Sunday, July 10, 2011

Burda 7696: done. A swayback sewist's nightmare

Burda 7696 done

Previously on Vacuuming the Lawn, I showed you Burda 7696, which was too long in the torso and too big overall.

I started over with some delicious Joann's black ponte roma knit, the super soft stuff that costs $12.99 a yard but I always buy on sale.  I had it in stash.  It's probably the best fashion fabric Joann's sells.

I cut a 12 grading to 14 at the hip this time.

First thing to fix was to fix the long torso.  I cut along the "shorten here" line and overlapped 3/4".

Burda 7696 adjustment

I also didn't like the front drape placement, and raised it an inch.   Also the v-neck has been raised as a result of the torso alterations.

I also didn't like how droopy the drape was.  I thought I'd be clever and cut the front drape as a 10.  Joke was on me, that pulled the dress too tight overall, so I sewed the panel in again with a smaller SA, so that it was essentially a 12.  But the top part of the drape was too loose (hello 3 little bears!), so I pulled on the top corners so they would stick out into the dress, to get the fit I wanted.

the panel, pulled in

Here's the dress inside out, with the corners sticking out (I've since cut them off). I like my "sci fi" costume.
inside out, beam me up

Oh, I also decided to ditch the facings.  I folded over the armhole and v-neck and sewed down.  One less thing to worry about, and a dress with this kind of thick knit doesn't need  a double layer.  I HATED how my understitching looked on the facings in the muslin.

But then it was time for the BIG CHALLENGE.  My swayback.

So here's what the dress looked like as 12 grading to the back.
as a 12 grading to 14 in back, ugh.
Horrible, right?  Waaay too tight, lots of horizontal lines going on...

I let out the CB seam to minimal SAs, which gained me an inch. Phew. So I thought I could tidy up my back with some darts, like I did in the Muse dress. Um, that looks even worse:
ooph, with darts.

So I took out the darts. Here it's just minimal SA in the CB seam:
Burda 7696, center back seam let out, but too much swayback pooling

But still pretty ugly.

So I pondered for a bit. I thought about declaring Burda 7696 dead, but I decided to keep on beating this dead horse.

Somehow, Vogue 1250 popped into my mind. It's the "Hot hot hot" dress of this summer, all the sewing bloggers are making it, and it's a knit with a horizontal waist seam in the back which I thought was kind of weird but you know what, it would work with this dress! But I don't own that pattern...yet. So I took the plunge and CUT THE BACK WAIST to create a seam. Oh yes, daring indeed. I played around with this for a bit, but I could have just done a 1" tuck grading to nothing at the side seams.

Here I am with my binder clips, testing the waters. Looking better already, huh (and festive--love binder clips in colors).
Burda 7696 figuring out the swayback adjustment

Here's the inside with my swayback adjustment (before I cut out the 1" SA for it)
Burda 7696 done, inside swayback adjustment
and the outside:
Burda 7696 done, outside back

and here's what it looks like on me:

Burda 7696 done
I honestly don't think I can get this any better.
Here's the side view; my swayback is really emphasized, plus the front of the dress drapes out a bit...
Burda 7696 done

And here it is on Emma:
Burda 7696 done
OH, yeah, the drape piece is supposed to use a 2" buckle for the dress, but the shirt view had this loop piece instead. Since I didn't have a buckle handy I used the loop piece and I think it works fine. 

I'm tired.  Counting the muslin I spent 15 hours on this dress, and it's actually pretty simple looking, especially in comparison to the Muse dress which took 20 hours and has many more details (welt pockets, collar, tabs).  It is time for an easy knit shirt, me thinks. 

Princeton farmer's mkt flowers this week:
farmer's mkt flowers

And my pumpkin vines are blooming:
flowers on my pumpkin plant

potted pumpkin plant

And here's the bumblebee action for today, with my rose of sharon:
bumble bee and rose of sharon 7/10/11

Be well and good night!


  1. I think it looks great! It is a very pretty design. It was originally published in a Burda WOF magazine.

  2. Hey, this is super-pretty! After exploring all your options, it looks like you chose the very best solution for the swayback. Although the colorful binder clips across your back are cool, I agree they are probably not the best long-term solution for the dress. :)

  3. Fabulous fix! You've inspired me to revisit my version of this dress to tackle the same problem.

  4. Well all your hard work has paid off. I think the dress looks fantastic!

  5. Thanks for showing us every step of the process on adjusting your SB. I think the end result is great! I'll have to remember what you did! Oh, and the flowers are gorgeous!

  6. Nice job on the fix! I believe I've done that to a pattern before, cutting a waist seam to raise up the skirt and get rid of swayback droopiness. Ah, swayback.

  7. Great save on the dress. I keep moving this pattern in and out of rotation. You just saved me a lot of time (and swearing) by sharing your trials here. Thank you.

    Hah. Loved the 3 little bears cameo...

  8. thank you for sharing your swayback solution, I love seeing how other people deal with this problem since I often deal with it too. I agree that a waist seam across the back is the best way to deal with it - the last few dresses I've made with a waist seam have turned out fab with little work


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