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A Burda Style pintuck pleated smock dress.

Well this dress was a long time coming. It’s dress number 106 from Burda Style magazine issue December 2019!

I first noticed this when the lovely Jay Jay from The Camden Stitch mentioned it in one of her Christmas Vlogs last year – this one in fact! She flicked through it whilst having a coffee at St Pancras Station and when she paused to look at this dress I instantly decided that I needed that issue of the magazine too.

It’s been years since I bought a Burda magazine, and turns out they’re really good value. This was £5.99 for 221 patterns apparently! Not quite sure how work out 221 patterns, they must be including each size of each pattern I reckon, but there certainly are quite a few. In fact now that I have made this one I might get around to making another pattern that I also really liked in the same magazine..

Don’t worry if you don’t have the magazine, but still like this dress. I’ve got your back. It’s available as a individual pattern purchase here. You are welcome! Ha!

Line drawing from Burdastyle.com

The dress is a smock style pleated dress. I have called it a pintuck dress, not sure if this is exactly right as I imagine pintucks to be really tiny, and these are fairly wide. But hey ho, whatever you call it it’s pretty cute right?

Alongside the pleats/pintucks it has a fantastic tie at the back of the neck – you know how I am a sucker for a tie back! It also has an unusual flounce insert at the bottom of the back of the dress, which I actually left out because I wasn’t that keen on it. Simple long sleeves complete the look.

The sample in the book was made up in a viscose which is probably my absolute fave fabric to sew with, so I used a pretty mustard floral viscose from my stash that I bought from Like Sew Amazing during the Summer. Sadly this particular fabric looks like it might be sold out now, but there are plenty of other beautiful alternatives over in her lovely shop.

Before I even start we need to address the reason why a lot of people are hesitant to use patterns from the Burda magazine. It’s the tracing. The magazine comes with one pattern sheet containing the all the pattern markings for every pattern in the book. It’s completely crazy. Take your time to read through what you need and where to look for them and don’t do what I did which is start to trace out late afternoon when the light is starting to go. Big mistake. To make it a little easier for myself I used a Frixion highlighter pen to draw over the lines that I needed to trace off before placing the tracing paper on top. This makes it much easier to follow the correct line when tracing and not be distracted by the others. Seam and hem allowances are not included in these magazine patterns by the way, so don’t forget to add these in before cutting out.

I made up the size 40 (with no adjustments), and my measurements are 36-29-38

The pattern was super easy to sew up actually. The main thing that I was concerned about was keeping the pleats nice and neat when I was sewing them as I thought the viscose might be too soft. Turns out they were no problem at all, they pressed nicely when I pinned them in place and stayed put when I sewed them in. Winner winner. I’m very surprised with how nicely they turned out (I was not expecting that)! It’s a shame the pattern on the fabric makes them really difficult to see from a distance. This would be a super dress using a chambray or lightweight linen so that you could really work on showing off those tucks.!

Silver button acrylic necklace available from my shop here

I also love love LOVE the tie at the back of the neckline. Sadly once again this kinda disappears into the pattern of the fabric but I hope you can get the idea. The ties are really long which is super cute I think.

Finally as I mentioned before, the dress has a flounce that is added to the bottom of the dress back. I didn’t particularly like this so when I cut the pattern out, so I just made the front and back dress pieces the same length and ignored the flounce piece.

I must be honest, the back view is not very flattering. I mean, I guess a smock is never going to be. I’ll add a pic here. Hmmm I did wonder if it would look better a little shorter. We’ll see. I can always go back to that. Or maybe I could add a belt?

The finished result has really pleased me, I wasn’t expecting to love it as I do. I was wearing a navy cardigan with it before we took the pics and that looked really nice – I should have taken some pics of it as that is definitely how I would wear it at the moment. With thick coloured tights and shoe boots or trainers. It’s a yes from me!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Tilly and the Buttons Stevie Add-on Gathered Dress

I’m sure that most of you are familiar with The Stevie  tunic and top pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. Did you notice last month that an add-on pattern had been released? This  gives you the option to use the original pattern to add longer sleeves or a gathered skirt transforming it into an oversized smock dress whilst still retaining those classic and recognizable Stevie features.

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The new dress version could not have appealed to me more! It’s right up my street! Gathered skirt – yes please. Tie back – of course. Swishability – 100%.

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This dress is made using the original Stevie pattern plus the Add-on pattern. A bundle of both patterns together is also available here.

*polite/shy cough* I was beyond flattered to be asked by Tilly and the Buttons to model the pattern images for this new add-on pattern and, trust me, I’m still pinching myself.

The sample of the dress that I modelled for Tilly is made up in this beautiful linen/cotton stripe from Lamazi Fabrics and is gorgeous. Immediately that I saw it I desperately wanted to make my version in a linen stripe too and have a bit of fun copying those playful stripe directions.

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The fabric that I purchased for my version is a viscose linen from Material Girl Laura. Unfortunately this is out of stock now, but it’s a beautiful mid blue with a narrow white stripe.

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Can you see the little dots of rain on the fabric!  Typical British Summer hey?

The acrylic pastel blue knitting necklace with gold plated chain is available from my shop.

As I needed to be very careful cutting this out to make sure that the stripe was running the correct way on each pattern piece, I drew out a rough sketch of the dress (front and back) and drew the stripes in so that I knew which way to lay each piece on the fabric. This was also important as I knew that I would only have just enough fabric to do this. Guess who despite this still cut out the back bodice piece (the piece below the back yoke) with the stripes in the wrong direction!? Yep, me..

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This resulted in some rude words, and some intense pattern repositioning on the remaining pieces and I finally managed to squeeze out that back bodice piece by cutting it as two separate pieces (rather than on the fold) so now there is a little vertical seam running down the centre now. Never mind, you can barely see it ( I hope) and at least the stripes are running in the direction that I wanted.

Oh I also had to cut the sleeve cuffs with the stripe running in the wrong direction as a result of this, as this was the only way I could get them out of the fabric leftovers now, but you really wouldn’t notice this either.

So after all that self-inflicted stress cutting out, I was excited to get started sewing. (I am a straight Tilly size 4 by the way, but for this dress I wanted it a little less oversized so I cut a size 4 in the top grading it in to a size 2 at the waist, and a size 2 skirt). My measurements are 36-30-40 btw and I am 5’2″.

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It’s a dream to sew, as are all of Tilly’s patterns, and I really enjoyed seeing it come together especially with all of those fun directional stripes. After adding the cuffs I decided to hand stitch them in place all the way around rather than just using some discreet stitches at the shoulder and side seam. I was trying to avoid the chance of them becoming a bit unturned whilst wearing them, if you know what I mean. Now that I have hand stitched them I feel that they look a bit flat and realise that they would look much better stitched in a couple of places as instructed, so I think I’ll whiz back to them, unpick that stitching and finish them as I should have done in the first place!

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One of the things that I love about this dress is the large pocket. It’s fab isn’t it? Sadly I had to reduce the size of the pocket because of my pattern placing error that I mentioned earlier. I simply couldn’t get it out of the fabric with the stripe in the correct direction at it’s original size. So whilst the width of my pocket is the same as the pattern, I had to make it about 4cm shorter. It’s only a little bit smaller than the original and still super cute.

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I also placed the pocket so that it’s side edges lay exactly parallel to those vertical stripes on the skirt. The placement markings for the pocket actually means that the pocket side edges are parallel to the side seams (not the fold line/centre front of the skirt) so technically this means that my pocket is actually stitched on a little bit wonky, but it looks straight, because of the vertical lines of the skirt… Gosh does this make any sense? One last thing,  I also raised the height of the pocket by about 4cm.

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After attaching the skirt I realised that the weight of the skirt had pulled the waist seam down to lower than I wanted ( something that Tilly mentions might happen in her instructions).  I felt that I needed to raise the waist seam by about 4.5cm along the front bodice from side seam to side seam. The back bodice didn’t need reducing all the way around, I just needed grade this 4.5cm reduction down to nothing for about 12cm from each side seam in towards the centre back.

There are some helpful and interesting posts on the Tilly and the Buttons blog herehere and here.  So do check those out if you need any fitting help or inspiration.

I would also like to say that the add-on pattern was gifted to me when the pattern was released. This was with no obligations or conditions to share in any way. The thoughts in this post, as always, are entirely my own. The original Stevie pattern that is also needed to make this dress was purchased by myself.

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Smock Dress

Ok, this is special. It’s quite unusual for me to purchase a pattern full price – I almost always wait for sales to come around as far as patterns are concerned, but when The Indigo came along, I just couldn’t wait.

It’s right up my street – a breezy smock dress or top, with a choice of sleeves, exposed frill seams if you like, and that dreamy floaty gently gathered skirt – I could not resist it. I kept the sleeves simple so that I could wear it underneath jackets and cardigans with no bulk, and added a ruffle on the skirt hem – but more about that later!

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My fabric choice was this pretty green and orange floral print Javanaise viscose from Abakhan online. I can’t seem to find this exact fabric anymore, but have linked the search for similar fabrics as there are plenty more in other gorgeous Autumn colours. I must admit it’s a fairly lightweight floaty fabric (which is what I wanted), but it does mean that it’s a little slippery to work with. This is definitely a fabric that I needed to hang to let the hem drop, despite it not being cut on the bias – as there was certainly a risk when cutting out that the fabric wasn’t lying perfectly straight! I hung this dress twice – once before I added the hem ruffle, and also after adding the hem ruffle before the final hemming.

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I knew that I would need to shorten the sleeves to ensure that they were a lovely bracelet length, but completely forgot to adjust the pattern before cutting out. As a result I needed to take off 7cm from the finished sleeve before finishing with a small hem.

The gently curved waistline shaping is pretty and flattering. I have chosen to gather my skirt and attach it to the bodice in the regular way, but I’m sure you’ve seen all the lovely versions that are popping up all over the internet at the moment with the pretty exposed frill seam. Such a cute feature and definitely a version that I will try in the future.

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This Summer I have been loving wearing my midi length ruffle skirts and so I wanted to incorporate a nice wide ruffle at the hem of this dress. I also really like the design of ‘that Zara dress’ and think this is not a bad dupe for it. At the time of writing this Sister Mintaka has some glorious spotty black and white viscose if you want to go full-on copy!

The ruffle on the bottom of the dress was easy. No maths required in this case! I tried the dress on (I made the dress length exactly as it came), and decided how deep I wanted the frill/how long I wanted the dress to be. In my case I wanted an extra 6″, so simply cut two x 6″ strips the entire width of the fabric that I had left over after cutting. After some gentle gathering and joining them to form a loop, one strip would sit at the front of the skirt and one at the back with the side seams of the frill matching up with the side seams of the dress. The fulness of this gather happens to be just right for me,  but you could definitely work out your perfect gather percentage if you want to be more mathematically correct!

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Just when you thought this dress couldn’t get any better – it has pockets!

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To be honest, these sit a little low for me, so I will probably position them a couple of inches higher up for my next one.

The dress bodice has a simple round neck, with bust darts, and what again makes this design so brilliant is that there are no fastenings – on and off over the head – hooray!

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These photos were taken on a blustery October day, what better way could I have shown you how floaty this gorgeous dress is …

 

All in all, it’s the perfect smock dress that I was after. Easy and comfortable to wear, and perfect in a variety of fabrics for any season. Ten out of ten!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Acrylic Pastel Pink Acrylic Button Necklace and Pastel Mint Green Acrylic Cotton Reel Brooch available from my shop.

Denim jacket is Calvin Klein from TK Maxx years ago.

Red trainers from Primark (current).