Thursday, February 13, 2014

Burda 03-2012-104, Cowl Drape and Corset Drop Waist Dress

Burda 03-2012-104 Thumbnail

This rayon/mohair suiting fabric was a Fabric Mart Crazy Price $2.99/yd item that I got in September of last year.   I wasn't sure if it would be too shiny (the description was slightly alarming) but it turns out to be a very lovely rich navy with a hint of sheen, though because of the high rayon content it wrinkles fairly heavily when sitting on it.  All in all a pretty good buy (not that I ever need more fabric).

In deciding what to make with it, I was heavily influenced by this Antonio Berardi ($2065).  I love the cowl, the wide corset-style midriff, and the slightly drop waist.  I remembered that Burda 03-2012-104 had very similar lines and just had to make it.  Spoiler alert:  Mine does not capture the magic of the inspiration dress.

Extend Shoulder Length

The major issue with the Burda was the narrow, cut-in shoulder.  I wanted full shoulder coverage with a sleeve so I needed to extend the shoulder.  The upper cowl portion of the front is cut with a full self-facing, so it wasn't as simple as just making the shoulder longer (what I would normally do).

My method added some volume to the cowl, but based on the magazine photo it didn't look like this would make the cowl too low.

I started by making a line between the front and the front self facing long the fold line, dividing the front from the self-facing at the shoulder.  Then I split along the line and spread the pattern by the length I wanted to add to the shoulder.  I continued the angle of the shoulder line from the pattern as drafted.  The now angled center front (at the bottom of the marked-up photo) is straightened and filled in with tissue.

Completed Upper Bodice Pattern

Because the front cowl is cut on the bias, I made a complete pattern piece that could be cut single layer, integrating my alteration to the shoulder length and added volume.

Use TNT Woven Top to Alter Back

The back was much easier to alter.  I do love having a TNT woven top.  I didn't have to do a broad back or calculate the shoulder length or anything.  I just popped my TNT under my traced pattern piece and trued it up.  Everything fits as it should in the back.

Clip to Point on Midriff

Construction was pretty straightforward.  I interfaced the front and back midriff sections because the fabric is somewhat lightweight and quite wrinkle-prone.  I wanted the corset lines to look corset-y, not collapsed and saggy.  To get the point at the front waist, I clipped all the way to the stitch line on the midriff.


To emphasize the corset lines, I used a twin needle to topstitch along the princess seams and the joining seams with the upper bodice and the skirt.  With the dark fabric, this very subtle detail shows pretty much not at all, but I didn't want to do a contrast thread for this work dress.

Silver Lining

It's lined with a silvery gray poly purchased on our Pilgrimage to Fabric Mart ($1.99/yd).  The back neckline has a facing that I stitched to the lining along the lower edge of the facing before attaching at the neck, as the hand is too different between the fashion fabric and the lining to line to the edge.

I may not love the dress, but at last it has a silver lining!  (I bought 10 yards of the lining, so get used to this joke.)


I know that I cannot wear a drop waist.  I am too short and too pear shaped for a drop waist.  Why did I think this would be different?  This is not a great dress on me.  I like the individual features of it, but the shape is not my best.

I was too influenced by the inspiration dress, and then after I finished this dress and went to look at the inspiration again, I realized that it doesn't really have a dropped waist, just a shaped one.


Adding an obi helps, although then I started second-guessing myself thinking that I looked like an extra in Star Trek from a planet of peaceful peoples who put on elaborate military drills with dummy weapons as their cultural entertainment.  I don't know.  I'll keep wearing it like this but it will never be a favorite.  It does serve its purpose when I need to dress up, as it works well with a jacket.

Looking back through my woven top inspiration board, I also found this Vivienne Westwood Red Label Draped crepe top ($355) with similar lines, so maybe I can rescue the pattern by making a top from it?  Although I'm not sure if this violates my No More Empire Waist rule.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


McVal said...

It looks so CUTE on you! I can't believe it's not your favorite... Even with the Star Trek reference!

Kelly D. said...

I really like it! It's a wonderful winter work dress, and I actually think the drop waist is subtle and flattering, at least in these photos!

annie said...


T. Sedai said...

I think it looks really cute with the belt! Don't second guess the belt.

I think it looks really great, but I also understand not loving something after you have made it. Happens too often to me - usually with stuff that photographs well but doesn't look fantastic in real life.

I think you should try the top though - I think it would look really cute with a skirt, or under a jacket with trousers.

Samina said...

Ooh, I like this dress, too. My vote (if you're asking) is for the sans-obi look. I think it looks more elegant without.

Anonymous said...

There must be something IRL that's not being captured by the camera, because I think this dress looks great on you! But, if it's not a favorite, it's not a favorite, and that's OK too. I do hope you'll give it another go after it's been sitting in the closet for a while; that often changes a "meh" to a "why didn't I like that again?" for me.

liza jane said...

I think you should put it away for a while and then pull it back out with fresh eyes. I think it looks really cute on you. The drop waist is just a slight one and I think it is very flattering! I like it much better with out the obi belt.

Sandy said...

I was going to say this looks wonderful on you! For a start it is a great colour for you. and then I read you don't like it.

I prefer it without the obi. But the way you look in the dress made me think I want to do this to a pattern! Perhaps not a cowl because I sure don't need anything extra up there, but I sure love the shape.
Sandy in the UK
(Sew Whatever)

Anonymous said...

Personally I think it fits you! With or without the obi! (maybe a different color? darker maybe?!)

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

You nailed the elements of the inspiration dress in your dress. Love the color you chose too!

Andrea said...

I love this dress on you and the obi belt is a very nice touch as well.

Vicki said...

I think you are too harsh on yourself. The dress looks nice. I like the idea of the obi too but the silver does stand out a bit. Do you have any left over fabric to make one?

Nancy K said...

I actually like it better without the obi belt, and the issues you have with it really don't show in the photos. It would make a lovely top too. Nice to be able to make two distinctly different pieces with a garment you've had to alter significantly.

Trumbelina said...

I don't know... I think if you made it again, all you would need to do is shorten the middle section so it was more in proportion with your height—like a petite adjustment. As-is I also think it looks great with the belt.

Faye Lewis said...

Love your dress Trena. Lovely belt!

Little Hunting Creek said...

I would wear it BECAUSE of the Star Trek reason, but it does look cute on you.

Meigan said...

I really like this with the obi belt. :)

PJ said...

That is a really cute dress on or no obi. Maybe it's the fabric you don't like, but it looks good in your pictures.

Uta said...

Too bad you don't love it... I think your dress is much nicer than the inspiration dress. I also think sleeves look better with all that's going on on top. I must admit when I read the titel I was confused how all of that would fit into one dress :-) I love it!

Kristy said...

I don't think it looks very Star Wars at all. I don't even recall this one from Burda, but as usual yours lturned out better than the original pattern. Love the silver lining joke too....

LinB said...

You're second-guessing your self, and "shoulding" all over yourself by saying no more drop waists (which is not a category in which I would place this dress, anyway). This silhouette looks GREAT on you! The cowl above the corseting is quite flattering, and the skirt has more than enough volume to skim your not-really-very-hippy hips. As to the Star Trek nature of the obi shot, this would barely qualify as the preferred outfit for a kitchen helper in my fantasy Star Trek wedding scenario ... each week at the thrift store, I amuse myself by picking which one of the glittery wonders on the racks would be perfect for a Star Trek wedding. Some days are all silver, some are all gold. If you wore the dress inside out and tied the obi on your head, you could man the guest book station.

Anonymous said...

I do actually love this dress on you, but I wonder if maybe it has a bit too much sleeve. It looks like the sort of dress the cries out for a 3/4 length sleeve.

That probably negates the coverage you were going for, and really, the dress looks perfectly lovely as it is, so its possible I could be talking out my rump! :)

Maureen said...

I think this is lovely and suits you very well. I love reading your intrepid sewing adventures and your skill levels are such an inspiration. I think in time you will get to love this dress. I think it is one of your nicest.

SEWN said...

I think it is pretty flattering on you, but I understand your feeling of if it doesn't feel right for you, then it's just not right.

Joy said...

Silver lining, haha!

I have to say, this is one my favorite of your makes in a while. I'm not the one wearing of course, but it has such a nice silhouette - with and without the obi.

frifris said...

You've already had a load of comments stating that this dress looks lovely on you, and I'm just another one joining the crowd. You should really really wear this dress, I cannot find the shape wrong for you at all (it doesn't really look like a dropwaist). The cowl is flattering and so is the midriff.
Wear it without the obi, or maybe with a teenytiny narrow belt, yellow or red or some other colour.
haha, the silver lining joke made me laugh. ;)