Wednesday, December 16, 2009
While I was in Spain I managed to find three issues of Patrones. The first (the one this dress comes from, which was the most recent at the time) I picked up my first night at a regular ol' newsstand on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. This is the main tourist drag, not exactly a hotbed of sewing. Can you imagine being able to get Patrones at whatever newsstand you happen to pass? Crazy! The other two I found in the train station in Sevilla. Random back issues of Patrones, just sitting there. I bought two copies of each, one for me and one for Cidell. The woman working the newsstand was baffled, but I explained that I had una amiga who wanted them also.
One of the things that's great about Patrones is the photography is appealing and fashion-y (not catalog), but at the same time actually shows the clothes. What a novel idea. Alas, this dress came from a spread where the dresses were just laid out flat, so I couldn't tell what it would look like on a person. However, it looked cute, I loved the line drawing, and it seemed well suited to some fabric I'd gotten from G Street's $2.97/yd table back in October so I traced it out. Although I can translate Patrones instructions without too much trouble, there was nothing confusing about this so all I checked was the collar application (fold in half, right sides together, and stitch across short ends and to markings for tie ends; turn right side out, fold wrong sides together along unfinished edges and serge to the neckline).
Although I knew I was going to sew down the pleats in the Burda 06-2009-101 knit dress, I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the front bodice pleats here. Sewing them shut would defeat the purpose of the design, but I also didn't want any bagginess. I sewed them about 3/4 of an inch past the seam line at the top and bottom before putting the dress together. While I normally hate baggy, somehow I really like the look of these blousy pleats. They have a bit of a 1920s vibe. I always feel like the 20s are due for a revival, and there is usually something on the runway to evoke them. For Spring 2010 Proenza Schouler had an art deco vibe going in some of its pieces; here's another look from Balmain. Nobody really went full on 20s inspired (though I haven't looked at all the shows), but the ideas are there.
I was somewhat short on fabric based on what the pattern called for, so I did not use the skirt pattern. My fabric was 60 inches wide, so I just cut a rectangle and then eyeballed approximately even pleats all around. It was a little fussy and I probably could have just used the pattern and saved myself some trouble, but the skirt flows well and is fun to wear so whatever.
This pattern is called "Vestido Manga Larga," which means "Dress with Long Sleeves." I had to cut the sleeves on the cross grain due to my somewhat limited fabric, but I have not noticed any ill effects. Because I was cutting on the crossgrain I had plenty of room for length and cut them really long. I do the sleeve and lower hem last on a project, so I was fussing with the sleeves trying to get them to look right. I experimented with gathering them up or having them very long but it just wasn't looking great. Finally I pinned them up to 3/4 length and WOW what a difference it made. It reduced the target age for the style by at least 10 years. It had been kind of matronly looking, and suddenly it was young and fresh. It was startling how much a small alteration changed the entire look. To add a little interest to the sleeve I added an inverted pleat at the hem. This means it is snug below the elbow, and the blousing echoes that of the bodice.
What I really loved about this pattern was the loose cowl-y collar and tie. Unfortunately, the tie really disappears in my dark fabric. I'm not sure a lighter fabric would be that much better because a knit bow is always going to be floppy. It took me several experiments to tie the tie right; the key, it turns out, is not making a knot first. I keep thinking I should tie it perfectly and then hand sew to keep it from ever coming untied, but I'm not sure it will work. The tie is rather heavy when tied in a bow, which distorts the shape of the neckline a little bit and pulls it open. If you look closely you can see that my clear bra strap is a little exposed.
I am happy with the way this dress turned out. The style is fun and a little different than I would usually wear. And I'm glad to have sewn from my Patrones!
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.