Sunday, July 17, 2022

Part 2: Finished Dress with Ruffles - BurdaStyle 05/2022 # 102

Here's my finished dress and I am really happy with the combination of fabric and pattern. Sometimes that just works out perfectly and this is such a case.  Plus this post is something of a two for the price of one - you get a look at my garden project which has been taking up a lot of my time this year. It might not look all that different but like any project there's a lot going, and I will include more details below. 

But back to sewing - this fabric is a woven rayon challis that I ordered from Fabric-Mart, maybe last year? I really liked the color and was waiting for a suitable pattern to use.  In my last post you can see the pattern details with pictures from the May Burda magazine issue. Also in that post I wrote a bit about doing fit adjustments on this pattern. 

Orange dress shorter1

It was all finished and I took a few pictures, then looking at those decided I didn't like the length. In the right style longer skirts and dresses are something that look nice but every time I make one for myself I never feel comfortable. I like dresses to hover around the knee, either just above or below.   So these dress form pictures are the longer length and then above it has been hemmed about 4" shorter.

Orange dress front and back

I have a feeling that some people might prefer it longer but I prefer the shorter. Over the years things I have posted that were longer people seem to like and make comments to that effect which I find interesting - but we have to be comfortable in our clothes and I prefer a different proportion. 

Here's a look at the longer length. 

Orange dress longer1

I also went back and forth on adding the ruffles which is an option in the pattern, but the fabric was so nice and soft so it seemed like it suited the style well, and I'm glad I did. Without the ruffles it's just a basic shirtdress. 

Orange dress closeup

As I mentioned in the previous post, I did cover an existing belt to make the belt for this dress. I didn't have any belt backing in my stash of this width (1.25") which I thought was the right width for this style. So I rummaged in the closet to find a belt that I could use, and found one that I've never worn but it was just right. Well actually just right would have been a lighter color buckle but this worked out well enough. 

I made eyelets on my sewing machine for the holes and then stitched it on by hand starting at that end. Then another eyelet at the end for the tongue of the buckle to fit into, hand stitching it closed along the length of the belt. I made an extra loop and stitched that about 3 inches away from the buckle as belts without that always look messy to me. I know the inside of the belt doesn't look perfect but I don't mind at all if the inside is messy when it looks fine on the outside. 

orange dress belt

Another change to the pattern was to add pockets, of course. A shirtdress with no pockets - unthinkable! I like to have slippery lining type fabric for my pockets so I don't usually use the same fabric. If you look at the side seam you can see on the back of the pocket I put a facing using the dress fabric so you don't get a glimpse of the lining when wearing. 

Pocket inside orange dress

Side by side comparison of the dress at different lengths. I will say that the longer one on the left is not looking too bad in the image but I think the breeze is doing a bit of work there. 

orange dress comparison

I actually took more photos the first time, prior to shortening. Here's another one. See I think that hem lands at the wrong place, it looks too 1950's for my style plus I prefer the proportion of more leg. Well, that's why we sew  - to get just what we want, right?  Also this is a bit of a blank area in the garden, covered with mulch. I have to resist putting plants everywhere as the ones I've already planted are going to get bigger and take up space, plus this time of year is too hot and dry to start them off. 

Orange dress longer 2

Looking at that picture I think I've reached the limit of my home haircutting ability. Yes I'm still doing it myself - some months it comes out better than others. I was just thinking of going back to a hairdresser but then the urge overtook me this morning and I cut it myself with a good result. 

Orange dress shorter2

So that's the latest on this rayon shirtdress. Up next - I just started another version of my very modified Myosotis dress so that will be great for hot weather. Looking at that post you can see the garden in the before stage. 

I'm teaching some in person classes here in the east bay and I will write about upcoming ones in my next post. I just got a really cute vintage t-shirt pattern which is perfect for the Color Blocking challenge on IG via @sewover50 so I'd like to get that sewn up this month. 

A few notes about the garden update. My water company offered a rebate for removing lawns, and cutting back on water using landscaping. Being that all the existing irrigation system front and back were very much past their prime it needed to be reworked. After being at home for the last two years I could water as needed but here a timer is essential to water before 6 am and also to be able to go away for longer than a day. So that was the impetus to update everything. The front is still a work in progress but there my lawn area is gone and will be replaced with more succulents, a rock river and a lot of penstemon and salvia for color. In the back we took out the grass completely, made it a bit smaller in area, and replaced the grass with Kurapia which is a low-water use ground-cover. So far it's working out well but I think it takes some getting used to. Also you have to wait a while before mowing it down to be a low ground-cover so it looks a bit unruly or as I call it fluffy, right now. 
The crepe myrtle trees stayed (of course) as well as the roses, hydrangeas and all the existing salvias. I planted quite a few new salvias and penstemon, plus some slightly exotic pelargoniums, some dusty miller to lighten things up, and then a few foxgloves that I had been growing in pots. And a few petunias for instant color. Some daisies in one area and a couple of gardenias which I will call vintage but seem happy enough to put out plenty of flowers. The salvias and penstemon will fill out nicely by next year and be really pretty as well as loved by the hummingbirds. I have three albutilons in the back in different colors and they are lovely as well. Plants are a bit like fabric, it's very challenging to resist buying them when you see them but then when you get home you have to find somewhere to put them! 

Orange dress shorter3

"Should I buy more plants or more fabric?" is what I'm thinking in that picture. 

Speaking of finding spots to store fabric, next week I'm going to Britex with my friend Heather - so let the fall sewing planning commence :)

Happy Sewing,

Here's today's garden pictures, two of them. First is a close up of the Kurapia groundcover which grows laterally once it is mowed and settles in, but until then it's flowering and covered with bees. Which don't bother me at all, I'm so used to them and we ignore each other for the most part. (now wasps - they are the enemy along with gophers, racoons and other burrowing nemeses.)  Second is a look at my newest Albutilon (which is a flowering maple, member of the Mallow family) in a lovely peachy pink. I think it's in a nice spot and should get about 8 feet high in a couple of years. 


pink ablution


  1. Your shirtdress is perfect, the ruffles are absolutely necessary, the fabric is perfect. The belt too, it just completes the look. Totally like the shorter version too.

    What a lovely garden. Everything seems quite happy. I do love the ground cover as is - just left natural. Thank you for the beautiful photos.

    Have fun at Britex! Robin

  2. Interesting that hydrangeas are low water use for you - here they are very thirsty and wilt down terribly when it gets dry and super hot (frequently August). The ground cover replacing grass - is it a succulent? I wonder if it can take cold weather.....hmmmm.


  3. I am also a knee length dress kinda lady. I like short dresses too, but once they get to right around knee length, it’s that or full maxi length. I don’t like those in-between/midi lengths as much.

    This is just so fresh and cute. Ahhhhhh.

  4. Looking at the two hem lengths, you actually look taller and thinner in the longer length, maybe because the eye runs up and down and has more colors to scan. Standing in front of the crepe myrtle is such a perfect picture! We removed our front lawn years ago and "barked" it with grasses and bushes and a drip low maintenance! You have such gorgeous arms for a sleeveless dress! Stay cool!