As 2014 was on its last legs, there was still one project on my to do list. It was a lovely woollen winter day dress that would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. I really wanted to wear it to the NYE party, a dinner with friends, nothing fancy really, so true to myself, I had to rush and finish everything in one day.
The story: I’ve been drooling over this Burda Style pattern ever since I saw it on Pinterest a while ago. But I had a slight prejudice against PDF patterns, so just pinned it on my Dress Patterns Pinterest board and sort of put in the back of my mind. But last year, for various reasons, I warmed up to these type of patterns and when Burda had a promotion in November, it was the first design on my purchase list.
It was a good thing that I loved the dress so much, because it was one of the most difficult PDFs to put together ever! It took me almost two evenings to assemble, add in seam allowance and cut out. Dedication, I’m telling you! Unfortunately, during that time I was working very hard to get the blog launched, so I had to leave the making to one side while I was writing, photo editing and generally working out the mysterious ways of WordPress. But I vowed to make the dress in 2014! So after the blog was all live, I only had NY Eve to do it. So I woke up early in the morning and went for it! By 5PM I had an awesome dress and I wore to the party the very same evening! Tough while watching the fireworks with our friends in SE London, I kept feeling something poking me in the back: it was a pin I had forgotten stuck in the dress!
Pattern: Burda Style 10/2012 #118A, size 10
Fabric: My old favourite, the Gurli throw from IKEA, this time in grey + lightweight stretch faux leather that I have used over and over again for many projects.
Notions: 52cm invisible zipper; strips of fusible interfacing
Talking shop: I wasn’t sure if I had managed to put the PDF pattern together properly, so just to make sure everything would come out as it should, I decided a toile was in order. And good thing I did! This is what it looked like (sorry, the sewing room was a mess, so I had to edit it out!).
Based on the toile, I had to make the following adjustments:
– Removed 5cm from around the front waist. The pattern waist was too low compared to mine.
– The upper back was too wide, I so removed 1.5 cms tapering to nothing at the waist.
– I took in the sleeves by about 3cm tapering to underarm (that included removing 1cm from seam allowance as I sewed them by overlocker)
I made all the changes on the pattern as well and toiled again. I was much happier with the result a second time.
The fabric is very loosely woven, so I wanted to make sure the edges are secure. I ironed strips of fusible interfacing at back neckline and armholes back and front. Then I overlocked absolutely every single raw edge, except the hem, where I used the original hem of the throw.
I also use fusible interfacing at centre back, under the invisible zipper. This ensures that there is absolutely no puckering while inserting the zipper. I also have an idiot proof method for invisible zippers, which takes a bit longer, but it never let me down. I baste the entire centre back seam, then baste the zipper to the seam allowances on both sides, then remove the basting along the zipper and sew zipper with invisible zipper foot as normal. As you can see, idiot proof!
The sleeves were not necessarily a design, more of an improv, as I realised after I started cutting that I did not have enough fabric for sleeves too, so I used some fabric from my inexhaustible stash of lightweight faux leather. And I think it worked really nicely with the wool jersey. Also, I realised the faux leather works very well for set-in sleeves, which I was a bit worried about. But no, it gathers just as well, you just need to make sure you sew the gathering stitches and pin inside the seam allowance, otherwise there will be hole marks.
As I used the original hem, all I had to do was open it a bit at the ends and join then edges together lenghtwise, then roll back and topstitch.
And that was it: started at 10, finished toiling by 1, wearing it by 5 and out of the door to the party by 5.30! I’m very happy with the dress, that I finished it in 2014 and that I have another nice winter dress to wear until the weather gets warmer.