It’s been a really long time since anything in BurdaMag has gotten me rabidly tearing the patterns out of the magazine within a day of getting it, until now. I’d been anticipating the March 2012 issue since the first preview went online with this pretty twist-front dress:
This dress is pretty much the same idea as the twist front dress that I had long coveted from Pattern Magic, but had never gotten around to drafting:
And once again, my selfish sloth seemed to be on the verge of paying off- wait around long enough and someone will eventually do the hard part for me. Or so I thought. I was dismayed to discover that Burda 3-2012-108 is the one pattern in the issue drafted for tall women. Argh, tall women! Not only are they able to take full advantage of the top shelf of the kitchen cabinets, but they also get the twist dress pattern that I’ve been lazily waiting for someone to draft for *me*? I punch you in the knees, tall women- in the KNEES!
Determined not to be defeated by Burda’s 72-88 sizing, I graded it down two sizes to what I suppose could be called a size 68 and traced it out. I figured that if I made up the pattern as drafted for tall women, this would potentially result in 1) a lower waist seam than intended, 2) lower armsyces than intended, and 3) lots and lots of extra length. The first issue seemed desirable given my desire to avoid an empire waist (contrary to popular belief, empire waists do not flatter every figure, and Selfish is stubby proof of that), and the second and third issues seemed easily fixable. As you’ll recall, the Selfish Seamstress is almost as short as she is mean, but has a fairly average torso length, so it would really be more like editing a tall torso pattern for a regular torso and not for a petite one. As it turned out, the bodice as drafted hit just slightly above my natural waistline (not too empire-y), and the armscyes were fine as is- no edits necessary! I simply redrafted the hem to an even 25″ from the waist seam (before hemming), and I was off! (Super bonus- if you make it this short, you don’t need to trace out the additional skirt piece that you’re supposed to tape to the bottom of the main front piece to get the full length- you can just skip it entirely. Only four pattern pieces to trace- yay!)
I used a beautiful navy and white zigzag print cotton voile that I got from Metro over the holidays for a $6/yard steal. I fell for it at first sight, and then discovered only afterwards that it is, of course, Milly fabric. This stuff is like a magnet for me- I buy it when I don’t even intend to; I’m inexplicably drawn to it. I must have a Milly-dar. It turns out that this print has shown up in different fabrics, at different scales, and in different colors throughout the Milly line:
And now it’s a favorite in the Selfish line as well. When I saw the Burda 3-2012-108 dress and the way the stripes play around the twist front, I just knew I had to pull out my precious Milly zigzag voile.
I used some cotton silk voile to line the bodice, leftover from my Heidi Merrick-inspired dress. I’ve decided, by the way, that cotton and silk voile is the perfect lightweight lining. It is absolutely weightless and adds no stiffness at all and barely any body, being even softer and floatier than Bemberg rayon. The cotton content makes it relatively easy to handle, but the silk makes it smooth so it doesn’t cling to the outer fabric the way cotton batiste might. I didn’t have enough to do the skirt lining (which in this pattern is made separately from the rest of the dress and then attached at the end) so I need to get more to finish it. In the meantime, please stop trying to peek at my underwear through the zigzag fabric, ok? Seriously, stop. That’s just weird.
This pattern is fantastic- beautifully drafted and simple. I see myself with a couple more of these for summer. The skirt has just the right amount of flare:
And the best feature of the construction is that the bust of the finished dress is completely adjustable- no futzing with the pattern to get the bust to fit! Because of the way the twist is done, once you put it on, you can just sort of adjust the bodice fit by tugging a little at the looped-through front part of the skirt to get the bodice to lie taut against your torso. (Of course, you do have to make sure that you hem to skirt to an even length all around for *your* body. The more you’ve got up top, the less length you’ll have at the front of the skirt.)
The pattern is rated as a “challenging” 3 out of 4 dots, but I think this is only because the twist construction is unconventional. There’s actually nothing technically difficult about this pattern and an advanced beginner or intermediate sewer could easily put this dress together in a day or two. And this is the one pattern in the issue that has detailed, illustrated instructions (in the German edition at least), so deciphering the usually-cryptic BurdaSpeak isn’t so much of a problem.
So that’s it- short woman makes the Burda tall dress in unintentionally Milly fabric! I get the feeling that this is the dress I’ll be in all summer long. Get on it, petite (and average-height) online sewing world!
Of course, none of this changes the fact that I’m still short. Well, except for 5″ heels.