‘Better-with-a-bow’ dress (Simplicity 1609)


My lack of activity in the blog-o-sphere really has been haunting me, I wont lie!

I recently started a new job. Don’t think it’s right to discuss work on a blog but I will say that I am really excited and I hope I can do a good job :)!
Yesterday I got in lots of sewing time in (housework be dammed) and today I made the final touches to this dress.
All my recent sewing projects seem to leave me with mixed feelings. I don’t know if that’s because my sewing is getting better (so I have higher standards) or because I pick the wrong things to make. Anyway here’s the new 60s dress (yes it’s another shift dress 😉 )

I didn’t get great pictures of me in the dress. I didn’t feel so fab, I had minimal make up on and then other things that I had to do came up. I guess I could always post better pictures later… (ugh ‘later’ seems to be my motto these days!)


Sewing nitty gritty: 

I am not really stoked about the fit of this dress. I think I could have gone up a size or made the side seam allowances smaller.

For anyone else who is considering making a dress up in the same pattern I would probably recommend going up a size if you don’t want a super tight fit. I have heard that vintage patterns are generally a smaller fit and this one has lots of darts and shaping.

Recently I have gone up half a dress size, I’m happy about it, but it does make deciding what size to cut more complicated (I’m sure others can relate). A lot of people move between sizes at different stages, but you want to pick a size that will work over time, so yea perhaps it’s better I go for a slightly looser fit next time!

The tricky thing about this faux cotton eyelet fabric is the ‘crease factor’. I am not really against a bit of creasing and I went to the trouble of underling the dress with a lightweight cotton which preserves modesty and makes the dress way more fancy! I really do love the effect underling has on a dress! It makes the dress fabric behave and it makes the dress feel much more substantial.

I really recommend underling. If you want to try it, or just want to learn more Julia Bobbin has a great tutorial/info !

I do wonder if the yellow cotton material was the right choice for this style of dress!  Despite the underling, it does pull and crease slightly (which is to be expected) but perhaps the fabric would have served me better as a top or a fuller pleated skirt. Doing something so fitted in a lightweight cotton may have been a bit silly.

The bow was fun and not difficult to make. I feel like adding bows to all my projects now. Mmmm I’m a big fan of the bow 🙂 (though I don’t enjoy the hand sewing on it).

I had those eyelet stripes going across the dress, which meant that I wanted them to match the fabric on both sides of the zip. I found a neat way of basting the other (yet-to-be-attached) side of the zip (keeping the regular sewing foot on and just moving the needle), before sewing the other side of the zip on….Guess that it’s too hard to explain without a tutorial.

That’s probably enough about the dress. Hope you like it!

I made a muslin using a different burda shift dress and it’s got me pretty excited excited about! It’s a looser fit shift dress, totally basic design and it’s bra-friendly. so I’m sure I will make a lot of dresses soon in crazy bold patterns!


  1. Mette said:

    The new creations is. So nice, and the bow I great, it look like a happy dress, if you can say that top mark

  2. erin said:

    That bow is the cutest! The dress fits perfectly like a glove, and I think it’s meant to fit like that. I think clothes like this makes one sit up straighter and hold oneself more elegantly. Maybe we wear clothes with more ease these days, so we are not used to the close fit of vintage styles. I for one, cannot live without my swingy tops and elastic waist bottoms 🙂
    I am now contemplating sewing a blouse in cotton and I’m also thinking about the crease factor. And the drape or lack of it. I want to sew it this weekend, but I haven’t found a pattern yet! Indecisive me.
    Love the photo of the inside of the dress, it’s so neat to see the construction details!
    And congrats on your new job!

    • Thanks Erin! That is a good point! Its amazing how clothing can have such an impact on posture, behaviour and self image! Ah the crease. I am not a fan of ironing but I always seem to sew with cotton. I hope you find a good pattern. It’s nice to switch things up and work with different fabrics. I do love my comfy knits too 🙂 x

  3. Super cute dress. Love the bow – it just seems to add a certain level of sophistication to your ensemble!

    • Thanks so much Caroline. It really was fun to make, so glad you like it!!

  4. This looks so nice on you! Yellow is a great color for you! Sometimes it’s so hard to tell if the fabric is right until you’ve already stitched the thing up, but underlining will go such a long way towards making this dress work. Really nice job!

    • Thank you! That is so true! I also find it’s really hard to predict what projects are going to end up being the ones that get worn a lot and become favorites. I am so glad you like the yellow on me, I am going to keep my eye out for more yellow fabric from this point on (i have trouble knowing what suits me, but I’m getting a bit better). Thanks again Gal! x

  5. Laura said:

    I think this looks really cute on you. The sizing on the pattern is on the small side – mine are a bit of a squeeze if a big meal is involved! I think it’s nice to have a selection of different shapes in your wardrobe though, so a tighter dress or two is ok 🙂

    It’s tough finding time to sew when you’re working, isn’t it? I’m in between jobs at the moment, and it’s looking like I’ve got a free month before starting at the new place, so I’m hoping to spend some quality time with my abandoned sewing machine!

    • That’s true! it’s good to mix it up in the wardrobe- no point in having only fitted garemnts or only loose garments. Variety is good!

      Oh that’s great! Hope you get a lot of fun sewing time in 🙂 !!

  6. Heather said:

    It’s really pretty! I am having the same issues lately and I think it’s a combination of things. I’m getting a bit better so I’m more picky about technique and fit, but also I am getting better so I am attempting more difficult patterns.
    Good luck with the new job!

    • Yay! It’s funny how that happens as you advance/ get more skilled. It’s fun to look back at really early projects too and think about how far we have come :).

      Thank you! 😀

  7. The bow works. This dress would look lovely sans bow in a rich hue of shantung silk for those special evenings out. A contrasting short kimono jacket or Pashmina wrap would go very well.

    • Thank you! Never thought of using the pattern for an evening dress! I pretty much only need to wear an evening dress once every 7 years (I live a casual low key life) but cool idea 🙂

      • Well, that’s perfect then, because you don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that you won’t use very often. A short dress takes the least fabric so you can splurge on something luxurious. Have fun!

      • Haha true. Thanks

  8. It is a small pattern! I made it and was really surprised, because I usually find myself swimming in folds of extra fabric! I ended up having to let out the hip/butt area seams since it was a bit indecent! Anywho…your dress looks absolutely smashing and I WANT TO HAVE AN AFFAIR with that eyelet!!! So pretty! Bow—so perfect for frolicking around!!! Keep on keeping on, girl! I love your creations.

    • Glad I’m not the only one who had that experience. Haha tell me about it! Usually an 8 in the big 4 is much bigger and then Burda sizes are different again! Can we ever win? I know to make a muslin for most things these days. I am so glad you like it hun! Thanks for the kind words! X

  9. Congrats on your new job! This dress is so cute and so pretty. You did such a nice job and the bow really makes it special.

    • Yay! Thanks so much! So glad you like the bow 🙂

  10. “Later” is my favorite motto. If your blog is any indication, you clearly get enough done. I’ve had this shift dress in my stash since it came out and bought it for the bow option. I love it with that beautiful yellow eyelet. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Haha thanks! Hope you get a chance to make it and don’t worry I also have a stash of ‘must make’ patterns 🙂 I even have unfinished ufo s tucked away or projects that I cut out a year ago and lost interest in haha. Aw thanks for visiting 🙂 so glad you like it!

  11. Jeanette said:

    It’s beautiful. Love the colour, fabric and especially the bow. Just trying to figure out why there’s a centre front seam tho?

    • Thank you! The pattern had a centre seam. I’ve also noticed a lot of patterns in the 60s had a centre seam. I didn’t remove it because there may have been some shaping there, though I can’t remember now haha

  12. Soooo cuuuteeee! I love the bow and the fabric you have used. These dresses suit you so well. I think it looks great!

    • Thanks so much hun! You are the biggest sweetheart! 🙂

  13. Kathryn said:

    This is lovely & the fit looks great in the photos. I love the yellow fabric – it really suits you too!

    • Thanks so much Kathryn. I’m so glad you dig the yellow fabric 🙂 I think I better make more things in yellow 😉 xo

  14. Ines said:

    I love it! This dress is perfect!

  15. I actually preferred the collar version of this dress but your bow is so cute you have made me think about making this version! I think it fits you perfectly, and the fabric is beautiful (even if it was/is a pain). And the pattern matches perfectly… Ahh great dress!! 🙂

    • Wow. Thanks so much Beth. I do love collars a lot too 😀 You totally made my day. So glad you like it!

  16. cute!! compared to vintage patterns how did you find this one? most of these remake patterns are sized for modern bodies, like the rest of the simplicity patterns (which is nice that i can sew a 12 in these sorts of patterns. I normally sew a vintage 14) Either way, i think it looks really good on you! yellow is such a happy colour!

    • I don’t really get the chance to use a lot of real vintage patterns. I only have once (mostly because shipping on those beauties is so expensive). Thanks Catherine and congrats on your burdastyle best blog nomination. I have voted for you 😉 hope you win! I always look forward to your posts!

      • Catherine said:

        Aww thank you for the vote! I see that Gertie and Tilly are my competition! So we’ll see how that goes!

      • 🙂 well you are my favourite by a long shot! (not that I don’t love their blogs as well)

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