Otherwise known as Burda Paneled Sheath Dress 09/2010 #122A. I have some VERY important interviews coming up, the kind of interviews I’ve waited 4 years to get. To say I want to make a good impression is an understatement! As soon as the first letter came through my door (or inbox as it was) I started dreaming up what I would make as my interview dress. Luckily I had recently seen this Burda dress on Burdastyle and had fallen in love with it (in a work way). It feels very modern but totally work appropriate if made in the right (read boring) colour.
So what do you think, does it work?
I’m really proud of this dress – and the fact I got it to fit. The sizings for this are WAY out for my body shape, and I mean different planet way out. So, I spent some time carefully altering the pattern pieces to make sure it would fit me. Luckily this pattern calls for a wool jersey, and I ended up using a thick ponti, so there was a reasonable amount of leeway.
You can’t really see the details in my photos but this is the way the dress is put together. Obviously altering this was not going to be as easy as grading out to the next size or taking it in at the side seams, seeing as how there aren’t any. But I persevered! The first alteration I made was to lengthen the waist section by an inch (this means piece 3, if you’re making it), and that involved putting the pieces together to find the corresponding spot on the back piece too. This was actually pretty easy
Then the real fun started. I started off with a size 19 (these are petite sizes) on the bust. I’m actually half an inch bigger round my bust, but I figured I was using a stretch fabric – it’ll cope! Then I had to grade in to the smallest size (17) for my waist, and then grade out again to the biggest size (21) on the pieces around my hips. This wasn’t especially hard, but what I had to look out for was checking that the side of the pattern piece that joined the back panel was the same length as it was before I started to play with it. Otherwise the pieces would not fit together again afterward, and my back panel would probably be too short. So I measured the side of the pattern pieces that hit the back panel and with my french curve changed the curve slightly until it was the right length. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take any pics of this process and that I cut the pieces out so neatly, but I didn’t and I did. So I can only show you a piece that’s been played with. Hopefully you get the idea.
On this piece you can see how I’ve added my extra inch, graded it in from a larger size to the smallest size, and how I’ve had to change the pattern line at the top to make sure the left side is the correct length.
That done all I had to do was sew it together, and it sewed together like a dream! I’m really developing a love for jersey materials, they’re so quick! It only took me an evening to make the changes and sew the thing together. All that was left was the sleeves.
Ooooh, those sleeves! I tried to understand the instructions for putting on those sleeves, I really did, but I could not make head nor tail of them. They were impossible! It is only me that finds Burda instructions confusing? Anyhoo, I kinda winged it. The first attempt was a massive failure, so out they came and new material was bought. But having put them in once I was more easily able to work out how to put them in again.
Here are my tips for putting in the sleeves:
Bias bind the arm hole, now forget about it. (I only say this as I didn’t and was trying to attach the sleeve to the armhole, there’s no need. Don’t stress yourself out )
Fold the sleeve band in half, sew the short edges, trim, turn inside out and press. Press the other lengthwise side with the seam allowances inside. Then sew one side of each of the bands next to/ on the arm hole following the lines on the pattern piece past the arm hole, using the fold in the fabric as a guide.
You could then ‘stitch in the ditch’ to attach the other side of the band, but I hand stitched it – just to make sure it was neat and the stitches couldn’t be seen.
Now I’ve seen how it works it’s simple. I don’t know why the instructions didn’t say that to begin with! However, I now see that my sleeves are not quite even, and are slightly lower on one side. But I think it’s about time I stopped worrying about what I’m going to wear to the interview, and start concentrating on what I’m going to say! I’ll leave it.
I will definitely be making this dress again, I think it’s gorgeous and fits me perfectly! But I might choose a more exciting fabric, and might leave those sleeves off. It looked fine without them!
Unfortunately, these interviews mean I might be a little quite for a few weeks, as I try to revise. But then I’ve developed a reward system – an hour of work for half an hour of sewing. Obsessed, Me?
Wish me luck, they start on Monday! I just need to get some interview appropriate shoes now, something tells me they won’t like my 4 inch wedge platforms…