The Parisienne Dress, Burda Magazine: 8-2009 #128

I was talking with my girlfriend Julia this week about what women are supposed to wear in the winter. She went shopping and everything and she meant everything was sleeveless.

This dress is great for winter as you can wear the long sleeves! After seeing Elaine’s and meli88a’s and knew I was going to have to make it up. I noticed on the French site for Burda the comments thought the model was a perfect Audrey Hepburn. I was thinking of this dress as very Jackie O. Funny, right?


I started this dress over the long MLK weekend with two yards of a beautiful teal wool from the Carol Collection. This isn’t a color I normally wear. But, I actually get most of my fashion advice from you guys. You always tell me to wear more jewel tones and better shoes 🙂 So, here I am in a jewel tone I wouldn’t normally pick and in a new pair of Mary Janes! I’m so susceptible to peer pressure 🙂

Luckily, the dress isn’t too poochy around the stomach. I don’t know how I feel about the tulip shape on me per se. But, I do like the gathers.


This pattern was a first for me. Burda includes facings that are meant to be sewn to the lining. Well, first let me say Burda’s lining instructions are just for the bodice — not even the sleeves. I lined the dress throughout using their facing and I LOVE how it looks! This is the way Ready to Wear dresses look (I think they do. It’s been so long since I’ve bought a lined dress from the store). The lining is from my $1 a yard buy at Jomar in Philly. Trena says it’s noisy. And, it is noisy like taffeta. You can definitely hear me coming! I bought 10 yards of it and I’m down to the last one.

I also bagged the lining on the sleeves — so to speak. I was so thrilled to finally accomplish this in my coat that I wanted to try it again. It’s nice not to have two layers shifting about.


  • 1/2 inch FBA. I really need to get better at these when they aren’t princess seams.
  • 1 inch swayback adjustment
  • I traced the 40 and graded to the 44 at the thigh and gave myself a 1 inch seam allowance
  • Added 7 cm to the width of the sleeve. I don’t think I have large arms, but it’s a given that I’ve got to bump up with Burda.
  • Took almost 2 inches of length out from Center Front. The skirt was totally drooping on me — making the pleats incredibly unattractive.


Zipper. Which despite a 100 zippers, I didn’t have a teal. I bought this one from Sew True.  While zippers are invisible, I find that I can still see bits of them, especially at waist seams. So, I prefer them to match as closely as possible


This one is purchased from ASOS. I find the ribbon darling, but didn’t have any on hand and haven’t made it to the store. Plus, I need more cinching than I think the ribbon can allow.

I’m tempted to take another inch or so off the dress and peg it a hair more. I’ll see how I like it by the end of the day. My goal in 2011 is to SHOW MY KNEES! There are so many ways to accessorize this dress! You can rock the pearls for a Jackie O look. Brooch is perfect for business. Big earrings make it fun.  Plain belt keeps it classic. Chunky belt to modernize. Nice, basic dress. Perfect for work!


  1. Love your blog! What a beautiful dress and you look lovely in it. I think the tulip shape looks great on you!

  2. The color is very becoming on you. The dress is very nice and looks lovely on you.

  3. I think it looks lovely! And way more practical of a dress than most of the stuff I’ve seen online. (Haven’t actually been clothes shopping outside of Goodwill in awhile, so…)

  4. You do look very pretty in this color! And the dress is great on you…wonderful way to step outside your comfort zone!

  5. Well done, again! The color is great on you & the lining looks so well done. You said that it’s loud. Does that mean it’s cold, too? That taffeta type lining always feels cold to me!


  7. I love everything about this dress! It is so flattering, it is such a lovely color, the pleats are so pretty.

  8. Terrific dress! Great color on you. And I agree with your friend, sleeveless in January, what are store buyers thinking?!

    • Ms. Celie, you describe the color as teal but it looks like cobalt blue on my screen too, my favorite color, by the way, and it does look great on you. If the actual color isn’t cobalt blue, well, you should really try it. Very flattering, as well as your fit and construction.

  9. That is a beautiful dress and it makes your figure look great. I think it looks good how it is but would also look good shorter. I love patterns that are basic but versatile. I also love your blog. You and many other great bloggers have inspired me to start blogging about my own sewing so thanks 🙂

  10. love it!
    Nice to see an appearance from “Carol’s Collection”.
    I had forgotten all about that.

    Color looks great on you.

  11. You look great in this jewel tone color; I love the style of the dress. I didn’t comment earlier, but you really rock that grey coat you made.

  12. The color is very good on you, as is the dress. Becoming, professional even. I think that the skirt can come up at least an inch. Even I would wear it shorter and you’ve got better legs!
    I guess all those sleeveless dresses are meant to be worn under a jacket. It is more comfortable, especially when you aren’t tailoring the jacket to fit over sleeves. Who knows? Maybe Mrs O has had a big influence with all her sleeveless dresses.

  13. Definitely just a hair shorter and pegged a bit more-It’s a lovely color but, dare I say, it looks a bit too big!

    • Well, let me amend that-the fit around the neck and shoulder area is PERFECT! But the rest of the dress just looks a scoonch big-not unflatteringly big, it just looks like you cut it out and then lost a quick ten pounds or so.

      • I agree; you should shorten the skirt and make it a little closer at the bottom. That color is great on you. You are a winter (look up the color chart) so am I. Don’t be afraid of color except for “neons”. You are a young woman….so dress like one. Your quality construction has encouraged me to take more time and do a better job. I’m attaching a pic of an outfit I made for my youngest grand daughter, Trinity. Are you on facebook?

        Can’t see how to add pic. Guess I’ll have to start my own blog. lol


  14. You should definitely wear this color more often! 🙂 Love the dress; the fit, the color, it’s perfect! 🙂

  15. You do look gorgeous in that color :-). It’s not like you should always pay attention to unsollicited advice from stangers on the net, but in this case it’s true.
    Just a question off the topic – when you shorten the center front of a drooping skirt, do you remove it from the top or hack off the bottom? If you do it from the top, you’re more likely to preserve a good hang with the grain the way it was intended. Guess how I figured that out :-)..

    • I just took one inch out from the CF of the bodice. Although when I pinned out the excess originally, I was also taking it out the skirt. I went with the bodice because it was easier. And, I’m glad I did just one inch. I do think it was long in part because of the FBA. But, I also think the pattern is a touch long there too.

  16. ooh it’s so lovely on you! There’s something about that blue that just screams “First Lady” to me, but in a good way, like Michelle or Jackie O (not in a bad way like, err, Nancy Reagan).

    I have no idea why, but I hardly ever make woven winter dresses – the entirety of my long sleeve dress collection is knit!

  17. The dress is marvelous, but the shoes are totally off. They’re way too heavy for this style of dress. Either you go with Chanel flats or lighter and higher heels. You’re wearing school shoes with a cocktail dress. Love the dress, love the colour, and love the belt.

    • You are absolutely right. I had other shoes (pumps not Mary Janes) on earlier. But, I didn’t have good pantyhose / tights to wear. Thse shoes are a bit too clunky for the dress.

  18. Beautiful dress – quick, make another one in a subtle retro print. It looks great on you. (It could be a scosh smaller, but is otherwise perfect 🙂

    • Yes… I think you’re right. I’m fluctuating in size right now! I think I’m back to a 38 w. a FBA but I haven’t really measured, etc. to be sure. And, since I’m lazy and rarely muslin I always try to go bigger.

  19. This is beautiful ~ I think it is one of the best, and most flattering, you have ever made(and that is saying a lot since your clothes are always beautiful!)

  20. love the dress, love the color on you, love the brooche… and yes, I’d go a bit shorter. shorter with fun printed tights and boots as another option.

  21. You look fab in this color. I agree that the bottom could be a tad smaller but the dress still looks great on you.

  22. Awesome dress! I might have been intimidated by the fullness from the pleats on the front too, but they are flattering with the tulip-shaped skirt. The neckline and 3/4 sleeves reveal just enough to make this extremely elegant. Any yes, the color is a winner! You look gorgeous.

  23. This is a beautiful color on you! The dress is very elegant and I agree you can style it in so many ways. I like your new shoes too!

  24. A beautiful job, the dress looks fantastic and so do you! I do agree with your thoughts of a little shorter – I find that the way to make your legs look their thinnest is to end a skirt at a thinnest point, like that bit right below your knee where it goes in. I think that pegging it a bit more will also help that, since it will make your hips look nice and curvy, which makes your waist and legs look small by comparison.

    • Yes. I noticed on the other sewers on PR that it’s longer — past the knees. I shortened mine a bit but think I have to go shorter or longer … not in between. And, I’m definitely going to peg it a bit more. I think I lost the ‘peg’ when I shortened it.

  25. If you’re giving into peer pressure, you’re doing it in style. Beautiful dress, and this color is fantastic on you!

  26. You look BEAUTIFUL! LOVE the color on you. LOVE the shape – it flatters your top and the tulip flows over your bottom in a very flattering manner. I think you should make this up in more jewel tones and try it shorter. You’ll be amazed at how a wee bit shorter will make you look and feel young without sacrificing modesty and professionalism. Good job, Miss Celie!

  27. This blue dress looks fabuloso on you Ms. Celie! Seeing the interior (lining) work is tre tre ( my “French”).

  28. What a gorgeous color on you! It a very nice winter dress, which I agree are hard to come across. Lots of the patterns produced during winter are sleeveless, which I don’t understand. Bring back long sleeves dresses!

  29. You look so lovely in this dress. I agree with the other 54 comments and think it would look even better a little shorter. I am totally impressed by your lining.

  30. You are very glamorous in these pics. Wow. Learned a lot from your posting and liking the look on you. The boots with racy tights and a shorter length sounds really good.

  31. Wow, you make this pattern shift from “maybe” to “definitely”. You look GREAT in this color. I think everything’s been said: even better shoes, bit shorter, bit more fitted would look even greater.

  32. Beautiful dress! You said that’s not really a color you would normally go for, but let me tell you your face is glowing in that color!

    And I agree, peg the hem just a bit.

  33. I think that color is absolutely fabulous on you! You should make more outfits in those types of colors. It really brings out your skin tone!

    The dress is wonderful! You should make another! It’s very becoming.

    Keep up the good work!

  34. what a fantastic colour! I made this dress in a dark grey exactly like the magazine photo (*bleat* I am such a sheep!) but now I am tempted to make it in a striking colour after seeing how great you look in this

  35. Beautiful dress, beautifully made and with all those options you are going to wearing this for a while. I love that you’ve made a wardrobe staple in a vibrant color.

  36. Oooo-la-la…eet ees zee Frainch style zat eees zee beest!!! Audrey and Jackie were from the same cut…they were both devotees of Hubert de Givenchy, the creator and purveyor of those fabulous bateau necklines, sleek, modern cut of the dress. That style NEVER goes out of style, and always looks great. I like the pleats on you, and if you say it isn’t too full, I might even try it for myself. I need a new LBD for my closet, might even do the bateau neckline on it.

    So now you’re of the same cut as Jackie & Audrey!!! Nice company!

  37. I am following your blog since almost one year now and I can tell you look absolutely gorgeous in this dress. The colour is a perfect match with your skin! Don’t be afraid of wearing bold and coloured colours !!!

  38. The dress is beautiful and the color looks great on you! And aren’t your shoes gorgeous?

  39. Great dress, especially with the belt you chose, the neckline and pleats are really elegant. I agree that you could take it up a small amount and show off your knees, but it definitely looks good as it is if you can’t bear doing any alterations!

  40. I love your Parisienne dress (I’m French!) This is my first post on your blog. I’m a begginner in sewing. You seems to be a Burda Addict just like me!

  41. Love the color on this one – it just pops and looks great on you. I definitely see this as an Audrey dress; it is classic and should be able to be worn for more than just one season.

    This one has been on my list for a while. You’ve made me move it up. Maybe I’ll complete a red one for Valentine’s.

  42. I loved the pattern since it came out. Always thought of it as a classy gray tweed dress. Yours pointed me on a more colorful variation. Love the color and fabric choice. Nicely done!

  43. Love the dress. I noticed that you make lots of Burda patterns. How do I find this pattern? It is only available if you purchase the magazine or is it available on the website?

    Thanks for your reply in advance.

    • Unfortunately, this one was just in the magazine. I keep checking the BurdaStyle site to see if it’ll pop up and sometimes they re-issue patterns in the envelope.

  44. Before I read your post, i looked at the picture and thought, “Wow, what a great color on you.” And then i read that I’m not in the minority. Great dress on you and the lining is fantastic!!

  45. At 86 comments already you don’t need me to tell you this is a gorgeous dress and you look absolutely fantastic in it. Wanted to say it all the same, it’s super!

  46. I cannot figure out how to find and order this fantastic pattern. Can I impose on you to send me the link?

  47. Oh my, this dress is stunning! I love everything about it – the pleating, the simple chicness, long sleeves (hurray for long sleeves!) and the colour. Really nice.

  48. I love your blog! This dress looks great – I also think it would look great if you shortened the hem as you contemplated.

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