Dress code ‘smart casual – frolicking in the fields’. Or what I sewed for my brother’s wedding

What do you do when you receive a wedding invitation with a dress code like this?

You buy new fabric and make two new dresses. Of course! What other option was there?

I had ‘nothing’ already suitable in my wardrobe or fabric stash. And it was a spring wedding in Queensland so I couldn’t be sure of the weather on the day. I needed at least two options….

This is the one I wore. Aren’t the textiles in the hotel lobby excellent?

This dress is a repeat of what seems to be becoming my TNT sheath dress, based on BurdaStyle 02/2014#141. Made up in scuba. Previous versions blogged already and I’m sure I’ll be making more. There are some further fit adjustments needed.

With this one, the bust apex was too low so I did a lazy short bodice adjustment: I took 2 cm out of the shoulder seam and then adjusted the sleeve by taking the same 2 cm out of the sleeve seam. I know. Not the right way to do it. But. Scuba. #forgiving

If you look hard you can see that the bust dart is still a bit low. You can also see the awesome sleeve head dart that this design has.

I really like this print.

I even like the chopped up pattern through the back!

I added a zip, but it is not needed because my scuba has enough stretch.

And this is the dress I didn’t wear.

This is Burdastyle 05/2010 #139 in a border print viscose. The border print is subtle –  a great big white triangle with climbing flowers reaching more than halfway through the width.

I’ve loved this pattern for a long time.

Kimono Dress 5/2010

Gotta love Burda’s photo shoots.

Who wouldn’t want to be wearing a dress like this while hanging out your washing, in heels, in a gorgeous light filled historic Rome apartment with your hot Italian man lying on the bed with his shirt off? Presumably because he only has one set of clothes and they are in the wash? Come to think of it, even better would be to be the one on the bed doing nothing while your hot Italian man hangs out the washing in his underclothes. Sigh. One can dream. About living in Italy.

Back to the sewing.

The design is supposed to be lined but my viscose didn’t need it.


This meant I finished the neck differently.

First I stabilised the neck edge with cotton tape on the right side to try to keep the bias under control (and woven viscose has got to be the worst fabric to try and sew on the bias!)

Then I sewed on bias tape right side to wrong side, trimmed and flipped to the front and then topstitched it down. Viola. Facing and trim all done.

This is what it looked like on the wrong side before I trimmed off the extra and sewed the bodice edge to the skirt. No lining, but a clean finish and the bias edge supported.

Everything else was standard, apart from length – my dress is 10 cm longer than drafted. I wanted to get all of that border printed triangle of white on the skirt!

I like this design, but I’m not convinced the pink bias trim and ribbon is the best addition.

Black or another darker colour would have been better. But, refer to wedding invitation instructions above. Spring hues it was.

Spring. Such a lovely time of the year. This is the view looking up through the blossoming Manchurian pear tree in my front garden last weekend. #nofilter. The sky really was that blue. Of course two days later it was cold again…

28 thoughts on “Dress code ‘smart casual – frolicking in the fields’. Or what I sewed for my brother’s wedding

  1. They’re both great dresses, really pretty. If you’re still worried about the pink ribbon, you could change it to a darker shade, it doesn’t need to be black or dark blue. But I love it, the fabric is perfect for the design!

  2. Both dress look great. I have had the 2nd one flagged for a nightie but still waiting for my old RTW to wear out enough to make it urgent.
    Re the short bodice adjustment, I have an old, 1948, fitting book, that shows how to make all your alterations in the seam allowance like that. If you think about it, if you did the short bodice adjustment on the pattern, and lined it up at the base of the underarm seam with the dress, it would involve much the same changes as you did, with the possible addition of lowering the centre front neckline.
    Thinking about it like this has made it easier to do a tissue fit, then make any fine tuning I need on the cut out fashion fabric.

  3. I love both, but especially the second which I’ve been thinking about since 2010! I think a dark blue trim to match the blue in the fabric would have looked good too.
    Burda photo shoots are often hilarious aren’t they? 😄

  4. Lovely dresses both of them! And thanks for the tip about the cotton tape. I always go straight to fusibles when i think of reinforcing but i do need to remember the option of tapes like you did here since fusibles work less well when the iron cannot be too hot. As for the ribbon, i was thinking it might look nice in a white that matches the triangle in the fabric and brings it out visually towards the top. But if i’m honest im the kind of person that rarely comes back to fix a garment after it’s finished. Onwards and upwards is more my motto!

  5. That fantastical photo in BurdaStyle catches my eye, too, but I’d rather have it the other way around, as you wrote, with ME lazing around on the bed! Hahahaha!

    Both those dresses are beautiful, and the scuba knit print is so pretty. I see what you mean about the pink trim for the other one… perhaps it needs to be darker?

  6. Both dresses are so beautiful and flattering. You scuba dress is amazing, as is the second dress. I have to agree with you about the Burda photos- they are very enticing and take me off to dream land. Did you find the scuba fabric easy to sew? I am interested in what it’s like. There are so many lovely prints of scuba.

    • I love sewing with scuba and it’s super easy. It doesn’t fray so no seam finishing is needed.
      I treat it much like a woven and use a straight stitch for seams and darts. The hem on this one was stitched with zigzag but a double needle hem, like I use for stretch fabrics, would work too.
      There are different weights of scuba available. Mine is on the lighter weight side. I’ve not sewn with scuba that looks and feels as heavy as what you’d see in a wetsuit used for real scuba diving.
      Give it a try! If pencil skirts are your thing, scuba is perfect.

  7. It’s always fun to make something new for a specific occasion (or two things even!). I love both of your dresses, beautiful fabrics and hopefully you’ll have a reason to wear both again soon.

    • Thanks Allison. I don’t always enjoy sewing for events but there was no pressure for this one because I started well in advance. And I had options! If these two weren’t suitable I had time to make another.

  8. Only discovered your blog last year and thought of it again yesterday and came back to see what you had been up to – just had to comment on the dress you ended up to your brother’s wedding which is absolutely beautiful. Love the fabric too. You have definately inspired me to start sewing my own clothes.

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