Pattern Review: BS-02-2013-115

In my previous pattern review post I showed off my other knit dress that I made from this year’s February Burda Magazine.  I have to say I was really excited about this issue when it came out, and I am even more excited about it now that I have made some of the patterns.  There are a lot more that are still on my wish list.  The second pattern I made up from this issue was the pretty twist-top maxi dress:


I wasn’t on board with the whole maxi dress trend when it started getting really big last year.  And I really wanted to avoid anything that made the words “frumpy” or “muumuu” come to mind.  On top of it all, I wasn’t sure how practical a maxi dress would actually be.  But, well, when the February Burda came out this pattern stuck in my mind.  Then, when I was at Nob Hill Fabrics in New Mexico, the ladies in the shop were talking about how they had made some really comfortable knit maxi dresses.  They were trying to sell me on a really basic tank-neck dress pattern, and my brain was like, uh, no, if I am making one of those it is going to be from the February Burda.  Of course, then I couldn’t get the idea out of my brain, and when I found out I was going to a few summer concerts I thought I would make this as an option for something to wear.  Happily, I decided to wear this dress the second evening, and I have to say it is super comfortable!  The ties in the back are maybe not the best to wear if you are going to be sitting in hard plastic seats for a long period of time, but otherwise this dress is great.  I was worried about the top being too low (I mean, it is Burda after all) but I felt very covered.  My only complaint is that there was maybe a bit too much side boob action (not indecent, but more than I would have liked), but otherwise this pattern was great.  I don’t know if I am a full maxi dress convert, but I am really happy to have at least one in my wardrobe.

My summer maxi dress.
Back of the dress.  You can’t really see them,
but there are long ties that hang down the back.
Front knot/twist detail.
The most complicated part of the dress construction, but worth it!
Side seam – the back ties are attached here
and not a continuation of the front detail.
Pretty happy with my summer dress!

Here is my official pattern review:

Pattern Description:  Twist-front maxi dress with gathered shoulders, v-neck, and long ties on the back.

Pattern Sizing:  Burda sizes 36-44.  I used size 38 around the neck, graded out to size 40 at the bust, and a size 44 at the hips.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Well, this is the illustrated pattern for the month, so they actually weren’t too bad.  The written instructions themselves were oddly detailed at the easy parts and super confusing at the hard parts, so I was really happy for the illustrations, because I don’t know if I could have made it without them.  Though about halfway through making the top I was suddenly able to “see” how it all fit together and at that point I only used the instructions to make sure I wasn’t doing anything terribly wrong.  The only part that was confusing was illustration #5 and #5a – you need to make sure you have a small opening so that the lower front can come through the hole to be used for the under bust gathers.  I had to do more than a bit of stitch unpicking when I screwed up that step.  Otherwise it wasn’t too difficult to figure out.  Granted, last year I made the twist-front dress from the March issue (BS-03-2012-108B), and the construction was somewhat similar, so I think that might have helped me puzzle my way through this dress fairly quickly as well.

Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it?  Yes!  I thought it looked very much like the photo and line drawing in the magazine.  I was very pleased with the results.

What did you particularly like/dislike about this pattern?  I really liked the style of the dress (the neckline and knot detail are very flattering), and I was really happy that this was the illustrated pattern for the month (don’t know if I could have made it too easily otherwise).  Dislikes:  These are only minor complaints, but I felt like the armholes were a bit too large on the front, and because of the gathering knot detail the dress puffs a bit on the front over the stomach area.  I feel like this isn’t too bad or too unflattering, but it is something to consider.  Otherwise I really love this pattern.

Fabric used:  ITY knit print from Fabric Mart.  The print is my favorite color combo – teal/blue and purple!  I had been thinking about making this dress when I saw this fabric online and I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.  This is a fairly thin fabric, which I think helped keep the knot detail from being too bulky or the dress from being too heavy.  I think you could use a slightly heavier knit, but I think the fabric must have a nice drape for the final dress to look good.

Pattern alterations or design changes you made:  The only change I made was to add extra length at the hem.  I thought it looked a bit short on the model (though, to be fair, she is wearing rather high heels and I was planning to wear flats) and I am about an inch taller than the regular/average Burda sizes.  So I added three inches to the hem when I cut it out, and ended up needing about one and half to have the length I wanted.  Otherwise the dress is made as drafted, and constructed as described in the instructions.

Would you sew this again?  Would you recommend this to others?  Yes, I would sew it again, though I might make it as a shorter length dress rather than as another maxi-length.  I really like the fit of the top (and it will be even better when I made the minor adjustment to the armhole) and I would love to have another one of these in my wardrobe.  I would recommend this pattern to others, though I will say I think it will be more flattering on ladies with fuller busts, simply because of the size and position of the knot detail.

Conclusion:  Love this pattern!  I am much happier with my dress than I thought I would be, especially since I wasn’t really a fan of maxi dresses to begin with, so I am glad I decided to give this pattern a try anyway.  It was super comfy to wear, and great for an outdoor event (not too hot during the day, but great to be covered when the evening got chilly).  I am very pleased with the fit and the style and I think I might make another version (though perhaps a shorter length) in the future.

The print might be a bit more than what I usually go for, but I am really happy with the way this dress turned out.  It was something that was really comfortable and I forgot I was wearing it (which is really the best thing – when you don’t feel self conscious, and you aren’t tugging or pulling at things that don’t stay put).  I don’t know how many more wears it will get this year (as we head into fall) but it will definitely be a large part of my summer wardrobe rotation next year!

7 thoughts on “Pattern Review: BS-02-2013-115

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