Thursday, September 1, 2022

Birthday season - Burda 08/2022 #115 summer version

Each year since I started the blog I have typically made a new dress for my birthday which comes just around Labor Day (our end of summer holiday here in the US). During the pandemic I kept with that habit, although I have not worn those dresses as much as I ordinarily would. I finished this dress a few weeks ago and decided to call it my birthday dress for this year, mostly because I really like it. Expect to see this pattern used again as it's very simple to sew, works in a lot of different fabrics and seasons, and it's fun to wear!

Purple floral outside1

The fun things about this dress is the flounce at the bottom. I'm very partial to dresses with this feature, or skirts like this one. 

I'm not sure these days how blog posts look on a phone or tablet, as I compose them on my laptop, but have started to use Chrome as it works better with Blogger. But the photos may not appear in full if you are reading on a phone, so I'm adding images in different sizes.

Purple floral outside3

Here's a look at the skirt with the flounce, which is sometimes called a circular ruffle (as opposed to a gathered ruffle). This one is not very flouncy - just enough for the proportions. 
purple floral dress hem

Speaking of proportions, I did a few adjustments for fit and style on this pattern.
Here's a look at image and drawing from the magazine.

So the obvious difference is sleeveless, I saw the line drawing and decided it would be an ideal dress for summer, minus the sleeves. Recently I really like bodice shaping that is accomplished by pleats so that caught my eye. 

For fit I changed the proportion of the skirt quite a bit. After making a few things that are longer than knee length, I've realized that I just don't like to wear them. I think they make me look shorter and just don't suit me. Also they take too much fabric! So for this dress I cut out a Burda size 38 at the neck and shoulders, graded out a bit to land at about Burda 42 at the hip. I also raised the armholes about 1/2" and think it could have had another 1/4" raise but it's still wearable. The biggest change was shortening the skirt, I took a big horizontal tuck, maybe about 3 inches at the low hip, so shortening the upper portion of the skirt. This left the bottom edge where it met the flounce unchanged and easy to sew. I also made the flounce about 2 inches shorter. This was mostly due to not wanting a below knee dress and also to use the fabric I had which was I got at a fabric swap. It was 45" wide and I think there was barely 2 yards. In fact I had to piece the flounce but you can't see that. 

purple flower front and back

It has a center back seam with a small opening at the back and is finished with a bias binding. I also used a bias binding on the armholes.

The placement of the waist casing was a bit lower than I wanted. If you look a the image above the waist drawstring looks a bit low to me. I marked it as the pattern indicated but tried it on before I sewed on the casing which is inside the dress, and decided to raise it 1.25". I think if I sew this again (likely) I will do the same and wait to see how whatever fabric I choose works out before deciding on the placement of that waist drawstring. 
Here's a closeup look at the center front waist. I put a small piece of fusible interfacing over the center point, then made two machine buttonholes at either side of the center front. That allows a casing on the inside and the ties to pull through to the outside and be tied at center. 

bias purple flower waist

Purple floral buttonholes

And my little secret for very comfortable and easy to wear drawstrings is to use mostly elastic and then the self-fabric ties sewn to that. The ties extend about 6 inches inside on either side when it is tied so it doesn't show. 

Purple floral outside2

You can tell I really like this dress - the silhouette is one of my favorites. And this fabric is both weird and lovely. The colors are also my favorites, and it's an odd combo of floral, polka dot and plaid. I wish I had it in another colorway but I do think it's vintage, you can just tell by the feel sometimes plus the 45" width, that it's probably 20 years old, was in someone's stash and now I've let it out into the world. 

Purple floral side view

And because taking photos for the blog or IG makes you feel a bit goofy, plus my photographer said try a different pose.

Purple floral outside 4

So that's the latest but probably not last dress of this summer. Which here is going on and on. Tourist Tip for anyone coming to San Francisco: September is the nicest month. Less fog, more sunshine. Although with the heat waves hitting the rest of the US and Europe, I read that the SF tourist organizations are considering promoting the city with "come cool down in SF". However if you do be prepared, as we have every weather option in a 30 mile radius. OK I exaggerate but we are bracing for a heat spell this weekend with several days of over 107℉. That's where I live, in SF they are expecting around 80℉. So something for everyone and a bit too much for me!  You can find me floating in the pool this weekend, being lazy, reading my library books (hurray for libraries!) and just doing as little as possible. 

Next week I have a Pants class on Thursday in Danville and I have listed all my upcoming in-person and online classes here on a new page I added to this blog. 

I hope everyone has a relaxing, safe and healthy long Labor Day weekend. 

Happy Sewing, 

Today's garden photo, this morning glory on the back fence finally put out a few blooms and they are worth the wait for that color. 

Morning glory


  1. You radiate in the dress. Perfect silhouette and color!

  2. Happy Birthday! Your dress is beautiful and I especially love your tip to add fabric ties to the elastic. Can't wait to give that a try!!

  3. Happy birthday! Your birthday dress is beautiful.

  4. The dress is stunning. The fabric is gorgeous and you look smashing in it. 😇

  5. Not anonymous, but Robin. Your dress with adjustments looks terrific. Very much your style after your changes, and impressive use of a small piece of fabric.

    A little off-topic, but here goes: These comments (“ And this fabric is both weird and lovely. The colors are also my favorites, and it's an odd combo of floral, polka dot and plaid.”) remind me of many fabrics I have seen in the past few years on Fabric Mart’s site. FM is a jobber, so their offerings are often a few years old in terms of trends, and for a while a few years ago they were selling many of these fabrics that were odd combinations like you describe. They were digital mash-up prints, and included plaids, animal-based patterns, digital flowers, stripes, dots, paisleys, you-name-it, on base material of all kinds but mostly rayon challis, poly silkies and other blouse and dress weight fabrics. They look nice made-up, but are real poi-dogs (Hawaii term, aka, Heinz-57) when just looking at them as raw materials. I could never get past the mash-up of such divergent beginnings and could only imagine a factory-based untrained “designer” sitting at a computer in a high-tech sweatshop somewhere manically pulling these designs together via cut-and-paste. My own assumptions about their origins put me off them, for the most part, though a few landed in my stash. Just thought this observation might be interesting 🤔

    Morning glories are left to thrive in my yard, they are well named.

  6. I love this dress and may just borrow some of your changes! I am looking at making a simple woven sheath dress that had options for drawstring or elastic at the waist, and I've been hesitating. It's too plain a design. I love the idea of a flounce and an interior drawstring casing. Thank you for the inspiration!

  7. Love your colors and zany print! My birthday as well as 2 friends are all within 4 days in late August. And we all LOVE that bright blue. Your creations are fun and always pretty. Keep creating!