I recently finished the quilting on a quilt I’m not all that thrilled about, so I decided to take a fun break and make myself a dress. I had seen Burdastyle Long Sleeve Flounce Dress 11/2016 #117 online, and really liked the slightly assymetrical look
It’s a pdf only, so I bought it, printed it out, and started fitting. That’s where the *fun* started! First of all, it’s a petite-only pattern (I used size 21, which corresponds to a regular Burda size 42.) Now, if you know me, you know I’m not petite! I’m 5’9″, with long arms and long legs. I’ve never started with a petite pattern before. Adding length to pattern parts is not really difficult, however, so I started with comparing my measurements and the pattern measurements.
Almost all of my lengthening needed to be in the upper bodice. I ended up adding 1.5″ above the dart points on both the front and back bodice, the assymetrical right center front piece (that curves up to the neck,) and the flounce. The sleeves needed only 0.75″ added, half above and half below the elbow dart. That I only needed an extra 0.75″ is really odd, because I usually have to lenghten long sleeves by 1″ on non-petite patterns. I didn’t add any length at all to the skirt.
I tried my muslin on, and, boy, was this made for a strangely-shaped bust! The distance between dart points was 11″; mine should be about 8.5″. I’ve never had this issue with such widely-spaced dart points! In addition, the darts as drawn made for a very pointy look – think vintage Madonna! So, I had to lengthen the darts, and curve and taper the stitching to avoid the cone shape. It took a lot of try-ons to get that bodice looking good!
In addition, I did my usual square-shoulder adjustment, and lowered the right shoulder an additional 0.25″ in front. Again, as usual, I needed to take in 0.25″ on each side of the back neck. The shoulders were not wide enough to accommodate a dart, so I curved the center back seam in .25″, starting about 4″ below the neckline. I ended up taking in the front neckline a bit at the top of the side bodice pieces, as well. These are very slim sleeves, so I did a 1″ full biceps adjustment.
I like the fact that Burda patterns often have a shaped center back seam, but this one was a little too shaped for my back, so I partially straightened the seam, adding a little at the waist, and taking in a little at shoulder blade height.
This pattern had no seam allowances, so I added 0.5″ seam allowances all around, and 1″ sleeve and skirt hems. I knew the waist would be a little tight 😦 so I cut out the dress with 1″ side seams.
The fabric is Stretchy Suit Weight RPL – Charcoal from Gorgeous Fabrics. It feels nice and is comfy to wear.
The pattern called for wool crepe, and as much as I love working with wool, I just cannot stand wearing it against my skin! I know, there are many soft, lovely wool fabrics out there, but even cashmere is itchy to me. So, no wool except for fully lined garments! This pattern had a similar weight and drape, plus a little stretch (and, it’s a heathery charcoal, so the inevitable cat fur won’t be as obvious!)
I stabilized the neckline and shoulder seams with narrow lengthwise strips of fusible tricot interfacing, fused at the seamline. I also fused 0.75″ strips of the tricot to the zipper opening. The neckline facings were interfaced with lightweight fusible weft insertion.
The front flounce is single layer. The pattern instructions said to just zigzag the raw edge. Yuck! Lining would have made it less drapey, so I bound the edge with soft bias cotton/silk Radiance fabric in lime green.
Those 1″ side seam allowances were sewn at the full 1″ at the underarms, tapering to 0.5″ at the waist and to the hem.
Now, finally, some pictures:
(Sorry the dress is a bit wrinkled; I wore it yesterday evening, and spent a lot of time in the car with a seat belt on.)
This photo of the back is over-exposed; the others show the color more accurately.
Finally, I just love the green-edged flounce! It can be draped in several ways.
Fitting garments for oneself is an ever-changing and ever-learning venture. And just when you think you have it figured out, age creeps in and moves parts of your body around! 😀