Burda 03-2012-104, Cowl Drape and Corset Drop Waist Dress

Burda 03-2012-104 Thumbnail

This rayon/mohair suiting fabric was a Fabric Mart Crazy Price $2.99/yd item that I got in September of last year.   I wasn't sure if it would be too shiny (the description was slightly alarming) but it turns out to be a very lovely rich navy with a hint of sheen, though because of the high rayon content it wrinkles fairly heavily when sitting on it.  All in all a pretty good buy (not that I ever need more fabric).

In deciding what to make with it, I was heavily influenced by this Antonio Berardi ($2065).  I love the cowl, the wide corset-style midriff, and the slightly drop waist.  I remembered that Burda 03-2012-104 had very similar lines and just had to make it.  Spoiler alert:  Mine does not capture the magic of the inspiration dress.

Extend Shoulder Length

The major issue with the Burda was the narrow, cut-in shoulder.  I wanted full shoulder coverage with a sleeve so I needed to extend the shoulder.  The upper cowl portion of the front is cut with a full self-facing, so it wasn't as simple as just making the shoulder longer (what I would normally do).

My method added some volume to the cowl, but based on the magazine photo it didn't look like this would make the cowl too low.

I started by making a line between the front and the front self facing long the fold line, dividing the front from the self-facing at the shoulder.  Then I split along the line and spread the pattern by the length I wanted to add to the shoulder.  I continued the angle of the shoulder line from the pattern as drafted.  The now angled center front (at the bottom of the marked-up photo) is straightened and filled in with tissue.

Completed Upper Bodice Pattern

Because the front cowl is cut on the bias, I made a complete pattern piece that could be cut single layer, integrating my alteration to the shoulder length and added volume.

Use TNT Woven Top to Alter Back

The back was much easier to alter.  I do love having a TNT woven top.  I didn't have to do a broad back or calculate the shoulder length or anything.  I just popped my TNT under my traced pattern piece and trued it up.  Everything fits as it should in the back.

Clip to Point on Midriff

Construction was pretty straightforward.  I interfaced the front and back midriff sections because the fabric is somewhat lightweight and quite wrinkle-prone.  I wanted the corset lines to look corset-y, not collapsed and saggy.  To get the point at the front waist, I clipped all the way to the stitch line on the midriff.


To emphasize the corset lines, I used a twin needle to topstitch along the princess seams and the joining seams with the upper bodice and the skirt.  With the dark fabric, this very subtle detail shows pretty much not at all, but I didn't want to do a contrast thread for this work dress.

Silver Lining

It's lined with a silvery gray poly purchased on our Pilgrimage to Fabric Mart ($1.99/yd).  The back neckline has a facing that I stitched to the lining along the lower edge of the facing before attaching at the neck, as the hand is too different between the fashion fabric and the lining to line to the edge.

I may not love the dress, but at last it has a silver lining!  (I bought 10 yards of the lining, so get used to this joke.)


I know that I cannot wear a drop waist.  I am too short and too pear shaped for a drop waist.  Why did I think this would be different?  This is not a great dress on me.  I like the individual features of it, but the shape is not my best.

I was too influenced by the inspiration dress, and then after I finished this dress and went to look at the inspiration again, I realized that it doesn't really have a dropped waist, just a shaped one.


Adding an obi helps, although then I started second-guessing myself thinking that I looked like an extra in Star Trek from a planet of peaceful peoples who put on elaborate military drills with dummy weapons as their cultural entertainment.  I don't know.  I'll keep wearing it like this but it will never be a favorite.  It does serve its purpose when I need to dress up, as it works well with a jacket.

Looking back through my woven top inspiration board, I also found this Vivienne Westwood Red Label Draped crepe top ($355) with similar lines, so maybe I can rescue the pattern by making a top from it?  Although I'm not sure if this violates my No More Empire Waist rule.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


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