Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Lemon fresh: last summer dress of the season (or so I say)

Whew! A sneak peek of this dress claimed more interest on my Instagram than anything else I've posted. Sometimes a print just resonates with a lot of people, or perhaps citrus prints are having a moment? To tell the truth, when ordering something else I tossed 1 yard of this fabric into my online order cart just to get free shipping:) I mean really, do I need another summer dress? Don't answer that! ha ha. It's a really nice cotton sateen and I figured I would get to it sometime, but then I went to the pattern swap meeting of our Bay Area Sewists group and came home with a couple of old Burda magazines. Glancing through the May 2006 I could hardly make up my mind. So many cute dresses!! But this one is so simple and but with details to make it irresistible.

Lemon dress4

A few sewing and design details that I think elevate this from a basic shift dress to something with a little more style. Here are the front bodice pieces (and the skirt still folded in half). I mentioned on an Instagram post that this dress illustrates a dart hiding in plain sight. I love darts and shaping that are incorporated in seams (one of my favorites of this variety is this red wool Vogue jacket).

Lemon dress front bodice pieces

Here's the dress photo from the magazine and the technical drawing. The front only has shaping from the seams and the back has a little shaping plus some darts in the skirt. It's not supposed to be a fitted dress, but more of a shift style that skims the body. Pattern is Burda 05-2006-121.

Burda tech drawing with dress photo

Dress form view

Lemon dress on form front view

and back view on me

Lemon dress back view

So...the center back seam could have been pattern matched. Frankly that is something that never occurs to me with florals. Ok - plaids I will go to the ends of the earth to match perfectly but florals it's just not something I fuss about. And for a super simple summer dress - sew it up quickly and wear it while the weather permits! On the other hand I'm quite pleased with the line up of the seams across the zipper.  I do like this neckline - pretty how it matches front and back.

Lemon dress back and side view

Lemon dress 5 side view

Well that is a slightly weird facial expression but a good side view of the dress so here it is. Moving on please....

I even made a muslin to test this pattern, as I couldn't pin those curvy paper pieces together to check fit and proportion. Which I usually do with the paper pattern pieces but you try to pin circles together, not going to happen.  I used some scraps of quilting cotton I picked up who knows where, and found it needed to be taken up at the shoulders a good 3/4" although that is a common adjustment for me since I'm 5'3". I made a size 38 with some added seam allowance on the sides for fit insurance. Note all neck edges are stay-stitched, which helps keep them from distorting as well as letting you visualize where the actual seam edge will be on the finished item.


Inside peek, I lined the top half with some grey cotton voile. For neck facings I used the fabric and then sewed the lining only in the bodice.

lemon dress back zipper and lining

For any sleeveless dress I always add the lining and facings to the front and back, leaving the shoulder seam until last, plus a bit of the way down on either side of that shoulder seam on the outside edge. Then I sew up the shoulder seam checking for fit - and then hand sew the outer edge facing to dress fabric. Sounds more complicated than it is.  It's all pinned together in this photo below, see the right side where it is being hand stitched.

Lemon dress inside lining and zipper

Very happy with this one and I'm calling it my birthday dress for the year. I think almost every year since I started this blog I've sewn an end of summer creation which I can wear over Labor Day. Oh yes, I'm a Labor Day baby, cue a lifetime of jokes from my mom about her labors. All you other Labor day babies know just what I'm talking about. So I plan to wear this out to dinner and perhaps I'll order a 🍋🍸to go with it. Usually I'm in Hawaii for my birthday but I was just there a couple of months ago so San Francisco will just have to do. 😊

Lemon dress 2

So to sum up - there are treasures in the pattern archives from every decade. I just found a great vintage coat pattern at a garage sale and it's taking all my will power not to sew it up. Oh, you know I will succumb and start that soon enough.

Happy Labor Day weekend and happy sewing,

today's garden photo, a yellow and blue accent to go along with my lemony dress.



  1. It's a wonderful dress and print and you made it so beautifully – as usual! I just can't imagine how you managed to get a whole dress out of 1 yard of fabric. My mind is boggled. How brilliant.

  2. It's so pretty!! And I agree, there's no need to fuss too heavily over pattern matching in this print or most florals.

    Happy early birthday!!

  3. Happy Birthday from another Labor Day baby!

  4. Great dress! Super flattering style on you!

  5. I really like your dress so much and am astonished you were able to get a dress out of just a yard of fabric. Isn't it funny how we can swoon over the most complicated of patterns and spend a small fortune on yards and yards of fabric but at the end of the day a well drafted yet simple pattern paired with a beautiful cheery fabric will be what makes up into a really flattering, really lovely dress? And my goodness your garden is pretty. Happy Birthday!

  6. Such lovely seam lines and your lemon fabric just makes me smile! Nice to have a thin lining inside to protect and prolong the life of the dress. Hope your birthday celebration is super!

  7. This is beautiful and I love the fabric, where is it from? I have been looking for this!

    1. I ordered it from, may be sold out. I just saw some similar fabrics on the Stone Mountain Fabrics instagram post.

  8. Awesome! The dress is summery and lovely. You always choose a great fabric.

  9. This is a beautiful dress Beth! The funny thing is that I've also taken out this pattern, but not had the chance to make it yet.. I think we like the same style :-)

  10. The dress is beautiful and I can't believe you got that out of a yard of fabric! So impressed!

  11. Love that print and the fit is just fantastic on you!!

  12. This dress fits you so well and the print is "makes me smile" fun. Perfect for a Birthday Dress. Hope you had a great birthday. I love looking through old issues of Burda. There are some from 1992 stacked next to my computer as I type this.

  13. Cute summer dress in a gorgeous fabric - the style really suits you. I absolutely love going through my old Burda magazines, so many gems in them.