If you read my previous post, you know I’m going to Florida soon to teach. If I’m going to Florida, I probably need a new dress, right? Right! I’m finished with the projects, the instructions, and the kits, so I had time. I recently bought a nice supply of knits from Gorgeous Fabrics during one of their sales, so I pulled out this beautiful print. Now, I don’t often wear prints, but hey, why not? I’m not exactly sure what to call this poly-lycra fabric – it’s not a double knit, it’s not a jersey. It has a slight crepe-y texture on the right side, and it’s very stable, almost like a stretch woven. It was a breeze to sew!
Then I went through my pattern stash. I don’t live anywhere near a good place to purchase patterns, so I was limited to what I have on hand. I came across Burda 8707.
This pattern is probably at least 13 or 14 years old, and out of print. I’ve never sewn it, but I always liked it.
I like the curved French darts, and the slight fishtail of the back skirt. So, I made a quick muslin of the bodice to check the fit, and went at it!
It’s been a long time since I’ve sewn a Burda pattern. I cut a 16 for the muslin, because that’s where my measurements took me. And I never, ever like tight. The muslin fit pretty well, except it was too wide across the chest, and a little large overall. But I was pleased that the dart points were not too high (lowering dart points is a pretty common thing for those of us who are a few – or more than a few – years beyond our 30s!) I was also pleased with how the back fit. This pattern has shoulder darts in the back. It seems like most patterns used to have them, but few do anymore. They really make the back fit more nicely. There is even slight shaping in the center front bodice seam. Because I originally thought I’d add sleeves, I also fit the sleeve pattern. This had an elbow dart, another thing that seems to be rare these days, but really improves the fit.
I didn’t want the high jewel neck. I knew I’d feel like I’m choking! I like necklines that fall just below my collar bones, so that’s where I drew in the new neckline. I also narrowed the shoulder width by 1/4 inch front and back, and adjusted 1/2″ for square shoulders. In addition, I lowered the right front shoulder 1/4″, because my right shoulder is slightly lower than the left, and if I don’t make this little alteration, the neckline on the right side always wants to gape.
Okay, time to cut. I didn’t have enough fabric to even try matching the large print, so I just cut randomly. I cut a 12 across the shoulders, 14 at the side seams, angling to 16 at the waist and hips.
The dress sews up easily. The only tricky part at all is those curved darts. The instructions say to slash the dart take-up in the center, then stitch. Instead of slashing, I cut a wedge out of the dart, leaving 3/8″ seam allowances.
This made it much easier to pin those curved lines together.
When stitching to the dart point, stitch all the way to the edge of the fabric, then stitch a few stitches off the edge. Lift up the presser foot, slide the fabric toward you for about 1/2 inch, then lower the presser foot and stitch several stitches in the dart to secure the threads. This makes a much prettier point than trying to backstitch.
Isn’t this a pretty dart?
After I stitched the bodice and skirt, I basted the side seams to check the fit. Still a little big. I ended up taking in almost all that I had added to the side seams. It ended up about a 12 at the underarms, and 14 at the hips. I took the side seams in about 3/8″ more at the waist to give just a bit more shaping. I also took in just a smidge at the center front seam at the neckline, merging into the seamline about 4″ below the neck, and I also took in the center front seam 1/4″ from below the bust to the skirt seam, and 1/4″ from the center front skirt seam at the waist, angling out to the original seamline.
I decided to make an exposed zipper, using a black zipper with a lacy tape from Ghee’s, like this, except mine is black.
When I tried on the dress again at this point, I decided I didn’t want the sleeves. The armholes fit very well with no gaps, and I think it looks nice sleeveless.
The patterns calls for a full lining, but I didn’t want that (nor did I have any stretch lining fabric) so I cut facings for the neck and armholes. I trimmed the seam allowances where they crossed in enclosed areas, such as the facings, to avoid bulk.
After the enclosed seam allowances were trimmed and clipped, I understitched. When doing this, press the seam allowance toward the facing, and stitch from the right side close to the seam. Spread the facing out so that the curve lies flat. This opens up the little clips in the seam allowance, and keeps the facing edge smooth and non-rolling.
I kind of like this little dress! It’s comfy and, I think, cute!
Florida, here I come!