Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dress Update

Dress #131 from the February Burda Style is under way.  I made a muslin last weekend to check the fit and it was surprisingly successful on the first try.  I traced a straight size 44 and then graded down to a 42 through the shoulders.  I also folded out 3/8" across the bodice above the bust and added 1 and 1/8" of length to the waist.  It looked pretty good, except...

The shoulders/straps on this pattern are very wide-set.  This may be great for certain body types, but not for me.  I can only imagine that Burda was going for a romantic, wide neckline to maybe show off some pretty collarbones or maybe a lovely necklace.  For me, however, the wide neckline is unpractical- it would be necessary to wear a strapless bra, which I could do...

But the neckline was also unflattering.  The straps came all the way out to the edge of my shoulders, which hid the actual shoulder point and made my shoulders seem somewhat rounded, which in turn emphasized my heavy upper arms. 

I still loved the seam lines, though, and I had already gone to all the trouble to trace the darn thing, so I decided to do a little experiment.  I cut off the tops of the center front, side front, and side back pattern pieces, and moved them all in toward the center by 1 whole inch. 

Here you can see the CF piece.  The straight vertical line to the right of the fabric fold is the "old CF line":

Here is the side front piece.  You can also see my FBA and petite adjustments:

And, finally, the side back:

The first muslin also indicated that I needed a FBA and more length at the waist, so I did a 1/2" princess FBA, and added another 1/2" of length to the waist.  This pattern must be drafted for the short waisted.  I ended up adding a total of 1 and 5/8" at the waist, which is a lot, even for me.  Oh, and I raised the neckline on the CF piece by 5/8".

Muslin #2 looked pretty good, so I went ahead and cut out my fashion fabric, a coral/orange stretch jacquard, which you can see in the photos above.  The dress is completely basted together and fits pretty well.  I'm stuck, though, since I don't have a suitable invisible zipper in my stash (story of my life) and won't have a chance to go get one until next weekend.  (Grrrrr)  Oh well, I can still take it apart and start finishing seams (I plan to serge) and prep the zipper area with interfacing. 

The pattern calls for a lining, but I doubt I will make one.  My fabric is opaque and I am a slip lover.  There are also facing pieces for the neck/armhole area, but I'll have to make new ones since my pattern adjustments changed the shape so dramatically.  Or... I could just finish the neck and armholes with bias binding, which I probably will do since it will be easier and neater, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, while I wait to go on a zipper run, I have a couple of pairs of pants just waiting for finishing touches.  One pair just needs a hem to be wearable, so I might as well go ahead and finish them.  I also picked up a couple of really nice fabrics yesterday at my local Walmart of all places.  I'm not sure what's going on over there.  They had downsized and rearranged their fabric department like most other stores, and it was mostly just cheap quilting cottons and a handful of ugly home dec fabrics.  But suddenly they have three aisles of fabric, and some of it is really nice!  I picked up a sweet piece of dark wash denim (yes, we'll have to wait and see how nice it is after pre-washing) and a pretty piece of poly suiting in an unusual taupe/brown color that will make a nice pair of pants for the office.  Now if they would just get a decent stock of zippers!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm Back and I'm Itching to Sew

I'm back from my month long business trip to the Philippines, and I am itching to sew. I left several UFOs on the ironing board when I left and I could pick up any one of them now, but I really want to start something new from scratch. So I pulled out the last few issues of Burda Style and I decided to get back into the sewing swing with this one, Dress #131 from the February plus section:

It's a simple little princess sheath with some interesting seaming. I love the way the front seams flare out to the sides. And check out that back. Once again, subtle, but I think that the design will be quite flattering.
I really don't understand why this dress didn't get any love on the blogs or boards when this issue came out. Could it be because you can't tell anything about it at all in the magazine photo:
You can't see any of the seams, which in my opinion is what makes the dress. Also, the color is drab and having the model posed like that on the bed not only obscures the dress, but makes it seem like it's supposed to be a nightgown or a house smock. You really have to see the tech drawing to get any sense of this one at all.
Burda also offered a coordinating jacket in the same issue, #129:
Once again, the design is subtle, with long darts in front and an inverted pleat in the back. I'll definitely need a muslin, if for nothing else than to get the sleeve length exactly right for my little T-rex arms and to make sure I'm happy with the slight flare to the sleeves. I may want to straighten them.
So that's my plan for my first official spring project. What are your spring/summer sewing plans? Are there any other patterns out there that you just love, but you don't think they've gotten the attention they deserve?