Friday, February 22, 2013

The Theater Dress - Burda Project 11/2012

Finalmente - its finally done! 

You would think it was difficult to make.  Not so. Making Burda's "theater dress" was easy. Getting it to fit my daughter who lives in another state was the difficult part.

It all started around the time I received my November issue of the Burda magazine. I'm new to the Burda universe. Though I have been a visitor to for some time now, this was only my third issue of the pattern magazine. In general, I love the international flavor of the website and magazine. I am truly intrigued to see what people around the world are sewing and amazed at how many young people are into the craft in a serious way. Since my personal goals revolve around perfecting my garment sewing skills, I love the fact that that seems to be Burda's forte as well.  

Just a day or two before receiving my November issue, I happened to be perusing a women's clothing catalog where I saw a darling dress that I thought would look lovely on my daughter. A relatively simple dress with 3/4 sleeves, a fitted silhouette done in a teal-ish green ponte knit that would be perfect for the office or could be dressed up for an evening out.

When I began paging through the Burda magazine that arrived the following day there it was. The same dress I had just seen in the catalog. Well, not exactly the same, but the lines and silhouette of the dress were essentially the same. Right then and there I decided to make Burda's "theater dress" for my daughter.  A simple task I thought. Something she could wear for the holidays, possibly for our Christmas eve party.  Boy, was I wrong! What I thought would take a few weeks turned into several months to complete.

Burda Magazine 11/2012 - Theater Dress
While I love and will continue to be part of the Burda universe I do find fault with Burda's focus on women so much younger than me. While I am the first to appreciate youthful silhouettes and modern day styles, I no longer have a 'youthful silhouette'.  So, unfortunately, many of the patterns offered in the magazine simply don't suit me.  On the other hand, many relate quite well to my daughter, who fits both Burda's age profile and has a figure well suited to many of their stylish garments.

It was the first time using one of the patterns from the magazine. It was also the first time using their sizing specs. What an eyeopener that was!  And, I thought multi-sized patterns were a challenge! It was also the first time making my daughter a dress from a distance where I couldn't easily fit her. 

I changed the style of the Burda dress ever so slightly. The long sleeves became 3/4 length, and the dress length was shortened considerably to suit my daughter's taste. I also added a vent to the back of the skirt and fully lined it. My fabric of choice was a teal-ish green colored, medium weight ponte knit, similar to the catalog dress.
The design of the dress was pretty simple so making the actual dress was pretty straightforward. Getting it to fit my daughter was altogether another story. A rather fitted dress style, getting the fit just right was pretty important.  So, I started with a muslin altering the pattern specs to fit my daughter's bust, waist and hip measurements. 

Since she lived several states away, I waited until she was visiting home for the Thanksgiving weekend for her first muslin fitting. Despite having cut the pattern to her measurements, the fit wasn't even close! Everything was 1-2 sizes too big and the back didn't fit at all. Back to the drawing board. Almost all of the bodice details had to be adjusted - front and back darts, armholes, neckline, and don't get me started on fitting the back. With so many adjustments I now had to wait until she returned home for the Christmas holiday to see how the revised muslin would fit.

Christmas arrived and we commenced once again refitting the muslin. Still too big! So more adjustments and additional alterations to the pattern. In the hustle and bustle of the holidays getting my daugther to even sit for a fitting was itself a challenge. When I finally got her to try the dress on again it was literally the day before she was to return home. She tried on the dress, and the back was still not right. OMG!!  There was no time to finish it before she jumped on her plane home, so once again, more adjustments and waiting. 

Fortunately, I was able to pin the last of the alterations in place before she left so I could complete the dress in her absence.  All in all it turned out beautifully. Off went the dress in the mail to my daughter with a prayer this final version would finally fit her.  And, indeed it did! Hurray! Double Hurray!

In the meantime, I made a duct tape dressform of her in hopes future projects won't be so problematic. I have a blouse in the works which will test the dressform sizing.  We'll see.

As for more Burda pattern projects, I'm a bit leeryWhile I am fully aware of the fitting challenges garment sewing represents, its something I am determined to master. As such I have declared 2013 the year I master the art of fitting.  I'm just not sure it will be with a Burda magazine pattern. 




  1. Hi Linda,

    Thanks for stopping by the blog and sharing your love of Burdastyle! The dress you made for your daughter is fantastic!

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  4. Burda has different magazines on the market
    e.g. for young people, children, and plus size that might suit your interests better .
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  5. Burda has different magazines on the market
    e.g. for young people, children, and plus size that might suit your interests better .
    Plus size magazine have very elegant clothes