Holiday, Wedding, Funeral

Burda 7378 is a sleeveless dress with pleats radiating from a raised waistline and two darts at the back.  Last summer when I bought the pattern, I wasn’t sure if my beginner’s skills would be up to a pattern marked “average” but having been rather intrigued by pleats that feature so often on Ready-to-Wear clothes, I thought I’d at least get some insight into their construction.  Rolls and Rems provided an easy-to-work cotton poplin (at £4.95 a 115cm-width metre) and invigorated en route by the fabric’s fantastic colour I quickly set to work.

After this:

And this:

And this:

I ended up with this:

I wore my Burda 7378 on my last summer holiday and loved the contrast between the colour of the dress and my tan (those were the days!).  Though the pleats weren’t perfectly executed, I still gained much satisfaction looking down at them.  After my hols, being very much under the impression that the pattern was a thumbs-up, I made two more versions.

A sophisticated, funeral-friendly black:

 And a shot-silk version, fully lined in an oyster acetate:

Here’s a close-up of the fabric.  It’s by John Kaldor and was bought at a considerable discount from Geoff Rosenberg.  The colours are to die for!

So, having finished all three, imagine my disappointment (here we go!) when I put them on for the purposes of this photo shoot only to be told by my DH that this pattern makes me “look fat”.

Huh?  Now he tells me?!  Ok, I admit that a couple of times last summer when I wore the lime dress to slap-up meals, I thought to myself: “Thank goodness there’s enough room in here!”  In fact, I’d even made a mental note to recommend this pattern to anyone accommodating a 4-5 month-old fetus!

And in case you think it’s the stiff poplin, let me emphasise that the two more drapey fabrics don’t make it much better: this really isn’t the pattern for you if your waist is the particular feature you like to accentuate.  Maybe the dress would look better in View A – a maxi.  But I’d still hesitate to recommend it if you aren’t tall.

If all this hasn’t put you off and you decide to give this dress a go, here are a couple of notes on sizing and modification:

Sizing

If you’re between sizes, go down: you’ll be fine!  My three dresses are size 10 (US: 6) though I’m 12 hips on a good day.

Sewing the Straps and the Lining

By following the pattern instructions, you’ll be attaching the lining to the fashion fabric at the neckline and armscyes, handstitching the lining to the zip then sewing the dress straps as in the diagram above.  The lining straps are then machine-stitched before the garment is turned to the right side and the fashion fabric straps are slip-stitched (Step 14).  The best of my attempts at this produced:

It wasn’t so simple with the silk!  But you don’t have to follow the instructions slavishly!  Having for some months now been an avid reader of the Slapdash Sewist, I now know that there is another way.  If you’re averse to handsewing and if the slip-stitch isn’t your best couture move, I refer you to Slapdash’s All-Machine Clean-Finish Sleeveless Bodice Lining Tutorial.  Especially recommended if you’re making the long, fully lined version of dress.

Good luck and let me know how it went!

P.S. I don’t care if it does make me look fat: I’m ready for that Holiday/Wedding/Funeral…

Beast Bunting

If you suffer from an aversion to bunting, look away now.  In fact, you might as well emigrate because this June, bunting promises to be everywhere!  Miles are being produced for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and schools all over the UK are taking part in a competition to see who can produce the longest stretches.

My bunting recipe might suit you if you need a prezzie for a certain Queenie in your life (the girl who has almost everything) but cannot stomach buying another plastic toy.  It takes 3 to 4 hours to make, maybe less if you’re quick and organized.  Keeping the flags in ordered piles is key!

You will need:

  •  A cardboard flag template in a triangle shape, measuring 22cm across and 22cm down.  This includes 1cm seam allowances.
  • Suitable sized templates for your characters and letters.  I use my kids’ stencils and cookie cutters.
  • 0.5 metres by 140cm of bright, lightweight flag fabric.  I used a “Fiesta by Poppy” fabric from Rolls and Rems at £8.95 per metre.
  • To personalize the bunting with letters and characters, you need a 0.1m length of a strongly contrasting fabric that will stand out as much as possible against the flag fabric.  Although it’s not essential, I like to interface my character fabric so that the shapes don’t fray.
  • Thread which must match the character fabric as closely as possible.
  • 2.5 metres of matching ribbon or bias binding, 25mm wide.  I use satin ribbon which is cheap and has a nice sheen.  The downside to satin ribbon is that it doesn’t feed as evenly nor stretch as bias binding does.

Instructions

1. Draw your characters on the wrong side of the fabric (don’t forget to reverse them) then cut them out.

 

2. With the fabric on fold, cut 10 pairs of flags. Pin the characters to one set only of the flag fabric.  I press the flags lightly to mark the middle.

 

3. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the characters onto the flags.  This part requires the most patience and if you’re new to applique, you might want to practise on some scraps.  Begin and end each with the needle going into the character, not the flag.  Pivot often.

4. With the right sides together, sew long sides of the flags to their backing, leaving tops open.  Turn right sides out, pushing points out carefully, and press.

 

5. Leaving the first 25cm for the tie-end, pin the flags to the ribbon/bias binding.  This should leave the end 25cm free to make the end tie.  Stitch.

7. Check for stray threads, press and package!