A Danielle Dress for work

I’ve had my eye on Burda Style’s free Danielle dress pattern for years and it’s been on my sewing list for ages but I just never seemed to get around to it.


Initially I had planned to make it for a wintery work dress but my timing was out so I made a sleeveless version that could be worn as the summer heats up.

I used some grey suiting that I had in my stash but decided that it needed some pizzaz to avoid being completely corporate and boring.  So got some gorgeous petrol green silk from the Tessuti remnants table that worked well made into the piping that I wanted to spice things up. I also had to obviously add arm facings as I left off the sleeves.


The dress came together well EXCEPT for the enormous bust dart in the empire line bodice.  I could NOT get it to work.  I tried all sorts of tricks and resewed it about 5 times.  I read all sorts of posts about sewing big darts but nothing could stop the Madonna Cone Boobs look below. This was not the look I was going for and eventually gave up and used gathers instead.

Danielle bad darts

Maybe not quite as neat a finish and a little uneven but I was just relieved to be out of the dart sewing dabacle. Does anyone have any brilliant tips on sewing big empire line bust darts?  There is another dress with an Empire line that I’ve been fiddling with but the bust darts also have me stumped.


I like how the dress turned out with the big tucks in the skirt front and I think the green piping is just what it needed to make it a little different. The square neckline is interesting – not something I’d normally go for – but it works well for this dress even though it means having to wear a very specific bra that doesn’t show in the corners of the neckline.


Thanks for stopping by and PLEASE, if you have any good advice on big empire line bust darts, please pass it my way!

Pattern: Burdastyle Danielle dress

Fabric: Grey suiting from my stash. Originally from a second hand fabric market in Newtown. I think it’s a cotton poly blend – maybe some wool ?

Alterations: No sleeves and bust gathers rather than dart

Do it again: Maybe – once I’ve figured out the bust dart dilemma


9 thoughts on “A Danielle Dress for work

  1. Good choice to go with green silk piping – it lifts the dress nicely. The gathers look fine and I didn’t even notice that they were supposed to be darts! ‘Practice makes perfect’ is the only advice I can give on darts I’m afraid:)

  2. I think the best way to go for a smaller size, based on your hip measurement and do a full bust adjustment. I could give you a demo if you want. Also thanks for putting together the Australia bloggers list. It is such a great resource.

    • Thanks Gail.
      Yes I do need to figure out that full bust adjustment trick of yours at some point…I’ve been holding off!
      I didn’t put together the Australian bloggers list so someone else deserves the thanks. But it does sound like a good resource. Where can i find it?

  3. Wowza, I love that neckline on you Mary! Its almost a little edwardian? If you wore a black velvet choker and lengthened the hemline you could totally pull off Downton Abbey! The darts – just a thought, either split them in two or create a style line up to the corner of the bodice and make them into a princess line (colour blocking opp)? Mwah luvvy x

    • Thanks Lesley. Yes it is a fun neckline (Yay Downtown Abbey) but does require quite specific underwear!
      I do like the idea of a princess line rather than darts. I think that might be good solution for next time.

  4. It’s a good thing you couldn’t get those bust darts to work because the gathering looks lovely. That was actually the first detail I noticed – I immediately decided I wanted to make a dress with a similar detail!

    (Huzzah for the sewing world, where talking about bust darts and details is a perfectly normal thing…)

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