Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Burda Style Magazine 11/2012 - 138 Vintage Reproduction Dress

This was the popular vintage reproduction dress from the November 2012 issue of Burda magazine.

I don't usually read the instructions before delving into a project so it was good to read Melissa's review of this pattern which highlighted this little gem that Burda put right at the end.

"Burda’s instructions have you stitch these darts closed for the first 2cm, then baste closed for the rest of the length, then press. Then if you skip to the very last step in the instructions, they say to unpick all the basting stitches, but warn that if you ever want to launder it, you need to baste them all closed again (this time without any of the thread-traced guidelines!). W-t-f? Who in the history of NEVER would ever do that?"

Well quite!  Maybe when this pattern was originally produced people still did things like that.  Melissa handled this by carefully marking all the curved darts and leaving them sewn closed, you can read all about her fabulous dress here - Fehr Trade.  I have gone for the completely opposite and far lazier approach to not even sew them up in the first place - I just marked the ends with snips and folded the pleats in the fabric.

Once you've dispensed with that step this is a fairly quick and easy dress to sew up.  You can't really see in these photos but where the centre front bodice meets the skirt is more of a curve on my version rather than a point like the line drawing.  This was not planned I just merrily stitched it all together before realising it looked different!  My collar also flips out a bit, but at least it is doing it symmetrically, I should have used a stiffer interfacing.

Honestly I think this dress would be more successful on someone with a smaller bust than me as the pleats don't really stay where they are meant to (serves me right for not going with Melissa's stitched up approach!), but I am pretty happy with it and enjoying wearing this midi length.

I've used an aubergine (if I'm honest it's just purple by another name!) coloured doubleknit which has enough stretch to eliminate the zip although the recommended fabric for this pattern is jersey, I guess test trying it on and decide if you need a zip.  I also eliminated the back split, which I usually do if I can walk in it OK.

Savvysista commented recently whether my lack of lining in all these doubleknit dresses meant that they rode up and I really had to think about it because it's not something I had ever thought about or noticed.  Then I realised that I usually wear a half slip under knit dresses whatever the weather just to help smooth out lumps and bumps.

So much for my hopes of doing more interesting photoshoots!  I realise I must talk about the weather a lot (I'm English, it's in my genes) as Haramiya asked how I could stand the weather in the summer here.  Well I've lived here almost 13 years now with no plans to leave.  It's true that the summers can be pretty oppressive with high temperatures, humidity, monsoon rains and the odd typhoon, but I think you do adapt to the weather - physically, psychologically and practically - it's probably the same whatever climate you deal with.  If I travel to Europe now I generally find it freezing and too dry and I definitely find it easier to deal with Hong Kong summers than I would with US and UK winters.  That said if you come to visit avoid June - August and do drop me a line!

I'm currently having fun with my next project hammering studs into boucle, stay tuned.  Studs could very well replace doubleknit as my latest obsession.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Another Patrones 272/48 Stretch Pencil Skirt

I have reclaimed my sewing room after having my sister visit from the UK for Chinese New Year.  It was great to spend a decent amount of time with her and although I miss her now she is gone it is nice to be able to sew again.

The next few projects were all finished before she arrived, but I'm still working on the photography for some of them.  We had unseasonably gorgeous weather here in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year and I should have used that opportunity to take photographs, but I was tied up with other things and of course now it is dark and rainy.

This one is a pretty boring make, and is in fact a complete repeat of this skirt here, even down to the store where I bought the fabric.  One yard, HK$20 and about an hour of sewing and I have a new skirt.  Nothing new to add on the construction I just wanted to show that even projects that are so easy they seem like cheating are worth doing.

I know purple is not everyone's cup of tea but I am going through a bit of a purple phase right now, spurred on by my new not-balenciaga bag.  It will pass eventually!

Lastly to those who asked, the pattern for the navy doubleknit dress from my last post was from the monthly Burda Style magazine, the August 2009 issue.  You could try searching ebay and similar sites for it.  Burda make lots of their patterns available online here, but they don't seem to go back as far as this one unfortunately.