Picnic dress

Back to regular programming; fitted dresses!

(I will try to post a photo of the unfitted red dress on a real person soon, I just need to line up a few things…)

Technical details

Pattern: Vogue 8902

Size: 6-22, with A to D cup bodice pieces; I made a 14 with a B cup.

I wear a C cup, but Vogue said the difference between my high bust and bust put me into a B cup for this pattern. I’m not convinced this was right as the bodice is very fitted and firm, although not uncomfortable. Perhaps I should try again with the C cup bodice piece.

I also made my normal sway back adjustment, which is why the vertical stripes on the skirt don’t run down the centre back (but the hem line lines up with the horizontal stripes!).

I flat patterned measured for the hips but didn’t do the math correctly; I graded out to a ’15’ over the hips but should have gone out to the 16. Those wrinkles in the fabric tell the story! Lucky that Vogue has 5/8th inch seam allowance; I used it all.

Fabric: Both fabrics are cotton and the dress is fully lined in a cream cotton batiste. The red striped fabric on the sleeves and midriff inserts is a stretch cotton (Felicity has a skirt made out of this) and the cream and red window pane check is non stretch. The windowpane print is from IKEA and its a heavy weight. It’s probably meant for tablecloths and cushions.

Changes I made:

The short sleeves in this pattern are gathered at the neck while the long sleeves have a dart. The lining for both long and short sleeves has a dart. I thought the dart would work better with my fabric so that’s what I used.

My bodice pieces are not exactly on the bias. This is because the check is not square: 9.5 cm long and 10 wide. So I ‘redrew’ the bias through the corners of my ‘squares’. This put the bias off by a few degrees but meant the stripes matched up beautifully on the bodice.

I like this dress, but despite its name, it’s close fit means it’s not really suitable for picnic-ing.

Eating and lolling about? I need a ponte version for that!



There have been a few questions about how I did the plaid matching. I didn’t really explain. Now I don’t need to because the fabulous Oonaballoona from Kalkatroona has an excellent blog post about how she does it. I do it the same as her.

The ‘secret’? Pins and marker pens for your pattern pieces.

Go read Oona’s post, and drool over her lovely creations and enjoy her joyful (aka crazy but fun) writing.

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26 Responses to Picnic dress

  1. Sewbussted says:

    Look at that teeny, tiny little waist!! And the plaid matching, wow, perfection!

  2. Susan says:

    Magic pattern it is! It is slimming and attractive and your matching is superb.

  3. BMGM says:

    I bow to your superior pattern matching skills. It’s a marvel.

  4. Rachel says:

    This is great! Your pattern matching is superb – you must/should be very pleased with yourself. Rachel ☺

  5. Very, very pretty! Windowpane checks are just so flattering if used correctly, and you worked magic with this fabric and pattern.

  6. Rebekah says:

    groovy! really looks good on you too 🙂

  7. Melissa says:

    stunning dress – great choice of fabric/design.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Blocking the waist and sleeves really makes this a stand out…and I agree, its very waist flatteting!
    Stripe matching perfection too! Bet that wasn’t a picnic to work out!

  9. Kristy says:

    Lovely dress, I would never have guessed it’s Ikea fabric.

  10. Wonderful, I love your version of this dress so much! Bravo!!!

  11. Great matching and use of the check pattern.

  12. amalitar says:

    Lovely! You did a great job with the plaid matching, and i am even more impressed with the sharp “v”s on the sides at the low hip. I couldn’t stop them from puckering in two other dresses I’ve made. What’s your secret?

    • SewingElle says:

      The secret is the pattern drafting. The inserts are two pieces. I joined the back insert onto the back skirt and bodice and did the same for the front insert. Then it’s almost like a regular side seam. No tricky ‘V’ to navigate, just seams to line up.

  13. sewruth says:

    Looks great! Very flattering and perfect check matching – very impressive.

  14. Audrey says:

    . This dress looks wonderful with the plaid fabrics and the insets. . I remember a lot of odd shaped pieces from when I made dress. You did an awesome job on matching the plaids.

  15. This dress is just gorgeous! I’m getting ready to cut one out and found your review.

  16. Karey says:

    I just found your blog, and home sick, so going through your old posts for entertainment (I normally wouldn’t have time lol). Apologies if you’ve addressed point in later post.
    In relation to: ” I made a 14 with a B cup. I wear a C cup, but Vogue said the difference between my high bust and bust put me into a B cup for this pattern. I’m not convinced this was right as the bodice is very fitted and firm, although not uncomfortable. Perhaps I should try again with the C cup bodice piece”.
    I made up a Vogue muslin for a Craftsy fitting class and had same issue (I’m 8F bra). I did another fitting class that took separate measurements for front and back, and realised as well as large bust I am very wide across back shoulder blades. This back width affects above bust measurement, but not bust measurement, resulting in underestimation of pattern cup size. With separate back & front measurements I realised I’m 38 above bust – front, 42 across shoulder blades – back, 42 across bust – front, 38 at bust level across back. Your back doesn’t look as (relatively) I wide as mine, but it may be a factor.
    I like Burda because it let’s me use these separate back and front measurements, massively reducing fitting changes I have to do.

    • SewingElle says:

      Wow you have some interesting fit challenges. And I’m so impressed that you know how to deal with them and know what size you are in all the various places. I think I’m pretty standard burda sizes front and back but I could be very wrong.
      I haven’t gone back to that pattern yet to test my theory about cup sizes. But I have sewn a different vogue pattern with a C cup. And it worked well.

    • SewingElle says:

      Oh and get well soon

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