Sunday, May 28, 2017

Butterick 6182 dress in denim eyelet

Is there such a thing as too much denim? I hope not because this spring I have been sewing denim, buying more denim, and planning future projects in denim. And this doesn't include jeans. More specifically it's denim dresses among my sewing projects, so they just might become my summer uniform. What is a summer uniform, you ask? It seems like each summer season I sew something that becomes my go-to item for the duration. Last summer it was floaty sleeveless tunic tops, in silk or rayon. Some other years it has been t-shirts in bold knit prints. Another time it was jersey knit dresses.

Of course most summers include a mix of things worn but do you end up with one or two outfits that you want to wear to everything. Which then means you rack your brain to recall what you were wearing  the last time you saw certain friends. Can you get away with wearing the same exact thing? Not the most important issue in the world but for us who sew our wardrobe then variety is part of the package.

Which means that my social circle should learn to distinguish between all my denim dresses, because soon there will be at least four. And all fairly distinct - especially this one, entirely due to this fantastic fabric.

denim eyelet dress2

This is a lightweight denim which is not exactly eyelet but I don't know what else to call it. It has lots of small holes which are a tiny bit frayed that give it a soft feel. Also it is tie-dyed? or somehow dyed with a variegated color so all in all an unusual fabric. That I found last summer at Stone Mountain in Berkeley. If you are quick it looks like they have it listed on their website here. They call the color a marbled bleach effect and that sounds right. Last summer I made a skirt out of this fabric for my friend Alice, see that here.

I've been trying to branch out and wear different silhouettes. The "unfitted" dress is one that I see on so many people - what is the right name for this style of dress? Meaning something without a defined waist, less fitted than other styles. Sometimes they are called sack dresses, or maybe a shift dress? or a cocoon dress? I guess it depends on if the column is straight, or perhaps A-line. And then the cocoon dresses often have a subtle narrowing at the hemline. Last year I tried a Burda style dress, (here's the post) and I didn't like that one, mostly due to fabric choice and maybe the shape.

denim eyelet dress4

But this one is more of an A-line shift style dress and feels really good to wear. And it has built in ventilation for our hot weather :).

Here's the dress form view so you can see the silhouette.

B6182 denim eyelet dress front view

back and side view B6182

I did make a few changes to the pattern. Pockets! of course. A dress with this shape and utility needs pockets - and it is an easy thing to add. I have a pocket pattern piece of cardboard which I use for any pattern that doesn't have pockets, and sew them on the side seams about 1" below wherever the waistline is marked on the pattern. It works out well. If you are trying to figure out where to add pockets on a dress, try it on and put your hand where you would normally reach into a pocket, then mark the center of that spot with a pin. I think a pocket opening of about 4.5 - 5" seems about right, so place your pocket pieces centered over the pin and you should be good. To go with this fabric for the pockets I used some scraps of bemberg rayon lining in navy blue. Also I add a bit on the side seam, particularly of the back dress piece so the pocket lining will not show.

Good thing patterns have technical drawings and other info because based solely on that example of the orange top and brown skirt I would have passed this pattern by. Yuck - I just don't like brown very much or brown/orange combos. Looks good on very few people. (caveat - there are some who look very good in this color combo - I can think of a couple of redheads who can wear this and look very pretty).

Butterick 6182 pattern env

Here's the technical drawing for this pattern. I bought it and made a skirt sample for my class at Hello Stitch, and ended up recommending it as one of the skirt patterns for the class. Interestingly enough so far everyone has chosen this skirt and it is really cute! The first week we were looking at the pattern and spoke about how the top had potential - and maybe even the dress. That's why I decided to sew it up, just for fun and to show people at the studio how it looked.

B6182 dress skirt line drawing

The dress/top has bands on the sleeve edges, which are kind of wide - around 2", I did cut them out and baste them on, but they seemed kind of wide and also felt a bit constricting. Actually they would feel better if cut on the bias which they are not. Anyway - I decided it made the sleeves too long, I liked it better with more of a cap sleeve look. So the sleeves are just double turned and stitched. The neckline has a bias cut binding.

The center dart is just about the only design feature on this and adds a bit of shaping. I figured that the darts need to match so I measured them to make sure I sewed the length of each dart equally. I hadn't so I went back to make sure they were.

denim eyelet dress darts sewing

But in this fabric they don't even show.

denim eyelet dress close up front

Changing up the shoes for a different look - not my fav with these coral clogs, I like it better with my slip on sneakers. And I do have to say that I get a faint impression of mid-50's housedress with this style. I guess it's important to maintain a 21st century attitude (with cell phone and coffee in hand at all times) in order to look modern.

denim eyelet dress7

That's the scoop on my latest denim obsession. Here's a sneak peek on my Instagram of the next denim in my sewing queue.

OK - gotta run. Last week I bought some more plants at the junior college horticultural department end of semester plant sale and they have been sitting on the front porch. I just have to find a good location.

denim eyelet dress6

Happy weekend sewing, 

Today's garden photo, a rose that I thought was is called Lipstick but now I'm not sure. I'll have to look in my gardening binder  - which sounds more organized that it is. Actually a 3-ring binder where I chuck in all the tags, labels, receipts and articles that go with stuff I buy or accumulate. Anyway what a color!

pink rose


  1. You aren't the only one sewing denim dresses this summer. I've found they make a great throw-on to wear out and about. Love this version!

  2. Fabric dot com has some border print denims that I almost bit on. One looked very similar to yours.

    That eyelet is perfect for that dress. Just a little body but not too much. It looks really good!

  3. This is a great summer dress. I have found myself drawn to the "sack" dresses this summer as well, but I haven't made one yet. Rather just spent my time obsessively searching for images of people with my body shape wearing one, to figure out which silhouette to try!

  4. Your dress is wonderful - it looks so comfortable, perfect for summer! And no, there is never such a thing as too much denim!

  5. Cute and cool looking. Just the thing for a hot summer. I do like the red sandals better with it than the matching shoes; it's a nice pop of color. How would you alter for a large bust? I know that I can add some shaping to the existing dart, but adding enough for my DD bust doesn't seem like it would work well.

  6. What fun fabric. I love shifts/sacks and go through periods when I go around looking pretty shapeless all the time :-)

  7. It's cute and perfect for summer. Also no, you cannot have too much denim, especially if you use pieces with varying textures.

  8. I've been thinking about and using denim this season too. As a matter of fact, my final project for draping (as yet to be documented) is essentially a denim shift dress. This looks supremely comfortable and I kind of love the interesting horizontal bust dart.

  9. What a fantastic fabric choice! It's outstanding! I am interested in that pattern. Thank you for the great review...and your garden is beautiful, as always.

  10. Love this dress and yes there's​ no such thing as having too much denim. I've been wanting to sew more from my stash this summer. I have some denim hacks lined up!

  11. Nice dress! The shaping looks good on you, and I totally understand wanting to sew mainly denim. That skirt is amazing too, I can see why your students choose it.

  12. I love this pattern! I am actually a semi-redhead and I did not love the brown and orange combo, but I do really love the shape of both the skirt and the top. I love your dress version. Nice addition of pockets! And what a beautiful rose, I am really curious about the name! And I wish I kept a garden binder. What a good idea.

    1. I just looked thru my binder and found the tag that came with that rose bush, the variety is: Miss Behavin'

  13. That is really cool denim fabric, I've not seen anything like it before. It looks great made into this dress, it can be hard I think to wear dresses shaped like this, but the combo of fabric and model totally works!!

  14. Perfect dress for and comfy. Looks great Beth!


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