Hot air balloon dress (and some sea)


I’ve been crazy busy for the past month, working and working and working in the hopes I’ll be able to completely enjoy my seaside vacation. But I didn’t finish everything I meant to (had to work during the holiday a bit, but at least I had an office with the perfect view once in my life). The main reason for not finishing the work project is … I also wanted to finish at least on last summer sewing project before I left London for Croatia. I knew it will basically be autumn once I got back and I also wanted to have a photo-shoot with one of my makes in a very picturesque setting. Id say the sacrifice was worth it… Here is my hot air balloon dress on me on the gorgeous island Vis.

The dress is the Burda style Island Placket Dress (04/2014 #121).

I also planed on making an actual maxi version with a colourful fabric, but decided I prefer swimming to working in lovely dresses on holidays.


The fabric is some kind of chiffon and it’s the first fabric I bought after moving to London. As probably everyone in the world ever, I’m terrified of sewing chiffon, but in the end it wasn’t as horrible as I expected it to be. I have to redo the hem, I rushed it too much and I need a rolled hem foot (for some reason, I thought I have one, but I don’t.) I have a mild obsession with hot air balloons. But just with the way they look, I’d probably die of fear if I ever had to fly in one.

*why do I look like I only have one leg and am generally not very coordianted? Because I’m not. And I’m sooooo awkward at posing:)

I really love the pattern and I’m so sorry I didn’t buy the issue of Burda, because I’d love to make all of the other variations, but don’t have the instructions. I really like the front of the dress, but didn’t realise how bra unfriendly it’s going to be from the side. I might try something out next time I’m making it, becouse there’s difinitely going to be a next time, but not before next spring. It’s time for autumnal sewing now, but I don’t really have anything lined up?

Any projects for autumn you can’t wait to sew?


Sunday Market Swallow Dress

This dress was materializing in my mind for years. I love 50ish dresses, I love pastels and I love tattoos. Ever since I’ve realised the potential of my embroidery machine, I knew I wanted to make a top or something in the line, that would have two swallows positioned on each side of the top of my chest, kind of where a lot of girls have tattoos of birds. I really like how they look, but I don’t like the commitment that comes with getting a tattoo in such an obvious place.

I bought the swallow design from Urban threads in one of their sales, just because it’s so pretty. At the time I didn’t connect the design with my dream dress, after all it wasn’t obvious that I could separate the birds and put each one on one side of something. Than one day I decided I’ll sew the Elizabeth dress from the Burda Style Sewing Vintage Modern book as a kind of muslin, from cheap fabric, to see how well the size I think I am fits me, before I try any of the other patterns in the book that are based on the Elizabeth dress. (The concept of the book, If you don’t know it, is that you have a few basic patterns and then it shows you how to make a wide variety of other clothes based on those patterns). Than I found this pretty pink fabric and knew I wanted to actually wear the dress that would grow out of it, but I also knew I had to embellish it somehow. So I searched through my library and there it was… Eureka! 🙂


I just separated the two swallows into two different designs with PE design (the software came with the machine, that I bought second hand. I’ve had it for 4 years now and still don’t know how to use it properly) and changed the size a bit (one of the birds is a bit small now, but I don’t mind that). The positioning is not exact either, but I’m OK with that, too (as you can see, I’m far from a perfectionist;)).

The one thing I wanted to try out to make the pattern a bit more interesting, was to “spice up” the back a little. I really like cut-outs and I think trying a simple one on the back is a good start. My trusted Elsa (my tailor’s dummy) was a HUGE help, I couldn’t have done it without her. It’s was so easy with it though, I just pined the pattern to the back and could mark the desired position and shape of the cut-out exactly. I think the cut out is the most successful part of my experiment.


I also sewed my first lapped zipper into this dress – mainly because I’m too impatient and lazy. The local fabric store where I bought the fabric didn’t have either invisible or matching zippers, so I bought a contrast one. I had to hide it a bit and a lapped zipper seemed like a good idea. I think it was. 🙂 It turned out better than I expected it to, but again, far from perfect. 🙂 (I learned the basics of how to do it with help of the free class on zipper insertion techniques on Craftsy)


The sewing of the dress was a good exercise in positioning embroidery, cut-outs and trying out new zipper techniques. It also helped me to see that the fit needs a bit of improvement, but I’ll work on that on the next one.


I’m definitely going to wear it, I think it would be a shame not to. It seems like a dress one would wear to go strawberry hunting to the Sunday markets, doesn’t it? Hence, the name… 🙂


Ps: I do realise my one sided braid was not really the perfect hairdo to showcase this dress. But as you can see, I don’t particularly enjoy modeling, so I decided these pictures are good enough;)