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Springtime is in full bloom here in Manhattan and I’m quite excited about building my summer wardrobe. Many of the patterns featured in this article will be part of my new wardrobe— will they be a part of yours too?

Here we go:

Jersey Dress: Jersey dresses are all the rave this Spring/Summer. Not only are they easy to slip into (no closures— yay!) they are super comfortable. Try cutting this pattern from a buttery eco-fiber like Tencel, or a luxurious silk knit.

Caftan: You’re ready for the beach or a sail if you have a flowing sheer caftan. I recommend cutting it from a printed silk chiffon or even cotton voile for a lightweight summer feel.

Elastic Waist Dress: This style dress should be a go-to pattern for the sewing novice. Not only is it easy to sew, but the fit is easy too. The elastic band at the waist allows for a body skimming silhouette that is hard to mess up! You can cut this pattern from virtually any soft cotton jersey or blend. For a challenge, try to further embellish this simple dress with buttons, facings or a fun trim.

Shift Dress with Pockets: A simple shift dress is a sewer’s best friend. Again we have another blank canvas full of room for your personal interpretation. The easy fit and utilitarian pockets make this dress a contender for an office-friendly ensemble you can also wear out at night. The closure at the back neck lends a sexy surprise— wear this with your hair up in a messy braid.

Trapeze Dress: A trapeze dress is no-fuss and chic at the same time. You can stay basic and cut this from a neutral color palate, or go bold in a print or neon solid. Play around with the length and try a maxi dress from this pattern too.

Bustier Dress: I love the top of this dress but not so much the bottom. To make this pattern more approachable I’d cut the top from a one-way stretch fabric and make the skirt flare out (like the black bustier dress pictured bottom right). I would also make a romper from this pattern, like the black + white printed romper above.

Smock Dress: This raglan sleeve smock dress can be made masculine or feminine depending on your fabric choices. Cut from plaid you have a menswear inspired dress, but cut from a pastel or floral print you’ve got a lady like smock dress.

Zip Front Dress: This pattern is somewhat double-breasted in the front which leaves room for an interesting front opening which could be fun to play around with. I’d try this pattern out in a one-way stretch fabric and make it body-hugging, and then try it in a parachute-like material, like washed silk or rayon.

Photos: Style.com, Shopbop.com


  • Missing

    May 19, 2011, 05.27 PMby Tokie Ang

    does anyone knows how to make bridal dress? please share the tips and trick^^ i wanna make one for myself..thank you^^

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    May 18, 2011, 09.36 PMby CoraBelle23

    Might have to do the shift dress w/ pockets. I heart me some pockets!

  • Missing

    May 18, 2011, 02.37 PMby abcameo

    For casual wear, I like the ruffle down both sides of the dress photo—but there’s no pattern to match it. I also like the pale pink/peachy flowing tank top dress with bridal-style buttons all down the front. The pattern would have to have some adjustments to make this happen.

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    May 18, 2011, 12.10 PMby freaky-philomeen

    thanks thanks! I’ve got the feeling that often my imagination is not flowing while looking at patterns which then appear boring to me.

    You always manage to colour and drape and adjust-in-head until those patterns turn into really exciting projects.

    …the trapez dress in funky floor length, now if that doesn’t sound like an all seasons project.

  • Missing

    May 18, 2011, 01.54 AMby allimar


    Would you please do some interpretations of these patterns for autumn/winter for those of us on the other side of the planet? For example, I think the zip detail dress would be awesome as a winter dress with tights but I have no idea what types of fabric to go for so it would also be warm (at least a bit…). I know a lot of Aussies and New Zealanders are members of Burdastyle and would appreciate this…

    5 Replies
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      May 18, 2011, 04.24 AMby Eleanor Thomas

      I second this request!

    • Gres_headress_1957_large

      May 18, 2011, 09.21 AMby tasallison

    • Ctlineblk_large

      May 18, 2011, 09.33 PMby CoraBelle23

      Lightweight wool or cashmere blend would give it weight you would need. Wool flannel would work too. Try it with a plaid or a pinstripe. Cut on a bias to give it more flow. It will move it into early spring. :)

    • Dahlnyc_1352392376_600_large

      May 23, 2011, 04.32 PMby alisondahl

      Hi guys! I hear you on that request and will definitely keep that in mind when creating these posts. I’ve been dying for Spring to arrive with warmer weather in our hemisphere so I did forget you guys are approaching winter :)

    • Missing

      May 27, 2011, 08.04 AMby mez53

      Hi, I’m from Melbourne, Australia and yea we are freezing at the moment so I suggest that you could use a ponti de roma (a knitted blend fabric with a good handle seen some at Stoplight) in plain and printed. Worn with black tights and knee lenght boots. Hope this helps.

  • Clayje_large

    May 18, 2011, 01.46 AMby Jane Smith

    Am I the only one who thinks both the patterns and the designer inspirations are pretty fugly? What happened to fashion while I wasn’t looking?

    1 Reply
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      May 20, 2011, 03.07 AMby tobogon

      What a self-important, rude remark. I wonder why you thought that was worth posting. Didn’t your mum teach you that if you couldn’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?

  • Missing

    May 17, 2011, 10.57 PMby GoldenOrlando

    The style lines do not match the photos. What is the point?

    3 Replies
    • Missing

      May 18, 2011, 12.15 AMby hainzpia

      I agree absolute with you.. The bought-dresses are really stylish and beautiful. In contrast the patterns are very simple. Why show photos of such lovely dresses and patterns that doesn`t match?

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      May 18, 2011, 12.21 AMby madebymeg

      I see your point that it can be a bit confusing, but this is often how I work: get inspiration from an intricate dress, then find a pattern that resembles it and make it work. I think this article does a good job of showing you all the different possibilities you can get from one pattern.

    • Checkmate__2__large

      May 18, 2011, 01.44 AMby sewenggirl88

      I agree with GoldenOrlando. While some of the pattern styles match up nicely with the ready to wear inspiration, alot of them just don’t look anything like the pattern drawing and don’t even look like you could manipulate the pattern to get it that way very easily.

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    May 17, 2011, 08.22 PMby Emeraldstar

    i NEED those shift dresses! like right now, i need those things! gonna run to my local fabric store and go get some cute jersey knits.

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    May 17, 2011, 06.26 PMby gamchugh

    I love love love the tribal inspired bustier dress. In fact, I’m currently making a dress based off the anthropologie dress that’s pictured!

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    May 17, 2011, 05.52 PMby FabricUiPhoneApp

    Love so many of these…and the caftan seems like a great place to start Summer. Yes, with a capital S. I think it would be just dreamy in a lightweight sheer silk. You’d really would need to master the rolled hemm…no serged rolled hem…I think it’s too heavy for this look. And caftan like this would be so easy to pack. Just it roll it up and you’re done.

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    May 17, 2011, 04.46 PMby Kira Fred

    I love all of these!

    • This is a question
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