Burda Fantasy wardrobe planning

My sewing output isn’t what it used to be and consequently I’ve been concentrating on making practical clothes. But I’ve been enjoying making fantasy wardrobe sewing plans lately. The ‘sewing with a plan’ challenges I’ve seen up to now haven’t worked for me – the rules never produce the type of things I like to wear – but I’ve come up with my own personal challenge that I’ve been having fun with. The idea is to take a Burda magazine pattern collection and find suitable fabrics to make it up into a coherent capsule wardrobe. That’s really all there is to it.

Burda has done some collections I really love over the years: Hong Kong Garden from February 2012, Big Picture from November 2013 and New Shapes from September 2010 (the patterns for that last one are on the website but there’s no page for the collection as a whole.) But when I come to look at any of those three as the basis of a capsule wardrobe they aren’t very satisfactory: the separates don’t work together, or there are several pieces of outerwear and not a lot to go underneath them. So sadly they were all non-starters.

Right now I’m going with Ready for Business from August 2017. It’s fairly small – eight patterns – and has a good mix of pieces: three dresses, a coat, a skirt, one pair of trousers and two tops, both of which work with the skirt and the trousers. I don’t understand the title because it doesn’t look very office formal to me, but then I don’t work in an office with a dress code, so that’s all to the good.

On to the fun bit: picking colours and fabrics! I mostly wear black, white, and grey and try to stick to one colour head to toe if wearing separates. I often wear yellow shoes and handbag, so I needed colours that won’t fight with yellow.

Starting with a couple of the dresses:

110b 08/2017 is for lightweight knits. Burda’s version is stunning in white, which I’m quite tempted by, but I think it would be most practical in black. I’d use viscose-elastase jersey which is easy to find in black.

111b 08/2017 is a 60s style dress with a beautiful boat neck. Burda’s version is in wool jersey but that’s practically impossible to come by around here. I see this made up in black boiled wool which is a lot easier to source.

Moving on to the separates there’s 112a 08/2017, a boxy top, and 101 08/2017, a long narrow skirt with an interesting feature zip. I’d make both of these up in the same black boiled wool as the 60s dress, with a really nice shiny metal zip for the skirt, to make a two-piece dress. The boxy top could also be worn separately over the ruched jersey dress for a bit of extra warmth. I don’t think the top’s neckline is compatible with the 60s dress neckline though.

The other separates are 104 08/2017, a knit top with a wide drapey collar, and 121 08/2017, narrow trousers with unusual chevron shaped pockets and ankle zips. I’d make the top in the same black jersey as the ruched dress, and use black ponte knit for the trousers. They could be worn together or mixed with the black boiled wool separates.

That’s an awful lot of black. The last two items are where I’d break out into something more exciting. The last dress, 109a 08/2017, is a classic wrap dress which needs a stretchy knit. I’d make this in zebra print jersey. It’s not as easy to find as leopard print but I’ve located three options online in the UK so I think it’s viable.

And finally the coat, 108 08/2017. Everything else is so neutral that this is a safe place to go wild with colour. The original pattern calls for non-fraying fabric for a raw edge finish but it shouldn’t be hard to adjust for something more conventional. I’ve got my eye on some cerise wool/poly melton for this one. I also found a bubblegum pink wool coating. And my third option is non-fraying: a weird and wonderful silver mesh faced neoprene-alike fabric.

I estimate that’s at least six months worth of sewing for me so I doubt I’ll make all (or any!) of these up for real. But it’s fun to plan, and I am wondering if I could get away with a bright pink coat over a zebra print dress or if I’d look like a madwoman.

16 thoughts on “Burda Fantasy wardrobe planning

  1. sounds perfect, and all very wearable [but a lot of black lol]
    While following your links the missus fell for the wrap trousers in your ‘big picture’ option, so I’ll be knocking those up for her soon. We hope the pattern will work on the gorgeous black watch tartan wool that’s been in stash for AGES waiting for the right pattern partner. Thanks!

    1. Oh yes, those are great. They’re the one thing from that collection I actually made. That sounds very cool and Vivienne Westwoodish in tartan wool. Might be an idea to check the calves before cutting though; I found them a bit tight. I’m still looking out for the right fabric to make another pair 🙂

  2. Thank you for the links to the collections. Burda has always done coats that I love.

  3. I’ve sewn up both the boxy top and the raglan sleeved sweater with the drapey collar. Love them both. I did find the drapey collar neck opening a little too wide for me and had to adjust it a bit..thought a heads up may be useful (unless you’re broader in the shoulders). Love the first dress pattern too..and that coat is fab! This will be a lovely capsule

    1. Glad to know they’re good patterns, and thanks for for the warning about the neck! I did wonder because there isn’t a model photo with it worn other than very off the shoulder. Looks nice in pics but maybe not so practical for every day.

  4. Burda do some great collections – but I agree that they aren’t always suited to a capsule wardrobe in themselves. Great idea to do fantasy wardrobes – my productivity isn’t exactly great either. I’ve found that as my son has grown up, I have less time to sew rather than more. When he was little he went to bed early and I had such long evenings, bliss! Pink coat over a zebra print dress – can’t wait to see that combination! Very dramatic!

    1. Yeah my little one is starting to give up his nap and go to bed a lot later too. I do wonder when he’ll start to want to join in with the sewing 🙂

  5. I had to laugh at your comment about business-appropriateness. The description of the wrap dress in particular: “… the V-neck stretches the neckline and draws attention toward a beautiful décolletage.” Ah yes, just what I’m looking for when I think of traditional officewear…

    I love reading about (and doing) fantasy wardrobe planning. That coat would be so much fun in a bubblegum pink.

    1. Oh yes, one of the things I really enjoy about Burda is the descriptions of the patterns! I vaguely remember a blogger once doing a piece about Burda Woman and what her fabulous lifestyle must be like. I’ll have to try to find it.

  6. What a great collection! That first dress especially intrigues me – I have had a similar dress (McCall’s 7465) on my to-do list for a while. I like your plan! Since I work in New York, I can attest that you can never have too many black clothes, but I agree that a colorful coat is a “must.” If it helps at all, I like to plot my projects on a grid with cost on the X axis and difficulty on the Y, and then furter grade the projects by “needs” vs. “wants.” This helps me prioritize and gives direction. I look forward to seeing your makes!

    1. Oh yes, that’s a great idea and I keep meaning to try it out. My sewing queue is out of control right now…that’s the problem with spending a lot of time with the Burda back catalogue. So many great patterns.

  7. Good luck! Seems workable. I’ve never been good at the capsule thing, but I do try to make sure everything coordinates with something in my existing closet, with the occasional eye-pop. I do have trouble sticking to a plan though…

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