Fall for Cotton: The Brasilia Shift Dress

Challenge: Fall for Cotton. Vintage inspired sewing challenge where only cotton is allowed.

Inspiration for the challenge: I really wanted to do this 1960’s dress but was lacking motivation due earlier muslin issues. When I had the opportunity to attend some more drafting classes in Brazil, I took the opportunity to revisit it.  My teachers suggested that instead of the double diagonal fisheye darts I had originally intended, I should make them as pattern piece. Doohh!!! Keep it simple, girl. Especially as Claire will turn these into a free PDF. She is coming spend the day with me to plot ideas.

The name of this pattern is in homage of my hometown: Brasilia. The dress is very structural like the vision of Oscar Niemeyer’s for it’s architecture,1960 was the inauguration year which is so fitting for my inspiration image and finally, where I bought this scrummy cotton sateen.

I absolutely love how this turned out. The only issue is that the fabric doesn’t showcase the pattern design as well.

The bust darts are inwards meeting at the centre front and the waist shaping is made out of cut out piece.I feel that my initial idea of adding piping would make a better visual impact. Maybe the next one?

To my defence, beyond trying to keep a strong theme, Brazilian fabrics are so expensive. We are so spoiled here in the UK.

Let’s talk construction, shawl we. Invisible zippers make it a perfect closure. I don’t mind buttons however for body hugging outfits there is nothing better.

Instead of using facing (which I drafted) the dress was finished with a lovely floral bias. Honestly, sometimes I take ages to finish a project that is on “almost there’ because I don’t want to make a particular boring stage. This dress was on that limbo for a week. Anyone else feels the same about procrastinating on the mundane?

Thank you to my lovely friend Chris for taking this pictures on her back garden. What a perfect day it was. Sunny & crispy blue sky, just like Brasilia. Just a slightly chill in the air. Oh I love fall!
  • That’s a stunner. Love the way the geometric fabric works with the grain lines. And your first photo is particularly effective.

  • Wow this is gorgeous! Would love to see it made in a plain plain fabric to show off those great seam lines. Can’t wait for the pdf!

    • Cannot wait to share either… So much fun to give back to the sewing community

  • Wow this dress is fantastic! great post, love the shaping. would love to see how the dress would work in a plain cotton to show off all those darts and seams

  • Interesting pattern, I love fabric! It suits you well… it brings a little of a Brazilian sun here πŸ™‚

  • Omg! I absolutely love your dress! The fabric and lines, swoon! You look fabulous in it!

  • Great dress and I love those funky darts, I too would like to see the dress in a plain material, but I do like the material you’ve used, you can’t beat a great cotton sateen!
    I know what you mean by sewing boring bits, I do it all the time more so if I’ve self drafted a pattern.

  • The shaping and print are great in this dress. Cool colour choice too.

  • That is stunning on you. I LOVE the fabric. So cute. I have something similar but in red. I cant wait to see the line drawings of this dress. It looks so beautiful.

  • Gorgeous dress Rachel. I love the print. Pity the darts get lots…but now that you have the pattern you can certainly make another dress in a solid

  • Beautiful dress Rachel, the fit is just perfect! Love it!

  • Absolutely beautiful! The pattern does hide the darts and panelling a bit, but then that just adds extra interest closer up!

  • You look just gorgeous in this dress Rachel! That last pic is a framer for sure. Love the fabric too but think you are right if you want to emphasize the seam and dart details more probably best to use solid fabric with piping. Have fun wearing your new dress.

  • I think this is the dress I have been searching for all my life!! The simple yet defined silhouette is perfect. I find that often shift dresses are too shapeless for me but this one looks anything but shapeless.

    And you look fabulous! I love it! Oh, please make it a pattern!

  • This dress is lovely, such clever construction. I love the fabric, though it would be interesting to see it in a plain colour…the piping would make for an interesting look too, try it!

    Beautiful photos too.

  • Lou

    Thats absolutely gorgeous! I want the pattern too! Love the cutout waist pieces, would look great with piping.

  • Gorgeous dress-the style, the fabric are perfect.

  • This is just beautiful Rachel! I love the shape of the dress and the interesting pattern pieces…what a great idea from your drafting tutors!

  • Great darts! Looks like you took lots of care getting them right! Perfect!

  • Cute as! Love the hair swishing pics. This is such a great cut on you, gorgeous lady!

  • This is super lovely- I really like the piecing on the bodice!

  • Gorgeous dress – the fabric colour and the dress style look so good on you!

  • you amazing stunner of a woman. you look TREMENDOUS. those shots are gorgeous and the pattern lines are soooo interesting!! i think all sewists can spot them with their superpowers, busy print or no πŸ™‚

  • Fabulous to see this dress come to fruition. I am glad as it worked out so well, the fit is great. I agree you can’t see the detail until up close, but that just gives another great excuse to make another one in solid colour πŸ™‚

  • Fantastic details and the print does move in lots of directions with the different panels. Gorgeous!

  • This is soooo pretty! I really love the way that the pattern is broken up by the design lines, it’s subtle but really interesting. Can’t wait for the pattern!

  • Beautiful dress on a beautiful girl. Happy sewing.. [so happy you got the pattern adjusted..its perfect!]

  • Stunning dress. It is the perfect combination of style, fit and fabric.

  • Oh I want that fabric, great dress.

  • Love the dress, especially the bodice construction. One with piping would really show off the design, hope you have chance to do another!

  • You are just soooo clever! Well done on this ‘simply-stunning’ dress … J

  • You look amazing as does the dress! Very impressive and I love the darts and extra cutouts. Piping would be amazing too! ~Laurie

  • Wow, stunning! Love the darts and the shape of the dress, very nice.

  • Gorgeous as usual! xx

  • Beautiful fabric and the dress fits perfectly. I’m at the boring stage of a dress at the moment and can’t decide if I should just get on with it or possibly leave it to languish for a few weeks before I find the motivation to finish it, which should take 10 minutes! lol.

  • This is KILLER. I can’t even deal with it. Perfect dress!

  • I love this dress! fantastic job!

  • You look a million dollars ! The dress is incredible, what a fit and terrific fabric. And you look gorgeous, nice make πŸ™‚

  • Kim

    Gorgeous! Would love to see it in another version with piping, and can’t wait for the pdf, then I’m going to bump it up my to-sew-list!

  • O Rachel, this dress turned out so beautiful! It’s just gorgeous!

  • Absolutely love it! I love the bust darts and waist shaping on the pattern, so unusual and clever

  • WOW! You look stunning in this dress! I’m excited to see it sewn in a solid fabric so that I can examine those construction details a bit more. It looks like you incorporated some interesting and very flattering lines into this dress! Great job!

  • Now that I’ve had time to get in front of my computer an have a really good look at the pattern, rather than trying to squint at my phone, I really appreciate all the design features. I love the dress and would love the opportunity to sew one up. I love the stye.

  • What a Fantastic dressmaker you are!!! Really love the fabric. I too was sewing clothes and drawing my own patterns when I was younger. / Margareta in Sweden. Found you on Craftsy.

  • Gorgeous! The lines look very smart..looking hot as always πŸ˜‰

  • I love the lines on this dress. Fantastic work Rachel. Its been awhile sinced I stopped by and I can really see your growth as a designer.

  • I totally missed this when you posted. It looks awesome. I’m so excited for this pattern.

  • Anonymous

    Me and my four year old son just wanted to say what a beautiful dress you have created. My son keeps making me go back to your first photo because he says you look lovely. Can’t wait for the pattern

  • Hi, gorgeous dress – any news of when the patterns is ready for sale? Merry Christmas

  • The dress is stunning! I love it!