Scuba knit vase dress

It’s done!

So glad I took your advice and used this pattern. I love the shape. It will work with a thin merino top underneath and tights for cooler days, and on its own for warmer spring weather.

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 09/2012 #121

Size: 17-21 (petite equivalent of 34-42). I made a 21 with a 1 cm sway back adjustment and an extra 4 cm in length in the skirt.

I’m not petite but I am short-waisted, so Burda’s petite sizing works well for me. I just need to add a little to the skirt length and check sleeve length.

After flat pattern measurements I added 6 cm extra in width across several pattern pieces. I then took 5 cm back out after trying the dress on. It would have been fine as drafted. The only piece that I didn’t change is the front vase shape. This is an extra 2 cm wide. Because the back doesn’t have an extra 2 cm, the neck gapes ever so slightly.


The floral is a poly lycra scuba knit from EmmaOneSock, the black is a ponte (viscose nylon spandex) from Tessuti’s. I lined the dress with a viscose spandex knit from one of my local bricks and mortar stores; DK fabrics. This knit is not sold as lining, and it would make an awesome drapey top, or dress or leggings, but it’s also wonderful as lining. It makes wearing the dress feel like wearing pajamas.


I used a narrow zigzag stitch for the seams of the ponte and scuba knit.

Neither of these fabrics fray so overlocking wasn’t needed. A narrow zigzag meant I could press the seams allowances open and flat.

The neckline needed to be stabilized, but my knit lining was too stretchy to take fusible interfacing and I didn’t want to add extra bulk with a ponte facing. So I trimmed the seams at the neck line

and then fused the interfacing to the fashion fabric. I pinked the edge to minimize show through on the right side.


I under-stitched the lining at the neck edge and the sleeve edges, and then, to make even more sure it stayed in place, I stitched through all layers ‘in the ditch’ of the shoulder seams


Allthoughtswork suggested I style this dress with hair up, turquoise purse, metallic gold sandals, steaming cup of take out coffee in hand, and a hot guy waiting in the car. Sounds good doesn’t it?

How’d I go?

  • Hair up? yep
  • Turquoise purse? still working on that
  • Metallic gold sandals? not warm enough for bare legs today
  • Take out coffee in hand? wrong location
  • Hot guy waiting in the car? He who Cooks was taking the photo instead πŸ˜‰


Final musings

I had thought about adding hot pink topstitching to the interesting curved darts at the back, and an exposed zip, but I’ve done neither, so far. No need for a zip in this ponte. Not sure about topstitching. What do you think?




This entry was posted in Sewing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Scuba knit vase dress

  1. Oh I do like that. The way you have placed the strong diagonal line of the pink flowers works very well. I’d leave off any contrast top stitching, I think it’s perfect as it is.

    Never noticed the back darts on this style before. I wonder what they’re called?

    • SewingElle says:

      I don’t know what they’re called either. BurdaStyle did a particularly poor job of photographing this dress. In black and another dark colour. And with a jacket. What were they thinking!

  2. Jo says:

    The contrast fabrics are really striking, I love what you’ve done

  3. Rachel says:

    This looks ace! I totally take back my comments about this pattern – it looks fantastic. You’ve done a great job. I love the comment about the hot guy photo prop – very sweet. Rachel πŸ™‚

    • SewingElle says:

      I don’t think you need to take back your comments. I think you are right about this pattern having potential to overemphase the female form. It could if it was tight fitting. Mine isn’t.

  4. Summerflies says:

    Oh it looks gorgeous. I also love the diagonal pink flowers and the hair up. I don’t think it needs topstitching. What a great dress.

  5. prttynpnk says:

    Sharp! The black creates such a flattering frame for the floral riot. Love it.

  6. sewbussted says:

    VaVaVaVoom!!!!! You wear it oh so we’ll. Now you said that he who cooks took the picture, but is the hot guy waiting in the car? πŸ˜‰ Isn’t it wonderful that after lots of years of marriage, we think our guy is still “hot?!!”
    Enjoy your new dress πŸ™‚

  7. Chris says:

    This looks exquisite. I am so glad you made this pattern – I’ve been eying it up for the longest time, but because I’m not petite I thought it wouldn’t work for me. Your great result has made me want to try!!

  8. Kristine says:

    Love your look, great combination of fabrics and pattern! I have a yard of that floral and haven’t been able to come up with a good application… Until now! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • SewingElle says:

      You really ahould use your floral. It’s such a great print. I had a yard too, and because the panel is not very wide, I have lots left. I’m thinking a pencil skirt with panels in another colour, perhaps yellow or white, or both.

  9. Carolyn says:

    What a lovely new dress! Love the print fabric down the front – it gives the dress ooommph!

  10. Tia Dia says:

    What a gorgeous dress! I love the print, and the shaping of that front panel is perfect. Great styling, too.

  11. It turned out beautifully and the fit looks spot-on! Love your hair up – and I think you styled this dress just right!

  12. Great dress! Fabulous fit…. I would not do the topstitching if it was my dress. It looks completely finished without.

  13. Carol says:

    Very nice! I like the combination of fabrics. Yet another Burda style I overlooked because of the crappy photography not doing it justice. Looks great on you.

  14. Kbenco says:

    Its fabulous and looks so good on you. I am sure I have seen something not half so stunning but with some relationship at a sticker shock price at Cue.

  15. Shannon says:

    This looks great on you! I love it!

  16. yummymummy says:

    I think those are French darts, normally at the front of dress, I love this version of this dress, you could be the poster child for the pattern IMO. Am excited to make this myself. I’d leave off the contrast topstitching myself.

    • SewingElle says:

      Thank you. They are like upside down french darts that start in the armscye rather than the side seam. There probably is a ‘proper’ term for them.
      I think you are right about top stitching. I’m going to leave the dress as it is.

  17. jillybe says:

    Beautiful (and sexy) results!

  18. Pingback: Another boring knit dress? | He Cooks… She Sews!

  19. Pingback: Knit dress #3; the evening version | He Cooks… She Sews!

  20. Gail says:

    Beautiful. I had such success with this pattern too.

  21. Yummy mummy says:

    Liz, would you recommend making this in your usua Burdastyle size? Or go down a size? I’m planning to make this in Ponte soon. Thanks

  22. Karey says:

    I’m looking for a pattern to wear to a casual picnic wedding in Brisbane in May.
    I searched Google images and your version of this dress jumped out. Most of the options I’m drawn to seem to be in this issue of Burda (I’m looking for knits that are smart but secret PJs). Weather will be in mid 20s during the day, a bit cooler at night, so a September (fall) issue makes sense. Your version rocks. As you say magazine photo is hopeless, but yours is better than Meg’s magazine mashup too. I like the ease you’ve allowed in yours too. I have print scuba in my stash that would work. With boots, my mesh leggings and this or another jacket this would see me through from morning to evening πŸ˜„

    • SewingElle says:

      This is an awesome pattern and I still regularly wear it. You will love it! It totally works with tights or leggings too and a jacket. Sounds perfect for your event.

Please leave a comment. We love to hear from you! And don't feel you have to be gentle on this site; constructive criticism is most welcome.

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