Pattern Review: Burda Magazine 2-2009-101 ‘The Fifties Coat Dress’

This dress was a long time coming.  I didn’t feel one way or the other about the pattern when it first came out almost two years ago. I thought it was cute in my general liking of shirt and coat dresses.

Burda 9-2009-101

But, when I went to Philadelphia this summer for PR Weekend, I found this polyester tafetta.  I knew that it was destined to be the Burda Februaru 2009 #101 coat dress. It was the warehousy store and I couldn’t tell you how much it cost. I’m going to assume $20 to $30 for the material since I was still claiming to not be buying fabric in 2010.

Then, it sat like all material does.  Of course, I couldn’t find the inserts to the magazine when I was finally ready to start. So, Trena packed hers up and mailed it to me well over a month ago. Once traced, I seemed to have NO TIME to sew.

By the time I got around to cutting it, it occured to me I had never meausred to see if I had enough fabric. Of course, I was short on material by over 1/2 yard. So, I had to do a single cut layout and still had to shorten the dress.

I sewed a 38 with a 1/2 inch FBA. I am just not sure what size I am in Burda these days. I move between a 38 and 40.  I also elected to use buttons instead of snaps. I like the snaps idea, but I didn’t have enough and I wanted to add more buttons down the front as the dress was pulling a bit off grain.

The dress provides great 50s style fullness without the traditional petticoats. This is achieved with deep unpressed pleats below the waist. This is my second notched collar and I confess they are getting easier. I found the collar on this to have a great deal of fullness. I also think it looks best propped up a bit in the back.

Oh, the sleeves were also shortened a touch.I could likely stand to add one more button higher up on the bust, but I may leave it for now.

The dress is great and I received oodles of compliments. But, it’s not an everyday kind of work dress for me. I wore it today because there was a sit down dinner / reception I needed to attend. I think this is the kind of dress I would traditionally wear to church. That’s not a negative. It’s just not what I would chose to wear to the office.

Overall, it’s a lovely pattern. Definitely takes a bit more time. Especially if you are going to line it. But, well worth the effort. And, obviously, I need to find a brown belt and shoes.


  1. You look wonderful in it! I mean, you always look wonderful, but the dress is totally cool!

  2. Oh my gosh this is beautiful! Not dated at all, even though you claim it’s 50’s style, it is fabulous; especially on you. Love your fabric and pattern choices

  3. I think this is one of the most beautiful dresses you’ve shown on your blog. I LOVE it. It suits you so well.

  4. I think you’d rock it in the office too – it looks fabulous on you!
    They seemed to like a bigger roll on their collars in the 50’s – I love it, it frames the face and neck so elegantly.

  5. It does look great on you, and I don’t think you lost anything by shortening it (although it’s always frustrating to spend extra days eeecking out that last 1/2yd out of your fabric). I see what you mean about the office though, I don’t think all this retro-at-work trend is very good for you, unless you’re clearly under 21. No point in trying to look like you want to live in the past.

  6. You look fantastic in this dress, it suits your small waist. It also looks remarkably like the original inspiration picture from Burda. I think you could get away with wearing it to the office, but, like you, I would probably save it for more dressy social, day time occasions, like church 🙂

  7. This is so darn cute on you, I love it! I hope you will find lots of occasions to wear it.

  8. It looks great, and becuase you are young and hip you can pull it off and it not look ironic! I think it’s great and its totally great for work.

  9. The dress is so fun in that print. I am impressed that you squeezed it out of your fabric, being a half yard short of what you needed.

  10. It turned out great! Interesting on your preferences as to whether it is appropriate for the office. I just love for a weekday look.

  11. Wow, congrats on all of this….squeezing it out of your fabric, great notched collar but most of all picking a style that is perfect on you. I too think your work outfit comment is interesting. I think this had Mad Men elements without being kitsch. In other words, feminine but in charge.

  12. That dress is so stylish, and looks just perfect on you.
    Making it must have been hard – all those seams.
    Like you, I tend to ‘age’ fabric before I use it – then I cannot remember where I put the thread that I bought to go with it (etc).
    However, your finished product is great!

  13. WOW, what a killer dress! I love the length. It would look frumpy if it were longer. And I love the low neckline. And the shape. And the print. You should reconsider it to wear as workwear, just because it makes me sad to think it will hang in your closet most of the week, only to come out on Sundays.

  14. I didn’t expect to like it because I’m not a 50s big dress fan and I had doubts about the print. But it looks great. It really suits you, and the belt is a very nice touch. Congratulations.

    To veer in the opposite direction, I really liked the T-shirt you posted recently. It’s one of the best things you’ve done. Don’t discount the value of simplicity; simple things sometimes require more skill because no mistakes can show. People who know clothes and sewing understand that, so don’t worry about it’s being “just a T-shirt.”

  15. I also think it’s a great work dress, but of course you know what works best in your work environment and with your personal style. But add a brown or black cardigan or jacket and you’re good to go!

  16. I don’t usually find myself drawn to shirt dresses, but this is the perfect storm of color, print, and shape.

    It’s absolutely wonderful! Kudos!

  17. Those compliments are well deserved because it is a fabulous dress. I made this in the jacket/blouse version a year ago and it is one of my most worn pieces to date. Even with slight variations in Burda sizes over the year, it always fit well. I think it might have something to do with the ease in this design being more jacket/coat-like. I think yours is a classic as a dress and would be great to wear throughout the year.

  18. Cute dress! It looks nice on you. You did the right thing by going with buttons. Voice of experience here with snap front coat dresses–you have to be ever vigilant, KWIM?

  19. Nice! Sometimes it takes a while for all the bits to come together, but it’s worth the wait. And I like the changes you made.

    But I gotta say NO to the brown belt and shoes!!! That would take this dress right to the intersection of Matchy-matchy and Old streets and you’re too young to be standing there. One or the other in brown, not both. If you don’t like the black with it, maybe a navy, burgundy or dark green belt and bright shoes, or the other way around. Both in a bright color might be tricky, although it could work.

  20. What a smashing dress. The fabric is so distinctive, not the sort of print I’d think of for a coatdress, but I love it. Your work is so surprisingly “out of the box.” I look forward to your blogs since there’s so much to learn from your talents. Brava!

  21. As usual, I’m late and everyone else has used up all the great compliments so all I can say is “Ditto…ditto…ditto…and oh yes..what she said.” However, my two centavos on this dress style (despite your saying that this is not a dress to wear to work)is that if you had to go to a desert island with one dress pattern, a stash and a solar-powered sewing machine, THIS dress would be the one you should take. You two were made for one another and I can see you making it in all sorts of fabrics including challis, light weight wools, etc. It is a great style for you and frankly, I think you should wear one to work, every week if possible. If nothing else, it might shame others into dressing better at the office. And now that I’ve said THAT, I’m going to rummage through my old Burda WOFs, find the pattern and make ME a couple of these to wear to work. There.

  22. Your dress looks lovely! It looks very versatile too like in certain months you could add a jacket and knee boots. (Since it is snowing here I am thinking along those lines. 🙂 )

  23. Great dress! You should make another one in a color and fabric you would normally wear to work because the style is perfect for you.

  24. Beautiful dress and you look very pretty wearing it. Wear it for work, it’s too pretty to leave it only for special occasions! Cute shoes too =)

  25. O.M.G. I love this dress on you! Even though you had to shorten it, I think the length is still fine. Maybe not an everyday dress, but any time you wanted to feel a little uniquely glam it would be perfect. 🙂

  26. Beautiful dress and absolutely love the fabric and colors! Makes your personality jump right through the computer! Great, great work!

  27. I like it on you! I think it’s very Mad Men – ish. I love that fabric, looks so much like the Burda!

  28. That’s really pretty! I love the print with that full skirt 🙂 It looks very modern with such a graphic print.

  29. That dress is fantastic for you. You should definitely make another version in another fabric.

  30. RC – I am late for the party but still wanted to let you know that the dress looks fabulous. I do agree that another version in another fabric should be in your queue! Looking great!!

  31. This suits you very well. I know you have a billion things to sew but I think you should make this one again. My opinion is golden, I know. 😉

    I love your blog, keep it up!

  32. I saw the dress on PR the other when I popped on for a few minutes and knew I had to drop you a quick comment. When you showed the picture in Nov. of the dress in progress I was immediately envious. The finished product looks great on you.

  33. Your dress is gorgeous! And you look fantastic in it! You know, I thought this dress was ugly und generally unflattering when I saw it in the magazine. I really really have to eat my words.

  34. Gorgeous! It’s a fantastic dress on you, flattering, dramatic and elegant! I wouldn’t have pictured it looking so good from the illustration. You wear it so well!

  35. If you dont mind, exactly where do you host your web page? I am shopping for a very good host and your webpage appears to be fast and up all the time

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