Silver brocade trapeze dress

This Burda pattern has been on my to-sew list for a long while. It’s 120-01-2012, a short trapeze-line design. This is a pattern that I was drawn to the moment I saw it, but put off making because of a fear that the trapeze shape wouldn’t work on me.

Here’s the line drawing. The dress has a tiny yoke with a very high neckline attached to a six-panel a-line dress body. There are invisible zips in the right shoulder and side seams and side seam pockets.
Burda 120-01-2012 technical drawing

The fabric is a poly brocade from Minerva Crafts. At the time of writing it’s still available here. It’s quite floppy so I underlined it with poly organza. I also lined the entire dress, partly to help with maintaining the a-line shape, and partly to get an easy clean finish on the lower armscyes. The original version only has the yoke lined. You are supposed to finish the lower armscye with self fabric bias tape. I have no faith in my ability to do that neatly with fraying polyester fabric! Instead I made up the dress body in lining fabric and stitched it to the fashion fabric dress right sides together along the armscyes, clipping the lining at the ends of the armscyes. After turning and pressing I sewed the yoke to the dress, keeping the linings on both pieces free, and pressed the seams onto the yoke. Finally I stitched in the ditch on the yoke seams, catching the previously pressed under edge of the yoke lining.

The dress holds its shape quite well. It could probably be improved by adding something like horsehair braid to the hem. These photos were taken straight after pressing so you’re seeing it at its best. Unusually I didn’t feel the need to take any length off the hem, which makes me think this one comes up very short. I did have to adjust the neckline. As drafted it’s uncomfortably high at the front. I deepened it about 2cm and it’s still a touch too high.


I found it very difficult to get the hem level and I’m not sure I succeeded. I aimed to have it level for my normal posture, and you can see here that it makes a considerable difference if I stand slightly straighter. There are a few problems with the fit: the yoke is a little too tight and the side seams are swinging forward, probably because I made no attempt at a full bust adjustment. If I make this again I’ll probably go up a size and make the front skirt pieces longer and wider. But I think this version is good enough to wear.


The back is entirely plain but here’s a picture of it anyway.



The pattern is not quite as easy to sew as it appears at first sight because of the shoulder zip. Finishing off the lining at the outside shoulder edge on the side with the zip is very fiddly indeed. I had to hand sew a little because I just couldn’t get at the last bits with the machine.

I think the shape works ok in practice. I was half-expecting to end up with a dress that I wouldn’t want to wear out of the house. I suspect the key is to keep it short. I wouldn’t rule out making this pattern again some time, although I’ll pick fabric with a lot more body.



15 thoughts on “Silver brocade trapeze dress

  1. Wow I’ve never seen a shoulder zip before. This is pretty darn cool but agree if it was longer I’m not sure it’d be as good, like you say. Oh and before I forget…. THAT IS AN AWESOME PET TIGER!!

  2. What a wonderful dress. Have faith in yourself when it comes to taking a bit of a risk, style-wise. This dress suits you and so does everything else you have ever blogged here.

    Beautiful fabric! I have some cherry red brocade that I am too afraid to use because it frays like crazy and you only have to look at it to pull a thread.

  3. Beautiful shape, it really flatters you. Do you normally do a swayback or flat bottom adjustment? Just that the lower back looks possibly a bit full and that could be the reason for the side seam swinging forward. I have to do them every time on that style of dress.

  4. LOVE it!! The choice of fabric could not have been more perfect for this pattern. I’m impressed that you were able to see passed the line drawing to envision this dress.
    Oh, and also a big fan of your pet tiger. 😉

  5. ‘Beam Me Up, Cyber!’ It’s so ‘you’ and I love your whole wardrobe of space-age fabrics. Shoulder zip? Wow, that is one modernist element. (Just remember the adage of W.C. Field, ‘Never appear on stage with children or animals.’ That darling tiger nearly upstages you!

  6. Love this – I agree with the others, very space-age awesome!!! If you do end up trying it in a drapier fabric, it’ll have a totally different look, but I think will work well in a different way 🙂

  7. Cool dress and weird about the neckline being so high. I mean really, who has a neck and upper ribcage suitable for something 2cm higher than your finished height?

    Oh and you’re right not to make it any longer. The tiger wouldn’t like it longer either 🙂

  8. A shoulder zip! That’s a new concept to me too! The dress looks absolutely terrific. I like winter dresses to be a little on the shorter side.

  9. I love your fabric choice for this and of course it has some interesting details – like the shoulder zipper and the panels in the front and back. It’s a pretty dress and so you!

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