When Spotty was selling pattern 3 for $10 recently (except for Vogue, unsurprisingly) I picked up a couple of Burdas. I haven’t sewn much with Burda over the years. I think that started because their patterns originally didn’t include seam allowances, but they have included them for a long, long time. And upon reflection, I made a fantastic hot pink raw silk suit from a Burda pattern when I was about 22 that saw quite a lot of wear to formal events. I wonder if I still have that pattern hiding somewhere in deep stash! But I digress. Burda 6988 appealed to me for the drop waisted dress.
I have been avoiding the recent return to the drop waist due to the old adage “if you wore it the last time, don’t wear it this time”. However, this is a fairly fitted bodice with a flared skirt – not a loose drop waist with a gathered skirt a la my hot pink waterwave taffeta year eleven formal dress from 1984 (which I absolutely LOVED, by the way). And actually, I was wearing drop waisted dresses well into the early 1990s. I loved them, and they loved me. So I gave it a whirl.
Now I have to say – I absolutely LOVE this dress! I checked my measurements against the ones on the pattern envelope and those on the pattern tissue, and decided to cut European size 40 (US 14). However, I did completely petite the pattern. This involved shortening the pattern at waist height, between the underarm and the shoulder (with a corresponding shortening on the sleeve piece) and through the skirt. Burda designs for a height of 168cm, which is 10 cm taller than me.
I am extremely happy with the fit through the front. The shoulders are possibly a tad wide, and I’ll bring them in the next time that I use the pattern, but the rest of the front fits very well. The shaping is from two french darts that start pretty much at the dropped waist seam and curve up to the bust. I sewed these as per the pattern, with a 5/8″ seam allowance. I was anticipating that I might need that seam allowance to play with, but didn’t actually need to make any changes. You can see the curve of the darts better on Ada.
The back also has darts for shaping. I was fairly unsure whether I would use them or not, and in the end decided to sew them up but at half the marked depth.
There’s still a fair bit of loose fabric there around the lower back, but I think that the solution is not to deepen the darts or make the waist tighter, but to shorten the back waist length. Even with my petiting of the bodice, the back bodice length appears to still be more than it needs to be. And coincidentally I just read a terrific blog post on this very topic. As it is, when I am moving the extra fabric doesn’t seem to be a problem and is possibly a plus.
Both fabrics were leftovers from other projects – hooray for stash busting! – and are both ponte/double knits from Darn Cheap Fabrics. I actually had to piece the print that I used for the skirt, but I bet you can’t easily spot where! A perfect fabrication for this dress. The boat neckline is sewn before the shoulder seams. I used fusible webbing then a twin needle to secure it, and twin needled the other hems as well.
I don’t often share side-on photos, but this one does show how nicely the front of this dress flows on me. Close to the body but not tight enough to highlight my bulges. Pretty good for a wearable muslin! I will bring in the upper sleeve a little as well as narrow the shoulders the next time I make it.
I can see myself using this pattern in the straight sheath version with a variety of sleeve lengths. Once I get that back fit spot on I might finally have a TNT for a sheath dress – something that I very rarely wear!