Pattern Review: BS 05-2011-104

Alright, so I was supposed to be sewing up the coat for my sister.  Of course, I really really wanted to make a dress for me for a party instead.  So I did.  It ended up… a little crazy though.  But I like it.  I just don’t know if I can wear it and not look ridiculous.  The dress itself is pretty simple – the BurdaStyle 05-2011-104 dress with gathered neckline:

BS 05-2011-104

While I don’t think I would wear this in the orange color Burda has chosen, I don’t know how I feel about my crazy print version either:

Crazy World of Color dress!

On the one hand, I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it, and I still love this fabric now.  On the other hand, the dress is a bit much.  I think if I were a bit older or going on a vacation it would be fun.  As of right now… it might look a little insane.  Overall I like the dress.  I just feel a bit self-conscious wearing it.

The back
Elastic casing at the waist
Gathered neckline

Of course, since I made a nice light summery dress, the weather decided on having thunderstorms, and cold breezy winds.  Did I end up wearing this dress?  No.  I wore my stripy cowl neck shirt as a compromise.  I had really wanted to make a summer dress though, so I am at least glad I got it in before summer was totally over.  Oh well.  I can at least use it next year.  And while I really like the dress overall, there are a few things I would want to change.  Here is my official pattern review:

Pattern Description: Loose fitting dress with pleated top, pockets, and elastic waist band.

Pattern Sizing: Burda sizes 36-44.  I made a 40 on the top and graded out to a 44 at the hips.  While the neckline wasn’t excessively low, and the style is supposed to be loose-fitting, I think I may go to a 38 at the neckline should I make this again, at least for the backside of the pattern as it seemed a bit too wide.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I thought they weren’t bad, especially for Burda.  Of course, this dress is pretty simple so I don’t know how much the instructions are necessary.  The only confusing bit was about using bias strips to finish off the bottom of the sleeves, but there was nothing totally incomprehensible.  This might actually be a good pattern for a first time Burda user.

Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it?  Yes, for the most part.  I changed the hem length to make it a bit more flattering.  Other than that it was very similar to the model photo.

What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern?  I liked the simple style and it was easy to put together.  I liked the elastic waist because it is comfortable but also gives a bit more fit to the dress.  I did like the fact that it has pockets.  I did not like that this dress used neck facings; they seem to cause the neck to poof up a bit.  I also felt like the back of the neck on this pattern was a bit too large and seemed to gape a lot.  I have made other Burda patterns with higher necklines in the same size and not had this problem, so I think the issue is with the pattern and not with the sizing I chose.

Fabric used:  A very lightweight polyester print from Joann.  I love the lightness of the material, but it still provides decent coverage and opacity.  It was also very stable and did not stretch out after I cut it, although the edges did fray a bit more than I would have liked.

Pattern alterations or design changes you made:  I did add 2 inches to the length above the waistline. This is a usual adjustment for me on all patterns, and I did it here to preserve the drape of the top.  Because of the elastic waistband, all the extra length went into the blousey top part and the bottom half still fit correctly.  I also raised the hemline by over an inch.  Looking at the original model photo, the hemline is a bit long there as well, but I felt a shorter length was more flattering on me.  I also tacked down the neck facings in the front, although the instructions only say to tack down the facings where there are seam lines.  Since there are gathered pleats in the front, I tacked the facings down under the fabric folds so the threads wouldn’t show, and this seems to have helped a lot with the neckline stability.  In the future I would use a smaller size on the upper back half of the pattern only, as the neck is just a bit too big and gapes open more than I would like.  I might also consider a slight swayback adjustment, since there is a lot more fabric pooling above the back waistband than in the front.  I would also consider a different finishing technique for the neckline so as to avoid using the facings.

Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?  I might sew it again.  I do not often wear dresses, so I would be much more inclined to sew style 103 – the tunic top.  I would recommend this pattern with the caution about the back of the neck gaping a bit much.  I think it would be wise to go a size smaller on the back of the neck than on the front, in order to get a better fit.

Conclusion:  Overall I like this pattern.  It is a nice simple summery dress without too many features, but has enough details to be interesting.  It is very quick to sew, although it took me a while because I decided to use French seams to help with my fraying fabric problems.  I would probably make this again, but as a tunic top and not as a dress.  I am not sure how I feel about my choice of fabric, as it is a bit loud compared to what I usually wear.  I really love the fabric, I just feel a bit odd wearing it.  I think the pattern as drafted is a bit too large at the back of the neck, and the hem length may not be the most flattering for everyone, but those are easily fixable problems.  I don’t think this will be a favorite pattern, but I am glad I made this dress and I do overall like the result.

So yeah.  I took a day off of the coat to make a dress.  It was really hot out and I just couldn’t bring myself to work with black wool.  In any case, back to coat sewing for me.  With any luck, the next finished object post should be a wool coat!

3 thoughts on “Pattern Review: BS 05-2011-104

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