Tuesday 3 November 2020

Back to the Future, the second Burda longer dress, (a 'handkerchief') dress meant for autumn, November, 2019 103 A/B EPIC FAIL. Should it see out 2020 or die an (ig)noble death?

 The second autumn dress I sewed up for Fall-Winter 2019 repeat 2019 pre-Covid was another attempt to wear the longer skirts lengths without looking dowdy. I wore skirts and culottes this length in the 70's the first time around and still have some fantastic Vogue Designer patterns from that era to prove it. It's a little harder to wear now that I'm so much older, with wider hips, a shortening torso, and the inability to trot all day in the high-heeled boots that make it work best. But I liked the grace of this silhouette after so many years of tight, knee-length sheaths.

This was made up in a drapey navy-blue leopard viscose print ordered online.  There are two unsatisfactory things about my fabric choice for this design: First, the 'leopard print' is too busy to see any of the waist piecing and second, the underside of the fabric is noticeably different from the printed side. Ideally, the skirt should flow without drawing attention to the two sides of the hemline.

This dress is a fabric hog as the skirt pieces are cut on the bias. I'm not sure I'm really feeling this handkerchief hem. And to do it, I needed 3.5 metres of fabric, almost twice the fabric needed for a sheath dress.

Well, it was a good thing I had extra; I decided that Burda's strange single bow design looked sad, even half-assed. (Even though a secretary wears one of these single-bow blouses in white silk in the recent BBC David Hare thriller Roadkill starring Hugh Laurie.) My solution was to cut mirror pieces of the long tie for a classic pussy bow blouse instead.

This dress was also a frightening reminder of how much my skills and patience have slipped. I forgot how to do a proper invisible zipper and made a bit of a mess of it. Only later did I review Kenneth Lane's excellent Youtube on this particular step and have resolved not to mess up again.

But worse! I misread the instructions and doggedly went ahead putting in the zipper below the collar point, assuming the collar folded down over the zip in the back. Wrong. So I had to add a dirty fix—to close the collar at the top.

Added to that frustration the fact that, in the end, I wouldn't have chosen this fabric online if I'd had a chance to see it up close. It doesn't look like leopard print at all, just a messy, ugly print. An entire long dress of this stuff just looks... awful. I'm not sure how much wear, if any, this dress will see.

UPDATE as of January 2020, not worn once. EPIC FAIL
UPDATE as of February, 2020 worn once under a long navy cardigan to casual dinner out. Looked all right, just, as the cardigan gave it a bit of shape at the waistline.
UPDATE as of March, quarantined, so no need to wear a dress until 2021.
UPDATE Lost weight during lockdown, so took it in at the side seams. Looking at it again and thinking it's okay to bring out for autumn 2020. So maybe I'll post this to ask all of you:
UPDATE okay, it's the one-year anniversary of wearing this dress exacly once. So I put it on and styled it with a similar long cashmere cardigan, this time in beige.

I think it just passes, but hell, it took me a year to figure out what to do.What do you think? Is it okay or the ugliest dress in town?


  1. It certainly isn’t the ugliest dress in town. Actually I like how you styled it with this cardigan and boot

  2. Lovely dress! I made mine in linen, but I think yours look much better!