Modified Burda Style Skirt

Modified Burda Style skirt

My first make of 2018! Yay! This modified Burda Style skirt was one that I actually cut out before Christmas, so it was first on my list for the new year. When I first started to get enamoured with Burda patterns (see here and here for my other Burda makes) I bought a box of magazines from eBay on a whim and it contained a random selection of magazines dating back to 2010. This skirt is actually in the ‘2015 Spring/Summer Easy Style’ issue and even though it was shown made in a firm Ponte knit or a finer jersey, I could see the potential for other fabrics and a little bit of modification. You know me….I just can’t make a pattern up as it is. I have to put my own spin on it.


So the fabric that jumped out at me as perfect for my warm Winter skirt is a pure wool herringbone weave in an orangey coral shade. I bought the fabric from Barrys Fabrics in Birmingham, in late September 2016, during a sewing meet-up with some fab Instagram sewists. It had lain in my stash ever since, yet I love sewing with pure wool, so it was high time that I made it up. Wool just stitches and presses like a dream and this tweed was no exception. My sewing machine loves it too. No skipped stitches or snags…just what I needed for a January make when my energy levels are the low…no hassle.

When I first saw the Burda pattern, I had visions of a lovely chunky exposed brass zip to add some visual interest along the sloped yoke seam that would look great with the hefty nature of the tweed. A search on eBay ensued and I found a perfect zip…the fact that it was a 22” open-end one didn’t phase me. Nothing that some whip stitches and some pliers to remove zipper teeth wouldn’t fix!

Modified Burda Style skirt
Modified Burda Style skirt


Shall we just talk about how I inserted the zip though? As you can see from the line drawing of the skirt, there’s an angled yoke seam. I wanted to use that for my zip but I also wanted to show some of the zipper tape and of course the lovely brass teeth. I basted a line of stitching 0.5 cm (a bit less than ¼”) back from the seam line on both pieces. I then basted along these lines onto my zipper tape on both sides of the zip. Next, I machine stitched along the basting lines using a zipper foot. A good press with a cloth and it looks nice and straight and neat. It was plain sailing to just attach the lower piece of the skirt afterwards.


I really wanted to put a little hand-sewn hint of couture into my skirt. I was inspired by images on Pinterest as I often am…actually…please tell me I’m not the only one…do you get sucked into Pinterest rabbit holes? I’ve lost whole swathes of time looking through Pinterest. And maybe we need to gloss over the times I get lost for hours looking at funny cat memes! As I was saying, that was where I got some inspiration, but I also saw a skirt with hand stitching detail in a more recent Burda magazine. So, of course, I wanted to try it for myself.

I wanted to tone my hand stitching with the darker zipper tape colour but I didn’t have quite the exact match of thread. Instead, I found two (standard Guttermann) threads of similar tones…one darker, one lighter and I ran them together. I also doubled the threads on my needle, so my stitches are actually several threads thick so that they really show up. To get an even line to follow with my stitches I used a red Frixion pen and ruled a line on my fabric. The actual spacing of my stitches was done by eye. I found the process of sitting and stitching by hand to be very relaxing and I love the finished result. After a bit of discussion on the RTW Fast 2018 FB group about the stitching, I decided against topstitching along the hem as well as it would have looked a bit much. Just a simple blind-stitched hem was enough. I think less is more sometimes…

I fully lined my skirt with a flame-coloured anti-static polyester lining from my stash and finished the waistband with a simple folded over, interfaced length of fabric. I left an asymmetric overlap and added a button.

**Edited to add…As I made up a woven and not a stretch I did the following adjustments: I sized up, curved the seams in a bit at the waist and instead of the suggested waist elastic I added two waist darts at the back plus one on the left front and eased into the waistband.

Close up details waistband and zip

This week I’ve also got a bonus make for you to see. It’s another Burda cowl neck sweater like the olive one that I linked to at the top of this post. The fabric is a gorgeous terracotta pointelle sweater knit that I bought from Guthrie Ghani and doesn’t it go well with my skirt? It feels very snuggly to wear.

Modified Burda Style skirt
Pointelle sweater to wear with BurdaStyle skirt

Oh, by the way, I actually fitted my skirt on for size on the 2nd January…full of Christmas bloat, and you know what? It’s a bit too big in the waist now. In these photos, I have it safety-pinned at the back. See next photo…. and now I also think I might shave a smidge of the length…perhaps just a half-inch. Oh well…hehe Regardless of the little extra fit tweaks that I need to do, this Burda skirt was a lovely project to sew. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute and highly recommend working with wool if you’ve never tried it.

 Burda Style skirt

Well, it’s been so good to be back on my blog and I hope to get a few of my plans for future ptojects more organised soon too. I’m actually thinking of going through my fairly modest stash at the weekend to familiarise myself with what I have, so that should help. It’s the right time of year to take stock eh?

Until next time!

PS.. The lovely Hila of Saturday Night Stitch is hosting a year-long challenge for all sewists to do at their own pace and join in as and when they want. It’s called Burda Challenge 2018 and full details are here

I think you can safely say that my post qualifies! And I’m definitely in on this challenge. My goal is to sew between 5 and 10 Burda items in 2018 and to get quicker at tracing them Wish me luck. Thanks, Hila!



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  1. January 11, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    Love the skirt design, love the fabric, love the topstitching, and love what you’re wearing it with. What a winner! Congratulations on doing such a great job with it.

    • diane
      January 11, 2018 / 9:11 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment Lori. I’m glad you like it.

  2. Lisa
    January 12, 2018 / 1:37 am

    Clarification needed. I’ve been sewing for MANY years and had never heard of doubling the thread?!
    Is that hard on a sewing machine (?) or have I been living under a rock? It’s interesting to me that you combined two colors of thread but I’m also fascinated that it could (should) add strength for heavier fabrics and possibly be useful for garments like coats and jeans??
    More info. on this technique please!

    • diane
      January 12, 2018 / 7:54 am

      Hi, Lisa…sorry if it seemed unclear(I did a tiny edit), but I was referring to the ‘handsewn’ topstitching that I did with a needle and thread, not on my machine. I simply had several strands threaded through my needle as I stitched using simple running stitches.
      I have, however, also used two strands at a time on my sewing machine too. There are two spool holders on my Bernina and I pop one on each then thread through a topstitch needle for bolder machined topstitching.

    • diane
      January 12, 2018 / 7:57 am

      Eek! So sorry Karey. Damn, I must have been tired when I hit publish last night! I’ve included the photo now, phew!
      Yup, that’s the pattern you linked to though yours is a European cover by the looks of it.

  3. January 12, 2018 / 7:40 am

    Love the skirt and particularly the diagonal lines and zip, that sounds tricky. The kind of challenge I love. The top is another hit, love that oversized cowl. Is that the fabric you bought at the meet up it is fabulous. I’m doing the burda challenge so I’ve got my copy. But oh I do hate that tracing.

    • diane
      January 12, 2018 / 8:03 am

      Thank so much, Maggie. Yes, that’s right, it was on the SewBrum meet up when I got the fabric. Ooh, regarding tracing. Try using a Frixion highlighter pen to highlight the lines to trace. A warm iron gets rid of the lines after. I’m going to try it next time.

  4. Celia
    January 12, 2018 / 7:40 am

    Gorgeous skirt, I love the angled exposed zip, and the contrasting top stitching!

    • diane
      January 12, 2018 / 8:03 am

      Thank you so much Celia!

  5. Vicki
    January 12, 2018 / 10:02 am

    Such a cute little skirt! The top is a perfect match too.

    • diane
      January 12, 2018 / 11:05 am

      Hi Vicki. Thank you, so glad you like it!

  6. Elissa
    January 12, 2018 / 10:24 am

    It’s beautiful! Fabulous work. Did you use a double-eyed needle for the “double stitching”? Using a single eye puts a lot of pressure on single place in the thread as it is seen, greatly increasing the chances of it breaking.. I only learned about this in a tailoring class I took as part of a clothing comstruction certificate program I took.

    • diane
      January 12, 2018 / 11:08 am

      Thank you so much, Elissa. No, I didn’t use a double-eyed needle and I have to say that I’ve never owned one. But I want one now! I can see how the extra thread could be stressed by pulling through the single eye, though I didn’t experience such problems. Great to know though. Thank you!

  7. January 12, 2018 / 12:36 pm

    That top stitching and the exposed zip really lifts this skirt to another level. It is gorgeous, as is your new cowl. A really pulled together outfit which will be so useful in the cold weather. Brilliant!

    • diane
      January 12, 2018 / 1:04 pm

      Thank you so much, Sue. I often love to put a little bit of something different to a pattern when I sew it. So glad you like it xx. Yes, it’ll be a fab outfit for the weather we’re getting in the UK right now.

  8. January 12, 2018 / 1:14 pm

    I love this skirt so much that I want to copy it 😉 . Fantastic sewing!!

    • diane
      January 12, 2018 / 2:19 pm

      Awww, thank you, Wis! Why not try it for yourself 🙂

  9. suzy roberts
    January 13, 2018 / 11:54 am

    Love the skirt Diane and that lovely couture stitching is swoon worthy…I think you might have spawned lots of copy cat skirts as I can´t be the only one who wants one like this now. xx

    • diane
      January 13, 2018 / 6:45 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Suzy and for the lovely words about my skirt. So glad you like it. xxx

  10. January 14, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Wowsers! Your skirt is amazing! I love the style lines, it’s so different, and the zip is awesome.

    • diane
      January 14, 2018 / 8:50 pm

      Thanks so much for the lovely words, Lynne xx And I know you’re an exposed zip fan too because I’ve seen the fab on you did on your latest make. Cheers!

  11. Karie
    January 15, 2018 / 12:49 am

    What a gorgeous skirt! I love the zip. My last make of 2017 was a Burda pattern – 7141 view A – and it was my first time sewing using Burda. After sifting through the maze of directions, and seeing sparse directions like “sew in zipper using zipper foot” I cried “I’ll never buy another Burda pattern again!” BUT they were actually a breeze to sew up and required zero alterations/adjustments to the pattern! I’ll be using Burda patterns in the future for sure!

    • diane
      January 15, 2018 / 9:22 am

      Hi Karie. Thank you! For me it’s only my third time with Burda patterns and although the instructions aren’t great, like you I find the fit pretty good. Glad to hear you haven’t been put off.

  12. January 15, 2018 / 6:06 am

    Fabulous skirt and both it and your brown top suit you perfectly! Very inspiring work! 😊

    • diane
      January 15, 2018 / 9:10 am

      Thanks for stopping by Claire and for the lovely words about my skirt and sweater. So glad you like them!

  13. Helen
    January 15, 2018 / 8:00 am

    I’m so happy to see this skirt, Diane! It screams “you” and I know it has been waiting for you a little while. I love your cowl neck jumper too, it looks so cosy and the autumnal colours are just perfect on you. Your Pinterest comments made me laugh -I still can’t figure it out over there, but maybe that’s no bad thing if it might lead me down a rabbit hole of cat memes 😂😘 obviously I am using the wrong search terms 😂😂

    • diane
      January 15, 2018 / 9:25 am

      Thanks xxx I feel like ‘me’ too in this outfit. The texture and colours all make me happy. Hah, yes, Pinterest can be both fun and a curse. I have to say though that I’m guilty as charged….I looked up cat memes on purpose, hehe! In my defence I did have a bit of time to kill. lol!

      • Helen
        January 15, 2018 / 6:57 pm

        Haha, that made me laugh out loud!! I am missing out on a whole side of social media that I never dreamed of before!!

  14. January 17, 2018 / 12:05 pm

    What a beautiful make! I love the colour of both skirt and top. It’s been such a chilly winter where I am already that I’m so inspired by ‘fully lined’ and ‘100% wool’! How will you approach taking it in? I’m assuming ripping up the folded over, adding another dart in the back perhaps?

    • diane
      January 17, 2018 / 12:33 pm

      I really appreciate you stopping by and commenting Kristina. It makes my day to see new readers leave comments. Thank you. And I’m so glad you like my skirt. It has been cold, hasn’t it??! Lined wool is just whats needed. Good question about the alteration and I was pondering as to the way forward. I do lots of alterations as I occasionally work for clients too, but there’s often more than one way to do it. As I’m very flat bottomed I don’t think an extra dart will work as I’ll get too much fullness left over my bottom. It needs to be taken through the sides so I will most likely remove the waistband by about 2/3rds and maybe add a centre back seam in the band or line a seam up with one of the side seams. Then take the skirt side seams in too. You know, I might do a blog post about it because it might prove useful.

      • January 19, 2018 / 7:57 pm

        Your description of your intended alteration makes perfect sense – but I would certainly benefit from a blog post on it!

        • diane
          January 19, 2018 / 8:13 pm

          Of course Kristina. Be my pleasure! I’ll try to do one within the next five days, promise.

  15. Monika
    January 17, 2018 / 3:00 pm

    This is absolutely stunning. Love all the details and the beautiful finish…as always!!!

    • diane
      January 17, 2018 / 6:38 pm

      Aww, thanks for the lovely comment, Monika.

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