Monday, February 21, 2011

A new sundress

I made a new sundress for myself... using the summer-weight cotton fabric I had bought during our shopping day out in Tokyo with Yoshimi and Novita.  Japanese fabric!  This now is one of my wearable souvenirs from our trip...!
The weather has been so so so so hot! that I still need some light little sundresses, even though perhaps I should be starting to think about autumn and winter sewing now, with days as hot and dry as we have been getting it is hard to believe it is ever going to get cold!  Dabbling my feet in the water here was so nice I really didn't want to leave this lovely little spot and get back to my daily chores, plus a mountain of office work that I've been putting off... woops, sewing has been so much more interesting to me lately I forgot I had to do actual work as well!
I used a Burdastyle pattern, dress 114 from the 5/2010 issue... and have to say I like using the patterns from this series.  It's economical and feels a bit more of a challenge to make stuff this way.  It's not as though I'm new to this sort of tracing-out-of-patterns, as I made many many things from the Topkids magazine when my kids were little, but I haven't done it for a few years so it feels a bit new.  And yes, as a commenter said on one of my posts previously, the pattern instructions are usually a lot more challenging too, because you are not walked through with helpful little illustrations like the conventional envelope patterns.  I think I'm very visual, because I find that way heaps easier.
Before I hemmed this dress I tried it on and it felt a bit too short.  Which is funny, because it's not as though it's actually any shorter when compared to many of my sundresses, but because of the very wide pouffy swirly A-line skirt it did feel shorter... if that makes any sense...  so I hemmed with a very narrow hem and also made some little shorts to wear underneath from the leftover fabric.   Fortunately I just had just enough leftover to squeeze out one pair of shorts... and so I am perfectly safe from a strong breeze showing the world the colour of my undies.  Back when I was little my mother used to make me lots of little dresses with matching bloomers to wear underneath, and this is the same principle.  Except these are not bloomers but tailored shorts with a zip and welt pockets, and all...  I'm not showing the shorts off here, because I have way too much class to lift my skirt on purpose... you just have to trust me that they are there and I will show them off on a future post.

Dress; Burdastyle 05-2010-114, Japanese cotton
Shorts; (worn under) Burdastyle 10-2010-111, Japanese cotton
Hat; Country Road
Sandals; Micam by Joanne Mercer, from Hobbs shoes

Pattern Description:
A-line sunback dress with empire seam under the bust has a skirt of two gathered tiers, and side seam zip.
Pattern Sizing:
34-42, I made size 36, and made it a little wider at the bust
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It is super easy!  There are only two pattern pieces to trace out, the skirts are just rectangles. 
I love the loose flippy feel of it, it is a comfortable and lovely style well suited to our hot dry summers.  This same super-flippiness however also compelled me to make a little pair of matching shorts to wear underneath!  If you wanted to, the instruction provide dimensions for a third tier to make the dress a maxi length.  I didn't think the maxi-length would have suited this print, however.
The only thing I didn't like, well, it's my own fault, I wanted pockets and inserted them in the side seams, and that lower tier falls at just the wrong place, just where I wanted the pockets to go!  No biggie, the pockets just sit a few centimetres lower than I would have preferred.
Fabric Used:
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I cut out the back bodice wider and higher to have more coverage, I did this to to avoid bra-strap exposure.  
I added inseam pockets, which sit just at the top of the lower tier.  As I mentioned above, this is a tad too low, but I can live with it.
I added about 3cm to the length of the lower tier, and I'm very glad of this little bit of extra length.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I probably would sew this one again.  I highly recommend it as a very easy, pretty and feminine little sundress.
Great little dress; cute, very comfortable, feminine, cool and breezy.  I am going to enjoy wearing this one!


  1. I made this dress when the pattern mag first came out. I love your additions: the wider back, very smart (I never wear mine because of the bra strap problem), pockets are always a plus, and the bloomers are inspired (because the dress is floaty, it feels like the breeze could expose you at any time!)

  2. Fabric makes the best souvenir, I agree. That fabrics is so beautiful, perfect for a floaty summer dress and this heat :) I have a beautiful light cotton I souvenired from NZ lined up for a beach/summer type dress - right after I clear my cutting table.

  3. Such a pretty dress. Perfect for a hot summer day. I adore your photos too. That spot looks so magical. You must be getting all of our heat. Our Melbourne summer has been very cool this year.

  4. I may have to make one of these for myself. What a perfect little sundress. I love how the fabric has a neutral base with just small pops of color. How nice that it will always remind you of your trip!

  5. The fabric looks perfect for the sundress! Meant to be. Can't believe it is still hot over there. We've had a cold few days... I even wore a jumper out today!!! :)

  6. This dress looks just right for a boiling hot day - you've done a lovely job with it. We had a cool change at midnight last night, but that water still looks inviting...

  7. Such a lovely and cool looking dress. I'll happily pop it on right now. The heat up here (Cairns) is oppressive at the moment.

  8. So so cute, Carolyn! I swear, your pics make me want to climb through the monitor and dip my tootsies in the water.

    Japanese fabrics are exceptional, so I would have filled an entire suitcase with those lovelies, especially Japanese double gauze, but also their wonderful high tech fabrics. :D

  9. The dress is so pretty, Carolyn. And I love empire line dresses!

  10. The dress is amazing, love everythign about it - color scheme, patern, how beautifully it's made and how it looks on you!
    Perfect dress for summer.

  11. You look so cool. I am wildly jealous. The fabric is beautiful, and you are very quick at sewing it up. I plan to copy your back alteration - pure genius!

  12. I really love this dress. I think it's a perfect marriage of pattern and fabric. The buttons on the front are so sweet.

    I don't think it looks too low cut - and hey, it's a sundress - you won't be wearing it to a board meeting!

    And you have been doing winter sewing - the gloves!

  13. This dress is so so cute. Seriously, I want this! I'm so bummed though, I can't find Burda magazine anywhere in PR and I can't find a place online to order it from individually. Boo. :/

    Oh well. Very cute dress!

  14. Such a wonderful easy to wear summer dress. Love your idea of shorts to wear underneath. And a wonderful reminder of your trip to Japan!

  15. Adorable dress! I love the splashes of color in the print. I probably will be doing MMM11, but I have not signed up yet. I like that it forces me to take photos every day, so I have a record of what clothes to together well.

  16. This is such a sweet dress. I love how floaty it is.

    Your gloves in the previous post are absolutely stunning!

    Thank you for the congratulations on my pregnancy.

  17. I really do like the idea of a wearable souvenir - what a good idea! This looks cool and comfy. I ought to be thinking about summer sewing as the hot months are not so long in my future ... some cool dresses for one piece dressing might be just the thing - definitely something I don't have in my closet.

    I love your interior finishes. I'm always going "oooooh...." :)

  18. Darling little dress! I really love your bog, and how well you review the patterns. I found you on Pattern review, and now follow you here. Enjoying all your creations :)

  19. T recognised your dress straight off because I love this issue of Burda. I wish I had seen it at the newsstands and bought it. I just borrowed it from my library but didn't get many patterns traced off before I had to return it. There is a heavy demand for these at the library and lately someone has taken to nicking the pattern sheets.

    I love your version. Most summery.

  20. This dress turned out really nice! i think im going to have to use this pattern and re-vist the fabric shop despite all the fabric I currently own :S I guess i take after you in that aspect =) Love you Mum

  21. Great fabric and your modifications all add value. It looks lovely on you. Love your daughter's comment!

  22. What a nice summery and flirty sun dress. It looks so beautiful! And the fabric is super cute! Well done!

  23. I just love your dress and will mark this one in my magazine. The fabric is gorgeous and it's good to know about the changes for the back bodice. I wish we were having warm weather too.

  24. wow, I apparently missed that dress when you originally posted it - love it, the fabric is gorgeous! And I love the selvage label with the color dots! BTW, thanks for your comment on my smartphone cozy:-)