Wednesday, 14 February 2018

BurdaStyle 01/2018 - 118 Dress

Thank you for the comments on my wrap coat, I got very frustrated with trying to find a pattern to work with the fabric, but a bit of space from the process always helps.  It will be the perfect thing to wear this weekend for Chinese New Year I think.

Back to the Burda 2018 Challenge, those of you who follow my sewing instagram account (@allisoncsewing) will already have seen a preview of this dress.  This was the pattern that really jumped out at me from the January issue although I will not be wearing mine over a sweater like they did in the magazine.  I'm always a bit suspicious when they do things like that - did it not fit right; is there a big gaping hole at the knot part?

The pattern is also available as a pdf at the link below.  There are also a few more photos here (without the sweater!) which is helpful.

BurdaStyle 01/2018 - 118

It's clearer from the photo that the waistline sits just below the natural waist, something I didn't notice until I took photos of the finished dress on my dressform.  

Recommended fabrics for the dress are "dress fabrics" which is not particularly helpful!  The Burda sample used a stretch viscose crepe and it certainly looked like a dress where some stretch would be a good thing.  I used a ponte fabric in a very dark purple colour that honestly looks almost black and is just as impossible to photograph.  The reverse side is actually black so I was originally planning on using the fabric for something colour blocked, but wanted to get on and make this dress instead so here we are.

The pattern is rated 3 dots which means "intermediate, for advanced learners".  The instructions are a bit scarily long and the front bodice pieces are unusual looking, but it goes together quite easily - the little pattern piece diagrams are marked with seam numbers which is really helpful to refer to as you go through the instructions.

I did make a couple of minor changes - since I made this out of ponte I was able to leave the zipper off and I also did not line the dress which cuts the instructions in half!  A few people have commented that there could/should be pockets in those front skirt seams and I think that would be quite easy to do although personally I don't need any extra bulk around the tummy in a form fitting skirt.

The only part of construction that gave me difficulty was stitching the pleats in place on the inside, it wasn't really obvious to me what to sew to what in a way that was both invisible and secure.  I just experimented with pins until I got something I was happy with, but it's not quite right and does pull a little bit now I've stitched it securely (probably too securely!).

The other bit of important information I missed is tucked away under the section marked Paper Pattern Pieces where it advises that the pleat arrows on piece 21 are marked for size 36 and should be lengthened for other sizes.  I made a 38 in the bodice grading out to a 40 at the hip so it isn't much of a difference, but I think that those pleats should have been a bit longer - no one is going to know though and I am definitely not opening up that bodice again to fix it!

Anyway, in conclusion I love this dress as much as I hoped I would from when I first saw the line drawing, it was interesting to put together and hopefully I will get plenty of wear out of it before it gets too hot.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

BurdaStyle 10/2017 - 102 Wrap Coat

This was not my original plan for this fabric, but I massively underestimated the amount of yardage I needed to match the border pattern.  I bought it a couple of years ago in China, it's a symmetrical double border wool fabric.

I think I traced about 4 coat patterns only to find they would not work with my fabric which I was determined to use before missing another winter season.  I decided to go really simple and make this wrap coat from the October 2017 issue of Burda - even then I had to make some modifications.

I moved the pockets to the side seam so that I wouldn't have to match the pattern, eliminated the centre back seam, lined it to the edge which is just interfaced without a separate facing piece and had to piece the belt.  I really want to try and find a RTW belt in red or find some matching wool fabric to make one which I think will look much better.

Side seam pocket
Red silk satin lining

It is a very easy coat to make, I spent far longer on all the tracing and procrastinating than I did on the final sewing.

Wrap coats are not the most practical of garments to be honest and I am the first to admit that if you are not careful it is really easy to end up with a bathrobe!  I made the mistake of trying this on during construction while I was wearing old jeans and slippers and it totally looked like a bathrobe.  I almost gave up on it, but although it is not going to be my favourite coat, I'm glad it's done.  It is a coat that demands to be worn with heels though.

Friday, 12 January 2018

BurdaStyle 01/2018 - 102 Knit Top

I've decided to hop on this years BurdaStyle challenge bandwagon.  I really want to get better use out of my Burda magazines this year instead of just talking about it.  I still have a ton of things I still want to make from 2017, but let's see if I can manage at least one thing from each issue this year.

I cannot resist twisted, drapy details so choosing this top was a no brainer!

01/2018 - 102

I also like the dress, 101 (not on the BurdaStyle website yet, the image below is from the Russian site).  Interestingly it has a separate upper bodice pattern piece because the neckline is quite a different shape.  Apart from that the pieces are identical so you can swap them around depending on your preference.  Personally I prefer the wider neckline and narrower shoulders of the top rather than the more close fitting jewel neckline of the dress so I'm glad I made the top first or I may not have realised from the line drawing.  The dress also has a centre back zip which might be needed if you make the narrower neckline, but definitely doesn't need to be long if you don't mind putting things on over your head!

Being a print fanatic, my stash of plain jerseys is very limited, I used this dark brown colour, I'm not sure yet what to wear it with other than jeans, but that is a good start I guess.  I think the pleating and twist detail shows up better in solid fabric, but I might try the dress in a print anyway.  (I also really want to use more of my stash fabric this year!).

I used my usual size 38, grading out below the waist (it's a little big on my dressform, well I should say I have grown larger than my dressform - another resolution for the list).  You do need to have the waist fitting closely to keep the twist in place.  The back is plain, but the centre back seam gives it a bit of shape.

I found the instructions pretty good, of course the only potentially tricky bit is the twist pieces so I took some photos during construction.  However I think the top (or dress) actually looks quite good even without the twist overlay if you want to keep things really simple.  I just roughly pinned the front onto my dressform so you get the idea.  

Twist construction tips 

Keep the pattern piece in front of you when you make the pleats in each draped piece, each end is different.  The notches on the top edge mark the centre and on either side of that is the slit marking.  The bottom edge self facing has been turned to the wrong side and basted in place along with the pleats.

Fold one piece in half right sides together at the centre notch and stitch from the slit marking to the pleated edge, this will leave a small hole in the middle.

 Turn right side out and open the piece flat, the seam you just stitched is across the centre, the top and bottom edges are faced and you have a small hole between the slit markings (on the left in the photo below).
 Thread the other draped piece through that hole.

Fold it so that you can stitch this draped piece in the same way as before - from the pleated edge to the slit marking, right sides together.

It should look like this from the front when finished, you may need to manipulate the twist a bit to get it sitting neatly.  The seams you sewed are across the centre now and the faced edges are top and bottom.

And from the back - kind of a mess!  For non fraying fabrics, which many knits are you don't really need to finish the facing edges, they all end up hidden on the inside.

As I mentioned it is really important that the twist is taut across the front of the top or it will droop below the waist seam.  I need to properly road test it to see if it may also need a couple of invisible stitches to hold it in place at the centre when it's being worn.

I had to edit the exposure in these photos so you can see the details.  The pants are Jalie Eleanor in stretch denim.

Friday, 5 January 2018

McCall's 6069 Jersey maxi dress

I feel bad for posting a summery maxi dress with bomb cyclones and storm Eleanor wreaking havoc elsewhere, but the reality is this dress won't see the light of day until at least May by which time I will have forgotten all about it.  Stay safe and warm out there.

I spent the holidays in Phuket, Thailand to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday with his large family who came out from the UK.  Of course I wanted to make something new to wear, but also something easy and not too dressy.  I used McCall's 6069, an easy knit pattern I've made several times before.  The pattern envelope calls this a 1 hour dress, but I don't think I'd ever be able to make anything that quickly.  Maybe 3 in total?

I made the sleeveless cowl version, but changed the skirt to maxi length and left a slit in one side seam.  The ITY jersey fabric is from China and has all my favourite colours in it so I'm glad to have used it for this special occasion.

I added a strap across the back (as shown for view C, the square front neck version) otherwise there is a tendency for it to fall off the shoulder with the deep cowl in the back.


Here are a couple of pictures of me before the party and I have only just noticed now that the back strap needs to be a bit shorter!  Oh well!

Unfortunately this pattern has been out of print now for a while, but if you like easy knit dresses I'd recommend it if you can find it somewhere, I've got good use out of it over the years and am sure I'll use it again.  I'm wondering now why I haven't yet made the long sleeve version....

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Style Arc Halle Stretch Pencil Skirt

Firstly thank you for commenting on the knit waistcoat on my previous post - it turns out that the pattern is designed for "wools or blends, boucle" which says woven to me and may explain why I had so many issues making it in a very stretchy knit!  Onwards, and paying better attention to suggested fabrics....

I picked up this pattern in the recent Thanksgiving sale, to be honest it probably would be quite easy to draft it from a knit pencil skirt pattern, but I do really like Style Arc's designs and I am 100% sure they are better at drafting patterns than I am!

Halle pdf pattern / paper pattern

I made this 3 times in a week so it turned out to be quite good value and clearly a fast and easy pattern.  It's designed for ponte & stable knit fabrics.  The crossover is quite generous so even when you sit down there is still decent leg coverage.

There's not a lot to say about the construction, the front skirt pieces are shaped so that the mitred corners are really easy to do, you just need to pay attention to the seam allowances which are marked on the pattern.  I added a bit extra at the side seams so I could fit on the way and I figured I might need more than the 3/8ths/8mm allowance to play with - I did this on each version as I find all fabrics behave a bit differently.

Here are my 3 skirts :

Version 1 Navy/Black
This is from a heavy black ponte with a navy, slightly sparkly, almost snakeskin print on it.  Really hard to photograph, but I love this fabric.

Version 2 Colourblocked
A contrast blocked version from remnants which is always very satisfying.  The left front and whole back are plain black.

Version 3 Panel Print
I thought the print would look odd with the asymmetric front so I just used the plain back pattern piece for both front and back.  I found it to be a bit clingy from static so I lined it with a stretch mesh lining before attaching the waistband elastic.

This simple skirt is so quick and easy to make that I can see it becoming a bit of a staple in my wardrobe and the plain version will probably be my TNT stretch skirt pattern now.  My versions are all for cool weather and quite formal, I'd definitely like to try it in a more casual look like the illustration too.