13 DRESSES : DRESS 7 & 8

Dress #7, originally uploaded by the workroom.

Dress 7 – Burda E971 Tunic
Fabric – Grey Asha by Kaffe Fasset

This tunic dress is a free download from the Burda Fashion website. If you’ve never downloaded a pattern off the internet, it usually means that the pattern has been tiled over many pages. Be prepared to print off 30+ sheets of paper and then have to tape them all together. I found this to be one of the few perks of working in an office, the endless supply of paper and high quality printers to facilitate such projects

I was very excited about this dress. I taped the pattern together, cut it out, then cut out my fabric and started to read the instructions. OOPS! I quickly found out that the pattern did NOT include the seam allowance. I talk about this all the time in my classes, always check your seam allowance on a pattern. I had heard that some patterns don’t include it, but to be honest, I had never encountered it. It’s not just an urban sewing myth, they do exist!

The tunic dress is quite loose, so the biggest effect that not having the seam allowance made on this project was that it was impossible for me to put the sleeves in. There was just nothing at the shoulders for me to sew the sleeves onto. Thus, the dress turned into a sleeveless dress with bias trim around the armholes. The dress is still cute, but not exactly what I had planned.

Dress #8

Dress 8 – Burda E971 Tunic (round 2)
Fabric – Fresh Poppies by Amy Butler

I hope you don’t think that this is cheating, but I had to get this pattern right. I went back and added seam allowance on all the pattern pieces and started again. The second time around was pretty easy. I really loved the cute puff sleeves of the tunic. There’s a piece of elastic sewn into the sleeve cuff that makes those tiny gathers. It’s my favourite detail, I’m a sucker for gathering. I don’t often repeat the same pattern, but I’m happy that I did for this one, just for the sleeves.

There are some important lessons to be learned here. a) Always read through the instructions of your project before cutting out your fabric and embarking on a potentially heart breaking journey, b) a 1/2″ seam allowance doesn’t seem like a lot, but it has great impact on a garment and c) if something goes wrong, don’t fight it, just go with it and make the best of it. Mistakes are fantastic lessons and lead to unexpected discoveries. (or sleeveless dresses)

There’s only five more weeks until Labour Day and five more dresses to go….

Dress #8


  1. I love dress nr. 8! It’s amazing what a couple of lovely sleeves can make: the dress looks so pretty and feminine! I’d love to see it full-lenght though. I’m loving this 13 dresses epic journey! 🙂

  2. Concha – I always have a hard time getting a full length shot of the dresses. I’m going to try to do a compilation at the end of the summer with full length shots of all the dresses.

    ella – how cute that you can make a top out of a fat quarter!

  3. Hi Karyn!

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of months now and thought I’d drop a note. I’ve found so much inspiration in the projects you write about! One of them was this dress. I am a total newby to sewing, but one day I saw all the great things you can actually make with your own hands and I was sold. This dress was destined to my second project (the first being Amy Butler’s Birdie Sling which came out just perfect). I like a challenge! The zipper went fine, the inner lining of the top of the dress was more difficult. The sleeves were the hardest part. Somehow the arm opening seems to big for the sleeve. It get’s all pouffy in the back. In any case I am not going to give up. I am determined to get a dress that turns up just like yours!

    Best wishes from Europe,

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