My first item in the SG 2014 SWAP is now done, woohoo! I made Vogue 1915 Anne Klein's blouse again. This second version is also white and it turns out to be impossible to photograph... Every photo I took was overexposed. I will have to wait until next weekend when I can enlist my husband's better camera and skills.
So instead, I will share with you here a couple of dresses that I made last spring but hadn't gotten around to blogging about them. Both are made using that famous and well-reviewed pattern Burda 10-2012-118. My own review of this pattern is here at Pattern Review.
I first made this version in a pinstripe wool. I thought it would be perfect for the office. The traditionally masculine pinstripe wool balancing the very feminine shape of the dress with the side-draping and cowl neckline.
I barely had enough fabric for the dress, so I had to make a sleeveless version. I simply skipped the sleeves and finished the armholes with a lining bias strip. I also added a lining. I find that a lining makes dresses more comfortable to wear, plus also more appropriate for the office. To reduce bulk, I didn't want the lining to be gathered like the front. Instead, I took the paper pattern for the front, folded the gathers and held them with tape to create a "plain" front pattern. I also removed the top portion that is folded over from the draping cowl.
Also, since the cowl neckline is wide enough to fit my head without a zipper, I moved the zipper from the back to the side (the side that is not gathered). Back zippers often require gymnastics beyond my capabilities. A side zipper is much easier!
Finally, I converted the back walking slit into a kick pleat. I think that kick pleats look more polished and is definitely more demure, showing less leg.
After wearing this dress for a month or two, I liked it so much that I decided to make another one, this time with sleeves.
For the second version I chose a much less stable "Armani-look" fabric. I love the look of the fabric, and being less tightly woven it is very comfortable to wear. Unfortunately, after a whole day wearing the dress it begins to droop, which is what you can see in the photo. The fabric regains its shape after a washing, so that's how I've been wearing it. One wear, one wash, one wear, one wash.
I made all the same modifications as with the first dress, except that I forgot the kick pleat. Since I was forced to make a walking slit, I figured I could practice a tack to keep the slit from tearing open under the strain of walking and biking. I followed instructions for an arrowhead tack from Sherry's blog Pattern, Scissors, Cloth.
I'm quite pleased with how the tack turned out, even if not so much with the slit itself... I guess I should have interfaced it, huh?
Going back to why I love these dresses, can I tell you what is the best thing about them?
They are washable! Seriously, even the pinstripe wool!
All my hand-knitted wool sweaters are supposed to be washed by hand, but lately I've just been throwing them in the wool-program in my washing machine, and they turn out beautifully. So I got to thinking why couldn't I do that with wool fabric too. I hate bringing my clothes to the dry cleaners. They don't come back cleaner at all. I have a powder blue felt wool coat that came back from the dry cleaners with a "greige" layer. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me hugely upset all over again!
So, ever since this dress I've been pre-washing my wool fabric in the wool cycle of my washing machine and then drying them in the dryer with cool air. And it works perfectly. I do have to do some light ironing with an ironing cloth, but I don't mind doing that at all.
Of course, I would never attempt to wash a garment that has been tailored. Any shaping would be completely destroyed by the wash. But this dress has not been shaped with heat or steam at all, so washing is safe.
It is no wonder that this pinstriped dress is one of my favorites!