Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Burda 10-2011-123, Wrap Dress with Flounce

Burda 10-2011-123 Thumbnail

When I was in New York a couple years ago, Kashi talked me into some gorgeous but expensive ($18/yd) double-sided wool.  The right side is a beautiful lustrous turquoise, and the underside is a rich black.  At the time, it was my most expensive fabric ever, so of course it was a huge dilemma of what to make with it.  I wanted to be able to use both sides of the fabric in a subtle way.

This has been on the list for a while, and I took advantage of a burst of cold weather a couple weeks ago to get it done and wear it.  Though tracing and cutting took a bit of time, the dress was actually fairly quick to put together.

Right Front with Extension
So when I got the magazine, Burda 10-2011-123 really jumped out at me.  As you can see on the left, the flounce is cut in an improbable shape and ends up showing both sides of the fabric. Tany made this shortly after the magazine came out and I just loved hers. 
Pin Tie Into Dart

This dress comes in long, longer, and longest versions.  As I am short, shorter, and shortest, that didn't work for me.  I shortened it 3 inches from the shortest (non-flounce) iteration, which was about 4 inches shorter than the medium-length flounce version.  As you can see, I had to shorten the flounce extension quite a bit.

For the flounce to sit nicely in the completed garment, I had to arrange it and then take a few hand tacks, but this strange shape makes a surprisingly handsome flounce.Pin Facing Over Dart

The tie construction on the flounce side of the dress is rather ingenious.  There is a dart between the flounce and the skirt portion of the dress, and the tie is enclosed in that dart.

The instructions are, unsurprisingly, hopeless, so I gleaned most of my construction knowledge from Tany's blog post and photos.

The neckline is finished with a facing.  Stitch the facing in place first.

Next, pin the tie into the dart on the right side, as shown at left.

Next fold the facing over the dart and stitch in place, enclosing the tie.  You might want to double stitch to ensure the tie stays in place.

Finished Facing Inside
Finished Tie Outside

This gives you a neat finish on the inside and the outside, as you can see from these photos.

With Tie
Unfortunately, once I tried the dress on, I was really unhappy with it.  After staring at it for a bit, I identified the tie as one of the things I didn't like.

Although it is not a problem on Tany's version, on mine I felt that the tie and flounce were too much together.  It doesn't look bad in this photo, but I think that's because the way I'm angled hides the flounce a bit.  It was just weird and unbalanced.
Stitch in Ditch

So off came the ties.  To keep the dress together I stitched in the ditch at the two front darts, as you can see at right.

Then I inserted an invisible zip into the center back seam so I could get it on and off.  I am a whiz at invisible zips in an open seam, she said modestly, but sewing one into a seam closed at both ends is a whole other issue.  There are tiny bobble at both top and bottom, but in the end I think it's fairly invisible.

Front BackUnfortunately, I still don't *love* the dress.  A dress without a waist seam just does not work for me.  I thought this would be ok because it's a wrap dress, but of course then it ended up not being a wrap dress!  In a softer fabric this might work, but the wool has a fair amount of body and looks sort of boxy.

The back is a hot mess.  I need to take in those released darts quite a bit so it's not so bunchy back there--maybe even un-release them.

However, I do get to show off both sides of the fabric and better to have sewn a Too Good to Use into a not-perfect project than to let it sit on the shelf forever, right?

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


Ana Stepalica said...

Lovely dress!
Hehe, I'm almost 100% sure it's the same fabric I bought in NYC back in November last year. I didn't use both sides of the fabric since I really liked the green side.

M Kate said...

I know that Too Good fabric dilemma well...ugh! I think this could be a really great dress for you, so I hope you don't give up on it. It looks GREAT with a belt. Maybe the back needs more dart shaping since the fabric isn't so drapey? It just looks a little big to me, but seems so close! The color alone makes it worth a rescue attempt :-).

sewing spots said...

Neat and unique! I like it with its original belt--looks balanced with it.

a little sewing said...

I completely agree that it is better to sew the good stuff than to let it sit on the shelf. I did that recently - I used up a wool stretch crepe and neither the skirt nor the cardigan lived up to my expectations. I am still glad I sewed it.

The other problem with fabric like this, is that - how often do you sew a wool doubleknit? I know, not often (not me anyway) so I don't feel like I am a good predictor of what will work and what won't. I suspect that dress might work very well for you in a drapier fabric.
That's my free two cents on the subject :0

a little sewing said...

I meant double-sided wool.
Yeah, I have some of that on my shelf, too.

Gypsy Love said...

I actually think this is cute... im 5'1 so i know the whole short thing. if it were me i would defiantly fix the back and i would also probably hem it up a bit more. I think there is a fine line for work appropriate, but i also find on myself that im so short that things that are hemmed right to my knee actually look like they are too long. making them look boxy. I took a piece of paper and blocked out the bottom of your dress and i think its cute a bit shorter.

kathy said...

I liked the wideness of the original belt. Perhaps, taking in the back, and finding a wider belt (in same-color blue) would make this shine. I think the black belt is competing with the flounce. (hi yah!) Such a cool flounce.

kms handmade said...

I really like it! I see that the back could stand to have less fabric, but I think it looks grat with the black belt!

Karin said...

You are right, it looks much, much better with your own belt rather than the matching sash which is just to busy with the flounce. I was loving this dress till I saw the back. It does seem really big in the back. I hope you can take it in enough to sort it out, because the front picture is really attractive.

T. Sedai said...

I do like it with the contrast belt better than the self fabric - I think it helps give the illusion of a waist seam. I think maybe if you take in the back a bit more it will look better? It almost looks like there is too much fabric... Anyway, I think the front is beautiful and I love the flounce - hopefully you can tweak it into a dress you really love, there is great potential with this design.

Faye Lewis said...

I'm a sucker for a wrap dress. I really like yours.

lsaspacey said...

Remember, you can always turn it into a skirt if you can't get the above-waist looking the way you want.

Carol said...

I've been on the fence with this dress. Like you, I have trouble with un-waisted things. The fabric is lovely and it really suits you and I agree about the fine flounce; it looks great. Still not convinced it's right for me, though.

Elizabeth Made This said...

I definitely like it best with the RTW belt. The double face is really pretty.

I sympathize with the lack of the waist seam problem. Maybe someday someone will make a wrap dress for small waisted people!

Karen said...

I think this dress has too much potential to give up on, if you took in the back and did a colored belt, yellow or red maybe I think it would look great. You are so talented I know you could make it work and I hate to see you give up on your pricey wool.

velosews said...

I'm 5'2" on a great day and I'm also realising that I can't wear too much on my waist as well. You've done lots to tweak this pattern and I think you'll have it sitting nicely soon. Good choice with the double sided fabric on the ruffle.

Uta said...

That's such gorgeous fabric! I think it looks very nice from the front, and knowing me I'd leave the back as is, too - hey, I can't see my own back can I? With the darts taken in it'll be perfect, though!

Mrs. Micawber said...

The front is absolutely smashing! You've got a lot of fabric to play with in back - you could easily re-cut it and add a waist seam with nice tailored darts - even double darts. It's such a clean design I think they'd work. Or, of course, just put in some good long tapering darts. I think the self tie might work if it were tied on the flounce side - but the belt looks great. Such nice fabric, it's worth tweaking.

Lori said...

Your belt makes all the difference in the world. I think taking it in a bit in the back will make lots of difference. The color of the fabric looks wonderful on you.

Anonymous said...

I hope you can make the back fit, because I think it looks great in front with a belt. But if it won't come together, I agree with Isaspacey that it would make a great skirt.

Anna Bartels said...

I think this dress could be saved. Although, I think it would have worked better in a more drapey fabric. I see two fit areas of concern. One area is the back: you could take in those darts a bit more. Second fit area is the armscye. When I see the dress on you, it seems that there some wrinkles pointing directly to the armscye. I wonder if the shape of the armscye is not complementing your shoulder shape. Maybe shoulder seam is too small. Not totally sure, but something not quite right with that area.

I think the fabric is awesome, I would not give up on this yet. I think with a few alterations this could be salvageable. If you don't feel like doing the alterations, take it to tailor. Then you can move on to the next creation. :-) I sometimes do that.

Clio said...

From the front and styled with the black belt, it really looks nice! Once you get the back worked out, I bet you'll be much happier with it.

meli88a said...

The flounce is perfect for showing off the double face of that wool.

The front looks great, the back... I agree. Can you spend all your time with your back against a wall when wearing this dress?

McVal said...

That flounce in front is adorable!