Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Lace Dress : BurdaStyle 02/2009 - 124

I recently travelled to Ireland for a wedding (and decided to have a holiday there while I was at it which was wonderful).  I hadn't planned on making anything new, but as the date got nearer and nearer I remembered that sewing for a special occasion is really one of my favourite types of sewing projects.

I decided to be a bit sensible and choose a simple style that I've made before, but in a special fabric.  I used this old BurdaStyle sheath dress pattern, it's from 02/2009, but I can't find it available online.

I found some guipure lace just over the border in Shenzhen, China in one of my favourite colours and immediately knew it was the one, I also got some matching silk crepe lining.

While this is normally a very straightforward dress to put together, making it in lace is quite time consuming.  I underlined each piece with the silk lining - I always prefer to baste them together by hand on a large flat surface than stitch on the machine.  I also cut the fabric with extra wide seam allowances so I could have plenty of room to fit as I sewed,  which added in extra time for basting, trying on, taking off, tweaking and so on for what seemed like forever.

When I was happy with the fit the seam allowances were trimmed, pressed and then slipstitched by hand to the underlining so they would stay nice and flat.  I didn't add a separate lining so I also wanted the sides to look good and feel smooth.  I used interfaced pieces of the silk crepe for the neck facings.  The hems were also finished by hand.  It was surprising how heavy the dress was when finished, it has a luxurious feel to it and I was really happy with it, but pleased to get it finished after so much handstitching and the deadline fast approaching.

This is the back partway through fitting, the dress form really helped me get pretty close actually.

And the finished dress which looks so simple from the outside!

The wedding itself was fabulous (obviously - you know the Irish are going to put on a good party) and the sun even made an appearance during the outdoor ceremony.    

The whole trip was great, although I'm really stuck with my sewing now that I'm back.  I think I have that trans-seasonal problem that seems to strike - it still feels far too hot to think about anything other than summer clothes, but I am also kind of excited to get stuck in to the recent brilliant issues of Burda.  I can't seem to get my brain to focus on anything, I think a fabric shopping expedition may help don't you?!


Monday, 7 August 2017

BurdaStyle 12/2011 - 108 Skirt

This is a really simple skirt from BurdaStyle, there's not a whole lot to say about it really, but it is ideal for using the vibrant prints I can't seem to help buying.  I just wanted a basic a-line midi skirt and went through my stash of Burda magazines until I found this one.

12/2011 - 108 PDF Download

It is however designed to be cut on the bias and I've come to realise that I really don't like bias cut things on me; I find they cling and emphasise bits I'd rather disguise.   I cut the pattern a bit wider at the hips since bias has some stretch which is lost when you change to straight grain.  I totally forgot to consider the hem circumference and while it is OK I do need to be careful if I take big steps.

I made this twice - the first in a silky peacock print, I'm not sure what the fabric is to be honest, but it's a bit sheer so I wear a slip under this one.

The instructions have you interface the top of the skirt pieces and then finish with lace edging.  I simply finished the waist with a strip of interfaced fabric - basically a narrow facing - and topstitched in place.   The original pattern has hem facings also cut on the bias, but since I changed the grainline my hem is just serged and turned up.

The second version is made from a linen/cotton blend with brightly coloured parrots printed on a black and white leafy background.  I loved working with this fabric, so easy to handle and it doesn't crease as much as pure linen.  

I changed this version a bit by adding a waistband, a centre back seam (I much prefer a centre back zip than a side one to fine tune the fit) and added a small split in the centre back to make it easier to walk in.  I didn't have any invisible zippers on hand so I did a centred zipper instead.  I think I last did one of these about 20 years ago, but it turned out ok!

I took both skirts on a short vacation to Singapore which is where the photos below were taken.    They coped with the heat and humidity brilliantly which is more than I can say for my hair!