Yay! I have completed my first ever Burdastyle Magazine pattern! It almost didn't happen though: a few minutes after sitting down to trace off the pattern I had total pattern blindess, and went into panic mode, thinking I would never ever be able to trace off any of this mess. The thing that kept me going was knowing that everyone else manages it, so unless I have the brain of a fruit fly, I should be able to, too. So I did, and actually enjoyed it, after all. I used Kwik Sew Kwik Trace, which is this nylon stuff that can be used as a muslin. Since I didn't use it as a muslin, it was an expensive way of tracing a pattern. I've now got some straightforward tracing paper for future requirements.
I had never made anything by Burda before, so wasn't sure what the fit might be like. As people seem to say that the fit is usually quite true to size, I thought for once in my life I would go by the correct pattern size for my actual measurements (with the big three I always go down a size or maybe two). Now, I don't know if that was where it all went wrong, but good grief, once I had tacked together the side seams, and sleeves, I could see something was definitely wrong. I'm not sure if this pattern is an odd shape or if it just came up too big (the finished garment measurements didn't seem to be on the pattern), but I had oodles and oodles of extra fabric horizontally and vertically, through the midriff section, starting around the waistline. Taking the side seams in didn't help at all, it was just as baggy in the middle, so I ended up pinching out two inches (tapering to nothing at top and bottom) from the V of the waistband, right up to the V of the neckline. That did the trick. The waistband is actually cut on the fold of the fabric, so it shouldn't have a centre seam, but because the front bodice does have a centre seam, it doesn't look odd that the waistband now does, too. I also took out about one inch from each side seam on the skirt. Phew!
The alteration to the midriff suddenly accentuated a really odd amount of baggy fabric on the stomach area of the skirt, which was very unflattering (see the photo below, although the fit is obscured by the pattern of the fabric). I unpicked the stabilising strip from behind the ruching and then unpicked the ruching itself, regathered it and took up a lot more fabric in the gathers. Hey presto! The improvement was dramatic. This dress, in my opinion, should be fairly form fitting through the hip, waist and midriff, in order to show off the shape of the bust and shoulders and hip. If it's too big, it looks like a sack, as you can see here:.
My measurements lined up pretty much exactly with the Burda size 12 on their chart. In fact, my waist size is half an inch bigger. My back length is exactly right, too. I don't know if this pattern has too much ease in it or what, but even so...two inches ?. It's hard to tell, as the shape isn't so straightforward. The sleeves are HUGE puffy, almost batwing things (I like them a lot, as well as having puffed caps, they also have an inverted pleat at the bottom, and the "cuff" is elasticated), so I couldn't tell if they came up bigger than they should have been. I'm not sure whether to go for a smaller size next time. Maybe I will try something really standard, with quite fitted sleeves in order to see how the sizes come up.
One thing I have learnt is that, as long as I cut a big enough size, if I'm too lazy to make a muslin, somehow I will probably be able to make the thing fit me, if I just machine baste each seam, including the zip, and try it on before actually sewing it all together. That's what I did in the case of this dress, and it worked really well.
What can I say? The shape of this dress is a departure from the norm for me, but I LOVE this dress. It is probably the most comfy dress I have. And it has sleeves. I always gravitate to dresses without, but somehow sleeves feel more elegant.
I would love to make this dress again but don't know if I could be bothered with the alterations. Yes, I have altered my pattern pieces, but waistband alteration has curved the centre front seam, so it would mean cutting the fabric differently, not on the fold, etc, etc.
Maybe the solution is to find some other dress patterns with a bit of a 40s vibe going on. I do think I like this silhouette.
Edited to add: I have just noticed that the waist of the dress is a LOT lower on the model in the photo than on me. There seems to be less fabric above the waistband on my dress (I didn't alter that aspect of it) Before you ask, I did add the correct seam allowances, and I did take them into account when sewing!
By the way, the fabric is another Liberty Lawn. And I used some grey bias tape inside the hem, to neaten. All the seams are overlocked on my sewing machine (the dress is not lined, and, due to issues with the fit, it was too tricky to bind the seams with bias tape as I would have liked to).
Look at my dog! She collected all her precious bones and put them on her place on the sofa one evening. Now, that is contentment.