Burda 7494

After all my posts on getting the fit right on this pattern I felt like this blog was becoming the Burda 7494 blog. I am so glad its over so I can move onto something new!

Sorry this post is so picture heavy. I was trying to get a photo that showed the real colour of the dress

I love the collar and the dress has the look I was after but  I am not completely happy with the dress. In summary: Too tight around the armholes

Because of a stuff up during the construction process I had to over-lock around the armholes and attach bias binding to the armholes.

I like how the print on the fabric is so busy it totally hides the panel lines of the dress.

It was already pretty tight under the armholes which was the one thing I seem to have overlooked during my toile/muslin stages (does it ever end?).

One of the main reasons why I lined the bodice was so I could sew around the armholes, turn it inside out so that the armholes had a clean machine finish (like in the slapdash sewists tutorial)


I was so eager to get this dam thing finished that I sewed the bodice to the skirt and over-locked it together BEFORE i could do the lining/clean armholes trick. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but the fashion fabric I used frays like mad (its some sort of stage weave) so I was NOT going to unpick it!

I tried hand sewing around the armholes and it looked shocking. Let it be known. I hate hand sewing!

Fabric lining and notions:

  • The blue fabric was around $5 a meter at a spotlight sale but I may have used a gift voucher and saved more.
  • The fabric I used for the collar is a cotton drill I got it on sale but its usually $11.95 for a meter.
  • The bodice lining is a poly/cotton lawn
  • Navy and black polyester gutterman thread (I always use polyester gutterman!) and lastly 1 black invisible 50cm zip.
  • I also used a little iron-on interfacing but I may not have needed too. It did add a lot of bulk. Perhaps the thing to do is to still add the interfacing but use a lighter fabric for the under collar.

Pattern: Burda 7494

Pattern Alterations: I would explain them properly but I don’t have 5 hrs to spare. Refer to this post and this post for info

Time to complete: after 7 muslins I wont even try to work it out. The dress itself over 6hrs because I messed up.

Date Completed: 8th Feb 2012

Amount of times worn: 1 (tonight :D) Family gathering

Next time:

  • Lower armhole under the arm and a little near the side back piece.
  • Perhaps the skirt could be lengthened a bit.
  • I took the waist in a bit in the final toile/muslin perhaps I did over-fit it a little.
  • Next time I make a skirt that has a slit/back vent I think I will try inserting a godet because back vents kind of suck in certain ways.
  • I better think more about the order or construction! Sew lining to bodice and armholes before attaching the skirt.

This is how I felt

(imge credit

Getting this pattern to fit has proved to be a good learning experience but a tedious one all the same. I have made 7 muslin/toiles.

Because I don’t understand fitting and pattern making that well I am not at the stage where I have standard adjustments that I make to new patterns to suit my body.

But I often notice the same problems. Such as…

Gaping/excess fabric above the bust. (Theory 1: My back is a little hunched or my front is shorter. Theory 2: Because I am a bigger cup/lower or bust size Theory 3: Hollow Chest)

Gaping at my back near the neck  (Theory: Slightly Curved back)

Who knows?

Anyway this is how it fits now  (I win Burda 7494 I win!)

The sewing is not fantastic but it is a trial run so I was messy.

Heres a little break down of what I have been through:

– In early versions I got rid of fabric from the side front bodice only (none on the center front) hoping it would get rid of excess fabric above the bust. This helped only a little little

– I then made a gape dart on the centre front pattern piece and pivoted the excess into the dart. Below is a picture showing how I did it.

Yey no more droopy fabric and the front but THEN I had these darts and the pannel lines that looked like pointy nipples. Not pretty! The darts were WAY too high on the dress.

Another problem was the neckline way WAY too high which is unflattering and uncomfortable.

– I lowered the neckline so I had to re-drafted the collar. I got a similar shape of collar by looking at the finished shape (without seam allowance) sewn up (muslin version 1) tracing that onto my new center front piece and lengthening it slightly. Had to factor in seam allowance to work out where the front of the collar would meet.

OK now to get rid of the darts the picture below shows how bad they looked.

– So to remove the bust darts I had to put the dart excess in my side front piece. It kind of defies explanation so here is an image so I can remember what I did.

– I originally added 2cms to the waistline but that was to much.

So I decided to make the waistline more curved. You can actually see it in the above image how the waistline kind of tapers upwards but is longer on the sides and back.

I shorted the skirt and added a slit but I have yet to figure out how to correctly sew a slit…

– I cut a big chunk out of the back neckline and that got rid of most of the gaping there.

-In my latest version (version 7) I took a little out of the waist. Hopefully with will work out because I am cutting it in my fashion fabric soon.

– I re-drafted facings for the new neckline and then drafted lining pieces to go with the facings.

Phew Perhaps I should sew with another pattern before I sew the Burda 7494 in my fashion fabric. Even writing the pattern number is tiring now.

Making this dress fit well has proved to be a major undertaking. It’s enough to make me take out the well-fitting sun dress pattern I have used 20+ times and make something just so I can sew a quicker project.

But I am learning…I think.

I can definitely see an improvement and after 4 muslins I have gotten rid of all the droopy excess fabric from above the bust/near the neckline.

Btw those are badly sewn darts on the left.

I am not even going to worry about the position of the darts…thats for another life when I am perfect.

What else needs to be done on this **^&#$^ thing?

  • The neckline needs to be lowered. Will be more flattering and I will be able to breath properly.
  • I need to re-draft a collar for the lowered neckline. I have already done this once, when I removed  the excess fabric. See how different the collars on the left and right pictures look? I like the original collar (left picture) better so I want the shape to be more like that.
  • Lengthen the around the armhole. The shape of pattern has changed due to removing excess fabric bellow neckline like the original arm-holey length better (there is no sleeve so I don’t know what to say in order to describe the area).
  • Shorten skirt to desired length. I probably wont bother with a pleat. hmmm more decisions.
  • There is excess near the waist…perhaps that is not a bad thing. Anyone who has eaten a big meal in a fitted dress knows what I am talking about! Plus if I take out some ease in the waist I will have the fun task of altering the entire skirt portion of the dress oh so slightly. ummm.. NO. that wont happen! So I will take in a slither just under the lower bust.
  • Even after altering the back I have a LOT of excess fabric near the back neckline. How to fix? Still unsure.

Oh god this is pretty frikken tedious! I think I am going to go do something non-sewing related like vacuum, dust or cleaning the house. Yes that actually sounds like more fun.

No seriously. I am learning. I do like learning about these things but the process is soooo slow! Either I have a messed up body or Burda patterns are not as well-fitting patterns as I thought. It’s probably a bit of both.

Like I said I really HATE the fitting and altering process. Actually It’s the only part of the whole sewing process that I don’t like. OK that and marking darts.

So I make a muslin of a pattern I have never made before, look at the many flaws in the fit, pin  where it needs to be altered, make corrections on the pattern (after copying a  new version of the pattern), test the fit THEN rise and repeat at least 20 times till I don’t hate the fit. Even then after I have sewn the amended pattern with the good fabric the inner perfectionist in you will see all the things I missed.

However my Dad did give me some advice on altering the pattern. Yes you heard right, my Dad! He totally understands pattern making, and geometry in a way I don’t.

He suggested I only alter the center front piece I thought you HAD to alter both the front and side front BUT that would make the armholes smaller. I’m glad I took his advice..

Anyway here is what the first muslin looked like (before any alterations)

See all that sexy excess fabric below the collar/above the bust? Thats what I devoted my day to correcting. 4 muslins later and I thinking I have gotten rid of most of it.

The back is also a bit loose but I don’t know if I will go as far as to correct it. I have a pretty flat butt or something…I don’t want to get into the habit or over-fitting because the corrections can go on forever and I want to be able to move in the garment.

The calico I have been using is faulty and the grain line is really of. When I tear it rather than tearing in a straight line like a plain weave should, it tears in a massive curve. I have tried to pull it back on grain but to no avail. Can see how messed up the seam/grainline is on the centre back of my skirt!

Perhaps I will take it a bit in at the waist bellow the bust. The fun never ends :(.

I stacked all the altered versions of the center from bodice piece.  The original is on the bottom. On version 5 I gave up and tried to reduce the gaping via dart transfer. I have yet to make a muslin of this final alteration but yeah the tedium just overwhelms me sometimes…

I know that I should just accept that this is part of sewing and be more patient.  But it’s the constant fussing and repeating the same things over and over. I am grateful for any knowledge I can gain in this area. Perhaps I had a better understanding of fitting I would enjoy it more.

After the 4th version of the altered bodice the neckline shorted so I also had to re-do the collar  (because I got rid of excess fabric by transferring it into the dart).