Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Made by Me File: Burda 7137. Again. Focused on Fit.

So last week after receiving the news that I had made it through to challenge #2 in the Fabric Mart Fashion Challenge sewing competition, I was all at once excited and a little nervous.  As you saw from yesterday's post I was in Cleveland from Saturday to Monday, which also coincided with most of the time I had to sew up the item for challenge #2.  Yikes. 

Well to combat some of that, I decided to do a WHOLE lot of sewing on Friday to get ready for the weekend, bring a lot of supplies, extra fabric, and my sewing machine to Cleveland so I could sew more on Sunday, and then on Monday I hand-sewed quite a bit of the project on our way home.  It is surprising how quickly a drive can go when hand-sewing, by the way.  I highly recommend it to stave off some of the boredom of long drives.  On Tuesday (so yesterday), I finished off the minor details and the hemming.  And then I took a gazillion photos of the project. 

I chose Burda 7137 because I knew that even though it had been a winner the last time I made it up, I wanted to challenge myself to make it look as good in a non-printed fabric that was also non-stretch.  One of the parts of this challenge is to make a garment in a solid since solid fabrics more easily show fit issues (in the form of drag lines, wrinkles, etc.).  So even though the version I made back in March looks like it fits very well, I had to see for myself in a proper solid fabric.  And guess what?  It did need some extra finagling with the pattern to make it fit well, even though I had made a lot of changes to the pattern in March!  Guess I know now that printed stretch fabrics can hide things better than I originally thought.

And here it entry this week for the "fit" challenge.

I may be smiling in that first photo, but oh man, there were a few times this weekend where I was like, "why in the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks am I doing this to myself?"  :-)  It is mainly because of the fabric I chose, which is a very pretty wool gabardine in a pine green shade with a lovely hand.  Although the end result is awesome, pressing* and working with this fabric on the sewing machine was a bit of a bear.  Turns out that wool gabardine is notorious for being difficult to work with, and it takes a lot of patience to get good results.  Good thing I had all that time this weekend. Ha. 

*The smell of wool after being pressed reminded me of my grandmother's clothing, they must have used a lot of wool in clothing back then.  Although wool is used a lot nowadays, it is not as common, and is usually a blend.  Hmm.  All that said, I loved the smell!!!

But I perservered, set in those danged sleeves as carefully as I could (that is the #1 complaint about wool gabardine, just how hard setting sleeves in with it is) and now have a dress that is just perfection for a multitude of occasions. 

Wool gabardine also shows wrinkles and drag lines easier than other fabrics, too.  Although I do have a few minor fit wrinkles and lines (also in the next photo), those are very easy tweaks that I can implement on my third Burda 7137 (let's give a few months, though, lol).

On the bodice, I need to make a small bust adjustment since the fit is a bit big through there on me. 

Having said that, the rest of the bodice fits perfectly, especially through the neckline and the waist.  To make sure the neckline fit well, though, I deepened the back neckline darts since on my first version it was fairly apparent it was too big back there for me.  It made a huge difference on how the neckline fit, and I am glad I did that to this one.

On the back, I do need to make a *slight* and I mean tiny sway back adjustment. 

Above you see one thing I did to give this dress a bit of "bling."  I added some vintage-looking buttons to the top of the sleeve vent.  I think it was just the right amount of *something something* that this very classic sheath dress design needs.  I found them at G Street fabrics on Friday, it took nearly twenty minutes to decide which ones I wanted, but these eventually came home with me.  And for $3, too!

To make sure that my non-woven fabric and my very curvy hips got along, I adjusted (my already adjusted) pattern to include an additional 1/2 inch at the side seams, making sure to properly grade out from the waist to keep the proper curve of the dress skirt. 

I now have two versions of this pattern--the one that can be used with stretchier wovens, and this new one that can be used with non-stretch fabrics.  Woo! 

Here are my favorite "hidden" details of this dress. 

I didn't have my Bernina feet with me on my trip (way too heavy of a machine to travel with), but I did have my older Brother, and while it has no specific feet for edgestitching, I was still able to get very nice top-stitching at the neckline.  I just had to go slowly and carefully. 

The button is a similar color, but it is hard to tell in that photo since the light was a bit bad there.  The button is very pretty, though, and the cool design is sparkly, which you can see a bit off from far away.  The button detail definitely gives this already retro-looking dress even more of that vintage feel. 

The lined interior was machine-stitched to the fabric, but the lining was hand-stitched to the zip by me in the car on the ride home.  I think it took an hour!  Phew.

For the people who read this blog for the "personal style" stuff, you will appreciate how good this dress is for all those accessories that need a more plain foil as a base. The plain fabric and slender silhouette really let the necklace and belt and shoes shine.

I didn't set out to make an office appropriate outfit, but this dress is very "conservative" office-friendly.  Heck, with nylons (yeah, I know!) I could have worn this very dress all those years ago when I worked on Capitol Hill. 

It is also perfection for subbing at the Catholic school I sub at (and my kids go to) since their dress code is very modest. 

But my original intent in making this dress?  Something I could wear to Christmas festivities, since the pine green is a classic Christmas color! 

Okay, that's all for now.  Of course I know that all of you REALLY want to vote for me, so here is the place you can do that.  ;-) 

I do want to give a big old shout-out to the ladies in the competition!  You all really brought it this week.  I love seeing what everyone did--from the casual basics to the dressy and formal to the solidly classic (I think my dress falls in that category).