Why am I calling it "an expensive muslin"? Because the fabric was expensive -- the silk dupioni was pricey (they've really increased prices at Thai Silks) -- and because this was the messiest bit of sewing/fitting I've done in a long time. I'm usually very careful about finishing seams, clipping threads as I go along, etc. But for this project, I ended up having to do a lot of fit adjustments along the way, and with the time constraints, I just kept moving forward. The sloppiness of the construction (and the need for further fit refinements) makes this a muslin in my mind. I like this dress and want to make it again -- but will be more careful with the construction process.
Some thoughts on this dress:
1. The pattern was drafted for knits but I made it in a woven. To do this, I didn't need as much ease as I thought I would. I just needed some room in the bodice (between bust point and waist). The tricky part was figuring out where to put the zipper. The original pattern doesn't have a closure. I decided to put it along the vertical seam in the side/back and run it up on the diagonal to the underarm. This worked well. I drew a line from the underarm to the waist/seam intersection, cut and added the appropriate seam allowances and grainlines.
2. The hem is tapered and tight for a woven fabric, so there needs to be some sort of vent to allow walking ease. I ended up just putting in a simple vent along one side. For a sexier look, you could leave slits on both sides.
3. Achieving the right fit is critical for this style. Given all of the seams, it is best to really get the initial muslin right and then move on to fashion fabric. I employed the "quick and dirty" technique, which ended up requiring a ton of fitting adjustments in fashion fabric -- not pretty when you're working with fray-happy fabric like silk dupioni!
4. The silk dupioni required underlining, so I hand-basted each piece with silk organza.
5. The dress actually looked great without the sleeve extensions, but I wanted to see how it looked with them. At first, I left the bottoms free to see how they would look -- I was told I looked like I walked out of a Star Trek episode -- so I tacked them down (per Burda instructions). They are ok, but I may take them off next time.
This is a good dress pattern. When you take the time to refine the fit, I think it is very flattering and definitely works in a woven fabric.