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30 October 2011

Marjolein dress in plaid

My name is Lucia. I am a fabricholic. And I never, ever finish anything! Here's hoping to change that.

Burda November 2011 #119
The new Burda Nov 2011 has a beautiful dress (#119) that I am going to make as my first fall/winter dress. I am using an old Pendelton wool that I got as a gift from Kathy Q. some 13 years ago. Thanks Kathy!

I noticed that one key element that helps me overcome procrastination is to have all the sewing elements for a given design on hand. So, I made a plan of a few things I would like to sew next, headed for the Stoffenbeurs last weekend and bought all the thread, interfacing, zippers, etc. that I needed for these various designs. I had never done this before but I sure will do this from now on because it was great! It focused my shopping and kept me from buying only more fabric. Plus, it was so efficient to shop like that, that I was done in 1hr instead of my usual 3 or 4.

Back to Marjolein. I needed to preshrink the wool, something I've never done before. So I googled a bit and found the best advice ever here at Pamela Erny's blog. It worked beautifully. My wool came out looking better than before. It did shrink from 1.98m long to 1.93m and from 159cm wide to 157cm wide, but it was also fluffed up and all folds and wrinkles vanished, even after being folded in a box for nearly 15 years!

As for the pattern, I traced size 40 at bust and waist and 42 at the hip and blended in between.  The fabric has a plaid, so I carefully matched plaid lines at the main design points: side seams in the skirt, cross seams in the top front and all along the back seam, top to bottom.

And once again, I had to eat a huge slice of humble pie with this dress! Every time I begin to think I am an intermediate sewer I make some huge rookie mistake and am cut down to size. This time, for my first Burda dress I blissfully ignored the difficulty rating of this dress... at 3.5 this is about as difficult as they come with Burda. Indeed, sewing the front shirred panels was quite hard, plus the double shoulder. And of course, that wasn't enough and I had to add matching plaids to the difficulties. Anyway, somehow I've survived it, and have a nice dress to show for it. But for the next few items, I will pay attention to the ratings and stick to 2 or under.

Necessary tip: to match plaids it was pretty crucial that I pin the fabric along the seamline from both sides. If I don't, the fabrics still slip and the plaid is mismatched. Perhaps I'll save my pennies for a differential feed machine foot... until then, this is the only way I've found that works.

Great tip: I inserted the set-in sleeves following Claire Shaeffer's instructions in her book Sewing Shortcuts. Wow! Her instructions were clear, she knows what you might be tempted to change and tells you when you shouldn't and boy does it turn out perfect. Thanks Claire!