Monday, 24 October 2016

BurdaStyle 10/2016 - 102 Knit Dress

Last weekend I popped to the Hong Kong garment district area of Sham Shui Po solely to buy some white serger thread.  Needless to say a few pieces of fabric came home with me too, including this one which is very me - print, purple and jersey!

So as soon as I had finished the white project (coming up next) I moved straight onto this fabric and chose this jersey dress from the October issue of Burda (also very me).

10/2016 - 102

I made a couple of adjustments upfront, the neckline looked very wide so I narrowed it a bit and I also left off the sleeves on this version as it still isn't cool enough for long sleeves yet and I can always wear a light jacket over this dress when we do start getting some transitional weather.  I also switched the neck binding for a simple faced finish.

I started making this on Saturday so that I could wear it to a lunch with friends on the next day, quite a tight deadline, but it's a jersey dress - how hard could it be?

Things started well, the top is pretty straightforward and goes together quickly.  However when I got to attaching the skirt to the bodice I got completely confused.  I am convinced there is a step missing as there is nothing describing how or when to attach the front of the bodice to the skirt and all the references to facings, casings and attachment lines do not help.  I ended up with a raw edge on the bodice and a casing that I could not thread the elastic all the way through.  Time was getting on by now so out came the seam ripper and a radical solution.......

Yes, I had to admit defeat and decided to just make a separate top (which is pattern 101 in this issue) and skirt.  The top just tucks into the elasticated waist skirt, except at the knot area and then you just blouse the top a bit so that it looks exactly like the dress is supposed to and the 3cm wide elastic in the skirt holds everything in place.  No one need ever know!

Although it does pain me somewhat to be beaten by Burda's instructions, having separates is quite practical and each piece will definitely also be worn on its own.  I do want to try the long sleeved version later in the season - I'm thinking you need to first attach the skirt to the bodice with a normal seam allowance, except in the knot area and then fold and stitch the skirt somehow to create a casing.  If anyone manages to make sense of the instructions please do let me know what I missed!

I made it to the lunch in my fake dress and despite the frustrations of not being able to understand something that surely should be easy, I really like my new dress/ top/ skirt.  It / they will get a lot of wear and I am even planning on making this again although whether as one or two pieces I don't yet know!

It's pretty impossible to see the knot detail with this print so below are a few more detail photos.

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!