IMHO – The Burda Style July 2016 issue was a great issue for those of us who enjoy unique and challenging projects. I was particularly drawn to a couple of dresses with very interesting necklines, and another blouse with a basket weave inset (below). I couldn’t decide, so I asked a friend. The wrap dress was selected for me, and the next choice was fabric. I had recently purchased a few panels of this amazing digital knit print from Emma One Sock, called “Istanbul”.

I traced off the pieces and added my usual ¼” seam allowance everywhere but the hems (5/8”). When working with this pattern, you have to be careful to also trace off the bodice “lining” pieces, which are located on the main bodice patterns. These pieces will not have straps.

The only *problem* was that I was working with panels, and I was not sure that I would actually have enough, once the pattern repetition and placement came into play. I really wanted to feature the large dominant blue flower on the front skirt, and have the pattern aligned on the overlapped skirt when the wrap was secured. I placed the large skirt panel on one of the fabric panels and it *BARELY* fit, with some pattern slop in the seam allowances. Honestly, if I wasn’t so short, this probably would not have worked. I cut the skirt panels and proceeded to cut the remaining pieces (in order of pattern placement/dominance: skirt panels, front (outside) bodice panels, bodice (outside) back, outside ties/straps, and then the remaining lining pieces). I carefully pinned each piece to the form as I cut them to check the color balance and pattern placement.

The cutting and pattern alignment was the easy part (for once). The hard part was the instructions. They are a bit confusing and I had to carefully consider each step.   I did a few deviations from the instructions, everything is documented here so it may be easier for you to assemble if you choose to:

  1. Sew princess seams in front bodice and bodice lining. Stop at the base of the ties. Keep in mind that the bodice is lined, so reduction in seam bulk needs to be considered. To reduce bulk, I did this with a sewing machine and pressed the seams open. I also narrowly topstitched these to prevent flipping and bulking during wash and wear (my fabric curls easily)
  2. Similarly, I attached the back bodice sections at the sides for both the outside and the lining, also topstitching
  3. The bodice lining needs to be attached along the neckline, but you will notice that one piece has straps, and one does not. You’re going to sew each edge as close to the base of the strap as you can, but not through it. You will need the opening to turn the strap. I stabilized this edge with stay tape
  4. Once you turn the bodice right side out, pulling the straps through, you will need to under-stitch the upper edge
  5. Now the straps are sewn lengthwise and turned. I added stay tape to my straps to prevent distortion. Tack the inside lining to the front bodice at the base of the straps
  6. Knot the straps at the base and twist the two ties together. Baste the ends and adjust the fit. Pass the straps through their openings in the bodice and sew the straps in place.

If you’re like me, you can never seem to get the attachment of a tie “perfect” in a way that RTW seems to be. Because of this, I engineered a solution which produces a clean finish every time. One of the modifications is to use a stitch in the ditch to catch and secure the inside waistband cleanly and quickly to the garment. This is how you accomplish it on this dress:

  1. Interface the waistband that will be on the outer part of the garment which a medium weight fusible intended for knits
  2. Sew each waistband at the sides, creating two waistbands (one for the outside and one for the inside. Leave a small gap on one side to pass the wrap tie through
  3. Finish the lower edge of the waistband that will be on the inside of the dress with a zig zag or serger
  4. Sandwich the bodice between the two waistbands and sew in one continuous seam. Press waistbands down
  5. Sew the skirt (sides and then hems). I used a double-needle cover stitch all around.
  6. Attach the skirt to the lower edge of the outside waistband in one continuous seam
  7. Sew the ties. Fold in half lengthwise, sew the long edge and one short edge of each tie. Turn out. Press
  8. Here’s where it starts to get tricky … you’re going to sandwich the tie into the waistband and turn it out. This is how it’s done … Tightly roll the skirt into the waistband at the tie attachment edge, and secure with a pin (see photo)
  9. Likewise, roll the bodice and pin inside waistband
  10. Now, place the tie to align at the waistband edge
  11. And sandwich between the waistbands (see picture)
  12. Sew the end of the waistband, catching the tie, and pivot to sew about 1” of the lower waistband
  13. Turn the tie out .. wow, how clean is that?
  14. Lastly, you’re going to pin the inside waistband in place and stitch in the ditch from the top

Closing comments … will I sew this again? Probably not in this exact design. I like the skirt, but the top is very low cut and really only an occasional summer dress. I would probably reuse the skirt in the future.

Overall, the project turned out well, and the drafting was perfect. What else would you expect from Burda?

Burda Style 7/2016 #102: Finished!