Creative articles about sewing

Summer dress by Mathias Ackermann – sewing instruction and pattern

A couple of weeks ago, the new BERNINA 7 series has been launched in the following countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Australia, USA, United Kingdom, Japan and New Zealand. Other markets will follow soon. The new 7 series models offer a range of innovative functions like the BERNINA adaptive thread tension or the new BERNINA Hook.

For our campaign artwork, we could count on several well-known people of the textile industry: The American quilt artist Tula Pink demonstrates the range of functions of the new B 770 QE. Kazu Huggler, a Swiss-Japanese designer that cooperates with BERNINA since 2011, created a wedding dress for her bridal collection on the B 790. For the B 740 and B 720, Mathias Ackermann, a Swiss Designer, sewed this lovely summer dress.

Creating his first designs when he was still a child, Mathias Ackermann realised from an early age that he wanted to make his passion his career. As a tailor and fashion designer, he still sews all his designs himself. Since 1997, Ackermann has worked in his own couture studio in Büren an der Aare in Switzerland. The first shirt collection of his “Little Kingdom” label was presented in February 2006 in Zurich at Globus, a leading department store with an exclusive range. In the same year, he was nominated for the Swiss Fashion Award. BERNINA is delighted to be able to work with this talented Swiss textile artist.

Mathias is also working as teacher in our Creative Center in Steckborn, Switzerland.

For the BERNINA 740 and 720 he designed a summer dress of finest silk:


He embroidered the bag on the BERNINA 720:


Here you can with a detailed sewing instruction for both the summer dress and bag.

Sewing instruction summer dress

Designed by Mathias Ackermann, Summer dress in sizes 34 to 44




pattern summer dress

pattern bag Tasche

embroidery designs bag

Fabric choice
Silk chiffon recommended for experienced sewers. The dress can also be made from jersey or fine cotton, however, and silk satin is a suitable choice as well.

For this dress, it makes sense to sew a muslin from soft untreated cotton in order to test the width proportions (enough tension on the pleats, but the draping shouldn’t be constricting).

Cutting out
1. Front (fabric) 2x
2. Front (lining) 2x
3. Back (fabric and lining) 2x
4. Collar (leather or faux leather) 4x
5. Lozenge (leather or faux leather) 1x

Place paper pattern on fabric and pin, paying close attention to the fabric pattern.

The pattern contains no seam allowances, which must be included as follows: 

  • Seams 1.5 – 2 cm, according to desired width of French seam
  • Hem 4 cm
  • Shoulder 1.5 cm
  • Center front at facing, as indicated in pattern
  • Collar sections, each 2x with 1 cm seam allowance and 2x without seam allowances
  • Lozenge, 1x with 1 cm seam allowance.

TIP: Cut out fabric with the rotary cutter. This will allow you to spread out the fabric nicely and cut it while it’s lying on the work surface.



TIP: We recommend using the straight stitch plate when working with this fine fabric.

Close Darts
Close darts on back (fabric and lining) and on front (lining only).

Sew dress lining:
Close side seams, shoulder seams and center front seam up to neckline. Press center front seam allowances apart and neaten separately. Fold neckline facing inwards; turn under narrowly and edgestitch. Turn under short edge of neckline end as well and sew.

Sew dress:
Close side seams. To prevent the seam allowances of this fine fabric from becoming a source of annoyance, the seams are sewn as French seams. Close shoulder seams.
Close center front from hem up to beginning of pleat draping, again with a French seam.
Place pleat draping on center front as indicated on pattern and secure with a few stitches inside of the lozenge marking.

Line dress:
Place lining and dress together with right sides together and sew together along the armholes. Fold seam allowances towards the lining and narrow-edgestitch on the lining side.

Turn dress right-side-out. At the center back seam, baste the edges of the dress and lining  to one another to the left and right of the neckline up to 10 cm below the zip. Insert the concealed zip in the seam. Sew center back together for 10cm below the zip, dress and lining together. Close bottom part of center back seam of dress with a French seam. Close and neaten center back seam on lining.

Drape dress and lining on bust. Pin pleats on the lining in the center front.
Fold facing of dress inwards, pin onto lining, and secure by hand so that no stitches are visible on the front. Fold the pleats at the shoulder seam and secure with a few stitches.

Embellish lozenge with a decorative stitch. Turn edges under.
Place over the pleats and below the neckline on the dress and lining and edgestitch on. The zigzag foot with non-stick sole is the best choice for doing this.

Sew on collar:
Turn under seam allowances of collar sections, holding in place with Wonder Tape or textile adhesive if necessary. The inside collar sections are worked with an open edge.
Place outside and inside collar sections on the neckline edges with the dress lying in between. Edge-stitch collar sections together. Attach the magnetic closure in the center back.
Sew in a thin shoulder pad if wished.

Hem dress and lining:
Narrow-hem dress and lining. The lining hem should be slightly shorter than the dress hem.


Bernina_Sommerkleid_01_2044_coated300 Bernina_Sommerkleid_01_2087_coated300

Sewing instruction bag 


  • 0.4 m fine leather or faux leather (best to take pattern with you when shopping for the leather)
  • 0.4 m lining
  • 4 base nails
  • 1 snaplink with matching counterpart
  • 1 magnetic closure
  • Sewing thread
  • 25 x 8 cm Fibrint or Decovil interfacing for reinforcing base of bag
  • Leather thread or ‘Extra Strong’ thread for topstitching
  • BERNINA  740
  • Zigzag foot with non-stitch sole no.52C


Cutting out
1. bag section (leather / faux leather) 2x
2. base section (leather / faux leather) 1x on fabric fold
Cut out all pieces with 1cm seam allowance.

Plus, (seam allowances either unnecessary, or already included):

  • 1 strip 4.5 cm x 55 cm (outside strip section)
  • 1 strip 2.5 cm x 55 cm (inside strip section)


For the lining, the bag and base pattern sections are taped together and cut out as one piece. The pattern is placed on the fabric fold at the lower base and cut out. The lining fabric may need to be pieced, depending on the width of the fabric (seam allowances must be added when piecing).


Embroider base section:
First roughly cut out base section and embroider – only then cut out to finished size. Reinforce base section with Fibrint interfacing, or with fine Decovil interfacing.

Prepare closure tabs:
Turn under seam allowances (1 cm) of outside strip section. Place on inside strip section without seam allowances and narrow-edgestitch together along the edges. Tip: Use Zigzag foot with non-stick sole and increase stitch length to approx. 3 mm.
Cut strip apart to yield 1 strip of 43 cm and 1 of 12cm length.
Attach the snaplink hook to the longer strip and its counterpart to the shorter strip.
Affix strips to bag sections.

Sew bag together:
Sew front and back bag sections together with the base section, catching the strips for the closure. Narrow-edgestitch.
Sew together side seams.
Close base darts. Attach base nails.

Sew lining / line bag:
Close side seams of lining, leaving a bit open for turning on one side. Close base seam if necessary. Sew base darts. With right sides facing, stitch together lining and bag; turn right-side-out. Narrow-edgestitch bag. Attach magnetic closure: 8 cm from the top edge on the front, 1 cm from the top edge on the back.
Sew turning opening shut by hand, or edgestitch closed with the sewing machine.



Bernina_Sommerkleid_01_2178 Bernina_Sommerkleid_01_1362_B720_coated300


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  • Lauren Michelin EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    I love the dress so sophisticated and feminine. Would love the download and in English

  • Jan Allston EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    Stunning Dress Mathias. Now if only I had the figure to wear it! Good incentive to slim though.

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