Tuesday, December 1, 2009
You couldn't see a thing of this dress in the magazine, what with the dark blue color and the scrunched down loungey pose, but I loved the line drawing and this has been a very popular dress/top pattern with lots of cute examples of it made up.
I decided to go with the tweed-ish, metallic-ish cotton/poly (based on a burn test) knit from Jomar in Philly. I totally fell in love with the fabric even though it's slightly weird, but having now made it up I think I was totally justified! This was one of my projects on my happy sewing day.
I wanted this to be for Fall/Winter, so I lengthened the sleeves, as several people have also done. Luckily, Burda's directions explicitly tell you that the drafted cap sleeves are joined at the bottom seam, so I didn't have to do anything to the drafting. In my heavy-ish fabric I didn't want the top seam to be weighing down the sleeve so I combined the two pattern pieces, laying them together at the stitching line and marking the resulting dart where they diverged.
I stitched the dart and then clipped it open to reduce the bulk. This knit fabric, unlike some, takes a press to some degree so I pressed it as flat as possible, and I think the end result is nice--it sits well at the shoulders and there is no noticeable bulk.
Burda claims that leaving the pleats unsewn will enhance a small bust. Have they ever met anyone with a small bust? Because nothing looks worse on a flat chest than an empty, billowy, echo chamber of fabric. I did not take this particular suggestion, and instead stitched the pleats down from the inside all the way along the bodice. I put in the full width pleats at top and bottom and sewed them about half-width along the length. However, after the dress was put together I went in and sewed the pleats even deeper, almost to the full width for the top and bottom. I think with the pleats sewn down it is flattering for a small bust. I also narrowed the bust dart drafted into the bodice front and lining.
I followed the instructions for the front lining, even stitching the darts together, which is really kind of silly and unnecessary because the "lining" is really just an underlining, so it's anchored at all the the seams and not going to shift around. I used the rayon(?) jersey I bought in Hong Kong and man, is it good stuff! I can't wait to sew it into something, but now that I know how fab it is it has, of course, become Too Good To Use for any old project.
I used *gasp* facings, which I generally hate and never use. But here I was able to hand stitch them down in the front to the underlining, and then stitch in the ditch at the raglan sleeve seams and center back, so there is no chance of it flipping out. I used self-fabric for the facings and because my fabric is a fairly thick knit I think there is a little too much bulk going around the back neck, but I can live with it.
When I put this together it just wasn't looking great. It took me a little bit of playing but I finally figured out the midriff was just way too wide for me. I've made plenty of projects with wide midriffs, so it's not that the style doesn't work for me, it was just something about this dress. I narrowed it to about half the drafted width and it made a huge difference in the look of the dress.
I also had to take it in about two inches at the midriff/waist. I think it probably had to do with my fabric, which doesn't have great recovery. Burda doesn't usually draft with too much ease and I cut my normal size (though I think maybe I should do a 35 at the waist, instead of a 36, if there is such a size), so I'm not sure what was going on there.
I did my usual swayback adjustment, although I see I could have taken a little more. But it's not a swayback that makes the back look so bad, I don't think. Man, it looks awful! I had no idea this was my rear view until taking the photo. I don't think I have those teardrop dewlaps under my shoulder blades yet, I think it's just something horrible about the way this sits on me. I hope. I have no idea how to fix this.
But at least it looks cute from the front! It's really fun to wear, although now I'm going to be totally paranoid about how I look from behind. I will be walking around backwards to prevent anyone from seeing it.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.