Once upon a time, an avid seamstress took a trip far far away to Melbourne. There she visited the fabled Tessuti’s and spenteth up big on fabric. Including a piece of slippery dippery shot rayon-y stuff in a wonderful plummy-chocolate-y sort of a colour. The rich and gorgeous colour of a ripe eggplant. The fabric was borne home, lovingly folded and put carefully away and just taken out every now and again for speculative draping over the seamstress’ faithful dummy Bessie, before being re-folded and tucked away again, awaiting the Perfect Project.
The months marched by.
The lovely fabric was still sitting there, taunting the seamstress, Perfect Project-less, and fast becoming that dreaded stuff; Fabric That is Too Good To Sew Up. The seamstress realized this and took it out again, determined to make something utterly fabulous with it. She cast about, more seriously this time, for the Perfect Project. The beguiling dress 102 on the cover of 06/2011 Burdastyle magazine caught her eye, again… actually the very reason she bought this magazine. It was a promising looking number for summer; loose and elegant, and just the thing for flowy slippery dippery sort of fabrics. The seamstress did all her prep, and then bravely sliced into the precious fabric. She made up her dress, pinned up the hem, and hung it up for the requisite couple of days (being an old hand, she knew all the rules regarding bias-cut) Then she put it on. Lo, and the mirror reflected back to her a frump. A complete and utter frump.
The seamstress realized that her delicious and expensive fabric the colour of an eggplant had magical powers and had transformed her into one... just like when Cinderella was transformed into a pumpkin (oh OK OK, that was the coach not Cinders… but you getteth the idea)
Bitterly disappointed, she took it off and hung it out of sight for a few days; busied herself with easier projects, like making Pattern Magic stuff out of scraps. Then took out the Eggplant costume again (for this is how she now thought of it) Studied it. Had a brainwave, and chopped off 14cm. Pinned the hem, hung it up for the next few days again, blah blah. Tried it on. Lo, and the shorter length had worked wonders! Gone was the bulbous look! The seamstress felt victorious. Hand-stitched a narrow hem. And wore the dress out. And catching sight of herself in a shop window, noticed in a certain light a sheerness to the dress, the shadow of underwear showing through, that had not previously been apparent in the bathroom mirror…
She despaired, but briefly; rallied and then quickly made a little slip-on petticoat. It was thrown together somewhat, but finally the gods were smiling on the seamstress because the petticoat was perfect.
And they all lived happily ever after.
Dress; Burdastyle magazine 06/2011, dress 102, purple shot rayon
Petticoat; self-drafted, from lightweight navy blue polycotton (the last leftover bit after making this)
The fabric is shot rayon; with a red warp and a dark blue/grey weft, giving it an overall browny-purple hue. Craig took this last candid photo which illustrates quite well how the fabric takes on different colours in the light (a hallmark of shot fabrics)
Flared bias-cut dress with an oval neckline which according to the magazine description “accents an alluring décolleté “ (hehehe) Small gathered cap sleeves, inseam side pockets, no closure necessary.
European 36-44; I made the size 38
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you had finished sewing it?
Yes, except that mine is 14cm shorter.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Not too convoluted, by Burdastyle standards.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I really love the neckline of this dress, the cute overall shape of the bodice part of the dress and the fact it will be wonderfully cool and comfortable this summer.
Unfortunately the pattern is a little… odd-looking in its finished form :S I think this might well be due to the bias cut, which when combined with that gathered neckline; well I should have foreseen how huge this would make the front of the dress look. I am not fond of the maternity look, been there done that and at my age I’m well past all that!! However, looking closely at the dress I thought the baby bump effect was created partly by the length of the dress, and that the weight of the fabric caused the front to curve back inwards towards your body, in a sort of “bulbous” effect. I took 14cm off the length and I think this drastically improved the shape of the dress. The removal of this extra weight of fabric allowed the hemline to sit up and flip out more fully, giving more of an A-line rather than an eggplant silhouette.
Lightweight shot rayon, with a very slippery silky feel to it
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Contrary to the instructions I sewed the pocket pieces to the dress before sewing up the side seams. Why would you sew up the side seams before attaching the pockets anyway? That doesn’t make sense to me at all.
The instructions tell you to attach the sleeve binding before sewing up the side sleeve seams… I sewed the side seams of the dress, then sleeve seams and then set in the sleeves; then I attached the binding to the lower edge of the sleeves and slipstitched it over by hand. Just a personal preference…
The “bigness” of the dress combined with a quite long length added up to an unfortunate overall frumpiness… so I ended up taking 14cm off the length and this improved the silhouette of the dress enormously, imo.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I’m curious as to whether this would look better in a straight-cut; and I might just try this out sometime… Otherwise it might be worth reducing the width of the neckline (and thus some of the excess fabric from out of the front of the dress) to see if this reduces the unfortunate “baby bump” effect.
Would I recommend this to others? well, this would definitely make a fabulous maternity dress!
My first reaction to the unhemmed dress at the longer length was disappointment, but taking off that crucial 14cm in length and I am happy! I really like this at the shorter length. But I wouldn’t make this again, at least without trying a few adjustments, like taking away at least a bit of that excess fabric around the middle…
This might work better in a lightweight cotton or something else not as slippery and slithery as the fabric I chose. Bias cut rayon is not much fun to work with.