Pleated Experiment and Review

I spent the last week and a half working on a dress loosely based on Burda 6853 view B. I wanted to try to only use the supplies I had in my stash and to figure out how to use some of the embroidery functions on my machine.


Maybe I read the measurements on the pattern wrong, or maybe the pattern didn’t come with seam allowances even though every pattern piece explicitly says it has 5/8” seam allowance included, or maybe people in Germany don’t have hips or arms, or maybe the thing was supposed to made out of spandex. I can’t figure out how the fit on this pattern went so wrong! In order to get the thing to go over my head, every single seam about an atom’s width away disintegration even though I cut the thing out a size larger than what I normally wear. Even with such extreme alterations, I can’t raise my arms above my head without all the buttons on my bust flying off violently. Everything bubbles and warps and pulls funny, and because of how bad it fits, I’ll probably never ever wear this dress ever again.

This is partly my fault since I didn’t bother with a muslin. I had a good excuse to not make a muslin, because I actually paid money for my nice muslin and the fabric I used for this was free, and you have to use the free stuff up first if you are just trying to experiment and clean out your stash. If I wasn’t so lazy, I might have cut out a new dress after sewing the first one because I still have about twenty yards more of that navy polyester stuff, but by that time I really hated the whole project.

Fabric choice

The pattern calls for wool, boucle, or crepe, and I went for something totally different, so I don’t fault the pattern for the fabric I chose being so awful in this design. The polyester I used in this dress is so cheap I couldn’t iron it properly. Either the iron was so hot the stuff started melting, or it wouldn’t make the slightest dent. Another factor in the quality department might have also been how free it was. I got it from a coworker who’s sewing fanatic mother-in-law had passed away, and he was trying to clear out the garage filled to the brim with her collection of fabric. I grabbed three giant storage bins of fabric because that was all that would fit in my car, and a collection of buttons that must have taken a life time to gather. Clearly, that lady must have been a sewing legend because all the fabric in that stash was organized, folded neatly and put into zip lock bags, and I scored several really interesting pieces. The fabric I used for this dress was probably meant to supply some kid’s school uniforms for the entirety of grade school, and it might even become a few pairs of pants for me at some point, but it didn’t do well in the style I picked this time. The material was too stiff, and the pleats don’t lay right at all.

The pattern in general

Besides the fit being meant for someone not shaped like me, there were a few things a bit off about the design of this pattern. For one thing, the pleats were made from three pieces (actually four because I had to make a special pleat insert because after all my alterations I didn’t have enough pleats to go around) instead of two really long strips, and they didn’t join up in the inside of the pleat, and because ironing the fabric doesn’t really work, you can easily see where the pleats were connected up.

It should also be noted that the pattern does not have real pockets or a real button closure. I added the real button closure because I didn’t have a zipper handy, and I have so many free buttons to choose from. Besides, turning it into an actual button closure was so easy, it irritated me that the pattern didn’t do that to begin with. I had plans to keep the pretend pocket flaps and add actual welted pockets since the bodice is lined, but I was already really mad at the fit and the fabric.

The one thing good about it – assuming the fit ever turns out ok – is that this is the first ever drop-waisted dress that looks o.k. on me.


I got this amazing sewing machine for my birthday last year, and while I have tried out many of the functions on it I had never been brave enough to try out the embroidery gadgets. The design I picked looks pretty cool, even though I think I used the wrong thread color and/or placement for it. Also, I did a terrible job of lining the design up with itself, and it’s not interfaced quite right so it puckers funny in places. If you look closely, one of the swirls on one of the designs isn’t quite finished because the bobbin ran out of thread halfway through, and even though I had already successfully re-filled the bobbin once before in the middle of embroidering, it wanted to start all over again, instead of where it left off.

Even if I had got everything right, the dress needed a lot more embroidery to really make the design work, like some more around the neck and sleeves, and probably other places too. Sadly, when it was time to do more, I didn’t think the dress was worth it. As it is now, it almost seems like I added the embroidery as an afterthought.


In conclusion, this dress is good in theory, but the worst in execution. I doubt I’ll ever try sewing the pattern again, let alone wear it. Thank you dear husband for the amazing photographs!

One Comment

  1. Steve Erickson said:

    Cute site! Nice Outfits!

    I hope you’re well.

    January 16, 2017

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