The Olive Top and Dress

Megan Nielsen


I love Megan Nielsen Patterns! They come in beautiful packaging, they are unique designs, and I find the explanations are clear and the illustrations helpful. So when an offer to test The Olive dress came into my inbox, I couldn’t say no.

The Olive dress has a relaxed silhouette, a gathered waist, dropped shoulder and a V-neck with insert. 

I will admit, I have struggled with finding the right fit with Megan Nielsen tops. I find that they have a lot of additional ease to create the relaxed fit and that often I end up with a loose fit that looks too roomy. They look like they don’t fit as opposed to looking like a relaxed fit. Knowing that, I made sure that I worked with the finished garment measurements and skipped the body measurement guide completely. My measurements would have put me at a 16 grading to an 18 at the waist, however, based on the finished garment measurements I ended up cutting the 10 and doing an FBA (full bust adjustment).


I used the Closet Case Patterns tutorial (here) for doing an FBA on a dartless top with a dropped shoulder because it was a similar shape. I added .75″ per side.

I also chose to handstitch the bias binding down to the inside of the neckline. I had originally done it by machine, but found that I had some rippling along the stitching line. 


The trickiest part of the pattern was the insertion of the V insert. I made 2 versions of the dress and on my first one I didn’t add interfacing. It was easier to turn the fabric at the bottom of the V. On this final version, I added the interfacing (as per the instructions) and I found it difficult to turn all the layers at the bottom. Fortunately, the method was changed between the testing phase and the release.



The pockets of this dress are amazing. They are big and placed well. I will admit, they have become my go-to pockets (and pocket insertion method) for dresses that don’t have pockets. 

Final Thoughts

I am so happy I had the opportunity to test this pattern. It’s not a style that I would normally choose for myself. Will I make myself another Olive? Probably not, or at least not exactly as is. I am planning to add a self belt, or even waist ties to this dress to help bring it in at the waist for a little more shape. I think that would help me get more use out of it. 



The Norma Blouse

Fibre Mood

Every time I have scrolled through my Instagram feed lately, I’ve come across at least one picture of the Fibre Mood Norma blouse.

Fibre Mood offered this pattern for free the week of their sewalong, and I’m so glad I picked it up then. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch their sale, no worries. You can still buy the pattern here.

The Norma blouse is a short, V-neck top with balloon sleeves. It can be made from a variety of fabrics for different looks. 



I made the Norma Blouse in a size 10 and graded to a 12 through the bust, waist and hip. I suggest looking at the final garment measurements to see how you would like the blouse to fit before cutting out a size. My measurements put me at a size 14, but I decided that I wanted to the top to be more fitted than the pattern suggested. I did end up making a couple of small changes to the pattern.


First of all, I lengthened the pattern by 3″. The Norma is intended to be cropped, and I wanted the option of tucking it in.


I raised the centre front by 1.5″

To do this, I drew a straight line 1.5″ up from the original pattern piece and used my french curve ruler to redraw a line from the edge of the shoulder to the dot.


I redrew the facing piece to match the new curve of the neckline.





I raised the armscye by 1″ on both the front and back pieces. Again, this was an easy fix. To raise the armhole, just draw a line 1″ up from the original. Then use a curved ruler to connect the new marking to the original armhole. Don’t forget to transfer any notches!

Because I raised the armscye of the front and back body pieces, I needed to also raise the sleeve the same amount. (1″)

Again, I drew a line straight up from the original and then used my curved ruler to true the line. 






Even though my front and back pieces were graded (10 at the underarm point up to a 12 at the bust), the muslin was slightly too bulky for me. I ended up folding over .5″ on the side seams at the from the underarm through the bust area (and then having it meet up with the original pattern piece around the waist area.




Because I reduced the side seam, I had to also take the same amount out of the sleeve so that it would still fit. I wanted to keep the fullness at the sleeve cap, so took the .5″ out of each side between the seam and the first notch. 

I also wanted to keep the fullness at the cuff, so I folded the pattern piece so that it removed the .5″ at the sleeve cap, but opened up again leaving the original circumference of the hem.



Final Thoughts

I am so happy with the way this top turned out. I love the fit and the statement sleeves. This pattern is at the very top of my ‘make again’ list. I would love to make it in a flowy rayon for a different look. I have also seen some Normas hacked into dresses, so that’s something I would love to add to my closet.

It is a quick sew and is very wearable. It was my first time working with a Fibre Mood pattern, and now I’m interested in trying more.