Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Burda 08-2009-116, Knit Cowl Dress

Burda 08-2009-116 Thumbnail

I love me a cowl neck, so when I saw Burda 08-2011-116 I knew I had to try it.  Several months ago I sat with Cidell while she cleaned up her sewing area (sometimes you just need company).  I came home with quite a haul, including this knit.  It's not something I would have picked out for myself because the neutral color is brown and I just.don't.wear.brown.  But I really love the colors in it and was itching to make it up.

I didn't have enough fabric to lay out the front and back as single pieces, so I cut it at the waist and added an elasticated waistband (I was going to need some waist definition no matter how it was cut).  This turned out to be fortuitous.

Interface Back Collar



To make sure I got a good shape at the back collar, I interfaced it before stitching.  The back collar is cut onto the front piece so be sure not to extend into the front cowl.  You don't want a stiff cowl!

Very Droopy Front
 
Giant Ease






The challenge with a cowl is to find the fine line between skimpy and ginormous.  Burda crossed that line, and then went all the way around the earth and crossed it again.  The cowl on this thing is just huge.

I don't know what it would look like one me without the waistband, but you can see all that extra fabric drooping down over it.

It was too late to do anything about it at the neckline, but it was not too late to save my waistline from total obscurity.

Pattern Twinning








And then there was this monstrosity.  Pattern twinning is my nemesis.  I don't even understand how it happens, I only know that it happens to me all the time.  So I ripped out a whooooole lot of serging (it was a multi-day project), taking the front bodice off  the waistband and removing the skirt from the lower edge of the waistband entirely.
 

Shorten Bodice Front at Waist


I re-attached the front bodice to the waistband, shortening by about 1 3/4 inches at the center, tapering to nothing at the side.







Front
Back






I moved the skirt seam (the skirt is a tube with one seam in it) to the side, where the twinning would be less noticeable.

The before and after isn't majorly striking, but I do think you can see a difference in how much fabric is puddling in the front and my waist is visible.

Use Candle To Soften Cut Edge of Boning










Now came the question of how to keep the cowl in place.


I have heard of commercial cowl tops putting a little weight into the cowl facing that you tuck under the center bridge of your bra to keep the cowl neatly in place. So I went with that idea.

I thought that boning inserted into a casing and tucked under the bra might do the trick. I use cable ties for boning--much cheaper and not all curled up like plastic boning from Joann. 



Insert Boning Into Casing



Just cut off a piece of a suitable size. Plastic boning and cable ties alike are very sharp when cut; I find the easiest way to smooth the sharp edges is melting them with a candle.  Once the edges were smoothed, I inserted the boning into a little channel I'd made.


Attach Sticks to Cowl Facing



For this particular dress, I found that one attachment point at the center was not going to be enough to keep the cowl in place.  Through experimention, I found that two sticks placed as pictured were good to keep people from being able to peer directly into my top.

I wore it with the sticks tucked in the first time and they were a good idea and on the right track, but completely ineffective.  I realized I needed some way to keep them firmly in place.

Bra Attachment




So I sewed a snap on them.  I apologize for the blurry picture, but you get the idea.  One stick goes in front, one in back, and you snap them together below the bra.  It really works a treat!



No Gape






As you can see here, even with the giant cowl there is no gape. 





Front













I am pretty sure this is the first and only time I'll say this, but I think McCall 6069 is a better pattern for me in this style.  *gasp*  Who would have thought it of the Big 4?  I really like the back collar and cut-on sleeve detail of the Burda, but hooboy the fit is a problem.  I need to eventually compare the pattern pieces and see if I can come up with an acceptable hybrid.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

36 comments:

Carole Mellin said...

You clever little seamstress! I am going to have to get some cable ties. What a great idea!

T. Sedai said...

Love this dress! Seems like I am seeing a lot of people sewing up this pattern lately. Makes me feel like I want to try it too. I like all your improvements - defining a waste is a big improvement on the original pattern.

I hope you do a hybrid cowl neck dress - I would love to see your process to create the ultimate cowl draped dress.

Hoosiermama said...

Cable ties? Cable ties! (My husband only had about 500 of those.) You aced this one! [I actually had a vintage dress once upon a time that had a weight (a large metal washer) that hung from a string that was attached to bottom point of the wide V-neck. Dropped inside the bra it did a great job of keeping the neckline against the body.] Your alterations worked great and the idea of using cable ties for boning is pure genius.

M Kate said...

I am also anti-brown (six years of brown & brown plaid in Catholic School - definitely hid stains :-)) but this print is really lovely on you! Great fixes moving the center skirt seam to the side AND adding the "bra retainer" as Melissa of Fehr Trade calls it. Giving them some structure does make a difference! I want to try both of your cowl patterns now. Well done!

Cennetta said...

Trena, Great save on this cute cowl neck dress. This is one that I would have passed up because of the shapelessness. I like the elasticize waist. Thank you for the tip on how to keep the cowl in place.

CGCouture said...

Good save on the "twinning"! And this is the second time this week I've seen someone reference those little things to help hold the front where it belongs, I'm definitely going to have to try that. I've got a couple of cowl-necked items that I always have to take off with a groan when I remember I haven't brushed my teeth yet....

Sheree said...

I really love this fabric and it looks like the sort of dress that you will feel so comfortable in, you will wear again and again. Thanks for the tip on using a cable tie. It has never crossed my mind to do this, but come to think of it I must have been exposing more than I would have wished for in the past at work!! Oh, dear.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

It is interesting that both you and AllisonC. made the same dress and came to the same conclusion that this dress definitely benefits from some waist definition. Glad you were able to work it out!

Ripple Dandelion said...

Majorly impressed at your recutting on the back. Twinning is a big problem for me too--lots of Murphy's Law at work! Your efforts definitely are appreciated here on your blog; the non-twinned back looks fabulous.

Val said...

Oh my goodness! You're clever!!! Who would have thought of boning for a cowl neck?
awesome.

Adelaide B said...

OOO, this looks really good on you, both fabric and style. I am always reluctant to wear brown, and then it always looks so good. It can be tricky that way. (Also, I had to buy some brown shoes.)

HeathersSphere said...

I adore the fabric print! Your persistence and problem solving strategies worked out to create a very flattering cowl neck dress.

Faye Lewis said...

You did a wonderful job with your dress. Love the print.

Shannon said...

This looks great on you! I love the fabric and the changes you made to the dress. Great job!

AllisonC said...

The finished dress looks fantastic, that really is a great print too. I just made this dress again too and while I have to add a belt for waist definition I didn't find the cowl itself to be too big for me. This makes me think that if you do ever make up that Butterick 5749 you asked me about you will need to do some major adjustments.

Lori said...

Your finished dress looks fantastic, all the adjustments were worth it in the end. Great job.

Nancy K said...

Good save. The cowl would be too big on a taller woman, but on someone petite it was overwhelming. Great save.

Irene said...

I have just about given up on cowls staying where they should, and therefore on cowls in general, so I thank you for the tip on keeping it in place. I have tried a drape weight sewn on the inside, but that still doesn't quite do the trick.
Great job on the dress!

Carol said...

What a brilliant idea for a cowl saver! You are incredible. It's a lovely dress.

KathleenS said...

Good work with your improvements. The finished dress looks good on you - I think those colours really suit you.

emadethis said...

What a clever solution to the gape problem. I love your cowl posts because I always walk away with ideas for fixing my own cowl dilemmas. I really like the added waist--it really helps balance the dress. I'm surprised too to find you preferring a McCalls'--my only thought is that sometimes Burda gets over the top in the proportion of some of their details...I'm remembering a scarf top that I can wrap around my neck no less than 3 times.

Summer Flies said...

Great - finally I can say I don't like brown! I see some others have also said it.

I really like the dress on you... you have improved the look with waist elastic. And even with the brown I notice the purple more! )

carole said...

Great job! I also LOVE the triangle back sheath. Can I ask , what type of needle and what kind of stitch are you using on the knit?

Inkstain said...

Love your last two projects. I'm getting itchy to try this Burda dress and both you and Allison have produced lovely results with it.

kbenco said...

This is a really helpful review, thanks, because I am planning my summer wardrobe, it being the middle of winter, and wanted to try this dress. It looks great on you with the fixes.

Mary said...

I love this on you, and as always, picked up a tip or two. Twinning-->that happened to me last week, but I am going to live with it.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for a long time and I am always amazed at your sewing. Just one suggestion, and it has nothing to do with sewing, change your shoe style. The type of shoe you currently wear look very frumpy and shoes have the ability to make or break an outfit. There are plenty of shoes that look better and are comfortable too.

I hope I don't offend or hurt you; it's not you, it's the shoes.

Gabrielle said...

Great save! The final dress is really nice on you. I'll have to try to remember these smart ideas for a cowl neck - what bliss to not have to worry about gaping /showing everything. I really like the shape of them in theory but they tend to look dreadful on me, I suppose because I don't have a lot to fill out all the loose fabric :-).

Vicki said...

Well here I am sitting in brown leggings, brown knit top and brown boots. My brown jacket is next to me along with the brown and pink scarf...haha! Well I hope you don't hate me now. Very cute dress and I the brown doesn't stand out at all.

gwensews said...

You made it work! Ingenious. That print is very stylish, and the color does work for you. I really like your triangle dress, also.

Lisa said...

Hello...just found your blog and I love it! I have perused a bit and love one of your older posts on dressing a pear shape (that's how I found your blog).

I really don't sew..but I have a machine and have been considering taking a Saturday sewing class to brush up my skills.

I don't see a gadget to follow your blog....

http://www.waltzerl.blogspot.com

dreamingahome said...

Hi! I like to start by saying that I really like the save you did on the cowl and the excess bagging. It looks far better now that you've made the changes.

I do have a question, though. I have no idea what "twinning" means and searching the interwebs isn't giving me a definition I understand. I'll blame it on being a relative newbie to the terminology, OK?

Thanks for showing your fixes and giving a terrific review.

:) Liz

Kyle said...

OMG on the twinning--you saw that recently happened to me too!
Allison C also recently made this dress and did something similar with the cowl. Great minds think alike, obviously!
Anyway, what a lot of work for this dress. Final result looks great!

Claire S. said...

Nice job - those cowls seem to be pesky things - of course I haven't actually made one yet LOL

French Seam said...

Genius ! cable ties? You are a genius !

americci said...

Lovely dress..... Love the fabric ... It suits you... Well done
Cheers Mike