Burda 7494

I'm ninety four you know
Black dresses, like black cats, are notoriously difficult to photograph. The detail is easily lost and this apparently is the reason why ‘the little black dress’, usually a girl’s best friend, has fared badly in online sales in relation to frocks featuring prints and bright colours (read all about it).  On screen, it can look a bit boring.

Burda 7494 View ABut while a tiger can woo multitudes with its splendid array of stripes, looking at a plain black moggy (or panther) allows you to notice its equally admirable silhouette.  (If you think my Lemmy’s outline is a little bit scraggly,  can I just point out  he is actually ancient! 😯 ).

There’s much to admire in this Burda 7494 dress.

Burda 7494The faux collar, which attaches to dress front only, is easy to make and is guaranteed to sit flat.  The four front and back pleats create a tulip-like shape, giving the impression of there being more bum than is actually the case as well as narrowing the waist.  Most interesting of all I found the bust darts which are shifted to the centre side of the princess seams.  This creates a nice curve which isn’t difficult to sew (but check out my tips on Princess Seams if you’re new to this).  It’s a design that deserves more boldness than the picture on the envelope or my rendition of the pattern have given it.  If you imagine this same dress in red tartan, with black velvet piping, you can imagine the drama.


I had to make a few changes and didn’t get out unscathed….  1 Cuff

1. I added sleeves (obviously).  You like?!

2. In order to add sleeves, I had to substantially slice off from the shoulders.  The original ended a good inch beyond the usual armscye line which leads me to suspect this wouldn’t suit sloping shoulders.

3. I lowered the neckline 1.5cm, for two reasons.  The original collar is too big (bib-like?) for me.  I also think that a very high neckline makes anything but the most pert bust look a bit, er, southern 😯

4. I went the extra mile by making the dress fully lined (the pattern has lining for the skirt only).

The fabric, by the way, is extra fine Italian needlecord from Fabric House, one of my favourite shops on Goldhawk Road.  The plaid bias binding used for the piping and inside the cuffs came from MacCulloch & Wallis but you can get it anywhere.

Achtung!  Achtung

a) Beware that the neckline, though high, is very wide.   This might not suit you if you like to keep bra straps hidden (or if your neck muscles are a bit strong…).

b) The sizing for the dress is way over (so go by garment measurements) but perplexingly, the size of the lining isn’t.  Measure carefully before cutting because when the lining is tighter than the skirt, it will quickly rip!

Overall, I love the Burda 7494 and it was worthwhile sweating it out drafting the add-on sleeves as I now have a warm day dress for when I want to blend into the general winter gloomth.  This picture was taken a moment after the first one, after a cloud settled over the sun.  See?  Boring….There's no food in that hand, stupid woman

18 thoughts on “Burda 7494

  1. This is a lovely dress. I really like the addition of sleeves and the little tarten details. Also, needlecord is fab fabric for a winter dress.

  2. I have been bitten by this black problem lately. You gotta go outside, or get a whole lot of lighting going inside. And still, the details and the texture of my lovely black crepe dress are just lost. And it’s too dang cold to go outside and try again now. That said, the silhouette of your dress is great, which makes me think the whole thing is lovely.

    • Thanks Stephanie. At the moment, it seems to be permanently raining in the UK so going outside is rarely an option 🙁
      Look forward to seeing your black crepe dress (another lovely fabric!)

  3. Also, when photographing anything black close up, you can see every bit of lint, dust and cat hair – or is that just in my house?
    Great job with the sleeves it adds to the silhouette and the tartan inside is a nice touch.
    I agree about high necks. Being possessed of a generous embonpoint myself, I find v-necks or scoop necks most flattering and less likely to make a bust look ‘matronly’.
    You look great in this dress but I will leave this one to those of you who are more gifted in making changes as I like to be held by the hand and led gently through a pattern from beginning to end.

  4. Love the skirt shape and fabric ( hope it’s all going in the same direction!) . Very brave to add the sleeves. But how practical are they? Don’t they get caught in your soup bowl? I’d be forever rolling them up. I’ve got no bust but don’t like high necklines either, just feel too enclosed. I am really admiring your output. Let me know when you are next heading to Goldhawk Road!

    • That’s a good point: I should not be going near soup bowls with this (but could possibly use the collar to dab at corners of mouth?!). The sleeves have been successfully tested over a couple of wine glasses and all is fine but again, best not to drink too many 🙂

  5. I love your dress. It should have come with an option for sleeves too. I like the sleeves that you added. I have the pattern, so thanks for the heads up on the fit of the lining vs. the skirt.

  6. Looks like a flattering pattern! I love LBD, but hate sewing black as it collects all the dust and dog hair in my house even before I start sewing pieces together! Love the faux collar detail and the silhouette of your dress!

    • 🙂 Thanks Ruth. I got the idea for the sleeves from a McQueen dress I’d seen (online only) and tried to guess what to do get the effect. There were a couple of accidents on the way but it kind of worked out!

      • I did see your reply, thank you. 🙂 I think dressmakers’ cats are amongst the luckiest (equal only to fishermen’s cats). He had a good life, that Lem!

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