Friday, 14 October 2016

BurdaStyle 07/2005 - 128 Cold Shoulder Top

No that's not a typo this really is a pattern from 2005.  Cold shoulder tops are back so I dug out this old pattern to use up a remnant of black knit.  I'm surprised there haven't been more tops like this in Burda recently, but it does make me feel better about hoarding these aging pattern magazines.  I guess not many people still have this issue so I'll keep this brief!

Firstly for those of you that hate tracing Burda patterns this photo from the good old days where there were double the number of pattern sheets may make you envious....


Unsurprisingly I can't find the line drawing anywhere online, but Style Arc have a very similar pattern (the top of the sleeve is shaped differently) with an option for short or long sleeves.

I finished the neckline with a folded strip of fabric rather than just turning and stitching per the instructions - it's quite a curved neckline, I just couldn't see that working well.  However I did just turn and finish the shoulder edges with a twin needle, it's a bit rough and ready if I'm honest, but for a trendy item made from scraps it will do just fine!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Burda Style 04/2011 - 124 Flared Skirt

I can't really believe it's October and everyone is talking about fall and making coats.  It's still very warm here so forgive me if I'm still catching up with summery posts, no doubt I'll get to coats by about next May!

I found this bold eyelet fabric (I also got some in white) and knew that wanted to make a flared skirt with it for some reason.  Shown below with black cotton underlining.

Finding a pattern was surprisingly difficult.  I wanted as few seams as possible, but didn't have enough for a part circle skirt.  Eventually I used this Burda Style pattern from 04/2011 and combined the pattern pieces to eliminate the panel seams and moved the zip to the side seam (not really sure why it's not there in the first place, this skirt does have side seams).  It was a tall pattern (for 5'9 vs 5'6), but I ignored that and just left off the hem allowance.

The drape would probably be better with the original panel seams in place since those side panels are supposed to be cut with the grain running down the centre.  I may well try this pattern again, but I really wasn't sure how this fabric would look with very visible seams.  I probably overthought this and no one would even notice them, but too late now!

I underlined with lightweight black cotton, I did consider separate lining, but decided that the seams would not look good or be very strong as the eyelet is so open.

The combination of the (now) a-line front and back and the slightly stiff fabric did make me worry a bit - like I would look like I was wearing a green triangle of garden netting and perhaps it does, but I really like the finished skirt and the midi length it ended up as, not a length I often wear.

Really ought to do a final press before taking blog photos!

It's been a bit quiet round here as I have just returned from an amazing vacation in Italy, visiting the Amalfi coast, Venice and Rome.  I took this skirt with me and wore it a few times so you get a photo that is not in my hallway, complete with packing wrinkles, oops!

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.