Oh, Man. This Draft Blows.

I finished the 9-2009-111 Burda wool flannel dress on Christmas.  The wool flannel with a touch of lycra is from a Fabric.com buy two weeks ago.  They were going to be pants, but it was just too lightweight. I also tried to pull a Dawn and take photos outside in the middle of winter. I’m tight on photography space inside the house since I moved the sewing to the basement.  But, my Jamaican / Grenadian roots do not have the constitution for outdoor shoots when it’s barely 30 degrees out!  The dress is so-so. I must warn you — I think the draft blows. 


 From the model, you can see the pleats in front are unanchored. The Burda directions actually caution *not* to press them in place. But, if you don’t tack them down in some form — they do this once they are on your real life woman parts:

Bird chest and back. Yuck. Ugh. Again I say yuck.

So, my solution was to handstitch the tucks down with thread. It’s not the look I wanted and I’m not happy. It kind of just looks unpressed. And they still pull at the bust apex. I wasn’t able to get a closeup photo to show you.

I did fully line the dress with this pretty pink poly from the Carol Collection. I do smile at a pretty lining. I curse them every step, but I’m so happy with them once they are in. I used the bodice pattern pieces, eliminated the folds and made a princess seamed lining. Which is honestly how I would make this again.

And, I made my typical 1.5 inch swayback adjustment with a horizontal tuck

I’m rather sad that I put this much effort into a dress that is just ok. It’s also not doing me any favors. It’s a little hippy for me and I don’t think the color is doing anything for me.

It’s fine. I wouldn’t make it again and because of the pleat issue I can’t recommend it to anyone without a serious FBA?  But, it’s a dress that will get me through the next two or three winters just fine.

I am working on another dress that needs a zipper insertion and hemming. Hopefully I can show it to you over the New Year’s holiday.


  1. This dress is gorgeous on you-color and construction. And the rules are meant to be broken. Not all directions make sense. As I say-necessity is the mother of invention- and if you need to improvise- do so!

  2. Came out very pretty, despite the issues you described/battled with. It’s a great simple style that shouldn’t be trendy.

  3. Well I think it looks very cute on you as is. I was looking at the pleat and thinking you had problems with it related to the fact that the bodice is snug in the chest area, which would make the pleat open up, but on your dressform it doesn’t look to pull there…

  4. I think that the “too hippy” is because the sleeves might be too short. The sleeve length, and how they look as if they are somewhat caught up in your armpits (do you see the wrinkles there in the bodice at the armpit level?), causes a visual imbalance to the dress. Make the sleeves a little longer and probably it will balance the “too hippy” for you.

  5. I agree, it looks great but I understand your dissatisfaction. Maybe with a crisper fabric? I thought the sleeves looked a little funky in the magazine. How was their drafting?

    • The sleeves are actually doubled fabric. It’s odd. And I totally agree that this could have benefited from a crisper more tailored fabric.

  6. I love this dress! This is one of those basics that you can really accessorize! As far as the pleat – you could fix the unfolding problem with a firm fabric underlay sewn from the underside of one pleat to the underside of the other – I think you could still add one. It wouldn’t have to go all the way to the waist, or to the neck-shoulders. It would join the two folds so that they would lie flat.

    Good luck with this dress.
    I love reading your sewing achievements.

    • You know, the directions do call from some kind of underlay / facing. But, from what I gathered they were just to line the bodice. Not to provide support. I think your idea could work.

  7. I don’t agree with too hippy, and I like the sleeves. But the pleats are a horror, even though you managed to tame them in the end (what’s with Burda and front pleats anyway?). But I agree with you that the color doesn’t do much for you. Maybe you can help it along with a long-sleeve turtleneck or something, to get those goosebumps down :-)? I know it’s Baltimore, but it looks cold over there..

  8. I wondered about those pleats since the model was sitting up stick straight. They looked great but troublesome. You handled them great- sorry you didn’t like the finished product.

  9. The dress looks great on you. When I saw that dress in the mag, I thought that there was an overlay or bib kind of thing on the front. There is no way that pleats would behave in real life the way they appear on the model. It really does look nice they way you did it, though.

  10. I noticed that in one of the pictures in the magazine, the model has a really deep fold in the chest of the dress, and is clearly completely flat chested so the stylist has pulled the dress in some way to make it appear better. I was deeply suspicious! I think that if it pulls that way on your chest, the whole front needs to be wider, so the pleat sits without any strain. Maybe everyone who makes it should go up a size in the chest. Having said all that, it does look good on you. So you won!

  11. The dress looks very nice even if you’re luke warm with the results. I have noticed that BWOF’s pictures are very telling. I look at all the little pulls and puffs and dang it if those joints aren’t right there when you finish the garment. All in all, I think it looks cute on you.

  12. How disappointing! I guess that there’s a reason why the model is seated in the BWOF photo… they don’t want you to know what it looks like when the dress has to hang on a real body. You made a nice save with the hand tacking. I wish I had the same patience!

  13. I think you look good, but that great smile is probably helping a lot :))
    My first thought, like many other, was that it needs an underlay (stay).
    Just accessorize; a great shawl/scarf, chunky and /or long necklace(es), and of course, your gorgeous smile.

    • Ok, I have to go back and re-read the directions. Maybe it was a stay they were telling me to make — not a bodice lining!

  14. Add my voice to the chorus saying that pleat needs a stay, if it’s not to be stitched down. An open un-stayed pleat would not stay pleat-like on any body, no matter how flat-chested. However, despite that glitsch, I like the dress on you. Give it something more chunky or colour-contrasting at the neck to accessorize and balance the belt, perhaps?

  15. Just read all the comments and I am interested in how a stay would work. Didn’t quite get it. Anyway it looks pretty nice – very wearable. Maybe a scarf or some other colour around the neckline?

  16. I was suspicious about this dress when I first saw the magazine. I tend to shy away from garments that rely on magic to hold bits in place. Having said that, though, the dress looks really nice on you and the colour suits. I don’t think you look too hippy, I think it’s the cap sleeves. I’ve actually decided not to make cap sleeves any more because I think they cup the top of the shoulder and make it look smaller. I am a size larger in the hip area than in the shoulder area anyway, so I don’t want my shoulders to look smaller. Nowadays, I either make proper short sleeves that go down my arms, or make things sleeveless. A slight cutaway armhole makes my shoulders look larger and thereby balances out my child bearing hips.

  17. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out exactly as you had planned. But I agree with the others, I think the color and styling really work on you. You could always add a pop of color with a funky wrap or cardigan.

  18. I like the dress on you, overall.

    I was going to suggest a scarf at the neckline, but Gwen beat me to it. Or perhaps you can add an embellishment of some sort around the neck?

    As for the pleat, what if you vertically topstitched 1/2 inch in from the pleat – so that the pleat can still “pleat” but it would be controlled. Would that work for you? It would still give the impression from the original photo, but without the bib effect.

    At any rate, don’t give up on this dress and stick it in the back of the closet. The lines look good and I think with a few tweaks you might like it better.

  19. Add me to the chorus of those who think you look really cute in this dress. But doncha just hate spending time on something that you only feel so-so about? Life is too friggin’ short!

  20. I really like the dress on you. It doesn’t look too hippy, in fact I think you wear that siloutte well. I would loose the sleeves though, and twinneedle topstitch those pleats down about 1″ from the edge of the pleat with a high contrast thread, maybe chocolate brown or black.

  21. The pleat is funky, but I have to say I like the color on you. A brown belt and boots would probably warm the color up just a touch and make you happier. Hope you like the next one better! Happy New Year, Cidell! (BTW, my roots are Scandanavian, and I wouldn’t be outside in a sleeveless dress in 30 degree weather. I think it’s having HUMAN roots, and not, say DOG roots, which come with a fur coat.)

  22. I’m sorry the draft was so disappointing! But the dress does look nice on you, despite your frustrations. And lovely handiwork with the lining! I think the color is nice on you as well- maybe add a bright scarf to punch it up a bit? Anyway, despite the problems you ran into with the pleats, I like your version better than Burda’s. I can see why a stiffer fabric might have helped in terms of holding the pleat, but I think the one on the model looks kind of Star Trek-y as a result of the rigidity of that pleat!

  23. This dress really appealed to me in the magazine, and I think your version looks very smart on. Maybe it will grow on you once you have forgiven it for needing fiddling about. I am very interested to read the stay suggestions – sounds like less work than all your hand stitching, but your fix worked IMO.

  24. I remember this dress when the issue came out and it is on my list. I think the dress looks great on you, and you did a beautiful job.

  25. I’m sorry for you that this dress didn’t turned out the way you imagined it! I think it looks nice on you, even though the pleats don’t look like in the magazine.

    Happy new year!

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