Friday, 12 May 2017

Panelled Shift Dress with Blue Sparkles, Burda Style 6/2013, 117

Taking part in Me Made May 2017 prompted me to take photos of this dress and reminded me how much I like it so I thought I would share it with you in this post. I think this is a very nice design and I haven't found many examples of it out there (in fact only one, here!)

Most of my dressmaking is inspired by finding a piece of fabric that I like and looking at it until I have decided what I want to make out of it. It is almost as though the garment has been in there all the time and I just need to find it. This time I also had a pattern that I really wanted to make so I can't say which idea came first. 
The fabric is black, knitted jersey and it is covered with tiny blue sparkles. I guess that it was really intended for a party dress, perhaps with a net skirt or some beading. Something to wear at Christmas or for a special occasion. But, I don't need a dress like that.
The pattern that also inspired me was Burda 6/2013 pattern 117. I was intrigued by the unusual seams to the front and back. 

The jersey fabric was very stable and easy to work with. I used a medium ballpoint needle and stitched all of the seams with a narrow zigzag rather than an overlock stitch, because this gave a better finish on the outside. The fabric doesn't fray so I haven't neatened any of the seams because they were inclined to get bulky.

Burda patterns are challenging to cut out from the multiple pattern sheet but there weren't too many pieces in this dress. Burda instructions are always quite brief and assume that you know how to carry out the basic techniques. There was a useful "handy tips" box with instructions for putting in an invisible zip, but I would recommend looking at a U-Tube video if you haven't done this before. You can stop the video at every stage to catch up, which is almost as good as having a teacher at your side.

This pattern was rated intermediate or for advanced learners, which I think is accurate. For example, the first step was to insert the side sections and there are no instructions about how to turn the right angle corner or clip the seams. Burda magazines do not include many diagrams with the instructions so may not be so good for visual learners. 

Having said this the dress came together quite easily and there are lots of features that I really like.

The invisible size zip feels very professional. As you can see it really is invisible but makes the dress very easy to get in and out of. The back of the dress is lovely and flat because it doesn't need a centre back seam.

I love the way that the seams on the side pieces sweep straight around your body.

The neck and armhole facings are in one piece which means that they stay in place and create a nice flat finish. I think this is much better than separate facings, which always seem to want to pop out while you are wearing the dress. The instructions for putting all of the facings together were clear and straightforward but included some hand sewing at the shoulder seams.

I like the boat shaped neckline. It is modest for a work dress and more attractive than a simple round neck.

I am very pleased with the fit of the dress and it is very comfortable.

However, the best thing of all about this dress is the sparkle!! I wear this dress to work because it is sensible, navy and suitable for chairing meetings. But, every time I look down it makes me smile. The folds of the dress catch the light and are covered with tiny stars.

At night or in a low light the sparkles really come to life.

We learn in science lessons that we are all made of star dust. In this dress I feel as though this is really true.


  1. Such a beautiful fit and the fabric is amazing!

  2. Thank you for your encouraging comment, Caroline