Friday, May 1, 2015

BurdaStyle 08/2011 - 126 Dress (or not...)

Delving into Burda's archives here while I wait for 2015 issues to be more to my taste or for me to catch up with fashion.....

08/2011 - 126

This is one of those dresses that looks like a skirt and top, which after cutting out I decided to make into a skirt and top anyway!  Bit bonkers I know, but as I was putting it together two thoughts kept nagging away at me:
  • I never wear pencil skirts with the top tucked in
  • The skirt fabric I chose had such a great collection of colours that it seemed a shame to commit it to one top forever

I always maintain that you should try new things now and then so I did go so far as tacking it together and trying it on before confirming my gut feeling that my fabrics would be better off as separates.  Luckily this was an easy fix after unpicking the waist seam.  The top just needed a yoke band added onto the hem.  I had already raised the neckline by a massive 13.5cm, even Burda styled this with a cami underneath!

The recommended fabrics for the bodice are softly draping fabrics and the pattern has a side button fastening so it can be used with a woven, although both of Burda's versions and also mine use a knit - so I omitted the fastening.  You can see from the dressform side and back photos that there is quite a pronounced blousing effect.

I liked this top so much I immediately made another one from some leftover knit in my stash, I love clearing out those little pieces!  I cut the yoke band on the bias so I didn't have to worry about pattern matching (and, due to the bias I suppose, I see that I need to take it in a bit at the sideseams).  I did match the pattern down the centre front seam though.  I'm interested in trying it in a woven too.

The skirt is a basic pencil skirt, you could use any one.  I made a couple of changes from the pattern.  My skirt fabric had quite a large repeat and I didn't have enough to be able to match across a centre back seam so I eliminated that and shortened it a bit so that I could walk in it without needing a slit.  The zip is collapsing in on itself in the hanger photo below - it is a normal, symmetrical shape with a body in it!

I did a very lazy finish on the waist, I just added a strip of interfacing, folded it down and topstitched in place.  We'll see how robust it proves to be, hopefully it won't stretch out, I do like how completely unbulky it is.

I did quite a deep hem and planned it so that the machined hem almost disappears into the black part of the fabric.

As I mentioned above the colours in the skirt make this piece a great jumping off point for a mini wardrobe - black, navy, cobalt, cream, light blue and bronze.  I already have black and navy tops, need to work on the rest.....

Friday, April 17, 2015

Style Arc Jessica Dress

I know I should be over twist tops and dresses by now, but I still find them kind of fascinating and since I tend to live in jersey dresses in the summer, decided to give this one a whirl.

This fabric is a little thinner than I would normally wear for dresses, but for some reason I have a lot of it and there's only so many tops you can have from the same fabric.  It is about the same weight as the swatch that Style Arc provides with the pattern though and it feels divine - like silk jersey although I'm sure it isn't.

As usual for Style Arc the instructions are brief, but perfectly adequate for anyone with a bit of sewing experience and there is a diagram for the twisty bit.

I made a straight size 10, but I did need to add some stitching at the centre front neckline to keep it closed although now I see it in photos I think I will take it a bit lower.  With a less slippery fabric I think the twist would hold everything in place and it wouldn't need stitching at all.  I also think I am very short in the neck to chest department, necklines are often too low for me.

This is a bit longer than I usually wear my hemlines, but I'm trying this length out first, I can always shorten it in the future.  It goes together pretty quickly and I'd like to make another in a solid - when that will happen I don't know, I'm a bit of a magpie when I go fabric shopping and can't stay away from prints!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Jalie 3245

I knew it wouldn't be long before I tried out the sleeved version of this pattern as a casual top instead of workout gear.

This is view A in a very soft printed cotton jersey from the stash.  High fashion this is not, but it is an immensely practical and comfy wardrobe item (that makes me sound very old I know!).

Cutting out my sort of uneven striped fabric and focussing on pattern matching I stupidly cut two fronts by mistake and then didn't have enough to match the sleeves, it's not what I originally planned but it's OK.

Again I made a straight size V, but I raised the neckline at the centre front by about an inch tapering to nothing at the shoulders.  I also did a different, and to me, more conventional binding treatment on the neckline than the sporty look per the pattern instructions.  I simply finished one long edge of the binding on my serger and stitched it right sides together to the neckline.  Then I folded it to the inside and stitched it down with a twin needle - very easy to do and it lies nice and flat.

I'll say again this is a great pattern and it's also reminded me that I have a few more Jalie top patterns in my stash which will probably work for both casual and workout wear too.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Style Arc Madeleine top

This was the March freebie and I liked it enough to finally get around to ordering a few Style Arc dresses I have wanted for a while.  One of the drawbacks of not being very inspired by Burda's recent magazines is that it seems I still need to get a pattern fix from somewhere!

The pattern is designed for ponte knits and for this test version I used some leftover knit from my stash that is a slightly lighter weight and with more stretch than a ponte which I think affected how this top turned out.  You really do need something quite non drapy for that front band to work properly.  Still, I like it enough to make another in either a ponte or stretch woven.  I think it would also make a great sheath dress by simply extending the lower bodice pieces.

My favourite part of this pattern is how the front wraps over the shoulders to form the sleeve, although I spent a bit of time thinking I must have thrown the sleeve pattern piece away before I realised how it worked!  Doh!

Construction is much more straightforward than I assumed.  The front band is applied separately to the bodice, covering the waist seam and caught in the side seams.  I needed to tighten the band up a bit to make it stay in place (my fabric choice is a big factor here though) and as suggested in the instructions also tacked it in a few places.  I need to take some width out of the lower centre front too, you can see there is too much fabric there now that I have mucked around with the side seams / band placement.

Next time I will make the front band as a tube rather than just folding in the edges, I can't see that ever staying in place so on this version I went back and stitched the fold down to the waist seam allowance.  Lastly I found I didn't need to use a zip so you could in theory eliminate the centre back seam depending on the stretch of your fabric although it may be useful to add some shaping.

Finally, Clothing Engineer, who makes a lot of Style Arc patterns also just posted this top (also in navy!) and has great tips in case you need to adjust for gaping armholes and neckline.  I didn't find this to be an issue at all for me, funnily enough it's the one place the top fits well!  For reference I used a size 10.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Workout Gear - Jalie 3245 & more Fehr Trade VNA and Duathlons

I'm pretty much wearing all handmade activewear these days and have made quite a few pieces in the last few months.  I still need more so I will just do a roundup every now and then.  I have to say making  workout gear is actually so much easier and cheaper than buying it (at least here in Hong Kong), not always the case when you make your own clothes.  That isn't necessarily my motivation, but it is a nice bonus!

I've made a few pairs of Fehr Trade Duathlon capris, some with minor variations on the pattern.  Also a few more VNA tops, all lengthened by around 2 inches following the instructions in the pattern to a length I prefer on me.  I've started making them as sets, I don't always wear them this way, but it does make packing the gym bag much easier if I do.  Here are a couple of example sets:

Black & Lilac Set
The VNA top is black with a tiny print of lilac stars and I used plain lilac for the neck and arm bindings.

I modified the duathlon capris to 3/4 length (somewhere between capri and legging length) and redrew the contrast strip and lower legs so that the contrast wraps around.  The lilac contrast is a lighter weight than the main legging fabric so before finishing the waistband and hem I overlaid a piece of powermesh on the inside which is held in place by zig zag topstitching on the outside.

Coral & Mesh Set
This was a fun print to use on the VNA top mixed with a plain black lower bodice.  The duathlon leggings, again 3/4 length, have a piece of powermesh inserted on the lower contrast band.  I moved the contrast band seam down so that the transparent mesh part is only below the knee.

Finally, inspired by Two On Two Off's million versions of Jalie 3245, I purchased the PDF pattern and made View C, the sleeveless tank in a very bright coral fabric.  I made size V based on my measurements which fell somewhere between a U & V and am really happy with this first version.

I will be making the sleeved versions for everyday wear too, although I will probably raise the neckline a little.  The instructions are great and it is very easy to put together.  The binding treatment is interesting, it is wrapped to the outside of the top, turned under and zig zagged in place.  Even with my slightly wobbly topstitching it makes for a nice finish.  The only thing I did differently was to shorten the hem allowance from 2cm to 1cm - the hem is quite curved and I found it difficult to turn in that much without getting pleats.  It looks really wobbly in the dressform photos above, but that's just the way it is draping, it came out alright in real life!

I'm wearing it here with a plain pair of navy leggings that I also made from the Duathlon pattern, but I eliminated the side contrast band and just added the width back to the side seams.  I know there are many plain leggings patterns out there that I could have used instead, but I know that these fit me so it was easier to just modify my existing pattern.