I am the very model of efficiency this month I tell you! Not only have I finished my January Burda project within the month of January (the second Burda project I've made this month), but I also used this month's pattern as my entry into the Pattern Review Little White Dress contest. And I used some more fabric from the stash, so even if I don't rate a mention in the contest I'm already a winner. Of course if you want to vote for me I wouldn't mind at all! (You need to be a member of PR though and voting doesn't start until the 18 Feb).
I made 1/2014 #107, a dress with a cross over bodice and a lightly gathered skirt from a crisp white linen I've had in my stash for quite a few years.
I didn't make a muslin for this dress because I happen to have 5 metres of this linen, purchased in Bangkok many years ago (pre children - a lifetime ago!) and I figured that it would probably only be the bodice that may not work and anyway if it didn't work out first time I had enough fabric to cut out another. Happily though this dress worked out perfectly first time with no changes other than cutting out a size 34 at the shoulders and bust, flaring out to size 36 at the waist and using the size 40 skirt pattern piece so that I could have a few more gathers than the pattern.
Usually I have problems with cross over bodices gaping open since I have a very small bust but not only does this bodice fit closely I think those pleats on the front pieces (they are on both front pieces) give a bit more body to my skeletal chest region. It does get a bit bulky there at the front waist seam because of those pleats meeting the gathers, so I'd recommend sticking to a lightweight fabric if you're thinking of making this dress.
The back has two small pleats at the waistline instead of darts, which I think suits this dress ok as it's a casual summer dress but if I were to make this again in a more dressier fabric I would probably convert them to darts to get a nice close finish.
As is typical with Burda patterns the skirt is about 5cm too long for me, but I left it that long so I could make a nice deep hem to give the skirt a bit of weight. I also knew that the hem would be visible because the fabric is still rather lightweight, so I decided to give the hem some visual weight too by top stitching the hem line with a triple stitch in a longer stitch - it makes the hem a feature rather a sloppy job.
I'm not particularly liking those sleeves though - they sit a bit awkwardly and finish at a rather unflattering part of my arm. And even though I pressed the seam allowances down the flip up under my arms which you can just catch a glimpse of. If I were to make this dress again I would make the sleeves a traditional cap sleeve instead and make a facing or lining under the arm opening instead.
And no I'm not doing the 'squinch' (a pose that is supposed to make you look more attractive in photos), it was either because of glare or my children being naughty behind the camera!
After getting a bit cross a few posts back about the wrinkliness of cotton sateen you must all think I'm mad making something from linen! But the difference for me is that linen is expected to wrinkle, in fact it's the hallmark of linen and something about wrinkled linen screams summer outfit to me. I've never claimed to be consistent or to make sense all the time though, have I? Anyway I underlined all the pattern pieces with a white poly-cotton because the linen is rather lightweight and too sheer to be unlined, but also because I'm hoping that underlining it with a fabric with a bit of polyester content may help reduce the wrinkling a little. I didn't bother making an additional lining though because I still want this to be a light summer dress, and the bodice front has a fold over facing which gives a nice clean edge to the fronts.
I decided to enter the Pattern Review contest on a whim after seeing this month's Burda magazine patterns and figuring I could kill two birds with one stone. I haven't entered a contest on there before, in fact I've really only become active on Pattern Review in the last year after letting my paid membership lapse for many years but I am trying to post more reviews in an effort to give back to the community there. The competition rules require a simple, classic style that could be worn for many years and dressed up or down. I think a dress with a surplice bodice and a gathered skirt is both simple and classic and I can see me wearing this for years to come, depending on how long the fabric stays this white of course!
The entry requirement is to show the dress styled for both day and night, so here's my interpretation:
For day I chose to pair it with a tan leather bag, belt and heels and a wide brimmed white hat. During summer I'm never without a hat outdoors so this outfit really is something I would wear, but only when I don't have my children with me because a white dress to those two is like a red flag to a bull. I would barely last a microsecond before they left a grubby mark on me!
I found trying to style this for night time was a little more difficult because I probably wouldn't wear a loose fitting white dress out at night given that I have many other more sophisticated and colourful dresses already in my wardrobe. So I decided to go with classic black and white, pairing it with black peeptoe shoes, chunky black necklace and black belt. If only I had a classic Chanel camellia brooch to go with it (hint, hint husband!).
So overall this pattern is a winner, it seems to be well drafted and the style is one that is fairly easy to fit because the cross over part can be crossed over slightly more or less depending on what you need (a larger bust would probably need a FBA though I'm not an expert in that area never having needed one!), and the gathered skirt can just be drawn in to suit the finished waist circumference. Looks like my 2014 Burda challenge is off to a promising start.
Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post. Even though there was no common theme or consistency to what I made from the Burda magazine last year I'm glad it didn't turn out like rag bag collection!