Burda 117 02/2012

The sewing police will never take me alive

Burda 117 02/2012

It’s so difficult to get photos at the moment! There’s very little daylight and the garden is now a sea of mud covered in building supplies which doesn’t make for a good backdrop. Hence the indoor shots, as ever kindly taken by my husband.

This pattern is an old favourite, Burda 117 02/2012. The technical drawing is below. Previous versions: black wool knit, red knit, colour blocked ponte, failed version in red and white stripes.

Burda 117-02-2012 technical drawing

This version is made in black scuba from Birmingham Rag Market. The fabric was an absolute steal; I think the amount I used for this dress cost me all of two pounds. It’s pretty forgiving: stable, no need to finish any seam allowances, and it presses pretty well for what must be polyester. It definitely required a stretch needle and a few tension adjustments to get a good stitch in it on my sewing machine though. I sewed the whole dress with a longish straight stitch as that has enough give for a stable knit fabric.

I made a few changes to the pattern. There is meant to be a back zip (not shown on the technical drawing, oddly) but it’s not needed so I skipped it. I also skipped the shoulder pleats; I prefer a strong shoulder line to a rounded one. On previous versions I also shortened the skirt but this one’s at the designer’s intended length. These days I think it looks better long; perhaps it’s a sign of age!

I added inseam pockets in the diagonal seams on the front. Those worked out better than they had any right to. I was in two minds about it, but I knew I’d never wear the dress without pockets so I had to try.

Burda 117 02/2012

I also changed the front closure completely. The left bodice front piece (the bit which underlaps) is designed to attach to the right front with snaps, and so the pattern piece only extends just as far as needed to do that. I’ve always sewn the opening shut and not bothered with the snaps in the past. That works, but the closure doesn’t always sit quite right. This time I decided to extend the left front to run right under the right front and catch it in the underbust seam so the front becomes a true crossover style. Only I tried to do this by mirroring the right front pattern piece, forgetting that the underbust seam is on a diagonal. I ended up with a left front that still wasn’t long enough to catch in the seam, and no fabric left to recut because I’d already used up the rest of it cutting out something else. I managed to save it by stitching the left front down along the line of the right front dart. The insides are a complete mess though; there’s a flapping raw edge running from centre front to the right dart on the inside. Scuba doesn’t fray so it will hold up, but the sewing police won’t approve.

Burda 117 02/2012

There’s also something odd going on with the seam allowances around the sleeves. This is my error from when I originally traced the pattern and I always forget to go back and fix it. It looks OK from the outside but the inside is another mess.

So not my best work but it’s wearable. I’m not sure how to style it either. For these photos I didn’t put it with a lot of other things but it’s more likely to be worn with a long sleeved t shirt and leggings underneath.

28 thoughts on “The sewing police will never take me alive

  1. I like this pattern and your various versions. Even better I like your addition of pockets. Burda often seems to have lots of wasted seams that could be used for pockets.

    1. Thanks! I also find Burda includes pockets on dress patterns far more often than Vogue or McCalls. I’ve given up trying to wear dresses without pockets.

  2. Very nice! I especially like your addition of pockets, great idea. This is one of my favorite dresses too. im on my second version, after the first one got worn to bits. For the third i think i will copy your pockets. Btw, both of mine are at the intended length, but i find that i cannot stride as far as i want to (especially when im late!) so i might add a walking pleat at back as well.

    1. Thanks! I haven’t noticed the walking problem yet but the black fabric is very stretchy which probably helps. I’ve only worn it to the office so far as well.

    1. Heh, I’m always reminded of a fiercely precise needlework teacher I had at primary school who would have had a fit at the state of my seam allowances. But on the other hand she might be pleased that I still remember her standards even though I don’t always adhere to them…

  3. I’ve always loved this pattern and you’re various iterations. This is no exception. It looks wonderful on, and I am sure you will wear it a lot. And few people ever look at the inside of a garment. Love this post, too, btw.

  4. This looks amazing! The sewing police can just shut up and sit down. This dress looks so versatile, I’m sure any way you style it will look great. The pockets in the diagonal seam sound awesome too!

  5. If you don’t tell no-one will be any wiser. Good to see that fabric made up …… my haul from that day is still lurking uncut.
    Enjoy your dress 😃

    1. Thanks! I’m doing fairly well on mine; I’ve made up the crepe dress too (but no photos as yet because it’s even more difficult to photograph than the scuba) and the second dress from the scuba is in progress. So just the denim to go but I haven’t chosen a pattern yet 🙂

    1. Thanks! I don’t find scuba hot at all but I live in a cold and damp climate; my concern is usually the opposite because polyester is not as warm as natural fibres. I wore it with a very thick wool cardigan and a t shirt on Friday and it was still a bit chilly when I went out of doors. I suspect this fabric would be uncomfortably sticky in a hot country though. I wish it was easier to find good wool jersey and double knit in the UK.

  6. Pockets are a must. I really like this one on you! It really suits you and with the black you can’t go wrong.

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