Sleek Silhouette

The ‘I’m perfect for this job’ Interview dress


Otherwise known as Burda Paneled Sheath Dress 09/2010 #122A. I have some VERY important interviews coming up, the kind of interviews I’ve waited 4 years to get. To say I want to make a good impression is an understatement! As soon as the first letter came through my door (or inbox as it was) I started dreaming up what I would make as my interview dress. Luckily I had recently seen this Burda dress on Burdastyle and had fallen in love with it (in a work way). It feels very modern but totally work appropriate if made in the right (read boring) colour.

So what do you think, does it work?

SleekSilhouette-1-27I thought that standing in front of my books would make me looks studious. But it didn’t so I went for this shot:

SleekSilhouette-2-20But that didn’t work either – and I look like a bit of a knob!

I’m really proud of this dress – and the fact I got it to fit. The sizings for this are WAY out for my body shape, and I mean different planet way out. So, I spent some time carefully altering the pattern pieces to make sure it would fit me. Luckily this pattern calls for a wool jersey, and I ended up using a thick ponti, so there was a reasonable amount of leeway.


You can’t really see the details in my photos but this is the way the dress is put together. Obviously altering this was not going to be as easy as grading out to the next size or taking it in at the side seams, seeing as how there aren’t any. But I persevered! The first alteration I made was to lengthen the waist section by an inch (this means piece 3, if you’re making it), and that involved putting the pieces together to find the corresponding spot on the back piece too. This was actually pretty easy :)

Then the real fun started. I started off with a size 19 (these are petite sizes) on the bust. I’m actually half an inch bigger round my bust, but I figured I was using a stretch fabric – it’ll cope! Then I had to grade in to the smallest size (17) for my waist, and then grade out again to the biggest size (21) on the pieces around my hips. This wasn’t especially hard, but what I had to look out for was checking that the side of the pattern piece that joined the back panel was the same length as it was before I started to play with it. Otherwise the pieces would not fit together again afterward, and my back panel would probably be too short. So I measured the side of the pattern pieces that hit the back panel and with my french curve changed the curve slightly until it was the right length. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take any pics of this process and that I  cut the pieces out so neatly, but I didn’t and I did. So I can only show you a piece that’s been played with. Hopefully you get the idea.

SleekSilhouette-8-11On this piece you can see how I’ve added my extra inch, graded it in from a larger size to the smallest size, and how I’ve had to change the pattern line at the top to make sure the left side is the correct length.

That done all I had to do was sew it together, and it sewed together like a dream! I’m really developing a love for jersey materials, they’re so quick! It only took me an evening to make the changes and sew the thing together. All that was left was the sleeves.

SleekSilhouette-3-18Ooooh, those sleeves! I tried to understand the instructions for putting on those sleeves, I really did, but I could not make head nor tail of them. They were impossible! It is only me that finds Burda instructions confusing? Anyhoo, I kinda winged it. The first attempt was a massive failure, so out they came and new material was bought. But having put them in once I was more easily able to work out how to put them in again.

Here are my tips for putting in the sleeves:

Bias bind the arm hole, now forget about it. (I only say this as I didn’t and was trying to attach the sleeve to the armhole, there’s no need. Don’t stress yourself out :) )

Fold the sleeve band in half, sew the short edges, trim, turn inside out and press. Press the other lengthwise side with the seam allowances inside. Then sew one side of each of the bands next to/ on the arm hole following the lines on the pattern piece past the arm hole, using the fold in the fabric as a guide.

You could then ‘stitch in the ditch’ to attach the other side of the band, but I hand stitched it – just to make sure it was neat and the stitches couldn’t be seen.


Now I’ve seen how it works it’s simple. I don’t know why the instructions didn’t say that to begin with! However, I now see that my sleeves are not quite even, and are slightly lower on one side. But I think it’s about time I stopped worrying about what I’m going to wear to the interview, and start concentrating on what I’m going to say! I’ll leave it.


I will definitely be making this dress again, I think it’s gorgeous and fits me perfectly! But I might choose a more exciting fabric, and might leave those sleeves off. It looked fine without them!

Unfortunately, these interviews mean I might be a little quite for a few weeks, as I try to revise. But then I’ve developed a reward system – an hour of work for half an hour of sewing. Obsessed, Me?

Wish me luck, they start on Monday! I just need to get some interview appropriate shoes now, something tells me they won’t like my 4 inch wedge platforms…


  1. AMAZING! It was good to see the hanger shots as you really notice the detail of the separate pieces. You’ll get the job in that dress, no contest! x

  2. Thanks Jane! It’s annoying the detail doesn’t come out in photos, but I’m glad you noticed it. Fingers crossed!

  3. The dress is gorgeous, I like that it looks like just a really simple, well fitting dress until you get closer and see the detail of it. Good look with your interviews

  4. You look amazing! The dress has such interesting style lines too; perfect for the heathered grey I think. Good luck!

  5. This is absolutely stunning, and I’m beyond impressed you had the patience to do all this altering with a Burda pattern! It looks gorgeous. If you don’t get the job based on dress alone I’ll eat my hat!

  6. Wow, that looks fab! Good luck with the interviews, you’ll knock their socks off I’m sure!

  7. Amazing! Just fantastic and the last photo shows the detail nicely!

    Fingers and toes and everything else crossed for you! X

  8. You will get the best dressed candidate, good luck on the interviews x

  9. The dress is fab! I actually have one that is very similar for work in magenta and I love it :) Good luck in the interviews!

  10. I’m so impressed with your patience to alter all those unorthodox pattern pieces- and with an end result that it fits so beautifully!
    Best of luck for your interviews.

  11. Would that I had your tiny lil waist! I think it’s perfectly appropriate for interviews. I’d throw a cardi or a blazer over it and POOF- the job is yours!

  12. This looks great on you. Thanks for sharing your process in such detail, it’s really good to read how other people go about their projects.

  13. this is lovely. you should totally do a colourblock version – that would look amazing! you are v brave altering a petite to your height. i never do that (altho annoying the patterns i like are invariably petites – i never like the tall ones!)

    • That’s such a good idea, watch this space and I’ll hunt out some cute jersey! I was lucky with the length of the pattern actually, as it was really long on the model. With the extra inch I added it perfectly hit my knees without any further alteration :)

  14. good luck with your interview! that dress looks so nice on you :)

  15. There is a scary amount of pattern pieces here and I probably would have been scared to go for it in the event of fitting issues – Bravo for going for it! It looks amazing and it really is a the perfect interview dress. Good luck with the ‘views!

  16. Hi Katy, I just discovered your lovely blog this week and have enjoyed reading through all your past makes – such beautiful things!!! Your bombshell dress is amazing!

    As is your latest dress – it’s really gorgeous. And like Jane said, I was glad to see the pics at the end so that we could see the details of all those panels – great work. I can’t believe how much alteration you did, well done…I would have given up long ago! lol

    Good luck with the interviews, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you :)

  17. I’d definitely give you the job based on that dress alone :) I’m so impressed by your patience altering all those pieces, it’s really paid off. Good luck with the interviews, I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  18. This is GORGEOUS! I’d hire you for sure :) Love the paneling details on it – subtle but interesting. Perfection!

  19. Wow!! Gorgeous!! What a stunning dress for work. Good luck with the interviews!

  20. I’ve been catching up on your posts and I am really amazed at your sewing progress. It’s fantastic!!
    You should apply to the next series of The great British sewing bee (seriously!!).
    Those dresses that you have made are so nice, Katy. The detail in your MadMen-esque dress is beautiful.
    Good luck with your work interview!!
    Now Back to my studies – I have two Uni exams (and 3 kids) soon and feel knackered.
    When I finish them, I’ll try to tackle my Colette’s violet….. Pati x

    • I hope the uni work goes well! I’m glad your enjoying the posts, its very kind to say I should apply! I would love to but I don’t feel quite confident enough yet, maybe next year? :)

  21. Looks great! Very interviewee lol..
    Good luck, you’ll be great:)

  22. wow looks amazing! I have everything crossed for you xxxxxxx

  23. I think it looks fantastic! Good luck on the interviews – I’m sure you’ll be great! :)

  24. Pingback: 1 Year Blogiversary, What the? | Sleek Silhouette

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

14 + thirteen =


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: