Style Arc Stella Coat

Style Arc Stella wrap coat. Wool blend twill, fully lined with silk twill.

It is a little too late in the season, but I decided to fill the fall coat gap in my wardrobe with a new Style Arc Stella wrap coat. I had a very good experience with this coat before and wanted to make another one.

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The Stella is a true wrap coat, held in place entirely by the belt. There’s no side seams. Instead the side front panel wraps around to meet the side back panel, 1-2″ away from where a side seam would normally be. (When I added room for my hips I added it to this seam.) This offset also makes the front pockets less bulky and puts them in a more comfortable location.

At 2.25″ Mandarin style collar is quite tall—if you have a short neck, you’ll probably want to chop down the height a little.

Style Arc suggests topstitching the back yoke, pockets, belt loops, belt, and along the front edges.

I think this coat is Style Arc’s version of the Burberry wool wrap coat. Burberry seems to do a slightly different version of this coat every year. (I’m not sure when the Style Arc Stella pattern came out, but since it is one of their earlier patterns I would guess sometime in 2011/12.) It looks like this year it is a more oversized fit, with a much smaller collar. I prefer the sharper and more fitted look of the Stella.

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As far as patterns go, this one is very complete with what is included. There’s separately drafted lining pieces, along with pieces for sleeve hem and sleeve head interfacing. There’s also pocket facing pieces. One thing I should add is that the line drawing is slightly incorrect. There’s actually two center back panels, not one, so a seamline goes down the center back as well as on the sides. I also feel like the shape isn’t quite as A-line as depicted in the line drawing.

The fabric I used is a fluorescent pink wool/poly blend I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics last January. (When I showed my dad the coat he asked if I was going hunting!) The description refers to it as a suiting, but IMO it is too heavy for a dress, pants, or most skirts. It is a great fabric for a jacket or lighter weight coat though.

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I lined it with a deep pink silk twill from Fabric Mart that’s been sitting in my stash for almost five years now. Silk keeps it lightweight and breathable while being a little bit more insulating than a rayon Bemberg lining.

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.57.42 PM.pngI added a hanging loop using some 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon.

I had a hard time finding thread that was a matching color, so instead of my normal Gutermann Mara 100 for construction and Mara 30 (or Mara 70) for topstitching I used “Pink Pink Pink” Magnifico, which is a thin but strong high-luster polyester thread. One spool was more than enough to complete the entire coat and lining. When I needed to topstitch I used a 5mm long triple stretch stitch (which is Mode 2, #20 on my Janome 6500P). It is painfully slow compared to topstitching on my industrial machine, but I think it is an attractive finish.

I didn’t want to wind up an additional bobbin for such a small amount of stitching, so to finish the edges of the belt loops and pocket facings I decided to use the faux overlock stitch on my Janome.

For interfacing I used Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Tailor fusible canvas for the collar and Fashion Sewing Supply’s lightweight Pro-Weft for everything else. In addition to the sleeve head, sleeve hems, back yoke facing, and front facing recommended by the Style Arc instructions, I also interfaced the entire center front piece, armholes, and hems per Kathleen Fasanella’s lined jacket fusing map. I added a 1/8″ turn of cloth allowance for the collar, which encouraged it to wrap more smoothly around my neck.

Since my silk twill was such a shifty fabric I block fused some iron-on tear-away stabilizer to the fabric prior to cutting out the pocket pieces. Since the bias was in effect neutralized it made a big difference when it came to sewing on the pocket facings and sewing the pocket bags together – no ripples or stretching! I think I’ll be doing this much more often for pocket bags made out of silk and rayon lining fabrics. It seems like if I don’t do this everything gets stretched out of shape the moment I lift it up from the cutting table.

Fitting alterations:

  • Added 6″ to the hips
  • Added a total of 1″ width across the upper back. Rather than dart out the excess at the shoulder, I chose to ease it in with the help of some steam. Fortunately this fabric was incredibly malleable and cooperative.
  • Lengthened 1/2″ between bust and waist, and 2.5″ between crotch and knee
  • Lengthened the sleeves 1.25″
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration (on the sleeve only)
  • Added 3/8″ to the bottom of the yoke as a rounded back alteration

After trying it on I made a couple of additional tweaks:

  • Took in each side back/side front panel seam 3/4″ at the hip
  • Took in each side back/center back panel seam 1.25″ at the waist
  • Shortened the sleeves 1/2″. This required ripping apart part of the sleeve seams and adding more interfacing. (Interfacing for hems should extend 1/2″ beyond the fold.)

I didn’t make any style alterations, but due to a lack of foresight while cutting I ended up having to seam the belt at the center back. I added a belt loop to the center back to help cover it up. (It also helps keep the belt in place better.)

Burda 04/2016 #122 Dress

Burda 04/2016 #122 sheath dress. Viscose/lycra crepe suiting.

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In a previous post about Burda 04/2016 #122 I mentioned that the lining pattern could easily be used to create a simple sheath dress. That’s what I’ve done here.

The fabric I used is a stretchy viscose/lycra crepe I bought from Sawyer Brook last June. It is a mid-weight suiting with a very luxurious drape, not unlike 4-ply silk crepe. If you do a Google image search for “milly paint splatter” you can see the skirt and crop top the designer used it for.

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I stabilized the armholes and neckline with Design Plus straight stay tape, and the center back where the zipper is sewn with Design Plus superfine straight tape. The neck/armhole facing was interfaced with lightweight Pro-Tricot Deluxe from Fashion Sewing Supply. The back vent was stabilized with the lightweight Pro-Sheer Elegance, also from Fashion Sewing Supply. I was going to line this with a stretch silk, but during fitting I found that it wasn’t necessary.

When I traced the pattern for this I omitted the swayback alteration I did last time – I suspect I don’t need it with Burda patterns, though it is hard to tell with this print! Since I omitted the swayback alteration I also removed the 1/2″ of extra length I added at the center back hem.

At first I added a back vent, with a 1 5/8″ hem. Then after I tried it on I realized that I had forgotten to deepen the hem allowance on the pattern – oops! I ended up undoing the 1 5/8″ blind hem in favor of a 1/2″ stitched hem. Since I mitered the hem at the vent I had to piece in a scrap of fabric at the center back. Fortunately this fabric is so busy that the small pieced-in section is practically invisible. Since the new hem was much narrower than the original one I also ended up omitting the center back vent completely. This fabric is so stretchy that it turns out I didn’t need it at all.

Marfy Pattern FAQs

It seems like lately I’ve been getting emails about Marfy patterns, so I thought that rather than reply the same questions over and over again I would just publish it in a post. This is meant to piggy-back off of my Marfy primer post. If you have any other questions, please post them as a comment and I’ll respond there. I just feel it is more helpful and efficient for everyone this way!

I see a Marfy pattern I like, but it isn’t listed on their website. How do I get it?

Use the contact form on Marfy’s website. In your message tell them “I would like to buy the following pattern(s)” and indicate the pattern number(s) and size(s) you want. Also include your full mailing address (including country), your preferred shipping method, and your email address. Marfy will calculate the total and send a Paypal money request (in Euros) to the email address you provide.

If you are in the United States you can also order them through Nancy Erickson. Nancy offers shipping specials about once a quarter, so if you want to order a bunch of patterns (and aren’t in a rush) this will help you save on shipping. (Karen just informed me in the comments that Nancy is now retired, and will no longer be shipping Marfy patterns.)

Why should I buy the catalog?

Marfy is primarily a paper-based pattern company. They publish only a small selection of patterns online. If you want to view the entire collection you need to buy the catalog. The catalog gives you big, beautiful pattern illustrations with lots of detail. Since Marfy patterns do not include instructions (or a pattern envelope) you will need this illustration to help you figure out construction.

The catalog includes free patterns in multiple sizes. If you are new to Marfy, buying the catalog will allow you to experiment with sizing (and find out what kinds of alterations you may need) before you commit to buying patterns.

How do I get a Marfy catalog?

Marfy publishes an annual Spring/Fall catalog which usually ships out in January. I’m not sure what the publishing schedule is for the bridal catalogs, but those are updated on a far less frequent basis (I’m guessing around once a decade). You can get the catalogs from Vogue or directly from Marfy.

Marfy allows you to pre-order the newest catalog sometime in December. The advantage to pre-ordering is that they usually offer a limited time reduced shipping rate.

I am a size XYZ in the Big Four/RTW. What size Marfy pattern should I buy?

Refer to the Marfy size chart. Keep in mind that Marfy is a lot like Burda and Style Arc in that the ease is slim, so for the best accuracy I recommend taking your measurements in centimeters instead of inches. To give you an idea of how the Italian sizes match up to other brands I am a dress size 42 in Marfy, 38 in Burda and Ottobre, and 8 in Style Arc.

If you are the less adventurous type then definitely order one of their catalogs and experiment with the free patterns first. Many of their styles have design lines that can make alterations very tricky, so again, it is very important to use the free patterns to find out what kinds of alterations you may need before you start buying patterns.

Something else to keep in mind is that not all Marfy patterns come in all sizes. (I suspect it has something to do with the fact that they are a small company and produce a catalog with about 200 new styles a year.) I’m extremely fortunate in that as a size 42, just about every Marfy pattern comes in my size. I think 46 is the other most common size.

Fall 2016 Wrap Dresses: Burda 09/2006 #114

Burda 09/2006 #114 wrap dress (ITY knit)

This post is mostly to document some recent projects I’ve made using my much-beloved Burda 09/2006 #114 wrap dress pattern. I now have a total of eight in my wardrobe! Since this dress requires a minimum of three yards of 60″ fabric I’ve also freed up some stash storage space.

Previous versions: gray silk jersey, complete with shoulder epaulettes and pocket flaps and black silk jersey floral print.

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For most of the dresses I skipped the flaps and epaulettes (along with the sleeve tabs). I feel like they are more timeless with just a collar. I used the medium Pro-Sheer Elegance interfacing for the upper collar and lightweight Pro-Sheer Elegance for the under collar and neck facing. For the silk jersey and matte viscose jersey dresses I sewed in hanging loops made from 3/16″ cotton twill tape to the underarms. (ITY doesn’t wrinkle so I didn’t bother for either of those dresses.)

I found that construction went faster and I seemed less tired after they were done when I went about things like an assembly line vs completing one dress at a time start to finish. I cut out the dresses over the span of two days (cutting takes about 30 minutes per dress). Then I spent another day doing the fusing and serger work, which takes around 20-30 minutes and consistes of finishing the edge of the neck facings and sewing/pressing the long edges of the tie belt pieces. I then focused on sewing the rest of the dress (around two hours and 15 minutes per dress), excluding hemming. I then set up my coverstitch machine and hemmed all the sleeves and skirt hems over the span of the next few days. Between pressing up the hems and actually sewing them on the coverstitch machine takes around 15 minutes.

This eggplant dress was made from a silk jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. I bought it four years ago! Wide width silk jerseys that are both reasonably priced and in colors I like can be difficult to find, so when I come across one I like I buy it and stash it.

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This red dress was made from a crimson ITY knit from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Ann’s description of it being a “rich deep color that will look great against so many skin tones” is so accurate! I dislike buying red fabrics online because so many of them have overly warm or orange undertones, which look hideous against my cool toned complexion. This one is one of the most neutral red fabrics I’ve come across. As you might have noticed in the photo I like to wear it with lots of gold toned jewelry.

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The black dress is also an ITY from Gorgeous Fabrics.

It is just like the crimson ITY in both weight and behavior (great drape without being clingy and presses well). This is my go-to little black dress. (And yes, I always wear it with those heels!)

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I am not the biggest fan in the world of polyester, but I wanted to add some dresses in my wardrobe that I could just throw into the washing machine and put on in the morning without having to worry about pressing. This ITY knits have the advantage of being more durable, resistant to shrinkage, and colorfast than silk jersey. I’m really impressed with them – they have a nice, heavy drape and don’t seem to be as bad with static cling as other ITYs I’ve come across. Highly recommend!

This navy dress was made from a matte viscose jersey, also from Gorgeous Fabrics.

Like my ITY fabrics it was a more recent purchase. I’m not entirely thrilled with how this one came out. I machine washed and dried it, and somehow it grew after cutting. Just before I hemmed it I washed it on hot and machine dried it on high, and it seemed like it helped shrink it down a little, but it is still a little too big. Not sure if I’m going to keep this one or not…

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This black dress was made from a wool sweater knit I purchased from Fabric Mart’s “Julie’s Picks” swatch club more than four years ago. For this one I included the front pocket flaps and shoulder epaulettes. I also made the sleeves full length.

 

It is a medium weight sweater knit. I would describe the weight as being comparable to a thick cotton interlock.

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I made this dress sometime last winter but just got around to photographing it now. I’m mostly including it in this post so you can see how the dress looks when made up in a fabric like this. Unfortunately it is too warm to wear to work (my current office is 72—77°F most days during the winter). In addition to the drape being rather meh (which I anticipated) the fabric also attracts pet hair like a magnet! Always good to have a warm semi-casual dress at hand though, so I’m going to keep it just in case.

An outfit for Mom: Style Arc Stevie Jean Jacket and Style Arc Jema Panel Dress

Style Arc Stevie jacket

Meet my mom!

She is Sallie’s favorite person in the world.

I love the look Sallie is giving in this photo – she’s totally saying “my parents are so embarrassing!” (BTW can you believe these two kids have been married 56 years?)

Neither the Style Arc Stevie (note: affiliate link) nor the Style Arc Jema (note: affiliate link) are something I would make for myself, as I usually go for sleek, tailored, and somewhat formal. (That’s why I’ve been sewing more Burda and Marfy patterns lately.) In addition to sewing something I wouldn’t wear myself, it was a novelty cutting out a pattern and just laying it on the fabric without doing a bunch of alterations first! My mom is almost a perfect Style Arc size 14. Despite her 5’8″ height I didn’t have to make any changes to the length, which surprised me. There are a couple of fitting issues – I just realized she has a high shoulder and could probably also use a sloped shoulder alteration – but overall I think the fit is pretty good out of the envelope.

I’m going to start with the Stevie jacket, which is the more complicated garment.

Stevie Jean Jacket

“Can’t you take all the photos like this?”

There’s almost 20 pieces to this pattern, and tons of topstitching. Seriously – every seam on this jacket is topstitched. Even the side seams.

I love the details this jacket has though, and if I made the Style Arc Stacie jacket again I would definitely borrow some of them.

As I mentioned in my description the pockets at the bust are fully functional.

The tabs on the bottom band are functional as well, though I don’t think most people will move them beyond the first button.

The sleeves have a split so that you can roll up the cuffs.

The welt pockets open up to full size pocket bags.

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The Style Arc Stevie (note: affiliate link) definitely taps into the oversized jean jacket trend, which I’m just starting to see pop up on Net-A-Porter.

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Net-A-Porter.com

For this jacket I used a bright red cotton poplin from Gorgeous Fabrics. I originally planned on using it for a dress, but in addition to the weight being too heavy for my intended pattern the color was a little too warm for my personal taste. For size 14 I needed almost 3.5 yards of this 45″ fabric.

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For the buttons I used the oak leaf antique brass jean buttons from Cleaner’s Supply. The topstitching was done with white Gutermann Mara 70 thread, also from Cleaner’s Supply.

As I mentioned in my first paragraph, I got away without having to do any alterations to this pattern. The description of being “oversized but not too big” is completely accurate.

The welt pockets gave me some trouble. I had never sewn a single welt pocket before (though I was vaguely familiar with the general process) and was thrown off by the fold marking on the pattern piece, along with Style Arc’s instructions to fold the welt in half before sewing it to the jacket.

I decided I would finish the rest of the jacket and come back to them later. At that point I experimented on some fabric scraps. Even so, I struggled through construction and am a little disappointed by the quality of the finished pockets. Part of the reason is that I should have made more samples before proceeding to the jacket, but I also suspect that the welt pattern piece could use an extra 3/8″ added to the width. (The measurement, without seam allowances, is 5 1/8″ by 1 3/8″.) Since this is the first time I’ve made single welt pockets I don’t know if it is a drafting error or just me. Next time I will reference How to sew a single welt pocket tutorial from Fashion Incubator. (I love Kathleen’s tutorials – I have yet to experience anything but fantastic results using her tutorials.)

The pattern piece for the cuffs did not include buttonhole markings. Easy enough to manually mark off, but I felt like they should have been included.

Also, I think the buttonhole marking for the tab that attaches to the hem band is in the wrong spot. IMO it should be placed by the fold, not by the raw edge. (I ended up placing it by the fold.)

Jema Panel Dress

The neckline is finished with bias binding, which is then turned to the wrong side and topstitched in place.

You can do a hook and eye instead of button and loop, but I prefer the look of the button and loop.

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The Style Arc Jema (note: affiliate link) is a loosely fitted woven dress with rectangular panels, slightly flared 3/4 length sleeves, and a back closure consisting of a button and loop. Darts at the bust provide some shaping. I found that while the line drawing does a good job of portraying the fit, it is slightly inaccurate when it comes to depicting the panel proportions. The left middle panel is not as tall and the lower left panel not as short as the line drawing indicates.

My mom liked the Jema for the creativity aspect. While I chose a rather sedate look consisting of frayed chambray, you can mix and match any kind of lightweight wovens to create a unique look.

I believe the inspiration for this dress is this $470 Victoria, Victoria Beckham denim patchwork dress.

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Net-A-Porter.com

The fabric I used is a lightweight chambray purchased a year ago from Fabric Mart. I thought the bright red Stevie jacket needed to be paired with something more neutral. As you can see from my photos the horizontal seams frayed to navy, and the vertical seam frayed to white.

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Though I didn’t alter the pattern for height, I also ended up not chopping off the skirt hem allowance. When she tried it on she said the ease felt appropriate. It is obviously a loosely fitted dress, but it isn’t overwhelming her with fabric. Another thing I should mention is that she was able to get it on and off without having to undo the button at the back of the neckline.

As you can see I chose to do the frayed look, which is basically a lapped seam. If you choose to do this look you will make your life much easier by using a ruler and the Clover Pen Style Chaco Liner to mark the fabric first.

  1. For the panel that will be frayed, chalk in a line 3/8″ away from the raw edge on the right side of the fabric. This is your stitching line.
  2. For the panel that will be under the frayed section, mark a line 3/4″ away from the raw edge. This will be where you line up the raw edge of the section that will be frayed.
  3. Per the instructions, make sure before you sew the two panels together that you finish the raw edge of the panel marked with the 3/4″ line, or else your dress might disintegrate in the wash!🙂
  4. Sew the two panels together, placing the fray panel on top. After I stitched along the marked stitching line (which is 3/8″ away from the raw edge), I did another line of stitching about 1/2″ away from the raw edge. Instead of marking this with chalk I switched to my stitch in the ditch foot, moved my needle all the way to the left, and used the previous stitching line as a guide.

After stitching I carefully frayed the fabric. I think this was the most time-consuming part of making the dress. Even so, I was able to cut out the dress and have it completely finished in one night.

Burda 04/2016 #122 Dress

Burda 04/2016 #122. 4-ply silk crepe, fully lined with silk double georgette.

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Burda 04/2016 #122 is a fully lined boat neck sheath dress with a front twist detail. The front bodice is cut on the bias.

One thing I liked about this pattern is that in addition to doing the draped design, you could also use the front lining pattern (which has no waist seam) to make a simple sheath. Great for when you want to highlight a print.

My fashion fabric was a light blue 4-ply silk crepe I bought from Fabric Mart a few years ago.

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For the lining I used a silk georgette, which I also bought a few years ago from Fabric Mart. The description describes it as just “georgette” but the weight feels more like a double georgette.

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Alterations:

  • Shortened the hem 1″
  • 1/2″ swayback alteration
  • Lengthened 1/4″ between shoulder and bust, and 1/2″ between bust and waist
  • Added 5.5″ to the hips (1.25″ to each back side seam and 1.5″ to each front side seam)
  • 3/8″ sloped shoulder alteration
  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • Lowered the front neckline by 3/8″
  • Added 1/2″ to the center back hem
  • Moved the front darts of the lining inward 1/2″
  • Lowered the back zipper position 2.5″

During fitting I took in each side seam 5/8″ from the hem to the waist, tapering to nothing at the bust. At the suggestion of my mom I ended up taking up the shoulders 1/2″. The shoulder alteration was definitely not expected, especially since I found the shoulders on Burda 06/2016 #112 a little too short. I think the heft and general shiftiness of the 4-ply silk crepe, combined with the bulk of the front drape and the fact that the front bodice is cut on the bias just dragged everything down. I made it work, but the beefy weight of this fabric was definitely not ideal for this pattern. I would recommend using a charmeuse, crepe de chine, georgette, or any other lightweight silk or rayon instead.

Another thing I should note is that the side seams of the skirt don’t hang completely straight. I think the weight of the drape and the bias effect once again came into play, because if I support the twist at the front with my hand, the side seam straightens out. This pattern was obviously balanced for a lighter weight fabric.

Construction Notes

I stabilized the armholes/neckline/waist with Design Plus fusible stay tape. All stitching was done with Magnifico #40 polyester thread. This thread is thinner and silkier than the all-purpose Gutermann and Mettler threads, and it glides wonderfully through silks. I find regular thread tends to chew up lightweight fabrics.

Normally I don’t bother with instructions, but the front drape made me decide to check them out. I found they made sense until it came time to pull through the side front piece to create the twist effect. I’m not sure I did it correctly – the pattern piece indicated a fold, and I did more of a wrap effect rather than a fold in order to gather up those skirt pieces to create the godet effect. It looks like the pattern photo, so I guess I did it correctly!

Burda 08/2016 #113 Dress

Burda 08/2016 #113 dress. Acetate/nylon/lycra crepe suiting.

I’m trying my best look as cool and elegant as the model in Burdastyle, but it was very difficult on this very hot and humid evening! After about 15 minutes the lining was starting to stick to my body…

The belt included with this pattern really takes this pattern up to the next level. It has an origami look to it which nicely sets off the sleekness of the dress. Burda includes a couple of line drawings for how to construct it.

Sans belt:

Below I styled it with the Style Arc Stacie jacket, so you can see how it looks with a topper.

Burda 08/2016 #113 features cut-away shoulders, a front skirt wrap detail, and coordinating belt. This is the tall pattern for the 08/2016 issue.

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The front underskirt goes completely to the side seam, and has a considerable amount of coverage. No worries on windy days with this dress.

The fabric I used was an acetate/nylon/lycra midweight crepe suiting. The weave has tons of flexibility, but despite the lycra content the stretch is minimal.

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I love the vibrant color of this fabric, but found it a pain to press! I think it was a combo of the nylon content and mushy texture. I found it impossible to get a nice sharp crease without the use of a wooden clapper. It definitely slowed down my progress. I would say the idea fabric to use for this dress would be a wool crepe double cloth – thick enough for an unlined skirt, while still being easy to press.

I lined the bodice with some pink Ambiance Bemberg I found in my stash. (The skirt is not lined.)

The back button is a half dome pearl button from Cleaner’s Supply. Since I was already fighting with a fabric that was somewhat difficult to press, I sewed the button loop on by hand after the fact, rather than insert it into the center back seam of the neck band. I also sewed the bottom seam allowance of the inner neck band by hand. It gives an invisible finish and was easier to manage.

The zipper is a 30″ invisible zipper from Zipper Stop.

I used Pro-Sheer Elegance Light to interface the neck band. I interfaced the belt with Pro-Tailor Fusible Hair Canvas. I stabilized the armholes and upper neck edge of the bodice with Design Plus Fusible Stay Tape.

I think this is the first tall Burda pattern I’ve used. After making my last Burda dress I noticed that the armholes were slightly tight and the bodice definitely a little on the short side (fortunately the print fabric does a great job disguising those issues). So this time I decided to not do any alterations for length. For tall sizes Burda lengthens between shoulder and bust about 1/4″, between bust and waist about 1/2″, and about 3/8″ between waist and hip. I’m just under 5’9″ (174cm) tall, and found these length alterations really worked for me. The waist was right where it needed to be, the armholes feel comfortable, the bust darts are right where they should be, and I did not need to take in or extend the back darts on the skirt nearly as much as I did on my previous dress. I will definitely be using more tall size Burda patterns in the future, and applying these length alterations to regular size Burda patterns in the future.

Alterations:

  • Shortened the skirt 3.25″
  • Added 1/2″ to the center back hem of the skirt
  • Removed 1/4″ length from the center top front of the skirt
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Moved the front French darts inward 1/2″
  • Added a total of 5.5″ to the hips (1.25″ to the back side seams, 1.5″ to the fronts)
  • Added 3/4″ width across the front waist
  • Added 1/2″ width across the middle of the back armhole seam
  • Rotated the back skirt dart from a horizontal to more traditional vertical placement

After trying on the dress during fitting I took in the waist a total of 2.5″ and the lower hip/upper thigh to hem a total of 2.5″. I also had to take in the upper to mid hip curve a significantly larger amount, but that’s pretty normal for me. I like to add more fabric than I need to the hip/thigh area, just in case if the fabric needs more ease than I originally anticipated. I also took in the middle of each back dart 3/4″ and lengthened them 1″.

I did not do a rounded back alteration this time. I suspect doing it to my previous dress was the reason why the back neckline came out too wide. (I think perhaps this alteration is unnecessary for me in Burda patterns that don’t have a collar.)

The fact that this fabric was squishy and difficult to press resulted in the belt being less than perfect. If I made it again I would add an inch of additional length to the strip. I ran a little bit short at the end, and had to do a little bit of reworking in order to make it fit.

While I love the sleek, modern, and very Victoria Beckham look of this dress, I’m not entirely sure I would make it again. The front is just narrow enough that you either have to wear either a strapless bra (which I loathe, especially in hot weather!) or a racerback bra with clear straps (which is what I did in the photos above). Also, the collar band is rather high and slightly stiff, which at times makes it feel slightly constricting. I would have preferred something a tad looser around my neck, especially on such a ridiculously hot and humid day like today! But at the same time I think it adds to the elegance of the style.

Style Arc Renae Dress

Style Arc Renae dress (wool crepe, fully lined in bomber)

I finished this dress in April, took photos during a very hot day in June, and am just now publishing the post for it in August!

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The Style Arc Renae (note: affiliate link) is a woven dress with sleeves and a rounded neckline. Darts are incorporated into contrast inserts. As you can see it makes a great dress for the office.

If you’re interested in sewing this dress but are worried about sewing those pointed inserts, take a look at my tutorial on sewing corner/angle/pointed seams. (If you’re using a fairly stable fabric you can probably skip on using the stabilizer.)

The fabric I used was a lightweight wool crepe from Fabric Mart. I love the color of this fabric, but I’m not entirely pleased with the quality – it is definitely not as thick and “spongy” and doesn’t mold as well as most wool crepes, plus it is a little sheer. I really liked the $10/yard price though!

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Since the magenta wool crepe was semi-sheer I lined the entire dress (minus the sleeves) with some Ambiance Bemberg I had in my stash.

The contrast inserts are cut from the scraps of some burgundy wool crepe I used for another project a few years ago.

Since my fabric was so wimpy I interfaced the hem and back vent along with the facings using Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply.

You probably noticed in the pictures that I omitted the back inserts in favor of plain darts. The reason for this is that I have a significant swayback and am very “hollow” in this area, and I always need to take in this section of dresses and tops. If you don’t tend to need to take in this section of clothing, you’ll probably be fine with the inserts. But if you’re like me, for the sake of your sanity you should seriously consider omitting them😉.

Alterations:

  • Changed the skirt from pegged to straight
  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart
  • As I mentioned above, I omitted the back insert in favor of a simple vertical dart.
  • Moved each front contrast insert 1/2″ toward the center front. The inserts incorporate a dart into the design line, so it is very important that they be in the right position for your bust.
  • Added 6″ to the hip
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Added 1/2″ width across the front waist
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeve bicep
  • Added 3/4″ width to the upper back
  • Added 3″ length
  • Lengthened between bust and waist 1.5″ – this dress runs very short though the waist.
  • Took in the side seams (the amount varied depending on the location, but it was roughly 1.5″ all around). I took in the bust the least amount, the waist the most. Had I used a beefier fabric I would have made the fit slightly snugger, but with something lightweight like this (and somewhat less resilient to wrinkles than most wool crepes) I felt like erring on the side of slightly more ease was the right choice. I chose my normal size 8, but I don’t feel like out-of-the-envelope that this dress is as closely fitted as it is shown on the model on the Style Arc website.

Burda 02/2016 #143 (Baby Dress) and #146 (Baby Hat/Bonnet)

This project is a baby shower gift for a coworker.

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Burda 02/2016 #143 is a baby girl dress with front pockets and a slit neckline that forms lapels. The pockets are fully lined (the lining is what shows when folded over). The lapels and folded-over edge of the pockets are held in place with decorative buttons.

Burda 02/2016 #146 is a reversible baby bonnet.

Since my coworker is due on September 1 – and the weather only gets colder from that point onward – I made these in a 12 month size (size 80 for the dress and 46 for the bonnet) so that her baby can wear them next summer.

The purple fabric is a lightweight 100% cotton shirting, purchased a little over three years ago from Gorgeous Fabrics.

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The print fabric is another 100% cotton, purchased more than three years ago from Sawyer Brook.

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The front flower buttons are from Joann’s, and the back buttons are from my stash. For this project you can use slightly larger buttons for the pocket and lapels, but since the back placket is only a little over 5/8″ wide you need to stick to smaller buttons – these 3/8″ standard shirt buttons worked well.

I didn’t make any alterations to either one of these patterns. One thing I would like to note is that for the baby bonnet, they have you make the turn-out opening at the center back seam. I don’t agree with this – after sewing this up I think it would have been more discreet to have the opening at the bottom of the bonnet, where the casing is sewn.

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Another dress that I’ve made before…but this time I used a different fabric and used the skirt pieces from the Sewaholic Lonsdale instead. I’m happier with this more traditional and less dramatic look. (I also find the pockets rather handy!)

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The fabric I used is a silk jacquard/charmeuse, purchased over four years ago from Fabric Mart. I used the matte side as the right side. As expected, this bodice has a softer feel to it than the linen dress bodice, and it definitely doesn’t stay in place as well (as you can see from my exposed bra strap in the back view).

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I should also mention that while my linen and cotton Sewaholic Lonsdale skirts didn’t require any special hemming treatment, this one was very, very uneven (after hanging for a day or so). After I evened out the hem I finished it with a narrow hem (instead of the 1″ hem included with the pattern).