Let me take you to the Kasbah…
I have been overusing that line, but it’s fun and it has been the inspiration for an exotic look (exotic for me, that is). If you’re familiar with Amy Butler’s designs, you instantly know that the fabric is Kasbah from her Lark line in the persimmon colorway. And if you’re familiar with BurdaStyle, you probably recognize this dress as a Heidi.
(Note: The dress has been machine-washed delicate cycle and dried hanging. I then pressed it, but it was wearable without pressing.)
Pattern: Heidi downloadable by BurdaStyle. I placed an online order with FedEx Office for printing out the pattern on one big sheet. Be aware — the cost for printing was $15!
Lining: cotton voile in Froth, also from my shop
Fabric for Belt: cotton in Light Jade
Notions: Hug Snug for seam finishes, neck, armhole, and pocket edges, and waist stay; regular zipper in light yellow; hooks; fusible interfacing for the neckline and zipper; and broadcloth sew-in interfacing for the belt
Seam Finish: Hong Kong seams for the dress, French seams for the lining, bodice seams pinked
Necklace: I was thrilled to find the necklace at Charming Charlie, which is a great source for inexpensive accessories. The necklace was the kind of exotic design I was looking for, and the colors were almost perfect! I purchased it in a store, not online. I quickly checked to see if it is available online, but I didn’t find it.
Cutting Out: I had to plan carefully so that the print would be placed in a certain way. Also, matching at the seams took some extra work, but I find it fun.
Also, I raised the neckline. Super easy because there are no neck facings.
Important Note about BurdaStyle: The drafting is usually excellent. The fit is excellent, too — you don’t get all the excessive ease as you might get with a Big 4 pattern. HOWEVER, the instructions are sparse, so if you are not an experienced seamstress, you might want to have someone guide you. The Pattern Review message board is terrific for that — lots of help is always available. Hopefully, I can offer some help here with this blog post, and I always welcome questions and comments. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!
Neckline Construction: I did not follow Burda’s instruction for constructing the bodice. If you do it their way, I think you’ll find a bit of a problem with the shoulder. It won’t produce a neat result, in my opinion.
So, first fuse some interfacing to the neckline on the lining, baste the tucks, and stitch the shoulder seams for both the bodice and the lining. Then with right sides together, stitch the neckline in one continuous seam. Use seam binding (Hug Snug) on that seam so that you have a nice crisp edge on the finished neckline.
Trim the seam, clip perpendicularly to the seam all around the circle, understitch, and then press.
Armholes: I worked on half an armhole at a time. It feels a little awkward to do this method, but it’s easy to do.
With the bodice and lining right sides together and a length of seam binding (Hug Snug) along the stitching line, pin from the underarm to the shoulder and then stop.
Stitch. Here’s what it looks like:
Now do the other half of the armhole from the other side. You kind of have to “reach through” to do this, but there’s plenty of room. (I hope you know what I mean!)
Repeat the whole process for the other armhole.
After stitching, trim the seam and clip, clip, clip. Lots of clips so that you won’t have puckers when you turn it rightside out.
Can you see 3 layers here at the armhole? Hug Snug, fashion fabric, and lining. As I said before, the Hug Snug makes finished edges crisp on the outside.
Turn the bodice rightside out. It’s time to understitch the armholes! You’ll have to work on half an armhole at a time. Here I’ve pinned the part I will understitch first:
After you have finished understitching, press well.
Side Seams: Turn the bodice inside out and with right sides together, pin the side seams of the bodice and lining in one continuous seam. Look how the fashion fabric is placed downward at the underarm.
Stitch, but don’t stitch over the pins! That’s how you get dull machine needles. (I usually change out machine needles every time I finish a project.)
After stitching the side seams, I pinked the edges and clipped a little at the underarm. Why? Because when you do this method, the underarm does not usually want to lie flat. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Sometimes I’ll handstitch a little tack there to make sure the lining will lie down. I didn’t have to do it with this project. Just giving it a nice press did the job.
Here’s a look from the inside after finishing and pressing one side:
Pockets: I love, love, love these pockets! They’re very easy to sew, and they’re nice and deep when finished.
We’ll start with the lining part that won’t be seen. I used the yellow voile for it.
Sew this part only up to the dot shown on the pattern:
On the underside you can see that I stitched Hug Snug on the seam line to — AGAIN — provide a nice crisp edge on the outside:
Trim and clip, clip, clip. Then press:
You know what? I didn’t understitch! I should have, although it lies just fine without it.
Keep in mind that the other part of the pocket will be visible, so if your fashion fabric is a print you might need to do some matching.
Here I show how I cut out the other pocket piece so that the fabric design matches the skirt:
I hope that picture is self-explanatory. If not, ask me!
It’s easy to stitch the pocket to the voile. Just a straight seam along the bottom. I finished the seam with the Hug Snug.
Then I pinned the pocket to the sides of the skirt panel.
Here is one side skirt panel sewn to the center front panel:
Waist: After stitching the skirt front ONLY to the skirt back on the right side (the left side will remain undone for now), then you will stitch the skirt to the bodice.
I hand-basted the waist seam first so that the tucks line up perfectly:
When I machine-stitched the waist seam, I included Hug Snug in order to keep the waist stabilized:
I then pinked the waist seam edges.
Zipper: I used an old-fashioned nylon zipper and used the quick&easy lapped method.
First fuse some strips of interfacing along the stitching lines where the zipper will be sewn. Always interface your zipper stitching lines!
Sew the side seam up to where the zipper will end, then sew in the zipper.
(Note: For a proper professional lapped zipper insertion method, visit Fashion-Incubator. I highly recommend this website and urge you to consider making a donation if you use any of the material on the site. The website is run by Kathleen Fasanella, a highly-respected industry professional. She is extremely knowledgeable and helpful.)
Here we see the zipper sewn in:
Now we have to deal with the lining. Stitch the skirt lining to the bodice lining:
To finish the side, I first sewed a French seam up to the bottom of the zipper.
Then instead of hand-stitching the lining to the zipper tape, I machine-stitched it. It’s faster, easier, and looks better, I think.
Here you see the lining pinned to the zipper tape edge:
You can also see the interfacing for the zipper and the Hug Snug on the skirt only, because the lining will be stitched to the waist, thus protecting the bodice seams since they will be enclosed.
And here it is after the stitching is done:
Oo, that is not pretty, but it doesn’t matter because it will never be seen.
Now trim and turn the garment right side out. Here’s what we have:
Finishing: You will need to do a little hand-sewing at the base of the zipper where that French seam is. You’ll probably have to clip it so that the French seam lies to one side. Then stitch that little part to the zipper tape.
Finally, press well. Hand-stitch the hem, machine-stitch the hem of the lining, and sew a hook and eye at the top of the zipper.
Coming up next on the blog: I’ll discuss the belt, and I’ll also show you the sewing celebrities I met the first time I wore the dress!
But first, here it is on Yours Truly: