Wardrobe Essentials

Hello Readers! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Today I want to share with you some work-inspired garments that I made this past month from the BurdaStyle Wardrobe Essentials book, previously blogged about here.

I am a defense attorney and many people that I work with know that I sew. I often get asked when I’m at work if I made what I’m wearing. I never actually wear anything I make to work, though. When I’m starting a new project I never really gravitate toward work pieces. I’m excited that I now have some pieces I can wear to work and the next time someone asks me if I made that I can say yes 🙂

The first project in the book is a cowl neck dress. Here’s my version:

cowl neck dress

I used a wool blend fabric from Hancock Fabrics. I cut the size 36, which is what I used for all of the projects in the book.

cowl neck dress 3

The book is designed to work through projects chronologically. You will find that the instructions are more detailed in the first few projects.

I love the design of the Burda pattern pieces. This dress, for example, has a self facing included in the pattern. So, when you are forming the cowl part of the dress you simply fold the facing toward the inside of the dress. This gives you a nice clean finish. Other projects also included a facing that is built into the pattern and simply requires you to fold it inward to finish the garment, rather than stitching a separate facing piece onto the garment.

cowl neck dress 4

A word about Burda patterns if you’ve never used them: Those included in their magazine and books are layered on top of one another. When you open up on the pattern sheets it can be a bit confusing trying to figure out which pattern pieces you’re supposed to trace.



My suggestion is to use different colored highlighters and carefully trace over your patterns with the highlighter first. Then use your tracing paper and lay it over the sheet and trace over it with a fine tip permanent marker. This whole process adds about 30 minutes to your total project time, but you get used to it. If you have cats that like to interfere with your work, it may take longer.



Next up is a crisp button up shirt and an inverted pleat skirt:

white blouse 3

Both this shirt and skirt were so simple to make and came together quite nicely. I cut a 36 for the shirt and made no adjustments to the fit. The skirt, however, took a bit more time to get the fit just right. The skirt only contains two pattern pieces. If you’re only working with two pattern pieces you better take the time to make sure you’ve got a perfect fit. I cut the 36 but after my first muslin I did not like how the skirt fit. I prefer my skirts to fit snugly around my waist. I used a hip curve ruler to shave off my pattern pieces slightly around the waist area so that they would curve inward more. Eventually I achieved a fit that I am pretty happy with.

white blouse

I’m also excited that this skirt works well with a jacket that is already a part of my wardrobe.

jacket skirt combo

Jacket: Ann Taylor

The gray tones in both garments work well with each other. I can already tell this look is going to be in heavy rotation for work. The best part about this skirt is that I lined it in hot pink.

skirt lining

Lastly, I made another variation of this button-up blouse in a more playful fabric. I picked this poppy print fabric from Mood Fabrics during my last trip to NYC.

poppy blouse

Skirt: H & M

The fabric feels beautiful against my skin but proved quite challenging to work with. It’s slippery and was difficult to cut and pin. This let to some mistakes but hopefully nobody but me can tell.

poppy blouse up close

The biggest issue I had was button placement, which got a bit effed up. Oh well. I like that the lightness of this fabric means I can roll up the sleeves easily for a more casual look.

poppy blouse 2

So, November was a busy sewing month for me. But, this is not the big DIY reveal that I mentioned in my last post. That is still to come! Stay tuned . . .

7 thoughts on “Wardrobe Essentials

  1. ellegeemakes says:

    Wow – -you have been busy! What a great wardrobe. I really love the blouses (that print is fabulous!) – you could dress them up or down. I have that book as well but haven’t made anything from it yet…I’m inspired!!


  2. Mads (lifeinamadshouse) says:

    Gorgeous pieces! The cowl dress is my favorite–it’s so chic! (And yeah, cat herding always adds about 30 minutes to anything I am doing in my sewing room…)

    I sympathize with your slippery fabric problems–they are so nice to wear but such a b*tch to sew! I tried a gelatin soak for something I am working on in a silk and cannot recommend it enough. The fabric still requires extra care but it is so much more stable than it was beforehand.


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