A few bits of construction info.
I chucked the tracing I made for this garment before setting off home, the diagrams show the departures from the Burda pattern.
First, the dress needed to be shorter by about three inches. The centre panel curves back towards the hem, and I thought that just lopping the dress at hem level might spoil the look of the way the curves have been designed. So, to shorten it I put the panels out as they would be assembled and drew lines across, at even intervals, starting just above the waist. Red in my diagram. Then I folded out just under half an inch at each of these lines, and redrew the curves over the folds to get a smooth line again. I shortened the back to match.
See how the bust dart is incorporated in the seams? Our old friend the princess line revisited. Any changes for FBA or SBA would need to be done there, but, luckily I didn’t have to. For small adjustments you could probably get away with tracing one size for the front and a different size for the back, or drawing a new curve at bust level to add or subtract width. You can guesstimate the bust point of the pattern from where the panels meet. Raising or lowering that would need some subtle redrawing of the curved lines. The top section of this pattern is symmetrical.
What I did change was the fit of the back. Although the dress is designed to be skimming the waist rather than fitting in tight, it was a bit too baggy here. Putting in waist darts is an easy alteration. The waistline is marked on the pattern. I drew a dart planning line A-B three and a half inches in, parallel to the CB, the height from the waist five inches and below the waist seven inches, and used this to draw the dart shape. For the fit on the dress I sewed, the darts were three quarters of an inch wide at the waist.
Tips for waist darts
Go narrower than you think you need unless you have a really good sewing buddy to fit you. Its quick and easy to stitch a wider line, and slow and annoying to unpick if you’ve taken in too much. Draw your dart with straight lines (as diamond shape), but stitch it more boat shaped, taking the stitching in a curve around the widest part of the diamond, and taking the stitching inside the lines at the sharp ends, so that the last few stitches are right on the edge.
Press darts towards the centre. The slight raising of the fabric where the dart is underneath focuses the eye on the centre, narrower, part of the garment back.
If you have a lot of surplus fabric, think about distributing the ‘suppression’ as more than one pair of darts, or shaping in the side seams a bit to take up some of the slack.
The pattern calls for binding the armscye/cap sleeve. Lots of so called easy home dress patterns call for binding the armscye of sleeveless blouses and dresses. Well, its easy for the pattern maker, but hard for the dressmaker. There’s nothing easy about getting binding to lay flat and discrete round double curves.
Any failure to get the shorter edge at the seam eased in enough or the longer edge where it has to be stitched stretched enough results in horrible puckering of the outer fabric.
You have to either top stitch the edge of the binding down, or attempt to hem it invisibly on the wrong side by hand.
Its hard to get purchased binding which is a good match for your outer fabric, so you might end up having to cut and join your own. Not a time saver. If you don’t cut your own and use a bad match, you’ll always be tugging at the cap sleeve, hoping the binding isn’t showing.
The weight of the outer fabric and the weight of purchased binding probably won’t be a good match. Pressing heavier fashion fabric turnings back and getting them to hold under a lightweight purchased binding is no joy, and if your fashion fabric doesn’t hold a press well – my poly didn’t – its bad news.
Your purchased binding can launder differently to your outer fabric.
Is that enough reasons to draft facings?
Here’s how I did mine. Place the edges of the front patterns together at the armscye, stitching line to stitching line. Draw the outer edge of the facing making it about two inches wide on the side piece and a bit wider toward the shoulder on the centre front piece.
Draw the outer edge of the facing on the back, keeping the same widths at the shoulder and underarm as on the front.
At this point, there’s a couple of choices to make. I could have joined the two front pieces of facing together at the princess seam and cut it as one front and one back. But I wanted to match the colour of the facing to the colour of the panel it was set on, so I kept my CF panel facing as a separate piece and added seam allowances.
The second choice was whether or not to join the front lower facing to the back facing pattern and cut that as one. I decided to do that, so as to avoid the bulk of an underarm facing seam.
So, I ended up with a small blue facing piece and a larger hook shaped black facing piece.
Tips for facings
I think facings get a bad press because maybe your stitching on the outer garment is not spot on. Say you stitched a sixteenth of an inch off the correct seam line, you can end up with a facing which doesn’t fit nicely and bubbles at the seam or bounces off the garment where it should lie flat.
To nip that stitching malfunction in the bud lay the facing pieces on without stitching them together into a circle. Then stitch round the armscye in sections, stopping about an inch each side of the seams. Smooth the facing toward the seam, and mark exactly where you need to seam the two pieces of facing. Pin, stitch and press the facing seams where you just marked them and finish the seam around the armscye.
Clip into the curves, at frequent intervals. If the fabric is medium thick to thick, grade the seam allowances as well.
Stitch the turnings to the facing close to the seam edge.
Catch the facings to the turnings of the garment with hand stitches if you’re not lining the garment. That stops them flopping out.
I slip stitched the hem on this dress. Its only a short distance, I didn’t want visible stitches running across the bottom of that wibbly wobbly shape, so the extra effort was worth it.