Friday, 9 September 2016

Style Arc Pamela Dress

This Style Arc Pamela dress pattern is designed for fabrics that are "woven with a slight stretch component or silk".  However I do love a knit dress and am always on the lookout for new patterns to try and there just aren't enough!  I had a sudden thought to try this in a crazy printed knit and so I cut it out before I got sensible and changed my mind.

Style Arc Pamela Dress

Honestly I wasn't 100% sure this would work so I didn't spend much time thinking about the best way to make this in jersey and just dived in, except for cutting the centre back on a fold and leaving off the zipper.

So, weirdly my dress has all in one neck/armhole facings and also facing strips to finish the armholes on top of the facing!  Next time I will probably just use the neck facings for the sleeved version.  I didn't interface the facings either because I wanted to keep the stretch so they really aren't doing anything other than finishing off the edges a bit.  Basically the construction of my dress is a bit haphazard and definitely unconventional, but it works.

I did decide that darts in a lightweight knit were a step too far so I left those off.  This means that I only really have the option of wrapping the ties to the back otherwise it is a bit shapeless, but that's ok.

I found the instructions great until I got to attaching the collar, maybe I skipped over it or got mixed up between dress and facing pieces, but it seemed that the shoulder seam got sewn twice and the centre back collar seam not at all. Since I was going off piste anyway I just did my own thing.  It's not a difficult dress to put together, just remember that Style Arc uses different seam allowances to the Big 4.

My dress is a 10 although I inadvertently added a bit extra in the back when I cut that piece on the fold - I'm so used to using Burda with no seam allowances - but this is where I most need a bit of extra room so it worked out well.  I think the armholes may be a little low which may be down to my slightly bonkers fabric choice and finishing technique.

I'm surprised and pleased with how much I like the finished dress and I will definitely be making this again and trying out the sleeved version too.  I can also see it with a maxified or flared skirt.  Maybe I'll even make it in the suggested fabric one day.....

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

BurdaStyle 08/2016 - 128 Pencil Skirt

This is skirt 128 from the August issue, another great release in 2016, I am just loving Burda this year having hated 2015!  There is also a view (129) with a deeper waistband and a curved hem that I may try.

I made this in a stretch denim and for some reason I really wanted to make it midi length so I just lengthened it from the hem.  This should work well in cooler weather too.

The curved panel seams are topstitched with a grey topstitching thread so they stand out, but regardless the seams give the skirt a great shape and fit.  That said, I've only just noticed on seeing these photos that on my dressform you can hardly see the upper yoke pieces in the front view.  I think this is because I cut a 38 at the waist and a 40 below and then adjusted the side seams to fit me.  Somehow on me the side seam is at least in the right place, but I guess I have lost a portion of that upper piece which is the same pattern piece for all sizes.  I think I will retrace the front and side front in a size 38 and only add a bit extra at the side seams.  

(Funnily enough Burda, in its own unique way, calls these wandering panel seams and mine do appear to have done just that!).

Those upper yoke parts are the only slightly tricky bit to sew - I stitched a line just inside the seam allowance on the yoke and then clipped into the seam allowance.  You can then straighten out that curve and easily join it to the side front panel.

The back is comparatively plain although I did also topstitch the seams there.  

It turns out that dark denim is as hard to photograph as black so despite lightening these photos it's still kind of hard to see anything, sorry!!  But don't let that put you off making this one up, it's a great pencil skirt pattern and I will definitely be making it again once I've retraced those front pieces - I'll let you know if my theory is right!

Friday, 5 August 2016

BurdaStyle 02/2013 - 103 & 104 Halter Dress

My dress is a hybrid of these two versions of the same pattern.

BurdaStyle 02/2013 - 103 or 104 (same pdf pattern)

This is another one of my China fabric purchases, a bold panel print in what is allegedly a silk linen blend.  You have to take some of these descriptions with a pinch of salt, but it seems like it could be right, it feels like a softer, slubbed silk organza.  In any case it was the print I fell for, it reminds me of a blown up digitised flower, but who knows?

Here is one panel of the print, it's big, I had to stand on a chair to capture it!

I originally intended to make a sheer kimono type jacket, but I couldn't find a pattern that was just right.  Instead I rediscovered this simple halter dress I've long admired that would show off the print without breaking it up.  I made the version with the front slit, but used the full width of the fabric as the length which ended up being a long midi.

Being sheer fabric I lined it with an off white silk satin and I used french seams in both layers.  After sewing the arm and neck bindings, I hand finished it on the inside by just catching the bindings to the lining so no stitching is visible on the outside of the dress, except for the hem where I just did a narrow machine hem.

This is an easy dress to sew, but fitting the bodice gave me a lot of trouble.  Something I've noticed before is that I am shorter from the bust to the shoulder than Burda's sloper.  Burda has some famously low necklines anyway and I alter those almost as a matter of course, but for most styles it doesn't matter.  It did for this one.  My dress form was a godsend here - before I attached the neck binding I pinned and altered until it fit. I ended up taking around 2cm off the top of the front bodice pieces. and gathering it more than suggested.

Of course the dress form is great, but it doesn't move and I am finding there is still a bit of gaping above the bust when I am not standing like a soldier!  In a moment of experimentation I tried it on backwards and it seems to be much better which makes absolutely no sense at all, but whatever works!  

Maybe I got confused while making it and cut the slit in the back as for view 103 rather than in the front?  It's definitely possible, I'm sure I messed up the length of the neckline binding as it's much too short and there is no way I can tie it in a bow like the line drawing.  Another good reason to wear the dress "backwards"!

You can see where I still have a bit of a gaping issue on my left side here.

I decided not to do the shirring only because I thought with the lining it wouldn't work very we'll, instead I will wear it with a belt.  

Despite the fitting problems, I have to say I love the finished dress, it's quite a different style for me, although really the print is doing all the work. 

And here it is on backwards!  Or the right way, I'm really not sure anymore.

Friday, 29 July 2016

BurdaStyle Maxi Skirt & Tank Top on me!

I finally got around to taking photos of me wearing the maxi skirt and tank from my last post.  I don't really like taking photos of myself at the best of times, but I had a bout of bronchitis that made me feel even less like doing it.  It took a month to fully get rid of it and today I did a big photo session so I am covered for this and my next 2 projects!

As much as I don't like doing it, I have to admit I always learn something and see things differently through a camera than in a mirror.  I also know that if I only need to take a few photos to get a decent one then that outfit is a winner.

What I learnt with this outfit is that I much prefer the top tucked into the skirt so I am really glad I lengthened it now.   It also confirmed that I did a horrible job on the neckline, but I can live with it.

As a reminder the patterns are both from BurdaStyle:

Skirt - 01/2016 - 106
Top - 04/2015 - 103

Top untucked....

vs. top tucked in...

I did attempt a twirling photo, but it was a total disaster so this will have to do, it's a lovely swishy skirt!


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

BurdaStyle 01/2016 - 106 Maxi Skirt

Thanks everyone for the comments on my faux wrap dress, I definitely want to make that one up again.

I had this lovely lightweight cotton, again purchased in China, in a sort of mosaic / bohemian print that I really wanted to use to make a floaty maxi skirt.

It took a while to find the right pattern - this maxi skirt is hidden in the January 2016 issue (I associate maxi skirts with summer, but maybe that's just me) and was made up in a rather dull / odd colour blocked jersey.

However the pattern lines were exactly what I wanted, fitted yoke with lots of drape below - actually it reminded me of the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt pattern which would certainly have better directions than Burda if you needed them.  That said this is an easy skirt to put together.  I did take a bit of width out of the bottom of the side panels so that I could fit them onto my fabric and it's still plenty full enough.

Of course in this print, you can't really see the yoke seams at all except close up, but they do give the skirt a nice shape.  You can see one of the side panels here.

 I just about had enough offcuts left over to squeeze out a tank top.  This one is from the April 2015 issue, those side pieces make it great for using up odd shaped offcuts of fabric, you could even use contrasting material.

The neckline was extremely low so I raised that and lengthened it so I could tuck it in easily if needed.  I completely messed up the neckline and mine is more of a scoop than a v, oh well.

Again in this print you can't really appreciate the details, but the little shoulder tuck is a nice touch.