Burda 7-2014-113: Cycling / Sport Dress

We are back from our grand tour and I have so much to share about the kindness of international bloggers, lingerie fabric shopapalooza and our fantastic trip in general. But, I figured I’d start with the most sewing related, which is my cycle dress previewed before I left. I’m not sure how long cycling dresses have been around. But, it was Ann Marie from Montreal on Facebook who first suggested one to me. WHO KNEW? Plus, Claire has done all these terrific posts on making her own biking gear. I decided I wanted to wear bike dresses for this trip for a few reasons. 1. I do not look good in bike shorts. 2. I love dresses. 3. Packing is so easy!

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As soon as I saw this pattern in the July 2014 BurdaStyle I thought it was perfect. It has a short flared skirt, the zipper in the front is great for venting and I wanted to keep my shoulders covered. I’ll tell you this much, it was referred to as a tennis dress on our trip more than once! But, overall was a hit with the women in our group.  What I found amusing is that our group was dressed in serious biking gear. All bike shorts, jerseys and racing helmets.  I felt my outfits were right in the middle and I didn’t look too athletic for our 50km a day rides. And, um, I’m not wearing a stitch of makeup in 80 percent of these photos. Please, don’t judge me 🙂

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in Ghent, Belgium

Anywhoo, a few details.  Alterations included unpetiting the pattern and making a FBA. I made three versions for the trip. The first in blue and grey was really my muslin. It’s made from something or the other from some online store or the other. I seriously have minimal recollection.I think it’s four years old.

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This fabric was TERRIBLE for this. It’s too thin, not enough recovery and you can see my drawers. I made the back all dark grey since I thought light blue would make my rear look wide as a trailer. This fabric was a BEYOTCH to get through my Brother Coverstitch. I, um, don’t know that this version is staying in my collection.

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I also recommend adding several inches to the length if you make this one up. It’s short. Especially on a bike. The other change I made was just to use an invisible zipper at the center front instead of an exposed zip. I totally would have done one if I’d had a sport plastic style on hand. But, I didn’t.

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The other two versions were fabric from the DelMarVa blogger meet up 18 months ago. I got it from Beth who I think was planning golf clothes. I don’t remember why she gave up the ghost. But, it worked out well for me! The fabric was from FabricMart probably three years ago and some kind of wicking athletic fabric. I essentially let the amount of fabric I have dictate the print placement.

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On the reddish burgundy, the print is through the center front and center back only. Super narrow cut. I also added an inseam zipper pocket for my phone or snacks. I ran out of the print and used plain black jersey from my stash for the neck and sleeve bands.

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On the tan/ cafe au lait, the dahlia print is on the outside edges. The tan version proved to be my most popular one on Instagram.

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You’ll note I didn’t follow Burda’s suggested color blocking. Because, when you sew you don’t have to.

For all three versions, I used my coverstitch to finish. And, on the tan, I added an extra inch. I am so not well versed in my overstitch usage. This project was good for getting me to use it more. But, I notice on thin fabrics it was really stretching it out (note the neckline on the red version). But, it loved the beefier Fabric Mart knits I made the final two from (note the flat neckline on the tan version).

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I’m wearing padded shorts underneath all of them.

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I wore these dresses for the one week we were biking (washing one each night in the sink) so they were worn twice each. In the mornings I would put on my Under Armour cropped studio jacket. It also helped make it look different.

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As for the weather…It was kind of terrible some days, lol! There was one day I didn’t bike at all because it was freezing and starting to sprinkle. Me and two Brazillians stayed on board. At the end of the day, Jordan came back and said it was awful. The temps dipped below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 15 mins into the ride, cold, horizontal rain. Some of the people came back having used the lunch sandwich bags as little gloves to keep the cold and rain from their fingers. I went from feeling lazy for staying on board the barge to super smart in 22 seconds. It also was a cold snap in general with temps about 20 degrees (F)  less than they were at home and ten degrees (F) less than is normal for that time of year. We had to go to H&M our first day in town and stock up on warmer clothing. Like, fall coats. Layers I had. But, not enough long pants to keep me warm when not biking.

Overall, I REALLY like this pattern. I’m totally making it up in the winter with 3/4 sleeves in wool jersey.  The pattern needs some tweaking in the upper bust for fit (wrinkles) before I make it up for regular wear. But, as is, these are great for running, tennis, golfing and biking 🙂 It’s a little Star Trekie. But, I happen to really like Star Trek. And, Star Wars. And, the X-Men franchise. And, the Avengers….


  1. Firstly, I would never (and I would hope nobody would ever) judge because you are not wearing make up. I don’t wear make up unless I’m going out at night and on a biking holiday… no way! You look great without it anyway. Love the dresses. What a fabulous design for your cycling dress. I really love the blue and red ones. Great job.

  2. All three versions look perfect to me. I’m glad the two of you had such a great time.

  3. I think you were well prepared for your trip. As far as wearing makeup on vacation…I seem to only have no makeup vacations lately and it is very liberating 🙂

  4. Wow, these dresses are fantastic. I especially love the red color on you. Looks like a fun trip – you and hubby look so cute together – even if he doesn’t have make up on :).

  5. I think it was ingenious to make cycling dresses, and now you have a pattern you can use over and over! You are always thinking, yeah? I think all of them are great, but the tan one is my favorite on you. Makeup, who needs it, not you! Exercise always does away with the need for makeup; healthy is a nice look. Can’t wait to hear about the trip.

  6. These are great! I love that red one on you. When my sister and I went backpacking through Europe years ago, we had to buy coats in England because it was SUPER cold. It was the end of May and in Texas that means hot. We never gave one thought to the northern European countries being so much farther north and not having summer temps yet.

    • It was 96 degrees in Baltimore while we were gone! It didn’t get above 70 in Brussels / Amsterdam. SO COLD. I had wool socks and thermal leggings with me. But, yet I still packed summer dresses. Also, H&M just adds a Euro to the US price. So, we easily paid 30 percent more than we would have at home. Grrrr.

      On Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


    • I couldn’t stop eating on this trip. I would DIE in Tuscany. That sounds terrific. I have friends who did biking in Tuscany. They liked it so much they went back twice!

      On Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 10:16 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  7. Glad you had a great trip! The dresses are adorable & I like Erinn’s comment that they’d be cycling tunics if they were shortened up a bit. I’m not a biker, so I was trying to figure out how you rode in a dress without flashing your undies, LOL! I’m glad you flashed your bike shorts to clear that mystery up for me!

  8. These are so cute! Maybe I should make one or two for golfing….if I ever get to go again, that is. 😉 Are you sure the fabric came from FabricMart? I just looked at their site and all they have is mesh and one rib knit. 😦

    P.S. You went on a bicycling vacation–no one who matters would have expected you to wear makeup. Besides, you’ve got great skin–you don’t need any. 🙂 Glad you had a great trip, but even more glad to see you back! 🙂

    • It had Fabric Mart labels, but it’s probably from two years ago 😦 I promised myself to retake golf lessons next summer. I mean, I have two outfits now!

      On Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 11:01 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  9. What a great idea, cycling dresses! I also would much prefer to wear dresses than bike shorts and shirts. It’s a good mix of sporty and stretchy without being too sporty and technical. The hot pink one is my favourite!

  10. Your photos brought a huge smile to my face this morning…damn girl you look like the cat that swallowed the canary…can one person look any happier…I don’t think so…great clothes, great man, great vacation! The coverstitch needs to have the differential cranked up on thinner knits or it will stretch…if you have more time to make a sample of thin and thick knits it will help in the future when you have a variety to work on.

    • Thanks! I’ll also admit that I’m a little scared of it. I’ve been trying to pick knits so I get used to sewing with it.

      On Thu, Sep 4, 2014 at 11:32 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  11. This is a great look on you! You must have been the most stylish gal on the trip! I love how it’s appropriate for cycling, but also attractive for sight seeing.

  12. I have been thinking often about you and your bike trip, as the rain kept pouring down around here. I’m glad you did have some sunny days too. Did you like Bruges? Ghent is a great city too, I went to school overthere ( a long time ago). Your outfit looks great!

  13. Thanks for blogging this dress, I have been eyeing it up for a while wondering how it would look on me in the ‘real’ world – it looks great on you and I’ve added it to my summer sewing list (I am in Australia). Love the Blue dress on you – such a flattering colour, you must be a ‘Summer’, and you look fabulous – who needs make-up when you are happy and in love.

  14. These are wonderfully versatile and attractive. It’s a great dress for less athletic adventures as well.

  15. I’m so glad the dresses worked out for you! But I’m mostly thrilled that you had an amazing time! Definitely make the winterized version and glad you and Jordan are home safe and sound!

  16. Great dresses! I was tracing this pattern when you posted your preview. I’ve nearly finished mine for office wear in ponte – I added 5 inches in length. If you make more non-sporty versions consider interfacing the collar. I chose not to and it’s a little floppy and might stretch out with wear.

  17. Love the cycling dresses! What a great idea that was. And what a fabulous honeymoon trip for you! Too bad about the weather though. August weather was a bit of a bummer here in Europe – cool, cloudy, and a lot of rain.
    BTW, I need to find that lingerie fabric store you went to!

  18. I had my eye on that pattern and loved tbe way you styled all of yours. We went on a river cruise a few years back and went into that church in the background of your photo. Ghent is a great city. What really astounded me though was going to a regular farmers market in Middleburg and seeing a display of fabrics! FABRICS right there for sale in the square!! Did you see anything like that on your travels? I shopped like mad for the 5 minutes my husband allowed and grabbed a couple to bring home. Tell us more and show more pics, please.

    • That’s awesome! Yes, I went to a fabric market in Amsterdam with two ‘internet friends’. I have a few more posts lined up for the next week about our adventures. We also talked about seeing if we could go with my Dad on a river cruise next year around Christmas. I think he’d love to be back in Europe and it would be a low key way for him to do it.

      On Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 7:55 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  19. Love these dresses so much! It’s such a great idea to have something suitable to cycle in but also a bit nicer to wear sightseeing than full on lycra. (And I really love the slight star trek vibe too). I feel you with the weather – it’s been a terrible summer here in Switzerland too. It looks like it didn’t matter too much though, it sounds like you had a super time together!

  20. Fab dresses, what a great idea and you look stylish for going into cafes or shops, not all dayglo lycra. And you totally made the right choice not to cycle in the freezing rain! Sounds like a great honeymoon, despite the fickle weather.

  21. What a wonderful, exciting adventure! This is a great idea for bicycling wear, and it is flattering on you! At the same time, I could totally see it in a solid color double-knit jersey with a bit longer sleeves and longer length; one single color and top-stiched visible seams to highlight the pattern pieces might make it into a stylish, comfortable dress for the office.

  22. Happy you enjoyed your European honeymoon. Next time you come to Brussels, I would be more than happy to offer you my spare room! Oh and by the way, summer is trying to make a comeback!

  23. Renée, you look fabulous in this bite dress! I agree with SummerFlies, you look great without makeup! Did you find that your cycling dress was comfortable riding for however long you road?

    What a fabulous trip! I guess I’ll have to live vicariously through you and your hubby’s vacations! I love vacationing too but the majority of ours have been cruises. Occasionally we flew into different countries, but nothing like yours! I hope you had a fabulous time! And eating definitely is a part of that, diets are excluded from vacations!

  24. Super! Looks like you had a great time, despite the cold temps. I like your cropped jacket thrown over. Your ensembles are perfect for bikign long distances in cooler weather. Cold fingers on handlebars are terrible, it even gets hard to brake–glad you gave it a miss that day.

  25. Ooo this is exactly one of the items I’ve been toying with making. I love what you did with each one. What fabric do you love the best? Which one wears the best? My current love for athletic fabrics is swimsuit nylon. I’ve made 2 pair of capris and 1 bike short in them. LOVE them so much. LOVE. Seattle Fabrics also has a super awesome Italian Nylon that is sweet for athletic stuffs too! If you’re looking for an interesting pattern with few seams, Jan Bones Shortie Leggings are great for cycling or under skirts. I wrote about them on my blog.

    Isn’t Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general super inspiring? I loved watching all the crazy outfits people cycled in there. I mean, really, they wear their REGULAR clothes. Chicks in mini skirts and stiletto boots riding through Eindhoven in deep Autumn just blew my mind. So cool. Did you make it to Kitsch Kitchen? They have rad bike bags and such made of obnoxious oil cloth. I got some. Need to put mine on my bike.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and trip adventures. Such fun. Brings back good memories.

    • I’ll have to check out the Italian Nylon. I used a Dry Flex from Fabric Mart. That was my favorite. It just held up so well and was super breathable. I have a little left over for some shorts that I’d like to have for running. Thanks for the tip!

      On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 1:54 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  26. Wow, I really want that Burda bike dress pattern. Except I would wear it to work. I love the original pattern view in tan and black. I need that!

  27. Can you please tell me in which issue this pattern can be found? You mentioned that it was in the July issue, but the issues are identified according to the season.

    • It’s the July 2014 issue. You can find it on the Burdastyle website for download if you don’t have the magazine.

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