Saturday, November 19, 2011

30DoC and Sew Weekly Challenge: Use Fabric or the "Please, Just Make It Stop" Dress

Friends, this challenge totally whooped me.  For someone who has never traced a pattern, the BurdaStyle book offers many hurdles.  It seemed to get quite a bit worse when I realized I was tracing the coat pattern and not the dress pattern, and worse still when I pressed too hard with my tracing wheel and sliced the paper pattern up something awful.  It took me an hour to trace two pieces.  I almost cried but then Rob made cookies because he could see I was on the verge of a breakdown.

I knew I wanted to make the dress pattern, and I knew I wanted to make it out of flannel (because it is winter, y'all, and I want something I can wear now).

I eliminated the flounces and the keyhole neckline, created a Peter Pan collar using my vintage Simplicity 5514 (which I got from the New York Meet-Up - yay!), created a bow belt from Tilly's fabulous tutorial, used the pocket pattern from Simplicity 2444, and the sleeve version B from Simplicity 2501.  Oh yes, and I added about two inches to the skirt length. 

This dress took me about eleven hours.

I think I like it, but since it took me so long and was such a headache to make, I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to...

(Pauses and looks up to see Rob has turned on Pride and Prejudice.  TOTAL DISTRACTION.)

As I was saying before I was interrupted by details of Mr. Bingley, I don't know if I'll ever be able to wear this dress without thinking of all the frustration that came from making it.

I like the Peter Pan collar.  It was WAY larger but I trimmed it down a bit and quite like the effect.  Rob said it was very "French schoolgirl."

Close up of the flannel and the bow belt.  The bow belt tutorial is a breeze and I made it and the collar out of the same scrap fabric.  I see more of these happening in the future.

I used a weird cotton cloud fabric for the lining.  I never had a project in mind to attach it to, so I decided it would work perfectly for this.

The sleeves might be my favorite part.  I like that they are super "Anne of Green Gables" puffy.

Friends, I cannot honestly say if I will ever use the BurdaStyle book patterns again.  I was so frustrated that the patterns were falling apart the first time I went over them with my tracing wheel, and I don't know if the pattern sheet would last for another dress making adventure.  I enjoyed the book for how it offered up ways to restyle patterns, which inspired me to add so many elements to my version.  I think in that way it offers excellent guidance, but I was sadly disappointed in the actual patterns (and the paper on which they were printed).

Friends, how do you feel about tracing patterns?  Is it enough to drive you away from certain patterns?  Let me know in the comments - I would love some tips on tracing if you have some!


  1. Oh I love this dress! It really suits you too, very Green Gables :-)

  2. Oops sorry.. I left my comment on tracing patterns on sw..
    YOur dress is adorable. so sorry you had such a rough time. I so understand, I had the same hard time with a european childrens pattern I bought on ebay.It was a night mare.. Never did a burda pattern.So not sure of how they are done..
    but you have a beautiful dress to show for you preservance..yea.. Happy sewing.

  3. Boy, I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't like Burda patterns. Simplicity, Butterick, and Colette are my faves!

    Your dress, dahlink Megtastic, is gorgeous!!! It's so pretty on you and toasty warm, I bet! I've had an experience similar to yours with another dress and, after a bit away from it, I still happily wear it. :)

  4. Ugh, I HATE tracing patterns! I usually just weigh them down and trace them in pen to keep from cutting up the patterns, but the ink inevitably bleeds through and makes a big mess. Yuck! Honestly, I find Burda patterns to be a much bigger pain in the butt than they're worth. Their sizing is weird, and I HATE having to add seam allowances. Annoying. That said, your dress is CUTE! At least it turned out nice after all that effort!

  5. I love the dress! The fabric is beautiful and the peter pan collar and bow belt make it totally adorable!
    I know what you mean about the tracing, though. I trace most of my patterns (the expensive Colette/Sewaholic ones because I think I might want to make them again in a different size and the magazine ones because they don't work otherwise) but it's the chore I like the least about sewing. I never use a tracing wheel, though, I just use semi-transparent pattern paper to lay over the pattern and copy it with a pen.

  6. I love your dress! I have struggled with Burda but I am happy with what I get in the end. Although I didn't get as far as doing anything from the book my inspiration would have been the dress with a peter pan collar! I love your version, well done. x x x

  7. oh no girl, never use a tracing wheel with BS patterns! i hope they didn't recommend that in le book. i always throw tissue paper over the top and trace in pencil. and the ease is always so large, i usually trace out my size as printed and stitch 3/8 seams. but, the book patterns might be better fitted than the magazine.

    if you try it again and want seam allowances, i read over at tilly's a comment on rubber banding two pencils together & tracing. instant SA!

    and your dress is perfect. give it a time out in the closet and don't look it it once for a week. return to it after a glass of wine. the bad memories will was away.

  8. I absolutely ADORE this dress! Tartan flannel? YES!! Peter Pan collar...OH YES! matching bow belt! OH MY GOD!!! I hear you on tracing patterns...I despise it unless it's copying patterns I am about to giveaway. I actually cut out the dress pattern from the book (so bad because part of the pattern pieces have giant holes where other pattern pieces I'm hopeless!!)

  9. Meg, the final result is sure woth all the issues... I'm kind lazy to trace patterns ...

  10. Another method you could use to transfer the pattern to paper without using a tracing wheel is to lay down your blank pattern paper, then a sheet of that red or blue waxed paper (face down atop the clean piece of paper), then put the pattern on top. Pin or weight it down, and then trace it with a pencil. It will transfer the markings and won't create little holes like the tracing wheel does. That was the method taught to me in patternmaking class at FIT in New York.

  11. I love the dress and it makes your hair look extra nice!

    Leave it in the closet for a few weeks and then it will be bad-memory-free!

    Basically, I value my sewing time and don't like to waste it doing boring things like tracing or taping printed pages together...

  12. I'm sorry the process was so painful, but the outcome is lovely! I hope you can wear it later without disgust.

    For some reason I've been having trouble leaving comments...blogger keeps saying the format is wrong.

  13. I hate and despise to trace patterns. Commercial patterns can often be bought cheaply, and are worth every penny imho. Or, draft from scratch using the printed-on-a-sheet-with-too-may-lines-on-the-page pattern shapes as a guide for your own pattern. Drafting from scratch is easier to me than tracing off of a multi-pattern sheet. If I had a dressmaker's form, I'd probably drape, but was trained in flat-patterning so that is what I use. And, the dress covers all your girly bits in a decent fashion, is flattering, is not transparent. Probably it's merely the camera that is creating odd blobs, and nothing is visible in person. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  14. ah the burdastyle patterns, yes they are different than we're used to huh.. well honestly they have grown on me. i now find it easier to sew on the "stitch line"? and then add my own seam allowance. that way if i need to make any adjustments i have plenty of room. the only thing is that since you're tracing the style line or seam line or stitch line or whatever its called, just make sure you don't CUT on that line cause your creation will definitely end up WAY too small. it takes a bit of getting used to, but knowing what i know now, i'll never go back. also there are tracing wheels out there that add the seam allowance for you!!!

  15. Ooooh! Collar + sleeves + bow belt = LOVE.

  16. Hi Meg - Thanks for the follow -just been having a read of your blog - love this dress, especially the pockets! When I trace burda magazine patterns, I either use greaseproof paper(baking parchment?) and trace over. Or else I place the Pattern sheet over plain paper on a Carpet, and use my tracing wheel. Also - I've made the mistake of tracing the wrong pieces, so now I use a highlighting marker on the pattern sheet first so I can easily follow the right line, instead of meandering off onto a different piece!