The Coffee Date Dress is a recent and very popular pattern submission on BurdaStyle (first available in size 32 and now in sizes 34-42. It is a *free pattern* (I know we all love those words) submitted by elainemay. I love it! This project kind of took on a life of it's own. Initially I didn't plan to put much work into it, but once I decided that I wanted to use a delicate silk crepe for the bodice, I realized I'd need to add something for stability in the bodice, and it all kind of snowballed from there. I remembered Cidell's 11-2007-106 dress in which she used a similar combination of fabrics so I took a few cues from her post re: construction.
Notes on construction/alterations A muslin was a must since I had no idea what to expect of the fit. I started with size 38 and made a few tweaks.
1. Moved shoulder seam forward 1" 2. Lowered bust dart 3/4" 3. Removed 2" total at back darts and side seams for closer fit at waist 4. Curved CB seam at neck to better shape to my back/neck 5. Removed extra fabric at bodice front neckline (vertical slash from neck to (but not through) waist, overlap at neckline to remove 1/2" each side or 1" total) 6. Shortened skirt hem
To keep the neckline and armholes from stretching out, I applied fusible interfacing, clipping when necessary to curve the corners.
Similarly, I basted twill tape to the skirt waistline for stability.
Because the silk is so delicate, I underlined with silk organza. Actually, it was a mix of lining/underlining techniques: I sewed the fashion fabric and the organza bodices separately, put them right sides together and stitched together only at CB (so those edges would be finished when I inserted the zipper), then turned them wrong sides together and basted the neckline, armholes, and waist together and treated the unit as one.
I finished the neckline and armholes with folded bias strips of fabric that were turned to the inside and handstitched to the organza.
Katherine did bring up the issue of having a facing or lining with a lapped zipper. The tutorial that I followed (Rosebud's article in Threads #134, Dec 07/Jan 08) does not address this, she just says that the raw edges should be finished before inserting the zipper. Therefore, my lapped zipper is exposed on the inside. Had I considered this earlier, I think I would have left the fashion fabric and lining separate until after I inserted the zipper, then stitched the organza to cover the zipper tape.
When I initially basted the ruffle to the front bodice, I found that it really got lost in the spotted print. So I dug out some black silk charmeuse scraps, made some bias binding and stitched it to the bottom edge of the ruffle.
I used bias strips to cover the raw edges of the waist seam. Conclusion Phew! This was a time consuming project (for me) but I truly enjoyed the process and it really made me draw on my knowledge of things I had seen in books or other blogs. Now Elaine does provide excellent written instructions, but because I decided to omit the facings included in the pattern, I had to do things a little differently. I would seriously consider making this one again, maybe in a nice summery cotton? This pattern is a winner.