A few months ago, Lillestoff sent me some absolutely gorgeous cotton print. It’s soft and striking and I completely fell in love. But I just could not find the right pattern to go with it. I started to cut out a few, got as far as laying out the pattern on the fabric, but nothing felt right. And so, the fabric sat in my sewing room, petted and admired often, but unsewn; until I stumbled across this Burda dirndl-inspired dress while looking for lederhosen patterns for my seven year old. I purchased it, printed it, and had the fabric cut out within hours. It was one of those drop-everything-because-this-is-meant-to-be sews.
Figures that a German pattern highlights this gorgeous German fabric so perfectly.
Lillestoff recently launched its US website, www.lillestoff.com . The listings are in English and the pricing in dollars. This is fantastic if you are a Lillestoff fan like me, especially since the US dollar is so weak compared to the Euro the last few years. Being able to shop without dealing with the exchange rate saves both money and headache. If you aren’t already a Lillestoff fan, you should be. They are the best-quality fabrics, mostly knits, but they have a fun selection of wovens, as well. And the website has a women’s section, with more sophisticated prints, like this Lightflowers Mirror.
I first fell in love with Lillestoff because of their vibrant, top-quality knits. Their wovens are just the same. The drape is soft, but not flimsy. The colors are saturated and crisp. They would make amazing bags and quilts, and, if I do say so myself, do make incredible women’s wear.
The Burda pattern, a cap-sleeve dress, had some great opportunities to show off the repeating pattern in the print. I paid very close attention to detail when lining up my pattern pieces, to match the patterns as much as possible. Where I couldn’t get patterns to line up at butting seams, like the sleeves, and front and back side panels, I cut each piece so its opposite side counterpart would be an exact mirror image. It ate up a lot of fabric, fussy cutting like that, but I think it was worth it.
At all other seams, I matched that pattern as closely as I possibly could manage. The result was a fun kaleidoscope effect in some areas, like the back center seam. This fabric was just too gorgeous not to pay such close attention to detail.
I added that center box pleat at the neck. The finished bodice gapped quite a bit on me, giving me some impressive Bavarian cleavage, but leaving me feeling very exposed, so I pulled it in. I also changed the cap-sleeves just a bit to bring them all around the arm-sythe instead of being open at the underarm.
I have had more compliments on this dress than just about anything I’ve ever sewn. Ever. The pattern is flattering, and the fabric is so striking and just perfect. Thank you, Lillestoff! Ich liebe dich!