Burdastyle 09/2018 118 Dress with Pleated Skirt

I flipped through the September 2018 edition of Burdastyle many times, ignoring #118 viscose shirtdress with a pleated skirt. In 2023 I inexplicably became obsessed with this design, and made it within a month of finding the perfect fabric for it. Maybe it just took a few years for my style to develop towards knee-length shirtdresses... but this is a perfect staple for the office.

This dress features a skirt with deep knife pleats, an invisible side zipper, a collar with collar stand, a back yoke, and button cuffs with a continuous lap placket.

I ordered 2.5 yards of Black/Venetian Red/White 100% Rayon Floral Vines Print Challis 56W from Fabric Mart Fabrics for $6/yard. I like the floral on a dark ground (about 75% of my RTW dresses are like this) but I made a critical error with my yardage... the design calls for 2.8 METERS of fabric! I was nearly a yard short! Even worse, my 56 inch wide fabric shrunk to 50 inches wide after I washed it 😒

To accommodate the design on my limited fabric, I:

  • Reduced the depth of each skirt pleat by half an inch to fit the skirt pattern pieces on the fabric
  • Used a matching black crepe fabric for the collar stand, waistband facing, and yoke facing
  • Changed the cuff pattern piece from one large rectangle to two rectangles so that I could make a cuff facing from the black crepe

Other than the head-scratching fabric shortage, this dress was really easy to put together - I think it was complete after two weeks of on-and-off sewing. Most of the pieces are rectangles, so not a lot of fussy seams and curves to deal with. I recommend labeling all pieces to stay organized between cutting and construction.

I used the burrito method for the yoke - I truly have no idea what the instructions (in Portuguese) were telling me to do for most of the steps, so just followed my intuition and used my Reader's Digest Sewing Guide for putting together the collar.

Other details:

  • I used black rayon seam binding at the skirt hem
  • I added a strip of fusible interfacing along the invisible zipper to stabilize the lightweight rayon fabric there
  • I pleated the sleeves to the cuffs instead of gathering them
  • I stitched down the pleats one inch less than the pattern called for to accommodate my "sudden" hips

In terms of fit, the size 36 works, but the dress is a smidge too big everywhere - bodice too long, waistband too wide, sleeves too long AND wide. Thankfully these seem like easy adjustments to the pattern - I anticipate making more versions of this easy to wear dress!

The skirt pleats are also a bit of a disappointment. They just don't last in this viscose fabric, and pressing them wasn't an enjoyable step when making this dress. Perhaps there's a way to permanently press the pleats in viscose fabrics - or the Burdastyle model was worn only for the photoshoot when the pleats were still fresh and crisp 😉

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