Bianca Dress from Made By Rae

bianca dress front view

Rae has a brand-new sewing pattern out, the Bianca Top & Dress, and it’s just the ticket for the hot, hot summer we’re sure to have this year.

bianca dress in lisette cotton sateen

I made the dress length, because the more I wear my Cappuccino dress, the more I want to live in lightweight, easy-wear dresses all summer long.  The Bianca is a quick sew, with clean lines, and requires zero tummy-sucking, so it’s an all-around winner in my book.

bianca dress from Made By Rae

This fabric is an older Lisette print that I got on clearance online at Joann a couple years ago and have been holding on to for just something like this project.  Naturally, I was short on yardage (of course–because when you start cutting at 8:45 pm you’re virtually guaranteed to not have enough of SOMETHING), so I had a little Bob Ross moment and turned it into a “happy little accident” and added the white contrast hem.  Which I loooove.

bianca dress neckline

As with all of Rae’s patterns, the instructions for the Bianca are super well-written.  If I were to say that Rae’s patterns are really kind, would that make sense?  Because that’s how I think of them–that she has really taken the time to think about who is on the other end of the pattern, and how that person might be feeling as they sew, and she recognizes that you might not have oodles of experience sewing garments, but she really believes you’re deserving of a good sewing experience and a good end result.  I love that she thinks and writes that way, and Bianca is no different.  The notch, for example, at the neckline?  She spends half a page explaining just how to get it clean and well-sewn so that when you flip the facing to the wrong side, you’ll get a really crisp result.

bianca dress underarm seam

If there were any tricky part to this design, I might say it was the armholes–which are pretty straight-forward, so that tells you something about how sew-able the pattern is.  I think, having seen this version, that I might have used a higher armhole here (you can just see a peek of my bra on occasion), and turning under the 1/4″ double-turned hem was a bit challenging after having serged the side seams, but seriously: if that’s my only concern with this pattern, it is smooooth sailing.

bianca dress with elastic casing

Obviously, I opted for the elastic casing at the empire waistline–Rae also includes an elastic thread “smocked” version, but that’s not how I generally roll, so I made the casing and used 3/8″ elastic.  I might have used a longer piece of elastic, but honestly, I just couldn’t get any more in there–the casing was a wee bit snug once I got it stitched on, and the elastic kinda picked a place to live and that was that.  In the end, with about 26″ of elastic, I’m pretty happy with how fitted it makes the body of the dress–it certainly doesn’t hang away from the body, as Rae’s samples do, but I like that it gives me a slender silhouette and avoids making me look like I’m wearing a sack.  That’s the constant fear of the busty girl: that all her clothes will make her look wide because she was forced to make room for the ladies upstairs.  Having a slightly shorter elastic in the casing, I think, makes the dress a bit more fitted and avoids that.

bianca dress in green

This was a super quick sew, too: I started cutting at 8:45, and was completely finished sewing by 11 pm.  So right around 2 hours, including cutting, which is a solidly respectable time for a whole dress (complete with contrast hem).  If I hadn’t had to draft new pieces for the hem, I bet I could have gotten it done in just over 90 minutes.  I went to bed and could hardly sleep because I kept thinking about it, and wore it all day today.  And I’ll wear it again on Thursday.  So.  Love!

bianca dress with no gaping

The neckline is great: no gaping or peeping even with the notch–something I always think about, since I spend a great deal of my time chasing small children and picking things up off the floor.  The length is good, too, hitting me right above the knee.  Short enough to be flattering, long enough to keep my pins decent.  (And it’ll let some sunlight get to those blisteringly white gams this summer!!)

bianca dress in action

Crazy comfortable, super easy to wear, and appropriate for both a trip to the school for a quick meeting AND a dinner with friends in a real-live restaurant (both of which I did today).  I love the top length, too, and have plans to try out the pattern in that version, as well.

So: hooray!!  Another great pattern for tossing over swimsuits, wearing on family vacations to the beach, making myself look presentable on long hot days when the thought of wearing anything with buttons or zippers makes me want to cry.  Very excited about summer in my Bianca!

*Note: I’m a huge fan of Rae’s and love everything she does, and was in no way bribed or compensated for this post.  This isn’t part of a blog tour or anything, honest–I just truly like the way she writes a pattern and have an overwhelming desire to fill up my suitcase with loose and easy dresses this year!

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  • Melissa Irvin
    May 14, 2014 at 9:30 am

    So cute and carefree. I love the photos where your dimples show. 😉

  • Cherie
    May 14, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Another cute dress! You’re going to have me at my sewing machine more because of all the sewing inspiration you’re bringing me. Lol. You know: the summer dresses, kid’s shorts, quilts. Keep it coming! By the way, love the Bob Ross reference.

  • Rae
    May 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    AWW yeah!! Thanks for such a thoughtful and honest review!! I am thrilled to know you thought the instructions were “kind” 🙂

    I’ve noticed too that my samples look looser when I make them out of the rayons and linens, but then when I make them out of cottons with less drape they seem more snug. Not sure why this would be if the pattern pieces are the exact same size…? Oh well.


    • Deborah
      May 22, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Haha! Happy to do it, homie–and so glad you like! Yeah, I’ve noticed the thing w the rayons & linen, too, and always thought it had something to do with “loft,” i.e. that the bodice/skirt get a little puffed with air when it’s a lighter fabric, and end up looking looser? Does that even make sense/adhere to the laws of physics? This cotton is fairly lightweight, but still seems to ride closer to the body than your samples. Planning to make another version in the top length and watch my seams on the casing a bit more closely to see if I can get more elastic in there and achieve a more relaxed fit–stay tuned! 🙂

  • Emily
    May 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Fabulous dress and review and pictures! I’m hoarding a yard of that fabric for some future project. 🙂

    • Deborah
      May 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      It was really dreamy to sew with! Lightweight but not sheer, and super well-behaved under the needle. Wish I had even more–I miiiiight be able to squeeze out a matching skirt for one of our girls, and I think we all know how awesome mommy/daughter outfits can be! Woot!

  • Bits & Pieces | Whipstitch
    May 28, 2014 at 9:57 am

    […] desperately need about a dozen more easy summer dresses, like my Bianca and my Cappuccino and my racerback maxi and my Modern Babydoll–I have worn all of them nearly […]

  • Miette Skirt in Chambray Union Crossweave | Whipstitch
    August 12, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    […] this intentional-printing-and-sewing with the Cappuccino Dress, and then I printed and sewed up the Bianca.  One garment at a time, I’m printing and assembling and tracing and storing away patterns […]