Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Burda Style maxi dress and lots of slits

This story goes back in February, when I was choosing a dress pattern for the wedding I attended in Nice last summer. I wanted to invest more time than usual in this garment by using fancy techniques and hand-stitching, therefore it had to be a perfect pattern. I asked my blog readers to share their views on the selection of patterns I envisaged using for the occasion, and, as a result, my choice fell on the Ralph Pink cut-out dress. Alas, this dress has not happened, and here’s why!

Since February, I’ve been distracted by many side projects, and as a result, the dress pattern sat on my shelf until the end of April. When I finally started working on the dress and began putting the muslin together, I realized that certain pattern pieces did not match! I measured and re-measured each pattern piece, but it was quite a big difference (like a few centimetres) between some pattern parts. Panic! Even though I had considered other patterns, the Ralph Pink dress had grown so much on me, that I could not imagine working with any of those other patterns. Disaster! There was no plan B!  Until one evening, I piled up all my patterns and sewing magazines, opened a bottle a Irish red ale and started the pursuit of an emergency dress solution. Guess what? The beer helped and I ended up sewing this maxi dress.

Now, a bit more about the new dress. I chose this patterns for multiple reasons. First of all, the wedding took part in Nice and I knew it would be hot, so if possible the dress had to provide some ventilation. Secondly, I only had a few weeks to work on it. As a compromise to the first dress, the new one had to be relatively easy and quick to sew. This pattern is quite floaty; it features a cut-out on neckline and two side slits. To make it even more airy, I used silk chiffon, which I bought in India a few years ago, for both the dress and lining. I have not used it before just because I had no idea what to make from it, and this dress for a formal occasion was a perfect project!

The actual sewing process was not too complicated. All I needed was a microtex needle and some #60 thread. I cut the pattern in a size 38 without adding seam allowances. First, I basted the main fabric to the lining in order to treat them as one later. I applied a French seam to the neckline and armholes to give it a neat look, then, I serged side seams, preventing them from fraying. Lastly, I applied the rolled hem to all the raw edges. And the outcome? The dress looks good!

I am not mad about this dress, but it’s good enough to grab last minute if there’s nothing else to wear. The fabric does not wrinkle, which is even better for all types of emergency situation! And the fabric makes this dress stand out.

A lesson learnt from this incident is to always have a backup solution, especially if you are working on a piece for a special occasion. In general, I don’t panic about such things such as a dress for a wedding, but because I had cherished the idea of the Ralph Pink dress for so long, not being able to bring this project to life completely defeated me.

Another lesson to take from this story - when in doubt/trouble/panic, a glass of something stronger than tea can alleviate the spirit and point your senses into the right direction. I am sure you have a similar story or two to share. Don’t be shy!  

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