30th Birthday Dress – completed!

Happy birthday to me!!

Today is my 30th birthday, and as such, I’ve made Burda WOF 03/09 #116 in emerald green silk charmeuse (satin) to wear to my big party on Saturday night!

I tested this pattern a few weeks ago and wrote all about the fitting and muslin work here, and thanks to popular opinion, I did indeed take a wedge out of the back seam to get rid of the swayback wrinkles. Apart from that, I kept the fit the same!

NB: Please forgive the unsightly waist ridge – it’s a fault of the body, not the dress. I had minor surgery last Monday that caused my abdomen to swell to an unsettling degree, and it had only started to subside a week later when these photos were taken, and Spanx can only do so much! Fingers crossed I’ll be back to normal for the pasty itself and will get more photos then!

Detail shots

The charmeuse ended up being really narrow so I really had to squeeze to get all the pieces in. Before I laid out the pattern, I was debating whether to line the skirt or not, but as it turned out, the decision was made for me!

Here you can see the cut pieces, but it turned out I didn’t have enough to even entirely line the top so I had to improvise with a bit of Dublin silk charmeuse for the back piece, and kept the skirt unlined, constructing it with french seams instead.

The front, with those gorgeous curved yokes (that extend over the shoulder to form the point on the back), and gathered shoulder and sleeve edges:

The back, with the pointed yoke seam, swaybacked “waist” seam (really, it’s above the waist), and invisible zipper:

The inside front. Notice the bra retainer I added at centre front, and the understitching running along both sides of the V-neck to keep the lining in place:

The bra retainer is just a little tube of silk that I hand tacked to the lining on the inside. This tube goes down through the centre of my bra, which keeps the bra from showing in this very low-cut neckline, and also keeps the dress close to my chest to prevent any gaping when I lean over. It’s a really useful, really easy touch to add to any neckline like this!

My most meticulous handstitching ever, joining the front lining to the empire seam allowance:

Inside the understitched armscye and sleeve hem:

(Take that, Burda! I told you binding the underarm of an already-lined dress was unecessarily stupid! Pthhtthth!)

The hem!

After letting the bias hang for a day or so, I turned over 1/4” or so, edgestitched, pressed, then trimmed as close to the stitching as possible. I then turned that hem over again, edgestitched, and pressed, resulting in a narrow hem that for me is way faster and much less frustrating that fiddling with the narrow hem foot on slippery charmeuse.

Past Birthdays

Some of you may recall that last year, for my 29th, I made a bolero and jeans (which I still wear on a regular basis!

On my 28th birthday, I was homeless and living out of a suitcase in my boyfriend’s parents’ house, watching the Shipping Forecast every single day, hoping for good weather to sail our boat across the North Sea. My sewing machine was in storage, so I couldn’t make a new outfit, and frankly, ALL I wanted was for our boat to arrive. And it did, on the evening of my birthday.

For my 27th, I made New Look 6429 in a fun sparkly knit from Walthamstow Market (and then about three days later decided to lose all that excess weight for good!).

And for my 26th birthday (probably the first year I was really into sewing), I made my favourite vest pattern with a red vinyl square neckband:

Here’s to making nice things for yourself to feel good on your day!

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