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Pattern Reviews> BurdaStyle Magazine> 08-2014-116 (Cut Out Back Dress)

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Reviewed by:nicegirl

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Posted on:8/14/14 9:56 AM
Project Photo:BurdaStyle Magazine: 08-2014-116 by nicegirl

BurdaStyle Magazine: 08-2014-116 by nicegirl  BurdaStyle Magazine: 08-2014-116 by nicegirl  
Pattern Photo: BurdaStyle Magazine Pattern Info

More Info provided by nicegirl

Pattern Rating:Highly Recommend
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 13 people   
See reviews of patterns from this issue
Fabric:Rayon Challis  [See other projects in this fabric]
Pattern Description:

Pattern Sizing:
34-42. I cut a 34 at the shoulders and bust, 37 at the waist, and 40 at the hip. The elasticized waist and full-skirted hip fit are pretty forgiving and don't need to be exact.

Fabric Used:
A rayon challis purchased at PS Fabrics in New York for $4.99/yd.

Total cost, including notions and subscription amortization (but not travel costs to New York): around $15.

Time to Make:
This is a surprisingly simple dress to put together, but I wanted to do it right. I spent about 9 hours on it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love love the back cutout. Having made it, I really appreciate the draft of the bodice with its wide shoulders and just the right amount of blousiness at the waist.

My dislike is the too-wide neckline as drafted, but that is easily fixed at the pattern altering stage.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope?
Yes, very much.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
There is an error in the pattern that tells you to sew the ends of the elastic together, when in fact you secure the ends in each end of the casing. Other than that, they were fine.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
-For the back bodice, I did a Broad Back Adjustment and also took a HUGE tuck out of the back neckline, which was really, really wide.

-The bust dart on the front bodice is actually pretty small as drafted so I did not do any alteration for SBA. I think if you are larger than an A cup, you'll want to do a FBA even if you don't normally need to. The front neckline is a wee bit wide; I wish I had taken a little bit of width out of it at the pattern alteration stage.

The pattern is drafted as a boatneck, which is difficult for me to wear given that I am short. I lowered the front neckline 2 1/2 inches (!) from where it was drafted, and it is still reasonably high. So keep that in mind if you are at all chokey from high necks as I am.

-For once, I didn't need to do a swayback adjustment to the pattern because the cutout is basically at the swayback.

-The skirt was too long as drafted, so I folded out 1 1/2 inches on each piece before cutting.

-The pattern as drafted is lined in the bodice, but not in the skirt. This fabric was too sheer not to line the skirt. I thought a contrast lining was the way to go. I immediately thought of the gorgeous green silk/cotton I got during Martha Pullen's epic silk/cotton sale, but didn't want to waste the vast expanse of it needed to fully line the skirt. After agonizing over it way too much, I finally realized that duh, I could use cheap ordinary lining for most of the skirt and then add the silk/cotton at the bottom where it would show.

I lined up the center front and back skirt patterns and marked where the center front hit the center back. I later realized that the back skirt dips down below the front skirt at the waist, but luckily I gave myself a good 2 1/2 inch cushion and only the decorative lining shows. I then drew in the line for the decorative lining, making it about 2 1/2" wide in the front, and cut out my pattern pieces. It all worked according to plan. I got my pretty contrast lining without "wasting" an acreage of lovely fabric.

-Because there is no front or back center seam I couldn't do my usual all-machine clean finish. I would normally use this method in that instance, but I was intrigued in reading Burda's instructions for finishing; yes, the Wooden Spoon Method.

As with my normal clean finish technique, I started by trimming 1/8" inch off the neckline and armscye edges of the lining.

Sew the bodice pieces together with their respective linings along the neckline and armscyes to within about an inch of the shoulder. Finish/trim the seam allowances (I do it in one with the serger). Finish the unsewn shoulder edges by serging, zigzagging, or your choice.

Turn the front bodice right side out. (I actually turned both bodices right side out and did the required pressing, since I figured it would be easier to do with the pieces separate than together. Then I turned the back bodice inside out again.)

Slide the front bodice inside the back bodice/lining, with the fashion fabric right sides together and the lining right sides together. Match up the shoulders of the fashion and lining fabrics, and then pin. You now have four shoulder seams to sew: fashion fabric right, lining right, fashion fabric left, and lining left.

Sew the shoulder seams.

Now for the famous Wooden Spoon: Pull the front, which is inside the back, further through the back more toward the outside so the shoulder seams are no longer at the edge. Slide the wooden spoon into the holes where you did not sew all the way up to the shoulder at the armscye and neckline.

Position the shoulder seam over the wooden spoon, and use it as a "ham" to press open the seam. Frankly, I was pretty disappointed in the wooden spoon, which did not really make it easy to press open the seam. I should have grabbed my wooden spoon that has a flat handle, but now that I live in a two story house such frivolous trips back and forth to the kitchen are more carefully considered.

Once your shoulder seams are pressed, keep the front pulled through, match up shoulder seams of the fashion fabric and lining (which are right sides together), and pin the little hole you left through which the wooden spoon was threaded. Again, you have four shoulder edges to do. Sew.

Pull the front out the bottom to turn right side out.

I have to say, I am impressed with this method. My alternate method requires a few inches of hand sewing, but this method is all machine. Well done, Burda and your Wooden Spoon.

-I sewed the side seams of the fashion fabric and lining of the skirt separately so they would hang free, and then basted them together at the waistline to be treated as one. I interfaced both pieces where the buttonholes for the drawstring would go, and then did the buttonholes through both layers as one.

-The dress is pretty straightforward to put together. Once the bodice is completely lined, the bodice and lining are treated as one at the waist. I basted the two layers together to avoid shifting. Sew the bodice to the skirt up to where the back skirt dips into its hole.

Use the seam allowance to make a casing and thread elastic in. Burda has a misprint in the instructions, which tell you to "sew the ends together." Unless you have a 17" waist and are looking for a figure 8 in the back, you want to sew the ends into each end of the casing. The join of the skirt/bodice/casing is a little ugly, but it gets covered up by your finishing--I used bias tape as described below.

Burda has you make a facing for the back cutout. I really don't know why you'd use a big unwieldy fabric-hoggy facing instead of bias tape. I used self bias tape, stitching it right sides together all the way around the hole then turning it to the inside to form a casing. Make your ties and join them with elastic in the middle, then thread through the casing.

Love this dress! It was also pretty simple--it might be a fun 3rd or 4th project for a dedicated beginner. I may someday straighten out the hem, but the high-low thing is still going on and my other iteration, last year's birthday dress, was totally disappointing due to the poorly drafted pattern.

The cutout is just perfect, and I like the cut of the bodice with the wider shoulders. I'm considering drafting the cutout right out of it for a simple summer dress pattern--I feel like I'm seeing a lot of the simple dress with elastic waist (like thisand this) this year and this one has well-balanced building blocks.

All photos are here and the blog post is here.
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23 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
Lexus888 said...
You have done a great review, and an attractive dress which looks great on you. Thank you!
8/27/14 1:43 PM
Dani3114 said...
Although I love the cut out back, I would also like to draft the cut out off the pattern to make it more versatile. Scratching my head though as to how to do it - any ideas anyone?
8/20/14 1:15 AM
Michele Lommasson said...
Very cute. Thanks for the in depth review.
8/15/14 9:16 PM
Kathhhhhy said...
Love the addition of a lining. This looks so fantastic!
8/15/14 6:02 PM
Clareew said...
Great review for a fabulous dress
8/15/14 5:32 PM
arianamaniacs said...
8/15/14 1:58 PM
SusiM said...
Cute dress! Thanks for taking the time to write such an informative review. Your comments are helpful.
8/15/14 12:11 PM
Danvillegirl said...
I think this is very flattering dress on you! Cute style.
8/15/14 6:55 AM
LN said...
What a fantastic look! Thanks for all the construction and alteration details.
8/14/14 8:10 PM
carolynw said...
WOW! You look like you stepped out of a Vogue photo shoot.
8/14/14 7:07 PM
supizoo said...
Great review and beautiful dress. It looks very good on you. I hope there are a few fluttery breezes whenever you wear it so that the lovely lining shows!
8/14/14 6:23 PM
Mufffet said...
BEEEeeeutiful! Love this on you. That lovely fabric and the lovely green lining....well, this is superb!
8/14/14 3:27 PM
miausiau said...
I always was confused about that funny Burda spoon illustration. I will carefully read your translation and get the picture I hope. That is a very popular pattern and would be perfect for so many things. Nice job by nicegirl as always!
8/14/14 3:21 PM
SewWil said...
Very pretty dress! Thanks for the detailed review. I'm about to trace this pattern.
8/14/14 12:45 PM
maryfrana said...
This is a knockout! And your review is so thorough. Wish I could wear cutouts and look as lovely as you do.
8/14/14 11:32 AM
Erin Sooit said...
I love your rendition of this dress! It looks very classy, and thank you for your tutorials too.
8/14/14 11:32 AM
Kalisews said...
Fantastic job. Great review! Makes me want to backorder this issue, I just renewed and missed this one ;-( What a great dress!
8/14/14 11:27 AM
Barbara V said...
Pretty dress and style on you!
8/14/14 10:45 AM
marec said...
lovely-the cutout is wonderful.
8/14/14 10:38 AM
cleverkitty said...
Love this fabric!!! Looks all so perfect in this pattern :)
8/14/14 10:33 AM
Fully Busted said...
Sweet and sexy! It looks fabulous on you.
8/14/14 10:20 AM
MrsCharisma said...
8/14/14 10:13 AM
CissieW said...
Great dress and even better review! Don't know though if my "back fat" will allow me to wear this cutout. Ah, youth!
8/14/14 10:10 AM
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