I found it hard to pick a project for the August issue challenge, not because there wasn't anything decent but because there were too many projects that caught my eye - for change. There is a lovely fitted, pleated neck dress with shoulder detail (Trena aka the Slapdash Sewist made an awesome version of here), a fitted jacket with interesting seam lines, and of course the cover peplum top. But since we're coming into summer around these parts I wanted to make a light and airy sundress, so I chose to make the full skirted dress, #133:
Instead of the front bodice having two waist darts and two bust darts (ie the simplest way), the pattern consists of two side bodice inset pieces that get sewn to the main front bodice piece (the more fiddly way to achieve the same shaping in my opinion). Getting that triangular meeting point sewn in without puckers took several tries and sorely tested my patience, although I managed to get the lining done perfectly first try. Of course. For anyone else attempting this pattern, The Sewing Princess who also made a lovely version recommended Paco Peralto's tutorial for doing the bust point - this should help stop a few grey hairs and/or swear words! Thanks for the tip Silvia.
The magazine suggests a wool crepe, and whilst that is my favourite fabric I chose to make my dress in a crisp cotton from the stash that I picked up in an opshop a while ago. It is a rather bright mustard, black and white print which is not my usual style, but I think it looks rather snazzy:
And look, I even managed to match up the print across the back perfectly, and avoided the dreaded 'bullseye' effect on the front too.
I made a number of changes to the pattern, after doing a pin fit with the pattern pieces (a benefit of tracing onto interfacing instead of paper):
- lowered the neckline by two centimetres at the front because it sat a little too high on my throat and felt constrictive. This also made the neckline more into a bateau style, which is my favourite style;
- shortened the skirt by 10cm, because it would have hit my mid calf otherwise which is a difficult length to wear;
- lengthened the bodice by 5cm because it felt too high waisted (what can I say - I'm a child of the 90s when low slung everything was how it was done). Although looking at the photos it probably would have been more flattering to have it finish at my natural waist;
- moved the side zip to a centre back zip, just because I don't like the feeling of the zipper digging into my fleshy underarm area. This meant I could get rid of the side seams on the skirt (yay less pattern matching to do!) and just have one long piece with a centre back seam since I cut this on the lengthwise grain. It also meant I could line the bodice using the sleeveless dress method (neck and arm seams first, side seams last) which neatly enclosed the cap sleeves; and
- made pleats for the skirt instead of gathering because gathering does my head in and plus pleats sit a little flatter than gathering so it's less bulky at the waistine.
I wore this out shopping today with a narrow black belt which defined the waistline well, but it kept sliding upwards so I may sew some belt loops on the waist seam to stop that happening since I like it better with a belt.
I did also wear this with some black high heel sandals, but annoyingly the strap broke on one of them whilst I was out shopping and I had to clomp around which is not a good look but at least now I have a legitimate reason to go shoe shopping - replacement shoes barely count in the shoe shopping stakes! And since it's been a bit chilly these last few days I wore this out with a cropped black jacket, which almost makes this look like a skirt + top combo and a double duty outfit is always a good thing.
Overall I think this is a good pattern, if somewhat fiddly. I didn't look at the Burda instructions so I don't know if they were any good but I doubt it. However I don't think I will make this again purely because I have so many other patterns in this same style that are easier to sew - why make things harder on yourself?