Friday, May 25, 2012

The making of the Burdastyle Panel Dress

Dear readers, one of the projects I was working on in the last couple of weeks was the Burdastyle Panel dress, and so, here it is.

I guest blogged about it on Burdastyle, and if you check out my planning post and the finished dress report you will find some tips and techniques you may want to use in your projects as well.
It is a couture version of the dress, but I don't claim that it is the only way to make it - I made decisions I thought were right for this particular project. If you have questions why I did something the way I did, please ask - I will be happy to explain. And do suggest a different way to handle things I would love to know how you do it!

One of the readers asked me about seam finishes - here:

The question was: "When you clip the seam allowances to allow for curves, do you always round them?"

There are two reasons why I round seam allowances:
  • It is easier to catch stitch around the clipped corners if they are rounded and not sharp. 
  • The seam lies really flat and looks neat. 
This is the larger image of the stitched curve. I must admit I got carried away with the curves, but you get the idea, right? 

I made it following Susan Khalje's great tips on stitching curved seams:
  • I recommend staystitching both sides of the curved seams, and then clipping any U-shaped (concave) curves, to allow you to fan them out and shape them to the corresponding seamline (the convex curves). The staystitching will help keep the seamlines from getting out of shape. Handle them carefully – with all of those curves and varying degrees of off-grain seamlines, you don’t want any distortion! 
  • Give yourself lots of matchpoints, every inch or two, just to make sure everything lines up as it should. 
  • Baste the curved seams, of course – basting will hold them better than any amount of pins, plus you’ll be able to use both hands to control the fabric as you stitch, without having to constantly stop to take out pins as you go along.
  • Once you’re happy with stitching and take out the basting, then you can press the seams carefully and catch stitch the seam allowances to the underlining.
If you wonder, I did put a lot of matchpoints in muslin stage and transferred them over to the linen pieces.

Linen behaved relatively well, I must say, but I could see that without match points the panels would have stretched and shifted. 

On this image, besides match points on the muslin, you can actually see how I used the shell muslin to cut front lining. Burdastyle didn't recommend using lining, which I thought was strange because linen can be relatively sheer. So, I did make lining, matching the front panel seams as long as they lied flat, with darts forming above the bust point.  This saved a lot of time and worked beautifully - no curved panel on the lining, just two darts. 

That's it for the dress. Again, there are many images on Burdastyle, so check out the two posts - the links are at the beginning of this post. And, by the way, I did enter this dress for the PatternReview Natural Fiber Contest, go check it out - there are quite a few lovely creations in the contest gallery!

Have you made anything from the recent Burdastyle releases, magazine or website? Please, share your projects here if you did!


  1. So pretty! thanks for the could even wear the scallops inside out

  2. Thanks for the tip on curving the seam allowances  and to Susan's tips for stay stitching and having many match points.  My question is if underlining was not used i.e. a non-couture construction how should the curved or even the side seams be treated?  I can see this dress in black and white linen!

  3. to give you a quick reply, you will 
    1. staystitch and clip only one of the  two seam  allowances to be joined (let's say on the central yellow panel), 
    2. stitch the two seams together with the clipped side facing up, (1/2" seam allowance)
    3. Serge a closed seam. Then press it towards the panel that was clipped, that is center front in my example, so all the clippings are hidden underneath. This will be bulkier and not as flat as couture seam, but this is how RTW does it.

    Hope this helps!

  4. It was great to see this dress in person on Tuesday! 

  5. The inside of this is sooooo very pretty!  You can tell the amount of work that went into it!  And as Clio said, seeing it in person is the real proof of how well made it is and how well it fits you! 

  6. WollixundstoffixMay 25, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    i like this dress.
    also i like the colours - yellow and white. it's the best of the summer.

  7. Beautiful work, Marina.  And it looks lovely on you!

  8. It's been so fun to follow you through these couture BurdaStyle posts.  Just beautiful work!

  9. This is a simple and elegant style beautifully sewn.  Underlining - I love this technique and always use it, if I can.

  10.  Thanks so much for your reply.  Yes you're right about the seams being bulkier.  I wonder if I clip at the seam allowances and iron it flat like how you have done but this time pick stitch through the lining and the seam allowances like how we would do for understitching.  Is that commonly done?  Would that make the lining non-flexible?  Would that help in the seams not moving around when you wash and iron the garment?

  11. Carmen Bouchard aka CarmencitaMay 28, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Lovely dress, I'm pretty sure this one will be worn a lot!

  12. Μαρία ΜπουτζήMay 28, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Really beautiful! Please help me understand something. Susan told me in her online class that if you was silk organza it becomes softer as silk looses protein. Why use such a delicate underlining on white dress that will be dirty eventually and washed quite often? Or why use it on any other garment I tend to  wash often as it may be an everyday garment ?

  13. Elizabeth WellonsMay 29, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    Forgot to mention, I love the tip on curving the clips.  I'll be using this on my next project!

  14. I have never seen the curved clipped technique before.  Thanks for sharing.  I will put it in my memory bank for future use!

  15. Those lovely finishes are BREATHTAKING!!!  What a fabulous dress!!

  16. That's a beautiful dress! I love how pretty the inside looks too! I love Susan's online class and this dress inspires me to keep going.

  17. I love how this turned out, and your attention to detail, curving the clips on the curved seamline is just beautiful - the insides are as lovely as the outside! :)

  18. What a gorgeous and refreshing color choice for this dress. I love the soft look of the linen. Thank you for sharing all the curve sewing tips!

  19. Hi Marina,  Love the dress! That shade of yellow is perfect. Love the setting of the photo - Rockefeller Center is so lovely!  I also like your use of the word "match points"  I often attempt to explain to people what to do to ensure that seams aren't shifting and am always at a loss as to what to call it!  

  20. It is fabulous Marina!  Beautifully made, and what a great idea to curve the clipping - I wish I thought of that when I was doing lots of catch-stitching, as the thread getting caught on the corners was always annoying!

  21. I love this dress. So beautiful and how clever to round the corners when clipping - I will be using this technique from now on - genius! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Congratulations on winning the contest Marina. You've done a brilliant job and it's a great compliment to the level of skills that you have and share with us all.



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