Thursday, June 7, 2018

Burda 08/2014 #116, a dress for a spring breeze

Do you ever finish a project and think, yes! This was the perfect fabric choice for that pattern. I recently had the opportunity to choose a fabric from The Confident Stitch, which is a gem of an independent fabric store in Missoula, Montana. I met the owner Kate a few years ago when she came for a fitting lesson. She has bay area roots but has lived in Montana for many years. Kate decided to open a fabric store which sounds like a dream but I imagine is a lot of hard work along with the fun of thinking about fabric all the time. On their blog they have great versions of indie patterns sewn up with their fabrics. I like to see how things look on real people, instead of illustrations, don't you? In particular they have sewn up versions of the Sew House 7 patterns which make me want to stitch up those immediately!
Looking at the website, I had a really hard time choosing as they have a lot of lovely knits, cottons and double gauzes however I will always gravitate towards the tropical and the turquoise blue, so I chose this woven rayon Island Batik. I chose the fabric first, with no plan. And then had to think about how to use it to take best advantage of the weight and drape. In the end I chose a pattern which fit into my vague plan to try new silhouettes and shapes this year.

blue rayon dress back view 2

How's that for something different? This is the first time I've ever sewn something with a hi-lo hem. Admittedly not a drastic one, but it does have that lovely swishy feeling as you walk around. And not to overlook the other feature of this pattern, the opening at the center back. This pattern is super easy to sew, and has an elastic channel in the front, then the opening has a drawstring all around the opening which you can make more gathered or less, depending on how much of your backside you want to show.

Seriously, so easy! Just 4 main pattern pieces, a facing for the back opening to make the casing, a bias binding on the neck and then turn and stitch hem for the sleeves and hem.

Blue rayon front on form

Here's a look at the pattern from the BurdaStyle website. Now I notice that they are also leaning into the "looks good with the wind blowing" aspect.

Burda 08-2014 116B

So Burda...from August 2014. Yes, I saw this dress ages ago and always wanted to make it. When in doubt of what to do with a fabric, I look at the various pattern websites, especially BurdaStyle because they have a lot of dresses with interesting features. It might be that I'm not interested in actually using their pattern, often I have a similar pattern in my stash already but the inspiration is helpful and I do like their tech drawings.

Changes - I think I shortened the whole thing about 3 inches - but note I am 5'3" so typically shorten everything. I lowered the front neckline about 2 inches at the center front. The drawing looks like a scoop neckline but it was too high on me and I like the way the back looked. Otherwise no changes. I cut a size 38 and graded to a 40 at the hip, but I probably could have made a 38 all over, it has plenty of ease.

Blue rayon close up back on form

The only other small nitpick is that I followed the pattern when placing the buttonholes at the center back which the tie threads through to the outside, and they are a bit too far apart (about 2.5 inches) As it is, when the bow is tied there is about 2 inches of fabric that isn't gathered up. However it doesn't show so it's not a problem. I also thought about making it a sleeveless look, as I usually don't like cap sleeves but I am SO glad I didn't. The shape looks perfect and cap sleeve balances out the rest of the details.

The color of this fabric is so pretty - it's like the perfect blue sky on a summer day. They have a number of these Island Batiks at The Confident Stitch. It would be a good choice for a similar easy fit dress, a tunic top or a maxi skirt.

Blue dress3

blue rayon side view close up

There is a bust dart which gives nice shaping to the front, and all but disappears in this fabric.

blue rayon dress back view6

blue rayon dress front4

It was really windy when I took these pictures - which worked out for the best.

So that's the latest on my new dress with fabric from The Confident Stitch. I can't wait for a warm evening to wear it out to dinner.

Next up, a Random Threads posts is in the works, and then my other recent sewing projects. Which are Not Blue! I just looked back through my blog posts for the last 5 months and the majority are blue. Not intentional and time to change color course.

Last weekend I had two days of great classes at Hello Stitch Studio.  On Saturday we sewed the Bondi dress, and all the version were so nice! This Bondi dress class is on the calendar again, Aug 12.  On Sunday I taught a pattern fitting class and I really enjoyed meeting everyone, sharing fitting dilemmas and finding solutions to make clothes that you want to wear (and sew again and again)

Speaking of Patterns - I am really excited about a new class we have put on the schedule: Sat. July 28, which is Pattern Hacks: add new elements to your existing patterns. You know I can't leave a pattern alone - so this class will cover how to make changes and hacks like redesigning the neckline, combining 2 patterns together, adding pockets, or plackets and just getting more mileage out of the patterns that you currently sew. Like some of my the other pattern fitting classes this will be a workshop style class where we slice and dice sample pattern templates in order to learn how to make these changes.

class at Hello Stitch Upcoming classes at Hello Stitch:
Sat. June 16 and 23: 2 morning sessions Skirt class, pencil or a-line skirt style, you choose your pattern.
Sat June 16: 2pm  Knit t-shirt. I think this class is close to sold out - so if you are interested hop over and register.
Thurs. June 14: 6-9 pm How to Read a Pattern, I really like this class, even if you have sewn a few patterns already it is a great overview and discussion of what makes a good pattern, how to get the most info from the pattern envelope and pieces plus choosing the right fabrics for success.

In July we have a Pants fitting class (Sat. July 14) and another session of  How to Copy a Garment class (Sun. July 22).
In August we will have a wrap dress something for everyone I hope.

Link here to the Hello Stitch Studio class listing page. 

People who sew are SO interesting! I have met such fantastic people in every class and as one person said on Sunday, it's just great to spend a day with others who want to talk about sewing. I agree with that!

Not able to resist using this photo to say gotta run and good-bye! Places to go and fabrics to sew. With the back opening a bit lower in this one - showing off my lingering Hawaii tan....

blue rayon dress with breeze1

Happy spring sewing, 

I was going to skip my garden photo - as you get a glimpse of all the foxgloves in the background there plus the hydrangeas just starting to have blooms, but I did get a new camera. And this is the time of year when there an abundance of things to photograph. 

Hanging basket with petunias and a calibrachoa which has survived through the winter. Plus experimenting with focus.



  1. I love the dress - Very breezy (both figuratively and literally)! Built in ventilation would come in handy during summer.

  2. Cute dress! I like the high/low hem. Happy sewing!

  3. Wow but you look gorgeous! Love the new for you style and it’s definitely a “party in the back” dress. Cute as a button, as my Gramma would say. 👍🏻