Nautical tank maxi dress – Burda Magazine #115 June 2009

urda Magazine #115 06:2009

Ahoy, sewing girls and boys! Today’s post is on helluva maxi irony! I’ve made a summer maxi dress just in time for the weather to turn rainy again here in London! And I’m taking pictures in the one half an hour when the rain stopped, goody! On the plus side, my holiday/honeymoon wardrobe is shaping up nicely, I’m really counting down the months now! Of course, this is a maxi procrastination effort as well, as I really should be getting on with the wedding dress, but hey ho, you know what’s it like when you get a sewing bee (no pun intended) in your bonnet :).

Burda Magazine #115 06:2009

So here I am on a Sunday morning, with my eyes half open, going to the sewing room because I had this idea I wanted to try out. Since I got the Coverlock 3.0 (*see disclaimer at the end of the post), I have been hankering for some jersey to try my hands at. Of course it was sod’s law not to have much in my stash, but then I took part in the Fashion Salvage in Bristol a few weeks ago, organised by Love Your Clothes.  Fashion bloggers were invited to rummage thought the Bristol Textile Recycler’s bins and put together some outfits on a brief. And we could take home 4 kgs of clothes each. As I am doing a no new clothes challenge this year, I could not take anything (no, not even second hand clothes are allowed – no cheating here!!), so I asked if I could take some fabric instead. It was so hard to choose, there were loads of really cool FREE fabric! But I ended up with about 30m of various pieces of fabric, among which this jersey.

Because it’s a bit of an odd print, with stripes and flowers and circles that are not particularly symmetrical, I was scratching my head as to what I can do with it. And then, looking through some old Romanian Burda Magazines, I saw a little dress that might work. It wasn’t  a maxi dress, but it had an interesting “port hole” detail on the back and it looked like a quick an easy make.

Burda Magazine #115 06/2009

To make it into a maxi dress, I copied out the pattern down to the waistline, pinned to the fabric and then extended all the way to the edge to create slightly A line shape. TIP: did you know there are such things as ballpoint pins? I used them on this project to avoid holes in the jersey fabric.

Burda Magazine #115 06:2009

The hardest part that actually took the longest was to decide hot to place the pattern on the print. The original was running lengthwise, so the stripes would run vertically. But the width would not work with the pattern, so because it’s a 4 way stretch, it worked perfectly fine the other way round, with the stripes running horizontally. Much easier and it actually looks really nice as well! I folded the pattern in quarters on fold, as both front and back pieces did not have a centre seam.

Burda Magazine #115 06:2009

I made sure the side seams matched, which was not very hard, just took the red stripe as a reference point. It was actually really spot on until I had to take in the side seams a bit and it wen’t a bit awry. But still, not too bad if I do say so myself

Burda Magazine #115 06:2009

The sizing in the magazine was very odd, from 17 to 21, which I assume is for teenagers, so I cut a size 21 and didn’t add seam allowance. It turned up a bit too lose, so I took up the front straps by almost 5 cm and took in the sides to reduce width. It’s still a bot lose on the sides, but I quite like it like that. The fabric really shows all the lumps and bumps and I’d rather not have it too close fitting.

urda Magazine #115 06:2009

The construction was quite easy with the overlocker, and really quick too, nothing to report. The part that was a bit fiddly was inserting the neck, port hole and armhole finishing. As the pattern did not have bands pieces (it recommended the fold and top stitch with double needle method), I had to improvise it. I used the method recommended by Ginger from Ginger Makes, to measure the opening and then stretch the band to the desired length plus seam allowance. It worked absolutely spot on. I then joined the two ends of the band, folded in half with the wrong sides together and then quartered and marked. I quartered the openings as well and pinned the band matching the quarter marks, then overlocked in place. That worked brilliantly, but I’m a bit unhappy with the way the stitching turns inside out, so I might top stitch as well. I saw a post on top stitching with woolly thread, so I might give it a go with the coverlock.

Burda Magazine #115 06:2009

I really like this dress, even more so because it was quick and easy. And I know I will love it even more once I sort out the flippy bands.

Now off to do something wedding dress related, or else… 😀

Happy Monday and happy sewing everyone!

*Disclaimer:  I’m using a Pfaff Coverlock 3.0 which I got on loan in my role as Pfaff UK Ambassador.



  1. Hi Alex… love the dress… fabric is really gorgeous and I like the way you placed the pattern. Quick point re burda sizing. The 17-21 is the petite size range… so it is women’s sizing but for petites and are the regular size range divided by 2… so if you made the 21 it works out as 42 in the standard size range. I believe they also have a different size range for “tall” patterns where the numbers are multiplied by 2 (72-88 which would be equivalent to 36-44). Hope this helps 🙂


    1. Hey Brit! thanks a lot! I did think the same about the port hole :).
      What have you been up to? The lady that run the recycling centre is American and she reminded me of you a bit, looks-wise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha and calling it a porthole is brilliant considering the fabric is so nautical!! Lol
        I have been crazy busy working two-ish three-ish jobs! So finally I’m used to the business and I am going to be back to blogging since I miss it so much.
        That’s so funny she reminded you of me 🙂
        Maybe she’s my doppelgänger!


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