I just finished BurdaStyle 04-2013-109A yesterday and I am tickled pink with it.
You may remember it as the cover dress for the April issue. I was immediately struck by it's simplicity and the calm blue tones of the model dress. It also appeared, at first glance, to have a sort of boat neckline- one of my favorites.
The technical drawing, however, was slightly off-putting. The design was intriguing, but it looked like it would require a special bra, and there was almost no shaping, other than the tiny darts angling down from the armholes and a hint of curve in the side seams.
This is a simple shift dress, with a high, round neckline (although not quite as high and small as the photo below would have you believe,) cut in shoulders, bust darts, and minimal waist shaping.
I fully expected, when I made my muslin, to have to add a couple of vertical darts in back for shaping. But I decided I quite like the slim, straight fit. It's comfortable, and much more flattering than I thought it would be. So no additional darts.
The pattern is cut pretty slim. I almost always cut a 46 at the hip- that's my size. But I found with my muslin that there just wasn't enough room if I wanted to sit or walk. You can see in the photo below that even on the slender model, the hips are almost snug.
I was able to compensate by taking a 3/8" seam allowance at the hip. That gave me enough extra room to make the dress work.
Even though this dress is super simple, I highly recommend making a muslin. I am so glad I did, because if I'd gone straight to my fashion fabric, this would have been a wadder! The armholes on this are low. I had to raise them 1.25" just to barely cover my bra band. And that's after making that petite adjustment. Oh, and by the way, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I can wear this with my favorite regular bra- no racer back or special bra required!
Burda rates this as a 3 dot pattern, but that's because the blue view is lined and has beads and gems hand sewn at the neckline. My dress is not lined. I did not use the facing pieces provided either. I found with my muslin that I could wiggle into and out of the dress without a closure. So I omitted the button closure at the back of the neck (another good reason to make a muslin- to see if you can get it on over your head.) I did install an invisible zip in the left side seam, just because it was easy, it made the dress seem a little nicer, and I didn't want to strain my fabric getting in and out of it. The neckline and armholes are finished with black bias binding.
And speaking of fabric, I used black linen embroidered with 1" high palm trees which I've had marinating in my stash for a few years. It's one of those fabrics that looking back, I don't know what I was thinking when I bought 4 yards of it! I'd been looking for something simple with few seams so I didn't have to worry with cutting through and sewing over the heavily embroidered trees. This seemed perfect.
And even though the fabric is black, the loose fit combined with the linen make this dress cool and comfortable. I just can't get over how much I love this dress. It's very simple, bordering on plain, but I love it. I feel quite chic and sophisticated in this. And the palm trees remind me of home- Savannah, GA.
I have no plans to make this again right now. I have a ton of other projects on my to-do list. But I would definitely make it again if the right fabric presented itself. I'd love to try it in a novelty fabric, maybe with some embroidery or jewel embellishments like the model in the magazine.
I'm so pleased with the way this turned out that I pulled a couple of patterns out of my stash that have a similar silhouette that I've been too afraid to try before now. In fact, one of my next projects will be a similar straight cut dress from Burda.
Long live the shift dress!