Sunday, September 13, 2020

Fabric stash find for my annual birthday dress

One thing we probably all have learned during this extended stay-at-home time is the value of a good stockpile of fabric. I have the usual stash of notions, fabrics and other sewing supplies. I tend to buy fabric at stores such as Stone Mountain that I'm going to sew up right away. When I find fabric at garage sales, swaps, sewing guild fabric destash events, or even fabric that is given to me, that goes in the fabric storage closet for just the right project to come along. 

However this fabric is something that I bought around seven years ago? maybe longer. I was on a cotton sateen kick then and Fashion Fabrics Club had a lot of nice printed sateens so I ordered quite a few one year. Slowly I've been using them up and this seemed like a good match for a pattern I've also had for a while.

Burdaeasy dress11

This is a pattern I bought ages ago on the BurdaStyle website, and I knew that I printed out the PDF but I couldn't find it. I searched all through my desk and closets, combed through my computer and yet it was still missing. One day earlier this summer I mentioned to my friend Halyna (@zigzagstitching) that I was searching for a Burda sundress pattern and she replied "oh the one that you gave to me?" Aha, that's where it went! I knew I had printed it out. So she gave it back to me and I finally sewed it up for this year's birthday dress.

Yes, my always near Labor Day birthday has come and gone, and no tropical beach vacation this year so I will have to make up for that in the future. To be quite honest - 6 months of this stay-at-home, life isn't back to normal is taking a toll on my mood, and the stress of approaching winter, the election on the horizon, and the gloom and sadness of all the west coast fires are combining to make everyone even more on edge than before. It almost feels like a year without summer - we had the heat and sunshine but not much of the usual fun of travel, seeing friends and family, going to barbecues and just enjoying things. Fellow Americans - get your act together!! so we can go back to normal(ish) life. 

Back to sewing details. Here is the pattern which I think is no longer available on the website. 

Burda Easy sundress

I did change the straps, and also added a belt. Otherwise it is just like the pattern. I think they also had a version with cap sleeves which would be nice. 

Burda easy sateen dress on form

Who doesn't like a dress with nice big pockets that are part of the design? Kind of irresistible.
Note that I took some of these photos with my iPhone and others with my digital camera, it's interesting to see how different the color comes out. I think the camera ones actually have better color and the iPhone does too much auto-correcting which I suppose I could adjust but will probably ignore. 

BurdaEasy sundress1

Burda easy side and back

These pockets are ideal, they remind me of those on my favorite Butterick 5455 pattern, a dress I've made so many times, (here and here). And now you can see the interesting detail on the back bodice, which is a section of shirring that is intended to give a nice snug fit. It worked OK on this, I think because cotton sateen is quite a thick fabric the shirring with elastic thread didn't draw up the fabric as much as it would do on a thinner fabric. 

Burda easy dress7

Burda easy dress back elastic

There's a good look at the back shirring, that center back piece is a separate one, that you sew with the elastic thread and then attach to the side back pieces. The front and then the side backs have a facing. The shirring section is turned under and stitched to finish the top edge. 
I thought it needed a bit more tightening in that section so I stretched and stitched on a piece of quarter inch elastic which did the trick. I am all about the quick no one will ever see them fixes on my summer dresses. 

Burda easy dress inside back elastic

Burda easy dress6

One of my favorite things to make with certain dresses is a belt from the same fabric. My sister found that nice pearly white belt buckle so I had that in my box of notions as well. Save those belt buckles - they can be very handy. Sometimes I buy a belt at the thrift store for a couple of bucks just for the hardware. The proportion seemed to call for it so I made this belt a bit wider than the buckle and just pleated it where it attached to the buckle. I think this is one of the fun things about making your own clothes, these little details that you get to decide, where to stitch, how big a hem, pleats or ruffles, a pattern hack here or there. It's the customization that makes sewing really fun to me. 

Burda easy dress belt closeup

The buttons are not a perfect match but they were also in my button box, and I feel very virtuous and thrifty when I use vintage buttons I have instead of making a special trip to buy some buttons. My sewing machine has the setting to make those little eyelet holes and it's very fun to do. I always make a few test ones just to make sure I like them. The key to a nice belt is plenty of interfacing. I also make at least one loop for the end of the belt to go into. Sometimes on a very fancy dress I will put a snap underneath the end of the belt so it stays exactly in place. 

Burda easy dress 13

So that's the latest on my not quite last summer dress. I have one more that I just finished which is a winner but will also be put away until next year. ๐Ÿ˜ž

I hope everyone is staying well and coping with this stressful summer - my fellow west coasters - let's pray for rain and an end to these terrible fires. Little danger here near me but the air is incredibly bad over all of N. California and Oregon going on for a week now. Wednesday was the weird day when we actually had to use lamps at noon and the sky was a dark and eerie orange all day. What else? NO don't answer that.......

Last week was my first session of our Hello Stitch Sewing club class, it was really fun to get back to teaching some classes. Not sure what we will do in October, maybe a button front shirt or cozy stay at home separates - haven't decided yet. In any case we plan to do a different garment every month so I hope you can join in. Hello Stitch Studio , you can get their newsletter or follow in IG for updates. 

Burda easy dress8

The state of my garden is dry and fading. I hope to get out there and do some cleaning up if our air improves. By the way - I think this is my 5th quarantine haircut, self-administered. I think I will make it for the duration! 

See you soon, stay well and happy sewing,

Today's garden photo - a beautiful hydrangea from June. 



  1. This is such a nice dress. I bought the sleeve version even though I prefer the sundress. I figured I could hack straps like yours easier than hacking sleeves if I changed my mind. Every time I see it I think I must make it ๐Ÿ˜…
    All the versions are still up on Russian site in Burda Easy 1/2014, but not for sale ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

  2. Beth, your new dress is lovely. The colours and style suit you so well. I’m with you about the endless horrors of 2020! Sending you best wishes from Australia as your country now grapples with the terrible fires that we endured last Summer. Hoping things start improving soon ๐Ÿ’

  3. This is a perfect style on you, as is the fabric.

  4. Happy belated birthday, Beth! Your dress is fabulous, I'm glad you were able to track down the pattern. I know how you feel about these difficult days. It's just one thing after the next. We are so fortunate to have sewing to distract us and keep our minds engaged in something positive. I can't wait to see what you guys pick for the next class. I'm glad you enjoyed teaching this last round. I hope I can find time to join soon. Thanks for sharing the sewing!

  5. The fabric is LOVELY and the dress looks adorable on you. The fit is perfect!
    I sometimes find zippers and lovely buttons in thrift stores but I never thought of looking for belts just for the hardware - what a great idea!

    I'm sorry to know you missed out on so many summer fun and activities this year. And my heart goes out to all Californians who are suffering due to those terrible fires. Still, I'm happy to know you're OK.

    I hope and pray that next summer will be much better for all of us.

  6. What a lovely dress! The fabric, fit and pattern style look wonderful on you. You have been cutting your own hair? You must be a professional stylist as it looks just as nice as always!

  7. Perfect summer dress, Beth, and it looks wonderful on you!
    I always enjoy photos from your garden and seeing what is in bloom in your part of NorCal.
    A dear friend of mine in the East Bay is keeping me up to date on all the fire and air quality news: heartbreaking as a native Californian/West Coaster. I hope that the high-risk states can find additional proactive steps in coming years.
    So, lots to weigh us down, but the internet has been a bright spot for social interaction like this (understanding that it falls short of in-person activities)!

  8. What a lovely dress. It’s just perfect. I prefer your version to the model, it is more balanced and sophisticated. Thank you also for the tips on belt making. I have several belt buckles saved, but I have not ventured much into doing something with them, which is a shame, but hopefully I will find nice projects that will inspire me to give some a try.

  9. Beautiful dress, and I love the changes you made to make it unique. It's what I love about making my own clothes too.
    Sending prayers from across the pond for rain over there, but not here if it's all the same to you, we seem to be enjoying a last few days of summer after an autumnal couple of weeks.

  10. Such a nice, classy dress. The shirring and the belt lend wonderful "architecture" to the dress. The sateen and the belt and buckle really add to the very satisfying look. Super nice.

  11. I love it. I love the color and the straps and the skirt and the belt! :) I have never tried shirring. Maybe next year. Summer has pretty much bid us adieu here in the tundra.

    This year is really a doozy. Stay safe!

  12. Such a beautiful and summery dress! I love the fabric that you selected along with your vintage buttons and the belt. All of which makes it the perfect dress! Oregon has been so awful. Lots of smoke and now fog with smoke.

  13. You look marvelous! The dress suits you, perfectly.

  14. Gorgeous Dress Beth. Cant wait till 2021

  15. I really, really love this one on you! (I've been following you for a while, but it's hard to comment from the Word Press Reader. I love your work, your posts, and your garden. I wish I could send you some of our Florida rain.

  16. Gorgeous dress! Fabulous colour. It really suits you.

  17. Happy Birthday, Beth. You look great in your new birthday dress. Sewing the stash has been good, and I'm happy to have something to do to fill the time during the Covid-19 pandemic. The summer is almost gone and it's feels like we didn't have one.

    I hope things get better for you soon. Stay safe and I will check out Hello Stitch Studio. Thanks, Cennetta

  18. It looks so good! Love the colors and the style of the dress.

  19. The perfect birthday dress, cute and colorful and you look great in it.