Monday, January 21, 2013

Work in progress - burdastyle LBD

I spent the week-end working on my dress for the Burdastyle Vintage modern sewing contest, and I made lots of progress.

I made the final adjustments to the muslin as I was not quite happy with the sleeve. I have to say I totally hacked the sleeve by tracing a sleeve from another Burda pattern and adjusting the bodice armhole accordingly. I sewed a muslin (ok several) and adjusted from there until I was happy with the fit. I know it is absolutely not the proper way to do this, but it worked well enough. I am not quite ready to dive into block-making (too much maths involved, ha). I then ripped the muslin apart and used it as my pattern pieces. I was the first time I did that and it was quite a revelation. The pattern doesn't move at all on the fabric, and it solves the problem of what to do with muslins... I don't muslin quite as much as I probably should, so maybe this is another argument in favour of muslins?

Pinning pattern pieces to lace fabric.
 I then proceeded to cut the pieces for the bodice in both the lace and the underlining fabric, a black polysatin. I also cut pieces for an all-in-one facing. I debated wether I should line the bodice or use a facing. I thought the bodice was thick enough so the lining or facing was just to enclose seam allowances. I opted for the facing because I judged it would be easier to deal with, considering the thickness and body of the underlining. I always find it hard when a light and drapey fabric meet a stiffer one. Also, my fabrics are not fraying much, so a full lining wasn't mandatory. I did have concerns about the whole thing beeing too bulky, but it turned out ok.

I am treating the satin as a underlining for the bodice and a lining for the skirt, hopefully that won't cause any unexpected problems. For the bodice pieces, I hand-basted the lace to the satin, both facing up, and treated them as one piece of fabric for the rest of the process.

Basting the fashion fabric to the underlining.
 Then I constructed the bodice. The pattern has really lovely curved darts, which makes for a really nice fit.
Pinning darts. Front bodice at the top, back bodice at the bottom.
I setted the sleeves flat (another sewing first!), thinking it would make it easier to sew the facing in this was. I first basted the sleeve to the bodice, and then pinned the facing, and finally sewing the whole thing together. It was pretty akward, with the different curves, and making sure not to catch any layer in the seam. I did have to rip and redo a few times after sewing in the facing. Lastly, I sewed the facing on at the neckline and turned everything right-side out through the shoulders.

That is as far as I got. Here is the list of what is left to do
- understitch the seam allowance to the facing unit. I think I'll do it by hand, it's far neater and it makes the dress feel much more luxurious.
 - sew side seams and underarm seams
- pleat the skirt pieces and attach to the bodice
- bind the waist seam in some way
- insert zipper at center front. I am planning a lapped, handpricked zipper. I think it will really be invisible, considering the lace pattern.
- hem the skirt lining and hem sleeves and skirt by cutting the lace.
- if needed, sew in a waiststay.
Oh. That looks like a lot when I write down everything, but I think it'll be 3 to 4 hours of work. I'm really trying to take my time and make it well. Handstitching when it makes a difference, for example. I still have a few weeks before the closing date of the contest, so I am confident I'll finish in time to enter.

Now I'm off to do that understitching!


  1. I love that black lace! Good luck on the contest!

  2. Oh, the black lace is beautiful! I NEED to make myself an LBD or two. I don't know why I haven't. It's such a critical and versatile piece of clothing!

    1. yes, i really for my life cannot explain why i don't have a LBD. an i wear black all the time...