Hot! The Mod Oriental Dress | Adey Lim

Oriental dress

The Facts

Fabric: Green linen fabric 1 metre $4.60 from Shanghai and Echino Nico cotton/linen fabric 1 metre $17
Pattern: The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook Dress
Year: c. 2011
Notions: Invisible zipper, frog closure
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: Keeping it for Lunar New Year in January 
Wear again? Yes!

I'm really excited to sew from the new burdastyle sewing handbook as some of the first garments I've sewn for myself were from burdastyle patterns. The variety of sewing patterns here are very limited and only one shop sells them so burdastyle downloads in pdf were truly candies to me. Instant graification without having to wait two weeks for patterns to arrive by mail.

It was tough deciding what to sew as there were numerous variation suggestions from the five patterns which came with the book.  I loved Casey's dress variation in red and white (You can see it here in the sneak peek), considered sewing a short sleeve shirtdress out of the coat pattern and couldn't wait to sew the peplum blouse with 40s design elements!

The thing is, I've been planning to make some dresses for Lunar New Year (January 2012) and when I saw the burdastyle handbook's original dress pattern, I knew it can be easily modified into a mod oriental dress pattern. Perfect for the festivities.

Oriental dress4

I didn't make any changes to the skirt and the most 'drastic' modification I made to the bodice was to raise the front and back neckline while slightly elongating the keyhole opening. This way, I was able to create a faux mandarin neckline without having to sew a separate stand collar which can get uncomfortable in this humidity. As I absolutely detested making button loops with my many failed or frustrating attempts in the past, I opted for a gold colored mandarin frog closure. I also chose not to sew a lining but drafted neckline and sleeve facings for clean finishing touches. I did however merge the back yoke and back bodice and cut these as one piece. These came as two pieces on the original pattern and I wanted a simpler dress design.

I adore the princess seams on the bodice as they provide shaping and these seams merge seamlessly with the darts on the front of the skirt. The bodice was sewed using an apple green linen I bought from the Shanghai fabric market while the skirt fabric came from Japanese designer Etsuko Furaya's Echino Nico range. Indirectly, adding even more flavours of the orient to this dress.  

I fell in love with this particular echino print at first sight but didn't buy it initially as the print was horizontal but am happy that it turned out all right as the skirt section of this dress. The skirt pattern has a slight curve at the bottom so the orange section of the skirt print has an arc finishing with the sides having less orange than the front section and in a way made the design less monotonous. 

Oriental dress2 If you intend to sew from this wonderful handbook, please note that there are no seam allowances added which is great if you want to merge pieces from the various patterns. I can't wait to sew up more projects from this book! The possibilities are truly endless and definitely in my sewing queue:)


Adey Sew Convert

A former kids' television channel manager turned stay home mum from Singapore, I hated sewing since I attended my first home economic class at the age of 14. In 2007, something miraculous happened when God blessed me with a second pregnancy. I discovered that I was expecting a baby girl. That changed everything. First I went crazy shopping for handmade clothes for her on etsy. Then I decided I needed to make something for her on my own. I was a month from my due date when I took an intensive 8-hour sewing class. In Dec 2008, I made a dress for my princess before she was born and have not stopped sewing since.


Comments are closed.

  1. I adore what you did to the collar!

  2. Adey this is a wonderful dress. I love your thoughtfulness, giving consideration to Lunar New Years and of course this fun fabric, it all up to a fabulous outfit, and yes modern with hints of tradition. Love!

  3. Hmmmmm. Excess cloth at the front bodice? Any way to rectify it?

  4. Are you referring to the creases/ folds just above the waist area? They are not really there if I stand straight but using linen which crinkles easier seem make them more obvious when I lean on one leg, something I tend to do a lot in photos :)

  5. Thank you Cathe! So glad you like the outfit :)

  6. The princess seams- very flattering! great pairing of the echino print fabric. you’ve spurred me on to make a “cheongsam-ish” dress for this coming lunar new year. :)

  7. Same pattern as Debi and yet a completely different look. Looks lovely and fresh for the Lunar New Year celebrations.

  8. I love this dress, Adey! The buses on the fabric and frog closure are so cute :-). Smart idea using facings instead of lining the bodice with the heat and humidity you have there. Beautiful work as always =D

  9. Thanks Fiona! You will look fab in a 'cheongsamish' dress I am sure, so go for it!

  10. Thanks Jen! Yes, same pattern and I think that's what made this book amazing :)

  11. Thanks Melissa!  I love those buses too and my son is now 'nagging' me to make him pants in that fabric :P 

  12. Love the fabric choices and how they are combined to create this modern yet traditional dress. The frog is a nice touch.

  13. What a great interpretation of a pattern, you always think outside of the box Adey, Lunar New Year? Watch out!

  14. Thanks Kazz for your sweet comment!

  15. Thank you Ezekielle, glad you liked it!

  16. You are SO daring with your fabrics, and it SO works! Love the clasp as well, I should try mine out soon! I keep forgetting I have them from China Town! xoxo

  17. Thanks babe! Can't wait to see what you do with those frog closures!