Sew Your Kibbe: Dramatic

For an introduction to the Sew Your Kibbe Series, please see this post.  The posts in this series are intended to be a well researched and thorough investigation of the Kibbe style recommendations, along with several example patterns for each “level of dress.”  The posts in this series will be picture heavy and quite lengthy.  You may want some tea.



To kick things off, I thought we’d start with one of Kibbe’s pure essences, Dramatic.  Dramatic is the pure yang, all sharp angles and straight, long lines.  Kibbe’s Dramatic is described as a “Regal Lady.”  You can read more about Kibbe’s Dramatic here.

Body Type Characteristics

The following are Kibbe’s descriptions of a Dramatic Body Type:

NOTE: The following information should be taken as a broad outline of what makes a Dramatic. It is the overall combination of strong, sharp physicality, a cool reserve, and charismatic power that creates this Image Identity category. Therefore, a slight deviation here or there is always possible and should not be worried over as long as no single factor upsets your extreme, sharp Yang balance.
Moderate to tall, usually 5 feet 5 inches and over.
Body type:
Straight and angular, may tend to long or sleek musculature (sinewy or lithe.) Usually have long legs and arms. Narrow in width.
Bone structure:
Angular, with sharp edges. Usually have square shoulders (may be narrow). Hands and feet are usually long and narrow. Facial bones are sharp or prominent (nose, jawline, cheekbones). Sometimes, the bone structure is called “delicate” because of its narrowness. This is actually not true, for example length keeps it from being truly delicate. A more helpful description would be “sleek.”
Facial features:
Straight, sleek lines. Sloe or almond eyes; narrow, thin or straight lips; taut skin, especially around the cheek and jaw areas.
Extreme texture. Fine and silky, either poker-straight or with a bend. Very coarse and curly or wavy (wild).
Any coloring is possible (warm or cool, high-contrast or blended), but a Dramatic is usually distinct, either very fair, very fiery, or very vivid.
If overweight:
Heaviness usually congregates around the hip and upper thigh area as opposed to the upper torso.
A Dramatic will not:

  • Have an hourglass figure
  • Have lush, full facial features (round eyes, fleshy cheeks, full lips)
  • Have a broad or blunt bone structure or facial bones
  • Be petite or extremely small in stature
  • Be perfectly symmetrical
  • Have short or fleshy arms and legs


The following are Kibbe’s recommendations regarding the clothing and style choices that best suit his Dramatic image ID.  The following recommendations will be taken into consideration for each garment type listed below:

  • SHAPE: Shape is the key to your look. Whatever mood you want to express, in whatever situation your find yourself–work, play or glamour–keep your shapes sharp and geometric. Triangles, rectangles, and anything sculpted, sleek, and elongated with crisp edges.
  • Avoid: Anything rounded, swirled, or overly draped. Also, anything delicate intricate or overly fragile. Ornateness translates into “fussy” on you.
  • LINE AND SILHOUETTE: This goes hand-in-hand with your shape. Long, vertical lines are essential. Always straight, with elongated draping that is sleek, is your version of a “soft line”.
  • Avoid: Soft, flowing lines (too matronly on you). Unconstructed silhouettes (sloppy on you). Broken or horizontal lines (not elegant enough for you).
  • FABRIC: Fabrics that hold a defined shape are necessary. Moderate to heavyweights are best, with a matte finish and smooth surface. Textures should be tightly woven and shiny fabrics should be very stiff and ultraglitzy. Italian tweeds, thick gabardines, twills, faille, stiff brocades, and heavy satins are a few examples that will tailor best for you. Keep in mind, however, that occasionally lightweight fabrics can work, if they are extra structured in the design of the garment.
  • Avoid: Overly sheer, lightweight fabrics that float. Also, in most cases clingy fabrics are extremely unsophisticated on you. In addition, extremely rough textures that are thick and heavy will overpower your sleek body.
  • DETAIL: Detail should always be clean and minimal to complement your sculpted, chiseled look. Bold, sweeping geometrics, angular shapes, and sharp edges are called for.
  • Include: Square, sharp shoulders (shoulder pads are essential in every garment you own, without exception).  Clean, angular necklines (plunging V’s, skinny turtlenecks, high Mandarins, slashed collars, halters, man-tailored, etc.).  Anything tailored (crisp cuffs, sharp pleats, sharp lapels, etc.)
  • Avoid: Small, fussy detail. Overly ornate or intricate detail (ruffles, lacy frills, feathers, frou-fou, bows, tucks, gathers). Overly unconstructed detail (sloppy necklines, shapeless or oversized sleeves, etc.).
  • SEPARATES: Your look does not include an obvious use of separates; keep individual pieces blending together in an artful way for elegance. You are striving for a head-to-toe ensemble effect, not the “mix ‘n match” approach!
  • COLOR: Always think “head-to-toe” with your color schemes.
    The deepest colors that complement your coloring are best. Dark neutrals are especially effective, and color combinations should be bold, but elegant. Combining bright shades with dark shades achieves this with ease. Pastels can be stunning if you create an entire ensemble. All monochromatic schemes are excellent.
  • Avoid: Multicolor splashes and a mix ‘n match approach to color.
  • PRINTS: Prints should be bold and geometric; stripes, zigzags, asymmetrics, and irregular shapes. Bold color combinations and high-contrast blends work best. Think “Picasso,” and strive for a contemporary feeling.
  • Avoid: Watercolor print, florals, soft swirls, and overly “cute” animated styles. Small, symmetrical prints are also to be avoided.
  • ACCESSORIES: All accessories should be crisp, sharply tailored and angular with geometric shapes. Keep everything sleek and contemporary in feeling.
    • Shoes: Should be tailored and angular. High, straight heels, crisp soles, and elegantly tapered toes.
    • Bags: Should be crisp and geometric. Angular envelopes, clutches, or structured briefcases.
    • Belts: Should be bold and wide. Leather will be stiff and shaped. Metal belts will be sculpted and quite large. Buckles are always geometric/asymmetric. Hip belts for dropped waists are best.
    • Hats: Should be crisp and geometric and man-tailored with wide brims and sharp edges.
    • Jewelry: Should always be sleek and elegant, with an emphasis on bold, modern shapes. Thin, sharp pieces are good choices, as are avant-garde works of art. Asymmetrical shapes work well and pieces should be large, but on overly bulky.
    • Avoid: Delicate, antique jewelry. Extra-glitzy costume jewelry. Heavy chunky ethnic pieces. Small, symmetrical pieces.

For the individual garment types, obviously, I will be focusing on the lines of the garment, as fabric and color choices would easily be controlled by the home sewer.  It’s nice that he included a long list of acceptable fabrics though!

Jackets: Jackets should always be tailored and sculpted, with very defined shoulders. Generally they should be long (ending at the mid-thigh area), although a very sleek, Italian-style might be cropped (be sure this has an extremely sculpted, streamlined shape). Double-breasted could be another choice.
Avoid: Overly flouncy jackets with peplums, nipped-in waists, and fussy touches such as shoulder tucks, ornate buttons, and tapered sleeves. Overly shapeless and boxy jackets.

Dramatics are certainly lucky when it comes to jackets!  They are all about a sharp, tailored look, which is perfect for finding jacket and coat patterns.  I’ve divided the category into lighter jackets and heavier coats, as well as subdivided them by level of dress.

Coats, Level 1: This category is the most casual styles I could find to fit the Dramatic criteria.

BS-11-2010-102: Here the line is long and shoulders are well defined, but the slightly wide shape adds a more casual vibe to the Dramatic.
BS-08-2013-103: Again, we get a long vertical line, with an even slimmer silhouette.  The slight drapiness adds to the casual feel.
S8470: This coat is not as vertically lengthening, but it has strong shoulders and looks like it could be a practical, warm option.
BS-02-2011-125: The vertical seams and sharp collar are all in the Dramatic recommendations; the pockets and button details bring the coat back into casual territory.
V8884: For the Dramatic girl who wants to be a classic.  The strong geometric shapes fit in well with the Dramatic vibe.
Burda 6847: The ultra defined waist is NOT typical of a Dramatic, but this coat is extreme in the vertical line, strong in the shoulders, and pragmatic for real weather.

Coats, Level 2: These are coats that would be acceptable to wear to a business meeting or perhaps to a fancy dinner date.

Burda 6461: This longer coat is fantastic for a Dramatic.  Stronger shoulders, long, and well tailored.
Burda 7483: This slightly wider style could be good if you are looking for a winter coat to wear over bulkier clothes, but still pull off that Dramatic look.
BS002-2010-126: Sharp collar, strong shoulders, very geometric shape.
BS-11-2012-119: Again, a strong vertical line, with an angular collar.  The bare amount of curve on the lapel softens the look quite a bit on a Dramatic.
K4225: The angled pockets keep the look sleek, but harmonize with the strong geometrics.
V1467: The extreme tailoring lends this coat to the Dramatic look, despite the shorter length.
BS-09-2003-107: You can see how the large collar adds quite a bit of geometric interest near the face.  Dramatics are all about angles.

Coats – Level 3: Basically these are coats a Dramatic could easily wear to a fancier event, like a wedding or other formal occasion.  I had trouble finding newer patterns for this category, but I expect we should be seeing more Dramatic styles hitting the pattern releases soon, since strong shoulder lines were a major runway trend recently.

BS-06-2003-131:  Sharp geometric collars, sharp shoulders, and a long line.
BS-02-2005-112: Very slim line, with sharp angles near the face.
Butterick 4688: The green view has a nice line and strong shoulders.
BS-03-2005-123: The deep v-neck is a great way to add to the vertical line.

Jackets – Level 1: Again, these jackets would be appropriate for every day sorts of errands and casual looks.

BS-11-2013-11-118A: This blazer could read as more formal if you just consider the line drawing, but Burda’s styling has really convinced me that it could be a Level 1 jacket for a Dramatic.  It has long, clean lines, sharp lapels, and strong shoulders, but the slight oversized shape makes it feel more casual.
M7693: This McCall’s jacket could also read as perhaps a Level 2, but maybe you like getting dressed up to run errands?  It is pretty versatile in that way.  Obviously, the longer versions would be preferable for a Dramatic.
BS-09-2004-124: I think a Dramatic would do better with a different fabric choice, but there are a lot of geometric shapes and strong vertical lines.
BS-11-2004-104: The double breasted tailoring makes this fit in the with the Dramatic guidelines, but the shorter length keeps the feel casual.  If the color was matched to the pants (as above), the overall vertical line will be maintained.
BS-02-2005-101: Here there are also strong geometrics with the collar, and a long vertical line, which is made more casual with the contrasting topstitching.
BS-07-2007-117: Dramatic goes to the beach.  Seriously though, this is a great example of how Dramatic elements (shoulder emphasis, a deep-V neckline) can be utilized in a casual summer look.
BS-02-2012-102: More use of geometric shapes and shoulder emphasis to create the look.
M6294: Strong geometric lapels, but a slightly shorter length keep this feeling more casual.

Jackets – Level 2: These are perhaps the most “true” to Kibbe’s recommendation – they don’t have to compromise on sharp, tailored details or long line to get a more casual feel.  Dramatic is definitely easier to dress up than to dress down.

Burda 8300: View A is a really versatile Dramatic look – I especially love seeing it in both a more serious and more fun fabric – you could make a lot of them and have really different looks with the same pattern!
Burda Classic 2013 #0002B: I love this coat, especially for a dramatic!  The sharp geometrics in the collar are echoed in the seaming details, yet the whole look is very long and sharp.  Perfection.
BS-08-2012-137: Obviously it won’t be hard for a Dramatic to find a good blazer, but I wanted to showcase one with really strong geometric elements and a longer line.
M7332: One thing I like about Kibbe’s system is that you don’t change type just because you change weight.  I think this less constructed jacket still has enough sharpness and tailoring to be Dramatic, but enough roominess to move if you are worried about your weight.
V9039: If you think you are Dramatic but aren’t up to tailoring a coat with a super sharp collar, this is a great option!
BS-10-2009-124A: Sharp lapels, double breasted, longer length, but very classic in detail.  A total understated power suit look.

Jackets – Level 3: I feel like Dramatics are definitely the type that could wear a tuxedo to a wedding and look fabulous.  These are some fun options:

BS-11-2010-130: The jacket itself is short, but paired with tailored pants or a long slim skirt in the same fabric, it could create a really sharp silhouette.
Burda 7986: This is the perfect Dramatic pattern.  Everything looks sharp, tailored, and clean.
BS-09-2012-132: A Dramatic might not want to do the crazy color blocked lapels, but the sharp geometric hem is a fun detail that could look great in a fancy look.

Skirts: Should be straight and long. Minimum length: two inches below the knee; maximum length: as long as you dare! The only flared skirt you successfully wear is one with the middle section (from waist to knee) sleek and straight, with the bottom piece flaring our gently. Likewise, all pleats should be stitched down through the hip area.
Avoid: Full skits, gathered waists, draped and shirred shapes.

Level 1: There isn’t a lot of shape variety for Dramatic skirts, so I tried to find options that would allow for use of different fabrics.  Dramatics are supposed to use stiffer fabrics, but in today’s world of knits that’s not always practical, especially at Level 1.  Again, by going slightly outside of the general principles, it allows us to tone down a Dramatic look for daily wear.

BS-05-2012-125: This skirt has the length needed for a Dramatic, and the waistband shape is very geometric.  Burda’s styling definitely shows a great way to make it feel more casual,
BS-08-2017-101: The knit fabric brings in a casual feel, but it is still weighty enough to keep the strong vertical Dramatic lines.  The zip details adds a nice geometric element.
S8175: View A (green) would be a good casual skirt for a Dramatic.  The line is long, the pockets are angular, and the front slit helps keep the shape geometric.
V1590: I feel like this overlay is a great way to keep the vertical line while still having a shorter skirt and more ventilation for a warm day.  I would like to think this skirt is something a Dramatic could wear on vacation.
Burda Easy F/W 2017 5A: The zip front detail is a fun way to add some personality to an otherwise streamlined style.
Burda 6506: Again we see a strong vertical line with a geometric diagonal.  The black and white print also falls within Kibbe’s recommendations.
BS-10-2011-103: Here we see the slight flare below the knee that he mentions as part of his recommendation.  The line is still long and angular, but the flare is nice to have a different silhouette.
S1068: The shortness of the skirt is somewhat against the recommendations, but some days are so hot you might just need something short.  The strong angular asymmetry of the hem helps keep the Dramatic feel though.

Level 2: The Dramatics don’t really have that much range in skirt shapes, so honestly Level 2 would be more achieved with fabric choice than with pattern choice I think.  The nice thing is that once you find your TNT you can really get creative with fabrication and Dramatic details!

Burda 6467: The side zip helps to emphasize the long line, as does the higher waist.  The buckles could also be a fun detail for Dramatics.
BS-11-2015-125: Wanted to showcase again that being “Dramatic” doesn’t mean being thin – this BurdaPlus skirt emphasizes vertical line and looks great as part of a nearly monochromatic look.
Butterick 6326: The seam details really work to emphasize the vertical line here.
Burda 6370: Obviously, a Dramatic would want to leave off the pocket ruffle to keep a very sleek line.
Vogue 8697: The added geometrics on the waistband and hips are great Dramatic details.
BS-08-2010-128: Again you see strong geometric shapes with the seaming, and use of a smooth leather helps with the Dramatic look.

Level 3: For fancier events I took a few more liberties with the ability to have a flared hem.  That simple feature adds and extravagance that lends itself to a wedding/red carpet look.

Burda 6781: This skirt is very straight to the knee, and flares out just below.  It helps to create an angular outline to the body, despite the bottom of the skirt having some sense of softness.  The thicker satin fabric definitely helps achieve the Dramatic look though.  Also love seeing it paired with a sharp jacket – very Dramatic.
BS-12-2003-114A: I love this for a Dramatic!  It is so simple, yet so elegant.  Ther weight and drape are perfection.
BS-12-2008-125: This is amazing styling for a Dramatic.  The skirt has man’s suiting elements, and paired with a tailored shirt and jacket it looks fabulous.
BS-09-2014-105: This is perhaps not quite tailored enough to the knee to strictly fit in Kibbe’s recommendations, but it has enough shaping that I thought I’d throw it in as an option.  It still has a long vertical shape, and might be an option for a Dramatic who doesn’t necessarily enjoy the strong looks and wants to experiment with looking for softer silhouettes.


Pants: Should always be straight and man-tailored. Deep pleats are a good touch, as is a long hem, gently breaking the shoe.
Avoid: Drapey and clingy pants that taper at the ankle. Oversized, baggy shapes.

Level 1: Finding casual pants for the Dramatic was a bit tough, because “main-tailored” styles always seem to add a sense of formality, but I did find a few options:

B6525: These knit pants are very straight, but lack a lot of tailoring detail, allowing them to fit a Dramatic line, but look much more casual.  Plus, it’s always good to have an option for comfy knit pants.
BS-05-2006-126: The slight gathers below the knee break the line just enough to add a casual vibe, but not so much as to remove the length and Dramatic line.  Love the split hem that contributes to the length.
BS-11-2009-124: We see the man-tailoring here, but otherwise these are a pretty simple pair of trousers.  They wouldn’t look out of place running errands or traveling, but could also be versatile enough to use in a work wardrobe.

Level 2: Because of the tailoring elements, so many Dramatic pants fall into this middle category.  There are a lot of great pattern options.

BS-12-2013-106: Lots of tailoring elements, and the front and back creases extend the line quite a bit.  It might be best for a Dramatic to extend the hem length a bit on this pattern.
Burda 7579: Very Dramatic pants, especially the length to the hem.
S8056: Very straight leg line, with just enough detail.  This could be a good pattern option who is looking for a less fitted trouser, but still fits in the Dramatic category.
BS-01-2010-120: Another great option for someone who prefers less detail.  The leg line in very straight.
BS-11-2006-121: The angled pockets add a nice geometric touch, and the hems do break softly at the ankles!

Level 3: I feel like Dramatics can get away with wearing Trousers to fancier events perhaps a bit easier than other style types.  Again, while I think most of the Level 2 patterns could be used for a fancier event as well, fabric choice is going to be key.

Burda 7986: I told you you’d see this pattern a lot.  Very sharp overall look.
BS-08-2012-129: There are so many fabulous vertical and geometric lines here.  I especially love the split hem for the Dramatic.
BS-11-2010-122: Again we have long vertical lines, with strong geometric pockets.


Blouses: Tailored and sleek-never flouncy or frilly or oversized and shapeless.

Level 1: It’s a bit tricky to find casual “tailored” tops, but I think I’ve rounded up a few decent options:

BS-08-2005-119B: This top could be used in a Level 2 business look, but I could also see it with rolled up sleeves and jeans for a more casual style.  Love the geometrics from the collar for a Dramatic.
BS-06-2007-112: The lines again create bold geometric shapes, but the fabric and buttons give it a much more casual feel.
BS-06-2006-102: Tailored, yet totally perfect for a hot summer picnic or other more casual event.
B5525: The yellow version has a great neckline for a Dramatic, but this knit top would be a very casual and comfortable wardrobe addition.
BS-07-2014-114: Another knit top, but with contrast to create a strong shoulder and vertical line at the neck.

Level 2: There are so many tailored blouses that would be a great fit for Dramatics at the business-attire level of dress.

BS-06-2007-111: Again we see the diagonal button placket working to create a more interesting geometry.  This is another versatile piece that could really go in any of the levels, depending on fabrication.
BS-01-2008-106: Here the pintucks create a stronger vertical line in this top.  As worn by the model it could be more casual, but if you imagine it fully buttoned paired with a long pencil skirt, it would be very office appropriate.
BS-09-2012-123A: This knit top incorporates shoulder details that allows it to feel Dramatic, but still be an option other than a more tailored button up shirt.

Level 3: The Level 3 tops could also be mixed and matched with the other levels, depending on fabrication for the most part.

Burda 7986: Basically, at this point, I’m saying if you are a Dramatic, why don’t you own this pattern yet?  Love the vest inspired top though – it looks super sharp.
BS-12-2008-126: I love this!  The tuxedo inspired tucks add interesting geometry to the front and pull the eye to the central vertical line.  Burda’s styling is pretty A+ in the photo as well.
Butterick 6134: The scalloped sleeves aren’t strictly Dramatic, but I could see this paired with one of the longer skirts to create a lovely look for a formal event.  The high collar and raglan sleeves create a longer vertical and emphasize the shoulder in a very Dramatic way.


Sweaters: Lightweight, elegant knits. Skinny, ribbed knits. Long cardigans or pullovers with sharp shoulders.

Level 1: Sweaters are a bit tricky because the idea of a soft, draping knit is sort of the antithesis of a Dramatic.  I was, however, able to find a few examples of longer cardigans or emphasized shoulders.

BS-09-2008-130: I love how this cardigan has the epaulettes for shoulder emphasis.  The fabric keeps it very casual, but the vibe goes well with a Dramatic.
BS-09-2008-1301: Even without the shoulder tabs there is a stronger shoulder emphasis on this cardigan than on most patterns.
Vogue 9026: The deep-V neck and subtle side shaping would be great for a Dramatic girl who wants to pull off a casual sweater and jeans look.

Level 2: To achieve a more formal look, I had to turn to sweater patterns with more length.

Butterick 6495: The cardigan in this wardrobe pattern is long, with clean lines.  Unbelted it creates a strong vertical shape.
My Image M1003: Another cardigan option that creates a long line.  It would look great in a solid or in a strong geometric print (as pictured) for a Dramatic.
My Image M1462: The length provides the vertical line, but the higher collar could make this a more functional option if you are looking for warmth.

Level 3: Dramatics are so structured that it is hard to find a “tailored” sweater or cardigan for them.  If you are a dramatic going to a fancier event, you should probably stick to one of the sharper tailored jackets that look so great with this type.

Dresses: Dresses should be elongated and sleek, the more tailored the better. Again, sharp shoulders are essential. Coat dresses, chemises, and very narrow bias-cuts work well. Waist emphasis is reserved for use with very wide, geometric belts. Dropped waists and no-waist styles are elegant when the shape is kept narrow.
Avoid: All flouncy styles with flowing silhouettes, fitted waists, and fussy necklines. Shapeless, unconstructed styles.

Level 1: The more casual dress is a bit tricky for a Dramatic, because too much tailoring starts to look more formal.  However, I’ve found some interesting options.

BS-05-2007-119: This shirt dress has a bit of softness in the waist tie, but overall the effect is one of wide geometrics.  The long lines and tailored collar work well to bring this into Dramatic territory, but the sleeveless style keeps it casual.
BS-10-2015-113A: This dress definitely has the shoulder emphasis and long, sleek line.  The belt is fairly wide, but could easily be substituted for something even wider and more geometric.
Butterick 6410: Another dress with strong shoulder emphasis, and long vertical lines from the seaming.  The ability to make it from a knit would help keep it more casual for a Dramatic though.
BS-06=2005-125: This dress has a longer vertical line, but the gathers at the shoulder keep the feeling more casual for a Dramatic.  I could see this for a Dramatic vacation wardrobe.
BS-05-2017-115A: The shape here is perhaps not narrow enough to be considered “elegant,” but this long column dress would be a quick sew, comfortable to wear, and a great summer casual look for a Dramatic.
BS-05-2011-117A: This is a great shirt dress for a Dramatic – the top is very tailored, and the skirt is elongated and straight.
BS-04-2016-104: This dress is a bit unconstructed, which makes it feel more casual, but the strong vertical lines should allow a Dramatic to pull it off fairly well.
McCall’s 7662: View B, the red dress, could be a great way to incorporate a casual knit maxi into a Dramatic wardrobe.

Level 2: There are so many more options for a Dramatic at this more formal level.  Some of these selections are intended for a more formal work environment, and others are included to be used for a dressier dinner date.

BS-05-2009-127: I really love this for a Dramatic.  The tailoring is sharp and crisp, the shoulders are emphasized, and the vertical line is elongated.  Fabulous.
Burda 6452: Obviously the slim skirt would be preferable for a Dramatic; the high collar helps add to the vertical line, as does the front zip detail.
Butterick 5984: Another elongated skirt, with a geometric neckline.  I love how this dress has such a vintage feel, but totally fits with the Dramatic recommendations.  It’s fun to see of much individual sense of style can come in to play, no matter which body type you are.
Butterick 6088: A similar silhouette, but this feels much more modern.  In a monochromatic, this could be idea to play with different fabrics.
McCall’s 6602: This dress is obviously less for work and more for date night, but the vertical seams on the front and the tailoring detail on the back add fun Dramatic elements in unexpected ways.
Vogue 8947: We definitely get a great geometric neckline, shoulder emphasis, and long hem with this pattern.
Burda 6450: This is a fun use of geometrics that still allows for a long vertical line.

Level 3: These are dresses that would be fitting for a more formal event.  There are a surprising number of sewing patterns that would be great for a Dramatic party dress.

Burda 6483: Either view of this pattern would be so chic for a Dramatic!  The dress is a long column of color, and the straight neckline adds a nice geometry near the face.
BS-11-2002-106: Another great option, especially if you want to keep your arms covered.
Simplicity 8330: The gowns in this Simplicity pattern would be great for a Dramatic.  The triangular neckline is a strong feature.
Vogue 7365: If you were going for a softer look, this Vogue pattern allows you to use the bias cut drape and keep a strong column, with a halter top; all Kibbe approved features.


Evening Wear: Geometric shapes. Elongated vertical lines. Hard metallic fabrics. Smooth fabric. Sculpted trim. Angular necklines. Should emphasis. Slinky sheaths. Tailored dinner suits. Long gowns with sharp shoulders, halter necklines, and jackets. Evening pants with tailored jackets.

Evening looks are, for the most part, and extension of the Level 3 Dress section, but Dramatics also get to play with tailored suits, which gives a lot of options for evening.

Burda 7986: Are you sick of seeing this pattern yet?
Burda Classic 2012 4C: Geometric square neckline, long sheath, and metallic fabric.  Check!
BS-12-2001-110A: I love how the geometric neckline is extended to the back.
BS-12-2001-110B: Oh, and the front is pretty square too!
BS-12-2007-107: The rounded neckline and fabric choice are perhaps not Dramatic, but the overall silhouette, drape, and style could be in another fabrication I think.
BS-04-2009-126: In case you were looking for a Dramatic option for a wedding gown, Burda’s got you covered.
BS-11-2009-103: The striped detail on the side adds to the vertical line, the skirt silhouette is very Dramatic, and the back of the neck has some bold tailoring.
BS-12-2017-119: Another column gown that plays with geometric shapes.
Vogue 2810: This is perhaps a bit outside the strict Kibbe recommendations, but I think the structure of the long corset would work well on a Dramatic.

Wheew!  There we have it – a sewing perspective on Kibbe’s Dramatic.  According to Style Syntax, Dramatics will most easily dress in Level 3 clothes, and have the most problems finding Level 1 outfits.  I would say I actually found more sewing patterns that hit a Level 2 Dramatic style, but also that many of them had very similar features.  I also feel like a lot of these patterns could work on multiple levels, depending on how outfits were put together or what fabrics were used.  Interestingly, I am noticing that while some looks are hitting the “pure Dramatic” recommendations dead on, by adding slight touches of the non-Dramatic essences it can help bring the Dramatic look down from a Level 2 or 3 to a Level 1.  I think the trick with choosing patterns is to look for something that hits at least 2-3 of the recommendations, and add a bit of personality beyond that to express your inner self.  I also feel like Dramatics are a type that could benefit a lot from having TNT patterns.  Kibbe’s recommendations are pretty narrowly defined for a Dramatic, so a lot of the silhouettes I pulled are pretty similar.  Having a TNT would be a great way to get a lot of Dramatic staples in the wardrobe, and then allow Dramatics to experiment beyond the base recommendations, and see how far they can push their style using new or different shapes.

What do you all think?  How are you feeling about the Dramatic style?  Do we have any Dramatics in the audience?  What about people who wish they were Dramatics?  How many of these patterns would you wear?  How would you add personality or your own sense of style to a Dramatic wardrobe?  Do the Kibbe recommendations seem to jive with your personal preferences, or do you want to rebel against all the sharp lines and angularity?  Does anyone have any other suggestions for great Dramatic patterns, or any indie brand recommendations for Dramatic looks?  Feel free to discuss in the comments!

Coming Next Week: We are heading to the opposite end of the spectrum to learn about Kibbe’s Romantic!


40 thoughts on “Sew Your Kibbe: Dramatic

  1. Wow, that was a lot of work! Thank you! You know I’ve been falling down the Kibbe rabbit hole myself, and this post was actually quite helpful for me – a lot of these clothes appeal to me for not being fussy. I do love a bit of a ruffle though, so I’m curious to see if I feel equally drawn to romantic next time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny because I’ve been compiling looks for Romantic and I’m visually more excited by the Dramatic looks, but I’m finding more recent patterns for Romantics that I think would work well on me. I guess the grass is always greener? Plus, all the other essences are a mix to some extent, so they get to play around with features from both ends of the spectrum.


  2. I love this even though at 5’ 1” I am obviously not this type. I spied a few patterns I own but have never sewn, perhaps because I instinctively felt they aren’t right for me. Your intoduction to this type is excellent and clarifies the category for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow what an epic post, thank you! Regardless of where I think I’d be body type wise, I always love looking at pattern suggestions and as i have almost all the Burda ones this series will be great for reminding me of some of those older patterns.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! It’s been fun to have a reason to dig through the stash a bit. I’m finding a lot of older patterns really worked well for the Dramatic suggestions, but I’m finding more newer patterns for some of the other style types.


  4. Awesome stuff! I fit into Dramatic (100% with the Truth Is Beauty style calculator, and about 60% with Kibbe). I would say for Indie companies, Named Clothing have lots to choose from. Lots of clean geometric design, tailored without fussiness or too much ornateness. I certainly have TnT patterns which I can use in lots of different ways, and pretty much live in pants/trousers. I feel my most feminine when dressed in more ‘masculine’ style clothes and certainly feel my least feminine in overly drapey, soft, flouncy clothes. In saying that my wedding dress was a version of a 1910s era Tea Dress, and was more romantic, but still very clean lines.

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  5. 😲😵 All… the.. jackets…. ♥

    Outstanding post! Going to bookmark all of these, will have to come back and reread several times, there is so much! Dramatic seems to fit my profile so far: 5’11”, a bit of belly (embarrassed emoji here), but otherwise long. Sooo many gorgeous patterns! So many, also, that I won’t be able to find, but there are surely similar ones. Actually, the current Burda has that winter coat which I think might fit into this profile…..? Oh, and loooooove the Burda 7986 jacket! My god I must find it.

    Can’t wait to see the others!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow what an amazing post! Thank you so much for putting that together. I fit into the Dramatic category almost 100% so I found loads to look at here, and it amused me to find you’d picked lots of things that were on my to sew list at various times.

    For man tailored trousers I really like Burda 118-09-2015.

    One place where I disagree with Kibbe for Dramatic is skirt length. I think it depends on your legs. Most runway models are Dramatic and they look fine in short skirts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there is actually a lot of variability in things like hem length, especially if a garment has most of the other features recommended for a style type. But pulling options out for this post to discuss styles that split the the line a bit would have been a little insane for me, so I just stuck to his stated recommendations.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well researched and thorough? Like an encyclopedia! This is an invaluable service for us sewists. I am already seeing my own patterns with a new eye. I am 50% Classic with the rest in Natural and Dramatic, so, Dramatic Classic. Many of these minimal and linear looks definitely work for my type, but I have learned to avoid the stark geometrics and stiffly structured pieces. I am really looking forward to seeing your suggestions for Classic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! These posts are a LOT of work but I think they will be a great reference for the future, and they have been really eye-opening in terms of how I think of patterns as well. Pure Classic will be the third in the series, so in about 2 weeks. The subtypes will be covered after I do each of the five main types, so Dramatic Classic won’t be for a while yet, but so do hope to finish the series by the end of the year.


  8. Woooow. This is really thorough and had to have been a lot of work. Thank you!!
    So I took the Kibbe Quiz from the first post and came up 5 each for Dramatic & Natural with 4 in Classic. What’s interesting is I see a lot of my long time style favorites here- long cardigans, straight skirts, crisp pants, etc and that almost cut-in sleeveless top look…?
    I’m looking forward to see whatever comes next!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow, so much work, and so interesting! I think I can safely say that this category suits my youngest daughter pretty perfectly, and a lot of the patterns you show (the Burda ones) I have either made her, have had on the list to make for her for a long time! I can’t wait to see the rest!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This series is so fascinating! Thank you for going down this rabbit hole and sharing it with all of us. The amount of work you’ve put into this post is remarkable and makes for a wonderful thought exercise, no matter what type you are. I’ve been in a bit of a style rut and researching the Kibbe method is really sparking my own creativity. Looking forward to reading more of this series and reading your eventual recommendations for the Soft Dramatic type!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really looking forward to getting to the subtypes – having that slight shift from the base type really opens up opportunities to take a deeply analytical view of the lines of the patterns, and the Kibbe recommendations can be either more specific or more broad. Glad you are enjoying the series!


  11. You have done an outstanding job here. I’ve read through the Kibbe information so many times, but what has always frustrated me was not having more visual examples of the type/shape of clothing recommended for each type. While I am definitely not a dramatic, while looking through your pattern recommendations, it is very easy to see how well all of these shapes work with one another. I’ve always thought that absolutely key in trying to build a wardrobe that actually works (i.e. necklines of jackets and tops that go together, etc.). You could very easily sew a capsule wardrobe from these recommendations. Looking forward to all the posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like he kept visual examples away from the book to allow people to have their own sense of style within a type (or the publisher was cheap… hard to say). It is hard to convey visual shapes to word though, and re-interpret them back. I felt the need to pick several examples for each garment type (and show how to dress up or down) because we all have very different needs from our wardrobes, and very different personal tastes. As I’m working through the base types, I’m finding that silhouettes tend to be fairly uniform, as his recommendations tend to be fairly narrow (makes sense for a pure type), but I expect we will see more variability with the subtypes.

      Also, thanks for noting that it would be easy to pick out a capsule wardrobe from this! That was one of my main goals in starting this series – to see how a wardrobe would function following Kibbe’s recommendations, and to see if the home sewer could achieve it with commercial patterns.


  12. Thank you so much for this! I only stumbled across Kibbe a few days ago , but this post has helped me see that I’m definitely a dramatic in body, even if my face is more classic. I reckon that explains why I suit these sorts of styles, but often suit softer necklines like cowls and sweetheart necklines. Maybe I’ll try more dramatic necklines too. Got to be worth a try…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, I love Jalie! Their draft does seem to suit a Dramatic body type quite well, as they seem to design for a more athletic build. I use their activewear patterns quite a bit, but I usually use Jalie for more Dramatic type builds, and I use Kwik Sew for more Romantic type builds.


    1. You might really enjoy the Classic post coming next week – there is a surprising amount of crossover in pattern’s I’ve chosen, which might work well for you if you feel like you could be in the Dramatic Classic realm!


  13. Wow! I’ve been reading about Kibbe types for a long time, but have had a hard time visualizing a lot of what he recommends. I’m pretty sure I’m a Dramatic, and these clothes really excite me. Thank you for all of the photos you provided. They really helped me understand what he means. Now, I just have to improve my sewing skills! (So much easier when I was a kid and my mother was sewing everything for me. I had no idea then what a gift it was to have a skilled seamstress putting together my wardrobe!)

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That was very insightful thank you. Someone suggested it to me. I must say though I really don’t like that repeated pattern haha! I am very feminine at heart and that is far to masculine for me however there are some really nice patterns on this list so I am going to use it to give me a little more guidance for a dramatic type of which I am. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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