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Sewing notes

I got a question about how much I lowered the neckline of my Burda shift dress (Burda 7056). So I thought, why not just post what the alteration looked like?!

Please click on the image below to enlarge it!

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Edit: I forgot to add that I lowered the neckline by 4cms (thats over an inch in imperial measurements).

You can see it isn’t the original pattern from the envelope.

This is because I trace the original sewing pattern, that way if I need to make a different size I can. Does anyone else re-trace their patterns? It is a lot of work….I know some people fold the size of the pattern they want to cut out, but that doesn’t work for me.

I confess that I often buy doubles of the same pattern, that way I have one altered version and one with all the sizes.

Note how even after I altered the neckline of this dress, it still sits pretty high. So if you are working with this pattern and you don’t like tight/restrictive necklines, you will probably want to alter this!

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I know this is a very simple dress, but I am pretty happy right now! I feel more ‘me’ when I’m wearing this dress!

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To me that’s what makes a successful ‘make’– When you feel like you are really showing your personality/personal style in the garment and it fits your lifestyle.

Let me tell you something about my lifestyle:I live in a small apartment in Sydney Australia, I am at home a lot, and right now it is HOT. I love the heat, always have, but it really does feel like I’m living in a greenhouse, so a loose fitting cotton shift dress is just what I need!

I went shorter than I ordinarily would…because the dress is such a loose shape I felt like the short length made it more flattering/youthful.

Material notes:

The pattern is New Look 6225. It’s actually a top pattern, but I always planned to lengthen it into a dress (because I love love love raglan sleeves).

The fabric is a mysterious cotton bought years ago at Spotlight. There was a whole roll of it for sale (over 6 meters) for something crazy cheap like $9 for the roll. I bought that whole roll. That was an awesome day!

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Things I love about this dress:

  • This is the perfect dress for hot weather. It’s loose fiting and the fabric is light and breathable
  • The bold ‘geometric print cotton fabric I used. I have made a dress from this fabric before, but I feel like this shift dress works much better with the print!

Things I love about this pattern:

  • It’s a good pattern to showcase a bold print (because it’s such a simple style)
  • Raglan sleeves. More flattering on my wide shoulders AND much easier to sew than the dreaded set-in sleeves
  • No zipper/notions or buttons required! This dress slips over my head. Gotta love that!
  • Quick and easy too make.
  • Wide round neckline. Round necklines are a favourite of mine and suit me better, not really sure why

If you try this pattern do be aware that it has a LOT of ease. I recommend going down a size and/or sewing the seam allowances bigger (in my case 5/6mm further in)

Fitting/sewing notes:

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Normally I would be apprehensive about using a ‘new look’ pattern, because the fit of ‘new look’ patterns is often very poor, but because it was intended to be a loose fitting garment I went ahead and tried it.

New Look patterns are is the king of too much ‘ease’. This is why I made a size 8 and sewed the seams allowances at 2cms, rather than the usual 1.5cms (in effect removing 5mm from the seam allowances from all the pieces).

I made view B (with the lower neckline)

I added 9cms to hem of top, in order to make it into a shift/mini-dress

I used the sleeve pieces B,C and shortened the sleeves by around 5cms

I made my own bias binding…

I used a 85cm long bias strip for the neckline. I made it much wider than the pattern suggested (so it was easier to work with).

I didn’t use bias binding on the sleeves, I just turned and stitched them like a regular hem. Truth be told I am not a massive fan of using bias binding. I love the way it looks, but it feels sloppily done when I do it. Perhaps I just need practice!

I can’t remember why I did it, but I added a seam to the center back, rather than cutting it on the fold. It may have just been a more economical use of fabric in this case (it would probably look better cut on the fold).

Seam treatment: I just overlocked them, but this kind of dress that would have been a good candidate for french seams. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to changing the colour of my overlocking thread… I overlocked the garment with white overlocking thread. Yes I am THAT lazy! Sorry.Once I am more professional perhaps I will make the insides of my garment nicer!

I am already planning more dresses using this pattern. I love the idea of doing one where the sleeves are in a contrasting fabric. Fun!

I thought I would share with you some photos I took during the construction process

 If you click on the image it will open a much larger version of it in another tab in your browser and it will give you a somewhat detailed description of what I did.

Note: I may have missed steps in my explanation… I just wanted to highlight the way I construct a dress with straps that has a lined bodice. I never follow pattern instructions, so my process may be different!

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I used simplicity 2417 I have made a dress from this pattern before. I love this pattern, because its simple, quick to sew and uses such a small amount of fabric (compared to your average dress).

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Alterations I made for my print dress: I shortened the straps by 4cms. I also took 6mm out of both side seams at the top of the bodice (as the original dress had become too roomy under the arms but I tapered it to nothing before the waist so it would stay the same size. That was it. cheaking the fit was easy because I already had by ‘stash busting dress’ made from the same pattern, so I could just try that on and see if the fit was right

Ok heres my process… If you click on the image it will open a much larger version of it in another tab in your browser and it will give you a somewhat detailed description of what I did.

Note: I may have missed steps in my explanation… I just wanted to highlight the way I construct a dress with a  lined bodice and straps. I never follow pattern instructions, so my process may be different!

The dress is done (will post it tommorow) I thought I would share some notes and work in progress (sorry last boring post I PROMISE).

Here’s a sneak peek at the front of the dress:

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Above: The zip is straight IRL I promise! it’s just how the fabric is lying, dammit!

Working with Butterick 5607 was good. I cut out a size 8 (for reference I am B 34/35 W 25-26 H 34 )

Recently my body has changed so I feel like I am fitting for a different one now. I don’t actually look any different, It’s just that clothing fits me differently. I guess it’s a symptom of walking everywhere and being low on money.

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Above: Look at the SEXXAY styling from envelope it came in! 90s wedding/prom look! OOOH YEAH! (hehe sorry)

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Above: My initial alterations. You can see the first lines where I took it in at the bust.

I drafted my own collar. I drew some VERY rough guides on my muslin of my desired collar because I wanted to get an idea of how it would look like.

I also drafted a wacky ‘all in-one facing’. I generally prefer linings to facings, but I am planing on wearing the dress during the Australian Christmas (summer) so I wanted it to be light to wear.

Oh yeah I also shortened the dress A LOT. I forgot to record how much I shortened it by (SO ANNOYING I should always record these things. It’s helpful!) 😦 Anyway I would guess I removed about 20-23cm or over 8-9 inches from the hem.

Fitting: I found myself removing some excess in tiny amounts at the upper bust, bellow the bust and a little at the waist (getting rid of the excess in the princess seams or panel lines).

I did not change the neckline at all. It’s a higher neckline, but happily it’s a comfortable/non-strangling one (a rarity among patterns with high necklines!).

I originally created two muslins/toiles for this project, but I ended up making more fitting adjustments on the dress after I made it in my fashion fabric as well. But after all the tedium I now have a pretty rocking basic a-line dress pattern :)!

I usually work with linings or bias binding, so I had to look up some info on pressing collars and facings in my trusty sewing book.

Note to self: When pressing facing. press down the middle of the seam first spreading them apart,trim/grade seams them press ALL the seams TOWARDS the facing (not towards the garment).

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 Attaching facing or lining to a zipper opening by machine (how-to):

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I know a lot of people know this technique already, but for those who don’t: I swear by it it!

Use a narrow sewing machine foot, move your sewing needle position, Sew over facing with wrong side out and zipper sandwiched in between. Then turn your facing the right way out and poke in cover with a pencil or point turner. NO pesky hand sewing (because I ain’t gonna live forever!)

Now come the pictures of how I attached the facing to the armhole without any hand sewing.

This is a weak attempt to remind myself of what I did.

I WISH I could explain this, but it seems impossible to explain without a video. The pictures are really just a reference for me for next time. :S

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