Instant gratification

This is Burda 116-08-2011, inspired by Allison’s version. I think this might be the single fastest dress I ever made. I started tracing the pattern on Saturday morning. Then I cut the fabric out. Then I thought I might as well thread the overlocker and the sewing machine, and then once those were threaded I figured I might as well sew a seam or two. By the end of the afternoon I only had the hem and finishing the armholes left to do, and those happened on the Sunday morning.

Burda 116-08-2011

It’s come out very 1980s. My fabric is a stretch poplin which isn’t nearly as drapey as the one Burda used. However I like the blousing on the top half. So it is possible to get away with a slightly less drapey fabric. It is definitely sized for a stretch fabric though as there’s not a large amount of ease on the hips. I think I’d go up a size on the bottom half if I was making this again.

Burda 116-08-2011

I think this is a great hot-weather dress. It’s cool and comfortable without being too casual. I particularly appreciate the high collar because the back of my neck burns really easily in the sun. And it has pockets, which more dresses should have.

On that subject, I didn’t make the pockets in the way Burda prescribed. The original design has one-piece pocket bags which are top-stitched to the dress front. You finish the front edge of the pocket by turning under an extra-wide seam allowance on the dress front side seams. I forgot to add the extra allowance when I was cutting, so I cut an extra set of pocket pieces and made regular side-seam pockets. I think I prefer my version anyway as I wasn’t keen on the idea of the top-stitching in the first place.

You know, I could see this in bias-cut stripes…I might have to make another.

My eyes are crossing

A few weeks ago SewingElle posted about a wonderful striped Anthropologie dress. It has several diagonally slanted panels on the waist and skirt with the stripes running in different directions on each panel. The effect is very eye-catching. After reading her post I fell in love with it too and wondered if I could get a similar effect by making up my beloved Burda 117-02-2012 in stripy fabric.

Here are the style lines of Burda 117-02-2012. The back has a strong line of mirror symmetry down the centre back seam but the front is very asymmetrical. The large triangular panel on the skirt has borders with three other areas, two of which also share a border. This means at least three directions of stripes are required if they are to change direction on every seam.

Burda 117-02-2012 technical drawing

I did a bit of research (well, checked all my sewing books) to find out the official line on How One Should Align Stripes. I didn’t find a lot of help in most of them, although as always Ann Ladbury’s The Dressmaker’s Dictionary had some definite opinions on the subject. Did you know that the traditional direction for diagonal stripes is from the left shoulder to the right hip? I certainly didn’t.

There’s a school of thought that horizontal stripes are widening. There’s another school of thought that they are slimming. Ms Ladbury seems to prefer horizontal stripes on the whole, but says that vertical ones can be ‘improved by being broken’. I’m not sure who’s right, but on the whole I think I prefer horizontal stripes for large areas. Compare these two variations. The one with mostly horizontal stripes looks a lot nicer. By the way, I’ve put a border round my favourite in each of the following pairs of options because I’m pretty sure the pictures won’t come out side by side on all screens.

Stripes back view verticals and horizontalsStripes back view - midriff vertical, skirt horizontal, upper back horizontal

So I chose to put horizontal stripes on the large triangular panel and diagonal ones everywhere else at the front. There are two possible ways to arrange the diagonal stripes, below. I think the version with the stripes almost perpendicular to the neckline is best because in the other one the neckline looks a bit awkward. The problem is that the stripes won’t be quite parallel to it.

Stripes front view - midriff slants top right to bottom leftStripes front view - midriff slants top left to bottom right

If the front of the dress has a lot of diagonal stripes then the back ought to have some as well. However I want to keep the stripes on the back skirt horizontal so as to match up at the right side seam with the large horizontal striped panel on the front. This gives these two options for the rest. There’s not much in it, but the one I’ve picked gives me a little more matching on the right side seam than the other one.

Stripes back view - midriff upwards chevrons, skirt horizontal, upper back downwards chevronsStripes back view - midriff downwards chevrons, skirt horizontal, upper back upwards chevrons

My final choice is this pair.

Stripes back view - midriff upwards chevrons, skirt horizontal, upper back downwards chevronsStripes front view - midriff slants top right to bottom left

Of course now I have to get round to actually making the dress. I have some fabric (of which more another time) but there are a few things ahead of it in the sewing queue and I may well change my mind about the placement between now and then! There are many other options. All the stripe variations I’ve drawn can be found here.

Belated birthday dress

It may be summer in the UK, but my latest make is a pattern from last winter’s Burda. I’m really pleased to have finished this; so pleased that I couldn’t wait for a nice day to get my other half to take the pictures!

Burda 120-12-2011

The pattern is Burda 120-12-2011. The fabric was a lovely birthday present from my parents. My mother and I went fabric shopping looking for something for this pattern and eventually stumbled across this vibrant turquoise fabric tucked away in a corner of Cloth House on Berwick Street in London. It’s a viscose knit, so very easy to wear although not so much to sew with.

The original pattern was designed for wovens so I ended up making a few changes to make it work with the jersey. Because of the way the pattern has to be laid out on the fabric, the edge of the (already pretty low) neckline ends up being cut along the width of the fabric, where the maximum stretch is. The edge grew about three inches between cutting and sewing. I lined the bodice with the same fabric, rather than using facings, and put clear elastic in the neckline seam which pulled it back in a bit. I still had to sew up the v-neck a little way to make the neckline wearable.
Burda 120-12-2011

The original design has hugely long waist ties that are intended to make a big bow at the back. The jersey is so drapey that a bow just looks droopy; a simple knot is better and means you can get away with much less length in the ties. Unfortunately I didn’t realise this until I’d made the whole thing up, so I had to hand my husband the shears and ask him to cut them off at about the right length.

Burda 120-12-2011

Anyway I’m really pleased with this. Now I just need somewhere to wear it.