Tuesday 24 December 2013

Vogue 1369 - Alternative Back View

Interesting, it seems that the back view of the Kay Unger dress is a real turn off for lots of you.  Since it's Christmas here are some pictures of the back view for you, not very good ones admittedly - my poor old dressform needs some cosmetic surgery, but you can see it has a centre back seam and darts in each piece.

The shoulders are asymmetric due to the front design so there are separate pieces for the lining left and right.  If you use them for the main dress remember to flip them upside down and place on the right side of the fabric (since lining has the right side of the fabric facing into the body and outer dress fabric faces outwards).

I wish you all a very merry Christmas and in case I don't post before new year, a very Happy New Year too!

Friday 20 December 2013

Vogue 1369 Kay Unger dress

Another doubleknit dress - this time a Vogue pattern by Kay Unger, one of the last batch of new patterns.  This has restored my faith in Vogue designer patterns - or at least in their sizing.  I made my usual size 12 graduating to a 14 at the hips and didn't need to make any alterations to the fit at all.  The suggested fabrics are crepe, crepe back satin and jersey, by which I think they mean something like a doubleknit that has a bit of weight to it.

Vogue 1369
Making it in a knit meant that I could eliminate the back zipper, but I swapped out the back pieces for the plain lining pieces because I wasn't sure that the ruching would work in my fabric.  I'm not even sure it works on the Vogue version either, I quite like the ruching at the back waist, but those folds going into the skirt look a bit strange.  I totally forgot to take photos of the back of my dress, but it has a centre seam and 2 darts to shape the back. 

I really liked the asymmetric detail on the front of the dress, the instructions were good and it was quite easy to make.  

I still don't have any lining suitable for a knit dress so once again I left the dress unlined.  I did however need to cut an undercollar piece in lining so I just used self fabric instead.  This was a mistake as it did mean I had a lot of layers of quite thick fabric in the collar area which would have looked too bulky if they were serged.  I couldn't bring myself to leave them unfinished even though the fabric won't fray - once I had trimmed and clipped the seams it just looked a bit messy.  So I used bias strips of silk and bound the raw edges at the neck and front band, partly by machine and partly by hand.  I also used the same treatment on the armscyes making sure no stitches show on the right side of the dress.  Honestly it would have been quicker to go out and buy some lining or to unpick the collar and redo the undercollar with silk lining - no stretch is needed in that area and it won't show - so don't do what I did!

Anyway I am pleased with how this turned out, I think it looks just like the envelope promises and having it in a doubleknit makes it a really comfortable cocktail dress.  I also plan to wear it with boots and a jacket for more casual (and colder!) occasions.  I haven't seen many reviews of this pattern, but I do recommend it, I can see myself making it again.

Wednesday 11 December 2013

BurdaStyle 08/2012 - 102 Dress

I'm on a bit of a doubleknit kick at the moment since I managed to pick up some nice quality fabrics in black, grey and this burgundy colour which is very much on trend for this season apparently.

I decided to make this dress for the August 2012 issue of Burda magazine.

It is surprisingly easy to put together - what I thought were going to be tricky inset corners are actually separate yoke pieces sewn on and then caught in a dart.

Make sure you label the small yoke pieces carefully so you can identify which way up they go and can tell front from back, there are some subtle differences in the shapes.

I made a size 38, going out to a 40 at the hipline which is my usual sizing in Burda and I found very few adjustments were needed, yippee!  The only changes I made were:
  • Omitted the side zipper since the fabric stretches enough that I can easily get it on over my head
  • The bodice is supposed to be lined, but as I didn't have any stretch lining to hand and the doubleknit has a decent weight on it's own I left mine unlined.
  • Shortened the dress from mid calf to just above the knee, I just felt it was more flattering at that length on me.
  • I found the neckline to be just a tiny bit low for my personal preference so I took the shoulders up a bit and took a very narrow hem at the neckline.  It's not as crazy low as some Burda necklines can be, but next time I'd just raise the neckline a bit at the cutting out stage.  Also I always forget but I think I am a little short in the upper torso so others mind find the neckline fine as it is.

The sleeves are quite dramatic and may not be to everyone's taste, but I like how they balance out my hips.  It would be easy enough to switch them to a simpler sleeve though.

I really love how this dress turned out and it goes together in no time, I really recommend it if you have this issue, I may well make this again.

Thursday 5 December 2013

Style Arc Marie Top

When I finished the Burda knit jacket in my last post I was reminded of this Style Arc Marie jacket that I started making back in June before a visit back home to the UK.  I managed to get it all finished in time except for sewing on a single snap and I am ashamed to confess it has taken me 6 months to finally sew on that one measly snap.  In my defence it has been too hot to even think about looking at jackets until recently, but now the season is changing and I'm going through that familiar feeling of not being ready for it.  At least I have 2 new jackets, it's a start....

Style Arc instructions are more an order of construction than detailed instructions, but they are very clear and this was straight forward to put together.  I made a size 10 and I could do with either making it a bit shorter or adding a bit of extra room to the hips next time.  While I was making it my only complaint was that it felt like there should have been a back hem facing as the fronts are faced and it seemed a bit lightweight in the back.  I followed the pattern anyway and actually it feels fine wearing it and maybe a back hem facing would make it too structured when wearing it open.

The 6 month snap - naturally it took less than 5 minutes to do, why oh why did I leave it so long!?!

It has proven impossible to take decent photos of this black jacket indoors, so I am sorry that the photos of me wearing it below show little more than a black silhouette, I don't want to wait another 6 months before this gets blogged.  I'm at the mercy of whatever doubleknit is available here but recently have been able to find some more colours so I am planning to inject a bit of colour into my winter wardrobe this year.

Exhibits A, B & C (the burgundy is already almost a dress and jacket, the purple is going to be the new Kay Unger dress 1369 and I got the end of the bolt of the teal, 5.5 yards at a great price so some experimentation is in order!)

Back to the previous Burda jacket, Cidell asked what happens if you zip it all the way up and does it form a funnel collar.  This was interesting and you can get a couple of different looks, although one would require sewing on 2 extra snaps (which let's face it is unlikely to happen) and they would show when you wear the collar open so you would need to be neat about it.

Here is a reminder of the original jacket:

Here it is fully zipped up:

Here it is with a funnel collar, just pinned here where you would need to add snaps, I had thought you could add a longer zip, but you run out of jacket to attach it to!

Thursday 21 November 2013

BurdaStyle 11/2013 - 117 Jacket

As soon as I saw this jacket in the November Burda magazine I knew I had to make it and had the pattern traced out the day I got the magazine.  Finishing it took a little longer, but hey, it is still November!

If you don't have this issue then the good news is that the pattern is available for download here.

I'm not quite sure what fabric Burda used, mine is a charcoal coloured doubleknit and it didn't have anywhere near the amount of body that their fabric does.  I quite like big dramatic collars, in fact that was one reason I was attracted to this pattern, but it needs to be in the right fabric to work.  I found it worked better if I took some of the volume out of the collar - approximately 3 inches off the straight back edge.  I also decided to face the collar so I cut two additional pieces and stitched them to the outer pieces before sewing in the right hand side of the zip and then securing them to the seam allowances on the inside.  This gives the front and collar a bit more structure than a single layer of doubleknit.  Mine is still more of a sweatshirt than a jacket, certainly in the way it feels to wear it, but this is a good thing!

My jacket is a much simpler version in that the sleeves are in the same fabric as the body of the jacket rather than in faux leather and I didn't add the leather trim around the outside edges, mostly because I couldn't quite find the right trim and I liked the look of it as it was.

I found the instructions to be hard to follow, but that might have been my fault, they are quite long, my attention span is quite short and it's possible I missed bits.  That said, it is a fairly straightforward pattern to put together, but you must label the peplum pieces carefully because they kind of all look the same.

The sleeves were insanely long, but I think they are meant to be worn scrunched up, I knew that would drive me nuts so I removed the seam allowance, added a really deep hem and they are still pretty long.  The final step is to add 2 snaps and I recommend trying the jacket on to see where you want to place them to get the fit right rather than just relying on the instructions.

I love how this turned out in the end, a really cosy, comfortable, but still fitted moto jacket and the shape should work with lots of different bottom pieces.

Monday 11 November 2013

Vogue 8907 Top

I previously made View B of this top here and in that post said I planned to make View A.  Usually making rash statements like that on this blog mean that it never actually happens, but in this rare case it did.

Badmomgoodmom asked a very good question on View B - she wondered if the asymmetric drape made it pull to one side.  I didn't find that it did because the drape extends across the whole back and is caught in the back neck seam and the hem.

This time I made View A in a very lightweight and badly behaved poly.  Getting the hem straight and the extra cape layer to hang properly was a nightmare.  This top is supposed to be a bit longer, but as I kept trying to trim the bottom straight it got shorter and shorter until I finally just decided to hem it as it was before it turned into a crop top.

The reason I used a badly behaved poly is that I totally fell in love with the print, a sort of enlarged fish scale digital print which I found at the fabric market in Sham Shui Po.  The fabric itself actually feels quite nice, it was just a devil to work with.

Sleeve detail

Neckline detail, as before I changed the facings to a binding strip, but the neckline one is too wide, not risking redoing it though and leaving visible holes.

Fortunately I don't think people will notice this in real life - the hem of doom!

Well, a few days in the magic closet and some time to forget the hemming traumas worked wonders and I now really like the top.  I like this sort of unusual draped style and I really do love the print.  I have some left to make another top or perhaps a scarf if I can face cutting and hemming it all over again!  There are so many lovely prints around in this type of fabric that I am determined to master it.

I initially planned to wear this with jeans but in taking these photos I prefer it with the denim pencil skirt.  Still, it's good to have options!