Wednesday 23 May 2012

Burda Style 03/2012 - 108 Twist Maxi Dress

Technically the long version of this pattern was for a wedding dress, but I thought it would make a good holiday maxi dress made up in a cotton print.

Burda Style magazine 03/2012 - 108C

Continuing (unintentionally) on my animal print theme this is made from a purple and black cotton print.  The bodice is self lined - one thing I didn't like about the construction is that you line the bodice and then put facings on top, I suppose this helps stop the facings showing through on fine fabrics, but it would look neater on the inside if the facing and lining piece were combined.

This dress was the illustrated sewing course for a month which makes it pretty easy to make, even if you have not made a twist top or dress before.  The problem was the pattern came in tall sizes (5ft 9) whereas I am a average-ish 5ft 6 so the pattern needed shortening.  Now you can do this the proper way and take out length in the bodice and skirt or you can do it the cheater way as I did and just take a huge seam allowance at the shoulder and chop a good 12 inches off the hem.  This did end up with the neckline being not too low, but also took the above waist seam towards empire line territory which is not the best look for me.

The Selfish Seamstress made a fabulous version of this dress without altering the bodice at all so if you can get away with that then your waist seam will be in a more flattering place I think.  On me however the neckline was too low and too open and at this stage in the construction the only possible fix was to take up the shoulder seams.

The problem with the now empire seam is that you do get an excess of fabric from the twist right where you don't really want it.  Even my dressform which has flatter than humanly possible abs has a bit of a tummy in this dress.  For some occasions - like lazing about on holiday - this is fine, for others - say a wedding - well then you might want to do your alterations properly.

Friday 11 May 2012

The Gallery is going on Location

Firstly, thank you all for the vote of confidence on my loud, sorry - bold - dress!  It's not designed for knits specifically, the suggested fabrics are stretch crepe, charmeuse & lightweight jersey.  I am always banging on about how important it is to try out new things so I need to take my own advice more often.

I'm off on a weeks holiday to Koh Samui in Thailand (my father will be very upset with me for broadcasting that fact on the internet, but good luck to any burglars trying to get past my fearsome cats and their admittedly less fearsome catsitter).

Every time I have a vacation planned I decide that there are some things that are missing from my wardrobe that I must have.  Can I decide this say a month in advance?  No of course not, I wait until I have about 3 days left and then sew like a mad thing.  So I am planning to take lots of pictures while I am away rather than the usual boring ones in my living room.  Although I did raid the newly opened 5 floor Forever 21 (don't judge me!) for some t-shirts and a gigantic sunhat most of the stuff I am taking is made by me.

My new Vogue patterns arrived yesterday, here's what I got - I forgot a couple so it was a nice surprise opening the envelope.  I'm showing the line drawings here because I think they are more useful.  I'll look forward to starting on some of these when I get back.  See you then!

Butterick 5747, a retro '60's pattern.  I love the straight skirt version for a shirtdress, but I hope there are some hidden buttons further down the skirt!

Butterick 5749, a Suzi Chin jersey dress - cowl neck, cut on sleeves, waist draping - everything I love in one pattern.

Vogue 8804, the Claire Shaeffer Chanel style jacket.  I have 2 lovely bits of boucle I have been meaning to make into Chanel jackets for years, I'm hoping this pattern will have the detailed instructions needed to get a couture-ish look.  I might make it shorter and more fitted though.

Vogue 8816 cowl neck tops.  I liked this one because the seam means only the upper front needs to be cut on the bias, usually woven cowl tops are fabric hogs and I'd like some short sleeve ones in silk so less fabric is a good thing!

Vogue 1309 Issey Miyake - I find this top fascinating, but I confess I have no idea how it will look on, or indeed if I will be able to follow the instructions.

Vogue 1303 Kay Unger - I feel like I must already have a pattern like this somewhere..... 

Vogue 1303 Kay Unger again - love the ruching on the bodice.  I am amassing quite a collection of Kay Unger patterns and have yet to make any of them.  This must change!

Saturday 5 May 2012

Vogue 1287 DKNY dress

This was one of my favourite patterns in the last lot of Vogue patterns, but there have been hardly any reviews of it which always makes me nervous!  One of the criticisms at the time was that the dress on the pattern photo was made in such a busy print that it was impossible to see the details and I'm afraid I have done the same thing with my version.

I wanted to get some of my older Vogue patterns made up before the new ones arrive so I just worked with the fabrics I had in my stash.  This needs a fabric with stretch and as my stretch fabric stash is quite precious to me I used a very loud, some would rightly say gaudy, jersey that I bought because I loved the colours but then didn't know what on earth to do with.  It has brown, teal, tan, coral, marbling and animal print on it and if that sounds like too much that is because it probably is!

I always enjoy making Donna Karan designs, the pattern pieces are generally unusually shaped and the details are always interesting - this was no exception although it wasn't particularly difficult.  I was a bit confused by the pocket facings and had to do quite a bit of pinning together before I understood the instructions, but it worked in the end.

I made a few small changes;
  • I put elastic in the whole of the waistband instead of just the back.  In my jersey fabric, which I didn't interface anywhere, this helped give the waistband a bit more support and keep it in place.
  • I didn't make the slip to go underneath the dress, but I did add a few invisible stitches just to keep the front wrap in place.
  • I was short on fabric so I couldn't do a faced hem, I just did a narrow hem instead.

Back view

I'm still on the fence with how I feel about this dress, like the Vena Cava dress I made last year, the pleats and pockets draw attention to the hips so it is a little challenging to wear, but I think I like it enough to try it in a plain solid fabric rather than a crazy print.  At least this stuff is out of my stash now, I'll give it a test outing and see if people cross the street and run away shielding their eyes.