I knew the moment I saw this sheath dress in the August issue of Burdastyle that I would be making it. Dresses like this- knit sheaths with interesting seaming- make up a significant portion of my work wardrobe. I've even had a coworker say that it's my "uniform." I take that as a good thing.
I love the style lines on this garment. They are different enough to be interesting, placed well enough to be flattering, and just complicated enough to make sewing this dress fun. I also love that the neckline is modest and the whole package looks elegant and suitable for my lifestyle which consists of going to work and coming home.
The magazine photos didn't really do the design justice in my opinion. Thank heavens for tech drawings because otherwise I might have missed all that gorgeous seaming. Burda showed this dress in navy and in tan:
I felt that I needed a light color to show off the seaming and the intricate, inset corners of this pattern. When I saw this beige ponte knit at Fabric.com I thought it would be perfect and I ordered it as a birthday present for myself. I've been trying to add more varied colors to my wardrobe and the truth is, other than gray and black, I don't have a lot of neutrals in my closet. I don't even own a pair of khakis. I wanted to try something outside my color box and I pictured this paired with gold accessories maybe with pearls.
I'll admit when the fabric arrived I had second thoughts. It seemed very close to my skin and hair color. I was afraid I might end up looking like a big blob of beige. But what the heck, I already had the fabric and I just forged ahead. In the end I'm happy with how this turned out.
This pattern is offered in tall sizes 72-88. I cut an 84 through the shoulders and an 88 from the bust down, which compares to my "regular" burda size of 42/44. Because this is a tall pattern, I did not add any length to the waist, but I did remove 3/4" of length above the bust; 3/8" to "un-tall" the pattern, and another 3/8" as my standard petite adjustment. I also removed 1" from the sleeve cap.
I assembled the front and the back and basted them together at the sides and then began the long process of fitting this just right which I did by trying on, basting new side seams, trying on again, basting again, and so on. In the end, I took the side seams in 1/4 all the way down, and an additional 1/2" at the waist. I also took the CB seam in at the waist about 1/4". I also had to tweak the side front seams just below the corners. I have a little bit of tummy and it causes a hollow area on either side right below my hip bones. I had a little bit of fabric pooling there, but taking that seam in about 1/8" helped.
And oh yes, I shortened the sleeves by about 1" to accommodate my T-rex arms.
Burda rates this as a 2.5 dot pattern. It really isn't difficult at all- the pieces are perfectly drafted and fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. In fact, I didn't even look at the written instructions. There is some precision sewing involved with the inset corners, 4 in front and 4 in back, but they were very easy to do in the ponte knit. It helps that they aren't right angles, but a little bit wider.
All my seams are serged inside for neatness. I remembered to interface my facings, which really helps with pressing and keeping them tucked neatly to the inside. They are tacked down at all the seam intersections for extra security.
I have already worn this to work and road tested it and I love it. It's comfortable and looked nice all day. Because of the neutral color, I think I can change up the shoes and jewelry and get several different looks with this. I'm looking forward to trying, anyway.
I don't have plans to make this dress again, but who knows what the future will bring. I could see myself making the top version. I've seen a couple of really nice color-blocked versions of this and I might like to play around with that idea.
Up next will be this dress, I think:
Do you have a "uniform"?