Sunday, 30 October 2011

Frocktober 2, Burda Style 06-2011-102

I have been inspired by Gail's Frocktober posts, but have been a little remiss with my personal application of this idea, as October is in its last gasps. My plan was to try several new frock patterns this month, but the trouble with trying new patterns is that the fitting and sewing can be rather fiddly and time consuming.
Here is frock #2, Burda Style magazine 06-2011-102 in its original version.
As this was an experimental pattern for me, being a different shape from the dresses I usually make, I started with some fabric that I would not miss, should the pattern prove disastrous.


I bought a pale coral and cream linen check about 10 years ago at the Sunday markets, which has fabric only very occasionally. I was rather pleased with it at the time, at about $15 for 3m or so of lovely medium weight pure linen, but unfortunately my husband felt that it looked rather like a tablecloth.
Inspired by Carolyn, who manages to transform rather dull bargains into amazing new fabric, I thought I would try dying it, and after 30minutes of boiling, ended up with a nice blue shade, with no hint of check. The lack of check was a little disappointing, as I had rather fancied replicating the blue plaid beachy version shown in Burda. Here is a photo of the pink silk version, which I had not planned to replicate, not being favourably enhanced by wearing pink.


This dress is cut on the bias. After reading the reviews at pattern review of the top version of this pattern (there were none of the dress when I started) I decided to try mostly size 38 without a full bust adjustment (usually D). I scaled out to a size 40 at the hips.
I did not raise the neckline, even though this is a Burda pattern.
KatherineH pointed out in an earlier frock post that raising the neckline reduces a strong vertical design line in a garment and that a narrow neckline is not so revealing as a wider one. I took this advice to heart, as she is completely correct. I have a terrible tendency to embrace frumpiness when I modify patterns for modesty. This neckline is rather low, for my usual taste, but I do not feel overexposed in it, as the neckline is quite narrow. Keeping the deep neckline gives some unfrumpiness to an otherwise rather concealing and post- Christmas-dinner appearing garment.
I used Mary Nanna's tip for making vilene tape substitute, using bias cut interfacing applied to the armscyes to prevent stretching.
Unfortunately I had no fusible interfacing on hand, but the non fusible stuff seems to work reasonably well also.
I reduced the sleeve gathers to mere essence of gather to allow room for my sturdy upper limbs and to make the puffy sleeves more appropriate for a 40 year old woman.
I am not entirely happy with the sleeves. They are cut on straight grain, which I think might be the reason for the slight puffiness at the shoulder seam,as the body of the garment is on the bias. If I made this again, the sleeves would be on the bias as well as the main body of the frock.
Unfortunately, this fabric might just be carrying a jinx. On first viewing this frock, during an early trying on phase, my husband dubbed it "the sack dress". He rarely comments on my clothes, so this was rather scathing.
I added some embroidery to the neckline. This did not help at all. He recommended something along the lines of "cut your losses" whilst I was working on the embroidery. I persisted, husbands are not always the best judge of clothing.

I rather liked the dress.
It was a little puddly at the lower back, but still? I appealed to the teenage fashion panel.

One of them took this photo, making a point of mentioning that they thought I should see a close up of the stomach appearance in this dress.
Someone mentioned that they felt it was rather late to be expecting a new sibling.
I added some darts, front and back. I was feeling a bit outnumbered.



They like it better now, but have reservations. It is apparently not my best look.

I like it less now, being rather unhappy with the darts in the bias fabric.
It might be a case for the magic wardrobe.


Carolyn said...

Oooh, I've just made this dress too, although mine is still hanging up awaiting hemming (needs to hang for a few days because of the bias cut...) I think yours looks lovely, and should be beautifully cool for summer. I totally agree about that neckline needing to be a little 'sexy" though, the dress is floaty and cool, but without the deep V it does border on sacklike, I do agree.
I looove your addition of embroidery at the neckline! So Pretty! (hmmm, mine is rather plain...)

Gabrielle said...

This is a pattern that I've had my eye on, and I too have been guilty of the modest lifting of the neckline. I think this dress looks much better than you've been led to believe though. The colour is great on you and the dress looks really feminine, it shows off your tiny waist and also looks very comfortable for summer! Not every garment has to be ultra fitted does it?

Ruthie said...

How about a belt? That always unsackifies things for me. I have less waist than you though and need the belt to point out to people that there is one there.

Tanit-Isis said...

I like it---I think better without the darts, but both ways are good. It looks relaxed and summery. I must try more Burda patterns. I keep hearing about the plunging necklines, I'm getting all curious about them. I've rarely encountered a neckline I thought was too low in real life. (of course, I might also be a hussy...)

angie.a said...

I loved it in the first photo. I agree with Gabrielle, not everything has to be overfitted. It feels like a sweet, cool, summery dress for strolling through the garden or sitting on the porch drinking tea (ha, for ladies of leisure?) :D I want to make it now too and am trying to think of a suitable linen...even though we're heading into winter. Bah!

liza jane said...

I think I like it better without the darts, too. Not everything has to be fitted. Casual summer dresses can be floaty and "sack-like" though I hardly think this dress counts as that.

Also, bias cut interfacing as a substitute for vilene..... I always wondered what I could substitute for that. I've used seam binding but I had a feeling it was too stiff.

gMarie said...

I like it! It's good. Love the embroidery you added - especially at the back neckline. perfect! g

katherine h said...

I really like it. The neckline is lovely and the embroidery really gives it a lift. I would take the darts out of the front.

I had this pattern out last night, trying to work out my summer sewing, so I am really glad to see it made up. Definitely on my list now. The pooling at the back is something that I will have to think about...I did not realise that the dress was bias cut.

There have been lots of "sack" style dresses around the last few years...sides views on everybody are not great, so just don't photograph them!

It looks beautifully cool for somebody. Sometimes it takes our families a while to get used to a new look...perhaps they need to spend time in the magic wardrobe!

Thanks for bringing Mary Nanna's tip to my attention...somehow I missed that one.

Maybe as you wash the fabric, some of the check look will come back? You can only hope, all sorts of weird things do happen in the wash.

Bernice said...

You do have a harsh panel of critics. It must feel like you're on some reality TV show competition! I think the colour and embroidery are really working for you. I also prefer it without the darts. I have a few dresses like this and always feel that they can be transformed from 'sack to chic' by simply added a few long strands of beads and a chunky bangle. Ok, so it may not be so much 'chic' but it does create a groovy arty look.

Maree said...

This is a pretty beautifully sewn dress, the colour really suits you and I think the shape is great. I think the darts take away from the 'essence' of this summer dress and its bias cut. Think Hastings St, Noosa and wear with espadrilles and a bangle and prove the family panel wrong.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I am, as you might expect, totally sympathetic here. I like it better without the darts, but I must admit that I think it would be better as a top. I really like the neckline, the sleeves, the colour, and the embroidery. I love the front view on the first picture. But on me I hate the sack front and especially the puddling at the back (which I always get with waistless dresses). I hate it so much that I would never wear this beautiful thing. Or if I did I would be very self-conscious. I'd be tempted to hack it off and gather it into a a band at the waist. Or give it a gathered waist with elasticised shirring. Wait, didn't you make a pretty red shirt-dress with some waistline shirring? Something like that maybe.

Janine said...

here`s my two bobs worth -I think yours looks better than Burda`s - I saw this magazine and didn`t buy it because I thought the garments were shapeless but your dress looks good ( from here anyway ) . I agree with others about the darts especially the front darts . The colour and embroidery really suit you - well done on the dye job. Thanks for repeating Mary Nannas tip too - I hope I can remember this for the future. Anyway with your hot , humid Queensland Summers I am sure this is going to be perfect.

Sue said...

I had to read other's comments to see what others are saying, so now feel I can agree with the others that it looks better without the darts. It seems to lose the style line of the dress with the darts in. I think your family needs to get used to seeing you in a different style. However I can well believe my DH would say exactly what yours said about this dress and it would leave me wondering too.

Mary Nanna said...

I really like this dress too - I had my eye on it to make it but wondered the same thing as you - would something so loose just make me look big all over.

I think this is where really drapey fabric comes into its own - it clings rather than hangs.

I'm not sure if I'm brave enough for clinging, but that would be the way to do it.

Having said that, I still really like the dress on you and it will be great for summer.

Summer Flies said...

When I saw the picture for this I immediately thought Wow that looks great and I still do. I like the front, maybe keep darts in back but it looks really great and in the hot weather you'll appreciate it. The embroidery is really lovely - I like that you dyed the fabric. I had some beautiful linen/cotton check years ago in that sick pink that only under 3yo's could get away with -wish I'd thought of dye then!