Today is my birthday! 🎂🌟 For a birthday celebration we would usually invite the closest family for the lunch or dinner, and this year it was also the case. The weather was awesome today, and it was so nice to have a beautiful day out on our lawn with good food and nice chats! I did not plan to sew a dress for specifically this occasion, it just happened so that my need for a new dress coincided with my birthday, and so this now will be The birthday dress!
May this year was very cold – we were all wearing coats of some sort until the first days of June (it was also an excellent opportunity to wear all the coats I’ve made recently, of course). And when June came, it became very warm very suddenly. The previous tweed dress, that I’d made for a specific occasion, ended up being worn for a large dinner event last week. And right there it became evident, that tweed is no summer fabric – I felt really hot in that dress. That was why I ended up choosing another dress for the summer opening event for which the tweed dress had initially been planned for – I ended up wearing my Blue ribbon dress from last year, and it worked very well for that occasion. This conundrum with weather being hot and revelations about tweed comfort in summer changed my sewing plans. I had been planning one more tweed dress as my next project, but lately I had realized that summer dresses would make much more sense instead. Granted, all but two summer dresses I own are me-made. But now as we are back to the office and with post-pandemic life slowly returning back to normal, I felt that I needed more dresses! Of course, as you do… 🙂 So I’ve put my tweeds on the shelf and pulled summery viscose and linen off that same shelf.
This bright red floral fabric was bought two years ago during one of my first fabric hauls, when I had just started sewing. It was sitting in my stash as I couldn’t quite make up my mind on the pattern for it. I had like a zillion of patterns lined up for it, and yet somehow none of them quite materialized. Last week I saw this red dress on Instagram that I immediately recognized – it was made using the Burda pattern that I also own. And then it clicked to me that this pattern could work very well for this viscose crepe. I needed more dresses, my birthday was approaching, I had an idea for the specific dress, and so yesterday I decided to make it.
The fabric used here is really awesome. It is satin backed crepe, it drapes like a dream and is of solid weight, hence not sheer, not too light to be worn unlined. Perfect fabric for a solid summer dress.
The pattern used here is pattern #108 from Burda magazine, issue of June, 2020. So far this one is my most used magazine of Burda Style – by now I’ve made three garments using patterns from it. First two are: Light summer jumpsuit and Neon green statement blazer. After inspecting the pattern I’ve concluded that it is a rather simple design, so hoped for a quick and nice project, and it really was exactly that! In fact, it took just as long to trace paper blocks, cut fabric and prepare it to be stitched, as to actually sew the dress!
This design is simple because it does not have usual sleeves as flounce pieces are used instead, there is no zipper – button closure at the back instead, and there are only two darts. In addition to that, there are not many opportunities for a wrong fit, as it is a straight line dress, worn tied up, so not much can go wrong in it. The only amendment I made was shortening the dress by 3.5 cm if compared to the initial design, however, if I were to make it once again, I would perhaps leave the length as designed. Everything else worked as intended.
Cutting the fabric was one of more difficult parts of the project. This fabric is so flowing and slippery (as one would expect from viscose, really), that it was a true challenge to cut all the pattern pieces precisely. It took me a good hour to do that.
The stitching part started with me applying a bit of interfacing tape to shoulder seams and stitching them together. Neck facing was installed to the neckline, and at that moment I also attached a very narrow button loop made of the same fabric. Since I was trying to avoid top stitching for this dress, the opening edges at the back were finished using the adhesive tape that I ironed, thus gluing those seam allowances in and avoiding the need to top stitch them. I find this method really useful, the only downside being a bit of additional weight that the adhesive tape adds, but this time around it was not a problem at all. I like very much how the back of the dress looks.
Moving forward, yoke pieces were attached to the main back piece. With that I was midway into the project. Sleeves flounces were attached to sleeves openings, and skirt flounce pieces were attached to the skirt front and skirt back. Somewhere there in the process I recalled that I should install pockets, so I cut them out and stitched pocket pieces to sides. I was using flat sleeve method all along, so up until that point I had a large piece of fabric, not really yet a dress. But then the time to close side seams came, and I finally was able to try my dress on and see how it fits. The fit was just fine, I was happy with what was happening there.
Finally I hemmed all the flounces – sleeves and skirt. For that I usually use my rolled hem foot on my sewing machine. This time around I had doubts if this fabric would not be too thick for the 4 mm rolled hem foot. But it worked. I had a tough time to use it over side seams, where seam allowances were making the hem bulky, but otherwise, I managed to hem those flounces without much incident. The last remaining bits of work were to make the belt, to stitch the button on and to attach the neck facing to shoulder seams (for that I again used that same adhesive tape). And with that my new summer dress was complete!
For this dress I used some 1.50 cm of this floral viscose satin backed crepe, the fabric is called Scattered poppy print crepe, I bought it two years ago from The Fabric Store online. Pattern used here is pattern #108 from Burda 2020/06 magazine, I cut it in size 36. Other notions were: one button for back closure, a bit of interfacing tape, a bit of adhesive tape, and coordinating thread. This dress cost me 19 Eur. It was made in June, 2022.
In my view it is a perfect summer dress – flowing, playing with the wind, and yet not too light to not be comfortable. I wore it for the entire day today, during my birthday lunch, and nothing really happened to it – it did not crease much and is ready to be worn tomorrow. Here preparing the table for my birthday lunch, and love how nicely the colors of the dress play with all that greenery around!
During last many months I mostly worked on complex projects that would take days and days – coats, lined dresses, jackets. With this dress I have now recalled how nice it is to actually take a piece of fabric and in good half a day have a finished garment. No lining, no zippers, no sleeve complexity, just easy make coming together beautifully. And I absolutely love it! Will need to make more summer dresses – no number is too large for good summer dresses, right? 🙂
Let it be peace in the world! 💙💛