Tag Archives: dresses

Knipmode/Fashion Style: The Dressing Gown Wrap Dress

Good heavens – this is one of those projects that really looks a lot better in real life than in those pictures – I promise.


While it seems I got straight out of bed, put on my dressing gown and (strangely) a pair of boots, I actually like wearing this dress. I think it has a Missoni vibe going on and the rayon knit is oh so soft and has just the right weight for a wrap dress.


I used my tried and true Knipmode wrap dress pattern. What I like about it is that there really is no option for any wardrobe malfunctions. The skirt wrap is so generous that it will not undo, even when sitting down speedily, as I am wont to do. And the the bodice will not gape, even on the less well-endowed and needs no adjusting at all.


See – no gaping!!


In the meantime I also had my hair cut, snow has arrived in my part of the world and so everything is in place to march boldly into the new year!

Wish you were there – a throwback to summer

Goodness, where has the time gone? It only seems like yesterday that I was on holiday in Mallorca wishing it might be just a little bit cooler – now that autumn has started to bite I look back at those pictures with yearning for the heat.


We spent a thoroughly wonderful forthnight in a villa in central Mallorca – what a wonderful island! It was our first time there and already I’m hoping to be able to go back soon!


So this dress with its palm fronds and sunsets is a fitting reflection of the mood of these holidays.

img_4334And did I mention the reflections of light on water across the chest area? Perfect holiday dress, ey?

It’s a really simple shift dress with French darts from an older edition of Burdastyle. I traced the pattern before I thought of labelling the pattern parts properly so I’m unable to identify the magazine it came from.

img_4364Oh see, it works for midnight strolls across Spanish village plazas too!

Sigh – wish I were there!

I’m officially obsessed!

Living in Bavaria, every summer is dirndl season. Normally, I never wear my dirndl, with the exception of one time per year for our local town festival.

This was from two years ago:


So one would think that for one wear a year one dirndl would suffice.

You know where this goes, don’t you?

Avid readers of Burdastyle will know that every September they publish their dirndl edition (to coinicide with the Oktoberfest in Munich) and I’ve always wanted to sew (but not wear) one. And then came the Great British Sewing Bee’s International week and with it African wax prints. And I’ve always wanted to sew with African wax prints.

Well, I thought, couldn’t one sew a dirndl using a wax print? A quick poll of my family concluded unambiguously: NO, one couldn’t, what was I thinking??!!!

But guess what google says: It’s already been done! (Never mind all the waffle in German – look at those pictures!!!)

So needless to say, I’m now officially obsessed with sewing a wax print dirndl. So much so that I ordered some wax print already (oh, the choice!!! How can I possible chose??!!)

But chose I did and came up with this from Middlesex Textiles. So now for a pattern. Ironically, the only edition of Burdastyle since 2010 that I DON’T own is the one whose dirndl I like best (September 2015).

So I might have to buy this issue too – serves me right for daring to let my subscription lapse…

I hope this all comes together and I will have a dirndl-with-a-twist to show for all my obsession.

In the meantime and while I wait for my fabric order to arrive from the UK I’ll be keeping myself busy with sewing camis from the slipperiest silk ever, which I recently ordered from Ebay. Did I say I wasn’t going to buy that many fabrics anymore??

Well – obsession, ey?!



Burdastyle 3/2016 #121: A Tale of Two Dresses

Thank you so much to everybody who commented such nice things on my purple maxi dress! Isn’t it strange how we are so happy to overlook the faults in the work of others while often we are so critical of our own makes…

I’m slowly catching up with a bit of a blogging backlog. This new project has been in my wardrobe since March…


Is is Burdastlye 3/2016 #121. Burda have this as a wedding dress in their usual March=wedding edition, but also as a “normal” dress, and I was immediately taken with it. I love me a sheath dress, and I love tummy rouching as means of covering up some self-consciousness inducing tummy flab, so making this dress was a no brainer.


The fabric was an experiment: I got my hand on some neoprene style jersey (by accident, I misread the description of the online seller), and for the longest time I didn’t know what to make of it as it seemed rather sweaty to me. So I opted for a sleeveless dress for spring/autumn, thinking that the cooler temperatures paired with the lack of sleeves would allow for enough comfort. It kinda worked, although I have to say i was already borderline too warm in it in April.


I decided to put on the jersey wing (wing-less option below). I very rarely wear anything flouncy, but I fancied it on this dress


So there, this is how the flounce works.

The dress is superbly easy to put together (at least in a knit). And look at the bust dart on the non-flouncy side: It’s length and locations couldn’t be more perfect if I tried (and probably a lot less perfect if I had tried! Darts and me is not a marriage made in heaven…). Straight from the tracing sheet with no alterations! Thank you, Burda!


I was going for a “sporty” look the the topstitching of the neckline and armholes. In hindsight an invisible finish might have been better, but I’m not ripping out the three step zig zag now!

Like with most of my sewing, there is one blogger who does what I do, only better. In this case it’s Allison C, who sewed this dress a while ago, and whose slighly lighter material looks even better. I like the dress a lot with the cap sleeve too, might just add this on next time.

However, there already was a next time with this dress.


This knit has all the colour I love perfectly assembled in one piece of fabric!


This time I ommitted the back vent. It isn’t necessary in a knit and on the first dress I found it is hard to keep straight in a knit too. The pattern placement could have been better, but I only had 1.2 metres of fabric, so I was working with what I had.


This version as a normal binding for the neckline. The original is meant to be lined, but that’s because it is made up in a woven.

I’m really happy with these dresses. I feel the silhouette is very “me” – it’s my traditional fall-back shape if I don’t want to give shape any thought.

Strangely I have been in the mood for a little variety and experimentation though and I am considering other dress shapes. Who knows, I might just make something with a pleated skirt next…

Burdastyle 4/2016 # 101: Floaty Maxi Dress

aaaand I’m back! I haven’t posted in a while, but this time with good reason: I was off on my holiday to Ecuador, visiting Child 1 who is doing an exchange year right now. I’ve also done a Spanish course, so I can now just about haggle in the market for fabrics and crafts – but more on this later.

In the meantime I’d like to show you a dress that I made back in March but haven’t worn yet – it’s still far too cold and rainy for this kind of flippancy around my parts.


This is Burdastyle 4/2016 #101. I’d fallen in love with it right from the start and knew exactly I wanted to make it from this precise shape of purple. HOWEWER (and there always is a however with this type of definite plans, isn’t there) I couldn’t get a rayon woven in this shade, only a really rather fine rayon knit. I kinda knew this would be courting desaster, but I soldiered on anyway.


In order to stabilize the bodice, I underlined it in knit lining and then lined it in self fabric. This turned out not to be a great idea, because both fabrics have different amounts of stretch and so I do get some creases and puckers.


It’s quite evident in the back – but to be honest, I think this is one of those projects that doesn’t benefit from photos and a closer look. In real life, the swishiness of the dress takes over and it looks a lot better.


Or am I kidding myself?



All in all I can’t really call this dress a success, its mistakes are just too obvious. But at the same time I quite like it, and given that I will only get a handful of wears out of a maxi each summer I guess it’s good enough.

Burdastyle 3/2016 #111: Gucci-inspired Shirt Dress


Well, there – long time no see! As it happens sometimes I don’t know where the time has gone, but spring has definitely sprung in my part of the world after a rather slow start and so I got the first chance to wear my new shirt dress.

The fabric was one of those accidental finds in my local fabric shop. When I saw it I was reminded of some of those crazy larger than life Gucci prints and when it was sold for only a few Euros of course I could not say no.

It marinated in my stash for a little while as I wasn’t really sure how to show off the print to its best effect and also I was scared of another print placement fail.


This time I think I fared rather better: I quite like the print placement, I think it’s gone fabulously around the bust area and ok around the tummy, inspite of some slight ovarian allusions in the print.


Child 2 says it looks as if wings are growing out of my behind, but I feel you have to be a rather unkind observer (or a teenage boy) to think so!

I used Burdastyle 3/2016 #111, a loose fitting oversize shirtdress pattern. I’m not really used to the shape with no waist definition whatsoever, so I might well wear it with a belt in future, but for these pictures I’m wearing it as Burda intended.


It certainly is very comfortable like this and very cool and breezy in this cotton poplin.

I went down one size to size 38 when cutting this and then increased the seam allowance by 0.75cm to take it in by another 3 cm all round, so this is probably even closer to a size 36. So yes, this pattern really is oversized!

Feast your eyes on my pattern matching:


Isn’t that a thing of beauty! This was part deliberation, part luck. And my luck ran out when I didn’t realise that the print wasn’t laid out quite horizontally to the grain line, so the other side is off a little:


Well, win some, loose some, ey?!

Oh, I also lowered the side slits by quite a bit. Burda like you to flash your legs, but I just thought it was just a a bit too much.

Although this shape is new to me (can you believe it, it’s my first real button down shirt dress) I think this will get worn quite a bit.

I even took the chance to sashay down the local market place with a good looking young man



As you can see, he still wears the shirt and jacket I made for him for Christmas – what better appreciation could there be for mum on Mother’s Day?!

Fashion Style/Knipmode 9/2015: It’s a Wrap!

Some of you might know that Dutch sewing magazine Knipmode have started publishing a German edition this year, which they call Fashion Style. While I can just about work out sewing Dutch, using their patterns with German instructions is of course a lot easier, so I bought a few of their magazines in recent months.
My impression is that they specialize in simpler designs that are wardrobe builders you can wear everyday. I haven’t seen any of the more experimental things Burdastyle sometimes have, but their patterns aren’t quite as obviously utilitarian/art teachery as Ottobre – all in all there is a lot to like, in my opinion.

A case in point is this wrap dress from their September edition.


“I can’t see the dress for the background” I hear you say. You are right, of course, but I’m standing here on the drawbridge of Ingolstadt castle, one of the most historic buildings in Upper Bavaria. So there, now you know.

History lesson over, let’s look at the dress:


One might be forgiven for thinking that this is just a standard wrap dress. Well, let me tell you it isn’t, at least not for me: it is the first wrap dress in the history of mankind (or at least Chris-kind) that stays put all day! I didn’t have to adjust the dress once, didn’t expose myself in any way I didn’t want, I can’t tell you how pleasing this is! Take the other wrap dress I made this year as a contrasting example:


I love the look of this – but I have only worn it twice since I made it in the spring and it is now in my refashion pile because it just gapes and gapes, not matter how tightly I wrap it. So after I have moved once I have to adjust it unless I want everyone to be able to discuss my choice of underwear and that constant fiddling annoys me no end.


I didn’t have enough fabric to make the wider skirt of the original pattern, so I simply added the skirt from the Burda dress above. In the more drapey rayon knit it looks very different, don’t you think?


Many wrap dresses work better on the more well-endowed, because they need something to keep the bodice held taut. Not this one! No wardrobe malfuntion all day, even though I was wearing a slippery slip underneath.

What would a sewing post be without the science bit? So have a look at the insides of the dress:


I really like the way this pattern deals with the problem of attaching facings to the wrap fronts: It doesn’t have any. Rather the wrap fronts fold over on themselves so that the entire center front is doubled and then attached the the side front. In this way there are no problems with finding the right tension for attaching facings and also all seams on the front are nicely enclosed.
You can also see that the shoulders are quite wide. I cut a size 40, according to my measurements (which would be a size 42 in Burda, fyi), but I feel I should have gone down one more size on this. Next time I make this I might cut the pattern witout seam allowances, effectively taking it in by a size or two. Please note, however, that my dress from is suffering from an anorexia problem at the moment (in fact it’s threwn up all the screws that keep the waist setting in place, thus resetting her to the smallest setting) – so waist-wise, those are not my measurements and the dress is not sewn to be as small as that.


The centre front continues to the back to form a little shawl collar. Again, this helps to make the front give more coverage than on most wrap dresses and for me, that makes it so much more wearable.

And finally a rare glimpse of Child 3, who has never been fully behind my “no child photography on the internet” policy. Will there ever be a point in life when pebbles do not magically jump into shoes?





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