My projects,  Sewing

Dress for special occasions

I have rarely occasions to dress up but last weekend I had a chance to attend to a party and I, of course, took the opportunity to sew up a new dress for it. I have been eyeing for this gorgeous cotton jacquard for ages but just didn’t have any project for it.

I chose to use Burda dress #108 from the 4/2014 issue.  It is a sheath dress with an unusual overskirt and a bateau neckline. I love the skirt part and I know that the bateau neckline suits me well.

I had to make a toile of the bodice before cutting to the pattern since generally Burda patterns do not fit me well. To make matters even more difficult the smallest size was only 36. In my experience the Burda sizes tend to be about two sizes bigger than the RTW sizes so I made my best to draw the size 34 using the other sizes as a template. I took away from the princess seams, from the side seams and from the center front and center back to get the fit better. I had to redraw the armholes since the fitting distorted the shape of them but I used the original shape of the armhole as a template. I also added about half 3 cm to the length of the bodice for my long torso.

The fabric was pattern matcher’s hell. The two overlaying patterns didn’t match up and despite of getting 180 cm of fabric (instead of 1 m in the instructions) I didn’t have a lot of fabric to play with. I did my best, however. Finally I had to forgo the pockets since I simply didn’t have enough fabric left.

With the skirt I took a bit from the center front and then made sure that I could get into it and finished the front darts only after I was able to try the skirt on. Luckily for me the fabric was stretchy enough for me to be able to machine baste the center back seam shut for the time of the fittings so that I could adjust all the seams the center back seam included without having to deal with the zipper.

The flaps were meant to be finished using the facings. I did not want the ugly inner edges of the facings to show so I finished the edges using white satin bias binding. Then I hand-sewed the facings to the overskirt.


The whole dress is lined. I used white stretch lining fabric and understitched the neckline and the armholes as well as I could. Then I hand-sewed the lining to the zipper and to the waist seam.

Only after cutting the dress I had realised that the horizontal seam at the bodice wasn’t necessary when using patterned fabric. The seam bothered me and I finally ended up covering it with hand sewn strip of lace.

So this is how the dress ended up looking (sorry about the weird camera angle):


The waist seam dips down at the back. I had to adjust it but I like how the back fits now. The little wrinkles at the images are mainly due to my standing position.


I am happy how the back of the skirt looks like. It is made of four pieces and it is hard to notice the seams. I also like how the skirt has a slight A-line shape to it. The only thing I would change is that on my opinion I ended up taking too much from the shoulder width when I adjusted the fit. However, on the up side, with this narrower look I can more easily hide my bra straps under the dress.


I traced the pattern on Wednesday evening, bought the fabric on Thursday and washed it immediately. After spending the Thursday on the toile the fabric was already dry in the evening and I was able to finish the dress on Saturday just in time since I wore this dress on Sunday at a family party. I think this dress is a good thing to have in my closet for all kinds of summer occasions. For some reasons I tend to have just very dark occasion dresses and one lighter coloured was very much welcome.

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I am a mother of two. I sew, knit and create and blog about it.


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