Belated birthday dress

02Aug12

It may be summer in the UK, but my latest make is a pattern from last winter’s Burda. I’m really pleased to have finished this; so pleased that I couldn’t wait for a nice day to get my other half to take the pictures!



The pattern is Burda 120-12-2011. The fabric was a lovely birthday present from my parents. My mother and I went fabric shopping looking for something for this pattern and eventually stumbled across this vibrant turquoise fabric tucked away in a corner of Cloth House on Berwick Street in London. It’s a viscose knit, so very easy to wear although not so much to sew with.

The original pattern was designed for wovens so I ended up making a few changes to make it work with the jersey. Because of the way the pattern has to be laid out on the fabric, the edge of the (already pretty low) neckline ends up being cut along the width of the fabric, where the maximum stretch is. The edge grew about three inches between cutting and sewing. I lined the bodice with the same fabric, rather than using facings, and put clear elastic in the neckline seam which pulled it back in a bit. I still had to sew up the v-neck a little way to make the neckline wearable.



The original design has hugely long waist ties that are intended to make a big bow at the back. The jersey is so drapey that a bow just looks droopy; a simple knot is better and means you can get away with much less length in the ties. Unfortunately I didn’t realise this until I’d made the whole thing up, so I had to hand my husband the shears and ask him to cut them off at about the right length.



Anyway I’m really pleased with this. Now I just need somewhere to wear it.



24 Responses to “Belated birthday dress”

  1. Catherine, you look so elegant in that dress. I think this style must have been invented with you in mind! What a fabulous job you have done. You look incredible.

    May I ask: how do you pre-shrink/wash viscose before sewing with it? I have this wonderful orange geometric stuff but I’m not sure how to dry it after washing it. I have about one and a half metres of it and I’m sure it will be ruined if I attempt to hang it on the line! I don’t want it to languish in my stash.

    You seem to have made a few dresses with this sort of fabric so I thought you might be a good person to ask.

    • Thanks! I usually wash viscose on the gentle 30C cycle, but I have had some in the past that’s shrunk really badly so for this dress I washed a swatch first. Didn’t shrink but the texture changed quite a bit. pressing with steam recovered it. It was really strange – I could feel which side I’d pressed.

      • Thanks Catherine. How do you dry it though? I mean, it’s so heavy and stretchy when it’s wet. I washed a square of my viscose and it did really shrink, so I know it’s imperative that it’s washed (and dried!) before I cut it.

      • If the weather’s good I hang it on the washing line with lots of clothes pegs to try to stop it sagging. This one ended up being hung over the bannister on the landing though. I had to keep moving it so it didn’t get lines on it. I guess I could have put an old towel down first though and that would have helped.

        Can’t wait to see yours made up!

  2. Fabulous dress Catherine – and the colour is perfect for you :-)!

  3. 6 BeccaA

    Gorgeous dress and gorgeous color on you! Happy birthday!

  4. 7 punkmik

    happy belated birthday! That style and colour are amazing on you! And how brave to sew with viscose!!!
    And yeah shame about our “summer”. I have a project for a cape since June because it wont stop raining and being cold. :( Maybe september will be nice! :P

  5. This is beautiful, Catherine! I love the colour. I was just looking at that same dress earlier this week! And a happy belated birthday to you! I do hope you had a terrific day!

  6. It turned out gorgeous! The color is just wonderful and it is such a flattering design.

  7. Beautiful and elegant looking, that colour is so striking on you! Great job and happy belated birthday :)

  8. The perfect marriage of fabric and design. I am mad about casually elegant maxi dresses.

  9. This is so sleek and elegant on you, happy birthday to you in your wonderful dress!

  10. You look so stunning in this dress! You did a fabulous job and I love that you took the pics in the rain with your umbrella!

  11. Lovely dress and great fabric. The colour looks great on you

  12. Catherine, thanks so much for your help. I think I will do exactly what you do! There doesn’t seem to be another option anyway. I think we all just get by however we can on these issues after all.

  13. Happy Birthday. The Australian Men’s Olympic swim team salutes you.

    My apologies if you’re not into them XD
    Also, that dress rocks. Very hot as usual and goes great with your hair.

  14. Fantastic dress and love the color on you.

  15. What a beautiful dress. You look amazing in it! :-)

  16. Great dress Catherine, very elegant.

  17. Wow you look beautiful in this chic elegant dress. Beautiful birthday girl :o)

  18. The dress is perfect! Bright turquoise light makes you, like an angel off the summer in England. Love it! Great job.

  19. Gorgeous dress Catherine the colour is stunning as is the drape.

  20. Happy belated birthday Catherine! You look so elegant and graceful in this stunning number. Really beautiful. You did a fabulous job with this difficult fabric.
    And I love your charcoal long sleeved Burda 09/2010/122 dress too. I’ve just made up this pattern, and I’m so happy with it.

  21. This looks so elegant on you! And the color is divine. A wonderful dress!



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