Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oo la la

I've made a new dress for winter!
This fabric, a sort of very roughly spun and woven silk, with some very stiffish almost stick-like pieces woven into it, was one of my Christmas presents; that I bought so the children could have some things to give me; hehe, I know, so thoughtful of me...  I always wanted to make some sort of unadorned sheath dress with it, something that was plain-ish, yet still chic and polished, that could be dressed up or down to suit a multitude of "looks".  And in an ideal world, pockets would be in there too somehow.  But how to incorporate pockets into a sheath dress?   It is almost impossible, without resorting to the ol' patch pockets, which are not very chic and not a very polished look.  I wanted "polished", in case if I so desired I just could wear my dress to semi-formal do-es.  Occasionally, I do so desire.  So when I saw this pattern, dress 128 from the 08/2009 Burdastyle magazine I realised that while the dress did appear quite fitted and sheath-like, the pleated fullness at the front of the skirt meant that inseam side pockets were a distinct possibility.  So I tried out putting some in, and they worked out pretty good, imo.  Yes! (self high five)  Is that a case of having my cake and eating it too, or what?!
Apart from the inseam pockets, I made a few other small modifications.  Firstly, I have a slight pet aversion to dresses that have a waist seam on the front and not on the back.  Just privately, it bothers my pernickety need for order and continuity... so I cut the back pieces to have a corresponding waist seam at the back, corresponding to fit with the front waist seam.  This also enabled me to make a slight sway back adjustment easily, a double win.
Also, my dress is fully lined with acetate lining fabric, unlike the pattern, which stipulates a bodice lining only.  Why would you have a lined bodice, and not go that small extra step to line the skirt section? Hmmm...  imo, a skirt lining is mandatory in a winter dress, so it doesn't stick to your tights.  For my dress lining pieces, apart from the very top neckline and sleeve bits which are to the pattern, I used mostly the lower portion of an ol' faithful Burda 8511.  So apart from the bust darts at the front, and long double ended body darts at the back, the lining is quite plain.
I also opted to line the sleeves, for extra warmth.  But here I made a small error of misjudgement, although I know that sleeve linings need wearing ease, at this stage I was happily whizzing ahead in my blissful little sewing trance, and didn't incorporate enough into mine.  Agreed, I should know better by now... still, this is only a problem for that one moment in my day when I am trying to zip up the thing at the back, you know when you are twisted in that position with one arm up and one arm down behind your back, trying to hold that back centre seam in place with one hand and grab the zip pull with the other to pull it up?  I'm sure this is one of the main reasons yoga was invented.  I mean, the need to stay limber enough so we can get our back dress zips up by ourselves, naturally... 
The fabric is that sort of silk that frays like a madman, fraying all by itself just seconds after it has been cut. So I edged all the straight raw edges in HongKong seaming, while some of the "hidden" ones up inside the bodice and in the sleeves were just overlocked to finish...  did someone just say "lazy?"  Who, moi?  On the bottom hem, I made a wide strip of bias binding to make a divinely wide hem...  just look at that hem width, and not a raw edge to be seen anywhere.  Couture heaven, no?!


Details:
Dress; pattern no 128 Burdastyle magazine 08/2009 with some modifications, silk
Sandals; akiel, from an op shop




Below is my pattern review, if you are interested...


Pattern Description:
This figure-following sheath dress constitutes a tribute to all Paris fashion designers; the bodice remains plain while little waist tucks lend the skirt a refined tulip look  (don't you just love Burdastyle descriptions...!)
Pattern Sizing:
36-44, I sewed a 38, and  graduated the skirt pieces out to 40 from hip height down because I wanted to incorporate inseam side pockets.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
yes!
Were the instructions easy to follow?
very straightforward and easy
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
There's nothing not to like about this pattern!  I made a few slight modifications to suit my personal taste.
Fabric Used:
A roughly spun and woven silk, with acetate lining
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I incorporated inseam side pockets.  The slight flare at the front of the skirt provided by the waist pleats made this an obvious modification, and very easy to do.
I cut the dress back pieces to have a waist seam, corresponding to the waist seam at the front of the dress.  I prefer the continuity of this look, and it also enabled me to make a slight sway back adjustment.
I fully lined the dress, including the skirt and sleeves.  For the dress lining pieces, I used a plain shift dress pattern I already have; which does not have the shaping of the main dress pieces.  For the sleeve linings I used the pattern pieces, although, note to others who plan to do this, be sure allow some wearing ease here!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I highly recommend this to others!
Conclusion:
This is an easy dress pattern with a lovely, flattering and classic shape.

below; side view, with pockets in action...

39 comments:

  1. LOVE IT. Especially the neutral colour as you could totally rock it with various accessories of the coloured persuasion. ;)

    Thanks for your comment.... but do you now realise you've made me feel the INTENSE pressure to maintain my high level of interesting and amusing comments...
    sigh... oh the scrutiny!

    heh heh heh

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  2. Funny I was only looking at this pattern last night. I have some dark grey wool crepe that I think will suit. Love your version and it is beautifully made.

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  3. Definitely polished and chic!

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  4. Yes it is lovely, classic and oh so attractive on you.

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  5. Carolyn, this is a beautiful dress!!!

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  6. This is one beautiful dress. I have admired this pattern for sometime and I do plan to make it one day . I agree about the back needing a waist seam ..that does seem odd .You look fab as always.

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  7. I love your version of the dress! Great fabric too. I've been wanting to make this dress for a while and luckily found the magazine at a local shop selling old magazines just a couple weeks ago. I hope mine turns out as lovely as yours.

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  8. Beautiful. A perfect use of interesting fabric. (Your children have great taste, just like their mother)
    I greatly admire your inside views. Surely overlocking the bits even the wearer will never see is more excellent time management than that other word?
    I thought those back zips were why husbands were invented? :) Now that I know how I have been misuing mine, I will have to brush up on my yoga

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  9. What a lovely dress. I've been looking for a winter dress recently and yours is perfect. The silk fabric in that neutral colour is divine. Job well done.

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  10. It's a stunning dress! Elegant and neutral but not plain or boring. Your fabric is just perfect and I impressed with how much care you took in finishing the inside. Overlocking seams that are hidden inside lining seems like common sense to me- why HKG finish what no one will ever see?

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  11. It's a beautiful dress and fits you perfectly, and the finish is superb.

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  12. Beautiful, elegant, chic - LOVE it!

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  13. I absolutely love this style. Your version is superb. The fabric is to die for.
    Now you've got me thinking about it again. Perhaps for next fall - this isn't really a dress for sticky summer weather (not that we're anywhere close to sticky yet).

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  14. So pretty! I remember this pattern from the magazine - I had my doubts about the pleats, but can see they really work well.

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  15. Very pretty, love the fabric :)

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  16. You look so chic! What a lovely, well-made dress. :)

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  17. Fantastic dress, and I remember seeing that Chanel ad and wanting that dress. I had to laugh when you mentioned about purchasing the fabric so you family could give it to you, we do that in our family as well - always good for a chuckle on Christmas morning.

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  18. It's beautiful, sculptural AND architectural. What an amazing dress! I may have to take a second look at that pattern this fall! I just adore it on you. High five! :)

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  19. Very cute and elegant! I love the pleating! Also, yay, pockets!

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  20. Great! That dress is really beautiful! It was in my eye for a long time and I was leery of the folds in the stomach, now I watch it on you and I am determined to do it, even I'm thinking with short sleeves, thin fabric, bright color, it would be good ....

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  21. Got to love any dress with pockets (the lack of pockets in women's RTW is one of the big reasons I started sewing). The fit looks perfect.

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  22. This is fantastic! Love your fabric choice.

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  23. This is a beautiful dress. I can see you doing one of your 'how to wear a dress 6 ways' posts about this one on the future. The hem is very impressive indeed.

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  24. Beautiful dress - I'm delighted to see your back waist seam! I would do the same. :D

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  25. This is so perfectly polished. I just love it. I made a very similar dress last year, except that it was a Vogue pattern. (It's disturbingly similar, actually! Makes me wonder which company ripped off which!)

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  26. Now THAT, is beautiful! Classy too.

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  27. Gorgeous! Clever you to add pockets and a back waist seam.
    Sewingelle

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  28. This looks fantastic. I really love the fabric choice, and all of your details both on the outside and inside. It makes it all the more special. Well done!

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  29. That dress is so incredibly chic on you.

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  30. I love your dress and the finish is superb. Pockets too!! Bliss.

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  31. This dress is gorgeous! I would totally love something like that for work! Super in love with it!

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  32. I just love this dress. The fabric is gorgeous and the finish..."Couture? Yes!" Very nice. I am so glad I have this issue. Your version is so inspirational!

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  33. I love the fabric you chose. This dress is fabulous!

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  34. What a lovely and demure winter dress - and you've inspired me to dig out V8511 for its similarities!

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  35. Oh my, I LOVE this dress. The color, the quarter length sleeves, the pleats on the front, everything!
    I'm glad to hear that this pattern is easy to use, I am definitely going to remembering this one to make in the future.
    By the way, I love love that you added the side pockets. That's such a good idea, I need to start doing that on some of the dresses I make. I love dresses except for that one thing, they never have pockets. So there you go, problem solved!

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  36. This dress is gorgeous! I want one! Well, maybe not a winter version, and definitely no lining (I am in Darwin :-P)

    I just love that fabric. So beautiful. The pattern, the fabric, and your figure all work so well together.

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  37. Beautifully made, beautifully finished, lovely fabric. fantastic!

    So hmmm, would you line the skirt of a summer dress? what if the pattern called for it, but the fabric itself was rather substantial, and a lining wasn't necessary for modesty reasons? and if a lining would add something less of natural fabric next to the skin ...? just curious ...

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