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).

Burda 06/2016 #112 Dress

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Burda 6/2016 #112 is a fairly simple tailored sheath, but the cutouts and unusual darts bring it up to the next level. I absolutely love the neckline cutouts – it eliminates the need for a necklace while still drawing the eye upward. It isn’t obvious from the line drawing, but the waist attachment seam is approximately 1/2″ above the waistline. The skirt length is 24.5″ from waist to hemline.

This pattern is the illustrated “sewing course” pattern for the 6/2016 issue.

Materials

The fabric I used was a stretch sateen, purchased a little over a year ago from Apple Annie Fabrics:

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Normally I’m not crazy about even a part-polyester fabric, but I have to say that this sateen wrinkles less and holds its shape better than a normal cotton/lycra sateen.

The interfacing I used was the regular weight Pro-Sheer Elegance from Fashion Sewing Supply. The YKK zipper and pearl half-dome button are from Cleaner’s Supply.

Fit

I kept the front of the dress as-is, but for the back I rotated out the darts to be in the more traditional vertical position as I knew there was a 99% chance I would need to take them in.

Other  adjustments for the size 38 I cut include:

  • Added a 3/4″ back shoulder dart (and 1″ width across the mid upper back)
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • Added 5″ to the hips
  • Added an additional 1/2″ to the front of the skirt at the thigh level
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck
  • Lowered the back kick pleat 3″ – the drafted height is very high!
  • Added 1/2″ to the hem length
  • Added another 1/2″ to the center back hem
  • Added 3/4″ width to the front waist and removed 3/4″ from the back waist
  • Extended the back waist darts down another 2.5″

After trying on the dress I took in the waist 1.5″ and the hips 2″. This is a fairly stiff fabric and it looked best with minimal ease in these areas. From the looks of the photo Burda used a softer fabric with more drape.

Originally I also changed the skirt from pegged to straight, but after trying it on decided to peg the hem 1.5″.

I am not sure if this is an issue unique to this pattern or just the Burda draft, but I found the back neckline was drafted very wide (I compared it to some of my other dresses). It made for a lot of gaping at the back cutout. That’s why I ended up overlapping the back neckline instead of having the button at the center back.

Construction

In addition to interfacing the facings and neck band pieces, I also interfaced the back vent. In my opinion it helps it hang better and keep its shape. I also mitered the back hem. (The instructions don’t show you how to do this.)

Instead of having you cut out those neckline ovals on the cutting table, Burda provides a neckline template pattern piece. The front bodice is like that of a normal dress without cutouts. When it comes time to attach the front facing to the front bodice you use the template to draw the cut-outs on the facing. Then after you finish sewing this section you cut out/trim/clip the ovals. I made the cut-out template from a couple of pieces of card stock paper so I would have a firm edge to trace against.

I think the most tedious part of constructing this dress was turning out the cutouts, particularly the center front one. The edges for that one are particularly narrow in one section –  I really had to work at it for a while. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my collar clamp tool from Fashion Sewing Supply.

After you sew the cutouts it is crucial that you be aggressive when it comes to clipping/notching the seam allowances. I clipped every 1/4-3/8″ to make sure that those ovals ended up nice and round.

I would have liked for Burda to have included placement notches on the front neck band piece. It was a little tedious having to keep measuring the distance between the cutout edges on the template.

I should also mention that Burda has you sew the bottom edge of the inside neck band by hand. Normally I do anything possible to avoid having to sew something by hand, but in this case it gave me far more control – and a better result – than stitching on the machine would have. It also looks much neater.

Style Arc Jacinta Dresses

The Style Arc Jacinta (note: affiliate link) is another one of those patterns I made a few years ago and decided to make again. It is my go-to pattern for when I want to make a maxi dress out of a bold patterned knit.

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I made three new Jacintas for a little vacation I took last month to Virginia Beach. I have a close friend from college that lives down there, and after literally years of her telling me to visit, I finally got up the courage to take her up on her offer. I’m a nervous and inexperienced traveler, so getting on a plane by myself was a HUGE deal to me, especially since I had been on one only once before in my entire life! I’m glad I went though – it was great to bond and re-connect.

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Beach babes! We’ve been told many times before that we could pass for sisters.

The first Jacinta was from a rayon/lycra jersey I purchased a few years ago from Fabric Mart:

The second Jacinta was made from another rayon/lycra jersey, purchased a few years ago from Gorgeous Fabrics:

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My final dress was from an Italian rayon/lycra jersey, this time from Mood. There’s still some available!

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One thing I did differently from last time is instead of sewing a tuck at the V, I cut the ends of the binding strip at a 45 degree angle, making a seam at the center front of the binding. This gave me a nice sharp angle at the center front. I then attached the V section of the neck binding to the dress via my regular sewing machine, but only for an inch or two past the center front. Then I finished attaching the binding on my serger, and topstitched with a chain stitch on my Janome Coverpro. I think it gives a neat, professional finish, and doing that little section on my sewing machine gave me greater control vs trying to manipulate that corner on a serger.

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More Sewaholic Lonsdale Dresses

As promised, here are my other two Lonsdale dresses…

The fabric for this Lonsdale is a very, very crisp 100% cotton poplin from Apple Annie Fabrics. I love the print, but I don’t love how the slightest breeze threatens to lift up the skirt!😉

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The second Lonsdale was made from a hot pink midweight linen/rayon blend, purchased from Fashion Fabrics Club about four or five years ago. I think the drape of the skirt on this version is particularly beautiful.

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A White Sewaholic Lonsdale

Very quick and dirty photos for this particular post, because it was starting to rain!

I first made the Sewaholic Lonsdale a few years ago. This is my all-time favorite sundress; for my very pear-shaped body I’ve found the cut and design is difficult to beat. My Lonsdales get lots of love when I wear them to work (ahh, the beauty of no dress code in the summer!) It is a GREAT style if you want to let your shoulders shine.

Since the shoulders are open and the skirt full, I was able to get away with hardly any alterations to my size 6 pattern:

  • Removed 3/4″ width from the back waist, and added 3/4″ to the front waist
  • Added 1/2″ width to the waistband; the actual finished measurement is slightly shorter than what is stated on the pattern.
  • Took in the center back seam 3/4″ between the tie tabs, tapering to nothing at the waist.
  • 1/2″ swayback tuck

I measure closer to a size 8 than a size 6, but I feel more comfortable sizing down to a 6.

The bodice does have a slight flattening effect on the bust, depending on how high/low you wear the knot, but I’m willing to overlook that. You can easily wear a strapless bra under this dress, but if you’re smaller and still self-supporting (like me) it isn’t necessary due to the fact that the bodice is fully lined. (The skirt is not lined out of the envelope.)

The fabric I used was a white diamond weave cotton shirting fabric from Fabric Mart. It had been sitting in my stash for over three years now, and I decided I needed to just go ahead and do something with it. The Fabric Mart description was spot-on – the drape has some body without being totally crisp. For the sake of modesty I lined the skirt as well as the bodice with the same fabric.

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Can’t wait to show you my other two Lonsdales!

Style Arc Ali Knit Skirt

The Style Arc Ali knit skirt is another project I first made a few years ago:

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I’m not normally a fan of slim knit skirts, but I find the ease and design line the tucks provide over my thighs make the Ali a little bit easier to wear than most.

Since my original Ali skirt was starting to look a little shabby I decided to make up a new one this weekend. I have much better photos of it this time around! I’m wearing it with my Style Arc Anita peasant top.

As you can see from the side view, this is a very figure-hugging skirt. A tight fit is necessary in order to keep the tucks in place.

I sewed and topstitched the tucks using the chainstitch function on my Janome CoverPro 2000CPX. A chainstitch is much stronger and provides more stretch versus using the straight stitch on a regular sewing machine.

The fabric I used was a charcoal rayon/nylon/lycra ponte I purchased from Sawyer Brook a few years ago.

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Due to the stretch of the fabric, fitting adjustments were pretty easy:

  • Removed a total of 4″ from the waist
  • Straightened out the side seams a total of 1.5″ to make the hem less pegged
  • Since the hem was rising up in the back, I ended up taking up the hem an additional 1″ in the front
  • Took in the side seams a total of 2″- this fabric was quite stretchy, and as I mentioned above, you want to make sure the fit is snug so that the tucks stay in place.

Style Arc Brenda Blouse

I first made the Style Arc Brenda blouse a few years ago. On Saturday I decided that I wanted a plain white sleeveless blouse to go with some of my summer skirts, so I decided to make up this pattern again. (I finished the armholes with self bias strips.)

I’m wearing it in the photos below with my Style Arc Candice skirt.

The fabric I used is a lightweight linen from Fabric Mart:

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I interfaced the front plackets with Pro-Sheer Elegance, and the collar/collar band with Pro-Crisp Light. Both interfacings are from Fashion Sewing Supply. The buttons are from Cleaner’s Supply.

Fitting

Fitting gets its own heading for this pattern, because it was pretty involved😉.

In addition to the original alterations listed below I took a 1″ tuck between shoulder and bust to remove some gaping. I also lowered the bust dart 1/2″, though due to my 1″ tuck I think that I should lower it a little bit more for next time. Next time I will also do a 3/8″ forward shoulder adjustment and lower the armholes 3/8″.

Here are my fitting notes for my original Brenda blouse, which I had made from a silk crepe de chine:

This blouse was an exercise in fitting. I very carefully measured the pattern and made a muslin of this blouse because I heard lots of people say that it ran small, especially through the waist.

My fitting adjustments were:

  • 3/8″ broad back adjustment
  • 3/8″ rounded back alteration
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves
  • Lengthened the body 1″ just above the waist
  • Removed 3/4″ width from the upper chest
  • Lengthened the sleeves 1/2″
  • Added 2″ width to the hips at the hemline

Those are normal-for-me Style Arc fitting alterations. I did not need to add any extra to the bust, despite the close fit. The gathers in the front add a surprising amount of room, though if you are above a B/C cup you should consider doing a FBA.

There were a few more issues to fix that mostly fell under the “sometimes but not always necessary for fitted Style Arc blouses” category:

  • Added an additional 1″ width to the back only at the hip (it was pulling across my butt and causing it to ride up in the back).

  • Added 1/2″ width to the front only across the waist. I expected to have to do this because while my waist is a size 8 I need more width in the front than the back. (My ribcage is slightly flared in the front and I have a very lean back.) I didn’t bother taking it out at the back because 1/2″ of extra ease is a small amount for a pattern that uses lightweight fabrics.

  • Added an additional 1″ to the front from just below the waist to just below the high hip. I didn’t bother taking out the amount I added from the back because when it comes to a lightweight fabric like this a little bit of extra ease is a good thing.

  • I found I had weird diagonal pull lines in the back from just below the shoulder blade to the waist. I almost considered posting a photo and asking for feedback. But that’s taking the easy way out and doesn’t help me enhance my problem-solving skills, so I persisted. After looking at it for a bit I decided the problem was that the back was too shaped at the sides and not shaped enough at the dart. So I basically straightened out the back side seam curve, and took out the width I added to the side seam by increasing the size of the back darts.

  • Rotated the front dart to be 1/2″ closer to the center front. My bust is slightly closer-set than most patterns draft for so this is a common adjustment when I make something with vertical darts in the front.

  •  I also added a 1″ dart to the back shoulder, a normal-for-me Style Arc alteration when I’m making something with a very fitted woven bodice. (I have prominent shoulder blades and this prevents gaping at the back armhole.) To facilitate this I moved the shoulder seam back 1.25″ so it would be in the normal shoulder position and not set forward as designed.