I just put the finishing touches on this knit dress, Burda Style 12-2013-119 C:
Burda describes it as having a "large waterfall neckline, wide batwing sleeves, and ankle length skirt." I don't need a long dress right now, so I shortened mine to knee length.
As you can see from the tech drawing, the dress/top has some simple, yet interesting lines. I particularly like the way the sleeves are separate pieces sewn to the cowl neck bodice. The bodice is narrow, but the wide sleeves keep the proportions from looking odd.
There is a lot going on up top, but the simple, straight skirt with elasticized waistband keeps the dress from getting too complicated.
I used an ITY knit in black and teal that I picked up at Hancock's a few months ago. It's the perfect weight and has just the right amount of stretch for this pattern. I'd been wanting to use it for a while, and I'd even been looking at other Burda knit dress patterns, when this issue arrived in the mail. I decided to give this pattern a try.
The pattern is offered in sizes 36 to 44. I cut a 42 from shoulder to waist, and a 44 skirt that I graded out to a 46 at the hip. I had to estimate how long to make the skirt and I almost goofed. I had just enough length to turn up a 5/8" hem and still have it hit at the knee.
I added one inch of length to the bodice just above the waist seam, and another inch to the skirt just below the waist seam. I also shortened the sleeves by 1.25." I made no other alterations to the pattern pieces. However, when I tried the dress on, the neckline was very wide (thank goodness I remembered to interface the back neck and the shoulder seams to prevent further stretching) and the cowl hung very low in front. Almost "wardrobe malfunction" low. To remedy this, I took the shoulder seams in about 5/8," which brought the neckline in just enough to make it wearable. Problem solved.
I'm pretty happy with the finished dress, however, there a a couple of things I wish I'd known, or wish I'd anticipated before construction. First of all, the cowl, or what Burda calls the "large waterfall neckline" is very generous. There is a lot of fabric in that bodice. It's almost overwhelming. If I made this again, I'd look for a way to decrease the volume in the cowl. It is well drafted, though. The extra fabric is pleated and caught into the shoulder seams and the facing inside is plenty long enough and caught into the armhole seams so there is no chance that it will flop to the outside.
The second thing is that the shoulder seams are quite bulky. There are three pleats caught into each shoulder, and combined with the bodice back and the facing there are at least eight layers of fabric in those seams. I folded carefully, basted and stitched, and then trimmed carefully, too, but it's just a lot of fabric in one seam. As a result it almost looks like I added shoulder pads, but it's simply the way the dress is made. It doesn't bother me, but it's something to be aware of.
The sleeves are still quite long, even though I shortened the pattern. I think this is a design feature. The sleeves look long on the model, and Burda often shows very long sleeves pushed up on the arm. I may go back and take the sleeves in a little bit from wrist to elbow to make them more snug. As they are now, I have to push them up or they hang loose and combined with the cowl, they start to look a little sloppy.
This is a pretty simple dress to cut out and put together. Burda rated it a 1.5 dot pattern and there are only four pattern pieces to trace (and a neckband for the back.) It does take quite a bit of fabric because the sleeve pieces are very wide and the front bodice is quite long. It took almost 3 whole yards of fabric for this knee length version. I had just enough left to cut a sash, but I don't think I will. With the front draping, I think a narrow belt will look better.
All in all it's a pretty good pattern- a nice variation on the cowl neck dress/top. I doubt I'll make it again, though. There are too many other patterns out there calling my name. In fact, there is a chevron pattern ponte in my stash calling me right now and a New Look pattern somewhere in the sewing room that is just dying to be made.
What are your December sewing plans?