. I associated it with sweaty oversized shirts worn by men on holiday vacations, and baggy wrinkled shapeless sacks worn by art teachers with statement necklaces. But something funny has happened over the last few years; linen (and wearing shapeless sack dresses with statement necklaces) has grown on me. Grown on me like an invasive ivy. Someone will have to come and hack off its tendrils in September or else its just going to take over the entire building.

It started in bed, as so many things do. I became obsessed with linen bedding. Looking at sexily rumpled linen sheets made my eyes water with longing and I ended up acquiring a linen duvet cover from Ikea that after many, many washes is one of the softest, coziest, skin pleasing things I own. Last year I started dabbling in linen clothing, making a Flora dress and Katy and Laney Tap Shorts but it was still a very casual, low maintenance habit. It wasn’t  until my linen Holly Jumpsuit that it started getting more serious, although thankfully summer ended before I could start pawning my belongings for more yardage. This year things took a turn. I bought 10 yards of gorgeous medium weight white and black linen from one of my dealers on St. Hubert and have been steadily mainlining it ever since. Thank goodness linen doesn’t leave track marks. This Lonsdale dress from Sewaholic Patterns is all about the arms.

Lonsdale dress sewing patternblack linen circle skirtlinen summer dress sewing pattern

I love the Lonsdale, and made it up a few summers ago in a vintage cotton print. I unfortunately got a little overzealous when I was fitting that one and took WAY too much off the side seams, resulting in something I can only refer to as Pancake Uniboob From Hell. I love that dress but I got depressed each time I looked down and saw a board where my ladies used to be. I decided I needed to rectify the situation with a new take. My linen habit needed a fix.

This time around I made a straight size 10 and left the side seams as is.  The bodice of this pattern is unique because it’s closely fitting without darts; the shaping comes from the knot, so you really need to do a full muslin to see how it’s going to react with your chest. In my case it was totally fine, but Tasia wrote a post on doing an FBA to this pattern if you’re worried about it. The only modification I made was to shorten the bodice by 1/2″ since I found it a touch too long as drafted. I also deleted the bow at the back since I didn’t have a lot of yardage and that super long strap is a fabric hog. I intended to attach the straps to the back with concealed buttons but I didn’t leave quite enough length so they’re sewn down for now. This may be a problem once it’s washed and needs to be ironed around the bust knot, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. And by cross that bridge, I mean hit with a heavy dose of steam from my gravity feed iron.

Sewaholic Lonsdale dress sewing patternblack linen dress backblack linen dress

I sewed in a little hook and eye but I couldn’t reach it on my own when I was wearing it the day I took pictures, so forgive the little gap at the top of the zipper. Construction wise I used an invisible zipper and serged all my seams. I finished the hem with wine coloured lace tape I had in my stash; it’s a funny little 90’s goth detail. I also closed the waistband by stitching in the ditch from the outside rather than hand sewing it closed because #lazyseamstress. I whipped this baby up in an afternoon and basically just want to wear it to all the picnics now.

black linen dress construction details

As for the rest of the black linen I scored, only scraps remain. I managed to squeeze out another dress AND an oversized 80’s croptop I need to get around to documenting. I’ll turn to the white linen next; I’m hoping it’s thick enough that I’ll be able to make at least one shapeless art teacher sack dress from it without having to wear a slip beneath. And I *may* have purchased even more linen, including a linen knit that I am VERY excited about this week, so you know, the addiction rages on.

And you? Are you as crazy for this stuff as I am? Or do all the wrinkles give your OCD a case of hives?

Details: Lonsdale dress by Sewaholic in black linen (similar here), Hasbeens Federica clogs, Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in Mischevious

  • I love that dress in linen. I have a couple of nice pieces in my stash that I never know what to do with.

    I made a Lonsdale in a tropical-ish print for my trip to Hawaii last year. I did do an FBA, but my figure isn’t really the Sewaholic shape. I also added a little boning for support.

    • Boning! That’s really smart. I would have thought this pattern would have worked for any figure since the full skirt doesn’t really create a pear shaped conflict….

      • I meant more that Tasia drafts for a B cup and I’m a DD. Just adjusting the knot isn’t enough to cover the ladies. 🙂 I did a test bodice just to try it out but it was obvious that it needed an FBA.

  • charlotte

    that’s seriously gorgeous, and now I want to make one. Just wondering (slightly cheekily) – what cup size are you? I’m wondering if I might be able to get away without an FBA 🙂

    • Suzanne

      I also want to know what cup size you are because I’m wondering the exact same thing as Charlotte. I’m a D and trying to figure out if I can get away without an FBA.

      • Technically a 34D but my general “cup size” is a B. I think anything over a C cup will need a FBA, probs.

    • I’m a 34D but in “cup size” closer to a B if that helps…..

  • <3

  • lovely version. I love linen. I find so easy to wear and sew like a boss.

  • Tasia

    Very pretty! That dress looks amazing on you and I think your choices of leaving off the bow and adding the hem lace suit the fabric.

    • Thanks Tasia! It’s really one of my favourite summer dress patterns ever. I’m thinking about making a maxi at some point too….

  • I’m digging black linen too! I have three yards of the stuff and it’s been made into many things in my head. It was already hard to decide what to make, and now you’ve gone and made me think about a summer dress.

    • I made that new tshirt dress from Named patterns out of black linen and seriously didn’t take it off for 3 days straight.

  • Nice! If you’re going for shapeless art teacher sack dress [I’m a shapeless maths teacher myself] I highly recommend the V1410. I have FOUR [count ’em], and one is in linen. I wear it all year round, layered up as a pinafore in winter. Fab stuff. Pics on Pattern Review!

  • Angela

    Loving that dress! I made one for my daughter 2 or 3 years ago, but neither of us were thrilled with the bow in back. Sitting against a chair isn’t too comfy with the bow right there. I like your version much better. I think having the straps button down works – you can unbutton and iron out the straps/front as needed, but then they aren’t bunching up in the back later. I might just need to make one for myself using that alteration.

    • Yeah, the bow looks beautiful (when it’s tied correctly) but is definitely painful if you’re sitting in a high backed chair. If I make this again I will definitely add an inch or two to the straps so I can do the button thing….

  • truebias

    this is swoon worthy. its official. Next time I have a wedding to attend I am making this dress. and I love linen. esp. for my kids stuff. i embrace the wrinkles.

    • Perfect wedding dress! I think it would make a great maxi too.

  • Mandy Varelis

    EEE! That’s just gorgeous! I love the Lonsdale dress, but the strapless bra needed turns me off. One day I’ll make a strapless bra that is comfortable, then I’ll take on the Lonsdale.

    Linen is a dream. I haven’t actually sewn with it yet, (really, Mandy? Really?) but have owned some beautiful RTW skirts from it. I did buy some hot pink linen / viscose from Blackbird Fabrics earlier this year because, how could I not? I pet it often. The wrinkles don’t bother me so much. Sticky polyester, growing rayon, pilling bamboo, those bother me. But linen is so crisp and lovely, I can forgive it’s wrinkles.

    • I love rayon/linen blends. They wrinkle a little less, fyi, I also HATE strapless bras but this dress makes it worth it.I”m just waiting for Amy at Cloth Habit to draft it for me first 😉

  • Just lovely! I love linen. Beautiful style for the linen too.

    • Its so drapey and flowy! While also having body. Perfect stuff.

  • Kaoru Marie

    oh la la, sexy lady! I love the pop of color from the hem tape.

    • Thanks babe! A little surprise is always a nice.

  • beautiful dress, i love the knot detail. I used to wear linen a lot wide pants, art school student in high school, not the teacher. I haven’t sewn with it myself, my grandmother made them for me.

    • I wish you still had them! I bet they’re crazy comfy. It gets so soft over time….

  • Chloe Anderson

    You make me wish this pattern worked on me! But it did not. Linen, however, is one of my favourite fabrics. I have a couple of linen dresses, and I’ve scored some pretty sizeable pieces from fabric swaps, so my addiction is well under way. Love the look of linen knit, but haven’t laid out the cash just yet…

    • I found some at Michael Levine that wasn’t too bad. Under $20 a yard and I just went for it because LINEN KNIT. So curious to see what it will feel like!

      • Chloe Anderson

        I suspect fantastic.

  • Great dress! Glad you decided to give the pattern another go, it looks wonderful on you! I actually have some beautiful Irish linen from Anna Sui that has been waiting for the perfect pattern. As far as wrinkling goes, I have heard that if you underline your linen, it will help out with that little natural characteristic.

    • Good to know! Hmm,, Irish linen! I wonder how it’s different from French? Or is there even a difference?

  • Katie

    Beautiful dress and beautiful you. You look so pretty when you laugh.

  • Oh this is lovely! I have such a hard time getting motivated to sew with plain black fabric (so obsessed with prints) but this is inspiring me! Gorgeous!

    • Normally summer is all about prints for me but I dunno, really feeling the neutrals these days. So simple and easy to wear!

  • FEELS. I am going through a linen obsession now, too! I actually found your blog last week when I was searching for linen bedding on google 😛 That dress is gorgeous! I just bought some linen and I intend to make a dress out of it but now I’m having a hard time deciding on a *worthy* pattern!

    • It’s like Sophie’s Choice! I have a few yards of this gorgeous antique white linen and I can’t make a decision AT ALL! Glad linen brought us together 😉

  • Jenn

    I love that tape you used for the hem! I really like linen too however for me it is something to be admired as I hate the maintenance (ironing) required :’-)

    • Meh, I dont iron it. Adds to the charm 😉

  • Jane

    Oh, I’m falling in love with this pattern all over again! Not sure if my 44y.o. arms are really up for that exposure but, hmm…. And linen, yes, linen all the things! I love this dress on you and I love the way you write about it.

    • Aw thanks Jane! Hope you get a chance to make something lineny awesome this summer.

  • Monserratt Lopez

    This dress turned out so perfect!! I really love it!! <3 <3 <3

  • Kate Henderson

    Perfect fabric for it, love this dress!

  • AuntyMaimu

    Linen … I made a viking dress for my belly dance buddy from linen. Was cursing the whole time LOL!

    Your dress is super cute! And linen is great for hot summer days.

    I will stick to my second hand finds with linen.

    • I’m trying to wrap my mind around a linen belly dance outfit…. Maybe this is naive of me but I feel like Estonia must be dripping in vintage linen tablecloths. Please tell me this is so!

  • I love this pattern and it is SO chic in plain black linen! Lovely!


    You styled your outfit so well! I must admit, I have an aversion. But now I am interested in the sheet thing…

    • I think you just have to get over the wrinkles. I think I REALLY became a convert once I realized how crazy soft it gets after washing… nothing besides silk feels better against your skin.

  • Beautiful in black. Love this for summer!

  • Francesca Amodeo

    Absolutely fab, Heather! Once you start on linen you don’t go back, believe me. I was knicking my mother and sister’s tops when I was way too small for them;)…. I hardly wear anything but linen once our Maltese summers take off ….. Maybe a little lawn in between, but that’ about it. (Says she, wearing black linen Juniper pants and a pale pink handkerchief linen blouse made from a 50s kimono sleeve pattern…..)
    And linen sheets in summer heat are the total best. So much cooler than even the nicest cotton ones. Personally, I love the creasing – as long as I iron something well when it’s just out of the wash then the wearing creases are great. I got into sewing knits last year – big time – but found them way too hot for our summers, even the fine Art Gallery types. This year, I have managed to locate linen jersey – some from a French online shop (thanks to JolieBobine’s links) and some undyed from etsy – and I am looking forward to the combo of knit and jersey – woohoo!

    • I’m so excited for this knit! I can’t wait to see what it feels like! And i’m super jealous of your sheets – one of my longterm short term goals is to get some for my bed. I hear they’re great in winter too, nice and warm, and soft and cool at the same time. Why? LINEN MAGIC.

      • Francesca Amodeo

        I don’t use linen sheets in winter – I think of it as a summer thing, and only use cotton – I even used flannel sheets and duvet covers before I got my electric blanket! I got my first ones from Zara Home on sale – if you have it there, check them out, their quality is good and prices decent – one of the things i missed about Spain when I moved back to Malta, but they’re here now:). Second time was one of these pricey house shops full of design stuff with a capital d. On sale, greatly reduced. So check out those type of places, you’d be surprised;)

  • Hélène

    This is the ultimate summer LBD. And I love your pose à la Castafiore on the first picture, like you’re going to sing an opera song. There nothing like this to get your daughters standing straight!

    • Hahaha great reference! I was feeling more like Maria in the Sound of Music.

  • Our brains are on the same wavelength, because I’m working on a Papercut Patterns Sway Dress in linen-viscose right now! It’s actually my first time sewing with linen, but I cannot wait to finish and get that linen all over my body (and I have like 15 more yards! yessss!). I splurged and bought linen sheets from Restoration Hardware a few years ago, and they are the best thing ever, especially for Texas. LINEN FOREVER!

    Anyway–your dress. I just want to reach through my screen and touch your fabric! The fit looks perfect, and I like how your neckline is less angled/more straight than other versions I’ve seen. Kinda want to make this with some of the jade linen-viscose I bought from Blackbird!

    • I think the neckline thing is probably the double knot. The single knot made it more angled. And I LOVE linen viscose. that was what I made my Holly jumpsuit with and it was just heavenly.

      So jealous of your sheets. I considered it but chickened out because $$$. Probably going to buy some off Etsy at some point… just too chicken to do white because *sweat*. Thinking a nice warm light grey would work a treat….

      • We have light grey (or “fog” according to RH), and they are lovely. They have held up really well over the past few years and seriously do get softer with each wash. The stonewashed linen RH uses is super drapey and breezy, really cannot recommend it enough. I’ll probably never sleep on anything else but linen ever again! Not sure what the Etsy prices are like, but the sheets are currently on sale with RH.

      • Francesca Amodeo

        Don’t chicken out of white if you like it! It’s so fresh and is the easiest to get clean – linen is tough and can take heat if necessary, and a bit of bleach on marks that dont go in a nirmal wasg works wonders whereas it bleaches anything else (duh)

  • sallieforrer

    Mm. Girl. You’re giving me the linen itch. I need to get on that bandwagon again! I’ve always loved the stuff – rumply, soft, airy. But then again I also grew up thinking the art teacher look was the HEIGHT of chic! And I can’t for the life of me figure out why I have not made a Lonsdale dress yet?!? (Unless it has something to do with the fact that this pattern eats fabric for breakfast!) Seriously. So pretty! I loved your first version, but this classic black look is hitting all the right spots for me right now. You look so classic and lovely! And the fit is superb!

    • Thanks babe! I actually almost bought some metallic linen recently remembering your Moss skirt but I sickened out at the last minute and got the non sparkly stuff. But super stoked for the knit… I have no idea what its going to fee like. SO EXCITED!

  • Oh man, this dress is perfect. I just bought some black linen for shorts, but maybe I should rethink what I want to use it for…

  • Beautiful!! Always loved seeing this dress too… but the prospect of having to wear a strapless bra? meh!

  • Katherine (seekatsew.wordpress

    Wow I am drooling over this dress, it’s just perfection! This may get me into a linen phase too (currently in a tencel phase).

  • Wowza, look at you Bombshell Babe. I made this dress for my daughter when it first came out. It was a lovely light cotton hawaiian print I recall and she never ever wore it – grrrr! I love linen and when the weather gets hot linen sheets are the best. When the weather gets cold they’re better than cotton but not as good as flannelette – here endeth the dissertation on relative sheet temperature in modern society!

  • Woot woo! That is a stunning dress. I love the shape of the Lonsdale and you pull it off perfectly.

  • HAWT! also, I totally prefer the sewn down straps in the back! way cleaner and less fussy looking! oh and also, HAWT!

  • Lizzy

    I’m a linen lover. If you buy the ‘right’ linen it’s just divine… I love how it gently creases and seems to become more gorgeous as it ages. Definitely one of my favourite fabrics!

  • I adore linen, even if it is a wrinkley beast. I don’t care if it looks lived in. I scored about 10 yards of fine linen for about $3 at my favorite thrift shop a couple of years ago. It is an ugly mustard yellow but I have dyed pieces of it olive green and gray. It was one of my best scores ever! You pull of this Lonsdale with grace and sex appeal! I am afraid of the no bra problem for myself, I don’t think I can deal with a strapless either. But I do love this pattern.

  • This looks so beautiful on you! Hooray for linen!

  • Gorgeous. I’ve always loved this pattern and it’s just perfect in black linen. I am a linen fanatic. And an art teacher, so go figure. Almost everything I’ve sewn lately has been made from linen and luckily I live in a climate where I can wear it almost year round. You totally have to embrace the rumple. I don’t even iron my linen things anymore. I just hang them up straight from the dryer and enjoy all that soft wrinkly goodness. And I’m enabling a linen addiction here, I know, but check out It’s all linen. Tons of colors, weights and specialty linens– wovens and jacquards. I think I keep them in business 🙂

  • AriB

    Your dress is lovely! The style really suits you as well 🙂

    • AriB

      Another issue with linen is the wash care. Since you have black you should be careful about the wash cycle or choice; also the drying process. I’ve had some linens and I think everything should go in the washer and dryer so I at times ended up with worn out tired looking pieces.

  • honigdesign

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

  • Becky Burke

    YES! your acceptance-evolution of linen is spot-on! See also a rayon-80s analogy and gradual re-acceptance! lol. I’ve been loving using it, but it took me a long time to get over the 80s-rayon-experience-knee-jerk reaction!

  • patsijean

    Are you familiar with this exclusively linen site. Their fabrics are beautiful.