Sew Your Kibbe: Soft 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.  As always, you may want some tea.



At this point we’ve learned about the 5 basic categories with Kibbe’s Dramatic, Romantic, Classic, Gamine, and Natural.  As we delve into the subtypes, I think it is important to remember that these fall into the main type, but with a little bit “extra” yin or yang.  For the “soft” categories, I think the bone structure is what determines the main type, and the fleshy features of a person that make them a bit soft.  So with this week’s look at Soft Dramatic remember that this is someone who would fit into the Dramatic category (long vertical line and angular), but now with softer yin curves on top of it all.  It is about opulence, sweeping drama, and large, ornate shapes.  Kibbe’s Soft Dramatic is described as a “Diva Chic.”  You can read more about Kibbe’s Soft Dramatic here.

Body Type Characteristics

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


NOTE: The following information should be taken as a broad outline of what makes a Soft Dramatic. It is the overall combination of bold Yang with a pronounced Yin undercurrent that creates this Image Identity category. Therefore, slight deviation here or there is always possible and should not be worried over if it does not upset your Yin/Yang balance of a bold, exotic physicality that is combined with a powerful sensual essence.
Height: Moderate to tall, usually 5 feet 5 inches and over.
Body type: Fleshy (unless ultra-thin), particularly through the bust and hip area. Usually have long legs and arms, which can become fleshy in the upper arm and thigh areas without exercise. Usually have moderate-sized waist, which can become thick.
Bone structure: Large and angular. Long limbs, and large hands and feet (may be long or narrow, or wide). Facial bones are prominent or sharp (nose, cheekbones, jawline). If your bone structure is narrow (particularly the shoulders, hands, feet, wrists, or angles), you may think of yourself as delicate. This is not true, for the extreme length offsets the narrowness.
Facial features: Full, lush, sensual, and exotic. Large eyes, full lips, fleshy cheeks.
Hair: Extreme textures. Coarse and wavy, or fine and silky (wispy).
Coloring: Any coloring is possible (warm or cool, high-contrast or blended), but a Soft Dramatic is usually distinct, either fair, rich or vivid.
If overweight: Heaviness is seen at the fleshiest parts of the body; the bust, hips, waist, thighs, upper arms, and especially in the face.
A Soft Dramatic will not:

  • Have a boyish figure.
  • Have small hands and feet, or a delicate bone structure.
  • Be overly petite, or small in stature, with short limbs.
  • Have delicate or small facial features.
  • Be symmetrical in body type or facial characteristics.


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

  • SHAPE: Bold geometrics with soft edges. Oversized ornate shapes.
  • Avoid: Sharp-edged geometrics. Small, delicate shapes. Symmetrical shapes.
  • LINE AND SILHOUETTE: “T” silhouette: broad shoulders with an elongated vertical that is draped. Bold, sweeping lines. Draped, flowing lines.
  • Avoid: Stiffly tailored lines. Broken, staccato lines. Overly fitted, fussy silhouettes. Wide, shapeless silhouettes.
  • FABRIC: Lightweight fabrics that drape easily and flow gracefully (silks, crepe, challis, handkerchief linen, jersey). Soft and plush textures with a deep pile. Shiny fabrics.
  • Avoid: Heavy fabrics that create a stiff shape. Rough textures.
  • DETAIL: Bold, oversized, and ornate. Broad shoulders (pads with soft edges are best). Soft, draped necklines (may be high or plunging). Lavish trim (beading, appliqué, oversized bows and jabots, deep and soft pleats of folds, etc.)
  • Avoid: Small, delicate detail. Sharp, severe, or crisp detail. Minimal, simple, or plain detail. Symmetrical detail.
  • SEPARATES: Your separates should artfully blend lush textures, rich colors, and luxurious prints, so your elongated line will not be disrupted. You are always striving for a head-to-toe “ensemble” effect, never a mix-and-match look!
  • COLOR: Your use of color should always be bold and dramatic, never dull. You shine in original color combinations that emphasize bright/dark mixtures. Pastels can be extremely elegant if you execute them in head-to-toe sweeps. Monochromatic schemes will generally require some vivid accenting in the accessory department. Strive for a very polished, ensemble approach to your use of a palette.
  • Avoid: Multicolor splashes and mix ‘n match approach.
  • PRINTS: Bold, wild, and ornate shapes. Splashy watercolors. Oversized and abstract florals. Animal prints. Irregular shapes with soft or rounded edges.
  • Avoid: Sharp geometrics. Small, symmetrical prints. Delicate, fussy prints. Animated, “cute” prints.
    • Shoes: Tailored and angular with tapered toe and heel. High, narrow heels are best. Bare styles also excellent.
    • Avoid: Chunky styles. Overly delicate styles with excess trim.
    • Bags: Softly rounded shapes in over-sized styles. Exquisite leather or fabric. Very slim briefcases. Ultra-ornate evening styles.
    • Avoid: Plain, symmetrical bags and small, delicate styles.
    • Belts: Should be bold and wide, of supple leather or special fabric, with large and ornate buckles.
    • Hats: Should always be theatrical and glamorous, emphasizing rounded shapes and ornate trim. Should be large and oversized.
    • Hosiery: Keep you stockings ultra-sheer. Your strong vertical line is best emphasized by blending with both your hemline and your shoe. Always blend with the shoe. Very lacy or ornate textures are wonderful for evening.
    • Jewelry: Should always be large, bold and ornate. Bold geometric shapes with soft edges. Oversized, ornate shapes. All sparkly, glittery, and shiny finishes are excellent. Wild costume jewelry that is obviously faux.
    • Avoid: Sharp geometrics. Simple, symmetrical pieces. Delicate, antique pieces. Rough, chunky pieces. A “no jewelry” look.

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: Broad shoulders, long lines (mid-thigh area). Lightweight, draped fabrics. Lightly structured or unconstructed. Soft draped detail (lapels, pockets, etc.)

Avoid: Stiffly tailored jackets with sharp edges. Traditional blazer jackets. Short, cropped jackets. Delicate, fitted, or fussy jackets.

Coats – Level 1: The Level 1 coats use the unconstructed/lightly structured recommendation quite liberally.

BS-09-2008-101: Broad shoulders, mid-thigh length, lightly structured.
BS-09-2009-122: Long length, unconstructed, with very broad shoulder detail.
BS-12-2009-102: Lightly structured, with the oversized shapes needed by a Soft Dramatic.
BS-10-2012-103: The unconstructed nature keeps it casual, but the oversized lapel definitely gives the scale necessary for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-10-2015-103: Here again the unconstructed coat makes the overall impression quite casual.
BS-11-2017-101: Unconstructed, mid-thigh length, drapey fabrics.
Vogue 1276: The shoulder/collar gives the right scale for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-01-2010-132: This Burda Plus option has a longer vertical line.

Coats – Level 2: For level 2 there is slightly more tailoring/construction, but many of the same features as in Level 1.

Butterick 5569: The exaggerated collar and elongated vertical line create a great Soft Dramatic piece.
Butterick 6423: More exaggerated curved edges and elongated silhouette.
Burda 6378: This Burda pattern has the length, the shoulder emphasis, and the oversized scale that looks great on a Soft Dramatic.
Burda 7483: This coat has slightly more tailoring, but is still relaxed enough to avoid being too stiff.
BS-09-2007-103A: Lightly constructed, shoulder emphasis, mid-thigh length.
BS-09-2009-115: I love the collar here – it gives the added softness that a Soft Dramatic needs while having an otherwise quite clean line.
BS-10-2012-113: Shoulder emphasis to the max!  Plus, the use of enlarged rounded shapes is fantastic.
Vogue 9289: Softly tailored, shoulder emphasis, longer lengths.
Vogue 9040: Only a Soft Dramatic could pull off a collar like this one.
Vogue 8861: This cape style is perfect – shoulder emphasis, lightly constructed, with several appropriate lengths.
Butterick 6604: More exaggerated collar details that give that oversized grand feel to a Soft Dramatic.
BS-08-2004-101: A good trench coat option for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-03-2010-101A: Light structure, lightweight fabrics,
BS-10-2014-125: The collar and elongated profile of this coat makes it a great option for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-11-2014-111: Definite shoulder emphasis here and a real Diva vibe.
Vogue 9157: Slightly elongated, with strong shoulders.  This could be a very toned down look for a Soft Dramatic.
Vogue 1419: Lightly structured, with bold shapes.
BS-10-2012-140: I feel like Soft Dramatics could pull of capes really well.  The scale is right, the shoulders get emphasis, and the whole look is slightly elongated and loosely constructed.
BS-11-2018-120: Love this new Burda Plus coat for a Soft Dramatic.  The shoulder emphasis really gives it the drama it needs.
Simplicity 8472: I think this would be a great coat for a Soft Dramatic.  It has the length, and the flap detail really adds to the shoulder emphasis.  The scale of the details are large enough to balance out a Soft Dramatic.


Coats – Level 3: Soft Dramatics get really fabulous Level 3 looks; they are one of the style IDs that is really hard to dress down, but they get to have a lot of fun when it comes time to dress up!

BS-11-2015-117A: I think a cape over an evening gown would be a stunning way to make an entrance.  So Diva Chic!
BS-11-2007-101: Narrow, lightly constructed, but with large scale, ornate design features.  The would be quite a fabulous coat style!
BS-11-2007-102: The same as above, but with slightly different detailing.  Both styles would work well for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-01-2013-103: Large scale lapels, a long line, but with edges of softness.  In a bold color or ornate print this could be a real knockout on a Soft Dramatic.
BS-09-2013-129: Long vertical line, soft edges, shoulder emphasis, lightly structured fit all work for a Soft Dramatic.
Vogue 8307: Either of the longer two styles would be great! This coat has a bit much volume for a true Dramatic, but the scale and soft outline are perfect for a Soft Dramatic.
Butterick 5685: Another great possibility with the oversized lapels.  A Soft Dramatic would do best with one of the longer lengths. (I made this a while ago, and I still love this style!)
Burda Plus F/W 2015 #430B: More oversized collar shapes, with softly elongated lines.
BS-10-2008-110: Shoulder emphasis and an unconstructed silhouette.  Diva!
Vogue 1365: The oversized collar trend from a few years ago works really well for Soft Dramatics.
Simplicity 8509: I’m pretty sure this is the epitome of Diva Chic.
BS-11-2006-131: I think this could be a *bit* too structured, but the overall length and silhouette is good!  I think it works well as part of an evening ensemble.
BS-12-2007-129: Oversized, ornate, and unconstructed.
BS-03-2010-130: The neckline definitely gives ornate vibes, but the overall shape comes off as lightly structured.  I think it works particularly well in a lightweight silk.

Jackets – Level 1: Level 1 is a bit hard for the Soft Dramatic, but I think by focusing on oversized, ornate detail, even in casual clothes, it is possible.

Burda 7190: The jacket (view B) isn’t long, but I think that can add to the casual feel.  The large detail and shoulder emphasis are there, so it should be enough for a Soft Dramatic to pull off this look.
Burda Easy F/W 2015 #4C: The scarf collar adds soft detail and shoulder emphasis, and the overall line is rather long for a casual winter jacket.
BS-10-2016-119: Possibly a bit too tailored, but the scale of the collar and length to mid-thigh should work pretty well.
Burda 7366: Here View B is quite unconstructed and of a decent length.
BS-08-2008-114A: Diva Chic goes glamping.  The collar and sleeve puff details really make this a perfect casual look for a Soft Dramatic!
BS-01-2008-129: Here is a Burda Plus style with many similar features.
BS-01-2008-131: The oversized collars are great for the Soft Dramatic, but they don’t have to make a jacket too formal.

Jackets – Level 2: Trying to avoid blazers is a bit tricky at this level, but I think I found a few that skirt the “traditional” line and should work for a Soft Dramatic.

Burda 6843: View B is a perfect length and has some lovely softness to the tailoring.
BS-10-2012-102: Lightly structured, elongated, and lots of soft shoulder emphasis.
BS-11-2014-109B: Unconstructed, but with ornate detailing.  (I’ve made this jacket, but it wasn’t one of my most successful looks.  In hindsight it needs a bit more drape.)
Vogue 1466: Perfect length, with a strong shoulder and soft neckline.
Burda 6587: View A is elongated, soft, and not too tailored.
Vogue 9036: This has quite a bit of structure, but it also has strong shoulders, and elongated line, and a softness below the waist that make it workable for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-10-2010-139: Love the shoulder emphasis here for a Soft Dramatic!
BS-12-2012-145: Ornate detail, check!

Jackets – Level 3: There are a lot of fun styles for Soft Dramatics.

BS-12-2012-116: This is a perfect use of print for a Soft Dramatic!  Ornate, and part of an elongated jacket with softly rounded details.
Burda 7092: Soft Dramatics have the scale to pull off these exaggerated collars and ornate styles.
McCall’s 7288: Another example of a use of rich print fabric, an elongated line, and oversized detail with shoulder emphasis.
Vogue 9096: Oversized detail and unconstructed shape.  I imagine this could be quite stunning in a more opulent fabric.
Vogue 1211: Diva!  Only Soft Dramatic could easily pull off that collar style – the scale and mix of hard and soft elements is perfection for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-05-2007-134: This Burda Plus style is elongated and softly draped.  The collar may be a bit small, but the overall silhouette is fantastic.
BS-11-2007-131: Unconstructed, ornate, with rich detail.  This is a style that could really work at any level, but in the silk fabric I think it looks quite fancy.
BS-10-2015-126: I think this is how Soft Dramatic could pull off a blazer look.  The style is very elongated, and as shown on the model, the scale of the details are quite in proportion to read as slightly enlarged.  It is probably not as fancy a look as a Soft Dramatic would get with one of the other more ornate styles, but it can certainly work with proper styling.

Skirts: Skirts should be straight, long (mid calf) and draped. Short skirts (knee length) may be paired with a long jacket, sweater or top. Detail should be elongated (shirring, soft folds and slits).

Avoid: Full skirts except on certain dresses (see dress category). Wide, unconstructed skirts. A-lines and sharp pleats. Overly fussy and fitted skirts with delicate detail (gathers, tucks, etc.; plackets, etc.)

Level 1: Kibbe’s recommendations work well for Level 1 skirts; it’s easy to find a lot of knit patterns that work within these specifications but still give a very casual feel.

BS-02-2016-135: Soft and long, with a slit detail.
Burda 7208: Soft, elongated, draped detail with soft folds.
Burda Easy F/W 2018 #6B: Elongated to the mid-calf, straight, with soft folds.
Simplicity 1367: Another elongated knit skirt with a straight silhouette and slit detail.
BS-02-2009-109: Elongated, straight with soft draping detail.
BS-09-2009-133: The godets on this skirt add a softness of detail.  It does prevent the shape from being entirely narrow, but overall the length and general scale are good.
BS-11-2011-116B: Elongated straight skirt with soft fold details that also serve to add length.
BS-01-2006-133: Mid-calf length, fairly straight, and with some softness of detail.
BS-02-2006-134: The pleats may be a bit harsh, but they should work fine for a more casual look.  The length and scale of this skirt fit into the Kibbe recommendation.

Level 2: The Level 2 skirts have a bit more structure, but display many of the same features as the Level 1 options.

BS-10-2012-107: Long, straight, with softly draped detail.  The scale of the drape is quite large and ornate, and  in a rich fabric this could look quite luxurious.
Burda 6468: Soft and elongated.  Perhaps not as straight as some of the other options, but the silhouette isn’t overly voluminous either.
BS-11-2008-104A: Mid-calf length with soft details but the overall impression of an elongated vertical line.  While I think this skirt would be a formal piece for a different Style ID (like Naturals), for a Soft Dramatic it would classify as office wear (perhaps not in shiny gold, but in a nice crepe it would be very office appropriate).
BS-05-2012-113C: Elongated, narrow shape with soft pleating detail.  The detail is what really makes this skirt Soft Dramatic as opposed to Dramatic or Classic, because it creates a soft addition on top of a cleaner straight line.
BS-09-2014-105: This skirt has an elongated line with a soft silhouette.
BS-04-2015-117B: Although Kibbe says a Soft Dramatic should avoid pleats, I don’t think these are particularly harsh, and I do think they create the detail needed to emphasize the vertical line.
BS-09-2017-114: Elongated line, narrow shape, and slit detail.
Vogue 1466: A great option: elongated length and soft drape in a style simple enough to wear as part of a work ensemble.
Simplicity 1322: Views D and E would work well for a Soft Dramatic with the soft drape, elongated silhouette, and long front slit.
BS-11-2015-105C: Kibbe would probably recommend this style in a solid color, but he does note that bold contrast can work well for a Soft Dramatic.  The length is perfect, the silhouette is quite narrow, and the skirt has a lovely softness to the drape.
BS-11-2008-117: The seaming detail adds to the feeling of length on this skirt.
Burda 6714: Softly draping Burda Plus option.
BS-04-2007-136: An elongated style with slight softness at the hem.
BS-09-2007-128B: This simple skirt has a great vertical line for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-08-2017-126B: The zip detail has the same effect as a long front slit and adds elongated detail and softness from the underlay.

Level 3:Soft Dramatics have a lot of fabulous Level 3 options.  You get to play with fun, ornate, and largely rounded details and shapes.

Butterick 5858: The drape of the skirt is very soft and elongated.
BS-04-2004-129: The tiers add the softness, but the full length creates the narrow vertical line Soft Dramatics need.
BS-12-2006-105: Kibbe doesn’t really talk about flared skirts for Soft Dramatics, but the overall feeling is very oversized ornate with soft edges.
McCall’s 7540: The overall feel is elongated vertical line with soft edges and draping lines.
V9173 (1)
Vogue 9173: A very narrow and elongated skirt, but with oversized, soft, and bold hem detail.
Vogue 9173: The other view from the pattern is fantastic as well.  The skirt ruffles are definitely soft, bold, and sweeping.
Simplicity 8597: A more subtle soft, draping line.
BS-12-2015-115C: Vertical length with long slit detail.  A Kibbe Diva could definitely pull off a fully sequined skirt quite easily as well.  (I’ve made the shorter version of this skirt, which would also work for a Soft Dramatic.)
BS-12-2006-138: Bold and sweeping, yet not too over the top.
BS-12-2008-132: Even the calf length skirts can be part of a great evening look.
BS-12-2008-133: Though the longer lengths are a bit better for evening.  The pairing with this top creates a perfect Soft Dramatic look – the overall feeling is bold, oversized, and ornate.
BS-03-2009-126: Another fabulous Burda Plus option; the skirt has a very ornate feel.

Pants: Pants should be straight, long and draped. Detail should be soft and elongated (deep pleats, shirring, softly draped).

Avoid stiffly tailored pants. Wide, unconstructed or baggy shapes. Overly delicate detail (pegged legs, fussy gathers, small trim, etc.).

Level 1: As with the skirts, the Level 1 trousers for Soft Dramatics are a bit less tailored and would be easy to make in a nice knit or soft woven.

Burda 7208: The trousers are quite plain, but they are long, straight, and draped.
BS-10-2006-121B: I wouldn’t say these are softly draped, but sometimes you need something a little more sturdy.  I think these would be good for a Soft Dramatic though because the seaming detail is large, curved, and rather ornate for a pair of plain trousers.  This style is would be good for casual wear, but probably not as easily portable to Levels 2 or 3.
BS-06-2008-125: The front pleating detail is softly elongated and the legs are very straight.
Vogue 8699: The longer view would be a great casual knit pant.
BS-06-2011-114B: Overall feel is elongated and soft, and the details are neither too stiff nor too small or fussy.
BS-12-2006-121A: Simple trouser, with a long, straight leg.
BS-03-2007-106A: Soft pleating detail at the waistband, and soft feel on the legs.  I think linen would be great for a casual Soft Dramatic look.  It still has an air of richness, but it definitely reads casual, and will have the soft drape Kibbe is looking for.

Level 2: The Level 2 styles are bit more structured, with more traditional tailoring details, but still have a relatively soft silhouette.

Burda 7366: The leg is elongated and soft, with subtle pleating details at the waist.
Butterick 5258: Elongated and straight.  The artwork on this envelope is very office Diva Chic.
BS-10-2007-107B: Soft pleating, soft drape, elongated, and straight.
BS-08-2008-105: A similar style, but without the crisp front press, which makes this version even better for Soft Dramatic.
BS-12-2009-115: The seam line is softly rounded, elongated, and part of an overall soft, straight look.
Vogue 8836: Soft pleats and vertical line details.
Vogue 1416: This whole outfit is a great Soft Dramatic look.  The scale of the top could look a bit much on other style IDs, but the soft opulence is perfect for a Soft Dramatic.
Burda 6492: A great Burda Plus option.  Not a lot of detail, but View A has a great silhouette.
BS-01-2011-134A: The in seam pockets help to create a vertical line, but the overall silhouette is soft.
BS-11-2016-130: Another style that is plain, but looks softly straight on the model.
Butterick 5859: Elongated, soft, straight.
BS-09-2006-113B: Another version with those cool vertical in seam pockets.
BS-02-2012-115: Soft pleating details and a long vertical line.
Burda 6613: Another softly straight option.

Level 3: I did not pick a lot of Level 3 trousers because I think Soft Dramatics just look so great in ornate gowns and dresses, but I do think a lot of the recent jumpsuit styles would look very Level 3 appropriate on a Soft Dramatic because it creates that long vertical line automatically.

Butterick 6130: The legs are a bit oversized, but the overall effect is rich.  The soft neckline is also a great feature for Soft Dramatics.
BS-12-2013-103B: Soft Dramatics can pull off wearing really rich fabrics for evening trousers.
Vogue 1524: I’ve been torn if this should be a Dramatic or Soft Dramatic, but I think the scale of the details and collar really suit the Soft Dramatic a bit more (there are jumpsuit patterns with straight legs that would look better for a true Dramatic I think).  The shoulder line creates a great shoulder emphasis, which is also important to a Soft Dramatic, as is the soft drape of the trouser leg.  (And if you want to see it in blue, you can check out my version here!)

Blouses: Blouses should be soft and draped with broad shoulders and draped necklines and sleeves. Detail should be elongated and soft. Ornate detail should be very oversized and lush (large bows, or jabots, sheer lacy trim or sparkly appliqué) Fabrics should be lightweight, very soft, or very shiny.

Avoid: Sharply tailored blouses. Plain blouses. Delicate, fussy blouses. Wide, unconstructed or shapeless blouses.

Level 1: There are a lot of options for Soft Dramatic tops, especially in the current trend of oversized knits and chiffon styles.  For the tops, fabric choice will be key to designate the level, and it is important to remember that Kibbe recommends blouses look part of the whole outfit, because Soft Dramatics still need to think about maintaining a vertical line.

Butterick 5555: The collar detail is definitely elongated with softly rounded shapes, and the overall silhouette is quite soft with broad shoulders.
Burda 6369: Softly draped, elongated style.  As shown on the models it looks a bit oversized and borderline sloppy, but I think on a Soft Dramatic it would look fantastic because they have the strong lines and curves to carry this off.
Burda Easy S/S 2012 #7A: I would say this is a bold geometric shape with soft edges and it has shoulder emphasis.
BS-09-2008-110: This is a very casual top, yet the collar and cuffs add a soft sense of drama.  The detail is definitely oversized, softly rounded, and ornate.
BS-05-2013-105A: Soft, draped, broad shoulders, and elongated.
BS-02-2015-101: There is soft draping and elongated silhouette detail.
BS-05-2016-101: Elongated, soft pleating detail on an otherwise simple t-shirt.
Butterick 5388: The collar detail is oversized, and the overall feel is softly draped and elongated. (And it’s one of my favorite shirts this year!)
BS-10-2005-114: Oversized, softly draped collar detail.
BS-09-2018-121A: Softly draped, elongated neckline.
Vogue 9238: Soft draping, shoulder emphasis, and an elongated line.  This would be a great Soft Dramatic look for summer.
Butterick 5610: The details are fairly soft and elongating.  The contrasted shoulders also add emphasis as well.
Butterick 5645: Softly draped necklines and shoulder emphasis on a basic t-shirt.
BS-01-2015-110: Beautiful shoulder emphasis detail and soft draping.  Of course the Diva Chic style ID would have a flowing shoulder scarf in Level 1 options!
Simplicity 1716: More softly draped necklines and shoulder emphasis.  (Also, one of my favorite tops!)
BS-07-2012-136A: The knit fabric keeps the feel soft, but the real feature of this top that works is the strong shoulder emphasis.
BS-07-2016-129A: A soft neckline detail and shoulder emphasis.
BS-08-2013-140: Elongated, with soft collar detail.

Level 2: These styles tend to have a bit more office appropriate/traditional blouse type features, but there are a few fun date night looks thrown in as well.

Burda 6425: Soft draped details and shoulder emphasis.  This could easily work for Level 1, but I think it could be part of a more casual office look as well.
Burda Easy F/W 2018 #4B: Oversized neck bow detail and soft, shiny fabrics are all part of the recommendations.
BS-02-2008-101A: A very “T” silhouette, with soft sleeve details and overall lightness to the fabric.  It wouldn’t work as well for a Soft Dramatic in a heavier fabrication – that would make it pull a bit more Flamboyant Natural.
BS-04-2012-115A: Softly draped sleeve detail with shoulder emphasis.
BS-10-2013-122: More soft shoulder emphasis that would look great with a simple, elongated skirt.
BS-01-2015-111: Soft, luxurious drape to the fabric, shiny fabric, elongated line.
Vogue 9315: Oversized and lush detail.  I think View C would be more of a Level 1, but I think A/B could be a Level 2 or 3 depending on the look of the whole outfit.
Vogue 9257: Oversized lace detail, very lush.
Vogue 1416: We already discussed how much I like the oversized details on this top for a Soft Dramatic.
Vogue 1324: Another top with great oversized draping detail and a rich, lush feel.
Vogue 9152: The collar detail is very oversized, and in the right fabrics it would be very soft and ornate.
Burda 6630: A simpler style with shoulder emphasis.  Would be great as part of a more casual work outfit or a casual date night look.  (I’ve also made this top too!)
BS-12-2013-119A: Another great draped style with soft, oversized shapes (that I’ve also made).
BS-01-2014-108: A different pattern that has a very similar effect of oversized shapes and fun draping.
Butterick 6517: The overall feel is perhaps not as soft as Kibbe would want, but I think this is a great blend of “Soft” with “Dramatic.”  The shoulder emphasis and details are great.
Burda 7444: An older Burda pattern with great neck detail.  View B is also a great length for a dress too.
Burda 6391: Elongated, draped, soft fabrics… I’m not loving the styling here, but the tops themselves are pretty fantastic for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-07-2013-131: Shoulder emphasis with an oversized ornate detail and shiny fabric.
BS-08-2018-123B: A more simple style that still has a soft drape and general flow.
BS-12-2016-128A: I know it says dress, but the line drawing looks like a top!  The added shoulder detail may be annoying to wear but it is a fabulous Diva Chic detail!

Level 3: For Level 3 we get even more enlarged, ornate shapes and fancy fabrics.

BS-12-2009-108: This is the ultimate in ornate, rounded shoulder emphasis.
BS-09-2010-102: Opulent, oversized detail at the collar and cuffs.
BS-11-2011-121: More soft detail that really brings the drama to a look.
BS-12-2015-124: A more casual top that could still work well in the context of a more formal outfit.  The soft, sheer fabric is very in keeping with Kibbe’s recommendations.
Vogue 1413: Could you get any more oversized or ornate?  The scale of these ruffles would be too much for a Romantic, but on a Soft Dramatic they will look just right.
BS-11-2011-107A: Elongated, with a soft detail.  The overall scale is that of being large, but without being oversized or too tailored.  The use of fancy fabrics is great too, though I could see this style also working as a Level 1 in a plainer fabric.
Burda Classic 2012 #0014: The overall feel is one of ornate opulence.  The fabric may be a but stiff for Kibbe, but I think the general feel is quite light and ornate.
Burda 6435: Shoulder emphasis to the max.  Imagine this with one of the long, ruffled Vogue skirts – Drama!
BS-11-2007-104: Another style that is a bit “stiff” but can get away with it because of the oversized bow and collar features, and the draped feel from the overlap of the fabric.  It feels rich, but not heavy.
Vogue 7997: This style has the shoulder emphasis, and could be a great option if you really want a capsule wardrobe with very versatile pieces.  (And it was one of my earliest sewing projects!)
BS-11-2015-119B: Soft draping, shoulder emphasis, and a T-silhouette.  Another great versatile style.
BS-10-2013-134: Ornate draping and rich detail.

Sweaters: Soft and clingy knits with draped necklines. Plush knits. Draped knits. Broad shoulders and an elongated waist. Oversized patterns or trim, especially ornate or sparkly.

Avoid: Rough and heavy knits. Skinny, ribbed knits. Short styles, including crew-necked, shetlands, cardigans, and cropped sweaters. Wide, unconstructed styles. Overly delicate, fussy trim. Overly fitted styles.

Level 1: I think there are a lot of great sweater options for Soft Dramatics in recent years.

B6297 (1)
Butterick 6297: Ok, so this is a PJ pattern, but I think it has the elongation and shoulder emphasis necessary for a very casual look.  Also, in a sparkly fabric it could be a bit more Diva Chic.
Burda 6476: Soft, plush, oversized, with broad shoulders.
BS-01-2016-101C: Soft and clingy, but still very casual.
BS-07-2009-126: Draped neckline, and elongated shape.  Very soft and clingy.
BS-07-2013-109A: Broad shoulders, elongated shape, and contributing to that “T” silhouette that Kibbe is going for.
BS-03-2014-111: Super casual, but still elongated, soft, and plush.
Burda 6356: Broad shoulder emphasis and a plush feel.
BS-01-2014-123: A simpler, but still very plush style.

Level 2: The Level 2 sweaters have a bit more detail and a bit more shape.

BS-09-2014-121: Plus, shoulder emphasis, and Diva Chic!  The fabric may be a bit too “rough” but I think the pattern is perfection.
BS-12-2012-137: Elongated and soft, with oversized trim.
BS-09-2013-110: Elongated, soft, and draping.  The giant star may be a bit too gauche, but it does have the oversized sparkly detail Kibbe recommends.
Butterick 6527: Elongated, soft, clingy, with a draped neckline.
BS-12-2009-119: Plush and draped.
BS-01-2012-107: Oversized, ornate detail and an elongated waist.
BS-12-2016-121: This should perhaps be in Level 1, but I think on a Soft Dramatic, in a sparkly fabric, it would be a great date night sweater.
BS-12-2010-109: Draped neckline in a sparkly fabric – check!
BS-10-2014-113: Elongated, draped necklines, and very plush.
Burda Plus F/W 2015 #429: Soft and clingy with an open, draping feel.  Oversized, sparkly pattern.
BS-01-2013-127: A Burda Plus options for the softly draped waterfall style sweater.

Level 3: I found some rather Diva appropriate cover ups.  The may not fall in line with the sweater suggestions exactly, but I thought they should be included.

Burda Plus F/W 2016 #419: Draping, shiny fabric, oversized, ornate shapes.
Vogue 9045: Only Soft Dramatics have the scale to pull off these oversized details.
Vogue 9291: Is View C not the definition of Diva Chic?  How fabulous would you look with this casually draped over a fabulous gown.
BS-07-2013-109B: Oversized and T-shaped. I know Burda shows it in a casual way, but I think a Soft Dramatic could pull off a sparkly elongated sweater as part of an evening look.
BS-11-2015-103C: Another style that can have a very evening feel with luxe fabrics.  Burda’s styling is quite convincing that sweaters can work for Soft Dramatic evening looks.
BS-01-2013-128: Sparkly, soft, and draped.  I think this could look very Level 3 over some soft trousers and a lovely blouse.

Dresses: Dresses should be elongated and draped, with broad shoulders. Detail should be oversized and ornate (shirring, trim, etc.) A dropped waist is best on dresses, but an exaggerated waist is also effective when combined with very broad shoulders and a full, sweeping skirt. Narrow, clingy shapes are basic.

Avoid: Sharply tailored dresses. Shapeless, unconstructed or wide styles. Flouncy styles with delicate or fussy detail. Overly fitted and nipped styles.

Level 1: Dresses are the easiest patterns to find for Soft Dramatic.  I had to cut out over half of my options because otherwise this post would have been waaaaaaay too long, but that does mean we are looking at the best of the best!  Level 1 styles for a Soft Dramatic will look a bit fancier than for some other style IDs, but on a Soft Dramatic they will read as casual.  We will definitely ramp up the glamor as we move into the higher levels.

McCall env template rev2
McCall’s 7534: Elongated, draped, broad shoulders.  The plain-ness of this style keeps it at a Level 1, but the addition of ornate accessories would be great for this look.
McCall’s 7624: Elongated and draped, with shoulder emphasis.  As Kibbe says, narrow shapes are basic, hence being at a Level 1.  This is definitely a grocery store errand running sort of look for a Soft Dramatic.
BS-12-2009-128: Elongated, softly draped, with lengthening pleating details and a soft neckline.
BS-09-2013-112: Another elongated style with a softly draped skirt.  Too plain to be ornate enough for a higher level, but still workable in a Soft Dramatic wardrobe.
Burda 6362: Elongated, with shoulder emphasis and “T” silhouette.
Burda 6411: Narrow shape with soft draping detail. The View A length would be better for a Soft Dramatic because it adds length.
Burda 6453: View B would be a great casual look, but View A could work as well for a Level 2 style.
BS-04-2008-116: Simple, elongated, with some soft draping detail.
BS-05-2011-106: Narrow, clingy, with shoulder emphasis and ornate gathered trim detail.  The narrow shape keeps this casual.
BS-03-2014-125: An elongated style that is very plain, but soft enough to work for a Soft Dramatic.  The dropped waist detail also works well.
BS-07-2014-117B: Narrow, clingy, and with soft, draping neckline detail.
BS-10-2014-105: Basic soft, clingy, narrow dress.
BS-10-2014-111: Similar to the above, with a slightly more draped neckline.
McCall’s 7747: View D could be a nice simple style with shoulder emphasis and draped design detail.
Burda Plus S/S 2016 #405B: A Burda Plus example of a narrow, clingy shape with soft details.
BS-12-2009-136: Narrow, T-shape silhouette, with a soft neckline detail.

Level 2: Level 2 is interesting, because I think the styling will be important to designate these as being more elevated looks.  It is a bit tricky to find styles that seem office appropriate and still have all the details necessary, but there are some good options out there.

Vogue 9238: Elongated, T-shape, with soft ruffles and shoulder emphasis.  I think this could be good for a date or more casual spring wedding when you don’t want to get too overdressed.
Butterick 5523: A great fall work look; elongated, soft pleating detail, and a draped neckline.
Burda 7127: Diva Chic shoulder emphasis and narrow silhouette.
Burda 7176: Another style with ornate draping and oversized curved line detail.
BS-12-2010-102A: Oversized, ornate, soft detail and narrow, elongated line.
BS-10-2015-116: The lines could be a bit harsh, bit I think the overall effect is very vertical, and a bit too softly wide for a pure Dramatic.  Probably not the “best” option for a Soft Dramatic, but it has enough recommended elements to consider playing around with a similar style.
Butterick 6380: Shoulder emphasis, soft neckline detail.  The waist emphasis works here because of the broad shoulders and sweeping skirt.
BS-10-2015-112A: A great option with shoulder emphasis, elongated vertical line, and soft slit detail in the skirt.
BS-12-2017-120: Soft draping detail and a bold shoulder line work really well for a Soft Dramatic, especially in such a luxe fabric.  (Yet another style I’ve made!)
BS-02-2008-103A: Elongated, draped, with broad shoulders and oversized ornate details.
BS-05-2008-121: The draping and shoulder emphasis work well here.  This could perhaps be a Level 1, but I thought it might also work as a more casual work look.
BS-08-2012-102: Elongated, with oversized shoulder detail.  Possibly a bit too tailored, but I think a Soft Dramatic could look very office appropriate Diva Chic in this.
BS-05-2014-106: A narrow dress in a sparkly fabric could be a fun date night look.
BS-06-2014-102B: Shoulder emphasis and soft draping detail.
BS-06-2014-108: This style has even more ornate shapes and shoulder emphasis.  The vertical line is also quite elongated.
BS-10-2015-113B: This could be a bit simple, but it does have a great vertical line and nice shoulder emphasis.
BS-12-2015-110B: Softly draped ornate detail.  Possibly a bit much for the office, but a Soft Dramatic would look fabulous in this for a holiday party.
McCall’s 6713: More ornate, softly draping detail.
McCall’s 7243: Strong shoulder emphasis with a narrow silhouette.
McCall’s 7467: Shoulder emphasis and soft gathered detail.
Vogue 8280: Any of the styles with the strong shoulder detail give that T-shape silhouette in an office appropriate look.
Burda 6829: Soft draping detail, elongated lines, and rich fabrics.
Burda 7625: T-shaped silhouette and long lines.  This could be a good Soft Dramatic office style, especially if you want a comfortable knit dress.
McCall’s 7186: Elongated, draped, and softly narrow.
McCall’s 7653: A total party look with soft silhouette and draped neckline.
Vogue 1341: Soft Dramatics can pull off this ornate sculptural look like none of the other Style IDs can.
Burda 6447: Burda Plus line has some nicely draped styles as well.
BS-12-2009-138: The collar is quite oversized and ornate; very Diva Chic. The bow may be too small in scale, but it could be replaced with a different design feature perhaps.
BS-10-2015-130A: A narrow dress with soft draping.
BS-12-2016-128B: The dress version of the top from above.  The shoulder emphasis definitely creates an ornate detail.

Level 3: Now we are really getting into it!  There are so many fabulous Level 3 dress styles for Soft Dramatics!

BS-11-2010-111: Dropped waist with oversized, ornate detail.
Burda 6995: Shoulder emphasis and a strong vertical line.
BS-12-2007-109: Soft, oversized detail, and a strong vertical line.
BS-12-2008-109: More strong shoulder emphasis with a narrow silhouette.
BS-11-2009-103: A simpler style, but the shoulder emphasis and softly long silhouette are great.
BS-11-2009-106: The sleeve is quite oversized and the shoulder detail quite ornate.
BS-06-2010-118: Strong shoulder emphasis with glitzy detail, but an overall soft vertical line.
BS-11-2011-119B: More strong shoulder emphasis on a narrow gown.
BS-12-2011-120: Softly draped detail and a long narrow line.
BS-12-2011-129: Another example of a narrow style with softly draping detail.
BS-12-2012-113: Soft drape and a long vertical line.
Butterick 4657: Shoulder emphasis but lots of soft, ornate detail.
Butterick 6479: Soft detail and shoulder emphasis with a narrow T-silhouette.
BS-04-2015-111B: Oversized, ornate collar detail that balances out the exaggerated waist on this dress.
BS-05-2015-121: Narrow shape with oversized ruffle trim.
Vogue 1565: More oversized, ornate sleeve that create the T-shape silhouette.  A Soft Dramatic may wish to lengthen the hem a bit.
Vogue 1545: Ornate, oversized detail on the bodice, but a softly long silhouette.
Vogue 1485: Dropped waist style with oversized detail.
Vogue 1427: Narrow silhouette with ornate detailing.
Vogue 1359: This could perhaps be a Level 2 style, but the ornate twist of the fabric could be Level 3, especially if this was lengthened to being a full gown.
Vogue 1162: Strong shoulder emphasis with ornate detail and long line.  Possibly the ultimate Soft Dramatic dress?
BS-04-2012-147: This style could be a bit more versatile (I could see it anywhere from Level 1 to Level 3), but the overall shape is elongated, soft, and very broad in the shoulder.
McCall’s 7683: Elongated line, slit for vertical emphasis, with very strong shoulder emphasis on all of the styles.
Simplicity 8045: Elongated and draped, with strong, oversized shoulder detail.
Burda 6547: The seaming details create large, ornate shapes, which are emphasized by the rich mixing of fabrics.
Burda Plus S/S 2013 #404: A gorgeous example of large ornate shapes.  Only a Soft Dramatic could pull this off without getting swallowed by the fabric.
BS-03-2010-133: A more subdued style, with a softer wide neckline and strong vertical line.
BS-07-2011-135: Strong shoulder emphasis and T-shape silhouette.
BS-12-2011-134A: Ornate, oversized lines in the draped Burda Plus style.
BS-12-2011-134B: The longer version is also fantastic!
BS-12-2012-151: Elongated design with bold, oversized detail (see the bow in the back?)
BS-12-2012-144: Strong shoulder emphasis and softly draped detail.
BS-03-2016-132: Dropped waist style with a soft, but long vertical line.
BS-09-2016-132: Form fitting and draped, a very good evening look for a Soft Dramatic.

Evening Wear: Clingy shapes. Shoulder emphasis (which you already have). Cleavage emphasis. Soft, draped fabric. Glitzy fabric. Ornate and oversized trim.
Draped gowns. Form-fitting gowns with shoulder emphasis and cleavage. Shirred cocktail dresses with big shoulders.  Oversized dinner suits with elaborate trim.

Because we didn’t have enough pretty dresses in the Level 3 styles, I found even more opulent options for our Diva Chic style ID.

Burda 6584: The pleats create a dropped waist effect, and the overall look is quite oversized and ornate.
Burda 6708: Clingy shapes with a skirt that is quite oversized and ornate.
Burda 6865: The elongated gown has that draped, clingy look.
Burda 6867: Clingy shape, draping, form fitting, and great potential for glitzy fabric.
BS-12-2007-104: Strong shoulder emphasis and ornate trim!
BS-12-2013-119C: Draped, clingy gown with strong vertical line.
McCall’s 7047: Soft, draped style in very glitzy fabric.
BS-12-2005-123: Oversized, ornate detail on an otherwise narrow style.
BS-11-2014-120: The ultimate Soft Dramatic look – clingy, shoulder emphasis, ornate and oversized detail, with a very long vertical line.
Vogue 2931: Oversized bow detail creates bust emphasis.
Vogue 1475: Form fitting gown with shoulder emphasis.
Burda 6712: A clingy shape with softly draped fabrics.
BS-07-2011-134: More soft draping and ornate detail.
Butterick 6022: Oversized shoulder detail is fantastic on this gown.
BS-02-2013-140: Here is a great Burda Plus design with oversized shoulder emphasis.  Even the bridesmaid style works for Soft Dramatic.

And that’s it!  Another Style ID down.  I hope that this first look at the subtypes is helpful for understanding why they need to exist in Kibbe’s system.  The soft draping in these styles would not work well on a Dramatic – it isn’t angular enough – but the scale of these details is far too large for a more delicate Romantic type.  I think we will also start to understand a bit more how the system is a spectrum; many of these looks will reappear in the Flamboyant Natural category, or already showed up in the Natural post.  Kibbe has said clothes don’t have a Style ID, and I think that is true to some extent.  There were certainly looks here that would be hard pressed to fit into another category (like that yellow Burda Plus dress with the fabulous oversized ruffle detail), but there are others that could work well for many different style IDs.

I mentioned in my post on the Natural type that I felt Burda really designed preferentially in that aesthetic, and I have to say I feel the same about Vogue and Soft Dramatic.  It makes sense; Vogue really is supposed to be that high fashion style that lends itself well to large scale drama and opulence.  Burda also has a lot to offer Soft Dramatic types, but I think the percentage of styles that will work for Soft Dramatic is actually higher from Vogue.  Of course, there are looks that work from all of the Big 4, but if you are a Soft Dramatic, you really should take a good look through Vogue’s catalog to see if there is anything you might want for your pattern stash.

On a personal side note, I think this is probably my aspirational Kibbe type.  I think we all have one – that style ID you wish you had.  I don’t think I’m much of a Diva, in appearance or personality wise, and I certainly lack any sort of angularity in my bone structure to even entertain the idea of being Soft Dramatic, but I love these oversized, organic, softly draped shapes.  In hindsight, I’ve actually made quite a few styles from both my pattern picks for the Natural recommendations and the Soft Dramatic recommendations (how I ever thought I was a Soft Classic I may never know), and while I have to say I think the Natural styles are my more successful, I also think it is interesting how I’ve sort of intuitively been sewing styles that can bleed into my own style ID (Soft Natural) so easily.  I can also say that the pieces from this post that I’ve made have worked much better for me when I styled them in a “Natural” way (by utilizing mix and match separates) rather than in a Soft Dramatic way (creating a harmonious look from top to bottom).  So I think that’s one way in which I can still utilize pieces from my “aspirational ID” in making looks for my “real ID.”  Of course, my goal is really to focus on patterns that should have a higher success rate for me, and these Soft Dramatic looks can sometimes feel too much, but I think pulling some frosting pieces from this list might not be the worst idea to keep my sewing inspired.

Coming Next Week: This week we examined what happened when we applied yin softness on top of a yang bone structure to get Soft Dramatic.  Next week we will reverse things and see what happens when yang features appear on a yin structure as we examine Kibbe’s Theatrical Romantic!

33 thoughts on “Sew Your Kibbe: Soft Dramatic

  1. May I say that your research is tremendous and I find this such an interesting reflection! I noted many patterns here that I have seen and liked in the past or even made (e.g. Burda 110 12/2015, although I made the shorter version of that pattern, not the floor-length one). I have a beautiful skirt (purchased) with front drape that I love and wear, but that, too, has never felt like it worked for me. Likewise, I like wide-legged trousers, which can sort of work on me as I am reasonably long-legged, but that I still feel overwhelm me somewhat. I’m often attracted to tops with drape or full or soft sleeves, but in practice they are also too much for me. I’m fairly confident after doing my analysis that I am closest to a classic (although I’m still not sure of the sub-type as I have elements of dramatic and soft). Your notes at the end confirm how difficult it can be for us to focus in on what suits us best, and how much time it can take to understand this. Thanks again! PS I agree re. the aspirational archetype. I’ve always wanted to be a gamine, which I’ve attempted to do with short hair cuts. 🙂

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    1. Thanks! I think the first thing that really tipped me off that I might not be a Classic was when I put on a button up shirt and took it off because it felt too constraining. I mean, I do wear button ups for more formal (Level 2 shall we say?) occasions, but for my typical casual work day it felt way too stiff and confined. I think I look good in a suit (I mean, I think most people do), but I always feel like I’m wearing a costume to some extent. The suit is the focus and I just happen to be in it. Probably another good indication that I’m not a classic. I agree that it can take a while to understand this feeling of what is “me” as opposed to, that looks cool and I like it, especially when you are wearing a prescribed work uniform on a daily basis. Doing this series I feel like I’ve learned a lot, and I hope it will help me make better purchases/plans/sewing goals in the future, because it’s really helping me focus on what works for me, as opposed to what I wish worked for me.

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      1. That’s so funny as I usually take off blouses and put on crisp, fairly fitted button downs. I also look great in a suit. Oh well, we live and learn, don’t we? 🙂 I do think this series will be of great service to many readers. I know it is helping to shape my winter sewing plans. I think you stated the problem that we face very well: “looks cool and I like it.” I find that is the curse of an open mind, for all of its pluses.

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  2. I think this is me, too. I was laughing when I was looking at the coat selection and found my me-made Vogue coat from Sandra Betzina on there. I also have sewn up a few other items in your list of pattern picks. I feel this works for me because while I have a “romantic” body type I am not Romantic at all in personality or behavior – I am more into the drama and edge.

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    1. I think that’s why it is so important to look at all of the subtypes and not just the main types. I am not Romantic at all (far too delicate for me), but I definitely have overtones of the Romantic softness in me. I also much prefer dramatic looks to soft ones in general.

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  3. Beautiful! So, so beautiful. And if I go through my Burdas I’ll probably find at least half of these patterns with my little tags stuck to the pages. Clearly I’m having a love affair with this type too. It will be interesting to see if there is much overlap between Soft Dramatic and Dramatic Classic. I expect the ruffles will be gone and maybe there will be more of a minimalistic approach to the geometry. But not quite as minimal as Classic. It’s hard to picture. 🤔

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    1. The Dramatic Classic is going to lose some of the oversized and ornately curved details when compared to a Soft Dramatic. But you are correct in that there will be more detail than we saw with the straight Classic type. Dramatic Classic will be coming up soon; it will be a lot easier to compare then!


  4. I originally thought I was soft dramatic as I am fairly tall (5ft 8″) but I think I’m now leaning towards soft classic as they are the types of clothes I seem to wear most. I have recently made some culottes (Butterick 6178 view d) which I have been wearing with a pussybow blouse and I LOVE! I’m now making Burda 02-2017-104 which you made and I was inspired to try after seeing yours and the success of my first pair. Kibbe doesn’t seem to mention culottes, which body type do you think suits them best?

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    1. Kibbe does mention culottes as a suggestion for his Natural type. If Soft Dramatic isn’t your style you might also consider one of the Natural subtypes, which need the sort of movement in clothes that a pussybow blouse and culottes would provide. I’m not ruling out Soft Classic, but if I were you I’d also look at the descriptions for Naturals.


      1. That’s interesting…I had discounted Naturals as I don’t have broad shoulders or narrower hips and am more hourglass than anything else. I also don’t look good in anything baggy with no waist definition. I think what confuses me most is my face doesn’t fit in with what I thought my body type was. It is soft and roundish (small head) with high cheekbones, large eyes, thick eyebrows, a sharper nose, a little chin bonewise but its double and a long neck. People always think I look younger than I am so quite baby faced. Anyway thank you for this excellent series, it is fascinating and so well-researched. It must take you hours! I also love your Burdastyle reviews and look forward to them every month.

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      2. I originally thought I was Soft Classic because I’d initially discounted Naturals for exactly the same reason. I’ve always felt I looked awful without waist definition, my shoulders have always felt too narrow to carry bags, and I’m definitely wider in the hips than I am in the shoulders. However, Kibbe’s main recommendation for Soft Naturals is waist definition – it is very unique from the other two Natural types in that way – and this really helps add the extra definition that makes the Soft Natural type really work for me. Now when I really try to see the bone structure and not just the whole picture with what’s on top I can see the bluntness of my bones. I definitely don’t have the softly sloping shoulders that my sister does (she is a Romantic). Anyway, I’m sort of rambling now, but I guess what I’m getting at is that you may want to consider Soft Natural in addition to Soft Classic. A good way to tell the difference may be in a use of separates – if you look great in mix-n-match sorts of pieces, then Soft Natural might be the sweet spot. If you need a head-to-toe look, then Soft Classic is probably the better option.

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      3. Thank you! I’ll look forward to seeing your Soft Naturals post! I do wear different coloured separates so that may be the way to go. On the other hand I like dresses and a classic look so maybe a bit of both would be OK. 😊

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      4. Merriam Style just posted a video dedicated to Soft Naturals – I think it’s pretty great because she shows how you can look “sexy,” “elegant,” or “business professional” all within the Soft Natural recommendations. In this same vein I think it’s totally possible for any style ID to look “classic” in the timeless style sense without being Classic in the Kibbe ID sense.

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  5. Fascinating. So far, after the descriptions, I’m absolutely a Dramatic (except for facial features), down to the long fingers, long legs and torso, long everything. Being 56 yrs, the weight is going right where Kibbe says it would (happily, it’s only a few pounds). However, the soft Dramatic isn’t my thing, for sure, though there are SO MANY lovely patterns! Can’t wait to see the Dramatic Classic.

    This series you are doing is currently helping me choosing my winter sewing patterns, and is motivating me to finish a denim pencil skirt based on the Dramatic post, to see how it goes.

    You realize you’ll have to pin all these posts somewhere for easy – and repeated – access for everyone? You may have created a monster… ♥

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    1. I did create an entry for them on my Wardrobe Planning page (from the drop down menu at the top) but I may want to reorganize my pages a bit after this as well. I’ve been wanting to do a bit of a blog overhaul/facelift for a while, but it’s on the back burner until this series is done, for obvious reasons.

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  6. The amount of time you have put into this is astounding! No where else have I seen this amount of detail especially in relation to sewing your own Kibbe wardrobe. I have been very intrigued by this Kibbe system and look forward to your next installment as soon as I finish reading the current one. I read with the intent of finding my style but I am so confused, lol. I can’t seem to understand Kibbe wording for his types as it relates to plus size. Being 6′, large hands and feet and on the larger end of plus sizing and having never been “thin” I have yet to nail down a specific style that feels like me. Maybe we will get to see a devoted post to Kibbe and plus size? pretty please! 🙂

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    1. Ah, that’s a good idea! I’ll add that to my list of follow up posts I want to do.

      What I will say is that in the body descriptions, Kibbe does mention where excess weight will go, and I did use that as a clue to realize I’m not a Soft Classic (his descriptions there are frighteningly accurate I think). Also, I do try to include at least a few Burda Plus patterns in each category if I can. I realize Burda isn’t the most inclusive sizing, but of the mainstream pattern companies it does have the most regular release of Plus patterns, which is why I mainly use their style for examples in these posts.

      As to finding you type, have you seen the introduction post? I’m pretty sure I included links to the Kibbe Quiz and videos explaining the types there. I think those materials can help you narrow down your type. At 6’ my first instinct is either Dramatic, Soft Dramatic, Natural, or Flamboyant Natural. I totally get why being Plus sized makes it tricky to narrow down a type (it’s why I had issues typing myself for sure), but there are still things you can do. Are your facial features more angular, narrow, or widely set? Try Dramatic or Flamboyant Natural. Are you more rounded and soft in the features? Look at Soft Dramatic. Is it a bit more balanced? Try the Natural type. I hope these suggestions help!

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      1. I just wanted to say that I’ve been super impressed (and very happy!) with your mix of Burda and Burda Plus patterns. In discussions about ‘inspo boards’ on places like r/femalefashionadvice, there are a lot of feelings about the importance of representation (plus sizes, women of colour, etc.) and/or if they are primarily ‘aspirational’ – which often means thin and very beautiful.

        You’ve done an amazing job with this series. Kudos and many thanks!

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    2. The height is an interesting question in Kibbe! I was initially stuck on those height categories, because if you take Kibbe’s numbers as gospel, you would have to assume that anyone over 5’9″ automatically becomes pure Yang. Which leaves out all of us tall people with delicate features and/or rounded curves. So I finally decided that just like all the other aspects of Kibbe, height is just a piece of the bigger picture.

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      1. I very much agree! Height is only once piece of the picture, and I think there is a lot of variability with that component. Taller people *tend* to be on the yang side of the spectrum, but it doesn’t lock you into any one category, and softer features definitely put you into a type that’s not pure Dramatic.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh wow, I used to work with someone who was the archetypical Soft Dramatic and now I want to send her this post because she would look amazing in all of these.

    I’ve sewn a few of these myself and own quite a few more, although I’m definitely a regular Dramatic. I’m a sucker for a dramatic collar.

    Interesting what you say about this being Vogue’s core style, I think that’s why I love them so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m a Natural (not sure what subtype), and I’m fascinated by the overlap between Natural and Soft Dramatic. Garments that would be definite statement pieces for me seem to be Level 1 for the Soft Dramatic. Which would explain my SD friend who seems to think I’m perpetually underdressed – unless I’m in something that feels like I’m wearing a “Look At Me!” placard. Then she’s happy I’m finally ‘office appropriate’. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That does seem to be the perpetual struggle! Naturals and Classics both have to be wary of doing “too much” whereas I think Soft Dramatic, Theatrical Romantic, and Gamine types struggle with having “not enough” detail.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliant post! Thank you so much for all the hard work that went into it.

    Like you, I think I’ve always wanted to be able to dress soft Dramatic and look right in it. I do still try out that vintage vamp vibe, and while it doesn’t look awful on me, I’ve long realised that it has a tendency to make me look scrawny. I just don’t have the soft yin flesh needed to make it look right. It’s not going to stop me going for a bit of rockabilly glam in my sewing, but I am definitely getting a better idea of how to include the soft dramatic elements that will work for me. Interesting collars are always good, as are the overall silhouettes which match quite nicely with classic dramatic. Looking forward to your next post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I do love glamour. I’ve bought a few of these but have me er felt confident to pull off. I love, love, the rose sleeves on the vogue dress! And the ruffles on Vogue 1413… it was all I could do to keep from buying,but I knew if I made it I’d have to scale it down and well…it wouldn’t be the same. Sigh……

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As a 6’3″ mother of 5, I really struggle to look “right.” I kept trying to wear FN since I found Kibbe types, but it absolutely looks terrible on me. I keep getting mistaken for a transvestite. Not what a female wants to hear! I really resonate with SD though! Yang body and yin flesh. Can’t wait to get some SD clothes!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your posts are so well constructed and your explenations so clear. I fell down the Kibbe Types rabbit hole, but I wouldn’t have stuck around if it weren’t for your blog. With the help of some friends, I was typed SD. I was so overwhelmed by pinterest boards of women in revealing clothes, or Kibbe’s advice, which can be cryptic for someone that doesn’t know much about sewing (like me). You have excelent taste! And I appreciate the explanation of why each pattern complies with the lines. After the fourth time reading this, I think I’m getting the gist. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Would you mind if I made a compacted guide and used your patterns as visual aid? Only to share in a SD group, for easier consultation when shopping. With a link to your blog and your name credited of course. (It’s alright if you prefer not)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course! I would be happy if the information were passed along to anyone who would find it helpful. The patterns aren’t designed by me just as an FYI – they are commercial patterns from major vendors, so I don’t have the rights to those images, but sharing them as part of an educational resource should be fine (that’s why I feel able to post them on my blog – either as an educational reference or as part of a review).


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