Tuesday, December 1, 2009

BWOF 06-2009-101, Pleat Front Knit Dress

BWOF 06-2009-101 Thumbnail

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.

Combined Sleeve Pattern 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.

Sleeve Dart

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.

Sew Pleats Entire Bodice Length 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.

Lining and Facing 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.

Back



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.




Front


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.

19 comments:

AuntieAllyn said...

Well I think this is just adorable! I'm so impressed with the alterations you make to the patterns . . . you really know how to tweak a design to make it work for you!

Karin said...

Haha, I'm imagining you walking backwards through town. :-)

It seems to pull a bit in the back, like the waist has been taken in a bit too much in comparison to the shoulder part. Could that be the problem?

Anyway, it looks really cute on you! And if you really don't want to show people the back, then you could always throw on a cardigan or so, for the moments people sneak up from behind you ;-)

Lindsay T said...

If you master the backward walking you can always get a job as a tour guide...

Little Hunting Creek said...

Cute! I agree with the commenter about about the back. Minor tweak will fix that for next time, but DO NOT obsess about it. No one will notice! And we won't tell

KID, MD said...

SO cute! No one will notice the back - At first glance it just looks like the waistline is slightly ruched. Call it a design feature!

cidell said...

Based on other reviews of this dress, you did the right thing to stitch the pleats all the way down!

beangirl said...

I agree with everyone else that 1) the back is pulling a little bit because it could be taken out just a smidge (a SMIDGE,now) at the side seam and 2) who cares, because this is totally CUTE.

senaSews said...

I think this dress is cute! I've made it before and stitched down the pleats, too. For the wrinkles in the back: Maybe you can hide them under a cardigan!

Adelaide B said...

I believe that a little black cardigan will solve all ills with all dresses. It's one of the tenants of my life.

Sue said...

You will be the one always standing against the wall at parties, but I don't think you need worry, it is a cute dress!

Lisette M said...

I don't know what to say about the wrinkles in the back, but the dress looks awfully cute from the front. You can always find a wall to lean prettily against...

Anonymous said...

I like this dress. Think I'll be making one too! With regards to the back fitting issues, these are my thoughts. I mentally divide fitting issues into pinches and tugs. Pinches mean there is too much fabric because you can pinch it out. Tugs mean something is too tight somewhere. When I look at the dress I want to give it a good tug at the back hem. So like everyone else, I think you need more room in the back, but only in the hip area on the back pattern piece. An FBA (full bottom adjustment)might be needed. Swayback adjustments are sometimes FBA's in disguise!

Faye Lewis said...

Yes it is cute, especially with your cowgirl boots!

Gail said...

I'm seen some versions of this dress that just didn't work out. You've done a great job and even managed to make its fairly conservative style look really trendy.

Marie-Christine said...

I 3rd (or 4th, I forget) the addition of a smidgen to the back, and not just to the butt but to the whole back.
You might also want to experiment with.. a slip. It's a winter problem, when you wear tights and you wear thick un-slick knit, sometimes they catch a bit on each other, and even a subtle degree of it can emphasize all kinds of things back there.
If it's any consolation, I think it's like those things that look transparent when shot with a flash - most likely your back looks fine in real life, and certainly in motion. It's a great-looking dress, it'd be a shame to get paranoid on it.

Stef said...

Hey, I love this dress! And your sleeve modification, with the darts, is the bee's knees.

Thanks for rebutting Burda's comment about not stitching the pleats down. Though perhaps us small-busted ladies could be using that vast unstructured bodice cavity to store our handbags when we want our hands free? Maybe Burda was on to something there. ^__^

FWIW, I think the back will be fine for everyday wear, but I also support all of the folks above me that say that a slip makes everything better. Great job on another awesome dress!

Anonymous said...

Maybe try the dress with a different bra - that can make a huge difference with those back "dewlaps" as you call them!
In any case, it is a very cute dress and you should wear it happily.

amber said...

I really like this one!

Vicki said...

Very cute. And with a knit it moves with you so I'm sure the back will not stay looking like that all the time...which doesn't look that bad anyway!