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!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Jalie 3461 Eleonore Pull-on Jeans

This Jalie pull on jeans pattern has proved really popular and I was curious to try it having only ever made Jalie tops before.  I used a medium weight stretch cotton sateen that I really thought was dark olive in the store when I bought it, but is clearly chocolate brown.

I used the size that corresponded to my hip measurement and the fit was pretty good except for some gaping at the centre back, before attaching the waistband.  I just took a wedge out of the back yoke centre seam.  I also took the waistband in at the side seams.  I made these adjustments completely independently of each other by fitting as I went so I'm not quite sure how I still managed to get the waistband to line up with the body of the pants - the wonders of stretch fabric I suppose!

The instructions, as always for Jalie are excellent and these jeans are very easy to put together.  The leg seams are sewn after the crotch seam which makes it easy to tweak the fit of the legs.  The only part that needs a bit of care is attaching the very curved front yokes to the front pieces to give the false front pocket effect.  I had to unpick one of mine as I messed it up the first time.  You could also just extend the front pieces when cutting and eliminate the front yokes altogether, but if you follow the directions to clip the curve and go slow you should be fine.

I really liked the waistband treatment on these, I haven't come across it before.  The elastic is zig zagged onto the inside of the waistband without stretching it and then the waistband is assembled and attached to the pants.  Obviously this method only works with stretchy fabrics.  I've seen a few people comment that they did stretch the elastic at the back and I might try that next time given the alteration I had to make to the fit at the waist.

This is the inside back waistband, the zig zag stitching securing the elastic in place is only visible on the inside.

Overall I really like how these turned out, they are quite quick and easy to make, very comfortable and I can definitely see more of these in my wardrobe including the cropped ones for summer.  Actually I must confess I cut a pair in navy soon after finishing these, but when I went to sew them I have somehow lost the back legs!  I really need to have a good clearout of my sewing room, they've got to be in there somewhere!

Friday, February 12, 2016

McCall's 7247 Top

This was another piece to get me through the big Asian freeze - actually it got to almost zero C in Hong Kong which is the coldest it has been for 60 years so a few new sweaters were fully justified!

This is McCall's 7247, I made view B, but with the longer back of view C/D.  Most of the reviews I've seen have been for the curved front version shown on the model and a lot of people seem to have found that it comes up much shorter than it appears on the model and that the crossover can open up. Views A/B  don't have that problem as it is not a crossover, but an extra overlay on the front.

This overlay feature was perfect for the cream coloured sweater knit I used since there is no chance of it being remotely see through on the front.

This is a quick and easy top to make, the only change I made from the instructions was to sew the sleeves in flat.  I serged the seams and used a twin needle on the hems, where I had some problems with tunnelling, but was too lazy to unpick them - at least they all look the same, I'm calling it a feature!

I made a straight size 12 with zero adjustments, have to say my last few McCall's projects haven't had the excessive ease problem that I used to have with them.  This size 12 fits my size 12 dressform really well too (definitely no vanity sizing on chinese dressforms!).

Wearing this in real life and actually moving around, that overlay does drape a bit more and can swing towards the centre front and pull on the neckline a bit.  I don't mind this, I think it emphasises the overlay more, but something to consider.  Of course I have totally failed to capture this in my photos where I wasn't moving around very much!

I was slightly put off making view A/B from the comments in some of the reviews, but I might try and modify the pattern so that the bottom layer extends right into the side seam so there is no danger of belly exposure!  Anyway, this is a good basic with a few interesting pattern variations and my cream version goes perfectly with my new brown Jalie Eleanor pants (coming next!) and will probably see a lot more outings before spring arrives.