Saturday, March 10, 2018

BurdaStyle cocktail dress 07-2017-124 in blue wool crepe - all the details and final photos

Sometimes you see a sewing pattern and know you must make it. That's how I felt when I saw a BurdaStyle pattern last summer, I immediately told my friend Heather that I had the perfect pattern in mind for the next time she needed something in the formal/cocktail dress category. The result was fantastic and I told her I want to make another version quickly while I still have all the little adjustments and customizations fresh in my mind. A denim sleeveless version for summer is my suggestion, maybe a charcoal grey/black.

But time to talk about this version. And for those of you who like sewing and construction details, there will be plenty. Usually I like to write longer posts and ramble on but today will be lots of photos with fewer words. My to-do list for the weekend is way too long and tomorrow I will be at Hello Stitch Studio all day, teaching a zipper class in the morning, a couple of private lessons mid-day, a Bay Area Sewists Meetup in the the afternoon, and if time permits a stop at Stone Mountain Fabrics on the way home.

The dress:  BurdaStyle 07/2017 # 124. The fabric is wool stretch crepe (labeled Oscar de la Renta) from Mood Fabrics and it was sensational to sew. Just a dream fabric and the color was gorgeous as well. Really exceeded my expectations and at $ 30 per yard seemed a bargain for the quality.

Blue wool dress on H front view2

When Heather and her daughter came over to pick up the dress and the Hemisféric coat (which I previously posted) the sun was rapidly setting when we took pictures. I have adjusted the brightness in the various photos so the details are visible and thus the color looks different than the real thing.

The BurdaStyle website photo has the model sitting down, actually kind of lounging which looks very elegant and seductive, but is not great for showing how the dress actually looks on a real person. But no matter - that neckline and seaming was enough to convince me. This is a Burda Plus pattern, so European size range 44-52 which roughly translates to bust measurements of 39 inches to 50 inches.

blue wool dress

Technical drawing and the pattern pieces. Obviously a couple of substantial changes, I omitted the front drape, which was nice in theory but in reality was a bit bulky. The dress bodice and neckline have enough glamour that we felt it was a bit much in terms of design details and opted to make it a sleeker look. And then of course sleeves. It's winter after all. So she wanted sleeves and I would too in a wool dress to wear to a evening event in February.

blue wool dress

This one definitely goes in the category of advanced or complex patterns, with both the sewing and the fitting requiring a good amount of attention. Above are jus a few of the pattern pieces.

I've made a number of Burda patterns for Heather and I think they are really great (my fav being this one). Do you know this phrase "there's nothing like a convert"? Used  to describe someone who  became a Catholic prior to marrying into our family. Implying their enthusiasm is perhaps a bit more fervent. Lately that's how I feel about Burda - since I am a recent convert to using their patterns. I find they have a really good selection of different patterns and their plus size patterns are outstanding. Sure, they have the typical number of goofy things that look ridiculous on anyone as all pattern companies do, but for garments with details, tailored separates, jackets and coats, the selection is great and I am always telling students to check out Burda.

Sewing details: here's a look at the dress on the form, probably mostly basted together. I never take out the tailor's tacks threads until I'm mostly done, it's not a problem to leave them when you stitch and then I feel like if I need to make any fitting changes my roadmap is still there.

blue wool dress

She has narrow shoulders and a full bust so that can be tricky for fitting. So many women tell me that if they buy something that fits in the bust it can be swimmingly large in the neck and shoulders. And that's why we sew - to make what works and fits nicely. Since this dress actually was designed to be sleeveless the relatively narrow shoulder straps worked in favor of a good fit.

You probably know my sewing motto: More Interfacing!  here's a side by side look at some of the places I added interfacing.

blue wool dress

Left is the garment neckline facings, right is with the facings flipped up so you can see that both the dress edges and the neckline facings are interfaced, it makes the edge of the V-neckline hold its shape  well. Also the strap area, interfaced on the garment side. Similar interfacing on the back neckline.

Blue wool dress back view

I'm really happy with the fit in the back as well. We lowered the V in the back, about 2 inches lower than the original pattern.

Also with those inside of the dress photos you can really see all the seaming and darting. I wish I had taken a picture during the muslin stage but was too busy actually finishing. I might try to add some of the adjustment info in an upcoming post as you might not believe it but I raised the center V in the front about 1 inch. Not an exercise for the faint-hearted.

blue wool dress

As that involved redrawing the angle of the seams and making sure the bottom of the V remained in the exact center. And I also took out some gaping across the upper chest.  This was an epic project in the fitting stages but it paid off in the end.


blue wool dress

Sleeves - a slight challenge. I actually used a sleeve from a Butterick pattern that I had which was standard two-piece sleeve, measured the armhole circumference on the dress and then made the sleeve match, plus fit her comfortably. It has minimal ease which I think looks quite good and results in a very smooth sleeve cap. Plus this fabric has a touch of lycra so the sleeve armhole and the dress armhole could be very close in measurement and still be comfortable.


Heather blue dress view 3

We played around with the sleeve length but decided that long sleeves looked most elegant. Getting dark when I took this photo and the flash went off - which actually makes the seaming visible. Now picture this dress with the pleated overlay - just too much fabric and not as sleek. Although in a silk or other light fabric it would be very pretty.


blue wool dress

I never put in the zipper until I have the final fitting worked out. Then I pin fit the garment on the body, mark a line of pins where the stitching of the zipper should be, then run a thread trace on one side. That way I can put in the zipper later whenever it's convenient.


blue wool dress

And sometimes the top of the zipper comes out perfectly :) why doesn't this happen every time? but I'm glad this one did.

blue wool dress

When it comes to linings I like to wing it. I created a front lining piece by overlaying the front pattern pieces together and including the vertical and horizontal darts to make a one piece, cut-on-the-fold front lining fabric, and then for the back and sleeves used the regular pattern pieces. I sewed it mostly together on the machine, and then used the dress form to pin the lining in place, folding the top edge over and pinning.

blue wool dress

I hand stitched the lining into the dress, which gives so much better control and placement. Also I had tacked down the facings where possible to the seam allowances so that neckline is not going to shift at all.

blue wool dress

For the edges of the walking vent I end up encasing the edges in the lining fabric, and did the same for the bottom hem edge.

Blue wool dress H3

Heather called this her bombshell dress and I agree - she looks fantastic. I kind of wish I need something similar just for the fun of making it. But no fancy events on my calendar right now so it will just have to be an idea saved for later.

Time to get back to my to-do list, the day is ticking by and we lose an hour tonight. But I'm not complaining, more light in the evening, spring is just about here, hurrah!

Up next, I have been trying to make a jacket with some wool I bought at Mood in 2016, the plan is all figured out, I just need to get started. I've been sewing some Bondi dresses from Tessuti patterns as we are doing a dress class in April at Hello Stitch. We will have all the sizes sewn up so you can try on and figure out what size to sew before cutting into your fabric. Good idea, right?  Also on May 25 is Pattern Hacks: Adjust the Bust which will be a hands-on pattern manipulation class where we will go through all kinds of bust adjustments on pattern templates.

Happy Daylight Saving Sewing,
Beth

and one more of Heather in her Burda dress with Sara in her Pauline Alice patterns Hemisféric coat. 
One more reason I like to sew with wool - the colors are so beautiful.

H and S wearing wool outfits1


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18 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous dress! Beautiful fit and such a lovely color.

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  2. You did a magnificent job of fitting and sewing this dress. The big smile tells how much Heather likes it. She looks beautiful!

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  3. Beautiful! Oh I wish I could attend one of your classes.... or all of them!

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  4. Wow! This is an amazingly beautiful dress! I can see why you say changing the neckline is not for the faint hearted. I will definitely try to find some Burda patterns. I've never sewn one.

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  5. Gorgeous! I will have to put this dress on my list. I have been a Burda convert too, but only after I came back to sewing after a break of many years. I subscribed without really knowing what I was getting myself in to. Those notoriously vague instructions forced me to up my game, so to speak. I am a better sewer now because of it. I do find that the Burda fit is a more realistic and the alterations that I make tend to be consistent from pattern to pattern.

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  6. Beautiful! You're a fitting wizard.

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  7. Wow, that dress looks fantastic. Bravissimo!

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  8. Beautiful and sophisticated. Lucky Heather! I agree that wool is such a fantastic material to wear and to work with.

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  9. Oh, what lovely work you do! If the opportunity arises, would you consider a post on how - and why - you place the taylor's tacks? I understood more of "the why" of interfacing placement in today's post; your description and photos made the lightbulb go off over my head. Thus, I'd be interested in your thinking about the taylor's tacks. Lovely dress, Beth.

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  10. You've done an impeccable job, of planning, re-styling, cutting, and sewing.
    I love your Beautiful Perfectly Fitted Dress!

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  11. Such masterful pattern manipulation and garment sewing! I love the fit you achieved, and thank you for sharing the details. Your friend looks amazing!

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  12. Wow! Beautiful job! It looks lovely on her. I love the details.

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  13. Beautiful dress. Your friend and her daughter look lovely in their outfits. Thank you for sharing so much information in your “quick” post.

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  14. The final dress is outstanding!! What a fit! Thank you for documenting your process so well, it's always good to be reminded that for good results, you have to put in the time!

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  15. Fantastic dress! I love it.

    As another narrow-ish shouldered, full busted woman I'd love to learn all about how you fitted this, and raised the neckline too.

    It would never have occurred to me that you could leave the drape off of this and keep the interesting seaming. I would have just passed it by. How do you notice that kind of thing? Maybe time for another pattern whisperer post?

    And, finally, $30/yd? Owieee. I'm sure it was a great value. And back when I had more money I might have considered it. But these days, I have to think really hard about anything over $5/yd after coupons, especially since being a plus means I always need a lot of fabric.

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  16. What a stunning dress! I have a crepe fabric in a similar colour waiting to turn into a dress, you certainly inspired me. Heather looks very lovely in her custom fit dress!

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  17. You have to be very brave and patient to raise that neckline!!! Love all the interfacing and lining attached at the end! Zippers...my life is removing and re-attaching every day and those little suckers have a mind of their own. This dress would fit and look killer on my client, Nancy. What a cool pattern to give a woman a waist and highlight all her best features! Great job, Beth!

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  18. What a fabulous dress you made. Very flatter fit and color.

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