Hot! The “Against all odds” Dress


This dress was finished on Sunday night, perfectly on time for the trend challenge. However, I didn’t get any pics taken until today (Saturday). It was terribly cold and rainy all week and there was no way I’d slip on this dress for even just 10 minutes to go out into one of our side streets and have my picture taken. I am very sensitive towards cold weather and I didn’t want to risk catching a cold. On Thursday I started writing this post and thought I’d just take indoor photos again…but then I got so much work in that not even this was possible. Finally, we’ve had absolutely wonderful weather today and I was able to wear the new dress when we went to a sandpit in one of our forests. BUT: the battery gave up soon after we arrived there, hubby chopped off a part of my head on most pics and several other pics turned out very blurry (it’s an automatic camera – I don’t know how he does it…) Nonetheless, I finally have some pictures to show you. Yay!

About the dress…oh my god, this dress…before I wore it today I thought I’d use the left over fabric to make a blouse because I thought that one maxi dress like this is more than enough, particularly because I thought I’d feel overdressed in it because the silk is so shiny. But now that I have worn it I think I just can’t waste the other 4 yards on a blouse but I’ll have to make another maxi dress. I LOVE THIS DRESS. It is so light, one could almost think one’s walking around naked but in a very stylish, not embarrassing way. At the same time, it protects from the sun quite well because it’s so long, has elbow-length sleeves and the neckline isn’t too low cut either. It’s the perfect dress for a really hot and sunny day and I honestly don’t care anymore whether I look overdressed or not – it’s so comfortable that I want to have more than just one dress like this.

I am not a very trendy person. In fact, I hardly ever know what’s on trend because I just do it my own way anyway. It happened a few times that I like something one or two years before it turned into a trend. But I am sure this didn’t happen because I set the trend but because I stuck to the non-trend long enough until it eventually became a trend….Paisley is one of the current trends that I have loved all those years. I have at least 5 different paisley fabrics in my stash and the one that I used was this dress is actually one of my most prized possessions.


I ordered this from the US more than 4 years ago and when paisley was probably not fashionable at all. Maybe that’s the reason that I got it for $4.95 per yard. The store said it was designer silk by Anna Sui – not sure whether this means she designed it or it was produced for her but I would have bought it even if her name hadn’t been attached to this silk. (Although I have a soft spot for her style because I like retro and ethnic clothes.) I think I bought about 8 or 10 yards of this silk – I just got so greedy and thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a lot of this pretty fabric and now I am soooo glad I got enough for two maxi dresses.

Ever since I got back into sewing I have been meaning to make something out of this fabric but it turned out to be quite difficult because the fabric calls for a very simple pattern so that the beautiful paisley pattern doesn’t have to compete with an intricate sewing pattern. When McCall published this Fashion Star patterns in April and made such a big hoopla about it I was full of contempt and was sure I would never buy it.

Never say never. After a while I realised that this would actually be THE pattern that would work well with my VIP paisley fabric and I ended up buying the pattern when they had a 1.99 Dolla sale. Don’t spend more than $1.99 on this pattern – it’s not worth it. It is actually something I could have easily drafted myself – two big squares for the skirt and three big pieces for the top part (sleeves included). And since I heavily modified the pattern I actually had only 3 pieces. I didn’t want to have a neckline down to my belly button and a boatneck is much more flattering for me anyway so I ended up having just one piece for the top. Once I had sewn all the pieces together and looked into the mirror I almost cried because the whole thing looked like a very expensive potato sack. My husband looked quite horrified as well (too scared polite to say something about my dress though) and Josh looked at me and said: “Why are you wearing this? This is not pretty.” Ah, I think my son is going to be a fashion designer – he really has an eye for what looks good and what doesn’t…according to the instructions one is supposed to put a drawstring right under the bust – this doesn’t work for me though. Empire lines make me look pregnant unless it’s an Empire line where the entire waist part is fitted so that’s what I did. I made a sash and sewed it one in the front and on the side – it can be tied in the back. It really improved the dress and even Josh didn’t complain today that I was wearing it…


The facts

⁃ Pattern: McCall’s M6552 Fashion Star, $1.99

-Fabric: 4 yards of Anna Sui silk fabric from stash. Was 4.95 Dollar/yard when I bought it.
-Year: pattern from 2012, fabric from 2008
⁃ Notions: purchased bias tape 1.50 EUR to interface the neckline
⁃ Time to complete: As usual, I have no idea. Since I modified the pattern and tinkered around with the final dress, it was probably about 6 hours although this is a very simple style.
⁃ First worn: On June 30 to have a fun day in the sandpit in Grunewald forest in Berlin.
⁃ Wear again? – Yes. definitely. I looooove this dress.
⁃ Total price: about $23


One of the rare moments when there weren’t two incredibly heavy toddlers in the cart…


And as a Berlin bonus: These are pictures of the sandpit where we went today. We didn’t take these pics today (battery died before we even got there) but a few weeks ago when the weather wasn’t quite as sunny. Just thought you might be interested what the area looks looks like. It’s a great place for kids. There’s even a small lake with a sand beach there where the Josh and his friend played today.



Djamila is a German translator living in Berlin, Germany. She is married to an American and has a 4-year-old son who never sleeps. She used to sew A LOT before her son was born. After 4 years of wearing practical sandbox-clothes she finally wants to get her original fashion style back and sew a lot more again.


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  1. I like your version of the dress way better and I’m glad you will wear it even if you feel it’s very dressed up. I am a firm believer in wearing as many of your pretty things as you can. Paisley is one of those prints that I am always drawn to but never use. Your dress is so pretty maybe I should give it a try.

  2. Beautiful fabric, and great alteration of the pattern to suit what works on you. I share your feeling that we should like what we like and ignore the trends!

  3. Very pretty fabric and your maxi looks lovely on you. Good you have more of this fabric since it makes you so happy. I love your photos this week. It must be very nice outside when it’s not so cold.

    • Thanks, Barbara. Unfortunately, it’s been rainy ever since we took these pictures and I haven’t worn this dress again. Today was the first sunny day for about two weeks but it wasn’t warm enough. Don’t know what’s wrong with out summer…

  4. The boatneck looks wonderful. Why do people design those crazy low v-necks anyway? Real people don’t typically wear them. You picked a great pairing of pattern and fabric (it took me a while to realize that busy patterns needed solid color fabrics). You’ve made a beautiful piece there.

    • Thanks, Erin. I agree – no one really wears such v-necks…unless one wears a cami underneath…but when it’s really hot out there I don’t want to wear layers. I am glad to went for the boatneck right away and didn’t even try the original version.

  5. Hi Djamila, I love your paisley, so beautiful and they dress looks great with the alteration. The sand pits are way cool, what a great place to hang out for the day.