Border Printed Elizabeth Dress

I’ve been busy working on some volunteer sewing for the upcoming International Convention in Seattle, which means I’ve been doing very little for myself. I finally managed to finish up the work that I volunteered for and found that I had some time to make a new dress for myself to wear to convention. I decided that this would be the perfect chance to use the pink and black border print fabric I picked up at SewExpo back in March with my sewing buddy (who is also attending the convention, so if she makes a dress from the fabric, too, we’ll be twinzies!)

Border print Elizabeth dress

I pored over my collection of patterns to look for a pattern that would give this fabric the love it deserves. Originally, I created a muslin for Simplicity 2886. It’s made for border prints and it’s got pockets: what more could I want out of a dress? Well, I’m glad I made a muslin, because when I tried it on, the waist was too high and with the looseness of the skirt, it wasn’t very attractive on me. So I nixed that.

I wasn’t happy with anything else in my collection, but then I remembered I had bought Burda’s Sewing Vintage Modern book a while ago (to make my Downtown Abbey party dress). Sure enough, there it was: the Elizabeth Gathered-Waist Dress. It’s a very feminine, 50’s inspired dress, and basic enough that it allows the print on the fabric to shine.

It took about a couple hours to make up a muslin for the bodice, and didn’t make any alterations to it (probably could have lowered the front darts a little bit, and maybe lowered the neckline a smidge). Earlier, I mentioned that I was concerned about how stiff the fabric was, but it washed up really nice in laundry. The pattern has a side seam zipper, so I didn’t add pockets to this. But I did add horsehair braid to the hem to give the skirt some body without needing to wear a crinoline.

Pattern Description

A 50’s style, tea length, sleeveless dress.

Pattern Sizing

For this, I sewed up Burda size 40.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Mostly. The neckline sat higher on me than the picture on the model in the book, but I should have altered that myself.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yep. There aren’t very many pieces to it (more pieces for facing than anything else), and the construction made sense.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like that it was very simple, yet elegant. It does haven’t a lot of parts, so it’s easy to alter it to suit your needs.

Fabric Used

A cotton border print.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

No, but I should have shortened the darts on the front and lowered the neckline a little bit, but it fits and looks lovely otherwise.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Sure! I’d probably make some alterations, try a different neckline or shorten the skirt.


Cute, vintage dress. Highly recommended!

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