Saturday, July 2, 2022

With Ruffles: Part 1 Fitting - BurdaStyle 05/2022 # 102

So much for my resolution to blog more this year, but now that summer is here and I have some free time I hope to get back to it. I've been busy teaching classes at a couple of local quilt shops that wanted to expand into garment classes. But my big project has been necessitated by the climate - we are in our third year of extreme drought, and prior to that in the last ten years we have only had a couple with plenty of rain. It looks like this is state of things now and all our water districts in N. California are urging people to change their landscaping to use less water. I was happy to do it and lessen my water bill, plus all the irrigation fixtures were at the point of needing replacement. Here's a little look at the work in progress. 


Working with the existing footprint I have changed out the lawn for a drought tolerant groundcover, and then put in a bunch of low water use plants in the back. The front is still a work in progress but that will be more hardscape, with succulents and salvias.  This picture was taken at the end of May so as of today the hydrangeas are fully covered in blooms and it looks so nice. 

Back to sewing - along with many other subscribers had noticed the number of repeat patterns in the recent Burda magazines. It doesn't bother me as I generally find at least one (sometimes up to 5) patterns per issue to sew and I don't have a big backlog of magazines. I expect that with the pandemic their output is reduced and I am just happy that the magazine keeps arriving every month. 

When I saw the preview of the May issue I was interested in the dress on the cover so that was what I traced right away.

Burda mag cover05-2022

I had the perfect fabric in my stash, a rayon woven that I ordered last summer? from Fabric Mart. Here's a sneak peek of the finished dress. This is part one of this dress and I will follow up with finished photos.

Orange dress collar

As I was making it I really debated on whether or not to add the ruffles but without it that would just be a very basic shirtdress. And the one on the cover of the magazine is so cute!

Here's the technical drawing for this dress. It has a slightly cut in shoulder (my fav) but also a low armhole (not my fave). The skirt is both pleated and then gathered, which works nicely in a very lightweight fabric like woven rayon but wouldn't be suitable for anything thicker. 

Orange dress tech drawing
Time to talk about fit. I know it might actually take more time, be more work but I like to adjust the pattern and perhaps add a bit extra, and then take away when I sew the side seams or attach the skirt. 

Here are the front and back bodice pieces, which I have traced at size 38, my usual Burda starting size. That is similar to a size 12 in Vogue/McCalls/Simplicity.

Noted on the image are the adjustments that I did to the original size 38 pattern pieces. 

Pattern Adj on paper orange dress

- lengthen at Center back 1/2"
- add length center front 2"  note I make the addition of length match up at the side seams
- lower dart 1/2"
- raise underarm about 1.5"
- added to the shoulder seam length about 1/2" outer edge so not quite so narrow.
- add on side seams, about 1" at top and closer to 2" at waist. This will be too much but I like to fit on my body.

Once I had cut out and sewed up the placket/ruffle on the front bodice, and then sewed the shoulder seams, attached the collar, it was ready to fit on me. Actually I do use a dress form which I have "sculpted" that matches my measurements fairly closely for the initial pinning. If you click over to this post for my red coat and scroll down you will see the coat pattern piece pinned to the dress from, which is wearing a color blocked dress I made ages ago. That dress has a great fit, a defined waist and thus is ideal for keeping on the dress form to use as a comparison. 

Once I had tried it on and done a little basting of seams I came up with a fit that I liked. It's difficult to show those adjustments but I think this photo below illustrates it. The pink dotted line is about where I ended up sewing the dress bodice. 

Pattern Adj final on paper orange dress

So I kept the armholes raised. Moved the armhole edge a bit closer to pattern original at top of shoulder. Used only about 1/4" of the added back length, and only 1" of the added center front length, tapering to match the back at the side seam. Used the original side seam at the underarm, and gradually added about 2" on either side at the waist. 
What that tells me is that I was overly generous with my additions - but I like to have room to fit and keep the amount of ease that looks right for the style and fabric. 

Here's the illustration from the magazine, I shortened the skirt by about 4 inches. This was a good pattern to choose as it's the pattern shaded in pink - super easy to trace. 

Instruction page Burda mag orange dr

Lastly I thought it needed a real belt. I had a good chat with Laura Mae at the last Bay Area Sewists meetup (our first in person in two years, a pattern swap) and we talked about how hard it is to find some sewing supplies that used to be basics. In this case I was rummaging in my stash for 1.25" wide belt backing, and didn't have any of that width. I have some narrow and wider, but I think 1.25" wide looks just right on dress so I guess I used up what I had. It doesn't seem to be available here in the bay area. I have a couple of old belt making kits so I guess I will hoard them and use with discretion. Perhaps it's available in NY? I should post a photo of what I mean, will do that in part 2 of this dress.

Which meant I needed to get creative, so I found this belt in my closet which was a knock-off someone gave me ages ago, and it was just right for covering with the fabric. I made some eyelet buttonholes for the holes and then hand sewed the fabric over the existing belt.

Belt making for orange Burda dress

I will say that the inside is not the most beautiful workmanship but it holds together and the price was right!

Belt on orange dress

Up next some pictures of the finished dress and a start of another summer dress. 

Meanwhile I will continue on the never-ending garden project. Actually it has to finish this month as I applied for a rebate from the water district so there is a due date. You have to show your completed work. Sounds like school!

Happy Summer Sewing and I hope everyone has a relaxing and safe holiday weekend. 


today's garden photo, this Spanish lavender which appeared in 2 places in my yard. A complete mystery as I did have a scraggly purple flowered one which is long gone. Sometimes volunteer plants are the good kind :) 

white lavender 2022


  1. I'm very interested in your xeric landscaping project and would love to read more about the work involved. I think it could be expensive, what with digging up grass to be replaced etc. I understand that Colorado (or maybe just Denver?) is considering offering a rebate to people who convert to xeric landscaping. That could be the incentive I need.

  2. Love both the top and the dress!
    Glad you decided to include the ruffles - they make the dress special.
    :-) Chris

  3. Hi Beth! I'm so glad you've found another place to teach sewing lessons from. You're a good teacher and it's awesome that you are available to pass on that knowledge. I love the dress and it was interesting to hear about your work around (as my husband would call it) for the belt. We gave up our lawn here years ago for the same reasons. We ended up putting in a bunch of decomposed granite down and it is working nicely. We still have some flower beds and vegetables growing, but those are all on drip and we use a lot of mulch. I am still very concerned about the water situation in our beautiful state.

  4. Robin here…I just bought that issue, so I was excited to see you made up this dress. I buy a Burda once every few months at my local JoAnn whenever I see an issue I like. They are addictive. That fabric is yummy. Looks like a peppermint! Works perfectly, especially with the ruffles. looking forward to seeing part 2.

  5. Nice save on the belt!

    That fabric does seem to agree very well with the details in the pattern. It's so important to find the right weight and drape. And I LOVE the ruffles!

    I am grumpy about the repeated patterns as I'm starting to have lots of dupes now.