Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pleated Dress Fail

Again I am posting another dress disaster partially based on a pattern from Burdastyle. I know it seems like there is a trend here regarding Burda patterns, but in their defense I'm not very good with following instructions and have been known to have an unusual amount of bad luck when it comes to sewing. Anyways, when you look at the other people who post their projects on their website you have to wonder. Okay, so I did have the Anda dress disaster followed by the Fruit Salad dress disaster and now here is my pleated dress disaster, but I did have some success with other things I made from Burdastyle patterns. Like:

My cherry blossom skirt based on the Oliver and S lazy skirt pattern posted on Burdastyle.

And there is the Rainbow Reversible bag I made based on Novita from Verypurpleperson's free reversible bag pattern that is also on Burdastyle. 

And lastly my reversible Hawaiian fabric version of the Little Orange bag from the Pink Cornelia's free pattern on Burdastyle.

Okay so all these patterns weren't written by Burda, but that is beyond the point. I vow to one day make something succesfully from a Burda pattern. Anyways, my latest fail was from a free bodice pattern made by JJ that is available on Burdastyle. This pattern shouldn't mixed up with the JJ blouse pattern made by Burdastyle. The pattern was a bodice block developed and graded based on the Burda sizing chart by the Burdastyle reader JJ (author). I thought I could easily use this bodice pattern and attach a long gathered rectangle to make a dress like this one that IRO IRO made.

Dress Made By IROIRO

I thought I was being so careful when I made the bodice. I even tried it on and had my mom pin fit to me to make sure it fit. Everything was fine until I tried on the semi-finished version and found that the bodice was way to big for me. The bodice was so big that it was gaping in the front and back. Arrrgghh!! I don't know how the bodice ended up so big, but it did. Sadly the skirt was already attached so I really couldn't make anymore adjustments without messing with the skirt. So disappointing.

Side View

Front View

Instead of doing a gathered skirt as I originally planned I thought I would try to make a pleated skirt. I looked through the internet for some tutorials and best one gave me a ratio of 3:1 for making pleats. The 3:1 means that for every three inches of fabric when folded would yield a one inch pleat. I measured my rectangle pieces and found I can make six pleats to get the skirt to fit onto the bottom of the bodice.. I lined up the first pleat on each side with the front darts and back darts. I also decided to sew down the pleats to keep them from looking full. I top stitched my pleats, but after looking at it again I should have done it some more, but I wanted to fit into the skirt portion of the dress so I just left it alone. Pattern also didn't have any pieces for facings or where to attach a zipper so beware. I drew my own facings and added the zipper to the center back. Here is the final product.

Back View

Back View Detail

I don't think that the picture can really show the detailing of the pleats. Anyways, here is my pattern review:

Pattern Review (The Pros): The bodice is a Burdastyle reader made bodice pattern based on the standard Burda. The pattern is available as a free download for Burdastyle members (you can sign up for free online).

The Cons: I chose a size 44 based on the Burdastyle sizing and it cam out huge. I don't know if there was a mistake when I cut it out or what, but it ended up huge. Despite doing a fitting to make sure it fit.
Did it come out like the pattern picture? Yes.

Do you need to make adjustments? No, I cut out a straight size 44.

Pattern Level: Experienced Novice. This pattern is for a bodice piece with four darts in the front and two back darts. The pattern offers no directions on where to add a zipper. I decided to put my zipper in the center back so I added 5/8 to the center to accommodate the zipper. I'm sure this bodice was meant to have a side zipper, but I find doing a center zipper was easier for me.

What could I have done better? To do more than one fitting for the bodice. Measure twice and try it one twice before you add the skirt piece.
Would you sew this pattern again? No, probably not. 
NOTE: Here is a warning about adding pleats. You need to make sure your hem is equal and finished before you do the pleats because trying to finish the hem after you put on the pleats is a b**ch! I made the mistake of hemming the edge after putting on the pleats and my skirt kept getting shorter and still remained uneven. My mom finally suggested I measure all around with a measuring tape instead trying to eyeball it. This worked out, but I ended up cutting five inches off the hem before finally figuring it out.

Pattern: Bodice Block made from JJ from Burdastyle Reader Made Patterns.
Fabric: 100% cotton shirting from 
Techniques: Facings, darts, pleats and bias tape.