Wednesday 9 January 2013

New Year's Eve in Red, Burda's ruched-waist dress. Oct 2012 118A

Well, on New Year's Eve, the family jury was so far out on this one, they could have auditioned for a remake of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I gave them a choice between Burda's blue satin ruffled blouse under the Burda blue velvet kimono or this new number which a lot of Burdists in Russia made. It was very easy to sew, but  if my Eastern sisters were concluding in Russian, 'This dress doesn't look 'techno' as Burda thinks—it just looks hopelessly wrinkled and off-kilter,' I missed their warning, oh too late.

Here's how the afternoon of December 31 progressed as 2012 ticked away:

Daughter; Go with the blue kimono and blouse set. That red fabric is too thin and cheesy. That's a day dress, not for New Year's Eve.

I painted my nails red and tried the next jurist.

Husband: Go with the red dress but I can see your slip bumping through it. It looks lively. The blue kimono looks too loungey, not for a friends' festive night.

I added a red and gold necklace and tried Jurist Three.

Eldest son: Go with the blue. It matches your eyes. The red is okay. Actually the red goes with the necklace. Would you switch the jewelry for the blue? I don't know. What do you think of my waistcoat?

So I reckoned blue had won out, until...

Younger son: The blue velvet looks old, like something my Geneva violin teacher would've worn to dress up, way too spinstery. Go with the red. You look ten years younger in that.

Oh, ladies, if you knew that violin mistress, padding around town in flat orthopedic booties and a long black velvet skirt, thinking she looked artistic and bohemian, you'd know why I went out the door in red, knowing full well that I should wear a black tuxedo pants suit to spend New Year's Eve with among others, a nuclear weapons inspection diplomat of international standing just back from some powwow with the Russian foreign minister.

Yes, I went with the RED, cheesy viscose though it is, because hey, it's New Year's Eve when everybody wears boring, snoring, black. If New Year's Eve isn't cheesy, what is, right? And in the end the nuclear weapons diplomat took to the piano and we ended up singing cheesy old Broadway tunes without shame while my husband (remember his nine months of paralysis in 2011 in hospital?) danced with other lady guests. The hosts had knocked themselves out with all the Classic Foodstuffs of a French New Year's Eve. Great stuff. Worth celebrating. In red.

But for sewists facing the new year, Allison (THANKS FOR THE SHOUTOUT, ALLISON!) got this one beautifully right the first time out of the mag. On her advice, I cut the skirt on the straight, not the bias (Burda got that wrong.)

In the end, for me, this is a wonky design with good intentions. If you are pencil slim and use a better quality fabric, I bet it works as well as on their chic model above. But if you have a little bit of extra flesh on the hips or stomach, the draping adding bulk to your waist just looks like a mistake that caught on your Spanx as you came back from the ladies' room. I like the concept but would only remake it in a better quality woven after losing ten pounds. My choice of red knit was just too limp to pull off that cowl neckline as designed.


  1. I agree, New Year's Eve is an opportunity to get away with cheesy. There never would have been a better moment for this dress. Shame the fabric was wrong, but I would say that the red is a good colour for you. Bright red often looks good on pale blondes.
    Happy 2013!

  2. You gave me something to think about, thank you! I wanted to make this dress and chose thick elastic fabric (not thin viscose), and now I may consider changing the draping. I want this dress mainly for the neckline. *^v^*

  3. Yes to red on NYE! But I tend to think that a pattern that you have to have a 25" waist to wear is not a particularly good pattern.

  4. ...but red looks so va-va-voom on you! excellent NYE colour.

  5. this dress is on my list to make, but because I haven't done it yet haven't read the review's. Thanks for the tip re the bias

  6. You are the lady in red and it suits you! That's a stunning dress.

  7. hahaha you are hilarious-found you via velosewer and off now to trawl your archives. See you around.

  8. You do look great in red. And as always your writing makes me laugh!

  9. Although I agree that this pattern seems to promise more than it actually delivers, your version looks perfect for a NYE party - you are very brave asking family members to be jurors, they can be brutal!