Thursday, December 1, 2016

Burda 8/2016 # 124B in green plaid - bring on the holidays

Sometimes I get on a kick for sewing or wearing a particular color. While I have made the typical number of aqua, turquoise or blue items I have been favoring the color green this year. Of course if I make a coat in a specific color then I'm off and running trying to create other looks to be worn with the coat. Plus I see so many Burdastyle patterns on their website that have interesting details or shaping. Getting hard to resist a subscription to the magazine. The only thing that stops me is the tracing - far easier to buy the PDF patterns that I actually plan to sew.

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress view 1

This one is from Burda August, specifically Burda 08/2016 # 124B. Maybe not the best choice for plaid - it would have been lot easier in a solid color or some other type of pattern. But I think I succeeded with the fabric. Which has been telling me it needed to be a winter dress. I think I bought it last year at a sewing guild sale so maybe $ 3.00? (most times the fabric at these sales is $1 per yard, and rarely any identity as to fiber). It kind of behaved like wool but I'm sure it is not all wool - some kind of mystery blend. At least it is an even plaid (here is a really good example of an even plaid and then an uneven plaid).

Most of my pictures of this dress are not the greatest - my photographer friend is out of town so I will have to make do with these backyard shots. In any case, the dress form photos show the color most accurately as well as the details of the dress. And my plaid matching! which I am quite happy with considering a) that damn Dior dart, 2) not the best quality fabric, 3) center front and princess seams plus slant pockets made matching the skirt challenging at best (call it impossible).

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress side view

Burda 8-2016-124B pattern

Here is the actual pattern and illustration from the Burda website.  And now for a laugh. When I was hemming the sleeves I thought wow - I just have to turn up a normal hem allowance, like 1.5 inches instead of lopping off the usual 3-4 inches and then I noticed on the pattern photo that is the sleeve is designed to finish above the wrist - do they call this bracelet length? In any case - on me it is long sleeved length due to my short arms :)  I love a dress with this type of pockets, similar to my favorite dress pattern, Butterick 5455. Also looking at this illustration, due to fit adjustments I made on the skirt portion I might have made this green (is it teal?) dress a bit too A-line.  I might go back and narrow the skirt a bit.

Here's a better look at the pocket.

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress skirt pocket

And me with my hands jammed in the pockets. Not such a good look. It went from sunshine to starting to rain in a matter of 10 minutes as I did these photos - thus the dress looks a different color in every picture.

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress pockets view

Some sewing details. I think I've seen questions around asking how to get the front neckline to stay crisp and flat - this is a bit of a tricky one with this style where the neckline has a split and small V. The two sides of the neckline front do tend to not lay flat but often poke out a bit, spoiling the look. I'm fairly satisfied with this result, and it all has to do with  - what else? - interfacing.

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress interfacing center front

Sometimes I add interfacing for texture in addition to stability. This fabric is thin, almost like a lightweight flannel, so I added some fusible interfacing along the dress neckline and center front. But to stabilize the center V portion, plus the actual neckline I also added silk organza around the neckline and down the center front past where the seam starts. Silk organza is to me the miracle item for so many sewing projects in that it stabilizes without adding bulk, and created such a crisp finish to edges.

And now I will show you the inside of this dress. Slightly chagrined to do so. Because I recently read a post by Sherry of Pattern Scissors Cloth where she mentioned why she is not a fan of lining to the edge. I admire her sewing and blog greatly and concur with her points - yet I often do lining to the edge for any winter garment because I have an itch phobia, or mania? Anyway - I can't stand anything potentially itchy on my neckline so I must have lining there. You have seen my obsession with eliminating back neckline facings on coats (example here ). So lining to the edge it was for this dress. Now my miserly use of fabric scraps will be on full display. I hate to not use pieces of nice bemberg rayon lining so I save them for occasions just like this. Yes that is 4 colors of lining. I was happy to have enough of the matching green for the center front which was perfect and then the sleeves being black seemed to coordinate just fine. While I'm not a fan of novelty linings - this piece of purple was just enough for the skirt so there it is. Reduced the lining scrap bin by 4 pieces!

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress lining

In the interest of full disclosure I will show this photo of the back -poorly pressed. One of these days I might just spring for a custom dress form - that doesn't tilt :)

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress back on form

Here's a good shot of the dress in motion - like I mentioned, starting to rain so photo-wise we take what we can get. Which in this case is a nice blink. I am the queen of blinking, anyone else look at your photos and toss out at least half due to that? Hey when you are a kid and you get contact lenses they tell you to blink blink blink - some habits stick with us.

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress view4

As for fit on this pattern, it is a bit roomy but I did that on purpose. I can definitely "pinch an inch" at the waist. (check out this post for explanation on my "pinch an inch" philosophy - maybe I should trademark this :)  But this fabric has no stretch and I think it looks better with some room, plus allows you to sit comfortably and not be too wrinkled. I think a lot of people fit their dress so it looks good when standing still but life is not standing still in a blog photo pose - you need wearing ease to sit, move, put on your coat, slump at your desk, drive, whatever you are doing.

What about fitting yourself? This is a question I am often asked - and I agree, it is definitely tricky but can be done. First is the flat pattern measure - check the pattern and ADD extra where it might be needed, like side seams. I always give myself a 1" side seam which allows a lot of fitting insurance. But that often means taking it away later. More work but good for a perfect fit.

Here's a collage showing some of my fitting process. The dress is basted together, then I adjust the side seams to get the skirt/hip area to my liking. I pin it on the outside, both sides and then do a thread trace of the pins. This might sound like a lot of work but it's really not.

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress fitting collage

What I mean is since the pins are on the outside of the garment you need to transfer those indicators to the inside where you can actually stitch. then I flip the garment inside out, check out my thread trace on each side, kind of take the average of both sides and adjust the curve, and then machine baste the new seam line. It is marked here in yellow thread so you can see it. One other thing to note - no seam finishes - I never do anything on the inside of a item that is going to be lined, why bother and it just adds bulk to the seam allowance.

Burda 8-2016-124B green dress fitting side seam skirt

So that's the latest on my Burda dress sewing. I did buy another pattern - not sure why as it is awfully similar to this. I think I was trying to decide which one to go with. Perhaps I didn't choose the best one as I'm not so sure about those little darts in the princess seams. They seem so noticeable in all these photos but I don't see them when I look in the mirror. Just the lighting I hope.

Burda 8-2016-124B view3

As for the garden - at low ebb with nothing much going on, except tons of leaves everywhere. Since we haven't had much really cold weather the trees are hanging on to the leaves way longer than usual, meaning that raking won't be done for a good while. Oh well, it's good exercise!

By the way - despite this dress being green - really it is more of a teal, it doesn't look well with my green coat - so I will be wearing my trusty black wool coat with this one. What does winter mean to me? An opportunity to wear coats :)  If I worked in an office I would be wearing this dress often but since I don't the holidays are probably a good opportunity. The color seems Christmas-y to me.

Up next, I have stitched up quite a few not yet blogged knit tops in the last few months so a post about those, and then who knows. Wherever my mood takes me. Which might be to my Mood fabrics, ha ha.

Happy Sewing, Beth

today's garden photo, the first camellia. While is pretty enough it occupies a prime sunny spot that might be better for something else. This might be the year for a revamp and out it will go.



  1. Did you have any issues with pockets? I traced the pattern from the magazine and pockets look weird, as if they don't match the skirt

  2. Lovely dress Beth! I, too, favor Bemberg rayon for lining and often use a couple different colors in a jacket. Who sees the sleeve lining? Happy to hear that I'm not the only one who uses her scrapes. Karen

  3. I like how your dress turned out. I really like this pattern , love the pockets and is deffinetly on at the top (somewhere there) of my sewing list. I have since 2009 a Burda subscription and the last two years I sew just a few patterns from it . I was planning to stop for next year but I just saw a preview from the January issue and there are a few great patterns , so I guess I will keep it. Love your Camellia , maybe you are going to keep it :).

  4. Oh, I so agree with your idea of "pinching an inch." When I began sewing, I mostly made fit and flare dresses, and didn't quite have a great grasp of ease. So I copied bloggers would would allow 2.5-3cm ease in the waist. For me, that is barely sufficient to breathe, sit down and move, let alone the fact that my measurements change throughout the day! Now I allow 5cm minimum, but much prefer 10cm in the waist.

  5. You are so good at matching plaids! Bravo

  6. You are so good at matching plaids! Bravo

  7. Lovely dress, Beth. I'm a blinker and squinter too. ;-)

  8. It's gorgeous and you always achieve the perfect fit.

  9. It's gorgeous and you always achieve the perfect fit.

  10. Another lovely dress that! We're going to have to dub you "the dress queen"! LOL!

  11. Oops I meant another lovely dress "Beth"!

  12. Looks lovely! I think the Dior darts are fabulous! Would you ever make facings with a different non itchy fabric, like a cotton flannel or would you be worried that the fabrics might not behave well together?

  13. Love, love, love the dress! It is so my 'style'!

  14. I love the dress, and as always, it's beautifully sewn and detailed. I never throw away larger pieces of bemberg or silk lining. I'll have to remember this. It's perfect.
    I can't stand the itch of wool on my neck either. Yet, I've never learned how to finish the back of jackets without a facing. A skill to learn. But, the collar on jackets bothers me as well and that's a harder fix.

  15. thanks for showing the guts of the dress. i love to see how others use interfacing. impeccably sewn!

  16. Lovely dress. Thanks for showing the insides. I, too, save lining scraps. I'd rather use unmatched bemberg and china silk than poly or acetate linings. By buying remnants and using every last scrap, it's economical.

  17. Great dress with lovely details. Never thought about donig lining in different colors. Thank you for showing it.

  18. That's lovely Beth, and the plaid is just gorgeous. And in YOUR colours! The multi-coloured lining made me smile, but in a good way. Genius!! I'm definitely filing that idea away for future use.

  19. Lovely! Thanks for the tip of using both interfacing and organza on the neckline!

  20. Hi! Your dress turned out fabulous. I've spent the last four days futsing around with those bust darts and the fit of the bodice. I can't seem to eliminate the pointy end on the darts. I've tried curving the dart and sewing the tip just a few threads away from the fold, all with no success. How did you get yours to lie flat?

    1. Hi Michelle - I agree, those type of bust darts are kind of tricky, and I usually avoid them if possible. I think my fabric pressed quite crisply, so I just sewed them as the pattern indicated, and pressed them downwards. If they are not landing on your bust properly perhaps the overall fit is the problem, the front princess seam on this dress should fall more to the side than a usual one, so that the bust dart lands in the right spot.