1940s Puffy Sleeve Dress: Burda Magazine 5-2009-122

Well, hello sailor! I am digging the World War II era vibe from this Burda 5-2009 #122  dress.

It feels like I’ve just been cranking out projects lately. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I started this dress a little over three months ago back in November 2011. I thought it would be fun to wear to the DC Tweed Ride but only managed to finish my cape. Then, I started  thinking I would wear it to church when I was visiting my parents in Florida at Thanksgiving.  I never got around to finishing the dress on the trip because I left one of the sleeves back home. Once I got back to Baltimore I wasn’t insterested in sewing a non-winter dress.

But, last week, I decided it was time to clear the sewing deck and tackle one of my three UFOs. It’s really just taking up mental and physical space. You’ll understand that I don’t remember too many details at this point.

Alterations? Just my now standard FBA and a swayback adjustment. I also raised the center front waistline by about two inches (perhaps over modulation on my FBA?). I’ll be honest. I don’t think this is a great dress if you are busty. It’s a very full top with all the tucks and the waist isn’t super defined. You may look a bit ’round’. I don’t think this is my most flattering silhouette. Not bad. Just not my best. But, I still like it. I think it’s best suited to a tall and lean Audrey Hepburn vs busty / curvy Marilyn Monroe :)

The dress has 52 pleats. Fifty. Two. Pleats. That includes pleats in the sleeve, sleeve lining, upper bodice / shoulder, bodice waist and skirt. I really really have to recommend that you baste the pleats. I do usually just pin in place, but for this many, I think you’ll be happier with the results if you hand baste.

The material is a wool challis from the Carol Collection. All deep purples and blues with paisley. Again, another fabric I would not have chosen for myself. But, is lovely for fall. The pattern does not call for lining, but I added a lavender silk for lining (also from the Carol Collection) and it’s absolutely luxe! Seriously. I would sleep in this dress just because the lining feels so very good.

The one thing I do not love is the neckline. Even with interfacing for reinforcing, one side is a little warped. Not enough for me to take it apart and fix. But, enough for me to notice. I wish I had used a facing / lining combination. The silk ins’t really stable enough to hold up the neckline well.

Overall, I’m pleased with the dress. It’s not my usual somewhat sleeker style. I love puffy sleeves and a full skirt. But, I do feel a bit twee and Talbots at the same time. Maybe because it’s retro I feel like I’m playing dress up a bit? I felt the same Talbots and twee feeling from this 2007 Burda dress from five years ago (mmm, would like to make that one up again now that I know to make an FBA). That being said, I plan to make this dress up again in a black washed silk that Carolyn gifted me about two years ago. Not the most ‘original’ idea — it was how they made it up in the magazine.

While the tucks and pleats are daunting, it’s well worth it for a fun design.

My pattern review is here.

Valentine’s Parisienne Dress: BWOF 8-2009-128

** updated with DSLR photos

I wish you could see it in person. It’s far more striking than the photos show. My DSLR is still in the shop and my point-and-shoot is what I’m using. It’s fine. But, it renders colors wonky indoors with flash and makes my hair look like a mass of black instead of defined curls. Red is also just makes the camera crazy. Blah, blah, camera talk, blah, blah. And, I’m too lazy to re-take photos. So, forgive my weird skin tone, odd facial shadows and kooky colors.

It’s fitting that it’s titled Parisienne Dress (Burda 8-2009-128) . Otherwise, I’d name it the Arielle dress. As I mentioned in my first post, Patti F. sent me this material when I played shipping agent for the Arielle / Hati / Sewing Supply collection. Arielle has about the cutest accent. Both French and Caribbean at the same time. It’s kind of lyrical really. At any rate, it took me some time to get to this, but I’m really glad I did.


What’s the difference between Parisienne and Parisian? Anyone know? I took Spanish, not French…

This is my second go-round with this dress. The first time was last January. I think this will become a yearly winter dress. It’s so hard to find a dress with sleeves! Like the teal version this one is also made from wool.

 What did I do differently this time? Not too much. I shortened the dress by one inch and pegged the skirt. Two things I said I wish I had done the last time.

I also sewed a size smaller. I thought it was a little boxy the first time I made it (I’ve since taken the first version in). This time I shortened the bust dart and lowered the dart by 1/2 inch. I’ve been making FBAs for one year now and am starting to get the hang of it. The belt I’m wearing is from ASOS about two years ago.

This dress still has my favorite facing / lining technique. I love the facing at the top with the lining below. Except, I am MAD. When I got to work, the lining shredded right at the armscye. SHREDDED as I reached for some chocolates. That’s what I get. I don’t even really like chocolate.

And, I bagged the lining sleeve again.

Machine blind hem finish on the bottom.

I’m wearing this dress to work today and I LOVE a woven dress for work.  Red seemed appropriate for Valentine’s Day. I’m also entering it in the Red Dress contest on PatternReview.com.

This concludes my string of red garments. I’ve finally moved on to a new serger thread color!

Don’t forget to enter my Kwik Sew bra pattern giveway.

And, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Simplicity 3882, Not once. But, twice.

This is just the kind of dress I said I wasn’t going to sew this year! It’s a throw away dress needed in a pinch. It’s knit when I’ve been trying to sew more wovens. It’s casual and I’ve wanted to be more chic. It’s a bright and bold pritn and I’ve been trying to incorporate more solids. It’s a dress and I need more separates. I told myself I was going to sew more complicated garments instead of just trying to stock my closet. This dress took me less than two hours to sew and I have got to say, “I am so glad I can sew!!”

You see my friends, I have no “hang out clothes”. I solely focus on work garments.  Now, I have clothes I can meet you after work in. I can meet you for cocktails or dinner even. I can meet your parents. I can go to the museum or theater with you. I can go to church and attend a wedding. But, again, I have no ‘run around clothes’. I don’t have a thing that  can be worn to a football game at your house.

Yes, yes. There are jeans. But, I have some thick thighs and look 10 pounds heavier in jeans and try not to wear them all that often. Last month I had this dilema. I needed a “Farmer’s Market on a Sunday” outfit. What did I do? I Dropped $32 at H&M for the tunic above to wear with jeggings. The second time I wore that tunic was two weeks later on a Saturday morning coffee date. The third time I wore that tunic was later that week to a Thursday night free outdoor concert. Do you sense a theme here? I have no casual clothes.

Friday night came around and I needed something to wear on a Saturday night to watch football. I decided to go back to Simplicity 3882 made in 2007.


(Simplicity 3882 in 2007. Clearly, me at my thinnest. Ever.)

I remade the dress from the remnants of this Simplicity 3503 maxi dress. In this version, I cut the elastics all about 4 inches shorter than recommended and made a dartless 3/4 inch FBA.

So, I pulled it off! I had a new dress in short order and managed to eek the last of summer of out of my sewing.

Weekend Summary

Since Friday, I’ve been dogsitting for my friend Catalina. Her dog, Frida Khalo, and I have been hanging out together in the sewing / TV room bawling our eyes out over Surprise Homecoming and  Say Yes to the Dress while discussing the debt ceiling crisis. If you’re wondering, yes. I would absolutely love a dog. But, I only want a toy breed and couldn’t  bring myself to purchase one when so many animals need homes. The small ones at the ASPCA, etc are the first to go and just about impossible to get if you don’t know someone on the inside. So, I’m satisfying myself by dogsitting. Kind of like being a grandparent and spoiling the heck out of the kid and turning them back over to the parents hopped up on candy and Frappes.

While Frida and I were spending quality time together, Liz came by to take her first stab at machine sewing a dress. You see, she used to hand sew garments when she did historical re-enactments at Ft. McHenry (home of the Star Spangled Banner (the US National Anthem) and right here in Baltimore). She’s liked my sewn garments but not enough to try sewing herself.  It was the Burda 6/2010 #123  knit sack dress that sent her over the edge. Can you stand a third version of it in one week? Clearly, I need to enter this in to the one pattern, three looks contest.

We picked out the material last week at G Street in Rockville. Can you imagine they had a Groupon? Woot! Woot! Her main concern with sewing is that she’s too much of a perfectionist. She thought it would drive her bananas if it wasn’t absolutely perfect and would get frustrated. You know what takes the frustration away? Sweet Tea Vodka while you’re sewing.

Mom. Don’t freak out about Frida on the sofa. I gave her a bath, brushed her and vacuum daily while she’s here. 

She has more material to make a second version. But, not bad for your first dress, right? We even matched motifs on the side.

I had her sew with a knit because the beginner fear of sewing with a knit boggles my mind. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’re not told something is hard, then you won’t think it’s hard. I believe in Fearless Sewing. Then again, I only made French seams this year and still haven’t done a rolled hem.

Oh, also sews on a Kenmore 1040. She had a Wal Mart Special that jammed every third stitch. This absolutely led to her irritation with sewing. So, when I was in Tampa buying my Singer 301, I found the Kennie and brought it home for her.

Oh. She was also blown away that I took 50+ photos for one blog post.  And, got a little tired of it near the end :D I just would not let her get away.

I feel like an idiot. Stop taking pictures.

I have no more poses. Stop.

Seriously. Isn’t that enough?

C’mon!

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Trena came up to Baltimore Friday night to be my date for an Artscape party. Artscape is the largest outdoor arts festival on the east coast and is hosted right here in Baltimore.

That night, I was invited to a rooftop party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Artscape. There was a live Fantasia concert on the ground. There were SO MANY PEOPLE. They were expecting 350,000 people over the weekend.

Cocktails and food were on the roof and fireworks at a reasonable hour (I just can’t stay up late).

It was a GREAT time.


Here’s a photo of us with some of my work friends.

More importantly, Trena and I were both in the same Burda 06-2010 #123 dresses of our own making in totally differnt prints.

She went with an elegant silk jersey, and I made up this yellow and gray polyester from Philadelphia’s Jomar.

According to her, the fan fabric is just $3 a yard. So, the dress was under $10 and I have a bunch leftover.

As Trena mentions, the swayback in this is pretty significant. I took out two inches and could have taken out another 1.0 to 1.5.

This was my test run of the plaid sack dress. This first version is two inches shorter. Which is fine just as long as I don’t try to blouson it like I did the silk version.


That’s me looking for the rest of the skirt

I think this length is also a little ‘stumpier’ on me vs the plaid dress. But, the right length for a summer cocktail party with fancy people.

Overall, it was a good night. I had fun with my bestie and got to show off my town.

Pattern Review: Burda 6/2010 #123: Silk Jersey Sack Dress

Remember my obsession with this BCBG huge red, white and blue plaid print?

Well, I found a gorgeous plaid silk jersey in two colorways at A Fabric Place / Michael’s Fabric.  I knew as soon as I saw it I was powerless to resist.

Even on sale, I could only spring for two yards of each cut. This was my first time sewing with silk jersey. My serger didn’t like it. My sewing machine didn’t really like it. I wish I could sew a stretch stitch using a straight stitch foot and plate. That, would be ideal.

The pattern is Burda Magazine 6-2010-123. It’s such a wonderfully fast sew! I made it in two nights after work. So, let’s say four hours (at most). I am pretty proud of the plaid matching done on this dress. I am usually dead nervous about using plaids. I *adore* plaids. Seriously. Love everything about them. But, the matching = hives. I have several plaids for blouses that I’ve avoided making up because I start sweating at the thought of matching.

I chose this dress because it had few seams and would not be a fabric hog.

I did add one to center back to make my usual swayback adjustment.

The pattern calls for bias strips to finish the neckline. I could not be bothered. I just turned under and used my twin needles

Based on a previous version I made (Haven’t posted yet. Wearing to a party tomrrow night) I added two inches in length to make this office appropriate.

All the shaping from this dress comes from the belt. The dress is essentially a sack.

I ADORE this dress. It’s fun, sexy, and perfect for summer. But, I must warn you. I do not have the same firmness I once did and have to wear a slip with this dress. If not, it looks like squirrels are doing battle behind me when I walk.

The only problem with the plaid (and this is just apparent in photos) is that your eye has something to to ‘level’ on. So, with the blousooning, the dress can look a wee off kilter.

Overall, I’m happy. I did have several people at work say I should have worn this version for the Friday night party. But, I didn’t want to get my new silk jersey dress all yucky quite yet.

Sometimes Purple, Sometimes Cranberry Pleated Dress: Burda Magazine 10-2009 #119

I don’t know what happened to me. This dress has just needed hemming for the last four weeks. It sat on my dressform. It sat on my ironing board. It sat on the floor. It sat everywhere but my sewing machine. Perhaps it was the bow tie business. After making the ones for work, I had an order for three. Maybe it was the pants business. I decided I wanted some black ones and muslined not once, not twice but SEVEN times. Seven times for me to still have wrinkles in my seat and a big fat bottom half. But, more on that later. It was actually a blessed relief to return to this dress on Sunday.

This is my second go round with Burda 10-2009-119 . I first made it in January 2010. I wore it consistently but shrank it in a vigorous wash over the summer. Sadly, I’m not in love with this version as I was with the first.

I started this dress over the MLK weekend. The first stretch wool version was so snug around my chest it was tough to wear with a turtleneck. Well, this time I added a full inch for a FBA.

In addition, I sewed my non-stretch woven with an extra 1/2 inch at the seams. And because the sewing fairies have jokes, it came out huge. I went back in and took in the sides by everything I added and then some. But, there is just something off about the proportions. This dress could almost use a tuck in the waist so the skirt is level and the sides swing inward. Now, the sides are very curvy, wide and off grain. This makes them swing outward makes me look hippier  than I (think) I am. You can see what I mean here on the bottom right of the skirt.

Both the fabric and lining are from the Carol Collection. The Carol Collection has been a goldmine of solid bold colors for me. Again, I wouldn’t normally pick out this cranberry, but me likey.  Unlike last time, I managed to press my pleats through the front.

I’m also still on my combination facing / lining kick and did the same here.

I finished the dress with my machine’s blind hem.

I’m fine with the dress. Not disappointed enough to fix it. But, very curious about how it behaved so differently.  There are three more former dresses I would like to recreate this year.  This includes the notched collar dress, the Sherlock Holmes dress and the knit jumper.

The Parisienne Dress, Burda Magazine: 8-2009 #128


I was talking with my girlfriend Julia this week about what women are supposed to wear in the winter. She went shopping and everything and she meant everything was sleeveless.

This dress is great for winter as you can wear the long sleeves! After seeing Elaine’s and meli88a’s and knew I was going to have to make it up. I noticed on the French site for Burda the comments thought the model was a perfect Audrey Hepburn. I was thinking of this dress as very Jackie O. Funny, right?

Fabric

I started this dress over the long MLK weekend with two yards of a beautiful teal wool from the Carol Collection. This isn’t a color I normally wear. But, I actually get most of my fashion advice from you guys. You always tell me to wear more jewel tones and better shoes :) So, here I am in a jewel tone I wouldn’t normally pick and in a new pair of Mary Janes! I’m so susceptible to peer pressure :)

Luckily, the dress isn’t too poochy around the stomach. I don’t know how I feel about the tulip shape on me per se. But, I do like the gathers.

Lining

This pattern was a first for me. Burda includes facings that are meant to be sewn to the lining. Well, first let me say Burda’s lining instructions are just for the bodice — not even the sleeves. I lined the dress throughout using their facing and I LOVE how it looks! This is the way Ready to Wear dresses look (I think they do. It’s been so long since I’ve bought a lined dress from the store). The lining is from my $1 a yard buy at Jomar in Philly. Trena says it’s noisy. And, it is noisy like taffeta. You can definitely hear me coming! I bought 10 yards of it and I’m down to the last one.

I also bagged the lining on the sleeves — so to speak. I was so thrilled to finally accomplish this in my coat that I wanted to try it again. It’s nice not to have two layers shifting about.

Alterations

  • 1/2 inch FBA. I really need to get better at these when they aren’t princess seams.
  • 1 inch swayback adjustment
  • I traced the 40 and graded to the 44 at the thigh and gave myself a 1 inch seam allowance
  • Added 7 cm to the width of the sleeve. I don’t think I have large arms, but it’s a given that I’ve got to bump up with Burda.
  • Took almost 2 inches of length out from Center Front. The skirt was totally drooping on me — making the pleats incredibly unattractive.

Notions

Zipper. Which despite a 100 zippers, I didn’t have a teal. I bought this one from Sew True.  While zippers are invisible, I find that I can still see bits of them, especially at waist seams. So, I prefer them to match as closely as possible

Belt

This one is purchased from ASOS. I find the ribbon darling, but didn’t have any on hand and haven’t made it to the store. Plus, I need more cinching than I think the ribbon can allow.

I’m tempted to take another inch or so off the dress and peg it a hair more. I’ll see how I like it by the end of the day. My goal in 2011 is to SHOW MY KNEES! There are so many ways to accessorize this dress! You can rock the pearls for a Jackie O look. Brooch is perfect for business. Big earrings make it fun.  Plain belt keeps it classic. Chunky belt to modernize. Nice, basic dress. Perfect for work!

Pattern Review: Burda Magazine 2-2009-101 ‘The Fifties Coat Dress’

This dress was a long time coming.  I didn’t feel one way or the other about the pattern when it first came out almost two years ago. I thought it was cute in my general liking of shirt and coat dresses.

Burda 9-2009-101

But, when I went to Philadelphia this summer for PR Weekend, I found this polyester tafetta.  I knew that it was destined to be the Burda Februaru 2009 #101 coat dress. It was the warehousy store and I couldn’t tell you how much it cost. I’m going to assume $20 to $30 for the material since I was still claiming to not be buying fabric in 2010.

Then, it sat like all material does.  Of course, I couldn’t find the inserts to the magazine when I was finally ready to start. So, Trena packed hers up and mailed it to me well over a month ago. Once traced, I seemed to have NO TIME to sew.

By the time I got around to cutting it, it occured to me I had never meausred to see if I had enough fabric. Of course, I was short on material by over 1/2 yard. So, I had to do a single cut layout and still had to shorten the dress.

I sewed a 38 with a 1/2 inch FBA. I am just not sure what size I am in Burda these days. I move between a 38 and 40.  I also elected to use buttons instead of snaps. I like the snaps idea, but I didn’t have enough and I wanted to add more buttons down the front as the dress was pulling a bit off grain.

The dress provides great 50s style fullness without the traditional petticoats. This is achieved with deep unpressed pleats below the waist. This is my second notched collar and I confess they are getting easier. I found the collar on this to have a great deal of fullness. I also think it looks best propped up a bit in the back.

Oh, the sleeves were also shortened a touch.I could likely stand to add one more button higher up on the bust, but I may leave it for now.

The dress is great and I received oodles of compliments. But, it’s not an everyday kind of work dress for me. I wore it today because there was a sit down dinner / reception I needed to attend. I think this is the kind of dress I would traditionally wear to church. That’s not a negative. It’s just not what I would chose to wear to the office.

Overall, it’s a lovely pattern. Definitely takes a bit more time. Especially if you are going to line it. But, well worth the effort. And, obviously, I need to find a brown belt and shoes.

Pattern Review: BWOF 10-2008-117: Bubble Dress Redux

I first made this dress in October 2008 for a wedding. It remains my most flattering dress. This is the one I constantly get a positive response in. It’s slim and flattering through the waist and is complementary on the bottom. In fact, it’s my go to ‘Get ‘em gurrrl’ dress. In fact, a few weeks ago I knew I was going to see an ex-boyfriend (Ladies. Do not sh*t where you eat. No good will come of it). The original purple version is what I chose to wear. And, it did what I wanted it to do. Everyone needs a dress like that.

I’ve been wanting to make this up again for some time. Mainly because the original purple (this is mortifying), is stank with body funk. Yes, there I said it. I have a garment that is only wearable in the winter when I have no opportunity to get warm. I have done everything prescribed to it by the incredibly knowledgeable doyennes of pattern review. It’s significantly better (it was once unwearable) but it is not without flaw. Man, last week I soaked the pits for eight hours in  a pure ammonia and baking soda paste. Again, better. But, not perfect. I’ve since moved on to dress liners, prescription strength antiperspirants and washing my knits (with amonia, baking soda and borax) as soon as I wear them. But, I digress.

I bought this material at PR Weekend in Montreal. I have no capacity for remembering how much fabric was.

For this iteration, I left out the CB zip, did not interface the collar (so I could pull it over my head), widened the turtleneck, and did not sew the bust darts. I find bust darts in thin knits super annoying and I was thinking that they weren’t going to make that much of a difference.

Voila! I have a very nice gray almost sweater knit that I think I’d like to make it up in. This dress was especially needed this week as someone thought I was in my mid 40s. Not that there is anything wrong with your mid 40s. But, for heaven’s sake! I’m 34 !!

** I took pictures twice. Now that it’s dark out, the lighting in my living room isn’t great. And, I’m too much of a wimp to take pictures outside in the cold. I had some really nice detail photos on the dressform. But, my four-year old iMac is currently in the shop. I put in a Netflix DVD of Butterfield 8 (great costumes by Helen Rose) and my computer just stopped working. They are ordering a new elliptical drive. But, for now,  all my good photos are on there.  Boo!!