It feels like it took the entire spring season, but I finally finished this batch of projects. Well, ok, I didn’t finish the muslins, but do I have to count those? This dress, Burda Style 7114, was the last “real” garment (since muslins are proto-garments in my mind). It represents some of my best and worst sewing. Let me explain…
I did some things I’m really good at, and they turned out well. Some of my seam finishes are great, and I even managed to grade the pattern up beyond what the size range of the pattern is–something I haven’t done before. I also tried some new things or tried things differently and, frankly, they look pretty bad, but I’m leaving them. I tried a different method for the single welt pockets and I tried to do machine blind hems on the sleeves and hem. I’ve only done each of these things one or two times, and I think they turned out terribly, but (1.) I’m still the only one who will really notice, (2.) I wanted to finish this dress, and (3.) maybe this is me putting a glossy coating on my own impatience, but this is where I’m at with these techniques, and I think leaving them is a reminder that I have to start somewhere. We don’t start out as experts, we start as beginners. And it’s definitely a humbling thing to become a beginner again when you are getting fairly proficient in other areas.
I have had this pattern for a long time.
I looked at it and planned to make it over and over without really committing. I love the look and shape, but I was intimidated by Burda Style patterns because I hadn’t tried them before. So this spring, (after breaking the Burda Style barrier with my Burda Style 7084 dirndl in the fall) I finally put it on my list. I’m also realizing how much really good fabric I have that I want to use, so I dug deep in the stash and pulled out some old Amy Butler fabric that was originally earmarked for reupholstering our couch 9 years ago. We went with a neutral color for the couch, which meant that this has hung out in my stash since before I started sewing regularly. I thought it would make a good first-try-fabric for this pattern since it has that fun, retro look to it just like the dress. And you know what? I really like it. I didn’t know if I would like this dress until I put it on to take pictures, but I really do. It’s comfortable and interesting.
I traced the 18, which was the largest size, and then I did my best to grade the waist out to what would be a 20 and the hips to a 22. I used the size 18 sleeve. Burda’s sizing isn’t the same as McCall’s or Simplicity’s or the other Big 4 companies. They have their own system. In order to grade up, I looked at how the pattern looked as it went from one size to another and did my best to imitate that.
I also did a major broad back adjustment.
I couldn’t find the 24″ zipper the pattern called for, so I used a 22″ zipper. This worked out just fine. I also tried using a light grey thread since I didn’t have any that matched.
Here are my notes on the pattern.
- Seam allowances are included in the Burda Style paper patterns (which you can get at JoAnn Fabrics), unlike in Burda magazine. Yay!
- I tried to follow the directions for the most part, hoping to learn some new techniques and accustom myself to how Burda Style patterns work, since I have several I would like to try at some point. I really do think there is probably a better welt pocket method, however. I think next time I will look in one of the sewing reference books I have or at another pattern and try something different.
- I tried the machine blind hem instead of sewing by hand as directed since I wanted to learn that technique. Not pretty, but if I keep practicing, I’ll get it eventually.
- There was a lot of basting before sewing your final seams, and while it’s a great idea, and I did it at first, by the time I was half way through the pattern, I realized I didn’t need to baste quite as much as the pattern told me to.
- The other part where I deviated from the instructions was installing the invisible zipper. I think the directions that came with the zipper were more detailed, so I followed those. I kept messing it up, though, (reading directions AND looking at the pictures is a better idea than reading alone, in case you are wondering) and I had to put the zipper in FOUR times. The words I wanted to say at that point aren’t ones I will type out, but I did go off on a rant to my husband about how I was only sewing easy things and repeat patterns after this. And by the way, this had nothing to do with the directions in the pattern or the zipper packaging. It was 100% operator error. I think it came out well in the end, thankfully.
But…I persevered, and I finished! I wasn’t sure if all my adjustments had worked and if the dress would fit, but I tried it on after washing out all the sewing marker, and it did! I wasn’t sure if I would like the dress, but I do. I like a shift/A-line style, and the pockets are pretty great, too. After making this version (Version A), I think I would try this again and maybe make Version B, which is sleeveless. It has kind of a fun and interesting look.
And now it’s time for SUMMER SEWING!!! I’m so excited. I love summer sewing. I just want to make loose, easy linen or cotton tops. All the linen! All the cotton!
OK. That probably won’t be all I make, but it might be. I don’t have firm plans yet, so we’ll see!
- I found a new sewing/crafting podcast! I’ve been listening to Stitcher’s Brew, and it’s so fun! This one is based in England, so it’s a great chance to get to know about the sewing scene that is happening there. Gabby and Megan seem like they have a great time together, which makes the podcast really fun to listen to.
- I meant to post this article on making great collar points last week, but forgot about it. In “How to Make a Perfect Point”, shirtmaking expert David Page Coffin shares his experiments in collar points with us. I think about this every time I turn my collars right side out.
- I think costume design is so interesting. Here is an intriguing article about “The Afrofuturistic Designs of ‘Black Panther'”. I had heard the costumes in “Black Panther” were good, and I wasn’t disappointed.
- Think you have a lot to worry about? How about the plight of the humble marshmallow farmer in North Carolina? 😉