Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Burda Maternity Fail

So why am I smiling?

Oh. my. goodness.  This was one of the worst experiences I've had with an envelope pattern, I believe.  And so far I've had nothing but great luck with Burda envelope patterns.  In fact, I get really excited about them because the designs are a little more unusual and the directions seem to be pretty clear.  At least clearer than the magazine.  But this maternity pattern is a dud.  It's fun to document our failures sometimes, don't you agree?  I think it's necessary.  Keeps me grounded in reality ;)  I should split some of the responsibility for this fiasco.  I'm going to say it was 33% the fault of the pattern, 33% the insanely dizzying striped knit I chose and 33% user error. 

 


I sound overly dramatic, I know.  But I really, really wanted this project to turn out.  I had a Christmas party last weekend and a Christmas function at work I planned on wearing this to.  I had big plans for it.   I wanted to flit around at both functions looking bump-tacular in a fitted stripey maternity dress.  So I attempted to make up Burda 7356.   I think the disappointment that it didn't turn out magnified the bad experience.

I probably should claim a larger percentage for user error.  Actually, lets just say it's mostly my own fault.  If I had examined the pattern closely ahead of time, I would have figured out that there was no way this was going to make a fitted and flattering maternity dress.   Yes, this top began life as a dress.  I made view B- the dress with the interesting half circle panels at the hem.  For one, there is no seam at the back.  And no elastic anywhere in the top.  All the shaping is done with gathering.  It is essentially a great big sack with a tuft of gathering at the front.  Now that I know how the pattern turns out, I see why the model has her hand on the her waist in both photos.  That's the only way there is any definition there.  It's a sack.  And not a good sack.

My first major mistake happened when I was cutting out the pattern pieces.  I had barely enough fabric to eke out the half circle panels.  I cut those so the stripes were vertical.  I had to cut the front bodice pieces separately.  I thought I placed the grain line in the same spot when I cut both pieces.  But I was mistaken.  The horizontal stripes were ever so slightly different.  And I didn't realize it until later.  I spent hours unpicking, gathering and sewing the front together trying to figure out why my stripes never matched up and it looked so wonky. I finally figured it out.  So I shifted one bodice piece up slightly to straighten the stripe.  I ended up shaving about 1/2" off the neckline.  That, of course, caused problems, too.   

I was not impressed with the instructions for constructing this pattern.  I don't know about you, but I don't like gathering knit fabric.  I don't find that it holds and sort of un-gathers over time.  The stretch messes with the gathering in my opinion.  I stitched clear elastic over all my gathering to hold it in place.  I also think the front tuft of gathering that's supposed to accommodate the belly is done sloppily.  There is a lot of gathering there and nothing to hold it there.  That little loop is just a piece of fabric pulled through two slits and stitched inside.  The finish is messy.  Droopy and sad.  I did what I could to neaten it by stitching the loop so it didn't shift and show all the seams underneath.


Anyway, I could ramble on about how long it took me to realize this wasn't going to work as dress but I won't.   I spent all weekend working on this.  All weekend.  When I finished it, I put it on and it was a hot mess.  I was too mad to take a photo.  The half circle panels looked horrendous.  I had no clue how the instructions were explaining how to attach them  They were large circles folded in half, stitched wrong side to right side of dress.  Weird.  And no hemming.  The instructions have you leave the panels with a raw edge at the bottom.  Again, it looked sloppy.  So I chopped it all off and made it in to a top.

Now here's one more strange part.  I used the fabric's stripe to cut this shorter.  Since I had carefully matched my stripes at the side seams, I chose one stripe at the right length and begin cutting across that stripe to shorten the whole thing.  As I made it around the top, I ended up one whole set of stripes above where I started.  How is that possible?!  It was like an optical illusion.  I could not figure out why I ended up on a different stripe.  It tried one more time before I took it to my dress form to measure the hem as accurately as possible.  Can stripes be "off-grain" in a knit?  And now I see that the hem is lower in the back.  Sigh.  I made a fantastically sloppy, droopy maternity tee shirt.  For someone who's pregnant in the dead of winter.   Maybe I'll be glad I have it when I'm as big as a house at the end.


I wore it the next day to work.  I didn't want to feel defeated.  Grrrr....
You can't win em' all, I say.  I won't be making this pattern again.  That's for sure.  


27 comments:

  1. What a bummer!!! But it might come in handy as a very comfy lounging top in the 3rd trimester! Like week 38 when you're starting to get fedup cause you can hardly see your feet and you just want to get the party started!! LOL

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    1. Aaaaand, I meant to add, the colours are actually good, and you matched the stripes beautifully.

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    2. I agree that I will probably be very glad I have it at the end. I feel as big as a house now- I can't imagine getting bigger and bigger!

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  2. oooh hate it when it feels like the world is conspiring against you, all for a simple dress! you managed to make it look good for the pics though! nice job saving it. :)

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  3. Sunday lounge around and watch the Real Housewives top...that's what I do.

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    1. And that is what it is now bookmarked for :)

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  4. Oh no, this is on my maternity plan, although not blogged. I'll put it away as I don't need a hot mess on my hands. I like the top tho, you may feel the love later on.

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    1. Well, I have some thoughts on how to fix some of the issues. If you do decide to make it, I would add a waist seam at the back and use the whole seam (front and back) to insert some elastic. I think that would do wonders for the sack-ness. I'd also modify the front gathering a bit. And stay away from those hem panels! I think it could work with some modifications.

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  5. It's a very cute top and I'm sure you will love it when you have more bump to fill it out.

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  6. totally get it, that's so annoying. especially if you make time which is hardly there anyways, and have plans when to wear it out. there might be just too much pressure and high expectations, just like you've said. anyways, I like it from the front. the back is too big but as all the others said, it's great for lounging.

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    1. That's exactly. I had high expectations and too much pressure. I definitely make better things when I don't have a deadline.

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  7. Aw, sorry it didn't turn out as nicely as you hoped. It does make a nice top, though - good save!

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  8. Oh no! I know the feeling, when you finish it just in spite. Hope you came up with something different to wear to your parties (I´m sure you did). I love the stripes,though! And I had a similar non- matching stripes incident recently. Very strange, but in my case I think I had bought fabric from the end of the roll, and the (on sale) fabric was completely stretched and wonky. I agree with you and the others, that this top probably will be your go-to top later on! :-)

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    1. I really thought this was a pretty good quality knit-- but it was on sale. Hmmmm....

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  9. Sorry it didn't turn out how you hoped x

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  10. For what it's worth I don't think this is unsalvageable. Have you thought of adding a little shirring to the back at the bust line...a bit like Rae's Washi. It would add a bit of shape without adding any restriction. This fabric is so lovely and it's so beautifully put together it seems a shame not to wear it.

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  11. What a frustrating story - I feel your pain. The top actually looks fine in the photos but I can appreciate it may not look so good in real life. I like how you've layered it over black. For what it's worth, I think you'll grow into this one nicely (literally!)

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  12. I like the pattern itself as a top..maybe it would work better in another material..but it's kind of cute anyway.

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  13. Oh bummer! I hate getting to the end of a project and realizing it isn't what you expected. It will definitely come in handy though as you reach the end of your pregnancy. Even if you just wear it around the house.

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  14. How frustratingly frustrating! I'm most impressed you actually blogged it. If a pattern and fabric combo ever did this to me, they would be relegated to the scrap heap pronto, and as punishment would never be allowed to see the light of day again. Let that be warning to all of the as-yet-unmade items in my sewing catalogue!
    Ah well.... here's to laze-about-the-house tops!!

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  16. I think this pattern may be better suited for when you're farther along in maternity - once the belly is really out there, I think this might hang in a more flattering way. That doesn't solve the issues of sloppy finishing you encountered, of course. And the idea someone mentions above of shirring in the back might really work.

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  18. Aww man, how annoying! I HATE when things don't turn out the way you hoped they would. What a bummer! I've had that same thing happen with stripes, too. I thought I could just shave off a hem along a stripe, it was like a neverending circle.

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  19. This is the kind of project that makes me feel like murdering someone, doesn't really matter who. So frustrating. I know it may not be what you envisioned, but it looks infinitely better than most of the RTW maternity I see out there. Good for you, posting about it, I would have set fire to it in the driveway, buried the evidence and forgotten all about it.

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  20. Thanks for sharing your failure - I'm trying to get better about putting the bad stuff in my blog. And did you get that fabric at Hancock's? I think I made a dress for a client with the purple/black/pink version of that fabric and the tiny stripes nearly drove me crazy. These colors really work on you, and believe me, you will get bigger and then probably love the top. When I was at 39 weeks I remember seeing a reflection of myself in spin class and I wondered who that huge person was, only to find that it was ME!

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  21. There is a fine line between big enough and too big with maternity wear. Have to looked at Megan Nielson's patterns?
    I never really needed maternity wear with my first. Lucky - whereas with my second I was in maternity wear from 3 months! There was no top long enough to cover my belly by the end and I had to wear dresses!

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