March Burda of the Month: 03/2015 #118 piped seam dress in lovely Liberty fabric

Sunday, 12 April 2015
Once again I'm posting my monthly Burda project late although I did actually finish sewing it in March so I squeaked it in. I had no excuses either since the issue arrived in my letter box in the first few days of March, but I did have to think hard about what to make (there wasn't that much that excited me in this issue), and I made a muslin as well so that's almost like making it twice.

Here's my finished project:

I made the dress with piped seams (03/2015 #118), which looks like this:

This is a petite sized pattern (Burda sizes 17-21) so I thought it would be wise to make a muslin just to make sure that the wide waist panel actually sat at my waistline and below my bustline.  I graded from a size 17 for the bodice, and then out to a size 20 for the waist panel and skirt, so a muslin was needed to make sure I blended the sizes properly. I don't often make muslins, so here is photographic proof that sometimes I am sensible!

You can see in the above photo that I did take out a bit of width at the waist and top of the skirt line, which is to be expected when I was trying to grade between 3 sizes. But the waistband hit the right spot on me, so lengthwise the bodice was fine.

The gathers below the bust and at the waistline aren't particularly visible due to the fabric I have used, but they do give a nice shape to the front without adding too much volume:

Speaking of the fabric, this is a lovely Liberty print in a mid weight cotton that has been in my stash for years. I'm not even sure where it came from but I think this is the perfect pattern to finally use it - I suffer from decision making paralysis when it comes to beautiful fabrics far too often. The red piping I used is slightly too bright to match the red in the fabric but I couldn't find a better match and I think it looks ok anyway.

I have to share a back view for no reason other than to show off my matching of the piping at the centre back invisible zip - getting these to match up can be so frustrating sometimes but this time it just worked out so well.

So it wouldn't be a Burda post without some complaint about the instructions,would it? So here goes: the instructions are extremely unclear about the hem bands on both the skirt and sleeves. In the magazine there is a short version (a lacey wedding dress for the 'confident bride') which is minus the hem band and this longer version which has the hem band, so you would naturally assume that the longer version merely has the hem band sewn on to the bottom of the skirt. But when I made the muslin I discovered that the skirt without the hem band was the perfect length. The pattern indicates a placement line marked for the piping but it doesn't say cutting line. The instructions aren't too clear either - it seems to suggest that you sew the piping in place along the marked placement line and then sew on the hem bands so that the hem bands are doubled layered. It was all very baffling but I'm glad I made a muslin so that I didn't waste any of my precious Liberty fabric.

Anyway, long story short - if you are of normal height and plan to make this dress with the piping around the bottom make sure you check the skirt length! When I made my muslin I didn't make the sleeves, so it wasn't until after I had sewn the sleeves on that I realised that they were also too long to add the piping and hem band, so I've left it as is. Doesn't look too out of proportion to me, so I can live with it.

I probably should have made the muslin with the sleeves set in though, because they are a little tight across the upper arms - the dress is still wearable and not overly tight, but it is a close fit and you can see some drag lines around the arms:

Since I am human and not a perfectionist, I was a tad bit lazy and didn't line the dress or put the buttons and loops at the top of the zip at the centre back. I merely topstitched the piping down around the neckline and sleeves to stop the piping flipping out, and I made the invisible zip as usual (I did add a hook and eye to the top of the zip after taking this photograph though!). It looks messy inside but it's ok on the outside and that's all that counts to me.

So overall I really like this pattern - it was well fitting for me without any major or unexpected fitting changes required apart from the length issue and is quite flattering I think for my pear shape with its a-line skirt shape and emphasis on the waistline. I'm thinking about making making this pattern in a solid colour for a work dress, because as much as I love this Liberty fabric it's a little too twee and sweet for my work wardrobe.

Finally, check out this photo of Toby - he's recently had his third birthday and already he's more than half my height! I am definitely going to be the shortest person in my family in only a few short years I think.

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