This Burda shift dress has been on my to-do list for a long time. The simple lines and the easy shift silhouette caught my eye immediately when the magazine came out in 2011.
Of course, it was pictured like this and made up in suede leather...
But the tech drawing always looked like it had potential:
I finally decided to tackle the pattern this summer. The biggest change I made was fabric selection. Suede would not be very practical for me so I chose this teal rayon linen blend from Joann's. It sewed beautifully and feels comfortable in the summer heat and humidity.
The pattern was offered up to a size 46 so I traced a 44 from shoulder to hip and a 46 from the hip down. I made a muslin and everything looked fine except the waist was a tad too high. I compensated by taking a 3/8" seam allowance there rather than the 5/8" I added to the pattern.
That was about 2 months ago. I took my time cutting the fabric out and then had to put the project on hold while I helped my daughter with her 4H project. I finally got around to sewing this up about 2 weeks ago. To my surprise it was too big. I've been pretty active this summer, walking about 10-12 miles each week and I've lost an inch here and there. I ended up having to take the sides in about a half inch all the way down and I also took in the center back about 1/4". The fit is better, although not perfect, and I maintained the loose, shift dress look.
I didn't really use the Burda instructions. They were written for leather and called for raw edges, gluing seam allowances down, and did not provide for finishing the neckline. Since I used linen, I had to plan the order of construction and figure out how to finish things off inside. I serged most of the seams, but the center front and center back panels are lined with self fabric which finishes the neckline and the zipper nicely. (There is an invisible zipper in the center back seam and a hook and eye at the top.)
I was tempted to omit the pockets out of laziness, but I'm glad I put them in. They are a nice touch, although I think they look rather small. I might go back and add another row of topstitching right outside the existing one. It might at least give the illusion of a bigger pocket.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased. I might give this dress another go later on now that I've worked out the construction. I think I could tweak the fit a bit more through the bust and under the arms, and I could do a petite adjustment above the bust. I might even start over with a smaller size since this one turned out big.
And now off to squeeze in a little more summer sewing...