Let me formally introduce myself. I’m Meg Healy, one of the Editorial and E-commerce managers here at BurdaStyle.com, or you may know me as the girl who posts a lot of green and spandex projects. Is there anyone else out there who made a resolution to sew more this year? Well I did, and this year I am challenging myself to sew a pattern every month from the latest issue of burda style magazine. But of course I am going to put my own spin on the pattern. So I have decided to document my year of sewing through these magazine mash up posts and share with you my entire process with you. Hope you enjoy, get inspired, and join me!
The January issue was filled with great patterns, like the Purple Collection and the Home Story lounge-wear patterns. But my favorite collection was the Aenne Burda Collection that revisited retro pattern styles. ‘Retro’ is not particularly my style, nor are dresses, but something about the Princess Sheath Dress caught my attention! I think the sweetheart neckline and open shoulder line did it for me.
While I was at Hart’s Fabric with Jamie in Santa Cruz this past December, I got this totally awesome Alexander Henry Galactic Space Ladies printed cotton. I am totally obsessed with ‘space’ and ‘galaxy’ prints rights now. Since the dress has cool princess paneling, I also incorporated a metallic silver fabric that I found in the office fabric library. I wanted a bit of sheen in the dress, and the silver fabric did just that!
Here I am contemplating my fabric choice in the mirror, and of course tiling the pattern together! So glad I got this fabric, and I think the Princess Sheath Dress was the perfect match. I almost find something futuristic about the dress-style and silhouette, it must be the shoulder line as it reminds me of Judy Jetson.
The fabric was thick enough that I didn’t have to line it, so I drafted facings to finish off the front and back necklines. After I added all my seam allowance and cut out the pattern pieces from the sheet, I measured down 2" from the seamline to mark the facings. Then I simply put tracing paper over my pattern and voilà, facings! I also omitted the center front seam on the bodice to show the print better, so I cut the center front bodice and facing on fold.
I started off sewing the top bodice, and finishing the front neckline. Fitting the front facing into the top was a lot easier this way than as a whole with the back bodice and facing attached. A lot of clipping was involved to get that perfect sweetheart neckline. I marked the seamlines on the facing with chalk so I could make sure I sewed a sharp point at the bottom.
From there I sewed the front skirt darts and attached to the bodice.
I then went on to sew the back dress including the neckline facings and center back vent. For my dress closure I did an exposed zipper (love these), so I measured my zipper length along the center back seam and finished my seam from the bottom of the zipper to the top of the hem vent.
For most of my seams in this dress I serged the seam allowances together and pressed to one side. Only my center back and side seams are serged separately and pressed open, this makes for easier alterations and maximum time efficiency.
For the exposed zipper I pressed my seam allowances to the wrong side of my openings, and pinned the zipper in place from the outside of the dress so the zipper tapes were exposed. I folded up the back neck facings so I would have a clean and finished look for the top of the zipper. I started top stitching down one side of the zipper and pivoted at the bottom, so the zipper was sewn in place in one continuous seam (I hate seeing back stitching on the outside of garments).
Vents are one of those things that look a bit complicated, but they are actually so easy to sew! It is mainly just pressing in place, and top stitching in place.
Once the zipper was inserted I attached the back dress to the front. Since I already finished the neckline facings, I sewed the shoulder seams for the facings and dress as one continuous seam matching up the edges. Sew easy!
I was so excited to be done this dress, and I only had a few fit alterations.
I didn’t add an armhole facing, so I serged and top stitched the armhole allowances down. I did all my final pressing and hand stitched my facings to the inside seam allowances.
Here I am in my lovely new Galactic Space Dress. I love the fun print infused with the classic silhouette, it definitely makes for an interesting dress! I will wear with dress with tights and heels, or cute flats in the summer. I also think this dress needs a killer belt!
Meg Healy is BurdaStyle.com’s Online Editor and eCommerce Manager. She has an education in fashion design and earned several awards for her technical skills in pattern making and sewing.