BHL Elisalex/ Burdastyle 9/2007 # 116 Frankenpattern: The Siena Dress

Remember how I made the Amalfi dress especially to wear at Easter on the Amalfi Coast? Well, that didn’t happen – given that my dress was neither suitable for fog, nor for pouring rain, nor for the snowstorm that greeted my ascent of mount Vesuvio on Easter Monday.

Mind you, I was on a walking tour, so the bad weather wasn’t too bad once I had switched on the old frontier spirit: you get warm once you walk briskly enough, clothes will dry on the body, wool warms you even when wet and what gets wet will eventually get dry.

On the plus side, when I got to Tuscany a few days later to visit a dear friend the weather had turned warm enough to at least do some fabric shopping at the weekly market in Siena, thus using the get of of jail free card my stash diet rules had provided me with.

Let me tell you, there were a LOT of very nice fabrics at the market – but let me also tell you that they were asking Italian prices for them, so I only came away with 1.5 metres of a cotton pique that cost me more than any other fabric I had ever bought before. To be honest I was a little bit traumatised by the thought of ruining 50 euros worth of fabric by making a silly mistake, so the fabric stayed in my sewing room for days, untouched – not something that happens a lot at Said&Done HQ!

After much deliberation I decided on a frankenpattern of the BHL Elisalex bodice and my trusted skirt TNT pattern Burdastyle 9/2007 # 116.  I just love that skirt!

So, to cut a long story short, may I introduce the Siena dress:



I cut a size 14 for the bodice following my measurements, but the muslin showed there was quite a bit of gaping at the back neckline which I resolved by taking out two wedges angling from the shoulder blade at about the middle of the neckline down to the armscythe. Other than that the bodice fit well, I only took out a little bit under the bust at the princess seams to remove a little bit of extra fabric.

Because Italy was too cold for a lot of ice cream I caught up on my duty to Italian culture when back at home:



Oh yes, this neckline does fit!! Can’t quite be said about the invisible zip, which I did not manage to make disappear at the waist band where a double section of fabric just refused to bend to my exact specification. You can’t win them all, can you?!


And because I know you come to this blog for the splendid fotography ;-), here’s a style shot!

Before leaving for Italy I said I would eat ice cream and drink prosecco and I didn’t do either of these things – I felt more like grog than prosecco. So get this:


Prosecco at my local pizzeria! I feel quite like the cross-cultural ambassador!

So let me drink you you, dear readers who come to read this blog, to Italy – and to the Siena dress, of course!



Tagged: , , , ,

26 thoughts on “BHL Elisalex/ Burdastyle 9/2007 # 116 Frankenpattern: The Siena Dress

  1. navybluethreads April 19, 2015 at 10:22 pm Reply

    Lovely! Such a pretty print. Glad you got the weather, finally, to wear it 🙂

  2. Thimberlina April 19, 2015 at 10:50 pm Reply

    Stunning! I know I’ve not followed you forever, but I think out of everything I’ve seen you wear that this looks the best – it just suits you in every way
    – the style, the colour, ….everything…..well done!! And your trip looks amazing too!

  3. Chris April 19, 2015 at 11:18 pm Reply

    Aaah, thank you, what a nice thing to say! I’ll wear the dress with even more pleasure now – if it finally gets a little warmer (I was quietly freezing my something or other off while taking those pictures. Everyone else was still in long sleeves 🙂 ) The things you do for blog pictures !!

  4. SewingElle April 19, 2015 at 11:21 pm Reply

    Well done. Great pattern, fabric and ice cream eating!

    • Chris April 20, 2015 at 9:52 pm Reply

      Though I say it myself, I have a great amount of expertise in ice cream eating. If ever you need ice cream eaten I’m the person to call 😉

  5. Lori B. April 20, 2015 at 12:30 am Reply

    Beautiful! The floral pattern is gorgeous and it’s a classic dress that I’m sure you’ll be able to wear for a long time to come.

  6. Elizabeth Made This April 20, 2015 at 12:59 am Reply

    Gorgeous style on this dress and an excellent fit. Strolling about Italy with gelato in hand really is the way to go.

  7. Helena@grayallday April 20, 2015 at 2:01 am Reply

    Phew! The pressure is off because you really did that lovely fabric justice. The fit is perfect and you will be able to wear that dress forever. Gorgeous!

    • Chris April 20, 2015 at 9:50 pm Reply

      Thank you! I can’t wait for it to get really warm enough to wear it without freezing. When we took the photos I was the only person around in short sleeves and bare legs…

  8. Friederike April 20, 2015 at 8:08 am Reply

    Sehr schönes Kleid, wirklich super zusammen gehackt. 😉 Ich bin auch schon einmal über den Stoffmarkt in Siena geschlendert, aber das war vor meiner Näh-Zeit und die Preise waren wirklich abschreckend. Heute würd ich das wohl anders sehen… 😉

    • Chris April 20, 2015 at 9:48 pm Reply

      Ja, da kann man ne Menge Geld lassen. Und wenn man den SToff in Italien kauft, fühlt man sich gleich doppelt gut, oder? 🙂

  9. Marianne April 20, 2015 at 9:10 am Reply

    You look like a million bucks so your fabric was worth every penny!

  10. sewbusylizzy April 20, 2015 at 11:39 am Reply

    Lovely, just lovely

  11. ellegeemakes April 21, 2015 at 12:38 am Reply

    That fabric is fabulous! Who could resist? And it goes well, with ice cream, wine, anything obviously. Nice adjustments on the dress. It fits you perfectly and is a classic style, well worth the price and effort.

  12. Beautiful dress! The scenery is lovely too!

  13. symondezyn April 22, 2015 at 5:55 pm Reply

    Definitely a perfect pattern choice for this lovely, special fabric. The fit and style is wonderful – no one will ever look at your zipper unless they’re crazy ^_^

    • Chris April 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm Reply

      And crazy zipper stalkers deserve all they get, don’t they?! 😉

  14. […] kind a know already which dress will come out top in my list – the Siena dress. But it’ll be interesting to see why those full-skirted vintage style dresses that I love […]

  15. Mia May 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm Reply

    Woaaaah: just awesome, Chris!

  16. […] this dress I used the bodice of the BHL Elisalex dress. I’d muslined and adapted it for my Siena dress, so I knew it fit well and I just can’t get over how easy to sew it is. of course you eagle […]

  17. […] friends, I don’t really associate joy with clothes (although there are very clear exceptions, as the Siena dress proves.) […]

  18. […] type fabric in all shades of blue and was the most expensive fabric I had over bought until the Siena dress came along. And it glitters! For real, I had never ever EVER even thought about glitter or sequins […]

  19. […] I had wanted to duplicate my Siena dress and use the BHL Elisalex bodice. But I could not get the sleeves to work. When I put them on my […]

  20. […] The Siena Dress […]

  21. […] Those of you who follow my Instagram might have noticed that I spent time in Italy – first on a walking tour in the mountains up north and then visiting my friend Z. in Tuscany. She’s one of my oldest and dearest friends – me met back in the early 90s when we were both at university in Ireland. She came from Hungary, I from Munich and for both of us it was our first time living abroad. Inspite of moving to different countries over the years we managed to stay in touch and so I didn’t hesitate to visit her in Siena where she now lives. Of course it was a question of honour to bring the Siena Dress, made from the fabric I bought when I was last visiting Z. two years ago. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: