The Un-Wedding Dress – Burda 03/2016 #106

A woman poses in a garden in a retro floral print shift dress and green flock brogues.

I love checking out* for their latest pattern releases, and early this year a dress from their wedding collection caught my eye: Short A-Line Dress 03/2016 #106. As lovely a wedding dress it made, I felt it would also work as a casual, 60s-inspired shift. So I dug out some vintage sheets from my collection and got to work.

A woman poses in a garden in a retro floral print shift dress and green flock brogues.
Shoes are mint flock brogues by Mel, bought on Facebook. I love BSS groups. Bangles from stash.

A quick muslin in my usual size (40 bust, 44 hips) revealed the pattern was very small in the shoulders – I could barely move my arms. I had to size up to the 42 despite being a usually consistent 40, so I’d advise making a muslin and possible sizing up in the bust / shoulder area if you choose to make this dress. Otherwise, I made my usual fit adjustments (forward head, more length in the dress) with an arbitrarily shortened sleeve and the second muslin fit perfectly.

A woman poses in a garden in a retro floral print shift dress and green flock brogues.
You can see here the weight of the dress pulls it towards the back.

As I’d never sewn such a large pleat before, I turned to my trusty Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing for advice. When cutting, I made sure to mark the pleat lines and CB with my Frixion pen and gridded ruler, before sewing the pleat down to the opening and basting the rest of the way. As the pleat was in a small tube, I employed my dowel for pressing (just a stick from Bunnings, but eminently useful). Working carefully, I pulled the fabric to each side to avoid lumps forming, as happened in each of my muslins.

A pleat on the wrong side of a garment, with basting down the centre.
Pleat basted to CB

Once the pleat was pressed, it was basted to the CB line. This made the actual pressing of the pleat a breeze, as everything was locked in place and marked. The folds were pressed over cardboard to ensure no marks showed through.

An iron presses a pleat over a piece of cardboard.
Pressing my pleat, thanks to my trusty cereal box. Mmmmmm, cereal.

It would have made a lot more sense to hem before pressing the pleat, but I wanted to check the final length first. When the hemline was determined, I pressed the hem allowance flat of folds, pressed up, and machine basted the pleat fold lines to the hem allowance. I could then crisply repress those folds and ensure they wouldn’t budge when sewing the hem (which was slightly eased).

A woman poses in a garden in a retro floral print shift dress and green flock brogues.
I guess that’s the kind of terrible nape line you get when you cut your own hair.

To secure the neck facing, I stitched in the ditch at the shoulders, and sewed the facing to the inner pleat at centre back. I’m still umming and ahhing over whether I should secure the pleat itself somehow, either by stitching in the ditch to the break, or adding an arrowhead tack to make sure those stitches don’t come undone. Any suggestions are welcome!

The inner neck facing of a dress.

This fabric is the gift that keeps on giving. I bought two vintage queen size sheets from the op shop months ago, and despite making myself this dress, a friend a Cambie dress, and another friend a skirt from it, I still have enough left for another dress! I feel like we’ve got a Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants thing going on, except with less annoying teen drama. If we’re ever wearing our matching outfits together, you can be sure I’ll share a photo with you.

A woman poses in a garden in a retro floral print shift dress and green flock brogues.
How good is that plane tree?

I’m never really disappointed with my Burda projects, and this dress is no exception. The only thing that shits me is that the weight of the pleat pulls the dress to the back – dresses shifting to the back are my bugbear but it’s pretty unavoidable in a style like this. It will certainly come in handy in our upcoming summer, which is predicted to be our hottest and most tropical yet.

A cartoon dog sips coffee, surrounded by fire. Caption reads, this is fine.
Me, this summer.

The deets:
Pattern: Burda Short A-Line Dress 03/2016 #106
Pattern details: Available from Burdastyle magazine, March 2016, or as an A4 PDF download. Sizes 36-44. No seam allowances added. PDF comes with 3 top and 3 dress variations (#103-107).
Fabric: not all of 1 queen sheet in a 60s floral print, from Salvos
Other materials: Sheerweft interfacing. Scrap of white fabric for facing.
Mods: Size 42 bust to size 44 hips.
– Eliminated slit to make pull-over dress, sewed pleat down 12cm from back neck
– 12mm forward head adjustment (moved sleeve cap forward to match)
– 6mm broad back adjustment (took a bit off back shoulder to true)
– brought in shoulder about 1.8cm at neck and up 6mm at CF and CB
– added 4cm length at hem
– made sleeve short – about 6cm from underarm with a 1cm hem. Let out slightly by straightening sleeve side seams.


*Not really. As much as I love Burda designs, is a shithole that has almost entirely been overtaken by spam.

Author: Siobhan S

30 something, living in country Australia. Spoonie profile: ME/CFS, dysautonomia, anxiety. All about sewing, knitting and food. Unapologetic disability advocate.

15 thoughts on “The Un-Wedding Dress – Burda 03/2016 #106”

  1. I have been looking at this pattern with interest for several months so I am delighted to read your review and how happy you are with your lovely dress. This is definitely the type of dress we will need for this summer. I made a similar one(without the back pleat) using a Tessuti pattern and it sjust doesn’t fit right. I think I will give this a go as You have really inspired me now. There is some linen in the dash that will be just right.
    The news from Griffith Uni is fantastic news. If you ever need to come up to the Gold Coast to the Griffith Medical School, please know I can have you to stay and drive you to the uni. I know exactly where it is and I also know, that this medical school is quite holistic compared to the older and more established medical schools. If they can give you help, it may be worth a visit once you feel well enough to travel this great distance. xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad my review was helpful to you. I think this pattern would look really lovely in a nice linen. Can’t wait to see yours.

      Thank you so much for your offer Marjorie, it means so much to me. Griffith actually did – or do have a CFS treatment facility, outpatient, but they had to close applications as it was proving so popular.


  2. You have an amazing stash of vintage sheets! For what it’s worth, I quite enjoy the asymmetry of the longer back -so long as it is not uncomfortable on your neck of course


    1. Asymmetrical hems are quite in right now, aren’t they? I got really lucky one time at my local Salvo’s – they had a huge stash of vintage sheets, and I cashed in!


  3. I’m so impressed that you can cut two dresses and a skirt out of sheets and still have leftovers! And thanks for mentioning how you used your cereal box to help with pressing the pleats — that’s a great tip!


  4. Siobhan, I keep coming back to this post. I wasn’t going to comment since it’s been a while since you wrote this one but… I keep coming back and admiring that deep pleat on the back. I’m on the lookout for a new shift dress pattern and I did snag this one off the Burda site when they offered it for free during their “12 Days of Christmas” calendar offer. Yes, I pounced on that pattern after you posted your version. I’m not looking forward to figuring out the FBA but the work might be worth it. I blame it on you and how awesome that deep pleat looks in your version 😉


    1. That makes me so happy to hear! Thank you, can’t wait to see your version. You might be able to get away without an FBA because of all that ease in the back! (That’s prolly just me being lazy though)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, you can’t be more lazy than me, that’s just not possible 😉 I wish the Burda bodice block fit me better as is, but I’m reminding myself that once I’ve put work into fitting and redrafting their basic bodice I will have the magic key to most of their beautiful patterns… Last time I chickened out of a full fitting and Franken-patterned a Burda skirt with a Butterick bodice for a C cup (plus adjustments… ah, nothing fits me!).

        To be honest, the ease in the back is one of the big draws for me. Going by fit alterations, I have a somewhat unusually (euphemism) broad back. The fitting journey continues 😉


        1. That’s funny, because Burda *does* draft for a broad back and a C-cup. I’m a DD and they fit me in the bust well, generally without FBAs – that is, once I realised that choosing pattern sizes by my high bust didn’t work (for me at least). Fitting can be a nightmare sometimes!


          1. Fitting can get really epic, really fast, and not the good kind of epic… I might fiddle with the sizes in Burda a bit more and see if I get anywhere. Funnily enough, the high bust measurement “rule” has helped me find a decent fit for the upper front torso (is that even the proper description?) and right on the shoulders, but with the bust adjusted and the mid-back portion redrafted. It could be that I’m giving myself more work than necessary in some way, but going up a size has always meant swamping my shoulders in fabric. Insanity.

            So far, Sunni Standing’s blog A Fashionable Stitch has been a pretty good fitting guide for me. Like Sunni, I seem to have some exceptionally broad back action going on. I’ve never been able to move my arms in RTW shirts bought for “my size” and sizing up has definitely looked oversize, so it seems like there are a few things going on simultaneously — whatever that might mean.

            Fitting can really frustrate me (all the time it takes!) but I want to push back against feeling that my body’s “wrong.” Getting through the alterations to a basic bodice to get a decent fit with room for movement has helped me get out of my head about it. So it’s not a sloper, really, but I guess I’d call it something approximating a “personalized basic bodice.” Still working on that. I think I should take some good photos of my altered bodice for the Burda/Butterick mashup dressa and at least share it.


  5. Dear Siobhan,
    I am very interested in this pattern, it’s a very beautiful and casual dress! I also like your own version with your vintage sheets, they are wonderful!
    I have been looking for the pattern in the link to burdastyle but I can’t find it, I also tried to buy it in Spain (where I live) but it’s no longer available… Could you please help me to find it? Any advice?
    Thank you very much for your time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ana, unfortunately Burda just completely revamped their website, meaning all of my links are now broken. They also removed a lot of patterns from their website in doing so. Lord knows why! You can find it in the March 2016 issue of Burdastyle magazine, if you can get your hands on that.


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