I’ve been fancying a couple of patterns on BurdaStyle specifically #101 and #104 but I decided to go for #101 as I intend to wear it to my in-laws 40th wedding anniversary party and I didn’t want it to look too similar to the silk dress I made for my MIL. So I downloaded the pattern, although I didn’t realise it was just for the bodice and not the skirt. Not that its too much of a issue as the skirt is just a gathered rectangle so it doesn’t exactly need a pattern.
The largest size was just a little bit too small for me judging by the measurements so I traced it off and then added on a 1 inch seam allowance to accommodate the extra me! I added this seam allowance on all pattern edges but it should have just been the side seams. I made a muslin and then had a play with pins!
Here are some really bad photos please ignore any domestic chaos in the backgrounds…
I let the side seams out slightly and played around with the darts quite a lot but ended up pretty much with the original darts just lowering the bust point a couple of inches to avoid the Madonna-Conical-Bra-look. I needed to take the width across the chest in a little which you see with this tuck I’ve put in. I had to do the same thing when I was fitting a muslin on my MIL, I’m not sure what that indicates, is that the size is too large for the chest and that I should take a smaller size and then do a FBA? Anyway to convert this back to a paper pattern I retraced the pattern and angled the edge of the first version so that a small amount was right of the edge of the paper (centre front fold) at the top and the rest was added in at the lower level by angling to the left. I then smoothed out the neck curve so that it was horizontal at centre front. (Does that make any sense and is it at all correct?! It was more intuitive than based on experience or fact!)
Here’s the original back, although the pattern said to have a centre back seam I decided I knew better and I would cut it on the fold. This was a bad decision for a number reasons
- It increased the yardage of fabric as both bodice pieces would need to be cut on the fold rather than next to each other.
- I reduced the number of possibilities to tweak the fit!
As you can see there is some bagging and puffiness to the back especially at the neckline. Also remember this version has a 1” seam allowance all around including the neckline so that could have accounted for some of the flappiness there.
So I traced the pattern again reflecting the changes I’d come up with so far
- putting back the centre back seam
- using a 5/8” seam allowance
- adding some extra width the the bodice
- marking the sewing line and clipping the curves
… and the back. I’ve put the centre back seam in and I tried pinning a wedge at the neckline but there was still a lot of bagginess in the back. So I took the back seam in about 1/4” all the way down.
At the moment this is just pinned so there are a number of creases and unevenness across the back but its miles better than before. It doesn’t show up well on the pictures but there was also a puffiness on the shoulder blades. I decided to trim the neck edge of the shoulder seam just a slither to pull it a little tighter as it was a little too high above the shoulder which then travelled down to the shoulder blade to give the puffiness. Again it was intuitive as to the changes to make, not sure if they are correct or not! It certainly looks better to my eyes.
Here's the final front. I’m quite pleased with it now.
I’m making it out of a viscose print which perfectly matches the colour of my raspberry sandals! Its quite sheer so I’m going to line with with a white cotton lawn (which cost more than the viscose!). I spent ages in the fabric shop today comparing different fabrics for their coverage and how they changed the flow and feel of the viscose. There was a lovely brushed cotton/flannel that would feel cosy against the skin but as this is a summer dress I went for the cool crisp lawn instead.
Both fabrics have been washed and ironed and are now ready for cutting! I’m going to use the lawn as a separate lining for the bodice but for the skirt I thought I would treat it more as underlining and sew it into the sides seam as one piece of fabric and at the hem. I want to do this as I don’t like the feel of a lining skirt separate to the outer skirt, reminds me too much of petticoats/slips that my mother made me wear as a kid! Also I can’t get my head round how to insert an invisible zip in 2 layers of skirt and I might even add an in-seam pocket as well!
My intention is to get a good well fitted basic bodice which I can then play around with and change the necklines and even progress onto sleeves! Watch this space….