Thursday, July 3, 2014

BurdaStyle Plus highlights from May-July 2014

I think it's about time for another recap of recent BurdaStyle Plus patterns, don't you? The last recap that I posted covered the January-April issues. This time, I want to talk about the May-July issues, although most of this post will be about the super feminine and curve-friendly dress collection that they published in July. In fact, honestly, I found both the May and June collections to be pretty meh, but wow, that July collection is my favorite Plus collection that they've put out in several years. Granted, I'm probably biased because I'm a sucker for a pretty dress.

May 2014

I really considered not posting any "pick" from the May issue. This plus collection had some decent basics (and yes, we all need basics, but those are no fun for a "highlights" post), a pair of weird pants, and just generally a few "blah" boring designs that I felt like I had seen before. I did settle on the Keyhole Dress (#138), which also has a blouse option:

BurdaStyle 05-2014 #138
I don't thinks that this dress would be very flattering on my own figure because I suspect that big ruffle would just sit on my bust like giant bib, but I think this is a pretty dress and should work well on a plus pear or a balanced plus size figure.

June 2014

The June Plus collection wasn't much better than the May Plus collection. June had another pair of weird pants, some shapeless blouses, and a couple of decent dresses that again, felt like re-hashes. The best of the bunch, I thought, were the #133 Square-necked Seamed Sheath Dress (although with fewer interesting details than Burda's previous versions of this silhouette) and the #137 Ruched Dress (which I know we've seen in various forms in the past few years).

BurdaStyle 06-2014 #133

BurdaStyle 05-2014 #137

July 2014

Just as I was starting to lose what little faith I had left in Burda, deleting the "new collection on our web site" emails without even opening them, they managed to knock it out of the park with their July Plus collection. This collection, I feel, was one of the rare occasions where the Plus collection was far better than any of the regular-sized collections in this issue. These dresses are pretty, wearable, and should be curve-flattering to a variety of figures. Let's take a look...

First up is the Keyhole Dress with Lace Bodice (#132), which has an on-trend sweetheart neckline with a bra-friendly upper bodice piece (what is that called, anyway). I suspect that it wouldn't be particularly easy to fit that bustier-style bodice on my G-cups (Burda Plus drafts for a D-cup), but this dress is so freakin' cute, and it reminds me of a more casually-styled Colette Macaron (which I've owned for ages but never made up). Come to think of it, most of this collection has a bit of a Colette vibe to it, so maybe that's why I like it?

BurdaStyle 07-2014 #132
Next up is the #127 V-neck dress (with pockets!) with a contrast waistband. I love the bra-friendliness of this one; it just looks like a cute, very wearable sundress to throw on in warm weather.

BurdaStyle 07-2014 #127
My next pick would be this #129 A-line shift dress with darts and asymmetrical gathers. I love the look of shift dresses...on other people, but haven't tried one myself because I'm not convinced that it would be a good look on me. This dress, on the other hand, has some of the shaping that other shifts lack, but without a lot of seaming. I think this dress could be a really good choice if you've got a large print fabric that you want to showcase without having seams break up the print.

BurdaStyle 07-2014 #129
And finally, even though I know that Burda has done the plus-sized peasant dress with an empire waist before, I still thought that the #131 peasant dress is cute. (See how less irritated I am when Burda sneaks in a retread when most of the rest of the designs are fresh?) The original design feature for this version is that it has a placket in front.

BurdaStyle 07-2014 #131

But where are the blouses, pants and skirts? Or knits?

When you glance over my "highlight" picks, do you notice a trend? Yup, every single moderately interesting item from the three most recent BurdaStyle Plus collection were dresses. With one exception, these were all woven dresses on top of that. (I notice this because I largely live in separates and knit dresses.)

None of the three most recent collections included a single skirt. Between all three, they included two (weird) pairs of pants. The only blouse that grabbed me at all was the blouse version of the keyhole dress with the ruffle from May. Most of the blouses in recent months were the shapeless block-styles that so many of us plus-sized women complain about. None of these three collections had a single knit top, either (my own most commonly sewn garment).

You know what really bums me out, though? Not a single one of these heading-into-summer collections included a pair of plus-sized shorts. Shorts, in general, are quite on-trend right now, especially the longer "walking length" ones that should be within the comfort zone of far more women than the shorter shorts we'd been seeing in recent years. Thankfully, some of the indie pattern companies have been releasing shorts patterns in recent months that do go well into the plus size range, so we have our options there.


  1. Some of those are super cute. I tell you want though I really wish someone would make a knit that is macaron style. I love the look but the truth is I wear knit dresses all summer.

    1. Same here. I love knit dresses in the summer. As far as a knit Macaron, wouldn't that be great? Alyson Clair (who wrote the Colette knits book) has a dress sort of in this style in her Etsy shop--I bet it could be hacked from a Moneta pattern:

    2. Well, it looks like your request has been answered. This new pattern was just shared in my Facebook feed:

  2. I adore that dress from July with the bra type bodice and red lace. Did you notice as well that the skirt is bias cut? However, I can't even remotely bend my mind around how to do the inevitable FBA I would need on that bodice.

    The more I think about it, the less I think I have EVER seen a pair of shorts in Burda above a size 44. In fact, as I happen to know as I was perusing my back issues looking for a pair to make just recently, a lot of them stop at 42! (In fact, I just went on the Burda store and searched for Plus size patterns on the shorts tab and... NOTHING. Apparently plus sizes don't wear shorts in Burda's universe, which is INSANE.)

    1. I *think* that you could probably just do a princess-seam style FBA on those cups and then transfer the changes/slashes to the lower bodice portion. It'd add length and width.

    2. Oddball question-- does Burda ever do specials or coupons on their PDF patterns?

    3. I can recall them doing a "15% off all PDF downloads" or something like that a while back. They certainly don't do it frequently.

  3. Pretty lazy to run a dress just 2 months later. 133 is very close to something they ran a few years ago. I like this design and I liked that one as well.

    I really love July's 127.

    I wonder if the lack of shorts is related to people wearing shorts in Europe. And when I do see them, they tend to be young thin women/ girls or tourists from the US or Australia. I know I've seen "regular size" shorts in Burda in the past, but I'm not sure I remember seeing them do them that much. I haven't subscribed in years so, it could be faulty memory. And of course, I won't be at all surprised if Burda didn't make plus shorts because larger women shouldn't wear them.eyeroll

    1. That's a very good point about the European audience for shorts. I've been there a few times and gotten the "only tourists wear shorts" warning, although I do recall seeing a decent number of people in shorts (at least in hot early fall weather), but maybe they were all tourists, too.

    2. Let's see about my European experiences. I don't think I saw anyone in Copenhagen in shorts. The one day, the weather was very warm, and I would definitely have worn shorts here. I didn't see anyone in shorts in Dublin at all, and it was warm enough. I did see some people in shorts in Italy, but they were mostly people from the US and Australia. I noted that most of the women tended to loose skirts and men seemed to wear light linen pants. In Eastern Europe the first time-- one of the hottest summers on record-- hardly no shorts on anyone. When I saw them, always American. EE the second time, I saw shorts on locals, almost exclusively the very young adult (male or female), and they were more common on weekends and evenings. I saw them less commonly at hours associated with the workday. I noticed too, that the women's shorts I'd see then tended to be scandal, even vulgar, in their shortness and/or tightness. If someone's pubic hair is tufting out from under the hem-- that's UNDERWEAR. If someone's shorts are so tight, someone else can distinguish butt moles-- EWWWWWW. On my second time in EE, I did some mall trolling (I lived next to nice one with AC), and I saw very few shorts in the shops. I really hope the shops had just pulled some clothes to make space. Otherwise, I'd have to guess home sewists stitched up those monstrosities. And I'd hate to associate home sewists with that much tacky.

    3. I think that time-of-year has a lot to do with it. I've been to Italy twice in September when it was hot, so that's probably why I've seen more shorts.

  4. I hate that designers think "plus size" equates to "shapeless sack dresses." Even though BWOF is far more fashion-forward than the Big 4, I think they can do much better in designing flattering wear for curvier figures.

    1. In my early years of sewing (during what some would consider to be BWOF's modern heyday), I remember the Plus styles being a lot more interesting and curve-friendly, then they went through a long "dark age" where most of the plus designs were belted sacks. Lately, it seems like they'll put out a good Plus collection once every 3-4 months, with most of the rest of the designs being "meh".