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Saturday 31 December 2011

That old Chestnut - Burda 7494

juliabobbin burda 7494

I asked my husband how he would describe my personality. He said 'Friendly, passionate, loving, stubborn (I object!)' ... and then suddenly had something really important to do in another room. His real description of my personality in his head probably went like this "Crazy, obsessive, intense ... and more than a little bit scary. Why is she staring at me? Oh God her eyes! Her eyes! She is reading my mind!"
Well the jokes on you Robin, we're married now! Mwawhahahahaha! (this is probably where the crazy bit comes out).

AAAaannny way, my point is I get a little obsessive crazy. Take Burda pattern 7494 for example. I made it, loved it. Made it again ... and then again .... and then again. Yes that's right. Four times.

This pattern has three really good things going for it.

1.The bodice has such a lovely flattering shape that seems to work on every body type.
2. The instructions are clear and it's so easy to make
3. It has a peter-pan collar. Enough said.

I made these dresses quite a while ago, and in keeping with my personality all in quick succession. The first one I made was the blue dress which was a pretty much exact copy of the Burda envelope pattern. It was made up in a blue cotton with little white polka-dots.

I made it up exactly as the pattern said skirt and all, tried it on and then looked in the mirror. It looked so lovely! The Bodice was sitting well, the Peter-pan collar so vintage cute, I absolutely loved the look!

... and then I turned to see the back ....

GASP! - (Sorry, it still makes me panic to think about it).

What the H was going on back there! Now yes, I am a bit of pear shaped gal, but it looked like a not so small family had pitched a tent back there and had sat down to have their daily meal of pears (how cruel!) My ass looked like the map of Australia!

The positioning of where the pleats stopped and started to spread out was horrible! Maybe the pleats were too large, maybe I just needed more pleats, but they stuck out so much I almost swore on the spot that I would never eat chocolate again (desperate times).

So. I unpicked the box pleat - still looked wrong. Then I decided to continue the box pleat all the way down to the hem of the skirt creating princess seams for a closed look, the result being much better. Welcome back normal heart rate, and once again I was in love.

Having a few brains in my head, I decided to learn from my experience and the next three versions I made using different skirts than what was offered with the Burda pattern.

Speaking of brains, here's a quick side note. Did you know that when you order something from a restaurant that says it's topped with 'sweet bread' they actually mean it's topped with ... brains. Oh.My.God. Traumatised! I fell victim to this just two days ago.

Ok I'm back.

The second version of this dress I made also in the sister fabric of the first; red cotton with white polka-dots.

This time I avoided the whole skirt issue by substituting a half circle skirt for the burda skirt, giving it a fun, flirty look. If I had red hair I'd be looking very 'Orphan Annie.'

This time the skirt is gracefully flared out to avoid my derriere resembling a map of a large country.

I liked the look so much that I made it almost immediately again, except this time in a gorgeous black and white check silk dupion! Delicious!

I love how the crispness of the dupion encourages the skirt to stick out along the hem giving it a sort of 3D look.

With all the dresses I used invisible zippers also to give a more cleaner look.

Who doesn't love silk dupion! Look at that crispy collar.

Last but not least I made another dress up in more of a traditional look making the same shaped skirt, but with my own pattern. I used darts instead of pleats and the effect was much cleaner and a lot more flattering.

The fabric I used for this dress was a silk duchess satin and I have been on the hunt for more of this fabric ever since! All I can find is polyester, or bridal colours. The duchess satin has so much body in it that when I stepped out of the dress, the dress still sat up like there was someone still wearing it. Which admittedly is a little bit creepy. But golly it makes for a flattering shape and absorbes the colour so well.

So there you have it. One pattern, three skirts, four different dresses! I love them all, and still can't decide which one is my favourite. What do you think?

The simple fact is that the bodice of this pattern is beautiful enough that I still highly recommend the pattern, regardless of the skirt fail. If you are going to make this yourself, substitute the back skirt pieces for the back skirt lining pieces and you shall have success! A big thank you to my talented husband for his mad camera skills.


  1. Hi! Your blog is fantastic :-D I love all the things you make! And a fellow Melbourne girl :-D

    I'll be following for sure.

    One thing I have to tell you though is that all your page links are broken. Eg, clicking "Home", "Older Posts" and "Post a Comment" gives me a 404 because Google wants to send me to "www.juliabobbin.com" when it should be "www.juliabobbin.blogspot.com". Did you buy your domain from Google? Seems there must be a mix-up somewhere with your web address. I hope you're able to sort it out because it would be a shame if it's sending people away from your blog!

  2. @KittyMeowThank you so much!
    And yes you are absolutely right, I purchased a domain name just one day back and it takes three days to transition over. This means that most of the links won't work until that's completed, and I am hopeless at waiting! It was also not so smart of me to do add a post right in this confusing period. Whoops.
    Thanks again for your comment :)

  3. Ah okay so it's only a temporary thing - that's alright then :-)

  4. I lurve the black and white check silk version - there isn't anything much better than TNT pattern! Thanks for the heads up on the Burdastyle thing - I had no idea! Happy New Year to you - the countdown is on for February!

  5. I really love all your makes, and these 4 dresses are no exception...I don't think I could pick a favourite!!!
    Am off to find that Burda pattern now....!

  6. Hey Julia! I love the red version of this dress with the half circle skirt. When I saw your review on PR for this dress, it immediately joined my to-do list. The dress looks adorable on you! Keep up the good work, you are very inspiring. Happy new year!

  7. @Neeno Thanks Neeno, Happy new year to you too!

  8. hello :) I'm already making this dress in deep purple with white spots and I decided to look around for other people who had already done it and I found this. I abslolutely love your versions, they look gorgeous! fortunately I hadn't started the skirt yet so i'll be sure to double check that. I hope my dress turns out just as well as yours (i'm currently in Germany, so my pattern is in German etc. so it's a little bit tricky and I have to be extra careful not to get it wrong). personally I prefer the original shaped skirt so i think the silk duchess satin one is the best. <3

  9. @beluga Thank you Beluga and good luck with your dress! I have the instructions in English and I'd be happy to scan them and email them to you if you would like. Just let me know! Happy sewing :)

  10. really! that would excellent if you could send the instructions! thankyousomuch. my email adress is sophie.goodluck@gmail.com, and i checked the skirt, you're absolutely right about the lining pieces being better. very grateful for your offer :)

    1. Just sent through the email then! Let me know if it doesn't go through :)

    2. hello, thanks again for the instructions i'm very grateful. i finished my dress now, finally, i got a bit side tracked but thanks to your help it is completely perfect and the first thing i've made with no mistakes! despite limited supplies and a very cheap sewing machine. now i have designed and started a 12 gore skirt out of stipey material that is inspired by your Collette Parfait dress, so every third strip and the waistband will have stripes in different directions etc. i am now addicted to your blog, your clothes are so beautiful. can't wait to be old enough to not to go to school so i have the time to sew more :)

  11. Hi Julia, all your versions of this 'old chestnut' are SO gorgeous...and you so rock them! BUT the one that caused embarrassing drooling (thankfully not in public, but who knows what my husband thought...) was the A.MAY.ZING fabric in your purple version!!! It's like a gorgeous amethyst on steroids!! Am SO desperate to track down some of that fabric...would you do a fellow fabric-a-holic a favour and let me in on where you found it?? I'm in Sydney, so could def harass the poor Tessuti's staff if necessary...

    Ta muchly, Allison

    And I noticed you're an avid reader (so am I)...if you haven't already, read the classic novel "Call of the Wild" by Jack London and its sequel "White Fang". These are also A.MAY.ZING literary masterpieces that will have you in tears! Enjoy!

  12. Hi Allison, more than happy to help out! I purchased this fabric from 'The Fabric Store' in Melbourne and they have a store in Surry Hills! Here's their website! http://www.thefabricstore.com.au/index.cfm?page=4
    I was in their store (Melbourne) recently and I saw they still had a bit left so act quickly! It's a duchess satin and it's 100% silk and it's absolutely stunning. Seriously the photos above do not do it justice it is so rich in colour and so full bodied. Let me know how you go in Sydney, maybe they could get it transferred from the Melbourne store if they don't have any left in Sydney.
    Thanks HEAPS for the book recommendations. I haven't read those and I have felt lately like I've run out of food books to read so I'll be definitely making me a purchase.
    Good luck with the fabric and thanks for your comment!

    1. Awesome, thanks heaps! I'm going to call and make sure they can put some aside for me. It looks totally decadent!
      My nanna LOVED those two books (don't let that put you off-she was a closet literary genius!) and I have a uni assignment due tomorrow that I'm "working" on so had to tear myself away from White Fang! But the internet (and your beautiful creations) are a welcome source of procrastination too...have to find this thing called "self discipline"...now, where did I leave it?!

      Let me know how you liked the books...I'll be following your blog to keep updated with your creative adventures!


  13. The red dress is definitely my favorite! I love peter pan collars, and the silhouette of this garment is gorgeous, it looks so good on you! I would love to make this dress for myself. I am a beginner in the sewing world (with the aid of a very talented seamstress mother). Do you have any (easy-ish) tips on how to modify the skirt into the a-line version?

    PS- I just found your website today and I think it's amazing! Going in my bookmarks for sure.


  14. I love this dress! I was scared to make it for myself because I didn't trust the pictures on the pattern, but after seeing yours I'm gonna have to try it!


  15. I loved this dress on you so much. I just saw all of your pictures on pattern review and off I went. I'm laughing so much at your take on the skirt I actually was a bit surprised at where the pleat ends on your bum and sticks out. That was the first thing I asked my partner - "Is this bum pleat weird or can you tell its just a pleat?". He must have lied and told me you could tell it was a pleat so I wore it and didnt feel too bad. I love your new skirts though and such a fantastic job on all of your versions.

    http://i-heart-fabric.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/burda-7494-dress.html xoxo

  16. All cute and cheeky...def a youngster's style!

    Oh, and aren't sweetbreads the pancreas or some such, not brains?

    Ah...yes indeed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetbread


  17. Hello! I absolutely adore all of the versions!!
    I am about to start making these dress with a different skirt as well- my plan is to replace it with a circle skirt. But I am slightly lost with the sizes. Did you cut it according to the sizes in the Burda chart? After I measured myself, I should be cutting size 42, but last time I did a Burda dress I cut size 38 and it still fits perfectly.. Thank you! :)

  18. Hello! I absolutely adore all of the versions!!
    I am about to start making these dress with a different skirt as well- my plan is to replace it with a circle skirt. But I am slightly lost with the sizes. Did you cut it according to the sizes in the Burda chart? After I measured myself, I should be cutting size 42, but last time I did a Burda dress I cut size 38 and it still fits perfectly.. Thank you! :)