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Burdastyle Ruffle Dress in Diablo Jersey Fabric

I chose this stunning cornflower blue slinky Jersey Fabric before I had any idea what I would make from it. I’ve never sewn with a fabric like this before and decided it would be quite a challenge.
Initially, I had quite a few ideas in mind and decided that it should be something at least semi-fitted to get the best of the fabric. This fabric would look amazing as a very tight slinky body con dress – I saw some in a similar fabric in John Lewis and considered making something similar. However this is a polyester fabric and I sweat  - a lot! So something not quite so tight was called for. Then the ruffles of the Burdastyle dress caught my eye and I knew that this jersey would be perfect as I would not need to hem the fabric and it also has two ‘good’ sides.
The dress is designed for a woven and is available in Burdastyle tall sizes. I sized down to account for the stretch and cut a size 72. As with many Burdastyle magazine patterns, the instructions are minimal and you do need a basic knowledge of construction to make the best of them. I considered cutting the back of the dress on the fold as I was going to omit the button fastening, but decided to keep the centre back seam to allow for fitting – I’m glad I did.
The front of the dress came together easily and the ruffles draped very well in this fabric. All my seams were sewn with regular thread on my vintage Bernina sewing machine with a narrow zig zag. Stitch width of just less than 1 and length of about 1.5. I finished my seams with an overlocker. The sleeves were set in flat before sewing up the sides. Then I tried it on! Oh, My – I really needed to sort out the fit. The pattern is quite A-line and in this colour and fabric that wasn’t going to work. To get the best from this fabric it really does need to be at least semi-fitted. My daughter told me it looked like a nighty!
So what do you do about that? In the words of Project Runway’s Tim Gunn you, “Make it work.” So armed with a pot of pins I pinned about 4cm in at the waist on both side seams, grading out to nothing at the hip line and the underarm. I also did the same at the centre back seam to account for my sway back (I’m so glad I kept the seam rather than cutting on the fold). I also pegged the hem slightly to give a slimmer silhouette.
What a difference fitting really does make. I’m learning fast that fitting can be the key to loving or hating a garment. I also decided that full-length sleeves weren’t for me and shortened them to elbow length. Both the sleeve hem and dress hem were turned under about 3cm and stitched with the same stitch I used for construction. I considered using a twin needle, but when testing it I was getting too many skipped stitches. I pressed the fabric carefully, using a low heat and a cotton lawn press cloth. This worked beautifully on seams and hems.
Right up until I finished the dress I had intended to sew a neckband and stitch to the inside. I cut the first one at 80% of the neckline and it just gathered the neck too much, then I tried one at 90%, but I still wasn’t happy with the finish, so removed it, overlocked the edge and simply turned under the seam allowance and stitched. It actually gives a really nice finish, sometimes the simple finishes are the best.
So what of the finished dress? I'm really happy with it. It’s the sort of dress I can wear smart casual, work to night time. I could wear with leggings and flats at work and switch it up with heels for the evening. The colour also lends itself to wearing this a wedding or summer party and it would be perfect for the cooler evenings of the British summer.
This fabric will wash well and would be perfect for packing for a holiday as the creases just fall out. If you are going to make with this fabric I’d suggest going for something at least semi fitted or like me hack a pattern to make it fitted. What would you make with this stretch fabric and which colour would you choose?
Thanks for reading,
Claire 
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