Monday, 20 January 2014

BurdaStyle 08/2009 - 128 Dress

This is not really my usual style of dress, but I loved both Melissa & Kristy's versions and right now I need more long sleeve dresses so I tried this one out in some navy doubleknit.

My dress form is really on its last legs (literally, I have to keep duct taping them together) and I've had to lighten these photos so you can see the detail.  Did you see Tany has just published a post on improving our selfie photos? That's going to be my mission this year.....

The only change I made to the pattern was to omit the zipper since I used stretch fabric and made the sleeves shorter because I ran out of fabric.  It does seem to be a bit long waisted, even on the dress form so check this before you make it, especially if you are a bit short waisted like me, although other versions out there seem to be fine.

To keep the sporty vibe, and ok because I was too lazy to do anything else, I used my twin needle to top stitch the facing in place, and also just twin needled the hems.

I like this dress a lot and can see it working in a range of fabrics from sweat shirting for a sporty, loungewear version to crepe or lightweight tweed for a more formal version.  I think the boat neck is perfectly drafted and I must remember to use it on other tops.

I've got one more doubleknit dress in the works and then it's time to move onto a different fabric I think.  My sister is coming to visit for Chinese New Year which means I lose my sewing room for a fortnight so I need to get my sewing fix in while I can!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Style Arc Marita Dress(es & top)

This pattern claims to be a 1 hour sew and for once I think it's actually true. It's certainly very fast and a very clever design, it looks a lot more complicated than it is.  Sorry for the picture heavy post but I have made 3 versions of this so lots to show you - a New Year special offer!

Style Arc Marita Dress

That said I got stuck very early on largely because the instructions refer to the back neck facing piece which on the paper pattern is called a collar.  Once I looked at the line drawing of the back of the dress and realised there was a collar and smacked myself on the forehead it was simple.  I was trying to fold it in like a facing, doh!  I didn't find the diagram of the whole shoulder seam/ facing construction to be very helpful, although I knew what they were getting at as it is a finish I've used in Burda and Vogue, so I took some photos of these steps.

The facing/collar is folded right sides out, stitched to the back neckline and the seam allowances pressed down towards the body of the dress

Pin shoulder seams leaving facing/collar free for the moment

Fold the front facing over the back collar/facing and pin.  You need to get the collar edge right in the fold to get a neat finish at the end

Stitch and finish seam

Unfold the front facing, this is how it looks on the inside

And this is how it looks on the outside

The first two versions of this pattern were made using fabric I have a ton of because I bought the end of the bolt in both cases.  They are both wearable muslins, but useful to determine the adjustments I needed to make in the final version.  My pattern is a size 10.

Version 1 Teal doubleknit
Style Arc helpfully provide a swatch of fabric they recommend using and in this case it is quite a lightweight drapy knit.  While I am happy wearing such a thin knit on my top half I find it too flimsy for my bottom half in a straight silhouette.  So some experimentation was in order.  Doubleknit is not the recommended fabric so unsurprisingly this version was a little bit tight, especially the sleeves and the drape is a lot more structured and asymmetrical than it is supposed to be because the side with the tuck behaves a lot differently to the side with a dart.

Version 2 Crazy ITY print top
This fabric is pretty close to the recommended weight.  My friend in Shanghai bought this for me and I plan to make another version of this maxi dress in the summer.  I realise that the scale of the print is all wrong for a long sleeved top, it might work as a sleeveless version for summer, but for now I will wear it as a layering top.  I widened the sleeves on this version and was much happier with the fit of them, the drape also does what it is supposed to in this lighter fabric.  In a plainer fabric I think this will be a great top either with or without sleeves.

Version 3 Sensible ITY print dress
Armed with the things I'd learnt from my two experiments I cut into some ITY knit with a geometric print in great winter colours.

This is a great pattern and I am sure I will use it again.  Compared to my usual Burda magazine patterns indie patterns that need shipping are quite expensive but I feel I've got good value for money here.  It's quick to make, works as a top or a dress, the sleeves can be swapped out for shorter ones or left sleeveless.  3 in a row is probably enough for the moment, but I'm sure it won't be long before this comes out again.