Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Victory Patterns - Satsuki Top and Dress

You can tell I am starting to think about summer with all these loose, drapy patterns.  I've liked this one for ages and finally got around to downloading the pdf version.  While I find it a complete drag to print and tape pdf patterns it is fantastic to buy it and receive it moments rather than weeks later.

Satsuki (autocorrect keeps changing to satsuma, one is bound to sneak in this post) can be made as a top or dress and there are is also an unbelted version with a ruffle.  The shoulder cut outs are optional too so there are a few different variations you can make with this pattern.

I started with the belted top with no shoulder cutouts using a blue printed cotton and although it has a kind of stripe effect I didn't have enough fabric to match so I just ignored it, I figured it wouldn't matter too much in this style.  I raised the neckline a bit, but probably didn't need to, I think it would look better lower.  I really liked the print when I bought it (obviously!), but made up in this style it is in danger of veering into sort of tacky loud shirt territory.  Maybe with shorts and in a resort setting I will feel a bit more enthusiastic about it.

Against all commonly accepted rules, I find the best fabric for me to wear in our hot, humid summers is jersey which is why I boringly make lots of repeats in easy knit dresses, this is what I live in for half the year.  If the fabric has a print that isn't going to show up any sweat marks (sorry for TMI!) then even better.  So I was keen to try the dress version out in a printed ITY jersey.

I love how this dress feels to wear, but again it does feel a bit like a kaftan / pool cover up and I think it will take a bit of getting used to wearing in the city.  The pattern is really simple to sew and there are some great versions out there, I just don't love it yet as much as I wanted or expected to.

Friday, May 6, 2016

BurdaStyle 5/2016 - 115 ; On Me

Our floor renovation is finished thank goodness, it was a far messier job than I had anticipated, the flat was an absolute bombsite, the cats were traumatised and both my husband & I got sick with allergies from the mountains of sawdust.  I love the finished look, but would not do it again in a hurry!

During, before & after.

So, as promised I've taken some photos of both the dress and top from my last post.  For some reason my camera did not like the colour of my dress at all, it is a teal green and I've had to lighten the photos quite a lot so you can see anything.

The only change I made to both pieces was to topstitch the neckline seam allowance down, it's definitely helped it sit better, but I think a higher neckline and a smaller neckband might work better.   I'm really glad I raised the neckline, it would be falling off my shoulders otherwise so watch out for this if you decide to make it.

The dress unbelted, I like it more than I thought I would.  Still need that long necklace though.

Belted.  I'm more comfortable wearing it like this, it has a very grecian draped dress look to it.

 I really doubt the cape effect back will stay on the shoulders long in real life wear.

Here is the top - you can see the neckband collapsing a bit more here which is why I think either thicker material or a narrower band would work better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

BurdaStyle 5/2016 - 115 Top and Dress

Thank you for the comments on my last dress, it's been a while since I got excited enough to make a BurdaStyle pattern straight away, but the last few months issues have been really good I think.

This pattern from the May magazine might not be everyones cup of tea, but it reminds me of the 5/2010 - 105 drapy dress I have made numerous times.  I wear those a lot in our hot, humid summers so was keen to try a variation on the theme.

5/2016 - 115 A & B

I started with my usual Burda size 38, grading out to a 40 below the waist, but I ended up taking the  whole side seam in by at least a size, otherwise the armhole was way too low. and there is plenty of ease.  I also raised the front neckline (and shortened the neckband) as it looked a bit wide and low to stay in place on me.

This is a very easy top and dress to make and the sleeve detail adds a bit of interest.  The pattern pieces look like a giant t shirt, but the instructions are clear and as long as you remember that what looks like a shoulder seam is actually the armhole it's plain sailing.

The top is made from a panel print jersey that I'd originally intended to be used for a dress, but the dimensions of the panel were too tricky to make that work so I'm glad to put it to use as a drapy top instead.  I think this will work great with jeans and wedges for a casual look or dressed up with a pencil skirt and heels.

I really liked the look of the dress in the magazine and decided to make it up in a similar teal coloured jersey, despite reservations that the sack shape wouldn't really work on me - I figured I could always cut it down to a top.  I think I will keep it as a dress, I definitely prefer it with a belt, but I will get a long necklace and try that out too.

 You can see the "cape sleeve" detail better in this solid colour.

I'm currently trapped at home all week while contractors replace our floor throughout the apartment so these are only dress form pics for now, taken at night after they had left so they are a bit dark.  Everything is in a complete mess and covered in dust from having to make all our doors shorter and cutting planks of wood,  my cats are traumatised and I'm not enjoying it much either, but I know it will look good once it's over and I will take some modelling shots then.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

BurdaStyle Magazine 03/2016 - 121 Dress

I liked a lot of things in this issue, but this dress particularly jumped out at me as being pretty much my idea of the perfect sheath dress - cap sleeves, a bit of asymmetry and some interest with the front pleats.

03/2016 - 121 Dress Pattern

I really like the sleeveless version 120 with the ruffle too - another fabric, another day.

The pattern is designed for stretch fabrics only, I used a double knit which is much heavier than their bridal section stretch crepes, but still works.  In fact it made it a lot easier because I didn't need to bother with lining or a zip.  I also didn't finish the inside edges, they will not fray and serving them just added extra bulk that wasn't needed.

The original dress is fully lined, with an additional layer of interlining on the front.  I think if you made this a stretch crepe or something similarly lightweight this would probably be necessary to keep the front pleats in place and stop them drooping.  In a double knit, provided the dress is fitted enough, those pleats should (hopefully!) stay where they are meant to.

With my shortcuts this is a pretty straightforward dress to sew.  Burda's instructions seem much more detailed than usual and most of them appear to be related to the lining so that you get a clean finish at the edges.  I had the dress looking 90% finished within a couple of evenings and then ground to a halt and procrastinated for ages on how to finish my edges and hems because I wanted that same clean look, but successfully sewing double knit by hand so that it is completely invisible and stretchy proved too much for my skills and patience levels!

After a bit of trial and error I used a twin needle on the hem which I mitred at the slit edges, topstitched around the back slit (which is open in my case rather than a vent), simply turned and machined the part of the underarm seam not attached to the sleeve and applied a facing strip to the neckline which I under stitched and topstitched in place.   Now I have got over my need for a clean finish I am completely happy with the choices I made, definitely more RTW than couture, but it's very secure and absolutely nobody is going to notice, even me in a short while.

I really like the finished dress, it looks red in these photos, but the fabric is actually a burnt orange / cinnamon colour purchased last year at Pitt St Trading in Sydney.  I'm glad I waited to use it.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

BurdaStyle 12/2015 - 110A Dress

It feels like ages since I made a dress from BurdaStyle, there was a time when I made almost nothing else.  I really liked the lines on this dress, although I'm not sure how often I will have the occasion to wear it, long sleeve season is pretty short here and this dress is quite formal.

I cut a 38 grading out to a 40 below the waist and made a few adjustments during construction:

  • This was the tall pattern, designed for heights of 5'9 rather than 5'6.  I shortened the dress by around 4 inches so that it was knee length on me.  I'm sure the pattern is drafted with extra length in the torso too, but I didn't find it necessary to alter anywhere other than the hem.
  • I found the sleeves to be really narrow so I had to recut them in a bigger size which of course gave me all kinds of problems setting in the sleeve.  There is a dart at the top of the sleeve which is supposed to be sewn at the same time as the shoulder seam, but I found it much easier to get the sleeve in by stitching the dart first and then setting it in the standard way.  It doesn't look as smooth done this way, but I'm treating it as a design feature!
  • I ditched the neck facing and instead used a folded bias strip to finish the neckline.  I topstitched the neckline to secure the bias strip and narrow hemmed the skirt and sleeves.  I find some fabrics are impossible to hem invisibly and I'd rather have neat machine stitching showing than my imperfect (not) invisible hand stitching.

The pleats in the skirt are held in place by a piece of lining that acts as a stay, it's a really nice feature.

The fabric I used is a navy drapy dress fabric, probably a poly crepe.  It has a nice weight and drape, but is not easy to press well.  The magazine sample uses a jersey for the short version and a stretch crepe for the maxi version although the fabric recommendations are "dress fabrics with or without elastane".  Some stretch would have probably avoided my tight sleeve issue, but otherwise it's true that stretch is optional.

Taking photos of navy clothing is as tricky as black, but hopefully you get the idea.  It's a cute dress, I just need to find somewhere to wear it!