Burda 102 Dress - The Appendix


I've got two more little "helpful" tidbits related to Burda 102 dress that I'm gonna talk about today.  Both of these seemed a little too big to stuff under the Confessions/Advice section of the review, so I've split them out to this extra blog post. Open up your brain hatches cause I'm about to drop some learning on you.

Tidbit 1 - How to grade up pattern pieces using nested sizes.
In my review post of Burda 102 I mentioned that my figure is a size 42 on top but a bigger size on the bottom. According to the Burda size chart my bottom half is a size 46, which is considered a plus size. So what patterns do you sew if only half of your body is plus?  Thanks to a handy tip I picked up on the PR boards years ago, you can pick the "regular" size and grade up the areas that need it.   (My thanks to the person who originally posted this tip, who's name I have long since forgotten.)

This method works if...
a. You only need to grade up a few sizes.
b. The original pattern comes with multiple sizes.

I'll be demonstrating this technique on the front skirt of Burda 102. Now on to the knitty gritty!

1. Trace the largest size of the pattern including all darts, notches and other markings. For this pattern it's size 42 which is the solid line.
2. Take your traced side seam line and move it over the number of sizes you need to grade up.  I need to grade up 2 sizes so I'll be moving the traced line over to the size 38 which is a short/long dashed line.
3. Trace the solid line side seam line again.
4. In this pattern the side seam is graded 3/8" but the dart is graded 3/16".  Moving the side seam line to the size 38 puts the dart at a size 34.  If you wanted to grade that area up 2 sizes move the dart over to the size 38 after tracing the new side seam.  My figure needs more room in that location so I traced the new dart without re-positioning the side seam effectively grading the dart location up 5 sizes.
5. Scribble out or X out the original dart placement and, if it's a Burda, add your seam allowance. Then you're ready to make a muslin.
For this pattern I graded up the front skirt, back skirt, front and back insets this way.  Then the very bottom of the bodice needed to be increased so that the underbust seams match.  For that seam I just added 3/8" to the bottom of the side seam and blended it into the rest of the piece.
If you try this process I strongly recommend making a muslin to make sure that all the pieces fit together. Occasionally I just forget to grade one piece up, but the muslining process always catches this before real disaster strikes.

Tidbit 2 - How to fold the sleeves on this dress.  
If you were hoping for more video of me then your wish has been granted!  I couldn't find a way to get a good close up on the sleeve, since it's just me working the camera. So for reference here's a pic of the sleeve clearly showing it's markings.
Now on to my "instructional video".


  1. Oh my goodness. Before I get to how fantastic and informative this post actually is, I would like to first congratulate on being the coolest and prettiest person in the world EVER! May I please have your skin? You can just post this with the bewbs. Right, secondly, such a great tutorial. I have never attempted a sleeve head of this nature, but now I want to. Also, really good tips on grading up. Would this work for patterns in general? I have several vintage patterns in my stash that are too small for me. Can I use this technique oh wise one?

  2. No you're pretty and cool! I also feel obligated to inform you that my skin is highly prone to chocolate acne and I have genetic dark circles under my eyes. Now for actual answers to questions....most vintage patterns I have are only one size so my technique wouldn't work cause you don't know how much the pattern is graded. In that case I would recommend trying Brooke's technique of scaling the pattern up on a photo copier. http://customstyle.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/pattern-sizing-experiment-part-1-grading-vs-ratios/

  3. I'm just catching up on my blog-reading, but thank you for the grading tip. I'm definitely going to use it for that sheath dress where the bottom in the largest size is too small .

  4. Awesome, its especially good for skirts since there aren't too many seams.


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