Hot! The “Out of the Blues” Outfit | Veronica Darling

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The Facts

Fabric: Blue cotton, formerly some sort of sleeping bag insert $1, thrifted and spotty blue cotton, $.50c also thrifted 
Pattern: The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook Dress
Year: c. 2011
Notions: second hand zipper, gift
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: November 2011
Wear again? Yes, it's lovely!


I, like Debi, adore the Burda Style community and have picked up most of my modern day sewing tips from either the Learning section or the Finished Projects section. As a lot of us are these days with sewing, I'm entirely self taught, and often jump in the deep end with projects, having the comfort of recycled or thrifted (very cheap) fabrics. More often "Dr Google" can solve a sewing problem, and often times leads me to youtube tutorials, or Burda Style, or like today even Colette.

So firstly, I read the book through, settled on the dress, settled on a similar style to Jennifer Beeman's AKA Grainline (her blue fuller skirt dress is featured as another example on page 138) and settled quickly on the materials. You'll hear from others that there are so many 'styles' and 'variations' in the patterns provided in the book, with loads of tips on how to get that variation. The book, at times, helps you see the creative and designer-y elements that you can add to make that garment your own.  


Now, part of my love of sewing (and my Virgo-ness, I am told) is following the instructions quick and easy… do this… then do this… and voila! More recently, as I've been sewing so much, I skip over instructions once I work out what bits go where. Which cuts down the time it takes to finish. 

Did you see this took me 8 hours? EIGHT HOURS.

So the 'make it your own' part started weighing on me… do I have enough designerly panache to pull off something cute? What flair could I add to the dress that hadn't been done before? But the really heavy part came, as it dawned on me that I'd have to trace the paper patterns, checking my measurements between two of the Burda sizes, and then ADD seam allowances. 

BUT, the Burda Style Sewing Handbook is VERY handy in explaining how to do all these things. I used the brown butchers paper leftover from our moving house, and as I don't have a cutter thingie (BSSH says it's called a 'Tracing Wheel' – see how much I'm learning?), I traced using a big black Sharpie and used my French Curve ruler. I sometimes forgot the seam allowances, but I wrote little notes on the newly created (in my exact size and creative design) where to add them.

I felt like I practically drafted this myself! YIPPEE!


But the preparation of the pattern pieces itself took over 2 hours! GOSH! Next I'll remember to leave time for this! My changes (and designerly panache) are as follows:

– The neckline is very similar in shape to Melissa's Variation, but I omitted the ties and the lining (to save sewing time), and that's the pattern pieces I followed to get my two tone effect.

– I made the skirt fuller like the Grainline inspiration by a 'slash and spread' method (LOLZ, I think I learnt that online somewhere). So, I kept the waist line the same, and from the dart, slit the pattern piece I'd traced, and split the two pieces, making a long vertical triangle at the hemline.

– The pockets (accidentally) are a little shallower. Oops, not sure what I did there, so books or wallets will fit!

– The bodice (all 6 pieces of the bodice, mind you) is all shortened at the waistline. That was tricky.

For the neckline, I initially googled up 'exposed bias binding neckline' because I thought it could be cute with a little of the spotty material showing, and found this darling Colette continuous bias tape tutorial, and the Sorbetto instructions on attaching tape as well (which a LOT of you probably have seen!). For some reason I cut my tape really wide (almost 2 inches) and attached it following the Sorbetto way ("with the right side of the bias tape facing the wrong side of the garment"), but it looked way too crafty with larger spots showing and I was hearing Michael Kors saying "You don't want it to look Becky Homecky". By this stage, I was saying "I've spent 5 hours on it already, might as well pull it off and start again".

I cut my left over bias tape in half (so the width was now around an inch), overlocked one edge, and instead of Sorbetto's instructions, I followed my Built By Wendy method, which is to sew right sides together, clip seams, and fold so your overlocked edge is now on the wrongside, but you top stitch the right side of the bodice, leaving the bias to create a slightly thicker version of piping. And the results are very darling.

So pleased I spent the extra time on the neckline and armholes, jeepers it looked 'crafty' before! It has the look that the blue spotty fabric is the real dress and the blue navy is the apron, or house dress, over the top. And the fuller skirt is just perfect, a little looser for riding my bike.

The blue fabric was a weird thrifted piece; it was sewn up right sides together (with a hole at the top) into a really large person-sized sack. I have a feeling we used these 'slips' inside our sleeping bags on school camp! It's so funny what you find in the second hand shops! From a sleeping bag innerslip to a darling one of a kind Burda Style Sewing Handbook Dress. Gotta love that!


Thank you Mena & Burda Style for my Sewing Handbook! I feel well on the way to becoming a real life seamstress after drawing up those patterns! Gotta get myself a Tracing Wheel!



Veronica Darling

Veronica Darling has been sewing well for about 4 years, blogging for 5 years and smiling for over 33 years. In 2011, she joined Mena's Sew Weekly in sewing through the year, and in 2012 will keep challenges slightly smaller in scale.


Comments are closed.

  1. This is a very cute dress ! Do you have a link to a tutorial for the way in which you applied the binding? I have google searched but couln’t find anything by Built by Wendy.

  2. So darling! I just love the contrast panels and the extra flair in the skirt! The matching bias binding adds a nice touch!!! Such a lovely dress and are you becoming more partial to blue? You look fabulous in it!!

  3. Oh this is just dandy! I love the polka dot panels in the side!

  4. I can’t tell you how much I love this dress! So cute!!

  5. This dress looks amazing! I love the way the pockets are ‘built in’ that flattering curved line at the side parts!

  6. Oh it looks SO good!! Love the polka dots, adds just the perfect amount of fun. Also, sweet yellow sandals!

  7. This is a smashing dress, Veronica!! I love all the little details and the colour is fabulous on you! What a marvellous, marvellous job!
    And your yellow shoes? Ah-may-zing!!! ;)

  8. Zowie, girl! That’s fantastic. Be glad you don’t live in Austin, cuz I’d sneak into your house and night and steal it. Super job!

  9. Eight hours is bananas! however you’ve done a superb job adjusting pieces etc the time you’ve spent on it shows, she looks super fun and so you. Love love this colour on you. Winner!

  10. Another great variation of this pattern – completely different again. Beautiful use of the bias over the shoulders (and pockets!!! fabulous).

  11. Love the peeking polka dots at the neck and the armholes! Great touch.

  12. This is so pretty! LOVE! Especially adore those hidden pockets and polka dots!

  13. Hi Wendy,
    I just googled up as well and here’s the closest instructions to how I applied the binding: (look under the ‘Single Binding’ method – instead of the fold to the back, I overlocked that long side and topstiched – instead of hand stitched)
    Also the Built by Wendy’s Sew U Stretch is AMAZING, and where I first learnt the technique:
    xoxo good luck!

  14. Thanks Debi! When moving house, I was overwhelmed by all my blue fabric, so am determined to like it! Everyone says it suits me, so I should sew more with it I guess! xoxo

  15. Yes the curved side bits are super flattering, and I was really worried they wouldn’t all match up, but luckily they did! The pattern pieces are really spot on!

  16. Thank you Jen! I found several of my old shoes while moving house, so you may see a few more fun styles in the next few weeks!

  17. Thank you Sarah, totes appreciate it! I’m learning to love blue! xoxo

  18. Thank you darling! It’s a winner!

  19. OMG, just saw you’re Jen from Grainline Studio! THANK YOU for the inspiration! I loved your fuller skirt and blue tones! xoxo

  20. Thanks Kazz, yep the extra time for the extra detail… all pays off in the end! xoxoxo

  21. Thanks Jen, it’s amazing that the dress is so versatile, but I guess that’s what the handbook is all about! xoxo

  22. Thanks Karen! It was worth the extra time! The original neckline didn’t look half as stylish… too thick for such a nice dress.

  23. Thanks babes! Next time I’ll make the pockets a little more deeper so I can actually fit more than coins and keys in them! xoxo

  24. LOVE this!! Your version is delightful – truly – and you look stunning in blues!

  25. This dress looks so lovely. The color blue is so royal and looks good on you, with those yellow pumps. Just perfect!