Orange Burda 106-04-2014

Orange x-wrap dress

Orange Burda 106-04-2014

Here’s version 2 of Burda 106-04-2014, the x-wrap dress. This one is made in one of the most awkard fabrics I have ever tried to sew: a very lightweight, slightly sheer silk. I normally steer well clear of such things but it was a very cheap bolt end in the sale room at Misan Textiles, there was just enough of it for the pattern, and I couldn’t turn down that almost fluorescent orange colour.

I hate cutting out shifty fabric. I did a bit of googling for tips for dealing with lightweight fabrics. A lot of sites suggest spray starch but there seems to be no consensus as to whether you should press starched fabric with or without steam, and lots of warnings about potentially burning the starch and marking the fabric if you get the iron too hot. Eventually I came across this recipe for using gelatine to stiffen chiffon before cutting and sewing. The method seemed pretty clear and sensible so I gave it a go – thanks Jo! The gelatine I could get came was in leaves rather than a powder and was ‘platinum grade’ – apparently there are lots of other grades available and they have different setting power which makes it kind of tricky to substitute. I think I used three leaves to three litres of water. It certainly stiffened the fabric and made it a lot easier to cut and sew. The downside is that you can’t use any steam when pressing or the fabric might go sticky. And the fabric didn’t press well without steam as you can see from the generally wavy effect. I washed the dress once it was finished but it doesn’t seem to have completely removed the gelatine as the fabric is still less fluid than it was when I bought it. On the upside it doesn’t wrinkle as badly as I thought it would. These photos were taken after wearing the dress all day. I didn’t press it at all before we went out to take them, so what you have here is what it really looks like after a day’s wear. Maybe more washing will gradually soften it up again.

Orange Burda 106-04-2014

I already posted about my fitting and facing changes but I also left out the zip as it’s not needed, and slip-stitched the shawl collar down to the outer neckline seam to make it stay put. I couldn’t use interfacing with this fabric so the sharp points where the wrap pieces grow out of the front of the dress are reinforced with bias squares of the outer fabric sewn to the wrong side along the seamlines. I kept the inseam pockets, which are a lot easier to sew when you don’t put a zip in the seam right next to a pocket.

I tried to take a little more care with the hem on this version but it’s even worse than the brown one: uneven and very wavy. I hoped it would look a bit better after washing the dress and pressing with steam but no. I’m not going to unpick it as I don’t think a second attempt’s likely to be much better and the fabric might not survive the experience. It looks less fragile in the pictures than it is in real life.

Orange Burda 106-04-2014

I don’t think this is as successful as the brown version, but it’s a perfectly wearable summer dress (well OK, wearable with a slip) and I love the colour. The fitting changes seem to have worked too. Two copies of this pattern is enough for now, but it’s one I might go back to at some point.

20 thoughts on “Orange x-wrap dress

  1. I liked the brown version but it looks fabulous in Orange. I really love the shape of this dress but I wasnt sure it would look good on me. Seeing yours really makes me want to try it.

  2. Sewing problems be dayumed…that dress is AWESOME! When I first opened your blog up my first response was just “WOW”! I wouldn’t be worried about the hem or how the seams fall, it gives the dress a lived in look. The dress is just gorgeous!

  3. This looks great- and it’s wonderful to see you in a bright colour! [Monochrome is great, but, y’know…colour!] Maybe for future versions make a wide interfaced hem, or even pipe the edge for structure. Very nice.

  4. I like them both. Interesting about the hem, but on an ‘art’ dress like this, not a problem. btw, thanks for not deleting my on the rollcall, I have a few projects coming up, but having posted in a while. More anon!

  5. I love it! I’m sure no one will notice the hemline, everyone will be looking at the interesting “X” front and wondering where you found such an interesting dress (or pattern)! I really liked your earlier version too but this orange colour is just so exciting – though the fabric looks like it was a pain to sew!

  6. This is a perfect colour on you. Love everything about it. Almost tempted to buy the pattern myself, but it won’t be the same on me. Not slim or tall enough.

  7. I adore the orange! Thanks for all 3 posts, I also have this magazine and have been intrigued by the top & dress since it came out. And, congratulations x

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