Sew Over It Penny Dress

Sew Over It Penny Dress

Sew Over It are releasing their Penny dress as a printed pattern, due to its popularity. I can understand why, as this is one of my most worn patterns – it’s simple, comfortable and elegant…. I keep wanting to add more to my wardrobe and have an eye out for the perfect fabrics for this.


I used a viscose/rayon fabric from Weaver Dee for my Penny dress. You may well recognise this print as it is available in a range of colourways from different suppliers. DO shop around though as the price does vary across different stores. At the time I bought mine Weaver Dee were the cheapest, but they don’t stock it anymore. (I made my Penny last summer FYI).

This type of fabric is perfect for the Penny dress. There is a fair amount of gathering on this pattern so something lightweight and drapey works well – it also means that it’s comfortable to wear in summer too. The structure of the collar is a more relaxed fit so not having too much bulk in the fabric is also helpful.

Sew Over It Penny Dress

Pattern and Instructions

The pattern doesn’t have (or need) a lot of variations. Essentially it is comprised of a full skirt and a collared bodice. The waist is gathered, and there are no sleeves to add separately (they are a part of the bodice). The bodice includes gathered shoulders, a collar and a button up front – I can get mine on and off without undoing the buttons so you don’t need to worry about buttonholes if you don’t want to. The lack of sleeves makes this a little easier to put together, and the gathered waist means that there aren’t too many issues with fit either.

Sew Over It Penny Dress bodice

The instructions are similar to most Sew Over It patterns, with layplans, sizing and illustrated steps. Generally the construction of this dress is fairly straightforward – the collar is quite simple so if you haven’t made one before, shouldn’t be too difficult. Generally the instructions and diagrams are very clear, but I did find the steps relating to the facings a little tricky to figure out… where to fold and stitch didn’t make sense to me, so I did what I thought would work based on experience with other patterns and I think it’s fine!


I didn’t make any alterations at all to this pattern – normally I would have to shorten a Sew Over It dress but this one is fine. To be honest, I should have let it hang as the front and back hems are slightly different, but it’s not too noticeable and I was impatient to finish.

For the next one I make I will be looking to add two alterations –
  • Lengthen the bodice by 1.5cm. I have begun to notice that patterns with gathered waists sit too high on my body and that in general I need to lengthen the torso. 
  • Add pockets! This dress is crying out for an in-seam pocket!


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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