30th Birthday dress – muslin

My 30th birthday is fast approaching, and even though I make myself something special every year to wear on the day, this year I wanted to sew a fabulous dress using some emerald green silk charmeuse (satin) I’d bought years ago and stashed away in the hopes that someday I’d recreate that Atonement dress. I was really excited to see in the Burda WOF March online previews that there was a dress that suited me perfectly – gorgeous gathered, yoked shoulders with floaty sleeves, falling down into a deep V neck with a swooshy gored skirt and plenty of back detail, and shown in my chosen fabric – Burda WOF 03/09 #116.

The timing would be tight, though, since I usually only receive my subscription copy on the 15th or so of the month, but I thought I could pull it off. But then Burda updated the website with the full information, showing it was a *&£@^% petite pattern! Argh! It’s always the way that the designs you like the most aren’t in your size, and with the timeline, I really didn’t think this was meant to be…

But then by some miracle, my issue of Burda arrived earlier than it ever has before, on the 5th! So I had a look again and realised I had plenty of time to make this work, so I traced the pattern the same evening the issue arrived, and sewed up a bedsheet muslin this weekend. I don’t often post muslins here, but I wanted some feedback on this before I cut my beautiful silk charmeuse… I’ve marked the waistline with a black marker here to make things a bit easier.

I’ve never done one before, but do you think I need a swayback adjustment? The only wrinkles I’m really seeing are on the lower back. Or do you think that’s okay? I’m really not a fit-Nazi or anything, but I want to do my best on this dress…

Now for the big SHAZAM! moment – this muslin is done with zero alterations to lengthen the petite pattern whatsoever. Yeah – who would’ve thought that I essentially have the torso of a petite woman, despite being 5’8”??

I love the shape of this dress and it feels great on. But in this case, when Burda say “plunging”, they mean it! That V neck goes down right to the tip of the centre of my bra, which is a bit low for the office, but personally doesn’t bother me in the slightest for eveningwear.

What does bother me, though, is the really, really stupid instructions for lining View B (View A, in silk satin, is unlined – wtf?). If you read through, they tell you to sew the lining’s side seams, then treat it as one with the exterior, leaving all sorts of gross seam allowances, and also necessitating the front facing and underarm bias binding. Or, umm, you could just treat the lining as a lining, get nice edges and concealed seams, and omit the fiddly bias binding and front facings as you’d expect? I know which one I’m choosing! Though my charmeuse is quite narrow so I’ll have to see if I have enough to line the skirt, too, or whether it’ll just be French seams in there.

The other reason I posted the muslin photos is that, because this is a Birthday Dress, you won’t be seeing a completed photoshoot until March 25th, no matter when I actually finish!

But until then, have a glance into the past for the other two 30th birthday dresses I’ve made thus far –


A vintage satin black evening gown I made to wear to our friend Emma’s black tie 30th birthday party


A princess dress I made for my friend (and bridesmaid-to-be) Gez’s 30th birthday, down to her exact specifications

Oh, and if you haven’t already, be sure to go vote on your favoured BurdaStyle + Simplicity outfit this week! The winning one will have its BurdaStyle pattern posted as a free download and the Simplicity paper pattern offered at a discount…

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