Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Let's be jolly - Burda 6385 in holiday red plaid

What happens when you make a long sleeved, high neckline, fully lined dress in a woven fabric? You realize how comfortable all your other clothes are. Which led me down the path of thinking about how style affects posture, and wondering if dressing for success does impact how you perform.

Which sound like some serious musings for a red plaid dress I wore to a festive holiday luncheon.

red dress on me 4

I found this fabric at the American Sewing Guild stash sale in October and figured it would work for this Burda pattern which I bought at Joann's when the Burda envelope patterns were on sale for $ 2.49. Adding a couple of yards of lining - of course also discounted - plus a zipper from Wawa and some old braid piping I found in my box of trims means this dress cost about $ 12. No idea what the fabric is, seems like a cotton blend pretending to be a wool. In any case it sewed and pressed well although it frayed like crazy. All edges are serged out of our necessity.


A few things I like about the pattern and then a couple of things I don't. I cut a size 38 which is my standard size in Burda - generally always fits me through the neck and shoulders, which is the important starting point. I added a good extra inch all down the side seams for fitting purposes. I could have graded up at the hip and waist but it's just easier to add the inch and then fit the side seam as needed. Usually I have to take in things at the upper part of the center back but this dress was tight in the shoulders and back. Even the sleeves were a bit constricting in the bicep and that never happens to me. I let out the side at the armhole a good 3/8 on each seam to gain 3/4" on either side, also let out the sleeve that amount which meant going down to a skinny seam on the sleeve but it was worth it for the comfort.

red dress on form close up pocket flap

I also added 3/4" of length to the bodice front and back just above the bust dart. I compared the pattern pieces to a Vogue pattern dress that fits me perfectly and the Burda waist seem appeared too high. It was a good call as it turned out perfectly. Usually I have to shorten the back pattern pieces so another odd thing fit-wise.
On the positive side - the pattern sewed up perfectly and I used the front notch to match the plaid, pretty darn happy with this plaid matching which I feel is almost wasted on a dress I will probably not wear very often. I think Burda sleeves are really nice, fit very well in the armhole across the size range of their patterns, at least that is my experience. This is a fitted sleeve with an elbow dart.

Comparing to the pattern envelope you can see some differences. I was thinking there was an opening in the bodice in the front and real buttonholes but to my surprise there isn't. Instead you are supposed to place the trim to give the look of a jacket and also the buttons. I played around with the trim and the buttons and decided it looked way better without that trim dividing the bodice in an off-center, fake jacket-y way.

For the little pocket flaps I waited until I had cut out and sewn the darts of the front bodice and then tested how they looked cut on grain and on the bias. Bias for the win - of course. Adds a bit of visual interest, and no pattern matching required for 4 flaps!

red plaid dress pocket flaps

Some trim was definitely needed to create the look as on the pattern envelope which was what first attracted me to this pattern. Rummaging in my box of trims I found this black braid piping. Score! No idea where it's from and I had just enough. In fact I would have put it on the sleeve hem but didn't have enough. The plaid fabric is interfaced with lightweight interfacing to stay in shape and then have a lining. I used the zipper foot to sew on the piping first, and then flipped it over and sewed the lining in using the stitch line of the piping. Note that to sew that tight curve I pick up the presser foot and change the angle of the stitching several times just to get around the corner. Make sense?

And done. Also a look at my tailor's tacks which I leave there until I've completed. Once there sewn I don't mind if they fall out, less threads to extract. The reason the pattern envelope keeps appearing in these photos is that I posted a few of these on Instagram previously and wanted to show what the pattern was in progress.

red dress pocket flaps with piping

I brightened this photo up a bit as it was a very gloomy day yesterday, plus drizzling so I'm standing under the patio cover. You can see how fitted the upper bodice is. I'm not saying it's too small, it's actually the style but it caused me to notice that most things I wear these days have a lot more ease or comfort built in. This dress makes me to stand up straight - which is a good thing! In all these photos I'm wearing a gold pin that was my grandmother's. At the holiday luncheon I had been to earlier in the day we were all asked to wear a pin or brooch that had some significance to us. It was so nice to hear the stories and it seemed like everyone was wearing something they had received from a mother or grandmother. Pins are nice and yet I rarely wear them. Mostly because they don't really go with the clothes I wear now. Also this one is gold and diamonds so I'm afraid of pinning it on a coat and then losing it  - that would make me so sad for many reasons. But this day was a great reason to wear it.

red dress on me 2

Red dress on form 1

red dress back view on form

I'm not 100% satisfied with the plaid matching at the center back, it's good at the top, and at the waist and down to the hem but there is a small area in the center back where it shifted just a bit. It also needs a hook and eye at the top of the zipper which I was rushing and haven't yet added. However I can live with it for my $12 dress which I will wear this holiday season, most likely under my black wool coat.  (which I sewed in 2010 and still get a lot of wear for dressy occasions in the winter).

red plaid back view on me

red dress on me 1

Don't look at the garden in the background - a dismal time of year with nothing blooming. Although tulip bulbs are planted so spring is in mind if not in view.

red dress on me 3

So that's the latest on my red plaid dress. Up next on my sewing table is a red print silk blouse (must be the holiday theme with all the red) and maybe something with a piece of velveteen that's been in my stash waiting for the right pattern. Up next on the blog is the silk wrap dress for Heather. And thank you to everyone who commented on my last post about her wool dress.  I agree - she looks fantastic.

Lots of classes on the schedule for January and February at Hello Stitch, here's the link. Another session of the Lander pants, a quilted jacket class, the Ash jeans class and pattern fitting plus garment copying. All the hits plus a few new things :)

Happy Holiday Sewing,

today's garden photo, perhaps the last bloom of the year on this red rose. The variety is Veteran's Honor, planted about 2 years ago and it's quite a good bloomer.



  1. Beth, love your new plaid dress. $12 looking like a $200 dress. Two snaps up. Great for the holiday.

  2. Lovely dress! Funny because I have some a red and black (or possibly dark navy) herringbone that was gifted to me that I have been puzzling with what to do with, your dress gives me inspiration.

  3. This looks stunning on you! Beautiful job on this dress. The color and fit are great. Such a fantastic red.

  4. A very stylish dress. It reminds me of dresses I inherited from my grandmother who went to quite a few day time dressy events. Usually wool, always lined, and invariably stylishly fitted. But not comfortable! You can't slouch in these dresses, and I needed some good girdling for proper effect. But boy did it look good - and I actually felt very cool wearing them (but not for too long please!)

  5. Stunning dress and looks great on! I like the trim on the pocket flaps.

  6. Festagiamo! Beautiful dress for the holidays. I think I mentioned somewhere that it reminds me of a Chanel dress I saw a few years back. Fit is top notch! I miss dressing up for holiday events. Think I’ll use you as an inspiration this year. And thanks for the rose picture-won’t be seeing them for a while here in New England.

  7. It's soooo nice. All those fantastic details and the color is awesome!!!!

  8. Beautiful! Great fit, construction, matching! ALL WINNERS. I can see this dress getting a lot of use this season. Thank you for your write-up. It's true about the "relaxed" clothing worn today and how posture is affected. I'm a certified bra fitter and was trained in California. When I put one of my bras on a customer, they notice immediately how it makes them want to stand up straight and have better posture. Your fit and posture are perfect in this dress. Happy Holidays in your new dress!

  9. Beautiful! You look great in red, and the mismatching, if you can even see it, is certainly minor and no one is going to look that close! $12? It looks expensive. I love the piping trim; nice detail.

  10. I love this dress, and I love this dress on you. I totally get the fitted garment comment. I know I prefer more ease, and comfortable stuff too. Though I would encourage you to 'find' places to wear it, it's a fabulous dress!!!

  11. Great dress! I love love love the idea of wearing a brooch that has a meaning to you! I'm a jewelry collector at heart!

  12. Your $12 dress looks like a $1000 dress thanks to the good fit, the fabric and the style options (like omitting the fake closure, cutting pocket flaps on the bias, etc.). Very well done!

  13. You look fabulous in red! Beautiful dress!