So DD1’s got another pretty dress in her closet. This dress is Burda 7-2010-120 from their Desert Style collection last summer. It caught my eye, and then DD1 decided it would be really nice for her to wear this summer. Go figure. The dress consists of what I’ll call an “overdress” (back, skirt and front shoulder/midriff piece) and an underdress (shirred bodice and lining. It took a couple of read-throughs to get the gist of the directions, but once I understood that it was two separate pieces stitched together at the side seams, it went together very easily.
The dress calls for three fabrics: jersey for the “over-bodice”; stretch chiffon for the skirt, over-bodice lining and shirred “under-bodice”; and a jersey lining for the skirt and under-bodice facings. I used a very lightweight rayon-lycra knit for the jersey & chiffon pieces, and a tricot lining for the skirt only. It worked well, but the chiffon would give it a more “floaty” look. Unfortunately I didn’t have any ivory chiffon on hand and I just wanted to get this dress done, so I went ahead with the entire thing in sewn up in jersey.
Burda sized this dress from a 36, which is too big for DD1, so I cut a 36 without any seam allowances and the fit is just right. I actually thought it would be a bit big given my previous experience with Burda sizing for a knit top, but this fit well. This dress did not require any additional taking-in, so if you decide to sew it up, I’d suggest going for one size smaller than your regular pattern size. There were no alterations other than the usual shortening of the bodice by about 1” (2.5 cm) for DD1, as she’s petite. I took the length out just above the bust through the front and back over-bodice pieces.
The construction of the dress is simple. The over-bodice/midriff section gets sewn up first and then the skirt is attached, leaving the left side open for a zipper. Yes, I did put in the zipper. It would be impossible to pull this dress over your head because of all the layers and construction, so I would strongly recommend putting in the side zipper. It may seem redundant on a knit, and I know a lot of knit dresses are just fine without the recommended zipper opening, but you’d definitely need it in this dress.
The next phase of construction is the shirred under-bodice. This is actually 3 layers of fabric, which surprised me. I did two versions of this. The first one I cut as planned with the double facing and the shirred layer, but it was very shallow and resulted in a less than modest neckline when I did a test fit. So I re-cut it about 2” (5 cm) deeper to add some coverage at the top, but only used one layer of jersey for the facing to reduce the bulk. There is an elastic run through a casing made from the facing seam allowances at the top of the under-bodice which holds it snugly in place. Once the under-bodice is constructed, the skirt lining is sewn up the right side (leaving the left side open) and the front of the skirt is attached to the under-bodice. Then the entire under-dress gets attached to the waist seam in the back and the side seams in the front. I added additional stitching along the front waistline to ensure the over-dress would stay in place. Then you put in an invisible side zip.
The zipper was a bit of a slow go because of all the layers of jersey I was working with (four at the left front bodice, to be exact). Using chiffon would have made this a little easier to do, but it worked. It’s not my best “tidy” zipper insertion since I did not digress from Burda’s instructions. Oh! I did digress on the hem – I left it unfinished.
Oh, and about the shoes….. DD1 has been thrilled to discover that she has the same size feet as I do. I must say I may exploit that little detail when it comes to adding to my own shoe collection. The pair she’s wearing were purchased for myself but she can borrow them anytime, as they do live in her closet. We should have a spectacular shoe closet between the two of us within a few years…..