Pattern Description: Gigantic blossoms, skin tight! Elastic gabardine guarantees absolute comfort for this figure-hugging bustier dress. Boning is worked into the bodice seams for optimum fit and shape.
In plain English, that means "plain two piece pattern bustier dress, version A has straight front and is knee length, version B has notched front and is full length. Boned front and back darts, side seams, invisible back zipper.
Pattern Sizing: BWOF sizes 34-42. This is meant for stretch wovens, so I went up a size and cut a 40 with a little extra on the side seams for insurance.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? More or less, yes. Here's a back view and views with two different sweaters, brown and belted, for work, and a cream embroidered DKNYt thrift store sweater, for evening.
Were the instructions easy to follow? It's Burda. When have they ever been easy? The initial instructions were fine: sew the darts, insert the zipper, sew the side seams. Their instructions for installing the boning were a little odd, so I did them my own way, which may or may not be correct, but it worked. The lining instructions were incomprehensible as far as attaching the lining at the back slit, so once again, I did it my way. It's an uncomplicated shape; building the inner structure was the only difficult part.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really wanted to try to make myself something strapless, but I was more interested in it as an engineering project, having never attempted boning and/or defying gravity before. There were a lot of cute strapless dresses out there, but the patterns were more complicated or the designs more intricate, and I really just wanted a simple shape to experiment with. This pattern consists of a front, a back, 4 darts and a zipper; it fit the bill exactly, and justified my purchase of a back issue that seemed so out-dated that I'd never wear the clothes.
Fabric Used: A brown embroidered cotton blend from the fabric swap pile at Philly's PR Weekend back in May. Whoever brought this fabric, thank you! It called to me across the room. It wasn't a big piece, so I knew I'd have to find just the right project for it. I'm surprised I came across something so quickly.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: No real changes. I constructed the dress, darts first, then zip, then side seams, and inserted the boning at the front and back darts and side seams. It felt secure, so I kept going.
The fabric itself wasn't off grain, but the machine embroidery was a bit skewed, so I decided when cutting the dress out to follow the embroidery and not the grain. The only place that made a difference was a bit of pulling at the top of the bodice, and I disguised that by using the last leftover trim of the embroidered border and turning them into appliques.
Once the appliques were sewn on where I wanted them, I found some brown beads and did a little beading on the appliques (but not the rest of the embroidery on the dress because enough of a good thing is enough, and I wanted to wear the dress this summer).
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? If you're looking for either a simple strapless dress or an easy first strapless project, and you can find this issue, I'd highly recommend this pattern. Now that I know what I'm doing, if I get a yen for another strapless, I'd probably go for something with more interesting lines. But this was a great learning experience, and I'm glad I finally justified the purchase of those 2002 back issues.
Conclusion: No wardrobe malfunctions here! It survived a day at the office, a long walk to the restaurant afterwards and a very good dinner, with (almost) no shifting.
Here's the full pattern review, with more detail and construction shots.