One of the best surprises about moving to Chapel Hill was finding local fabric shops in the area. I could never find an indy shop in DC, so this is a real treat for me. The local apparel fabric shop is called Mulberry Silks and Fine Fabrics. I made sure to make a trip there in my first month in the area and bought my first BurdaStyle magazine–for half off!
I’ve read about BurdaStyle online for about a year, but I’ve never been brave enough to pick up an issue of my own, until now. The big deal about using patterns from a magazine is that the pattern pieces come drawn on top of each other and need to be traced onto paper and then cut out. Now, some sewists do this with all patterns, but I typically take the lazy approach and just cut out the size I need. You can see in the picture above the crazy pattern pieces outlined in all different colors. My approach was to highlight the pattern pieces in the size I needed in yellow, and then trace them out using a tracing wheel and red tracing paper onto printer paper, which I taped together to form larger pieces. Fortunately, the pattern I made had just two pieces, so it was easy peasy. The rest of the dress is formed with rectangles which I simply measured and cut out.
I was pleasantly surprised with the little amount of difficulty I had following Burda’s notoriously sparse instructions. The construction was straight forward with just five pieces: bodice front (x2), bodice back, skirt front, and skirt back. I constructed the bodice first, and then gathered the skirt and attached it. The sleeves are part of the bodice pieces, so there was no need to set in sleeves. I made things a little more tricky for myself by using French seams and a hand-sewn hem, pictured in this in-progress post, and using binding to finish the waist seam. I wanted to make everything as neat and tidy on the inside as possible, and I think it was worth the extra effort.
In terms of new techniques, this make was my first time using piping. Originally, I intended to make my own piping, but had difficulty finding cord of an appropriate diameter to go inside. Instead, I used pre-made piping in brown, which matches the branches on the print. The button is from my stash.
Originally when I put the bodice together and added the piping, it looked like a mini kimono. Once attaching the skirt, though, the dress looks much more autumnal, which is what I was going for. It is September after all.
The fabric for this dress actually didn’t come from Mulberry. It was given to me by my sister-in-law, to make something for her daughter. She gave me full creative liberty, and I’m happy to report that she approves of how it turned out!
I’m excited to frequent local fabric shops more and more and wean myself off of Joann’s and online fabric stores. The other local shop is a quilting store, called Thimble Pleasures. I’ve already gotten a chance to take a class there, so you’ll be hearing more about it in the future!