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Ancient Dolmen dress

Added Jun 7, 2015

by cchristie

Northern Ireland...






I bought a box of fabric from a lady who was clearing out her mother’s dressmaking supplies.
The box had this lovely blue wool crepe fabric, with just enough to make this retro sheath dress.
As the fabric was almost ‘free’, I decided just to make up a straight size 38, with no alterations and let the bias stretch in the fabric compensate for any fit issues. Then, based on the result, I could modify for next time…. Having said that, I rarely alter much, except in skirt length. Sometimes I take a centimetre or so from the bodice length.
What an amazing result I got. This dress has a spectacular fit!
At first the pattern appears a little complex as there are 7 darts in the bodice. It turns out these darts are stitched for 2cm at the bodice centre front, so they are a bit like pleats, with a set in curve. The remainder of the dart is basted and pressed into place, before releasing the basting just as you don the dress. It still means they should be marked and the effort is truly worth it.
Astonishingly, this dress is not lined. Although it would make sewing it a little more complex, I think it would help the dress overall. I find wearing wool quite irritating next to my skin, so heaven knows when I will wear this dress, but given its shape, I might just make the effort!
This dress apparently first appeared in Burda in 1967. So, well done to the ladies of my mother’s generation for sporting such wonderfully stylish and curvaceous dresses.
For interest, the photos are taken at Ballykeel dolmen in Co Armagh, Northern Ireland. Dolmens are ancient tombs which a present in many places in the world from Korea, to Africa and Europe. Look out for one near you!

Material Notes

Wool crepe in a rich blue purple. High wool content.




Garment Type

16 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Francine_lacerda_large

    Aug 5, 2015, 09.32 PMby franlacerda

    This is amazing! Beautiful collar. Love the fit, colour, sewing work… Well done!

  • Ooobop_thatched_house_large

    Jun 17, 2015, 09.52 PMby janene

    This is such an incredible dress. Gorgeous colour. Looks amazing on you. Thanks for the heads up about that pattern. Difficult to see any detail in black but the blue highlights them perfectly :-)

  • Img_2860__large

    Jun 12, 2015, 10.54 AMby cris orange

    this is a really amazing dress with a very flattering pattern and it fits you perfect! you can attach a lining also on the finished dress – only by hand of course…

  • Burda_large

    Jun 12, 2015, 12.39 AMby izbott

    Very cool!

  • Sewing_machine_large

    Jun 9, 2015, 09.57 PMby bjr99

    Beautiful dress! Love the color!!

  • Missing

    Jun 9, 2015, 09.40 PMby KikiDelivery

    This is the perfect dress! Well done.

  • Rita_for_burdastyle_photo_large

    Jun 9, 2015, 03.18 AMby rita61

    Such a lovely dress, and you did an amazing job on this!! Neat photos and info!!! I know my mom used to wear a full ‘girdle’ to avoid the itching of wool and either a full or half slip; now my daughter wears a ‘body shaper’ if there is wool. I am lucky, it doesn’t bother me.

  • Olga_large

    Jun 8, 2015, 10.03 PMby RedBelka

    Gorgeous dress! Looks great!

  • El_large

    Jun 8, 2015, 12.22 PMby Ellen Hatteland

    This dress is just fabulous! and the color fits you so well!

  • Dscn1801-es_large

    Jun 8, 2015, 07.53 AMby libra-s

    You look stunning in this royal blue dress!! Great job on immaculate bodice!!

  • Jcc_large

    Jun 8, 2015, 06.29 AMby Joanne C.

    Very elegant. You look like a queen :)

  • 20170310_191639_large

    Jun 8, 2015, 05.24 AMby Mary Athey

    Gorgeous dress and what a Fab colour. I love this dress and have it in my to do pile. This fits you perfectly and looks lovely on you. Fab pictures of my lovely northern Ireland as well x

  • St_patty_90x90_large

    Jun 8, 2015, 05.22 AMby Mokara

    This is a fabulous dress, I love the color, the shape, everything. I feel the same way about wool, it’s a fantastic fabric but I always shy away from it because I know it will irritate me. Great info about the location as well, thank you.

  • 6ba2678a-3f46-42c8-a042-a734d2113bfe_large

    Jun 7, 2015, 09.46 PMby cchristie

    Thanks Oksana. I checked your version out whilst making this one and enjoyed your Christmas photos. Did you wear the dress much? For dancing? Hope you did.

  • _34_large

    Jun 7, 2015, 09.45 PMby liliv-1

    It’s so elegant and ladylike!! I think this is one of your best dresses! And I love it with the red shoes!

  • Sdc13661_large

    Jun 7, 2015, 09.43 PMby Oksana Starzhynska

    The dress is so nice and you sound so happy with the result, you surely find several occasions to wear it… It is worth wearing as well as making:-)

    2 Replies
    • 6ba2678a-3f46-42c8-a042-a734d2113bfe_large

      Jun 8, 2015, 07.40 AMby cchristie

      Thanks Oksana, I checked your version out while making this one and enjoyed your Christmas photos. Did you wear the dress much? For dancing? Hope you did.

    • Sdc13661_large

      Jun 8, 2015, 07.20 PMby Oksana Starzhynska

      When I made it last year I wore it during all the winter holdays season which is pretty long in Ukraine. But it deserves to wear more often. The only thing I don’t like – before washing you need to baste the drapes to keep the shape of the pleats …

    • This is a question
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