Hot! The “Almost Made This Look” Dress

The Facts

Fabric  Turquoise brocade. No clue what it’s made of but it melts!
Pattern Burdastyle 02/11 Tank dress with gathered skirt – with major changes.
Year 2011
Notions Turquoise zipper
Time to complete about 5 hours
First worn For these photos – January 2012
Wear again? Definitely, I just need a suitable occasion

Total price  About  £6.00

Make This Look – how hard could that be?  I had the dress – the gorgeous ‘Go For Brocade’ dress by ModCloth.  I had the fabric – not exactly the same but a bluey brocade of unknown composition.  I had a tried and tested pattern -Burdastyle 02/2011 Tank dress with gathered skirt #104

However as usual it was very nearly a disaster.

Cock up number one.  The iron.  I cannot stand ironing. I did it as a job when I was sixteen and have done my best to avoid it ever since.  Since I started sewing though it has been unavoidable.  In my rush to get this part over with I forgot to check the setting on the iron and was confronted by a strange chemical smell as I started to press the first dart.  I whipped the fabric away and tested an off-cut only for it to sizzle, smoke and weld itself to the iron.  I had to turn the heat right down to the point where it was hardly worth pressing at all, but disaster was averted.

Cock up number two.  The gathers. After stitching the bodice I began to suspect that making a gathered skirt with this fabric was not going to be easy.  I was right.  As I pulled the threads to make the gathers it started to fray uncontrollably, then the threads stuck, then snapped. I thought about doing pleats instead, but after more staring at the bodice on the dress form I had a brainwave.  Okay, it wouldn’t exactly be Make This Look, but one of the reasons I sew is so I can wear unique garments that nobody else is wearing.  Maybe I had subconsciously sabotaged this project in order to create something a bit more Taracat.  I grabbed another pattern and cut a new skirt.  What you see here is the Bastard Love Child of Burdastyle 02/11 and Danielle, with some serious tweaking to get the darts and pleats to line up. I guess I failed to Make This Look, but despite the slightly dodgy hem I’m still pretty pleased with what I finally came up with.




Taracat is a beginning seamstress, scientist, teacher, mother, gin drinker, almost author, drama queen and a bit of a stroppy 'mare. She discovered The Sew Weekly in February 2011 while using the internet to teach herself to sew. She's getting there.


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  1. It looks great like that (and I’ve got those shoes too …) Glad to know about the brocade melting because I’ve got some of that and know what not to do now …

  2. This is a very important post for me, because, you see, I just cut out a bunch of silk brocade last night to be turned into a gathered skirt to wear on Thursday in celebration of Lunar New Year! Now, after reading your gathering issues, maybe I can avert disaster (and consequent sewing rage) and pleat instead?

  3. It looks fantastic! I love the colour blue that you chose. It looks great on you!

  4. I love the Make This Look you chose and I have some of that scary fabric lurking in purple! Great dress though.

  5. I like your take and I think the shape of skirt better suits the fabric. Gorgeous fabric – handy tip about the melting – I too have some purple brocade fabric

    • Thanks Jen – I do think I will wear this much more than the original shape. Can’t wait to see all these purple brocade creations when you get round to it.

  6. Great dress! And I’ve totally melted fabric before hahaha glad to know it’s not just me!

  7. I kinda like this silhouette better than the original–you’ve got gorgeous curves lady, no need to hide them under a big skirt! Brocade is so lovely but such a pain…

  8. It’s so cute! I like the way you made the Make-This-Look work for you. I’m skipping it just because I can’t find anything pre-made that I like enough to copy. I sew to have one of a kinds!

    About your skirt, I used to loathe gathering, especially on fray-y fabric like this, and then I discovered corded gathering. There was a chorus of angels. Most fabulous-thing EVER. Now I cord gather everything I possibly can (and avoid making garments where I have to thread gather in the same way that Mena avoids zips!). How to cord gather: Hope that helps!)

  9. Oh isn’t that fabric a bitch? well done you, the colour looks smashing on you too.

    • Thanks Kazz – it certainly is, and I’ve still got about five metres of the stuff in my stash that I’ll eventually have to tackle. Can’t wait to see yours this week.

  10. Thank you Tina, you are very kind. Was hoping to reduce the curves after Christmas with a diet, but actually it’s a lot easier just to sew something to flatter them…

  11. I’m glad to know that I am not the only one who fills my wine glass to the top! ;) Well done, the color and fit are so very flattering!

  12. I really like your interpretation of the original (even if it was unintentional!). The color and shape suit you well! And I agree, gathering brocade is no fun!

    • Thanks Jennifer! Next time I am going to try the corded gathering method recommended above by The Dreamstress.

  13. The color is fantastic! I’ve been dying to try one of these shiny brocade type fabrics for a while. Yours is beautiful!