Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Scuba Gardening


Frogs in a Bucket brought you plain and solid; Sewcraftychemist brought you stripes: both versions are absolutely fabulous with very accurate seam matching and are stunningly finished and flattering dresses, so much so that I had to make this dress. I have a bit of a posh thing to go to in July and thought I’d try this…. not in solid, not in stripes………

I bring you flowers!


It’s not finished yet – need to hem and sort out the facing and maybe line the dress  but I’m feeling a wee bit guilty about not blogging and the sun was shinning.


Burda 04-2016-119 – shift dress with asymmetrical neckline with detailed seaming.

It’s not a shift dress – it’s a very fitted dress! But don’t you just love those back darts?

I traced a size 42 and then fitted to body along the sides, taking in where I had to. I didn’t put in a back zip  – pointless, as the scuba stretches. And the sway back adjustment was a piece of cake as there is a waist seam, so just make a curved seam at the back. I started with the usual 5/8″ at the side and graduated to 1.5″ at centre back, then out again to 5/8″. Added 3.5″ to length and 1″ to bodice at waistline.


Order of construction went like this:

  1. Sew front bodice and back bodice but leave centre back seam open. Sew together at shoulders, leaving side seams open too.
  2. Make facings, leaving centre back open and right side together, sew to bodice all the way around armholes and neckline. Trim and clip. Under stitch as far as possible.
  3. Pull the left back through the left shoulder seam and same for the right hand side.
  4. Press with a damp pressing cloth, 3 or 4 times.
  5. Sew centre back seam and facing all in one. Here’s a video to show you how.
  6. Sew front skirt and back skirt.
  7. Attach skirts to bodices.
  8. Put dress on and pin along both sides seams evenly to fit. Sew side seams and side seam on the facings in one go.
  9. Press, press, press
  10. Hem. (Yet to do)


The whole of the front of the dress is cut on single layer fabric and you need about 1.5m . I got 2m which meant I could position the pattern pieces over certain flowers and fussy cut. There’s no way I was even going to attempt to pattern match. I’m making a long relaxed very fine wool pink coat to wear over and wanted more pink and purple flowers at the front as the coat will be open. The fabulous fabric is from Fabworks – Pretty Kitsch! Notes about scuba….

  1. Scuba – a spongy fabric that will not take a precision press
  2. Scuba – does not wrinkle  so can roll up in a suitcase for travelling
  3. Scuba – stretches to fit the body, even after a very large lunch or dinner
  4. Scuba – irony! – make a body con dress for people who have body con issues
  5. Scuba – disguises lumps and bumps – don’t know how, just accept and embrace it.
  6. Super to sew with; easy, stretchy, doesn’t fray.


So, go sew this dress in geometric, animal, paisley, checks , colour blocks………


80 thoughts on “Scuba Gardening

  1. You look fabulous!

    How is the scuba to wear? Does it breath? I’ve been tempted but am worried about being sweaty in it, so haven’t taken the plunge.

  2. Looking gorgeous now I want to try this pattern. Very flattering lines.

  3. I love that you can still see the asymmetrical seaming even with the all over print. Looks super on you. Like the glass heeled slippers too 😉

  4. I wanted this pattern from when I saw Frogs in a Bucket’s version too. Then I wanted stripes now I want a floral one too!! That is some of the nicest scuba knit I’ve seen too. Really gorgeous.

  5. Wonderful! you look like summer has arrived. Thks for info on scuba – I’m so wary 🙂

  6. It is a thing of loveliness buddy! Can I have one? And please tell your blog readers what your posh event is!!! X

    • Tee there’s a publicity embargo until after the official event – I’m gagged! Thanks sweetie. Make you one? Your list is getter longer and longer……..

  7. Thank you for the scuba pep talk! I was going to let the scuba craze pass, but you convinced me. Nicely done on the terrific dress! It takes a fab cut like this to keep a flowery print looking modern and high end. And, yes, we need to know the story on those dynamite shoes.

  8. This looks gorgeous on you! I love the floral (that fabric is awesome) and I bet it is going to look beautiful with the pink coat!

  9. Wowsers, you look fantastic!

  10. I saw Sewcraftychemist’s blog today and loved the dress, I have a copy of the magazine, and your gorgeous dress has just confirmed my decision, this dress will go on my to-do list.

  11. Gorgeous, Ruth. You’ll stop traffic and cause fisticuffs among the posh gents. Objective accomplished I’d say. Well done, you.

  12. You had me at ‘Frogs in a bucket’! Great blog name. Your dress looks great, and I love the notes about scuba fabric. Priceless 😀

  13. You look fantastic! I think I’m going to give scuba a try this summer 🙂

  14. I’m so happy to see another version of this pattern which is up next in my sewing queue. Although I will be doing the stripes 🙂 Your version looks fantastic, so pretty and a great fit.

    • I read your post Beth (as I always do). I’m not convinced that me and stripes are happy bed-fellows but I’m more than pleased to see other peoples’ wonderful dresses. Please treat us with a perfect example – I might be convinced yet. Thank you very much.

  15. Stunning dress!! I am a very late starter when it comes to sewing and the first dress I made was scuba fabric. When I ordered it online I hadn’t the faintest idea what it was, but it made up really well and was very forgiving for a first attempt. I just love reading your blog which I find both entertaining and informative. Looking forward to seeing the coat that you are planning.

  16. … Never been convinced by Scuba – but your comment about it hiding the lumps and bumps is getting me thinking . Great dress by the way – will look fabulous with the pale pink coat.

    • I wasn’t convinced either Janice – do you remember or know the quilted polyester-type dressing gowns from 1970s that melted? I also associated scuba with that kind of fabric. It still does have that connotation for me but the wonderful prints that are available today disguise the bad history. Anyway – it’s fashionable! So it must be OK

  17. Wow, you look gorgeous in this dress!

  18. Stunning dress!! You look absolutely amazing.

  19. Lovely, beautiful, wear it with a wiggle. You look great!!!

  20. he fabric, the style and the way you wear it. I wish scuba was a tolerable fabric for my climate, but it is too hot here. you look wonderful.

    • Now I’m worried Susan – how hot is your climate?
      I have to spend at least 18 hours in this dress in a city environment. Do I need to rethink?
      Thank you for your compliments though; makes me feel good.

  21. Once again another fabulous dress. The pale green shoes look great with it- are they suede or nubuck.

  22. The flowers make this pattern shout summer! Great dress!

  23. Absolutely love this dress on you Ruth and the fabric choice is perfect.

  24. That’s a really fabulous dress on you. Should be posh enough for anything.

  25. Stunning.
    I’m a scuba convert too.

    • Thank you Elle, I relied upon your experiences for inspiration.
      Did you worry about flat seams?
      And coming from a hot and humid climate – does scuba matter?

      • I didn’t worry much about flat seams. They were fairly flat..
        I’m not sure how a garment made totally with scuba goes in the heat (give me another 6 months…).

  26. It is gorgeous but scuba ………. very sweaty I would think.

    • Thanks Christine, don’t know yet about being sweaty but I’ll certainly let you all know if it’s intolerable.
      I am also sewing a light-weight wool coat to cover up…….Mmmmm, might have got this combination wrong but with British weather, it just might be the perfect option!

  27. Now that is sassy …. It looks fantastic on you. I haven’t seen scuba yet and just now sure I like the feel, but as you say looks perfect for a body con dress where jersey might be less forgiving, x

    • Mags, it’s a very forgiving fabric (and we all like those) and has all the characteristics of jersey. I’m not totally convinced on the heat-melting, polyester-cheap, 1970-association that I came to loathe as a child – but then, it’s a new century and new fabrics – embrace!

  28. Looking absolutely fabulous Ruth. That is a gorgeous print and has made up into a lovely dress. I like scuba knit too.

  29. Gorgeous dress and you perfected the fit!

    • Thank you Danville – fit is easy when you pin on a real person! Sort of a cheat nowadays, but the haute couture houses in Paris did it all the time. Sewing doesn’t have to be difficult….

  30. Oh I love it! I like that length on you. Hmm I wonder what piping would look like on the insets. You make gorgeous clothes! Keep up the great work you are inspiring.

  31. Gorgeous! What a beautiful, cherry perfectly fitting dress. Just gorgeous. And Irregular Choice is ALWAYS fun. 🙂

  32. Very Hobbs – had you not mentioned the Scuba. Or they might get some ideas of you.
    Well done: this is one of your most successful makes IMO, in that it is flawless, it is lovely and suits you and … it looks expensive. It’s what I sew for!

  33. What an absolutely fabulous dress. Hope you stand out at your summer engagements. Abbey

  34. Hi again Ruth,

    Re reading this post as I am going to make this dress, but need to order the pattern online.

    Would you share some thoughts on the kind of lining fabric you would use with scuba; I assume it would need a suitable stretch lining? That kind of lining hasn’t been easy to find when I have looked in the past. I bet you know exactly where I can find some………………

    Enjoy your special event. I cannot wait to see the coat you are going to make. The completed outfit will be stunning.

  35. I had seen the turquoise stripe version from the Crafty Chemist and did think it was a lovely pattern, then thought about copying it, and then gave up. But you have shown it is not hard to alter the Burda pattern, which is encouraging. You have managed to get a very good fit indeed Ruth, and the shape is extremely flattering on you (can you tell I prefer fitted to voluminous looks – although I know they have a place)? I look forward to seeing the whole outfit. What a triumph.

  36. This is gorgeous!! I love the asymetric neckline, the style lines and the back darts. I also love the black and white stripey version beside the line drawing (even if it is making my eyes go a bit funny!).

  37. Inspiring, thank you!!

  38. Inspiring, thank you

  39. I haven’t tried scuba yet but I have seen so many lovely things made from it. Your flowers are beautiful!

  40. Omigawd, WOW. I totally LOVE this dress. You look absolutely gorgeous. I think I might just have to attempt one for myself now. Temptress!!!!

  41. Just stunning! You’ve forced me to add this pattern to my shopping list: you are an excellent advert/enabler for this design! =)

  42. Hi Ruth,

    Thought I would let your followers know that I have been chatting to the Burda Style U.K. people ( really helpful) as the link to the pattern didn’t want to work. They managed eventually to get the download from Burda, so for anyone in the U.K. it is on the site now if you want to download the pattern.

    Ruth, your fit is just perfect, so may I ask a technical question; did you cut the pieces on the bias or straight grain as there are two options.

    Must be a lovely pattern and on trend as my teenage daughter wants one!! Thanks so much for sharing this pattern.

  43. Oh, this is super! Love the lines and the flowers – such pretty colors. And what’s not to love about a fabric that disguises lumps and bumps!?

  44. Pingback: Special Days | corecouture

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