Recently, Tessuti Fabrics challenged sewing enthusiasts far and wide to sew with a fabric called Gridlock, which they sourced from a local designer. You could make anything your heart desires, though they suggested the fabric was “the perfect weight for dresses, pants, jackets and skirts.” Despite my best efforts to cheer from the sidelines, I kept seeing the two sides of the fabric used in the Burda Style Swing Dress bodice. It wouldn’t leave my head for weeks. So, I gave in, bought the fabric, and entered into the competition.
I’ll save you the suspense of wondering how I fared in the contest and let you know up front that I didn’t win. A really great coat did, as well as some awesome honorable mention dresses, tops, jackets, and skirts. Congrats to all!
I’m not sad in the least that I didn’t win. For me this contest was all about challenging myself with this fabric. I wanted to make a dress that was unique while taking advantage of the design lines I liked in the Swing Dress bodice pattern. Ultimately, I decided to alter the Swing Dress bodice into a v-neck, faux wrap style. Doing so was pretty easy. I simply cut the bodice pattern piece from the inner shoulder seam to about 2/3rds of the way up the edge of the middle section (see left below). I thought this would be a nice angle since continuing the line would make it end at the bottom corner of the side seam (see right below).
I then free-handed the ties that bring the white block from the front around to the back, and I took the skirt pattern from a some-fraction-of-a-circle-skirt pattern I had in my stash (the Linda would work well, too). The soft structure of the fabric reminded me of a Japanese cotton I’d used for this type of skirt in the past, so it seemed like a great match.
The construction design for the new pattern pieces was a bit tricky since I was making it up myself. I ended up lining the main bodice pieces with self fabric so that everything would stay in place and so that any gaping at the neck would show off the blue main fabric. What I hadn’t considered – until it was too late – was the fact that this choice meant there were four layers of fabric in the middle, overlapped section. It’s not bad, but once you add the fabric belt, everything starts feeling pretty thick around the waist. In the future, especially with a fabric like this that hides hand stitches so well, I think I’d just make a facing for the front neckline. The only other design detail I had to make up on my own was the belt. I decided to make it white on one side and blue on the other so that it would blend with the white at the sides and across the back and then twist to blue around the front.
I really like the way the seaming on the bodice. To make a nice V, I clipped into the seam allowance of the main bodice piece after stay stitching. Inside the bodice I trimmed and pinked the seams, and I also added a bit of the Tessuti ribbon they sent with the fabric. I like that there’s a little secret inside the dress tying it to the competition.
I finished the edges of much of the dress with my serger. I finished the armholes with bias binding, and I used a gray invisible zipper since that’s all I had in my stash.
I’m really happy with this dress. I wore it to dinner with friends this past weekend and was blown away by their compliments. I branched out into pattern manipulation in an effort to target a unique look for the sake of the contest. I’m proud that this dress is up on the Tessuti Gridlock Competition Pinterest Board with all of the wonderful garments made by other sewing enthusiasts around the world. Thanks, BurdaStyle, for yet another successful garment!
BurdaStyle member Amy (a.k.a. ahearta) lives in San Francisco and spends her days working as a scientist. She’s enthusiastic about sewing, and started her blog, Sew Well, to reflect on her efforts to sew well.