Wednesday 25 May 2011

Burda Style 06/2010 121 Kimono Jacket/Blouse

I really should know better by now, but I got seduced by this look from June's Burda Style magazine;

So I made the simple kimono style blouse #121 from some leftover cotton and cotton sateen trim.

Alas on me it is a different story to the magazine photo. I look like I am either on my way to bed or to a karate class. If anyone has suggestions for how to tame the crazy sleeves I am all ears, otherwise I think I will admit defeat and make a coordinating pair of black silk pajama pants . Or take up karate!

No better with a skirt.

Sunday 22 May 2011

Burda Style 05/2011 103 Tunic Top

Just to prove that sometimes I make and wear things that are not dresses, I made a top!

Actually my top is a combination of pattern 103 and 104 which is in fact a dress pattern. On my top I left off the sleeve slits and added in the elastic and casing featured in the dress version.

The fabric seems to be a silk/cotton blend if such a thing exists. I bought this last year in Mood on my New York trip where I met up with Carolyn, Elizabeth and LindsayT. I remember LindsayT asking at the time if I was going to make a tunic top with it and I (naturally) said no it was going to be a dress. Something from that day obviously stuck in my brain. I do still have plenty left so it might make it into a dress too someday.

This is a very easy to make and relaxed top for summer, I really love the silk in Burda's photo so I may look out for some similar fabric for another version.

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Vogue 1220 Donna Karan Shirtdress

The dress is finished and I absolutely love it. I think I have been a bit stuck on belted shift dresses lately so it was good to try something new (albeit still a belted dress!).

I did a couple of minor things differently to the pattern instructions;
  • my belt has a centre back seam and is also folded in half rather than being narrow hemmed round all the edges. It is still plenty wide enough for me. I didn't add the belt loops.
  • as I mentioned in my last post I had to change the angle of the front facing to give myself a bit more walking and sitting room at the hem of the skirt since I made it in a non stretch fabric. (mine has none, the pattern just says to use stretch broadcloth, crepe or linen). I had to change the corresponding hem facing piece too. If you think you need to do the same I recommend adding extra fabric at the centre front from the outset.
The dress is fairly easy to make. The only tricky part is attaching the skirt back to the upper back and side fronts as you have two inset corners to deal with. I suggest doing this in 3 separate seams, starting and finishing at the pivot points rather than in one seam per the instructions. This way you can turn the fabric over as necessary and make sure your stitching does not cross the marked dot and that the fabric isn't bunching underneath. However it helps to remember that the corner gets hidden under a pleat and then the belt so don't stress about getting it absolutely perfect.

Pictures speak louder than words so.....

The side seams, with pockets slant from front to back.

Pocket close up.

Finished dress without belt.

Finished dress with belt.

Closer front view.

Back view.

Sunday 15 May 2011

Another week, another Donna Karan dress

This is the pattern I am currently working on - Vogue 1220, the Donna Karan shirtdress.

I am making it in a sort of cranberry cotton sateen. The pattern calls for stretch wovens, but of course I didn't read that before I bought my fabric and this is one of those patterns with strange seams that means you have to either make a muslin or take a flyer on the fit.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you which option I went for! I am happy to report that the pattern is sized consistently for Vogue and it does work in a non stretch fabric. However you might run into problems when you sit down in the dress as I think there may be some stress on the lower buttons, especially with the pegged shape of the skirt. The front facing is just folded back so I have tapered the fold line so the facing is narrower at the bottom to give me a bit more ease there, I'll let you know how it works out!

I just need to buy some buttons to get this finished up. The buttons are on a hidden fly so in theory it should be easy to find some suitable ones.

I'm enjoying making this one, the seaming is really interesting and it comes together pretty fast. I'll share more details when it's finished.

Friday 6 May 2011

Vogue 1236 DKNY dress

Remember me?? Like the UK we have had a bumper crop of public holidays here in Hong Kong recently and we still have another one next Tuesday. You might think this would mean I get more sewing and blogging done but the opposite seems to be true, I get thrown out of my usual routine. Not that I'm complaining! Besides I can't sew all the time, not least because my closet is sadly too small.

I have made a dress - not the one I was planning to make of course, but another DKNY from the recent batch of Vogue patterns - V1236.

I almost didn't buy this because it is a pretty basic dress and I am sure I have something similar somewhere, but I'm glad I did. It is, like all DKNY patterns I have tried, cut really well and as a bonus it is incredibly easy to sew. I just made a straight size 12, no alterations based on the finished measurements printed on the pattern and this turned out fine.

I used a semi sheer dot large spotted cotton fabric - it's sheer between the spots so I interlined with a taupe/gold china silk. The effect is very subtle - I did experiment with brighter colours but it looked like cheap tacky lingerie!

The original pattern is unlined and has combined neck/sleeve facings so I changed the construction a bit due to my fabric. I attached the lining at the neck and sleeves and then made bias strips for these edges, turned to the inside and topstitched. I left off the beltloops and pockets as usual though I do think they are rather cute - maybe next time.

I've had to lighten these photos so you can see the fabric so ignore the fact I look like a blurry pale ghost.

Despite its simplicity I think this is a very versatile pattern, this version can work for day or night, but I can see some more summery ones in my (too small) closet in the future.