By this time of the summer, I’m really tired of the heat. I long for the fresh cool breeze of fall and the color changes in the trees and the crisp tailoring of a good jacket. But before I started making cooler weather clothes in the vain hope of trying to force the weather to change myself, I decided to make one last sundress.
Fabric Mart had this amazing Theory handkerchief linen in late May, and I knew it could make the perfect breezy dress to fight against the unrelenting heat of summer. The colors are a little off from my palette, but the overall contrast is in my own range. I took the risk because I loved the dotted berry print against the salmon asters.
Retro Print Linen Sundress
I had meant to make up this Burda dress at least 3 years ago, but one thing or another prevented me from getting it done. The pattern is BWOF 5-2007-123. When I opened up the magazine to trace it off, I was mad at myself for never having attempted this one before. It’s 2 pattern pieces, and it could not have been more simple.
Looking at the pattern, I suspected that there was more bust space than I needed. After making a muslin, it was pretty obvious that the pattern was not made for someone with a 30.5″ full bust, and the poofy excess around my chest looked terrible. To fix it, I simply folded out a dart in the middle of the side gathers, tapering to zero at CF. I also pinched out the excess circumference at the side seam, tapering back into the waist. It instantly solved the problem.
I also raised the waist by an inch and cut off a few inches on the hem per my usual Burda needs in dresses.
The pattern calls for the dress to be fully lined with a stretch knit. I have pounds and pounds of this nice white poly knit lining I picked up at Michael Levine’s last year in LA that was perfect for the task. I was concerned about the lining rolling out, and I didn’t want to have to fuss with really careful pressing every time I wore it, so I basted the lining at the openings. Then I used bias tape to finish off the openings. It’s a neater look on the inside, and I’ll never have to fight the lining.
I used clear elastic to gather the center of the shoulders. The pattern would have you just use gathering stitches, but it didn’t seem secure, and another reviewer had suggested elastic. This proved to work really well. I’ve tried lots of methods for gathering shoulders…elastic thread (it pulls out!), gathering stitches (they pop!), pleating and casings (highly effective, but both have a specific look), and I think that the clear elastic is the obvious winner. It’s a little fiddly to use, but this ultra stretchy and lightweight clear elastic from Fashion Sewing Supply makes sewing through clear elastic very easy.
I also made a cover belt to go with this dress using a vintage cover belt kit. This was the second time I’ve made a matching belt, and this time went more smoothly.
After I had cut out a space for the prong, it occurred to me that a buttonhole would have been a good idea. I did some not so neat but definitely adequate hand overcasting along the raw edges of the prong cut out.
The kit had one-part eyelets just like the Dritz kit that I used for my blue twill motorcycle jacket. I really don’t understand why you would have one part eyelets…it just seems like it’s going to yield nothing but a messy finish on the backside every time. I had some gold two part eyelets on hand, and they absolutely made a cleaner finish on the backside. Two of the eyelets didn’t set properly though, and because of the delicate nature of the linen, I couldn’t redo them. I blindly used some Fray Block to cover off the back raw edges. Here you can see a good contrast between the two part eyelets and what a one piece eyelet would look like.
Overall, I love this dress for the style and for the beautiful flow and body of the linen. Dear Theory, make more prints like this on linen and Fabric Mart, buy them so that more people can sew them!
My full review of the dress can be found here.
This is my contribution for Never Ending Summer week for the Sew Long Summer sewalong. More details about the sewalong can be found here.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.