Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fun with Stripes: Burda Asymmetric Sheath dress 04/2016 # 119B

Here's something I sewed a few weeks ago and I just can't warm up to it. Which I attribute entirely to the color. Or non-color, to be more accurate. As I have mentioned before, I just don't like to wear black very much. Or solid navy blue for that matter. Let's include brown in that category, and beige. Just not a fan of any of those colors. On the other hand if it is a bright color then I am happy. Actually that is the bottom line - I think I'm just one of those people who react to color a lot and particularly bright and saturated colors.

Which is a long way round of saying that while I really like this style and shape, and the actual fabric is quite nice, but the final result is just not giving me a thrill. Also it is really difficult to find vertically striped fabrics. Although when I found this at Stone Mountain the rational side of my brain told me "oh this will be really suitable for that pattern, and make a nice and interesting wardrobe basic".

Ok, enough yammering, here it is.  (note - drawing results on previous post's pattern giveaway at the end of this post)


I saw this pattern in the April issue and knew I wanted to sew it. But just needed to find the vertically striped fabric. I think I have seen other versions on line, particularly this version  which is in a color way that I love. Her stripes are all going the different way than mine, I think she used a horizontally striped fabric and rotated the pattern pieces. In any case I wanted to sew it like the pattern was designed, also I have something where I cut a knit with disregard for the direction of stretch and will never do that again! By the way, I don't buy the Burda magazines, I just purchase the PDF's of patterns I want, which is maybe one or two every few months.

When I look at these photos on my computer the stripes make the images look really messed up - hopefully they are showing up properly here.

Front and back on the dress form. I don't think the stripes are supposed to line up in the front at all. To tell the truth I studied the example on the Burda website for a good 10 minutes, then when I traced out all the pattern pieces I carefully added marks so I could make some of the stripes across the bodice seams connect - but really to no avail. I concluded that it was not possible and even not necessary.

diagonal stripe on form front2  diagonal stripe back on form

See what I mean, check out that seam under the bust. I figured it should match (i.e. stripes intersect) at the center front and then it would also do so elsewhere - but of course it doesn't because it is a slightly curved seam, and not a 90˚ angle, in fact all the edges are curved and slice at different angles to each other. So don't bother with any matching. I could have sewed this a lot faster if I had skipped this effort.  Although the center back is a different - better - story. In that the is two sides that are mirror images so it does match there which I think looks nice.

diagonal stripe close up front neckline on form

For what looks like a simply shaped sheath dress I did a fair amount of fitting. I moved that small strap in just a quarter inch where it hits the neckline, just to make it easier to wear. I took it up at the shoulders a bit, standard adjustment for me as I am short. Added a little bit of length to the top bodice piece. Graded out in the hips, after starting with a Burda 38 bodice. Since it is a knit I made it on the slim side, although there is probably about 2 inches of ease in the waist.


Sewing details, I think in the instructions - which I did look at - tell you to put fusible interfacing on the seam edges. Which seemed like a bit of work but I just cut a bunch of the strips and then added the fusible to every edge. I think this makes a huge difference in helping to keep the dress in its shape  All those asymmetric seams press nicely and hold the curve as designed. I think it might stretch out or just not lay flat without the fusible. One of my sewing mottoes is "always more interfacing" so this project was no exception.

black stripe construction

diagonal sripe8

I thought about doing a full knit lining but decided it didn't need it, the fabric is nicely opaque and it didn't really need it. The facings provided by the pattern actually worked really well. I use some solid black knit fabric for the facing, and did interface the edges of the facings.

inside views diagonal stripe

diagonalstripe back view

I like the back neckline, but not so crazy about how the stripe worked out along the center seam in the skirt portion. It's hard to tell, even in the close ups but the stripes are white and blue. Not that the tiny bit of blue adds much. I did post a dress form pic of this dress on Instagram a while ago and it got a lot positive comments, so I will be interesting to see the reaction here.

Do you ever have a pair of shoes that you like when you look down at your feet but when you see them in pictures or catch a glimpse in the mirror they look strange? These black wedge sandals always get a try-on but actually get worn kind of rarely. Too many straps maybe? You can see in a couple of these photos I have on a different pair of even older black sandals. Which perhaps look better? See it pays to just keep stuff until it comes back in style, ha ha.

diagonal stripe7

Sewing for fall seems upon us - and my response to that is yuck! Fall fashions, fall sewing, change of seasons - no thank you! Look at all those fallen apples in my yard, yellow leaves, dry grass. I tolerate fall/winter and plan for spring.

How about an action shot? It is a shame that this giant apple tree is so productive, because the apples are terrible. One day a couple of weeks ago I picked up at least 100 apples and that was just the beginning stage of the apple onslaught. The squirrels and the birds like them and the shade is nice, Plus the blossoms in the spring are gorgeous. So apple tree reprieve.

diagonal stripe6

Next up - some striped t-shirts, another silk top which is actually a transitional fall piece, and I have just completed the pattern work (flat pattern adjustment and then a quick test muslin) for a wool dress and an interesting jacket.

Happy early fall sewing, 

For my previous post - the drawing for two patterns from my stash, will these readers please email me with your mailing addresses.
Robin - for the leather top pattern
PoldaPop - for the Vogue ballgown dress pattern   

There is an email button up at the top of the blog under my profile. 


  1. I love the dress. You are just used to seeing yourself in bright colors so it doesn't look right to you.
    If I could wear that size I would take it off your hands for you. ;-)

  2. I like the dress, but the color and the wider stripes on the one you linked to certainly make a better statement! I also like the shoes you're wearing in the apple shot better. We have two "cooking pear" trees - I had never heard of them before we moved here, but you have to cook the pears in order to bring out the good flavor. Neither my husband nor I are pear fans, so every morning I pick up almost 100 pears (many partially eaten by birds and squirrels) and then I give some to the chickens and some to the horse, so they don't go entirely to waste.

    I finally finished making a dress (started it 19 months ago) - only the second thing I've finished for myself - and wore it to church yesterday. I was very self-conscious (noticing things that I probably wouldn't notice in a store-bought dress), but I received tons of compliments, so hopefully I will have the confidence to move forward and make myself something else! I want to be a great seamstress like you, but I think my fear of failure has kept me from finishing anything. :-)

  3. I LOVE the dress. It is one of my favorite things you have made and I think it is very flattering on you. I also like the sandals in the apple shot best.

  4. I really like the front. Like you, I find the back a bit odd. The diagonal back skirt seams could be rotated to vertical, to better work with stripes.

  5. I like this dress, I like it on you-great work!

  6. too bad you don't like this. It's so well done. I like the front, and separately I really like the back lines- but maybe in a plain fabric. I couldn't wear those asymmetrical dresses either. But the tip about interfacing all the seams- wow, do I know a lot of instances to use that! I'm always learning from you!

  7. oh yeah- cider or applesauce is your best bet.

  8. Well I really like the dress and it looks really good on you. I happen to love stripes and navy blue so ...

  9. I really love that dress, it looks great on you. I don't wear black very well, so I can understand how the non-color bothers you. Could you add a bright necklace or a cardigan to brighten it up?

  10. I like the dress so much but understand about not liking certain colors in certain parts of the country. I just think the strength of the sun lets you wear and enjoy brighter colors. This dress would suit my Baltimore life but when we lived in southern Florida I would have felt drab.

  11. It's a beautiful make and very complimentary. You might try a solid pop of color, like a red or pink, which would both work with blue, such as in shoes and a cardigan or belt. The sandals are echoing the stripes, so maybe a solid pump. But really, it's a stunning dress, just more formal maybe than you're used to.

  12. When I first saw this I thought, this is so not typical of you, mainly because of the color. But, it's my color palette, or lack of it, and I love it. The shape and fit are really wonderful on you. I love to add some bright accents with my accessories. You might like it better with red shoes(my favorite) or a scarf in a bright print would be lovely as the weather gets cooler. I am on the lookout for some great silk prints to make some scarves. I actually like to hand roll hems. Anyway, maybe it will grow on you.

  13. Wow! What a beautiful dress! You are so talented.

  14. I know you're actively shunning fall but this fits right in with a jacket/cardigan. It looks fantastic on you.

  15. Beautifully done in every respect. Once you add a pop of contrast with an accessory or a jacket, you'll be good to go. It's too well done not to wear b/c the silhouette looks great and so does the fabric layout.

    White? Hot Pink? It would be great to see another photo with that experiment.

  16. I love your version of the dress. The others I have seen in sewing blog land, with their brighter wider stripes, make me want to ask, "Is the circus in town? Your dress is eminently more tasteful and wearable.

  17. Interesting that in the link you provided, more matching is possible with the horizontally striped fabric. Hmm. I like the pattern a lot; perhaps with a bright jacket on a cool day you'd enjoy these dark stripes. The apple photo sandals with the diagonal straps are much better. With the strappy sandals, I think the combination of the high contrast with your skin tone and the horizontal strap cutting your leg off at the ankle, is not as flattering.

  18. Lovely dress! I agree with the others that it looks great on you, and indeed a bit more formal, "for the office" than the versions ive seen with brighter or wider stripes. But i do hope you will wear it, since i think you look great in it. Then again, if i had your beautiful light blue eyes i would also want to wear that brighter shade of blue all the time instead of the darker shades of this dress. Anyway, I'm very glad you tried this pattern out because i have been thinking about it and with your advice i might finally take the plunge.

  19. Well, I really like the dress, but then I do love more sombre colours! I agree with you that the front is awesome and cool, the back less so. I think I would like the back better if it had some more cross-seaming to match the front. I reckon it would look absolutelyperfect worn with a pink or yellow cardigan, :)

  20. This dress is awesome! It just needs some color with a good necklace, bracelet, and colored shoes (since the black bothers you). I want to make one just like it!