Knowing when to give up: Burda 116 09/2018

Looks OK on the dressform, doesn’t it? This is my version of Burda 116 09/2018, a fitted dress from my list of favourite Burda dresses. Here’s Burda’s version:

Model photo of Burda 116 09/2018. Blonde woman wearing fitted grey dress.

Sadly however the end result does not look at all OK on me. It’s oddly droopy in most places, and yet tight across the bust.

I did make a few changes which may have contributed to the problems. I used a stable ponte knit instead of a woven. I checked the ease on the pattern and it seemed OK for a knit, but once I tried the dress on I realised I should have sized down and done a full bust adjustment. I also added somewhat unsuccessful hip pockets; the lines don’t harmonise with the princess seams on the bodice very well. And I made the sleeves full length, only I got that wrong too and they are only full length because they’re not hemmed!

This is the dress where I followed Burda’s method for adding length to a bodice by splitting the adjustment above and below the bust point, instead of adding it all below as I’ve been doing for years. Many commenters said Burda’s instructions didn’t sound like a good idea and you were right! Look how deep the armscye is. At least I know now not to bother with that again.

I’m also not terribly happy with the neckline and collar. Burda’s version has square corners and a sharp v, but the sewing lines on the pattern are curved. I followed the pattern without really thinking, and the end result is pretty different to the one photographed in the magazine. It’s not curved enough to look intentional in my opinion.

I’m pleased with my top stitching though. There’s a lot of top stitched seam detail on the back. I skipped the centre back zip as I was using a knit.

I’m also quite pleased with the finish I got on the inside. The lining is black tricot mesh. It was an absolute beast to sew; it slipped and snagged at every opportunity.

But unfortunately I don’t think the dress is savable because of the armscye problem. Everything else could be fixed or lived with, but that would need recutting the whole bodice and I haven’t got any more of the fabric. And to be quite honest I’m pretty much over this one and don’t want to put the effort in! I’ll just have to chalk it up to experience.

20 thoughts on “Knowing when to give up: Burda 116 09/2018

  1. I think the length adding depends on the person. I just finished V1643, which I overall was too long for me above the waist. However, I had to add 1″ above the bust and remove 1.5″ between bust and waist on the petite lines. It entirely depends on the neck-to-bust and bust-to-waist lengths where you add/remove.

  2. How disappointing! All that beautiful topstitching 😳..

    But I don’t think the 1/3 formula is correct for the height adjustment either. Look here for the best thing they ever published about height adjustment https://assets.burdastyle.com/pdf_files/assets/000/070/560/burda-pattern-alteration-for-petites_original.pdf?1252968600 they are only adding 2cm total to the bodice, and adding 7mm to the armscye. This is for petites but exact same changes for tall, I once saw that on paper. I don’t think 7mm is unreasonable for 6-10cm total height difference, it’s about what I (1m70) need to add to the more usual short-woman patterns.

    But you are adding 5cm, not 2. Clearly though the extra 3cm is pure torso length, you have pretty slim arms, there is nothing funny going on with your armscye that would require anything more than the basic recommended 7mm. Going with the hard number rather than the proportion of the original formula is where the solution lies I think. Easy to say in retrospect, eh 😒?

    1. You are highlighting how important it is the know how your own body length proportions in relations to a pattern pattern company’s standard draft proportions. My height is in between petite and the standard height, yet most of my length reductions are in the leg. I really appreciate that Burda and Ottobre mark the knee position on their pants patterns.

      1. Very good point susew! I myself combine the torso of a 6′ woman with the legs of a shortish one. I can do Burda regular shirts because I like my shirts on the cropped side, and because I have short arms. And the regular pants rise suits me because my waist is high, but I need to hack several inches of leg off. Knowing yourself is a good thing 😏

  3. GORGEOUS work, such a shame it hasn’t worked out for you. Ah well, onward and upward
    I’m trying to gather together enough energy to do some sewing but the first week of school has wrecked me lol I need another fortnight in bed already

  4. I think you re corrrect – if the collar was as sharp as the picture seems to be i would hang on to it- but then correcting the armscye is not really doable- i agree. the topstitchig is beautiful tho

  5. So disappointing and frustrating when a garment doesn’t turn out and this one had so much work with the lining and all the wondering seaming details.

  6. So sad this didn’t work for you. It looks really good, and you’ve learned from it so not a complete bust. Will you make it again using what you now know?

  7. I am 100% in favor of chucking projects like this and moving on. So much time and effort and energy and it just doesn’t work. On to the next!

  8. What lovely topstitching! I find it difficult to do on Jersey, and didn’t know you could topstitch darts, I must try that. It looks SO nice. What a shame it isn’t turning out. Is it possible to at least be able to save the skirt part?

  9. What a disappointment – and such beautiful topstitching! I always find it tricky to switch recommended fabrics with Burda patterns. And all that work with horrid unpredictable tricot – oh, too bad! But like that coat you never completed because the toile didn’t work… I agree with kssews: next project!

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