Monday, 28 March 2016

Burda of the month: 3/2016 #125 retro dress

I am absolutely killing my Burda challenge this year - three projects made from the magazines in the month of their issue and I like them all (so far, I could be tempting fate by typing this though!). My blogging not so much though, I just can't seem to find the words when I sit down to do a post, but here we go.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Despite this issue being full of bridal clothes and children's holy communion outfits (neither of which I have any use for at the moment), there were a few patterns in this issue I really liked.  For this project I went with 3/2016 #125 which is described as a retro cocktail dress, and is part of the bridal collection as a bridesmaids dress.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com
Image via Burda Style
I made it less "cocktail party" and more "day dress suitable for work" by making it in a linen/cotton blend I bought last December from the Remnant Warehouse, and I used a piece of cotton sateen for the collar for contrast. The lines are irregular, which I figured meant I could get away with minimal pattern matching!

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

However, because of my fabric choice those seam lines at the back and the princess seams on the front are barely visible at all. Which is a pity because I really like how the seams on the bodice line up with the pleats on the skirt - I love that sort of symmetry:

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The Burda recommended materials are "thick dress material with stand" which I assume means materials with some body. Their version though looks to be made from a draped, shiny fabric with no body given the way it hangs and the collar droops. However my fabric had enough thickness for the skirt to get a fullness about it without being too costume-y:

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The skirt has an inverted box pleat at the centre front, and then some deep pleats at either side on the front and the back, so there's quite a lot of material. I've sewn the pleats down for about 10cm from the waistline so it's a trim fit around the waist before flaring out.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I'm not prone to twirling myself, but if that's your thing then this is the pattern for you:

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I used a cotton sateen which was interfaced for the collar so that it would stand up, in a plain black colour for a bit of contrast. The collar is literally a long narrow rectangle cut on the straight grain, so it's not designed to curve but to stand up. It does feel like it is gaping wide open (which it is), so it is taking a little bit to get used to when I'm wearing it.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

As usual the Burda instructions are hugely confusing and I mostly ignored them for the sake of my sanity. The bodice is intended to be fully lined, and it seems the instructions are suggesting sewing the invisible zip on top of the fabric and lining all the way to the top edge of the collar which would mean the zipper tape is visible. I chose not to line my bodice since my fabric is quite substantial, and I sewed the zipper to the top of the dress and used a hook and eye to keep the collar together instead. The zipper and collar looks messy on the inside, but it's ok from the outside and that's all that counts. I drafted some facings for the sleeve edges which are just hand sewn down - I couldn't just use bias tape because the sleeve edge has a distinctive L shape to it.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The dress looks ok worn without a belt, I just think it looked a little blah without any colour or waist definition:

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

So overall I really like this pattern, but I do find the bodice to be a little big. I had to grade down from  a size from a size 36 and it still feels roomy which I thought was just my dodgy grading skills (which they are) but I can see from the Burda version that even on the model it looks too big with a bit of gathering across the front. I think it's also drafted a little high waisted which suited me because I usually shorten my bodices by 1.5cm but this one sat just right without any changes. Just a few things to be aware of if you are intending to try this pattern - but otherwise I can highly recommend this pattern.

Thankfully we are having a very warm start to our Autumn, so I'm sure I'll get a few wears from this dress before it's time to get out the winter gear.

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