MBM - Maria Denmark Edith Dress

Let's kick off the blog for 2014 with a happy sewing experience, shall we?

The pattern

Maria Denmark Edith

So why this one?

I had this fabric lined up first in the queue to make into a shirtdress, but was prevaricating over the pattern. I wasn't sold on any particular one. Then some idle blog surfing brought this pattern to my attention, and my mind was made up in minutes. It's a classic design. Would look good in a variety of fabrics. You can dress it up or dress it down.  It has darts, but lacks a waist seam, which I've decided is not my ideal.


Cotton lawn (I think) I bought at the Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City.

Fit notes

This was my first Maria Denmark pattern, so this was a bit of unknown territory fit-wise.
  • I cut the pattern according to my high bust measurement, and did a 2cm FBA, but could have done a little more.
  • I dropped the side bust dart about 3cm, and shortened the top of the front contour dart. I also moved the front contour dart about 2cm closer to centre front.
  • The back contour darts stayed exactly where they were. I did a 2cm swayback adjustment, then cut two back pieces, to give me a centre back seam.
  • There are shoulder darts in this pattern. When I basted this pattern together, the back piece ended up a lot shorter than the front piece, but there is no mention of easing the front piece to the back, so I just didn't bother with the shoulder darts, and it didn't seem to make any difference to the fit.
  • The armhole was cut high for me. I scooped out 2cm from under the armhole.
  • I lengthened my standard 5cm to bring the skirt to my knee.
Construction changes

The only thing I did differently was to bind the armhole edges. The pattern asks you to turn and stitch, clipping into the seam allowance to allow you to turn the curve.

Design changes


New-to-me aspects of this pattern

This is the first time I have made a kimono/cut-on sleeve, and I was a bit perplexed about the folds that started from mid shoulder, ending at the armpit. I asked for some guidance on the blog and Valerie gave me some ideas as to deal with this. Her suggestions were very helpful, and the folds are a lot less noticeable. I can live with them. Thanks, Valerie!
I also put the question up on the Pattern Review Message Boards, and the consensus was that these sorts of folds were typical of the kimono sleeve.

High fives to me for..

Getting that curved collar and lapel to even. The secret is to get the foot off the pedal and hand turn the wheel, and adjust the collar ever-so-slightly after every stitch. Slow and steady wins the race. Who would have thought?

"What was I thinking" moments

No howlers but for some reason, the top points of the front contour darts aren't as smooth as I would like, even after I have padded out the dart points with bias cut squares of material. The busy print hides this problem a bit. Maybe they need to be lengthened?

Will there be a next time?

Absolutely. This pattern has the whiff of TNT for me. My daughter took the photos this morning, and haven't taken it off yet. It has done some housework, watched cricket on the couch, and gone to the shops, all on a hot day, and I feel great in it. In a plain fabric, it is definitely work appropriate for me, and the design is made to be worn with cardis, which gets a tick from me. The blouse version of this pattern is also definitely on the cards.

What would I do differently next time?

Pockets! This dress is screaming out for pockets. I'll make some next time.

Tangential observations

As mentioned, I bought this fabric from the Ben Thanh Market, in the fixed price section. It cost me about $10US. My husband mocked me (mildly, I admit) for not fronting up to the bargaining section of the Market to buy fabric.

I think you can divide the world into people who will bargain until the cows come home (ie. my husband) and those who can't be bothered, so long as they reckon they are getting a reasonable price (ie. me). I honestly can't be bothered with the bargaining palaver, when in the end in a lot of cases (like fabric) you are haggling over a dollar or two either way. I just want to pay my money and go on my way. Thank you so much.

Back to the pattern, some more photos

Maria mentions in her blog post on this pattern that her inspiration was her grandmother Edith. I could really relate to this, because my own Nonna Lucia (who was born in the northern Italy region of Friuli and migrated to Australia in 1952) lived and worked hard in shirtdresses just like this one. In fact, I think she wore shirtdresses almost exclusively (all with sew-in sleeves though), except for her Sunday best suit which she wore to church. I thought of her a lot as I was sewing this up.


  1. This looks great! A perfect shirtdress!

  2. Love the dress! I don't know what you did but it looks just right. I had an aunt who always wore shirt dresses like this. It brings back memories to me too..

    1. Thanks for your comments in my previous blog post. Your suggestions really did the trick!

  3. I love this version! I bought some Liberty lawn that reminds me of this fabric when I was in London, wanting to make an Edith as well!

    Good work on the dress!

    1. Thanks for this lovely pattern Maria. I loved it immediately. I recently bought some Liberty lawn to make the blouse version. Hopefully that won't be too far away.

  4. What a great start to 2014 Paola. You have done a wonderful job on this dress. The fit looks spot on and your fabric is very pretty. You have piqued my interest in this pattern. The blouse looks interesting too.

    1. I was only vaguely aware of Maria Denmark patterns existence, until I did a bit of poking around Pattern Review. There are some nice patterns in the range.

  5. Lovely dress! I have "shirtdress" on my list of things to have a go at sewing, your review has introduced me to another pattern option. I am adjusting Colette's Hawthorn pattern right now ( crossing fingers I get it right). Love the idea of a dress in lawn cotton for summer!

    1. Well, I highly recommend this pattern. I had the Hawthorne on my list, too. Maybe I'll get to it one day.

  6. You've done the loveliest sewing job on this dress and a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. Bravo!

  7. it's lovely, and looks perfect for the warmer months. I do like a kimono sleeve - well, ok, I do swear at set in sleeves ;) Gorgeous style & fabric choices - BenThanh market is mad isn't it! ;)

    1. MaciNic, I swear at set-in sleeves too - they tend to do my head in, so kimono sleeves definitely have their advantages! And Ben Thanh Market, what a circus. Fun though.

    2. MaciNic - is that a dachshund I see in the pic. Love dachshunds..

  8. Great make, I like everythng about it! I fit into the can't be bothered to bargain category. I just bought some bright fabric in South Africa from a road side stall, it was $15 AUD, which I'm sure is outrageous, but I will get a nice dress for which $15 is a great price!

    1. Exactly, Emma - a $15 dress is still a bargain to you, right?

  9. thank you for the sleeve info! Were you really prevaricating? or perhaps procrastinating?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A bit of a book review - Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

MBM - Tessuti Bondi dress

MBM - Tessuti Berlin jacket