This is the Asymmetric Shift Dress from the April issue. I'd say it's more of a sheath than a shift since it's a more fitted dress, especially through the waist and hips, but that's a minor quibble. I fell in love with it at first sight, but then I'm usually a sucker for the projects with unusual seaming.
My version of the dress looks very similar to the model version, even though I'm twice her age, twice her weight, and half her height, because I used a similar color. My fabric is a fuchsia ponte knit purchased last year from Fabric.com. I don't know if they have this particular fabric any more, but they do have an extensive color selection and always seem to have something exciting to offer.
This pattern is offered in sizes 34 to 42. I traced and cut a 42. I was too lazy to actually grade all the pieces up to a 44, and I knew I'd need little extra room at the hip, so I added 3/4" seam allowances to all of the pieces at the side seams and saved the side seams for last during construction so I could fit the dress to me. It worked. I ended up using 3/8" of those seam allowances at the hips so I added about 1.5" to the circumference- approximately a size 44. I also added 1" of length to the bodice pieces right above the waist seam, a standard adjustment for my long waist.
The dress was very easy to construct. There are a few pieces to trace and you have to cut some on single thickness, but the pattern is extremely well drafted and goes together perfectly. In the ponte knit, the curved seams went together like a charm. I didn't really use the instructions other than to read through them before starting. I used their suggestion to interface the curved edges to prevent stretching, but other than that the construction is very intuitive. One change I made was to assemble the front and the back and then attach at the shoulders and then use the "edge to edge" method of attaching the facings so that I got a nice neat finish at the neckline and armholes with no hand sewing.
Speaking of facings, I like that this dress has one piece front and back facings with armholes and neckline included. Everything lays nice and smooth inside and having it all one piece prevents it from wanting to flip out to the outside of the dress.
I don't know how I did it, but I forgot to make my standard petite adjustment above the bust. When I tried the dress on the low point of the neckline revealed a flash of bra so I took the shoulders up 3/8". Perfect. I will make that adjustment to the pattern for the future.
All my seams are serged inside for neatness except the center back seam which I left unserged so I could press it open.
I was worried about bulk where the darts come together at CB, but pressing the seam open helped everything to lay flat. I was also worried about the darts themselves because I have problems sewing darts in knits sometimes, but these turned out nearly perfect. I'm quite proud of them.
I really like the finished dress. I might make it again- I love the striped version with it's optical illusion effect.
I'm very happy with this project. The dress turned out great and has already been road tested and passed. I can see a tiny bit of rippling at the high hip on the sides- I think I need to shave a bit off of the curve there. The asymmetrical neckline is one of the key features of this dress and it is certainly not as daring as some Burda necklines I've encountered, but be careful- the low point on the left just barely covers my favorite bra. It does, however, cover the cleavage completely so I feel comfortable anyway. I did wear a black cardigan over it for work both to increase the modesty and to cover my arms and prevent freezing in my meat locker office. The photos were taken after work, hence the boring office pumps. When I wear this out somewhere other than work I plan to wear strappy sandals.
Overall this is a fabulous dress and a surprisingly easy project. Don't let the extra seams fool you. An adventurous beginner could make this with great results. I love it and I plan to get a ton of wear out of it this summer. I may be sharing an update with a striped version later...
I'm off to my sewing room. I already have a project from the May Burda cut out and ready to assemble. What's on your sewing table?