Sunday, 28 February 2016

Office dress, Burda Style 09-2015-108

You might have gathered that I have not been sewing with quite the prolifigy of years past. This has had deleterious consequences for my wardrobe. I thought that I had better drag myself away from reading about easy 6 piece wardrobes  ( I am addicted to Dr. Elizabeth's 6 pac series at Stitchers' Guild) and finally make something to wear. As usual, the first lacunae in my wardrobe appear in the workwear category.


I found myself in dire need of a summer dress to wear to the office. It had to be respectable, but above all cool to wear, as our summer this year is even hotter than usual. While I was at it, I thought I'd make several dresses from this pattern, which I selected because I thought it would be easy to fit, and there are several variations in the magazine, with different collars, sleeves, even a non-businesslike ruffle or two.


Unfortunately, despite the back darts and pseudo princess line look at the front, this dress is actually a shapeless sack as made directly from the pattern. This could have been a big problem, as I foolishly failed to make a toile.  I was assuming my usual good luck from Burda patterns, and had only made a FBA (removing the darts from the centre panel in the process) and squared the shoulders before cutting out the pattern.


Fortunately for me, I cut out the first version from my (cotton shirting) lining, and was able to transfer the dramatically different pattern pieces to my outer linen fabric by undoing mere machine basting. There was considerable fitting tweaking after this stage, to the point where I have thrown out the pattern tracing as it is now nothing like the finished dress. I wish I'd made a toile, sigh. However, as I'm not totally happy with the level of flattery provided to my figure by this dress, its probably for the best that I have not whipped up half a dozen of them. (That was very tongue in cheek, there is no whipping up happening in my sewing room at the moment)

The side panels of this dress do not extend past the side seam, being only part of the dress front. I've used a cotton with lycra woven for these panels, and a non-even plaid in linen for the other pieces. The cotton woven with lycra is from Gorgeous Fabrics, about 8 years ago, so I'm on a mission to use it up before the lycra fails,  and the linen came in a Michael's fabric bundle at about the same time. You may note that I have cunningly limited my pattern matching to the centre back and to the shoulders by chosing the contrasting fabric.

I did work quite hard at the pattern matching of my first set of sleeves. These sleeves are from one of the Burda magazine versions, with a centre shaping seam, and are unfortunately very wing-like and ugly. I swapped them out for a hand drawn partial cap sleeve that I used previously here, and much prefer the plain colour in the sleeve.



My other major change to the pattern was to remove the lining. I had cut the side panels of my non woven lining on the bias, which gave it the stretch needed to move with the stretch of the outer panels, but unfortunately, the two layers made the dress too hot to wear at the moment. I prefer not to boil whilst walking to work. As the outer linen is beautifully thick, I retrofinished the internal seams of both the lining and the outer dress, and used piping and a self facing to finish the neckline of the outer dress.
The lining was salvaged to use as a dress-to-wear-around-the-house - on-very-hot-days. I finished the armscyes and neck with bias binding, trimmed to a scant 1/4 inch and turned to the inside, and embellished the vertical seams slightly with running stitch in variegated DMC embroidery cotton.



I am still looking for my standard office dress pattern, but although this one is no longer a contender, it has filled part of the hole in my wardrobe. I am now thinking about possible uses for another 2 and 1/2 metres of the plaid linen. Perhaps I should have used it for a tablecloth before I made a dress from it!



Summer Flies said...

Hi Karen. Firstly nice to see you back. I too have nearly been seduced by this dress so thanks for doing the hard work and designating it to the NO list. I do like your dress... and what a great save with the lining, which looks lovely fabric close up. I'd also like to thank you for taking the lining out... often I read about others that line all their dresses and try and convince myself it is because of the heat and not because I am lazy that I do not line many dresses... confirmed now, it is definitely the heat ;) !

Sew, Jean Margaret said...

Oh so much work has gone into the making of this dress. You have done a marvellous job of creating such a lovely fit despite the patterns shortcomings. The contrasting sleeves and side panels are very flattering. Great work!

Sue said...

Always looking for a good basic dress pattern. It is a shame this one is a no-go but I am glad you were able to make 2 wearable frocks from it. I am a fan of the running stitch trim - looking good.

fabric epiphanies said...

I really like the contrast the cap sleeve provides. It is a shame that you don't love the resulting dress because in your photographs it actually looks really nice.

Gail said...

These dresses are great for office wear. I recently picked up a new Simplicity pattern from the Perfect fit collection that is perfect for colour blocking and making a variety of corporate style.

velosewer said...

With the heat and humidity, I've succumbed to dresses that are a tad less fitted that usual. I like how the sleeves are a contrast.

Fabrickated said...

Hmm. I think you look lovely with the colour blocking effect, and it is nice to hear your voice again. Thankyou.

Audrey said...

Plaid and color blocking is a favorite combo of mine. Great looking dress! Worth all the work it took to get there; two sets of sleeves, a lining sewn and removed, then finishing all the seam edges. Whew! And I learned a new word. I had never hear of "lacuna" before.

Sharon said...

You did an amazing job with the fit of this dress as it looks very work appropriate, stylish and comfortable. Great save on the lining and the added running stitch does make it look like a dress.