This one was a tortoise. I made the first muslin like a year ago. Maldives was what it took to push through with a proper make. Or sort of proper. You see, part of the delay was due to my attempt to alter this no-alteration pattern. There was a fair bit of “I feel lucky” going on.
It’s a lovely feminine pattern. All of the makes on Pattern Review have been gorgeous, even if many complained about the low cut armhole and front gap-ahoy.
Style Shots & Mug Shots
Fabric & Notions Used
My first muslin was a 10 based on high bust measurement. For this one I used am 8 with alterations.
Like others, I noticed that front drape crisscrossed in the opposite direction to the pattern photo and tech drawing.
It wasn’t until I took apart the muslin and tried to trace my alteration guidelines that I noticed I didn’t pay enough attention to the cutting layout instruction: I had the wrong side facing up instead of the right side when I cut my fabric. It’s an easy mistake to make since most of the time you’re cutting folded fabric with wrong sides on the outside, facing up.
I thought it turned out alright though. The drape plus the stretchy fabric make it a rather forgiving pattern. It does have the minor flaws noted by others, though non-matching notches wasn’t a problem in size 10 and 8.
Heeding their warnings I had raised the armholes by about 1-1/2”, but they were still a bit low and gappy. The front was fine if I stand up straight, but immodest if I lean forward – like to get up from a chair. So I decided that I’d attempt alteration for my next make.
BTW, the profile looks horrible, especially the skirt, only because the fabric I chose wasn’t really appropriate. It felt more like sweatshirt material. So too stiff to drape gracefully. I learnt my lesson and chose a more drapy fabric for this make.
- Narrowed lower back.
- Sway-back adjustment.
- Full-bust adjustment and pivoted FBA dart to shoulder pleats and waist / skirt drapes. Interestingly, I think this might have made the shoulder more like the slight cap sleeve in the pattern photo.
- Shorten front fold to get rid of gaps.
- Lower left shoulder adjustment.
- Raised armhole. I think I might have overdone this a bit. Together with the FBA, the armhole has become a bit too small / binding. The Vilene Bias Tape I use to stabilize the armhole probably doesn’t help either. When I get home I might unpick this, get rid of the bias tape, re-stitch with stretch stitch, and pray that the natural give of the fabric will remedy the over-zealous armhole reduction!
- Changed skirt seam to CB seam (to make it easier to diagnose skirt fitting problems).
- Omit skirt lining. Extended bottom edge of the “Upper Back” pattern to meet at CF. Added interfaced facing to make this extension sturdy enough to support the weight of the front draped skirt.
Verdict on the Instruction
It is convoluted. This is one pattern where I had to follow the instruction faithfully. At least for the first muslin. The illustrations helped tremendously because the verbal instruction is a jumble due to the poor pattern area naming. How are you suppose to make sense of “shoulder pleats in FRONT AND BACK (1)”??? In fact, when I mapped it out, all pattern pieces cover the front and the back, just different parts of them. This is because they all warp around your body.
To help others who want to make this dress, here’s my rough mapping of pattern areas and numbered matching seams in a somewhat Burda style. Who knows, maybe some of you may also be brave enough to attempt alteration! :-)
And here are some details of my muslin, especially the inside, to help you figure out what’s going on with the pattern areas.
For this make, I tried to stabilize edges that I thought might stretch out of shape:
- Vilene Bias Tape on back neckline, armholes, and front drape crossing hems. I might omit it from the front armholes in future make or enlarge my altered armholes slightly.
- Clear elastic on shoulder seams, waist seams, under-bust seams in the front.
I also tacked the folds of the top front drape in place. That’s the only way the folds will stay gracefully small and Grecian. Otherwise it’d morph into an unflatteringly wide Beauty Pageant Sash look.
Would I sew it again
Probably. Once I work out the kinks. I think it’s a wardrobe classic. I might even alter the armhole area to take sleeves. It’d be a lovely LBD with 3/4 sleeves!