Burda Style 03-2012-103 was brought to my attention by the Selfish Seamstress. Now you might think that a sensible woman with areas of considerable bodaciousness would steer firmly away from any frock modelled by a petite size 34 ballet-dancer-in-her-spare-time, but Selfish not only looked her usual elegant self in her photographs, but was so persuasive in her description of this pattern being adjustable once worn, and was backed up so enthusiastically by the 5 of the 6 other reviewers of this pattern at Patternreview that I rashly got out a bit of cotton lawn stash fabric (London, 2010)I had earmarked for pyjama pants (I am reckless and extravagant at times) and tried it out.
(Technical drawing from French BurdaStyle site)Keeping to my rash theme, I performed minimal pattern adjustments prior to construction, despite this being drafted in the Burda tall range. The reviewers were 5/6 in remarking that no bodice length adjustment had been required for persons not in the "tall" range. The adjustments I did make pre construction were to widen the back skirt from the hips up, and add darts to the back waist of the skirt, as the one reviewer who mentioned the back of the dress offered a description of "hot mess" due to "no shaping". I also cut out the skirt to my knee length, which is very fabric saving compared to Burda's.
During constuction I followed the Burda sewing lesson instructions, adding bias binding finishing to the facings, and eliminating the back bodice lining, as I was short of fabric (I also pieced the back facing for this reason).I topstitched the armscye edges and back neck edge.
I found that the back bodice did not line up with the front bodice at the waist, which is unusual for Burda's excellent drafting, so I assumed this was operator error until I saw that Judy Williment had also mentioned finding this when she made up the pattern.
I sometimes need to shorten above bust bodice height in regular Burda patterns. For this pattern, after construction I found that I needed to shorten the bodice between shoulder and bust/shoulder blades both front and back. I also had to lower the armscye and the back neck after my shortening.
I did not do a full bust adjustment, something I am always keen to avoid despite frequent fitting disasters. I must be lazy. This lack of FBA looks fine in the photos, as the outer bodice has plenty of fabric which is designed to fall into folds over the bust, but unfortunately, although the facing extends only to the upper bust, the lower bust folds are backed by a standard bust size lining/stay, which is not drafted for a D. I was able to retrofit for modesty by widening the empire line bodice gap through which the upper bodice is passed, and tacking the overlap with the original folds moving over a few centimetres to extend the lining so that the neckline crossed higher and further across, but in retrospect, adjusting the lining for bust size, would have made this fit better.
Post construction, I took the upper bodice in at the back waist, and added lingerie keepers at the shoulders, as there was considerable strap peekage.
I was quite happy with the dress. It is a different shape for me, but so cool and light to wear. In fact, I thought it was perfect until one half of the teenage fashion panel plead with me not to wear it out of the house, and the other half did not try at all to smother her giggles.
Here is the flattering side view.
Here is a more realistic side view.
I appealed to my occasionally diplomatic husband but he gave it a definite thumbs down as well. So I am not making another one, which was my original plan.
However, despite the side view problems, I am very happy to have a cool, floaty, albiet unflattering and maternity looking dress to wear about the house (and outside, as you can see here) in this very hot weather.