Thursday, 7 June 2018

Vogue 9293 Dresses

This pattern is from the Vogue Easy Options range and has a number of different skirt and sleeve options to create different looks.  I used the pattern to make not one, but two cocktail dresses for two events I went to recently!

The first was a formal black tie dinner and I didn't want to wear the full length ballgown I made last year (see post here). I did however have a lot of that same brocade fabric left.  Originally I was thinking of making a full skirted ballgown, plus there was a separate piece on the bolt they gave me - I probably still have enough for a jacket or pencil skirt, but I'm kind of done with this fabric for now!

Brocade is not one of the recommended fabrics (seersucker, linen, challis, broadcloth) for this dress, but I thought it would work and chose view A, the short sleeved, full skirted version.

I left off the pockets and also lowered the neckline a bit.  I just did this by folding the edge over on my dressform and ended up creating a small v at the back neckline too, just to get it to sit nicely.  The original neckline is finished with bias tape, but I decided to create a facing piece to match my new neckline which I then interfaced to give it a bit more structure in my brocade fabric.

I sewed the side seams last as is my preference so I can fine tune the fit in the bodice.  The hems were all finished invisibly by hand which was faster than I expected as the texture of the brocade hides everything.

Despite the small risk taken with completely ignoring the fabric recommendations, I'm really happy with my cocktail dress.  It was comfortable to wear and great for dancing - sorry no photographic evidence!

Just a week later I had another, smaller dinner to go to which was Oscars themed and I decided it was time for a new LBD cocktail dress in my wardrobe.  We had visitors that week too so with limited time I just pulled out this pattern again and made View D, the short sleeved, pencil skirted version.

I used a black silk dupion which I underlined with black silk organza and basically made in the exact same way as the first version.  I always use this underlining method when sewing with dupion, it gives it a bit more body and means that no stitching is visible on the outside as all the hems can be hand stitched to the underlining.

Surely now I have a dress for just about any formal occasion!?  I love both of these dresses and I think this is a great pattern, although you may want to check if the neckline is also too high for you.

Maybe one of these days I will get around to making a version in one of the recommended fabrics!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

BurdaStyle 04/2018 - 108 Blouse

I like a lot of things in the April issue of BurdaStyle, but I always like to start things off with something easy.  This is #108, the ruffle sleeved blouse.  The magazine refers to view A and B, but the only difference is the fabric, which is kind of cheating a bit if you ask me!

No one can ever say I am an early adopter of trends, but it seems that eventually they grow on me, or perhaps just become unavoidable and wear me down!  Now it is the turn of ruffles although I'm really only dipping my toes as I left off the ruffles at the shoulder and the sleeve ones are quite subtle.  The instructions say to leave the edges of the ruffles raw, but I'm not quite ready to go that far yet so mine are finished with a narrow hem.

As you can see from the line drawing it is very boxy - in fact it is practically a square and when I went to sew the side seams I ended up sewing the front and back hems together instead - doh!! 

I thought the neckline bias facing would be difficult at the V, but the instructions have a really good  method and you just fold the ends at that point and clip after sewing. 

I cut the neckline at the smallest size and it still has a tendency to slip off the shoulder a bit so I will probably go back and add some shoulder stays to stop that so I'm not fussing with it when I wear it.

It is pretty quick and easy to make and I used a remnant of this soft cotton print so I think it will be great for the summer.  

I didn't intend for it to be worn with the skirt I made recently from the same fabric, but it works so I might use these pieces as a jumping off point for a mini summer wardrobe.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

BurdaStyle 01/2018 - 121 Skirt

I completely overlooked this skirt (121) in the January 2018 issue of BurdaStyle, the magazine photo is completely uninspiring, although now that I have made it I can see that it would make a nice winter skirt - oh well, next year!

It was only when browsing through my instagram feed that I came across a gorgeous skirt by Lone Star Couture - you can see it on her blog here -  I didn't recognise the skirt pattern at all and had to go and dig out my magazine.

What I love about this pattern is that it has a full front, with the pleats stitched down to control the fullness at the waist and a plain aline back.  Now I know this isn't really groundbreaking, but I haven't come across it before.  Full skirts can be a bit...too full on my hips, although I love the look so this seems like a perfect solution.

Construction is very straightforward although I did get a bit confused putting in the pockets.  They are shaped so they go right up to the waist seam which is good as it keeps them in place.  I'm not sure I set them in the correct way.  Still, they work and look OK so that will do.  I'll see how much I use the pockets.  I know some people go mad for pockets and I admit they are good for posing in, but I don't think I'd ever put anything in them.  Without the pockets this will be even quicker and easier to sew and I can see a few of these in my summer wardrobe this year.  

So, don't be put off by Burda's magazine photo or the description of a winter skirt - this is a great basic pattern that will work in a variety of fabrics.

I'm wearing it here with Style Arc Madeleine ponte top

Thursday, 29 March 2018

BurdaStyle 11/2015 - 105 Godet Skirt

Isn't it a great feeling when you choose a pattern from one of your Burda magazines only to find that at some point in the past you had already traced it!

That might be part of it, but this skirt is currently my favourite thing and someone may have to stop me making a whole wardrobe of them.

11/2015 - 105

To be honest I'm not completely sold on the colour block version, but the cut is lovely - somewhat fitted in the waist and hips and then all swishy from there down.  It will be perfect for our hot summer weather, not that I have been waiting to wear it - it's great for spring too with a casual denim jacket.

This one is in a very soft cotton floral print.  I love the colours in this and although I'm wearing it with an obvious black knit top here, it will work well with khaki, raspberry and cream so I'll be looking out for fabric for some coordinating pieces.

Getting the seams to meet perfectly at a point is hard, but fortunately the print covers a multitude of sins.  If you're doing the colour block version some serious marking and basting will be needed.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

BurdaStyle 02/2018 - 107 Offset Jersey Top

This is one of those patterns that I just simply had to try, I mean just look at this crazy line drawing!

And just the thing for a fishing trip.....!

It is a very fast sew (once you figure out how the 2 pieces go together!) and really fun to make, but does use up quite a bit of fabric - due to the odd shaped pattern pieces you do need the full 2 yards of wide fabric which is quite a lot for a t-shirt.

I had to drape the pieces on my dress form to understand how to sew the first 2 seams.  Hopefully my scribbles on the magazine showing these seams help - remember that the pieces are cut single layer of fabric and right side up, but sewn right sides together so it will make a bit more sense when you flip one piece over.  Though maybe not much more sense as I've made it twice now and I still don't really understand how or why it works!!  (Also note that the pattern piece numbers are 21 and 22, not 1 and 2).

Once those 2 seams are done it should look something like the finished line drawing and you just need to sew up the side/sleeve seams and hem the edges.  Fortunately when worn the craziness of the pattern pieces give way to some nice draping and twisting effects.

My first version is in a very soft fuchsia knit and it is a little bit big, the neckline is quite wide and has a tendency to slip a bit.  I do love the colour though so I might add some shoulder stays to deal with that.

I prefer the fit on my second version which I sewed up a bit smaller, plus I think the fabric content of this one is a bit different (though still unknown!).

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.