Monday, 17 July 2017

Handmade Holiday Part 4

The last part! You can find parts 1, 2 and 3 by clicking on the numbers.

I am not a maxi dress person. I think they look lovely, but I never really got them. I had no need for one. But, then I came across this Burdastyle pattern, in Melissa's May Burda review here, and I found myself coming up with all sorts of reasons why I needed a maxi dress for my holiday: if we wanted to visit the Blue Mosque in Istanbul I'd need my legs covered (my head glossed over the fact that I'd also need my head and arms covered too); what if people dressed up for dinner in the all-inclusive resort - wouldn't a maxi beautifully bridge that divide between casual and dressy? Plus, if I hated it, I could always cut it to midi or shorter.

I managed to shoe-horn it in, but only after all the other items were finished and only on the proviso that I finished it BEFORE the week before we went. I started and finished it on the Monday. We left on Friday morning.

So, although the pattern is in the magazine it's also online. Not sure I would have bought it on the strength of the line drawings, but for once Burda's styling made my heart leap! My experience in making this dress reminded me why I avoid Burdastyle. I'm not going to go on a rant, because we've all made Burda patterns and all know their flaws. At least I didn't have to trace it.

The fabric is bamboo jersey, from Edinburgh Fabrics, which I thought would nice and light and breathable. Actually the dress uses so much fabric it weighs a ton, and was only suited to the cooler evenings. The pattern as drafted actually has an outer dress with an inner layer much like a tank. I'm not clear why, other than to support the outer layer maybe, but I skipped it anyway. I also skipped the neck and armhole bands, because it was quicker and easier to just turn once and stitch. The fabric requirements given by the pattern are woefully inadequate. I mean seriously inadequate. I bought the recommended length of 2.2m, and - bearing in mind I didn't cut the bands or the inner tank thingy - I had to seam the front piece because there was absolutely no way I was going to get those pattern pieces on the fabric otherwise. I don't actually mind the seam at all, so no biggie, but still!

The dress itself is a straightforward tank shape from the front, with a slightly cocoon shaped skirt but the back has all the drama with a sort of cape-like drapey bit hanging off the shoulders (excellent description, Helen). The instructions were clear as mud, so the construction was a bit of a head-fuck, but I got there in the end.
You can see how the back neck sags under the weight of the fabric here

Not sure if it was a drafting error, or if I stretched out the armholes when sewing, but the armscyes were ridiculously large. It's possibly a bit of both. I think I ended up removing about 20cm from each (yes, really!), tapering it down the side seams. Because the side seams actually sit to the front, this has resulted in an angled shape to the armhole, which I rather like.
You can sort of see the angled armscye here

I think I added length, just in case, which I cut off again, but I left the bottom unhemmed - partly laziness, partly time, partly because I doubted I'd keep this as a maxi, so what was the point? So far it's still a maxi dress!

The result? Yeah, I kind of love it. I wore it twice on holiday. Not sure how much wear it'll get outside Turkey or a similar hot location, but you never know. I love the kind of Grecian vibe it has. It's nice unbelted but Paul vetoed that, so I wore it belted. It works well, but it is the kind of dress you fiddle with quite a lot. But I like the swishy nature and I really love the shape of the skirt. I think I will have to find another excuse to wear it at home!
Grecian Goddess pose, obvs.


1 comment

  1. I don't wear maxi's myself either - it's just a style that doesn't ever suit me (and I've tried seeing so many beauties including yours!) but no it just doesn't do me a flint of justice. I don't know if you've used bamboo/cotton jersey before but I thought I'd warn you that it GROWS a lot actually and that might be what happened to your armholes. I love that Grecian drape too - really elegant!


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