PATTERN REVIEW: BurdaStyle no. 133

One of my best friends from college just got married in September, and I was lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids. She was a very low-key bride: she sent us paint swatches of the color she wanted (a rich, deep eggplant-y purple) and we were free to pick out our own dresses. Since I’m very picky about necklines, and I knew that it would be an investment any way I cut the cake, I decided to make the dress. Of course, because I never make anything easy on myself, making the dress also meant hand-dyeing white silk to match the paint swatch!

I chose BurdaStyle’s no. 133, a dress based on a vintage 1960’s pattern. (If you don’t know about Burda’s open-source patterns: you can print their patterns out from your own computer, you can sell the designs, and they publish patterns frequently. It’s a great business model, so check them out!) Undaunted by the ugly pink velvet they made the sample in, I fell in love with the dramatic back-less silhouette.

I made the dress out of  lightweight (16mm) China silk, which draped just as well as I’d hoped it would. It’s lined in a modal jersey knit that felt amazing on that cold fall Vermont afternoon. I dyed the fabric on a stovetop in a small Brooklyn apartment: so if I can do it, you can too! I was worried about the dye being splotchy, but I had no problems at all. All fabric and dye is from Dharma Fabric, which is another company that makes doing business with them a real pleasure.

(photo copyright Amanda Coen)

Making this dress was an awesome challenge, and I loved wearing something unique on my friend’s big day. I even got some suggestions to sell the design to some local boutiques, but since I’m terrible with the business side of things, I don’t see that being a real option in the near future.

Thanks for reading! Have you ever made and worn your own design for a special occasion?

Stay curious,


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