The Henry Dress + a little hack = The Henry Skirt

Back in July I was invited to join the Henry Dress blog tour by the lovely Erin of Brooklyn Pattern Company. It was my first ever tour so I was super excited and made these cute little frocks.


Not long after I made my first ‘Henry Skirt’ hack.  I wanted to make a gift, I had a few pieces left over, but not enough for a dress, so the idea of the skirt was hatched. My dresses were a hit, but I wasn’t sure about the skirt.

My first Henry Skirt hack

Do pattern designers mind when you hack up a pattern that they have spent months working on? Is this politically correct?

I have worked with many creatives over the years in advertising and design so I know that messing with creative can be a tricky business.  But I bit the bullet and sent it to Erin, she hi5’d me and posted it on her Facebook page.  She loved it, so much it seemed, that she asked me to write a little ‘how to’ tutorial.

How could I refuse, you know I love all things Henry!

It’s very easy to do, especially if you love the aesthetic of the dress but don’t have quite enough fabric or if you are a newbie and are a little nervous about neck facing and setting in sleeves. So, let’s get started…


Prepare the Henry Dress pattern pdf as per instructions.  We will be using pieces 1 – 6 only.  I am cutting a size 4, but this hack works with all sizes.

The best way to draw up the skirt hack, I find, is to grab a coloured marker (I used red) and mark up the skirt onto your dress pattern. Before I do this, I want you to know that I experiment as I have no conventional training.  Newbies will thank me as I speak their language, experienced sewers will probably raise the odd eyebrow.

Start with the SIDE FRONT (2) measure 1″ up from the centre of the pocket placement dot (size 4 dot in my case). Square across. This gives you the skirt waistline.
Mark out the remaining part of the piece, (the coloured pen really helps). Now, trace off the SIDE FRONT SKIRT pattern piece.
Flip your SIDE FRONT SKIRT pattern tracing onto the FRONT (1), match the single notch and mark off the waistline.
Mark out the remaining part of the piece and trace off.
Place the traced off SIDE FRONT SKIRT pattern piece onto the SIDE BACK (4), matching the single notch (left side) and marking off the waistline.
Mark out the remaining part of the piece and trace off.
Flip your SIDE BACK SKIRT pattern tracing onto the BACK (3), match the double notches and mark off the waistline.
Mark out the remaining part of the piece and trace off.

Trace off the POCKET (6) and POCKET FACING (5), no alterations are needed here.

Finally, you’ll need to draw a WAISTBAND pattern piece, we will be inserting a 1 inch elastic into the casing, but of course you can use any size elastic, just change the formula to fit! Measure the waistline (drawn in red) on pieces 1, 2, 3 & 4, the measurements are marked in green (based on size 4).


Photo top left – FRONT = 2½ inches x 2 (note: it’s on the fold!) = 5 inches, then remove seam allowance (½ an inch off the 2 edges) = 4 inches

Photo top right – BACK = 2½ inches x 2 (note: it’s on the fold!) = 5 inches, then remove seam allowance (½ an inch off the 2 edges) = 4 inches

Photo bottom left – SIDE FRONT = 5½ inches x 2 (note: left & right sides!) = 11 inches, then remove seam allowance (½ an inch off the 4 edges) = 9 inches

Photo bottom right – SIDE BACK =  5½ inches x 2 (note: left & right sides!) = 11 inches, then remove seam allowance (½ an inch off the 4 edges) = 9 inches

Add them all together – 4+4+9+9 = 26 inches, now add back in a ½ inch seam allowance on each edge (there are 2 edges) = 27 inches

The waistband depth is 3 inches (1 inch for each side of the casing and an extra ½ inch on each edge (there are 2 edges) for seam allowance)

The pattern piece should be 27 inches x 3 inches.  Draw this out to create a pattern piece.


This pattern works really well with pretty much any cotton fabric. I have made the skirt in both heavy and light fabrics and they both work, but I do think a bit of weight helps the drape. So for the main body of the skirt, I am using an old faithful!  This is a medium weight cotton drill in sea green, found in the charity shop for a dollar a metre.  This skirt will be my fourth and final project from this fabric, it has worked as a pair of adventure pants,  a gilet and a pair of parsley pants!


I am more excited about the pocket fabric though. This is a bag I have had for a while, a little retro piece gifted to me from my sister.  While it’s cute, it’s very small and not user friendly but as pockets it will work a treat!


It’s made of sturdy stuff, it’s a heavy cotton drill, in the most beautiful shades of green and blue. I have already patched my jeans in it.


I digress….


Get your Henry Dress instructions at the ready! Lay out your pattern pieces as per page 2, pin & cut.

BACK (page 5) – with right sides together pin one SIDE BACK SKIRT piece to the centre BACK, matching the double notches. Stitch & serge. Repeat for the second side. That’s the back piece finished!
POCKETS (page 6 & 7) – follow the instructions for construction of the pockets and attachment to the SIDE FRONT SKIRT. FRONT (page 7) – with right sides together pin one SIDE FRONT SKIRT piece to FRONT centre, matching notches. Stitch & serge. Repeat for the second side. That’s the front finished!
With right sides together, pin the FRONT & BACK together at the side seams. Stitch & serge.
WAISTBAND – with right sides together pin the short edge with a 1/2 inch seam & sew, press seam open.
Press a ½ inch seam on the bottom edge of the waistband. With right sides together attach the un-pressed edge to the skirt waistline. I always place the waistband seam in the centre back but you decide what looks best! Stitch in place.
That’s the waistband attached!
Fold over the waistband casing and pin into place, leave a gap to thread the elastic at the back. Stitch the waistband in place.
Turn it to the right side and then stitch on the skirt, just under the waistband, to catch the back of the casing this is known as ‘stitch in the ditch’.  There is a really good YouTube clip on how to do this if you are unfamiliar with the term (see below).
Thread the elastic and hand or machine stitch the gap closed. (Yes, that is blue thread, I ran out of green at the eleventh hour!) Use a non-roll elastic, something quite sturdy, if you are using a heavy cotton fabric.
HEM (page 9) – follow the instructions to finish your skirt. I used a green cotton on the main skirt and cream on the pockets. I just like the more subtle colour on the pocket fabric. Hand stitching the hem would also work really well here.
Thanks Roxy for modelling my skirt!



As Erin at Brooklyn Pattern Company is a complete gem, she is offering a Henry Dress pattern to one of my lucky readers.  So, not only could you own my favourite girls dress pattern, you can also make the skirt hack too. Eeek!

All you have to do is tell me “Who’s your favourite Henry?” in the comments section below and Erin will choose a winner on 1st December.

Good luck!

24 thoughts

  1. After my late grandfather Henry (and 2 cousins Henry, yes, names are a family thing!), one of my favorite artits is Henri Matisse, french sculptor and painter.


  2. There are lots of great Henry’s out there. For my kids probably Henry the Hoover (the one with the face) and for my husband Henry the mild mannered janitor aka Hong Kong Phooey. For me my late Uncle Henry who used to read endless stories to us when we were little.


  3. It may sound weird, but I have not known/remember any Henry in my life. Well except this Henry dress pattern.. Since she is the only one Henry I know and I love sewing for little girls, I shall declare that Henry dress pattern is my favourite Henry!


  4. Very clever hack and beautiful fabric choices. My favorite Henry is a little star wars loving neighbor I had when I lived in Brooklyn a few years ago. Miss watching him play in the backyard garden from our upstairs window.


  5. Hmm. So many Henrys to choose from. I’m going to have to go with my friend’s child who once plaintively asked his mom not to return a large tank top she had bought by mistake because “that’s my favorite dress!!” Maybe I’ll make him a Henry.


  6. My favourite Henry is my dear and longtime friend Beth Henry who, even after getting married, decided she couldn’t part ways with the strong Henry name. She is one fierce not to be messed with New Yorker lady Henry who I’m privileged to be such good friends with still…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s