Burdastyle 2013 # : The Dress That Almost Was Not to Be


Is it a dress? Or just the thought of a dress, vanished into thin air?

Well, a little while ago, this could have gone both ways. This was, without and doubt, the MOST frustrating, difficult make I’ve ever made and not given up on – see, there’s the silver lining.

Not that the dress has a silver lining, it is actually lined in blue!

IMG_8547So there, see I made it in the end. This is Burdastyle 5/2013 # 123, a dress that generated a lot of interest in blogland but one where I have seen A LOT of versions that did not actually turn out as the original pattern intended. It will not surprise you that mine didn’t either (cue ominous laughter…)

I made one intentional change to the original. Look at the line drawing:


As you can see, the dress is VERY low cut. Given that I don’t have a lot to fill it with I thought I might be a good idea not to make this lack of vavavoom too apparent and consequently I raised the neckline by about 5cm by widening the straps at the CF and sewing them together for those 5cm.

IMG_8550Constructing the bodice parts was tedious, but not difficult as such: You cut two pieces of each pattern piece from the lining and one larger piece for draping over it from the fashion fabric. The fashion fabric is gathered until it fits the lining pieces, then it is underlined with one of the lining pieces and then lined again with the other lining piece. I found this a little fiddly, as the printed fabric is a jersey and the solid blue a woven and to work with the different ratios of stretch was a little difficult.

But assembling the bodice with the straps was the real clincher.

You see, you only realise is the bodice will fit once everything is assembled! Burda do tell you to baste everything together as a first step to determine the correct length of the straps. Which I dutifully did and which made me shorten the straps by about 4cm.

What I did not realise was that I should have checked for width as well! As I didn’t it turned out once everything was done, that the bodice was far too tight around my ribcage. No way of doing up the zip!

“Stupid woman, why don’t you make your clothes big enough then”, I hear you ask. Isn’t that one of the joys of sewing that you can make clothes that actually fit? Well ……

Turns out what while my bust measurement corresponds exactly to the size 40 that I cut for this dress, most of that measurement seems to be ribcage and not a lot – well – the actual bust. Of course I kinda knew that, that’s what they call an A-cup. But I only realised this with due force when making this dress, which is really tightly fitted at the ribcage: I have small boobs , but a wide ribcage!

After much fiddling, ripping, thinking and throwing the dress into a corner and myself into several tantrums I decided not to re-cut everything in one size larger. What I ended up with is this:

IMG_8551Yep, I just winged it! Rather than making the straps meet at the CB I cut only the back horizontal band wide enough to actually fit around my body and decided to be done with it. As it is I think this looks ok, and it could have simply been intended like this – but it still annoys me that I was not able to make the dress as it should have been…

IMG_8552Otherwise it’s a really nice dress, I think. I wonder if it doesn’t look a bit maternity, but then maybe that’s because I am quite self-conscious about a little bit of tummy roll that I have been growing in recent years, so maybe I see maternity where it doesn’t really exist.

IMG_8548I tried several versions of pattern matching across the back and all of them had some potential of silliness, but I think what I ended up with is okay and I avoided most of the “weird  shapes exploding from my bum” problem.

IMG_8557So am I glad I have this dress? I think so – I wore it out once already and got quite a few compliments and it’s nice to have a maxi that is a little different.

Am I glad I made this? Not so sure – maybe I need to forget a little bit before I can truly forgive the dress.


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12 thoughts on “Burdastyle 2013 # : The Dress That Almost Was Not to Be

  1. NancyD July 4, 2014 at 12:01 am Reply

    I would say you have definitely achieved va-va-voom! This looks terrific on you and the back came out looking great. I’m encouraged to give it a try myself, as a another sewer who doesn’t have a lot up top.

  2. Tia Dia July 4, 2014 at 12:12 am Reply

    Are you kidding? This is a fantastic dress, and I would never in one million years have noticed that the back was drafted differently. I love this! I hope you wear it all summer. It’s gorgeous, and your save is perfect. PERFECT. 🙂

  3. Angela July 4, 2014 at 4:21 am Reply

    Your dress is gorgeous! That was a great save on the back. I’m thinking that although I am larger than you we have similar fit issues:)

  4. sewbusylizzy July 4, 2014 at 5:01 am Reply

    I think it looks gorgeous, despite the tale of woe. Maybe once the pain is forgotten you will enjoy it more!

  5. I completely understand the tantrums – I have had a few myself! Your dress is fantastic! Well worth the effort!

  6. Marianne K July 4, 2014 at 9:49 am Reply

    Excellent save! I actually would prefer the line drawing of your dress over the original. You improved both front and back, gorgeous!

  7. SewingElle July 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm Reply

    This is an awesome dress! No evidence of tantrums or fitting problems when it’s on. You look fabulous!

  8. catrinmanel July 5, 2014 at 9:23 am Reply

    The dress looks fantastic in the back! More fabulous than the line drawing. And definitely NO maternity look AT ALL!

  9. Duffle July 5, 2014 at 11:16 pm Reply

    Absolutely stunning dress!! Looks gorgeous on you 🙂

  10. cathynd95 July 6, 2014 at 12:28 am Reply

    Love your modification!

  11. […] of all I would like to thank all of you who gave such lovely comments on my Dress That Almost Was Not to Be! It’s been so nice to hear you like the dress – the online sewing community is, indeed, […]

  12. […] Not perfect but workable and a nice way to finally get rid of the scraps of this dress. […]

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