Finished: Pattern Testing House of Pinheiro's Brasilia Dress

It may be quite easy to guess that my sewing mojo has been next to non-existent this year.  I eventually wondered if it would ever return.  Luckily, I just happened to check my blogroll the day Rachel sent out a call for pattern testers.  I positively loved her "Fall for Cotton" sateen version so, of course I jumped at the chance!

Scarf: J. Crew
Dress: me-made
Shoes: Corso Como
Jewelry: NY&Co, vintage

This dress is just the thing for sewer's block/mojo loss.  It's quick and relatively easy and the absolute perfect balance of a classic silhouette with modern style lines.  I love, love, LOVE the seaming on this dress!  Such a small detail really but, I think it makes a great impact.

Unique bust darts and my first use of piping - this dress begged for it!
(Ignore the slouch, of course)
For my version, I knew immediately I wanted to use a burgundy wool.  Technically, I originally sketched it as bouclé with frayed seam lines but, when I ventured to my local shops, there was no suitable bouclé to be found.  What I did find was a wonderful 100% wool flannel, which made for a sleeker look.

Of course, since I had selected a fabric with no stretch, and the pattern had been designed for fabrics such as stretch sateen, adjustments would need to be made.  I knew I owed it to Rachel, and myself, to really give this dress my all.  So, I started with a muslin sewn up straight from the original pattern (my waist and hip measurements actually match hers).  From there, I made a few narrow-back and sway-back adjustments, took up an inch in the bodice for my short waist, and let out the tiniest bit all around the hip to account for the lack of stretch.  Then, I actually whipped up another muslin (very rare for me), made a few very minor tweaks here and there, and then excitedly cut into the pretty wool.

Mind you, I made it three times (four if you count the lining of the final dress) but, I have to say sewing this dress was quite a breeze.  Rachel has such a great eye for detail and so drafted her inaugural pattern very well.  Everything fit together nicely (though, I would recommend tracing the stitching lines for the inset, just to be safe, particularly for slippery fabrics such as the Bemberg lining) and there's only a handful of seams, making this pattern one you can (and will definitely want to) whip up again and again!

There's so much you can do with a great basic like this, particularly with the fantastic inset detail.  Piping is a great start but you could also fray the seams, play with patterns or color blocking, mix textures, the list goes on really.  It would also make the perfect LBD!  Classic, of course, but with great style.  As for me, my next version is going to be a sharkskin wool with leather! sides.

             Brasilia Dress Back View     Brasilia Dress Bundled Up
Left:  Back view, which would be smoother if I stood up straight ;)  Right: How I bundled up between pictures...it was freezing!!

Seriously, when Rachel releases this lovely gift on Christmas Day, POUNCE!  I'm thoroughly convinced it's going to be universally flattering.  Despite some recent body-image issues, I found it impossible not to feel fantastic in this dress.  Besides, if it broke my rut, it's bound to work wonders for anyone else's enthusiasm. I guarantee you're going to adore this pattern.

Three cheers for Rachel!!!  Thanks so much, Hun, for allowing me to test this great pattern and giving me my mojo back! (Many happy dances ensued :)

Happy sewing! x

Project details
  • Pattern: Brasilia Dress by House of Pinheiro, $0
  • Year: To-be-released later this month!
  • Fabric: 1.75yds (used ~1.1) burgundy medium-weight wool flannel, Gail K Atlanta $21; 2yds biking red Bemberg Ambiance lining, Jo-Ann $10
  • Notions: 1.5yds burgundy braided piping, ~$3; 22" invisible zipper, $2, 2 spools Gutermann #450 thread (used 1), $1.80, lightweight grey interfacing from stash
  • Time to complete: ~1.5 weeks, including two muslins and full lining
  • First worn: for an afternoon of shopping with old friends (funny note: they wore jeans but, I felt so great in this dress, I opted to wear it anyway)
  • Wear again: already have, for photos at Colonial Williamsburg, and will again for Brandon's company party
  • Total cost: ~$38


  1. Just lovely! You look fantastic in this dress. Glad that your sewing mojo has come back. Can't wait to try this pattern myself.

  2. You look absolutely amazing... Love it in wool...thanks for been awesome tester

  3. Aww, thanks, Rachel!! I'm so glad I got to test it and I can't wait to see everyone else's amazing versions!

  4. Thanks, Catja! I'm certainly glad it's back too! Next up, a matching jacket (she'd be done already if a little thing like Thanksgiving vacation hadn't gotten in the way ;) I cannot wait to see how you make up this pattern!

  5. Gorgeous dress! I love this dress and I can't wait to try it out myself. Isn't it frustrating when you have a fabric choice in mind and then are unable to source it... happens to me all the time. Glad to see you sewing again. :)

  6. It looks very elegant. Glad you're back. Rachel is a very clever lady too.

  7. Gorgeous colour! The back fits you perfectly!
    ooooh and you're a fiancée now, congrats honey!

  8. It's gorgeous! And totally worth all those muslins to get it the way you wanted :) Looking great!

  9. Thank you!! I'm so glad to be back :) Rachel is very clever indeed!

  10. Thanks, thanks, and thanks, Neeno! :)

  11. Thank you, Melanie! :) I agree, totally worth the extra time - I may finally be swayed to do them more often.

  12. It is always amazing how a solid fabric brings the design of a pattern out. I also love the contrast of the scarf.


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