Saturday, 28 June 2014

Jo: The Burda Birthday Dress

As of next week I will be a quarter of a century old (as I keep being reminded by my lovely fiancé). I will be celebrating the same way I do most years, which is going to my local, drinking too much wine and probably ending up in either a swanky cocktail bar or a dodgy rock club. Unfortunately my lovely Sew It Yourself ladies won't be able to join me.

Now along with many other fashion lovers, my worst nightmare is being seen in the same outfit as someone else. Perfect excuse for a new challenge dress!

I had recently purchased Burda Style UK magazine and decided on a mini-dress. I already had my fabric from a previous shopping trip to my favourite Birmingham fabric shop Barry’s Fabric Superstore.


I traced out the pattern I needed, following the instructions. This seemed to be the longest process, but once you get used to looking for the same colour and playing spot the number, it kind of becomes like a grown up version of dot-to-dot.           

Instead of using my normal pattern paper, which is a bit thicker, I decided to use tracing paper (a roll of grease proof/baking paper), as it was easier to see through to trace. The Burda pattern has pockets and is supposed to have lining, however, I have chosen not to have pockets or lining. This is because I am going to leave my dress shear and wear a basic slip dress underneath (that I borrowed from another dress). This way I can change the image of the dress dependant on my mood with which bass colour I put underneath it.

Chiffon involves a lot of pining!!!Don’t try and cut corners and not pin, as it will not work and you will end up wanting to scream, so just use pins!!!! All is cut and ready to sew

Now the construction begins, and I was very good and started off following Burda's instructions word for word, until I got bored at step 2 and decided to wing it as I do with most projects.

First step is the bust darts. Tack with bright thread so you know where to sew to. Pin and sew.

Then followed by the side seams. I pressed and over locked the seams and then added top stitching to give the dress a much neater finish and less chance of it fraying and coming apart with wear. 

The back centre seam was then sewn up until the point where the zip will begin. Seams were then over locked and pressed apart.

Next the zip. Now I hate putting in zips, with a passion. I’m not very good at them no matter how hard I try. I’m looking down at this very fragile chiffon, seeing the edges fray away and thinking that I only have one shot at this. I can’t risk un­picking and ruining the fabric. My next fear was that I didn’t have a white zip, but I did have a reddish/orange zip that matched perfectly with the flecks of orange in the fabric.

I had an idea (which is often dangerous) to not have an invisible zip, but to add a pop of colour. So I did it and to my amazement it worked first time! 

My next pet peeve are sleeves.

The sleeves where based on a two­piece sleeve block so they were lined up, pinned, and sewn together. The seams where then over locked and pressed.

When inserting them into the armholes, as per usual I find myself not being able to fit them properly, so I improvised. I added 4 small pleats to each shoulder. The results where very pleasing and I also like the fact it added a bit of shoulder, as I have none. 

And then finally the finishing touches, hemming a good press! I am very happy with the results to this dress and I can not wait to wear it out. I think it's flattering yet comfortable and sexy yet modest.

The fabric is light and perfect for summer. The only thing that I may alter in the future is the neckline as it fits fine but may be a tad snug. I have also made the back slightly longer than the front, to prevent any flashing occurring.

I love this dress and now it's time to go out and celebrate! 

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