Sometimes the reviews are right: Burda 118 09/2010

Burda has really great outerwear patterns, and one in particular has been on my to-sew list for years: number 118 from the September 2010 issue. It’s modern, architectural, and it doesn’t hurt that the sample is made up in white which I always think looks wonderful for outerwear (yes I know it’s not remotely practical but I can dream.)

Unfortunately the pattern has terrible reviews. The instructions are said to be dreadful, which isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but everyone I’ve found who’s reviewed the pattern itself says it is astonishingly oversized and the sleeves in particular are over long. It’s a Tall pattern but the only difference between Burda’s Tall and regular sizes is supposed to be in length measurements, and even that doesn’t account for the sleeve problem.

But despite all this I still find myself wanting to give it a try; I haven’t found a similar enough pattern anywhere else. So I traced it, going down a size and reducing the sleeve length, and made a toile. When I first put it on I could see exactly what people were talking about. The front wasn’t too bad but the back was vast. At that point I only had one sleeve in and hadn’t pinned up the hem or marked the location for the closure. It looked so awful that I wasn’t sure I could be bothered to complete the toile and left it a few days. But eventually I returned to it and here’s what it looks like now. I’ve not removed the seam allowance from the front opening edge, although I have folded it down on the top of the collar.

It’s still boxy, but the style is meant to be roomy. Marking the front closure in the right place and pinning it there has improved the baggy back view. I suspect shoulder pads might help it more, as would making it out of something a bit thicker than calico. The features all seem to be in about the right place on the body. The next shot shows my hands where the pockets would be.

And there’s certainly no difficulty reaching forward or raising my arms.

The instructions are as bad as everyone says. Most of the space is taken up with an oddly described method to sew the front zip pockets which I’m not convinced would work all that well – assuming I’ve followed it correctly anyway – and then they skim over the rest of the construction.

The drafting also seems a bit off. The armscye in the side panel comes to a sharp point at the bottom which can’t be right. I had to round it off to sew it smoothly. The pattern comes with hem allowances built in which is unusual for Burda, but they’re oddly skimpy at only 3cm. It’s tricky, although not impossible, to make them deeper because of the way the side panel comes to a point just where the hem starts to angle down towards the front of the coat. I suspect facing the hem would work better than turning a hem up.

So, am I going to make this for real? I’m on the fence at the moment. The pattern still needs a lot of work because I haven’t made pieces for facings or lining yet, and I need to sort out the armscye problem. My current warm winter coat is worn out so I need to replace it with something this year, and this style ticks almost all my boxes. Maybe if I find the right fabric.

37 thoughts on “Sometimes the reviews are right: Burda 118 09/2010

  1. Your results are rather similar to the model, if you account for her hand placement and that portfolio she’s toting. The sleeves are too long, carrying the portfolio allows for the wider opening angle, and I’ll wager a couple of clothes pins are pulling it together in the back.
    Maybe in a light melton. In another color. And a different pattern.

    1. Yeah, much can be achieved with strategic posing and clipping! Quite a few of the ladies on the Russian Burda site have made this with the overlong sleeves and turned them back to make a decorative cuff, but I think that detracts from the design. I still love the idea of it though. Maybe I should grade it down another size.

  2. Hmmm. I’m with Ernie. I was also going to say that the photo looks great- but the bag and hand in pocket do allow for some deception don’t they? It looks good in the back view…with your arms stuck out. I think there’s just too much fabric with nowhere to go. To work at all it would need a scuba-like sculptural fabric, but I think it would be a lot of fabric for little benefit. Onward and upward!

    1. I just wish I could find a similar pattern with smaller sizing because I still love the design. Neoprene is an interesting idea – might end up looking like the Michelin Man though!

  3. I really like the model version. I suspect coating would give it body and help hold its shape. I would definitely face the hems with a proper hem. You’ll need it to keep the shape.

  4. I think the shoulders are too big– in all directions. I understand that the shoulder seam is not on the shoulder, and it needs a shoulder pad but if you too out a good 2-3″ between your real shoulder and the armsyce I think that would help. A melton wool would be nice- then you wouldn’t have to worry about seam allowance treatments. Good Luck!

  5. AH, the deceptions of a Burda photo shoot! The model does look rather cool in that phot. I think though that your toile looks good in terms of mimicking the fit of the original. Just a thought, perhaps try the toile on again when the weather is cooler and you’ve got a couple of layers underneath might make the “over-size” look “feel” right?

  6. Wow. I think you did amazingly well. Long time lurker here, I really appreciate your work over the years. I’ve always loved that coat, too, but with my very narrow shoulders I’m sure I couldn’t pull it off. Anyway–if you choose to proceed–I wonder if it might actually help to add some width in the lower front area so that the front can drape more easily into a vertical fold from the shoulders to the hip. I find that coats with extended shoulders look better on the body if the fabric visually “hangs” from the shoulder point, even if the armscye seam is in a different location and the garment is very wide below the shoulder. Judging by the photos of your back you’ve accomplished this very nicely on that side of the garment. It’s harder for me to tell about the front, but maybe it needs more width, not less. If you increased the width of the side piece around the hip area by adding a long narrow triangle (wider at the bottom) into the seam where the pocket is inserted that might release the lower fronts so that the whole thing would drape as the back does. Maybe. But if you decide to move on, I totally understand! You’ve done us all a favor by showing us what you have accomplished!

  7. I think it looks good, and in something like a melton you’ll have the right fabric weight. Agree the hem being so wimpy is weird, I suspect it’s because of the way the front hangs, and I wouldn’t personally change it, but I’d interface it strongly instead.

    The neckline looks too small on your toile. There will be additional fabric layers there, and it looks larger on the model as well.

    I wouldn’t worry much about construction, it doesn’t look that complicated – yes the pointy bits aren’t easy but I’d treat them the way I treat any pointy bits, and beyond that it doesn’t seem that hard. The zippered pockets, I don’t know. I wouldn’t go there in a coating fabric.

  8. damn, that same coat is on my mind for what seems like ages.. i think you can pull it of, would be a shame not to as it’s going to look spctacular on you..
    there are a few of those made bautifully by some ladies on russian burda, as you probably know.. i sometimes just go to burda site to stare at them 🙂 dreaming to make mine in electric blue boiled wool, if i ever find that kind of wool (and if i ever find the time to tackle all the alterations this pattern obviously needs)

  9. I hope you go for it. And in a pale colour too! Because it will look stunning on you. I love that pattern and have been eyeing it for ages. I’m keen on the oversized look. And all the angles.

  10. I’m also a long time lurker, and also appreciate your work! This is a fun puzzle. It seems to me that the toile has too much width in the front chest. If you look at the model, hers doesn’t have this problem. Your back looks much better, I think the width is falling from the shoulders as described above; but still, a lot of width. I wonder if you could merge between the width of a smaller size and the length of a larger one? I think reducing the width might sharpen the garment right up.

  11. I actually think you could make this work (if anyone could!) To me it seems that width at the shoulders is crucial for the design to drape properly as it is on the model, even in a wool. If anything take it in a bit at the centre back seam from the waist down. Keep the ‘points’ of the original pattern and sew the side/sleeve as one continuous seam. I hope you do it!

  12. I think the back looks pretty good but the front and sleeve seems like a lot of work! But you also have some experience where you could tackle it.

    Hmmm. Burda has so many interesting outerwear patterns though, I’d probably pass.

    My daughter’s first winter as a walker (she was ~ 15 months old), I bought this BEAUTIFUL winter white coat. Both grandmas told me to take it back. I did not. The coat was pretty much unwearable after a few weeks. LOL!

  13. Look at Vogue 9288. It “looks like you” and Vogue usually has good instructions and is wearable. I think the Burda pattern will cost you more hours than you’ll spend wearing it.

  14. Not a pattern I had seen, or one I would have chosen. You look brilliant in this sort of sculptural style so I think it would be good to continue. The back does look big, and the shoulder very wide – but as you identified it would look very different in a more solid fabric and with shoulder pads.
    I vote to continue 😉

  15. I too have fantasized about this one, but it’s looked so bad on everyone who has tried it…. I wonder whether you might reconsider the coat in your fantasy wardrobe? It has much of the same angularity that you look so good in, but might have a better chance of coming out decent

  16. Hmm, that pattern has some issues doesn’t it. It’s quite a stylish pattern though, shame. How about adapting Clare Coat from Closet Case Patterns? It got a similar asymmetry. Good luck and love the short hair cut.

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