Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Burda plus 11/2013 #113B - sew this dress now !

Every once in a while I come across a pattern that I think is just perfection and this is one of them. Not to say that it didn't need a bit of fitting adjustment which is normal but the shape, the style, the simplicity and the details are in my opinion, fantastic! This was one of my Pattern Whisperer picks for really good daytime or work dresses and now that I have sewn it up I think so even more. (Plus the model looks so glam in her sunglasses).  This one is Burda Plus #113B 11/2013.

Burda plus 113B

I showed this pattern to my friend and sewing client Heather and she instantly said yes, so we added this one to our list of items to find fabric for on a recent trip to Britex. She wanted a few dresses that would work for winter, be right for office wear and warm also. I found the fabric among the wool knits and I am not really sure what you would categorize it, maybe a sweater knit? I want to call it marled but my yarn knowledge is nonexistent. Kind of a black white grey blend and nicely stretchy but substantial.

Here she is modeling the dress. Apologies for a not very good photo - she came by to pick it up very late on a grey day so the light is not ideal. I have so much trouble finding a good spot to take indoor photos. Anyway - I think it looks great on her, the darts give nice shaping and I really like the neckline that adds a nice bit of interest.

Burda plus 113B Grey Sweater dress

OK, some details and better photos. Here it is on the form (and obviously one of those items that looks so much better on a real body than the dress form.) I lightened up the photo a bit so you can see the dart detail.

Burda plus 113B front darts

I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that I was sewing up this pattern and had added an additional horizontal bust dart so here are the details. This is the front bodice pattern piece before adjustments, note it has a center seam, a large dart which starts from the bottom inside edge, and then a small shoulder dart. I played around with it on the dress form as well as doing comparison by flat pattern measure and decided to do a bit of a full bust adjustment and add another dart to increase the "three-dimensionality" of the bust area.

Burda plus 113B bodice front original

So here is the adjusted pattern piece.  Below are listed the changes made which are noted by my scribbly red numerals.

Burda plus 113B bodice front adjusted

  1. Moved the outside edge of the shoulder seam in about 1/2 inch as she is rather narrow in the shoulders as compared to bust measurement. (same slight adjustment on bodice back)
  2. Lowered the front neckline about 1/2 inch as it was proportionally too high for her height.
  3. I should have numbered these in reverse, as I did # 4 first. I drew a line sort of parallel to the center edge up to the tip of the big center dart, and then continued to the armhole. I cut a slice from the side seam to the tip of the dart, as if there was a horizontal bust dart there and then spread the whole thing in typical FBA fashion until I had added the amount I wanted, about 1 1/4 inches. So now I had a dart on the side seam but I didn't like the placement and angle of it, so I measured the amount, and then drew it up higher and at a more pleasing angle. Also note the tip of that dart stays well away from the big waist dart. No need to connect the dots there - that would not be a good look !   Lastly I added the additional width added in the center waist to the outside edge of the skirt front. 
Once I had made these adjustments the front shaped really well and I think the side dart makes a good change on this pattern if the wearer is very full busted. Here is a look at the bodice, hard to see that dart but that is a good thing - it is doing its job but is not a prominent feature.

              Burda plus 113B side view 2Burda plus 113B side view

Other adjustments: I had to shorten the back bodice by a good 1.5 inches in the center tapering out to the side seams. It is hard to know just where the skirt should be on someone else, so for her I always baste it on but then adjust on the body. I did a slight bicep adjustment on the sleeve but the real adjustment was to shape the side seams so that the dress fit in a curve hugging way at the waist. The only way to do that is just try it on and pin+baste, and continue until the fit is just right. I like how this dress is slightly pegged at the hem.
I did a full lining using a knit fabric. My solution for lining these knit dresses is to use a poly knit which is usually in the dance wear or active wear section at Joann fabrics. The back has the same diagonal dart detail as the front.

Burda back lining

All in all, a very flattering silhouette with the darts and neckline to make it different from the standard sheath dress. I think it will work well for spring/summer in a print and with short sleeves, and I could even picture it as a two-color version with a solid bottom and maybe a print on top to give a blouse/skirt effect. I even suggested it could be a knit top as well.

Pattern satisfaction ! In a few weeks I will do my year end analysis and this one is definitely in the top tier of pattern for 2014.

In other news, after all our worrying about the drought we are poised for a tropical storm tonight and for the next few days, with up to 10 inches of rain in some areas. So yay for us! My garden (and the farm economy of our state) will hopefully recover. Plenty of sewing plans this weekend, hoping to get back to that Burda coat and I think I will sneak one more wool blazer in before the end of the year. A few Christmas gifts to be sewn, and who knows what else will distract me before the year is over.

Happy December sewing,  Beth

And here is my garden photo which I took last week, a sight I have not seen in a while. While the birdbath needs a good scrubbing, the birds don't care as I am sure they are happy to have it filled with rain.



  1. I'm excited about the rain too!!! This dress looks really lovely on her! I love the darts. Just out of curiosity if you don't mind me asking, how much do you charge for a project like this?

  2. What a beautiful fit--very flattering!

  3. Thank you! I have been hoping to make this pattern for awhile, but my attempt to do an fba was a disaster. I just wasn't thinking it through and/or was far too ambitious. My lesson learned: don't mess with the center darts on this one. I'll try the side dart fba next!

  4. What a beautiful fit! What a beautiful dress!

  5. In total agreement about this dress and heather looks fabulous in the finished garment!

  6. Those darts, I'm in love with this dress.

  7. Lovely dress and beautifully fitted.

  8. I's a wonderfull dress and the pattern is very good. I made the dress last winter too and I like it. Mema

  9. Thank you for the review and showing the FBA. That definately looks like dress I'll add to my list. I really like the neckline detail. A lovely fit, looks like it would be great in a ponti knit.

  10. That fit is spot on. Thanks for showing how you made the FBA too. Really really lovely.

  11. Love that dress and the fitting is on target.

  12. You've sold me! I love how it fits- I was worried about a darted paunch pyramid, but this is gorgeous!

  13. Makes me want to give this one a try! Thanks for sharing.

  14. What a perfect core dress to wear all year! The alterations and photos are superb and produced a great finished garment. Your friend has the best happy smile. Kudos to both of you!

  15. You have a very good eye! Your client looks amazing in her perfectly fitting dress. I appreciate seeing the details of your alterations. I love it and have to have one! I even have a beautiful ponte for it.

  16. Beth, I am awed by the fit of that dress on Heather. It is absolutely wonderful! You are so inspiring, thanks for the fba info also!

  17. She looks amazing in her fabulously fitting dress, so flattering. Great job!

  18. What a lovely dress and the fit is spot on. Your client looks great! She needs another..

  19. Heather looks so happy and she should - great dress and it looks fab on her!

  20. What a gorgeous dress!

  21. I've always wanted to see how an FBA is done on a uniquely darted dress. Thank you for sharing this. It's marvelous! I hope your client fell in love.