Happy Birthday to me…

Grecian Sundress---Knee-Length Version

I live in a tree
I look like a…

Hmm, never mind that.

Grecian Sundress Front

So, ehm, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is I have a new dress! The bad news is I underestimated the time it would take me to get the pattern graded—or rather, I significantly underestimated the amount of time I would spend this past weekend traipsing along the creekbed taking photographs of the enormous (insert sarcasm font) fish my family are catching. Given how rare weather like this up here, especially this late in the season, I’m not even going to apologize for it.Β But anyway.

So, at this exact moment the pattern is still only available in Tanit-size, which is roughly a Burda size 36 or a Big 4 size 10/12. The good news is that this style is REALLY forgiving. There’s plenty of ease, you can adjust the length of the shoulders by adjusting your gathers, and adjust for various bust sizes by altering where you start your shirring.

Either way, you can now find the pattern:

Grecian Sundress Instructions

Grecian Sundress Pattern—US Letter version

Grecian Sundress Pattern—A4 version

And I WILL get it graded, really, really soon.

Grecian Sundress Back

So, what’s there to say about this version of the dress?

The fabric is a print I’ve been eyeing at Fabricland for ages now, but it finally made itself through the marked-down section to the final clearance, which like most things was 50% off this past weekend, so for $2/m I finally bit. It’s a really nice weight for this pattern. I’m not 100% sure the crinkled look was intentional, but I liked it and it also works well with this pattern, so I didn’t go too crazy with the iron. I did do some ironing-down of the pleats, and when I wash it I may even try giving it the Β full-out broomstick-skirt treatment, which I think would look fun.

I had been planning on another maxi (gee, surprise?) but it turned out that 3m of 150 cm-wide fabric (all that was left on the bolt) is not enough for the maxi length of this dress. Be warned. I could have made it about tea-length, but decided to go with my just-above-knee cutting line for demonstration purposes. And, y’know, it’s a length I like. I’ve also included a tunic-length cutting line as I feel like this would make an interesting tunic. I’ll get around to that one of these days…

Shirring: cute, not so straight

Incidentally, in the instructions I suggest that you use an elastic tied under the bust to mark the location of your top line of shirring. This way you get it in the exact right place, and it’ll look straight when it’s on you. I did NOT do it this way, just marked the line from the pattern and shirred away, and as a result my shirring does not run in a straight line around my body. Lean from my mistakes! πŸ˜‰

I feel cute.

This version doesn’t have quite the stepped-out-of-a-marble-sculpture elegance of my first version, but I like it, and it feels light and summery and casual, perfect for throwing on to a barbecue (which is what I did today) or even pulling over a bathing suit at the beach. Which means I’ll get exactly three wears out of it before the weather turns, but hey.

It probably SHOULD have a slip or at least a lining in the lower section (maybe attached at the start of the shirring). Partly because the fabric’s a wee bit sheer (and I don’t think this design would work well with a heavy fabric anyway—too much bulk in the gathered shoulders) and partly because it catches on my butt like nobody’s business. You have no idea how many rear shots it took to get one that isn’t hung up on my backside. Mind you, my swayback doesn’t help.

I had meant to hunt down links to some tutorials on shirring and maybe a narrow hem, but it’s late and I want to get this post up tonight, so I’ll do that in the future (or post your own favourite link in the comments πŸ˜‰ )



Filed under Sewing

52 responses to “Happy Birthday to me…

  1. Wow, I love that dress in the knee length! The maxi is nice too, but I tend to wear knee length more often. And we’re the same size it seems! Thanks so much for taking the time to share this pattern with us for your birthday!!

  2. Happy, Happy Birthday! Hey, shouldn’t we be giving you presents, instead of you giving us the pattern for this absolutely stunning dress ? Or is it the model that makes it so? Anyway, thanks, I could only hope it would look this good on me.

    And by the way, any thoughts on where to get info on how to turn a paper pattern into a PDF ?

    • Burdastyle has some tutorials on it, I think. What I would probably do (what I did for my cropped jean-jacket pattern) is make a tracing, cut it into page-sized bits and scan it, then trace over in the vector-graphics program of your choice (note—if you use Inkscape, which is free, it imports pictures at 90 pixels per inch, so you need to either scan at that resolution or resize with a different program. Illustrator is smarter about this, but also costs money and is a little trickier to figure out in my opinion.)

      The present you give me would be a post about how you made up my pattern! πŸ˜‰

  3. Happy birthday! I’m glad you’ve gotten good weather for your birthday! I hope you’re getting the lovely sunny stuff we’re getting this week. BIRTHDAY WEEK!

    You always have the funnest poses! I’m very jealous. lol! They compliment this fun little summer dress nicely!

  4. What a gorgeous dress! And a happy, happy birthday to you! ~ Peggy http://peggyscloset.blogspot.com/

  5. Happy Birthday! i hope it was a good one! I love the dress. We are having our summer this week, with temperatures of 30C and above. I wore a skirt to the shop today, and froze in the air-conditioning.

  6. Happy birthday, fellow Virgo! The dress is spectacular–and I hope your birthday was as well. ~ Peggy
    P.S. This might be a duplicate message as I was having difficulty with the system.

  7. Happy Birthday!!!! YAY!!! Love this pattern and I’m also Tanit-Isis size πŸ™‚

  8. I love shirring! I have been working on a dress with shirring the past 2 months… totally unforgivable…. and right on the topic of underestimating time! It’s cool that you made a pattern for this, I hope to get to make onein the near future – I’ve never made a downloadable pattern, it scares me to try!:(( Is it as complicated as it sounds?:D

    Happy happy Bday to you!:)



    • I think making a PDF pattern is as hard or as easy as you want it to be. On the simple end you could just cut up a tracing of your paper pattern and scan it, then put the pages together into a pdf. I have been trying to do my actual drafting on the computer (mostly using Inkscape, a free vector graphics program) so that saves me the scanning step. I still haven’t figured out a really good way of tiling the big image so it can be printed out on regular paper. The way I do it is quick, but it doesn’t give you the nice borders and matching markings that the Burdastyle patterns have. They have a tutorial on how to do it but it’s pretty labour-intensive, so far I’m too lazy to do it that way.

  9. argh sorry for the link to my last post, I thought it’s my live signature…

  10. YEAY! Thanks so much for making up the patterns and generously sharing it with us – I absolutely LOVE this dress and was keeping my fingers crossed it won the poll!

  11. Happy Birthday T! Love your new birthday dress too – wear it while you can!

  12. What an excellent hobbit birthday- I love receiving fab gifts for other peoples birthdays! Maybe my new machine will like shirring!

  13. Happy birthday! Love the dress. It’s on the list, closer to the top!

  14. Happy birthday! This is a reverse-birthday. You are giving us presents.
    A print! I love the blush pink color and the length. I’m a fan of crinkly fabrics, too. That and I hate ironing with a passion.

  15. I would spend all the time outside I could as well! Thank you for doing the dress pattern that was nice of you to do that and its my size :O). I think your right this would make a great cover up for a swim suit done out of something real light and airy! This looks good as a maxi and this shorter one. Bet it would be cute even shorter too :O)

  16. margarita

    happy birthday , your dress looks great. thanks

    Thanks for making this pattern for us (& I think I like your newest version of the dress best!).

    Re: links to shirring, ladies try these…

    Kathleen on Grosgrain has a couple of good posts on shirring:
    Technique Tuesdays: Shirring
    Shirring with your brother (it seems to be tricker on Brother sewing machines!).

    Gertie’s posts:
    Making a Shirred-Back Dress, Part One: Modifying Your Pattern
    Making a Shirred-Back Dress, Part Two: Shirring!

    Sunni’s guest post on Sewaholic Guest Post! A Shirring Tutorial for the Lonsdale Dress

  18. Great dress but I’m sure birthdays mean receiving goodies! On the other hand, I’m sure no one here is complaining!

  19. Happy (belated) Bday! Oh goodie! That’s about my size thru the bust (hips are another story altogether).

    • Heh… well, the skirt shouldn’t be too hard to widen… I spent some time this past summer shopping with my pear-shaped sister-in-law and it was an introduction to a whole new kind of fitting frustration.

  20. Yay for birthdays! You need to squeeze out every possible day of summer in Canada, grading can wait but warm weather won’t.

    Well the Grecian Sundress is going to have to be added to my project list. I really like it at this length, it works well in the soft print.

  21. Ooh! Pretty! And I think it’s even my size. πŸ™‚ Thanks for making this available, and I hope you have a fabulous birthday! πŸ™‚

  22. Happy Birthday! The dress looks fabulous, and the bustline is my size! I would be inclined to make the shorter version anyhow as maxi dresses look odd on me. Very cute!

  23. Amy

    I really like both versions of this dress. I’m probably about your size, though long wasted, so I can actually take advantage of this pattern as is. Now to find the time to sew up another dress. As fall is just around the corner and my work is always on the chilly side, I should actually be making your vintage shrug first. I’ve had that one saved to my computer for a while now… One day I would love to be drafting and grading my own patterns. Until then, I’m very thankful for others with the skill! So, happy birthday and thanks very much!

  24. Shams

    Happy Birthday!

  25. Happy birthday!!!! Lovely dress.

  26. Scruffybadger

    Happy birthday even if I’m a bit late! This version of your dress is gorgeous too, but I hope you aren’t stressing about producing all the grading as it’s your own self imposed deadline- you need to be doing some celebrating and eating cake!!

  27. (sung in the manner of a chipmunk) Happy Happy Birthday! all the best to you! happy happy birthday! may all your dreams come true! This was the summer camp version, and involves the clacking of plates and a great deal of stomping.

    I’m glad you ended up choosing the grecian dress, it was the one I voted for, and I look forward to making it up. πŸ™‚

    As for the interfacing, I found it here:http://www.voguefabricsstore.com/3M-Thinsulate-Thermal-Jacket-Insulation.html with details about the different varieties here: http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Thinsulate_Insulation/Homepage/AboutUs/TypesOfThinsulateInsulation/

  28. It’s lovely and cheerful! Have a wonderful birthday and a great next year xo

  29. Rennai

    Yay great dress will defiantly make one waiting for summer here even spring would be nice.

  30. Happy belated Birthday! The dress is indeed very cute, although I imagine it wouldn’t look as nice on my full-waisted frame… πŸ˜‰ Cute fabric and quite a catch at that price! I wish we had a Fabricland (or anything with a nice clearance section) around here…

    • Of course it’s up to you, but I think it would look just fine—there’s plenty of photos of you looking on your blog looking adorable in dresses with high(ish) waists and sashes—the shirring creates much the same effect, and you can make it start and end where you like. Says I. πŸ™‚

  31. Happy birthday! πŸ˜‰ Love the midriff shaping on this dress; it’s so flattering. The fabric really suits the dress well–I love it! πŸ™‚

  32. Happy Birthday! Belatedly. Sorry, been kinda busy. *HUGS*

  33. Thank you so much! And a Happy B’lated B’Day to you!

  34. I just stumbled onto your blog via Tasia’s Sewaholic … and I’m so glad I did! This dress is absolutely GORGEOUS, and with a trip already planned to Fabricland today I’m chomping at the bit to find some fabric for the pattern you have so graciously shared with everyone! I realize it’s October but we’re getting unexpectly great weather for Winnipeg ( +30 yesterday, if you can believe it!) so I’m hoping if I work fast, I’ll be able to sport it once before it snows. Thanks, and cheers! πŸ™‚

  35. Unfortunately, for some reason, the instructions link isn’t working and it’s giving me a “file not found” message. Is there anyway to get the instructions from you? πŸ™‚

  36. Hurrah, it works now! Thanks so much – I’m like a 5 year old at Christmas, I’m so excited to dive right into this! πŸ™‚

  37. Thank you so much for providing this pattern! I just tried it out and I love my dress.

  38. Pingback: Experimental design | Tanit-Isis Sews

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