Red poppies on a teal blue sea

This experiment project can be summarized by four words:

Lovely fabric.

Wrong style.

My expression says it all. This was the best I could manage out of all the (sensible) photos taken by He who Cooks.

It really is lovely fabric: two of my favourite colours, I have coordinating fabric in a stripe and both of them were souvenirs. But, quilting cottons have the wrong drape for this dress style, particularly butterfly sleeves.

I knew that, but thought I’d give it a try anyway. I wanted to try out this style for another fabric in my stash. I told myself I could always take the sleeves off afterwards.

Will I? Not sure. I seem to like them. I think this is nostalgia for my favourite dress as a twelve year old that had butterfly sleeves.

This dress is good for impersonating a retro china teapot. A short and stout one.

Technical details

Pattern: Burdastyle 05-2009-123

Size: 36-44, I made a 42

Fabric: Cotton bought in Denver, Colorado

Changes I made:

I lengthened the skirt by about 10 cm. A line skirts tend to look better on me longer rather than knee length.

I made my normal swayback adjustment.

I didn’t add the frill to the neckline or hem. Using my coordinating stripe fabric on the neckline made the dress look a bit too much like pajamas. I don’t mind it so much on the hem as a bias strip.

The neckline is low and tends to gape a bit. The frill that Burda intended might help.

The empire line on this pattern is reasonably high. I am a bit short waisted and only just a C cup. I think the top could be both too tight and short on a more regular shaped woman with anything more than a B cup. And did I mention it’s a bit low and gapes?

Will I make it again?

This was a trial for the silk twill in this line up of fabrics.

Not sure I will go ahead with it. If I do, I will curve the surplice neckline out to 2 cm near the cross over to give a bit more cover and make a sloping shoulder adjustment. Hopefully that would fix the lowness and gaping.

The fabric has been washed, so it has softened and is lovely and drapey. It seems to want to be a blouse more than this dress though…


23 thoughts on “Red poppies on a teal blue sea

  1. I like the fabric a lot. Maybe you could turn this dress into a tunic? The flutter sleeves suit you as well. I wouldn’t make this in your silk twill unless you are sure you’ve fixed the neckline!

    1. Yes fixing that neckline is key. I want the dress for church, and I know I will be much more comfortable if lingerie is not occasionally and unintentionally on show..

  2. Forgive me for taking liberties, if I shouldn’t, but here are my thoughts. First of all, I like the dress. When I opened the message, my first thought was,”what a pretty summer dress.” Here is what I would do, first of all you have great legs, so I would shorten the dress a bit. The bottom band looks to be about An 1 1/2 wide. I would shorten the dress this much and then add back the trim. Take off the sleeves and bind the armholes with the contrasting fabric. As for the gaping neckline, maybe a pretty little piece of lace. You wouldn’t need much and peekaboo lace at the neckline is lovely. If you don’t like the lace idea, you could always take a piece of your contrasting fabric and add a small ruffle around the neckline. You should be able to add the lace or ruffle without taking anything apart.
    Those are my thoughts that really don’t count for much 🙂 Please do wear the dress though as the colors look beautiful on you.

  3. I think you are being too hard on yourself. As Sewbusted says- try shortening it and also remove the sleeves. The more you wash it, the softer it will become in handle – and should drape better. Although really I think you already have alovely dress. So think again !
    I love your blog – have just recently discovered it.

  4. definitely lovely material, and I think the dress looks good too, but we all know our own styles, and know whether something feels right or not… no point in keeping it if you will never wear it. I hope you can upcycle it to something you will love!

  5. I agree with Janice A. & sewbussted. It does look good, the colours are great! Perhaps it needs some definition in the emprie line? Maybe a narrow tie-belt made from your stripe fabric? For the neckline for nex time, take a pinch out of the paper pattern, approx 0.5cm-1cm, then re-draw the line to straighten it up. This may sort the gappage. good luck!

    1. I tried a narrow belt at the empire line, in a solid and in the stripe. It looked good, but did tend to make me look even more like the little teapot (stout).
      Thanks for the tips about the neckline.

  6. Gosh I think it looks lovely and I reckon give the re-wash a try because the colours are perfect. I too thought “what a pretty dress” when I opened the post.

    I’m actually off to check out the mag for my pile of potential makes …. it is a pretty dress and will be prettier in a drapey-er fabric for sure. I hope you do make it up in the silk …

  7. I agree with other commenters, shortening the dress and removing the flutter sleeves, perhaps replaced with striped bias binding might work. This would make the dress style simpler and more suited to the stiff quilting cotton. If you aren’t already sick of this project, I think it would be worth a try. The fabric print is really very pretty.

  8. It looks cool and fresh….I agree about narrowing, shortening and sleeve removal…and time in the magic closet….some of my less-than-thrilling creations have redeemed themselves in the magic closet and become better liked …particularly on Sunday mornings, running late for church! 🙂

  9. It is not irredeemable. I suggest shortening the skirt and removing the sleeve. If you have any stripe left, use it bind the armholes. You could make a small cap sleeve if you don’t want the totally sleeveless look.

  10. Have been following your blog for sometime but this is actually the first time that I make a comment. Why? Because I made this same dress some time ago and I was disappointed as you were ;). For me it was wrong fabric and wrong pattern, the neckline gapes (even though I put the frills), the butterfly sleeves do look childish – anyway, almost a complete failure if I were not wearing it now as a nightgown!

  11. Seriously, like the other posters, I like this and wouldn’t do much but hem it shorter. I’d put it in the time out closet and bring it out on a nice day and let her out on the town to play.

  12. I adore this fabric and I love this dress style. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I would have done the same thing convincing myself the two would work together! The dress is lovely and will be fantastic in silk.
    I like the idea of removing the sleeves and shortening the dress. Fashion tape will fix the gaping neck. You could always turn the dress into a skirt…… something I’ve done on many occasions 🙂
    Love your blog!

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