Friday, July 3, 2009

Burda WOF 5/09, Dress 117 - Michael Kors look alike

I really loved this Michael Kors dress when it was featured in numerous fashion magazines last fall.

But I couldn’t fine a similar pattern in my stash and I really couldn’t find any similar fabrics. Large abstract floral prints in intense colors. Then the May 09 Burda WOF magazine arrived with a very similar pattern, dress 117B. The dress is described as having cap sleeves, draped front bodice, and a fitted skirt with side slits for walking ease.

and I found the perfect fabric, a gray and orange floral print cotton sateen from Denver Fabrics/FashionFabricClub. Here is my version of the dress and I love it. The colors in the fabric make me feel happy just looking at them. The cotton sateen fabric was easy to sew and press, but it doesn’t wrinkle. I lined the skirt of the dress but not the top, so it is very cool to wear, despite the hot colors of the print.

This dress has a unique inset side panel that can be a challenge to sew. I needed a refresher on how to sew this type of panel so I thought I would share my research in case it would be helpful to others.

Kimono Sleeves and Gussets

The sleeve on this dress is a kimono sleeve. A kimono sleeve is actually an extension of the bodice or body of the main garment. It is frequently cut as one piece with the garment, producing a T-shape bodice.

Because a kimono sleeve has been cut with the bodice, the fit is very different from that of a set-in sleeve. The shape and width of the sleeve will determine its comfort. If the sleeve is narrow and slopes close to the body, a gusset (diamond shaped fabric insert) may be used in the underarm area to reduce strain and allow freedom of movement. A gusset is a triangular or diamond-shaped piece of fabric, which is set into a garment at a slashed location. It makes a longer, slimmer-fitting kimono sleeve possible with an armhole fitting clos­er to the body.

As a general rule, the gusset provides a more sophisticated fit than a fitted kimono sleeve without a gusset. Comfort is an additional feature since there is increased flexibility in the sleeve and armhole area. Regardless of the kimono sleeve fit, some form of seam reinforcement is recommended.

The gusset for this pattern is cut as part of front and back side panels. Instructions for inserting gussets can be found in many sewing books. But there are very few sewing books that show the side panel “gusset” insertion. Burda WOF’s written sewing instructions on this part of the dress were a little sketchy, and difficult to understand. And I always prefer pictures to text. I had made this style in a jacket and I remembered that reinforcing the internal slash point is important, as is careful sewing.

To refresh my memory I got out the pattern for the jacket, Vogue 2390. It is about 8 years old, but still available in the Out of Print patterns on the Vogue pattern web site.

I also found two other sources for instructions especially for this style. One was a special tip insert with pictures for a jacket in BWOF 2/98 Burda Tip sheet . It was pretty similar to the Vogue pattern instructions. The second was the Mrs. Stylebook (MSB), issue 145 (2007) MSB Instructions , which had a slight different method with much better pictures. Below you will find both the written instructions from Vogue/Burda and the MSB illustrations with English text that I added.

Vogue/Burda Instructions:

Important: When cutting out the fabric pieces, leave the area of the slash uncut until after the seams line are marked and the slash is reinforced.

The first step is to reinforce the point of the slash on the front and back pieces where the gusset/side panel will be inserted. There are generally two different techniques shown for reinforcing. The Vogue/Burda method uses iron on interfacing.

1. Iron a small piece of interfacing onto the wrong side of fabric front and back pieces, over point of slash.
2. Pin pattern onto back and front fabric pieces again, and transfer the pattern piece outline (seam line) on to the interfaced side of fabric.
3. Reinforce slash by stay stitching slightly to inside of marked stitching line (shorten stitches around the point).
4. Start at wide end, stitch up one side to point, pivot, take one stitch across point, pivot again stitch down other side.

5. Slash between stitching lines up to reinforced point. S

6. Stitch side panel to front and back piece starting at bottom edge and sewing towards slash point, along marked seam lines. Pivot at slash point and sew side panel underarm seam to sleeve underarm seam ending 1/4 “ before the side seam.

7. Stitch side seams and sleeve bottom seam.

MSB Instructions

Final note: If you like this dress style, but don’t have access to Burda WOF, you are in luck. Just out is Vogue Pattern’s version of this dress, published under the Michael Kors name. Pattern number 1117. It is in the Fall 2009 issue of Vogue Pattern Magazine, which I received yesterday. As I write this, it is not yet up on the Vogue website. Typically the new patterns show up there about a week after I get the magazine. The Vogue pattern has the same side panel gusset styling too.