Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Burda Style 01-2014-135 A "Camo" Dress for Fall

 Okay, it's really not "camo" but more on that in a minute.  This is Burda Style 01-2014-135, the jersey dress from the plus section of this year's January issue.

If you missed it, it's probably because it was pictured like so:

It's actually a very nice dress with soft, feminine details and a retro vibe to it.  I wanted to make it the moment I saw it, but I didn't have any suitable knit fabric on hand, and several trips to my favorite fabric stores didn't turn up anything inspiring either.

As you can see, the design is relatively simple- the V-neck bodice and the skirt are gathered onto what Burda calls a "wide inset waistband."  Bodice and skirt have CF seams and the skirt features a waterfall effect in front with the front hem being noticeably higher than the back.

I cut my standard 42 at the shoulder (had to grade down one size) 44 at the waist and 46 at the hip.  I folded out 3/8 above the bust and added my 1.75" length adjustment to the waistband, making my band much wider than the model.  Actually, I think the waistband, as drafted, is skimpy.  Adding the extra width not only helped with the fit, but the proportion as well.  At least for me.

As it turns out, my fabric is so busy, it's hard to tell there even is a waistband unless you look closely.

About this fabric...  I found this knit print at Joann couple of months ago and I just fell in love with the colors and the print.  It seemed very "fall" to me as well as suitable for this dress.  I had felt all along that it needed a floral or an abstract print to look right.

The picture doesn't do this fabric justice.  It's a gorgeous combination of pink, fuchsia, maroon, coral, taupe, black, gray, slate, tan...  I see another color every time I look at it.

JoAnn calls this Floral Camo Pink Rayon Spandex Jersey, hence the title of this post.  It's not really camo, more like an abstract floral.  It is, however, rayon spandex jersey.  I have no idea how I lost my mind and bought this because I hate sewing with rayon knit.  I guess I was seduced by the pretty print and wasn't thinking straight.  It was absolutely horrible to sew.  It wanted to shift and stretch and I had to fight to get it to go under the presser foot.

The finished dress, however, is incredibly comfortable to wear.  The fabric is soft and stretchy and feels like a comfortable pair of old pajamas.  But it did necessitate a few "tweaks" to the construction.

When I sewed the gathered bodice and skirt to the flat waist band, the seam was a mess.  The gathered portion wanted to drag under the presser foot and the whole thing just wanted to slide along the thread after the seam was sewn.  It also stretched way out while sewing.  I was worried about the seam being stretched out and about the fabric growing while wearing and having the dress loose it's shape.

To remedy that, I used double fabric in the waistband.  Since I eliminated the zipper (I can only imagine the nightmare of inserting a zipper into rayon knit!) and the dress needs to go on over my head, I felt interfacing wouldn't allow the waistband to stretch enough.  In order to keep the waist from bagging out, I stabilized the waist seams by sewing clear elastic onto the seam allowances.  It worked great- after road testing I can report that the waist fit perfectly and never gaped all day.

As you can sort of see, with the busy print, the back of the dress is cut very narrow.  And long.  Very long.  I removed 3 inches of length from the skirt pattern pieces.  This would have hit me at the bottom of my calf as drafted and I felt that length would not be flattering.

 The front, on the other hand is cut fuller with the CF seam at an angle to the waist.  That's what forms the drape in the front.  The hem is above my knees at CF.  Because of the way the skirt is designed you really need to decide on the length before you cut.  And it's tricky- I think I got a decent length with a happy medium between short in front and long in back.  When I road tested this by wearing it to work, my co-workers teased that it's "business in the back, party in the front."

I opted for a hand sewn hem, partly because of the shape, but mostly because I knew trying to hem this unruly fabric by machine would be a disaster and I would end up ripping it out and doing it by hand eventually anyway.  (I don't sound bitter, do I?)

One other thing- I did raise the V-neck by about 2.25 inches.  The bodice front has a nifty cut on facing that you join with a cool, dart-like seam.  I simply sewed the fronts together from the tip of the dart a little higher.  It worked because the fabric is so stretchy- a more stable fabric would have bubbled and pulled.  My neckline looks almost frumpy in the photos, but that's because I just pulled the dress out of the dryer where it got a steam refresh before the photos were taken.  I almost lowered it back down an inch but I'm glad I didn't.  The dress did "grow" a bit throughout the day and the neckline stayed modest.  Besides, this is a work dress and I don't need to show more than this while on the job.  If I made this again, I would raise the neckline the right way- by adjusting the pattern before cutting out.

So the long story short is I got a great dress.  I like this a lot.  I like the way it looks and I like the way it feels when I wear it.  I still love the print and the colors are perfect for this time of year.  I'm just going to block out the sewing experience from my mind and next time a rayon knit tries to seduce me in the store, I'm going to put it down!

The pattern itself is a winner.  It's easy enough to put together (2 dots) and the style is pretty and flattering.  The only thing to be careful of is the length of the skirt- you have to find that balance before cutting your fabric.  I can see myself making this again, but not any time soon.  There are too many other patterns calling my name.

In other sewing news, I made a decision on which dress to make out of the teal knit.  I cut out 08-2009-137, the funky shaped dress with the rounded skirt, dolman sleeves, and stand-up collar.  Cross your fingers for me!

How is your fall sewing going?


velosewer said...

It's a great pattern and the print is great too.

Anonymous said...

Everything is great about this dress. The colours, the print, the style. And I love rayon (viscose) knit for how it feels when its worn, so its probably a good thing you used it!

So so pleased you are making the gallery dress (the one where the model is pointing at the nude statue, whilst wearing a scarf that hides the dress. Amusing, but not so helpful). I have wanted to see this made up and worn by a real person for a long time.

Fall sewing? Spring for me in Australia. I'm making a dress for my daughter and a white skirt for me.


Ripple Dandelion said...

That is simply beautiful! You wear those colors so well, and I love the shape of the dress.

Angela said...

Lovely dress! My daughter bought some of this same fabric but it shrank considerably in the prewash/dry so she didn't end up with enough for a dress. We've temporarily put it aside for a top. Thanks for the heads up about the sewing difficulty of the fabric.

AllisonC said...

I love this pattern, wish it came in regular sizes too, not sure I trust my grading skills. That is a great print you found and the finished dress is lovely on you, worth the trouble the fabric gave you. I know this dress has a high low hem, but I think the length of the front of the dress is really flattering on you.

Catherine Daze said...

The word that came to mind when I saw this was 'fun'. It's a lovely fabric and you've done it justice!