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Pattern Reviews> BurdaStyle Magazine> 02-2012-117 

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Reviewed by:inkstain

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Posted on:4/25/12 3:39 AM
Last Updated:3/9/15 4:56 AM
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BurdaStyle Magazine: 02-2012-117 by inkstain
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Pattern Rating:Recommend, with Modifications
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 5 people   
See reviews of patterns from this issue
Fabric:Cotton Jersey  [See other projects in this fabric]
Here's a second and much more successful version of the 'Chinese' dress that a lot of people sewed in various knit choices. It was my first fabric choices that let me down last time--too chinzy a cotton knit undermined the nice lines of this design, giving the result a cheap look.

I really liked the idea, however, so I upped the ante with a more expensive black knit ponte which helps to keep the shaping. Although the interesting lines of the bodice aren't clear in this photo taken on a dusky winter evening, I was much happier with this one and wore it a lot all winter 'up and down.'

As before I had to make a choice about closing the neckline. Last time I left off the zipper and pulled it over my headódistorting the knit in the process. This time, I capitulated and inserted a short, bold zipper in the back. Much better

Everybody has had such a great time with Burda's February "Chinese" feature , that I was surprised at what a toughie Number 117 was for me. I cut out the interfacings for the diagonal bodice fronts the wrong way, (easy to do when you've got two colors in the bodice) and although I was measuring a 38 tapering out to a 44, (when you call me Major Pear, at least salute!) I still didn't take in enough at the center-back neck seam.

Another problem arose from my decision to make it a summer dress and to use cotton knits, instead of the sturdier wool knits others used. On top of that, it was hard to find so many colorways in the same knit, so I had to settle for a firmer, more synthetic midriff black.

Because it was to be a summer quickie, I also eliminated two features which bugged me: the extraneous zipper, a look I find cherché and predict will wane by summer, and the needless bottom seam across the skirt.

So eliminating the zipper insertion and the bottom piecing simplified things, but I fugged up the front somehow. The fit was great, but the closure of the bodice requires snaps. They're just impossible to disguise when using a cotton knit, and though I tried hand-stitching them to the facing only, they just pulled and gapped in an unsightly way. So I had to restitch them more firmly, making a row of unsightly puckers down the bodice.

I'm considering just stitching the two bodice parts closed as far up to the neck as I can to leave a T-shirt- sized neck opening for slipping on overhead. (Indeed, CyberDaze has since suggested on my blog Chanel No.6 to just stitch up the diagonal, and I'm going to try that now.)

Also TheOverflowingStash suggests Chinese frog closures.

I added an obi belt to wear to yesterday's Visions de Reel Documentary Film Festival premiere of "A Home Far Away," the heart-rending documentary about my very good friend and neighbour Lois Snow and her exile with her late husband Edgar Snow, author of "Red Star over China," to Switzerland because of harassment by McCarthy and FBI agents.

See video preview here and order the DVD. Skip the dress.

A Home Far Away Preview video

UPDATE: I've laboriously unpicked the snaps and the previous topstitching and re-topstitched all layers of the bodice diagonal down. I'm much happier already with the result. Thanks CYBER!

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5 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
liliv said... (3/9/15 3:38 PM) Reply
Nothing is better than a classic and flattering LBD. Love it!
zoe said... (4/27/12 10:25 AM) Reply
Great summer dress. I think you're right about exposed zippers being a possible trend; I loke the look in some things I've seen, but I'm always aware that I don't want clothing I sew to look 'dated' by trend aspects; with so much care and effort involved, I want to be able to wear my clothes 10 years from now ( thinking classics ).
becca a said... (4/25/12 9:01 PM) Reply
This is a great summer dress! I agree with you about exposed zippers. Great save to sew the diagonal seam to keep it in place.
Levone said... (4/25/12 3:44 PM) Reply
Great version of this dress! I love your color combination.
Sewiing Sue said... (4/25/12 8:48 AM) Reply
I'm intimidated by Burda patterns but they do have wonderful intrguing elements. Sometimes though I remind myself that just bec one can do it doesn't mean one should. I have found that fabric choice, the first step, can be the most crucial, as I keep relearning. I look forward to the film, and enjoy your blog.
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