Tuesday, 31 May 2016

darn cheap fabrics seasonal challenge - autumn 16 the submarine dress

its dcf challenge time and its another late season post.  its been unseasonably warm, actually awesomely lovely in sydney lately and i have found it hard to think about sewing for cooler weather, hence the delay with making up my challenge.

lara and i choose the fabric quite a while ago now.  i checked out the darn cheap fabrics website and selected a few fabrics in autumnal colours and sent them to lara. she chose a light weight poly (kind of crepe like) in a geometric print as her favourite, it was my favourite too so we were set for the autumn 16 challenge.

i was going to make the style arc olivia dress, but i got lazy and changed to the burda submarine dress 07/2015 #115, a pattern that i had previously printed out the pdf and taped together, but not made.

as kristy from lower your presser foot mentions in her review of this dress - its a pretty simple make.  essentially its a rectangle skirt that is gathered and attached to a loose fitting bodice, with an elastic waist and a wide neckline so there is no need for any closures.

i made a size 38 which most closely matched my bust measurement.  my waist and hip measurements are in excess of the size 38 but given the dress has an elastic waist and gathered skirt this is not a problem. i cut out the cap sleeves but i decided not to attach them in the end as i want to wear a skivvy under the dress and i decided i liked the sleeveless look when trying on the half finished dress. i also cut the back bodice on the fold instead of it having a back seam and stitched down the neck facing around an inch or so from the neck edge.


as finished, the dress is still quite blousey in the bodice at the waist (even though essentially i sized down at the waist) and very gathered in the skirt.  if i was to make this again i wouldn't make the skirt rectangle as wide as the instructions require.  

i, like kristy mentions in her review didn't care for the way the instructions direct you to attach the elastic to the waist seam.  instead i made the seam allowance wider and made a casing to insert the elastic through. i made a 1 and a 1/4 seam allowance but given the amount of gathering this creates quite a bit of bulk which you can see below.  a wide belt covers any bulk but to me wearing it it feels a bit bulky.  i didn't trim the bodice seam allowance when making the casing, i would do this if i made the dress again to assist with reducing the bulk, in combination with reducing the width of the skirt.

one thing i am a bit bummed about is the fabric had quite a few faults that i did not notice until cutting the last piece - one of the skirt rectangles.  i managed to cut the rectangle with just one of the faults included as i didn't have enough fabric left to cut a fault free rectangle.  you can see the fault in the photo below, it looks worse in real life, so i made it the back skirt piece so at least i don't need to look at at.  i suppose its a good lesson about checking over your fabric if you buy it on line.

overall i am pretty happy with this make, i think it will get lots of wear to work over winter paired with a skivvy and a jacket.  however i think its unlikely i will make another.  i think i would just prefer to make a few more darts in the bodice and go for a proper fit and flair dress as this one was little fiddly with the elastic waist and i prefer the more fitted bodice look.  i might be swayed though as i wore the dress to work today and i received some lovely comments about it.

as always i am really looking forward to seeing what lara has made - i have no idea or any clues as to what it is this time.

finally, does anyone have any idea as to why burda would call this submarine dress?? let me know in the comments section!

til next time,


  1. Emma, I love it! Such a great print (a bummer about that fault!) and you will get loads of wear from the dress. Always a pleasure to DCF Challenge with you!

  2. I adore both of your makes this challenge. You both showcased the glorious print perfectly. And as to the name of this pattern... no idea!

  3. Looks great Emma and I wouldn't be too worried about the fault in the fabric...I had to stare at the photo for ages before I spotted it.

  4. Love the fabric and the pattern you've chosen to go with it. Looks great with a skivvy.
    As for why Burda would call this a "submarine"dress - heaven only knows! Burda in one of its often enigmatic moments.

  5. Ha I remember pinning this pattern from that issue and wondering the same thing about the name! Looks completely different to their version - fabulous ;o)

  6. Love this dress, the fabric is perfect for it even with the minor fault. I like the way you did the waistband much better than Burda directs, but I can see how there is still a bit of bulk.

  7. Great print and looks cool the way you've styled it.

  8. What a lovely print and your dress looks lovely! Like you though I'm also realising I prefer a more fitted bodice, which I'd like to do for some winter dresses this year. I love this challenge you have with Lara!