I love the idea of this dress so much that this is the second time I am making it! In pretty much identical fabrics and finishes. Yep, that’s real love for a garment if you ask me. I made the first version of this dress back in summer of 2009. I didn’t have a serger and I was just getting back into sewing. I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern because back in those days I still expected the pattern to fit me straight out of the envelope. It’s custom made garment right? Doesn’t it fit awesome just by definition? Yep, that’s what I thought. Nonetheless, the dress fit well enough, I wore it to pieces and got a ton of compliments! One of my friends even said that the dress was her favorite garment I made ever.
The pattern is from BurdaStyle magazine – February 2009, model number 105. The link is to the Russian version of the magazine since it’s the only BurdaStyle that shows magazines from all the way back in 2005. Burda is very popular in Russia, I guess! Unfortunately the pattern is not available for download on BurdaStyle website, the magazine is too old. I believe they started making magazine patterns available in PDF versions in 2010. But I would suppose any version of a more or less fitted shirt dress would do! It does have pretty princess seams and front seams on the skirt, but other than that it is a usual shirt dress with a straight skirt.
To be completely honest, after making this pattern twice, once with full on alterations to fit me, I am still not completely sold on it. It’s nice, I like the lines, but it is still very much off. I lengthened the bodice, took in at the waist, added a bit at the hips and lengthened the skirt. Even after all of that the pattern still needs work to fit well. It looks great with a belt though! But without the belt… you can see that it is still quite lose at the waist and is gaping a bit at the back. That’s alright though, I can’t see myself wearing this dress without a belt. It would look too much like a housecoat!
In the magazine the dress was made out of patterned cotton and I was hooked! I loved the idea of using a more or less girly fabric print for a structured shirt dress so much that I absolutely had to have one. Both times I went with black and white scheme flowery pattern and this time there are some beige and yellow colors in the mix. I love the print! I love how it contradicts and compliments the structure of the dress at the same time. Both times I used cotton with a little bit of stretch. Second time around I made sure I pre-washed It, because I had to learn the hard way about the whole “pre-wash your fabrics” thing.
The construction was easy and didn’t cause any issues. The only things that were slightly more challenging were pickets in the seams on the skirt front, just because the seams need to be pressed to the front and top stitched, so there is a little bit of fiddling around with top stitching. Also all the darts of the bodice need to align to the seams of the skirt, but that wasn’t a big deal either. Especially since the fabric of the dress camouflages all the seams and minor discrepancies. Because majority of the seams is top-stitched prior to final assembly it makes it hard to make alterations to the final garment, so in this case if you are unsure if you will need minor alterations I definitely recommend making a muslin first. I didn’t both times, but I am planning to wear the dress with the belt.
Overall I am very happy with how it turned out! I don’t think it is a dress that you can throw on when you feel lazy. Because it is more fitted with the buttons down the front it does call for a bit of “attention” from the wearer to make sure the buttons stay closed and don’t open up too much at the bottom when you sit down. But other than that, it is definitely a dress that will draw attention and get you noticed, in a good way (I hope!). I really enjoyed a few seasons of my first dress and I can not wait to give this second version more wear. Who knows, I may be making one more after this and may be third time is a charm and that one will fit like a glove?