Death Star take two: Burda shirt dress

Now witness the firepower of this armed and fully operational shirt dress. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the quote because this is the second dress I have made out of Death Star fabric.
Burda 106-04-2011

Why is it Death Star fabric? Here it is close up. The design is meant to be glitter balls, but it looks like the Death Star to me. It’s a Liberty Tana lawn from the Liberty Rocks collection they did in 2011. I bought it to recreate a much-loved wrap dress, got the amount wrong, and ended up with a largish piece left over.

I came across the leftovers again while tearing the sewing room apart looking for a pattern I’d lost and got the idea to make a shirt dress out of them. There was just enough fabric for Burda 108-04-2011, which uses remarkably little yardage for a long-sleeved dress. Sadly the pattern is not available for download. However it’s a variant of this one, which doesn’t include the long sleeves but is otherwise the same base pattern with some added details.

One thing I very much like about this style is the centre back seam. It’s hard to spot the seamline on this fabric, but it gives the dress a nice bit of shape at the waist which I think is visible. There’s no waist seam.

Burda 106-04-2011

Anyway, as I was banging on about how misleading photos can be last week, I’d better say something about the wearability of this dress. It’s really very comfortable. The sleeves are the perfect length for me; I like them a bit on the long side. I can fit a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath for extra warmth (and I am doing so in the pictures; there’s some realism!) although the sleeves are definitely on the slim side. The skirt’s a very good length: not over-long but not so short I have to worry about sitting down. And the print nicely hides all the creases on the skirt from where I have sat down. I haven’t worn it to work yet, nor have I figured out what work-appropriate shoes might go with it. But so far so good.

That’s no wrap dress, it’s a space station

I finally finished my wrap dress. It is a copy of a Vivienne Westwood dress I had for many years and wore until it wasn’t fit to be seen. The style is no longer available so the only solution was to make my own version. It has a lovely asymmetric collar detail. The left collar extends into a flap which tucks though a buttonhole on the right collar. If you wear it tucked, as below, you get a keyhole effect.Deathstar dress
But it also works well worn open.

Deathstar dress

Here are some side views. Hopefully you can just about see that the front hem corners are curved and that there’s a wide line of top-stitching around the edges holding the facings firmly in place. Installing the facings was a bit of a nervous moment as they go the whole way round the dress, including the hem and the neckline. You sew the facings together in a loop and hope you were accurate with seam allowances and it’ll actually be the right length to fit onto the dress. I was very relieved when mine went on smoothly.Deathstar dress

Deathstar dress

The back of the dress is fairly plain by comparison.

Deathstar dress

If anyone’s wondering about the post title, the Liberty print this dress is made from resembles the Death Star when viewed close up.

Despite the science fiction inspiration, I think the final effect is more vintage than modern. I’m no fashion historian but it it feels a bit 1930s to me. The sort of thing you might wear to take tea with the vicar in Agatha Christie or PG Wodehouse. Not the kind of event I regularly have to dress for! But this will get plenty of wear for fixing computers and teaching maths.