Now then. This pattern has completely taken me by surprise with just how much I love it. I bought it several months ago with the intention of taking part in the Instagram sewing challenge #sewtogetherforsummer which runs every Summer and this year’s theme was to sew a sundress. Technically a sundress is a sleeveless dress, and whilst this is not a style I would usually jump for thanks to flappy bingo wings, I knew that I would always wear this style pattern with a t-shirt or similar underneath. Aaaaaanyhow, Summer came and went and I found that I didn’t have time to make it in the end, but wow! now that I have got around to making it I am so in love with the style. Big time.
I purchased the pattern from Sew Essential and bought the fabric from Minerva. This cotton ramie blend is fairly light weight and slightly transluscent when held against the light. It feels slightly stiff when it first arrives but has washed softer. Fun fact – ramie fabric is a ‘linen type fabric made with the fibres of a nettle plant’!
You might recognise some of the features of this pattern as belonging to the incredibly popular overall pattern which is the Burnside Bibs from Sew House Seven. This dress version is a collaboration that Sew House Seven and Simplicity have worked together on. The variations of dress options are fairly subtle, but you have a choice of pocket styles, a straight or curved bib top, and skirt lengths/widths. The dress is pulled in at the waist using long ties that are threaded through carrier loops at the back waist and tied either at the back, side or front.
I chose to make view B, the ‘just below’ knee length (which I have shortened to pretty much knee length), with the straight bib top and simple pockets without topstitching. The pockets are lovely and big.
Because I needed to shorten the length of the skirt so much to my preferred length I sewed up what was left of the skirt slit as this length didn’t require it.
My (always varying slightly) measurements at the time of cutting this pattern were 36-30-39. Looking at the ‘body measurements’ on the pattern this put me between their size 14 and 16. After reading a few pattern reviews before cutting out, I decided that the hip measurement was the most important one to focus on for this style, and looking at the ‘finished garment measurements’ on the hip, it seemed that the size 14 would be ok for me. Lucky that, as this is one of those printed patterns that are printed in 2 size ranges and I have the size 6-14 copy! Phew! I cut a straight size 14.
I had also read in previous pattern reviews that inserting the invisible zip into the skirt side seam is not always necessary as it can be slipped on without it. I decided to play this ‘by ear’ and check the fitting of the skirt when I got to that point in the sewing. I did find that the skirt would slip on without the need for a zip, so at this part of the construction I just sewed up this side seam right to the top. This has worked out fine, however I have found that I like to wear it with the ties knotted at the front of the dress and just feel that the waist measurement might be a teeny bit big and results in some fabric clumping at the front below the waist tie – despite it being pulled tight at the back. I think next time I could grade down to a size 12 at the waist and include the zip for a much better fit. We’ll see. I still absolutely love it!
Sewing the pattern was great and I made a couple of changes as I went along…(apart from omitting the zip)….
The pattern has slim shoulder straps which transition into the long narrow ties. The instructions call for you to sew these long strips right sides together, leaving a gap half way along to help you turn them through. Despite leaving a generous gap for turning there was no way that I would turn the straps through this way, so resorted to using the alternative method when straps are too narrow of pressing them wrong sides together, then pressing in the 3/8″ seam in place and sewing it together with a line of top stitching on the outside. Much less stressful! By the way, I love the narrow straps and how they cross at the back. Cute right?
I also noticed that my tabs/carriers that the ties run through at the back of the skirt are a little shorter in length than I expected. I feel I must have turned the ends under more than the required 3/8″ which would make them shorter, but anyhow they work great like this, so it’s all good.
As already mentioned I decided to sew up the side slit. To get the correct length for me (I’m 5’2″ btw), I needed to turn up by 5″. After trimming this seam allowance down to a more reasonable 1.5″ I blind hemmed it on my machine.
The dress is comfortable, cute and so wearable. I think in future I would line the skirt, as feel I might more often wear this in the cooler months with coloured tights, and the combination of close fitting skirt and tights always calls for lining or a slip, so might as well pop in some lining to the skirt next time I make it hey?
I feel that the original Burnside Bibs overall pattern will be going straight on my Christmas list now! Fingers crossed that I’m on the nice list x
Take care and I’ll be back soon,
Kathy x @sew_dainty
Pictures taken at beautiful NT Packwood House.