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.