So I decided I would try to be more active in the Pattern Review contests this year. I had so much fun in the Sewing Bee last September, I think it will be good for my sewing motivation to continue to have projects outside of sewing skating tuxedoes, if I can manage it. The timing is going to be tight, but I’m also cautiously planning another UFO entry, a possible activewear entry, and *gulp* a Sudoku Wardrobe. (Which I definitely won’t have time for, but I’ve already identified patterns and I’m starting to gather fabric, so we’ll see how far that gets.)
But first things first. I was thinking that the UFO contest would be a great excuse for me to finish the teal trench coat that I started for the outerwear contest, but never finished. I haven’t touched it since the end of October (thereby making the November 1 cut-off date), but I realized that in the true spirt of the UFO contest, I should first finish a really old project – a Burda dress I started in 2013. Yes, over 3 years ago. I know. It’s been conveniently forgotten in a bag buried under a bunch of other fabrics, but I dug it out just for this.
I basically put this away due to fit issues during construction, and never picked it back up. But, finally, here it is, in its 2017 completed glory:
Here is my contest-adapted pattern review:
UFO Contest Questions:
a. Why did project stall? I had major issues fitting the bodice. Although I muslined it and adjusted the pattern when I first started to make it, after starting the bodice construction the outer ruched layers were just too saggy. So then I had to rip it apart to take everything in so it wouldn’t look ridiculous. But then it was obvious it was just too small. I was frustrated because I didn’t want to unpick everything I had just done again to get it to barely fit. I decided to set it aside and make something easier, but shortly thereafter I started to gain a lot of weight due to health issues. I had already used nearly all of the 6 yards of fabric I bought for the dress, so I didn’t think there would be enough to add any panels to the back, so it was set aside in its own little bag for years. I sort of always had it in the back of my mind, but I never really had the energy to try to decide what to do with it. So it just sat. Then life got busy and sewing became less fun because I started doing a lot of commissioned work, and I never really picked it back up.
b. When did you originally start the project? Sometime around August 6, 2013. At least, that was when I posted about buying the fabric for this project, and I know I started on it very shortly after the fabric arrived. I remember being super jazzed about the March 2013 Burda and wanting to make all the things. I actually did complete several projects from that issue before this pattern threw me in a funk.
c. When did you RESTART the project? January 25, 2017. Around 10:30am. I have another project that I started in October but stopped working on before the November 1 cut-off date for the Pattern Review UFO contest, but in the true spirit of the contest I knew this should be my real UFO challenge. I pulled everything out of the bag, and luckily, I had put it all away with the pattern pieces, so it was pretty easy to see what was what. I had to play around with the scraps (also in the bag), but I found enough extra material to cut out new panels to extend the back of the bodice, as well as add ruched panels over the bodice base. Luckily, I also had some of the same interfacing lying around, so I used some of that as well. I then had to finish construction of the bodice, re-fit with the new panels, construct the skirt, strap, and lining, insert the zipper, and construct and hem the dress.
d. When did you complete project? January 26, 2017. I actually finished almost everything except the lining and hemming on the first day of sewing.
Pattern Description: Woman’s dress with ruched bodice and gathered circle skirt.
Pattern Sizing: Burda sizes 34-42. I honestly can’t remember what size I traced, but I’m guessing it was a 40 or 42.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Actually yes! Shocker, right? The instructions are really straightforward and remind you to do things like neaten your seam allowances (I used french seams on the skirt), which is unusual for Burda.
Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it? Yes! I was actually a bit disappointed with how the bodice looked when I first tried it on (after adding to adjust the size, but after re-looking at the magazine image, I realize the bodice has the exact same shape.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Likes: I was really excited by the style of this dress when it first came out. I thought the ruched bodice and long skirt were really pretty. Dislikes: It was challenging to get the ruched panels on the bodice to look good – my first attempts left them too sloppy, and the second attempt looked better, but made the bodice too small. After finishing I think it is a little big, and a bit lower than I’d like in the bust (even though I added an inch to the bodice!). Definitely leave yourself extra room on the bodice to play with the fit!
Fabric used: Rayon challis print from Fabric Mart. I bought 6 yards specifically for this project back when I started it in 2013.
Pattern alterations or design changes you made: Before UFO status I am pretty sure I added some length to the bodice front (it looks like an inch, based on the pattern pieces I have). After resuming the UFO I added an extra panel to the back of the bodice for fit.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don’t know if I’ll sew it again. Right now I’m just happy to have gotten the first one finished! Honestly, though, it wasn’t too bad of a project – the only challenge was the fit of the bodice and getting the gathered panels to look good. The rest of the dress construction is very straightforward and simple. If you like this pattern the instructions are great and the result is exactly like the magazine photo. I would recommend it, but be prepared to need to muslin and ALSO re-adjust the bodice in order to get a nice, close fit with the tightly ruched panels.
Conclusion: I’m so happy the UFO contest inspired me to finish this dress! It feels great to get a bag off the sewing room floor and a dress into my closet. It might not be my favorite dress, but I’m reasonably proud of the construction and I’m happy I’ve finished it. Now I just have to wait for spring and warm weather to show up so I can wear it.