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04 August 2016

A Paule Ka design Burda 02-2013-153

What is this? Two blog posts in one week?! Yeah, I know... blogging does not come naturally to me, and the biggest stumbling block (though by no means the only one) is finding the time (and proper lighting!) to take photos. But this week I'm enjoying a "staycation" so I've tried to catch up a bit on photo-taking. Let's see how far I come...

This is a dress that I finished 3 weeks ago, just in time to wear for the summer that I am still waiting for... It is a Burda Style designer pattern from a few years back: 02-2013-153. The designer is Paule Ka and I pinned quite a few of his dresses earlier this year before I remembered that I had this pattern. The Burda pattern is the rightmost in this grouping. I wish there were patterns available for the other Paule Ka designs too, don't you?

From the tech drawing you might think that the dress is relatively simple, but don't be fooled. Burda gives it a three-and-a-half-ball rating, which is just half a ball under their most difficult level. It was indeed a bit tricky to get the draped front to fold just right and the cryptic instructions were no real help I must admit. It finally clicked in my head when I realized that the first few steps of the instructions are about attaching the front of the dress to a couple of lining pieces that are not really meant to be lining. Instead they are meant to be a sort of underlining that helps the front to keep the draped shape. Later on you have to sew the real lining that will go on top of everything else so that from the inside you don't see any draping or folds at all.

Burda recommends using a wool crepe or a satin, and definitely with a bit of stretch. A couple of months ago I found an entire roll of this striped gros-grain ribbon on sale for $15, and I thought it would be perfect for this dress. But would you believe that none of the crepe-y or satin-y brown fabrics in my stash matched the shade on the ribbon? Ugh. The only brown that worked with the ribbon was this stretch cotton twill. I know! That is definitely not drape-y nor satin-y! and with my track record of picking the wrong fabrics for a pattern I was truly asking for trouble. But, but... I forged on and I think it turned out okay.

The fabric does stand more than a crepe would have, but I still like the finished dress.

From the back it is just a normal sheath dress, all the action is on the front.

Oh, one more thing. You might think, as I did, that the ribbon just sits on top of the waist seam. In fact, Paule Ka is more clever and careful than that. At the waist there is a sort of belt piece, both at front and back. These pieces are perfectly rectangular and they have you cut them both in the fashion fabric and in the lining fabric. I was very tempted to just remove them and lengthen the torso and skirt pieces to meet at a single seam. Only later, when attaching the ribbon, did I realize their true purpose: to allow the ribbon to sit perfectly flat and straight against the dress. I had done my usual blending from size 40 at the top to size 42 at the bottom by diagonally blending at the waist. Bad idea! When I went to attach the ribbon, I had to take a small "dart" on the ribbon at each side seam to accommodate these diagonals. Next time, I'll keep the top and entire waist at size 40 and blend from the bottom of the ribbon to the hips for size 42.

The last thing I want to show you is the lining. I used a stretch poly from the stash in a brown and white print. Isn't that a cute print? I almost wish that the dress was reversible!

I wrote a review of Burda 02-2013-153 at Pattern Review.


  1. This is lovely. Thanks for reminding me about this pattern.

  2. that is really nice - love how the ribbon creates the belt. And I always like a nice brown and white combo - despite not being a fan of brown. Looks so good. you should definitely make it again in a different fabric.

  3. I love your dress and it looks fabulous on you. This dress has been a favourite of mine ever since I received that Burda magazine. Well done.

  4. I love your dress and it looks fabulous on you. This dress has been a favourite of mine ever since I received that Burda magazine. Well done.

  5. Oh, this is just gorgeous! I would steal this just for the lovely chocolate colour. It's a pattern that always catches my attention when I page through my Burda magazines. Well done. Enjoy wearing such a beautiful dress.