Pattern Review: BurdaStyle Magazine 12-2017-120 Red Velvet Dress (Stash Contest Entry #1)

I wasn’t planning on entering any more Pattern Review contests this year; the Sewing Bee was quite a bit of effort and I sort of wanted to meander where I would with the remaining month this year.  However, since the final contest is a stash-busting contest, I figured it would be worth a go.  I think everything in my stash is fair game, except leftovers from my Bee entries and commissioned projects I have yet to complete.  So, I figured I’d tip my hat into the ring.  I’ve no intention of trying to win this contest; I have a very busy month and likely won’t get nearly the amount of sewing done that I’d like to, but I figured I could help Pattern Review get its yardage count up there.

It’s a good thing it’s a fabric stash contest, and not a pattern stash contest, because my first make is from the most recent December Burda:


Turns out I have several holiday parties to go to this month, so I thought I’d start this month off making some holiday party dresses so I’d have some options of things to wear.  For the contest, I decided to pull out some of my old fabrics and see if I had anything suitable.  Turns out I had several velvets I wanted to use, but none with enough yardage to work for this dress, except for this burgundy patterned stretch velvet.  Here’s my version:

Close-up details:

I think it is much better with the belt, but here it is plain, just for review purposes:

Here is my official pattern review:

How long has your fabric been in your stash?  I’ve had this stash since around April or May 2012, so about 4.5 years.  It was originally purchased to make skating costumes, but plans changed and the fabric was never used.  I used all three yards in my stash for this dress, and have no leftovers.

Why did you make this item?  Just for stash busting or was it in your queue anyways?  This pattern just came out in the latest issue of BurdaStyle Magazine.  I wasn’t actually planning to make this dress in particular, but I am going to a few holiday parties this year and thought this might make a good pattern.  When I was sorting through my stash looking for fabrics for this contest, I thought it would be a perfect pairing.

Pattern Description: Women’s dress with draped collar and button shoulder detail.

Pattern Sizing: Burda tall sizes 72-88.  (Note: Burda tall sizes are simply a doubling of the regular sizes, meaning this corresponds to sizes 36-44).  I made a size 80 at the shoulder and bust, grading out to an 84 at the waist, and an 88 at the arms and hip.  I did end up taking a bit out of the center back, and did not make any adjustments to “un-tall” this pattern.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I thought the instructions were pretty good, but I’m fairly certain there is a mistake on the instructions to make the left shoulder tabs (where the buttons go).  The instructions say to sew the neck seam with “wrong sides in” but then later tell you to flip it “right side out.”  I sewed it as a normal seam – right sides in, so that it would have a clean seam finish when I flipped it right side out.  This seemed to work for me.  Otherwise this was pretty easy to follow.  There’s even a bonus section with tips for sewing with velvet, which was actually fairly insightful.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope once you were done with it?  Yes, I even used a deep red/gold color combo.

What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern?  Likes: The pattern has you set the sleeves in flat, which is amazing.  I also love the drape and buttons on the left shoulder – so elegant!  The skirt is also the perfect shape, and drapes beautifully.  Dislikes: The neckline has a facing, which isn’t my favorite, but I think is actually sort of necessary here to keep the shape of the neckline and provide support for this dress.  The style can read a bit mature, I think.  Also, just be aware that is is a tall pattern, so it has more length than a normal Burda pattern.  I’m sort of that weird height where I can make both regular and tall patterns and everything fits ok (the waistline on this dress was perfect for me, the sleeves perhaps about an inch long), but I’d just throw that out as a caution to anyone looking to make this pattern.

Fabric used: Burgundy patterned stretch velvet.  The pattern is created by the nap of the velvet being pressed in different directions to create different effects with the light.  I believe this was originally purchased from Spandex World in 2012.  I also used tricot interfacing and 3 gold buttons from my stash.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The pattern calls for an invisible zipper down the back, but the neckline is so open, and my fabric was so stretchy, I didn’t see the need for it.  Also, I made the buttons fully functional, so I could open the neckline even more if I needed to do so (which I don’t).  I also used an invisible hem stitch to tack down the neck facing and all the hems, because I don’t have the patience to hand sew all that in place.  If you use a velvet with minimal stretch I could understand the need for a zip, but since this was originally purchased to be used for skating costumes, I didn’t see a need for it.  I also took about 2 inches out of the pattern at the waist center back, tapering down to nothing at the full hip, and taking about 1” out of the pattern at the back of the neck.  Interestingly, the side seams all lined up great, but the dress was too large at the center back.

Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?  I actually really wanted to sew this in a deep green velvet, but I didn’t have any in my stash.  I really love the shape of this dress, but I’m not sure I love the fabric/pattern pairing.  I think the elegance of the dress would be better served by a plain velvet, so I expect I may sew another one of these if I get a solid colored velvet.  I think it could be sewn in other fabric, but it really does look luxe in the velvet.  I would definitely recommend this pattern to others, but I would caution about the tall sizes giving extra long sleeves, and the mistake in the instructions.  Otherwise I think this is a great pattern and I very much recommend it!

Conclusion: This was a bit of an unplanned project, but I think I’ll have cause to wear it this holiday season.  I’m happy that I was able to get this fabric out of my stash, as it wasn’t going to be used for its intended purpose, but I’m not completely in love with my fabric/pattern combo here.  The pattern is definitely a win, though, and I expect I may make another if I find appropriate fabric.

12 thoughts on “Pattern Review: BurdaStyle Magazine 12-2017-120 Red Velvet Dress (Stash Contest Entry #1)

  1. Oh that looks beautiful!! Looks like you bought that in a boutique… ♥ A dark green velvet would look luscious too… The belt looks really nice with it also. Was the velvet difficult to work with?

    Interesting to know the differences with the tall vs regular sizing – I’ve not yet sewn a tall pattern, so I automatically add an inch to the length of everything.


    1. Yeah, for tall all the measurements around the body are the same, but it’s supposed to be for a 5’9” height, regular is for a 5’6” and I’m 5’7” – so a bit in between. I use stretch velvet a lot, so I think it is really easy to use. Stretch velvet is certainly easier than regular velvet. I did most of this on my serger.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This dress is going to be perfect for the holidays! I have my eye on this one also, I know I will have to shorten it, but that’s easy enough. It’s quite amazing that you have finished this dress and I haven’t even got my December Burda yet!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks again for this review. It’s on my to-do list for fall in some bamboo jersey. I have 2.5 yards of 64″ wide. I see the pattern requires 2.75 yards but the cutting layout looks wasteful. Do you happen to remember how much fabric you used?


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