Do you wash fabric as soon as you’ve bought it, or only when you’re about to use it? I’m firmly in the latter camp, which meant that my sewing plans were abruptly derailed when my washing machine broke down recently. However I did have the remains of a length of silver polycotton twill which I’d already washed and made three garments from. You’ve previously seen as trousers, a jacket, and a skirt. It’s from Truro Fabrics and at the time of writing is still available.
I’d bought Vogue 9112 in a recent pattern sale, intending to make it out of black cotton poplin at some point in the future. It’s a very asymmetric, trapeze-line design that looks as if it needs a crisp fabric. Here’s one of the envelope pictures.
Cutting this out was a big job. The design means that everything has to be cut single layer, and I was slightly short of fabric as I’d lengthened the pattern and I wanted to cut two of the collar and make it double layered. It took me a few goes to fit all the pieces in without messing up the grain. My fabric had a small discoloured patch which was impossible to cut around, but I managed to get it on the back and fairly close to a seamline. I can’t see it in any of the photos.
This pattern is very short out of the envelope and has no adjustment lines. It’s probably easiest to add length at the hem but I needed to add a lot and didn’t want to mess with the proportions so I slashed and spread in two places: just above the bust point and between the bust and waist. All the curved and slanted seams made that more difficult than it normally is and I messed up repositioning few of the notches. That made the dress a little harder to sew but I’m glad I added the length as the hem is mid-thigh at the shortest points even with the extra. (Actual measurements for anyone who’s making this: I added two inches and I’m 5’10”.)
One thing I love about this dress is that it has roomy pockets. You can just about see them in the picture below. This is also a good shot of the gathered panels. As usual my gathers are a mess if you look at them closely – I just can’t get fabric to gather evenly no matter what I do. I don’t think it matters here though.
I made the collar double-layer (cut two copies, make the collar pleats in both, sew them right sides together around the top edge and ends, turn out) and added sew-in interfacing to one collar piece to make absolutely sure it would stand up. Otherwise I sewed the dress up exactly as the pattern suggested: bias binding finish on the armholes and at the collar-neckline junction; top-stitching around the neckline; and narrow hem. The lack of closures mean it’s quite a quick sew despite all the curved seams.
This is a very comfortable dress to wear – unsurprising given how easy-fitting it is. It’s an interesting style and I think the pockets will mean it gets a lot of use. I’m definitely tempted to go back and make it again in the black cotton poplin I’d originally intended. Or maybe black taffeta? I think it would be good in any fabric with a little sheen to show off the seamlines and gathers.
Filed under: Dresses, Dressmaking, Finished, Sewing, Vogue | 45 Comments
Tags: Dressmaking, Sewing, silver, silver dress, Vogue
I don’t often make a pattern twice, despite my best intentions; and fabric that lasts more than a few months in my stash rarely gets made up. So this make is doubly unusual in that it’s a repeat of a pattern I made earlier in the year and fabric from deep, deep stash. So deep that I actually gave it away to my mother at one point, but she gave it back! It’s a very heavy cotton twill in a greeny brown colour. It’s definitely the sort of fabric that sews better with a denim needle.
The funny thing about this fabric is that the colour is impossible to match. I couldn’t find a remotely matching thread in the entire Gutermann range. I ended up sewing it with dark brown thread, overlocking in beige, and top stitching in a lighter brown. If you can’t buy anything that matches you might as well use what you’ve already got. The zip is green and the button is grey. But they look all right together.
The pattern is a mixture of Burda 115-12-2009 and 116-12-2009. The line art below is 116. The two patterns have the same basic pattern pieces but 116 has a lot more detail, including top-stitching, belt loops, thigh pockets, and flaps on the inseam pockets. I skipped the thigh pockets and the flaps, not wanting all the extra bulk.
I kept all the top-stitching. It’s not too clear in the photos but there are three rows down the back leg seam. I failed completely to get the spacing even, but both legs are wonky in the same way so it looks intentional.
After my previous attempt at these, which came out a bit tight, I added quite a bit to the pattern at the side seams. But I failed to take into account that the previous fabric had stretch and this one very definitely doesn’t, so they are still very slightly smaller than I intended. The pockets are gaping a bit even after letting the side seams out. They’re also a bit tight over the front of the thigh. I’m very glad I didn’t add the thigh pockets.
I think I’m done with this pattern now. The fit is good enough to be wearable, but there are a whole bunch of niggles that I can’t be bothered to go back and make a third version to sort out. It was an enjoyable sew and I’ve got two perfectly wearable pairs of trousers out of it but now it’s definitely time for something new. You’ll be seeing the fabric again in the near future though.
Filed under: Burda, Dressmaking, Finished, Sewing, trousers | 28 Comments
Tags: Burda, Dressmaking, Sewing, trousers
This jumpsuit was inspired, although in the loosest possible sense, by a visit to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A earlier this year. One of the models on display was a beautiful black evening jumpsuit with an asymmetric draped lapel detail. While I couldn’t come anywhere near reproducing the inspiration, seeing it did remind me that I’d put a slightly formal jumpsuit pattern on my to-sew list a while ago and that I had some black crepe in the stash.
So this is Burda 2014-04-111 made up in black poly crepe. In recent years Burda has taken to labelling certain pattern in the magazine as ‘masterpieces’ and this is one of them. It’s not clear whether ‘masterpiece’ is meant to mean it’s difficult to sew or takes a lot of time or both. This one certainly took forever to make, but I couldn’t describe it as my best ever sewing. On the other hand it’s my first attempt at a notched collar and it came out reasonably symmetrical, so I’m delighted with that. And I made it using only Burda’s instructions. They seem to make more sense these days, or perhaps I’ve finally tuned my brain in to the less than idiomatic translation from German. It always amuses me that they say things like ‘stitch again close to seam’ instead of simply ‘understitch’.
It’s come out a bit baggier than I expected. It’s meant to be a loose-fitting style but the version on Burda’s model looks a bit sleeker than mine. Once again I think I’ve made the legs too long which contributes to the effect. I think I took most of the length I added in the legs off again before hemming, so I can safely say this one runs long. But I hate trousers that are too short; one of the reasons I started sewing my own clothes was in order to have things where the legs and sleeves are long enough. At least there’s no danger of revealing my woolly socks. Here’s me with Mrs Burda below for comparison.
Her jumpsuit is a lot better pressed than mine. I had been wearing mine all day when the photos were were taken and I don’t think this crepe holds a crease all that well. I doubt I’ll bother pressing the creases back into the back legs after I wash it. They certainly don’t seem to have survived for the photos.
The pattern comes with two views, one of which doesn’t have the creases pressed in, so I may claim my version is View B whereas Mrs Burda is definitely wearing View A. The other differences between the views are that A has a modesty panel and closes with snaps instead of buttons. I skipped the modesty panel as it’s easier and safer to wear a tank top under this. I did use snaps though.
I’m not entirely sure what shoes go with this. It’s an evening style, but realistically the place I’m going to wear it is to work on days when I want to look a little smart. This means reasonably comfortable footwear is required. The wedges I’m wearing here are about the limit of what I can manage at work. If anyone has any better ideas than the wedges I’d like to hear them!
Filed under: black, Burda, Dressmaking, Finished, Jumpsuits, Sewing | 46 Comments
Tags: black, Burda, Dressmaking, jumpsuit, Sewing
Can there be a more 1970s fabric than orange polyester suede? I found some on a trip to Goldhawk Road a couple of years ago and something possessed me to buy a couple of metres. Whatever plans I had for it then didn’t come to fruition and it’s been sitting in my stash ever since. The day finally came when the stash overflowed and the suede had to be matched with a pattern or else given away. But what pattern to choose?
I was vaguely inspired by the lines of the Louis Vuitton Fall 2014 collection: dresses with big pointy collars, front zip closures, and a-line skirts. Look 23 from the collection is a good example of the sort of thing. Unsurprisingly the most suitable pattern I could find with those features was a vintage one: Butterick 3108.
Pattern envelope pictures sometimes lie, but this one is a pretty accurate representation of the finished dress. The collar is just as large and pointy as I was hoping for. The skirt is nowhere near as short as the Louis Vuitton dresses, but as I’m hoping to wear this to cycle in that’s not a bad thing.
I added top-stitching on the princess seams for a bit of interest. I also made patch pockets. I’m not entirely happy with those. They have come out too close to the centre front despite my best efforts to choose a pleasing position.
Luckily I was able to get a copy of the pattern in my size so I didn’t have to make a lot of adjustments to the beyond adding length. The main change I made was to redraw the top of the sleeve pattern piece to remove all the sleeve cap ease. I didn’t fancy my chances of setting in the original sleeve without wrinkles as the suede has no elasticity at all. I’m pleased with the fit on the body, but the sleeves are very restrictive. Whatever I did to the sleeve caps obviously wasn’t quite right! And now I look at the pictures it could do with a touch more width at the back hip.
I made a couple of other small changes to accommodate the unforgiving fabric. I pleated the sleeves into the cuffs instead of gathering them. And the hem is faced rather than turned up. The hem allowance on the original pattern is two inches and isn’t tapered at all so there would be a lot of extra length to ease in if you tried to turn it up. I doubt that would work well even in cotton or wool fabric, never mind unshrinkable polyester.
The zip is brown because the orange is impossible to match and brown continues the 70s theme. The neck and hem facings are finished with some brown satin bias binding I had left over from another project. Unfortunately I didn’t change thread from orange to brown when sewing the zip in and the orange stitching shows up a bit against the brown zip tape, but I did remember for the binding. Not that you can see the stitching in the pictures anyway so I doubt anyone will notice.
I’ve made the fabric sound awful but it does have some good points: it’s easy to sew, it’s machine washable, and it’s very warm to wear. I’ll be glad of the insulation when autumn arrives.
Filed under: Butterick, Dressmaking, Finished, Sewing, Vintage | 33 Comments
Tags: 1970s, butterick, dress, Dressmaking, orange, Sewing, suede, vintage
I’ll admit I’m mildly obsessed with making shiny trousers. Up until now my experiments have all been skinny jeans made from Burda 103-07-2010. This however is Burda 115-12-2009, a pattern for wide legged trousers with interesting curved seams. Sadly I can’t find it in the Burda online pattern store or I’d link to it. The technical drawing will have to do.
What you can’t see on the drawing is that here are no side seams; the side front panel wraps round the back to the inside leg seam. I always think trousers look better with a bit of detail on the back. The curved yoke seam on these is much faster to sew than back pockets but has the same effect of breaking up the expanse of backside. And I never use back pockets anyway. Instead there are nifty little inseam pockets in the front yoke. They look lovely but they’re unfortunately a little on the small side. OK for keys and cards but I wouldn’t get my phone in them.
The trousers are made from yet more of the metallic stretch twill fabric I got from Truro Fabrics recently. Technically speaking it’s not a great choice for this style. The shine means that every single wrinkle is hugely visible. I swear they’re not too small – they feel fine on – but in these pictures they certainly look a bit clingy. I think the pattern was intended for a sturdier fabric. The pattern instructions simply say ‘trouser fabrics’ (thanks for that insight, Burda!) but the finished garments in the magazine are made from gaberdine and corduroy; ie heavier weight than my twill and lacking stretch. This all sounds negative, but in fact I like my version a lot. I was going for a practical style with a twist; a colleague described them as looking ‘industrial’ which on reflection I think is a success.
One thing I still haven’t got the hang of with Burda is how much length to add to their trousers. I know exactly how much length I need to add to bodices for Burda, and based on that plus the difference between my height and the height they design for I should be able work out exactly how much length to add to the legs. But it always comes out too much. I took an inch off these before hemming them and I’m wearing them with platform boots here. Still, better too long than the opposite. I know I should just add less to the length, regardless of calculations, but I’m always paranoid that the next pair are going to be the ones to come up disastrously short.
These seem to be passing the wearability test with flying colours. I’m keeping them for work because of the pockets – I still don’t have enough clothes with pockets – but I’d happily wear them at the weekend too. I might make this pattern again one day. There’s an alternative view with combat trouser details (side pockets with flaps, bellows pockets on the thighs, belt loops) which I’m quite tempted by, to the extent that I’ve traced off the extra pieces. Might have to go up a size though!
Filed under: Burda, Dressmaking, Finished, Sewing, Silver, trousers | 3 Comments
Tags: Burda, Dressmaking, Sewing, silver, silver trousers, trousers
Thanks for all your suggestions about what to wear with my silver Guy Laroche jacket! I think a little black dress might be the way to go. By contrast the skirt half of the suit is ridiculously easy to wear. It goes really well with a black t-shirt and ankle boots. For once the pictures are of an outfit I wore all day. I’ll admit I usually get out the impractical shoes and put on some extra makeup for blog photos, but not these. Also, nothing has been pressed.
Here’s the envelope art. I don’t know how useful any notes on sizing will be as it’s long out of print, but this one comes up unusually small. I normally have to go down a size from the correct one for my measurements in Vogue to get a garment that looks and feels right. After measuring the (lack of) ease on 2607 I cut my true size and even then both the jacket and skirt came up very close fitting.
I added in-seam pockets as you can see below. The hem is also very visible in this picture. The original pattern has something like a 1.75″ hem allowance but as the skirt is very flared this makes it very difficult to get a smooth even hem. I reduced the hem allowance to an inch and overlocked the raw edge to draw it in as much as I could before top-stitching it. No way was I hand-sewing that much hem on such an unforgiving fabric. (The fabric is a silver metallic twill from Truro Fabrics; it’s very shiny and stitches do not exactly sink into it.)
The back view on this is unusual. The technical drawing doesn’t show it but the skirt hangs in a slightly strange way; the centre back seam sticks out at the hem. I presume it’s to do with the way the grain is arranged. I’m not sure if I like the effect or not, but I can’t see it when I’m wearing the skirt so I tend to forget about it. The only other thing to say about the back view is that I swapped the centred zip for a lapped one. I always use Kathleen Fasanella‘s lapped zip method. There’s a certain amount of faffing with the pattern required to alter the seam allowances for this process, but it’s worth it because the zip goes in neatly first time.
Unlike the jacket I have worn this a lot. By the time I got around to getting pictures it had already been washed at least once. Funny how these things work out.
Filed under: Dressmaking, Finished, Sewing, Silver, Style, Vogue | 4 Comments
Tags: Dressmaking, guy laroche, Sewing, silver, skirt, Vogue
I originally had great plans for posts about this jacket. I made a toile and did pattern adjustments. I used non-standard seam allowances and two different sorts of interfacing. There are sleeve heads and a very unusual fastening. But it’s how it came out that counts, so this is going to be about the end result and not the process.
It is from Vogue 2607, a Guy Laroche suit pattern that’s long out of print. I was attracted by the collar and the relatively simple style. I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to execute the double welt pockets flawlessly so I switched them to single welts, but otherwise didn’t change any design details.
The fabric is a silver metallic twill from Truro Fabrics. It has a slight stretch. At the time of writing it’s still available. I found it in the denim and chambray section but it’s lighter weight than what I think of as denim; it wouldn’t be good for jeans for example. The jacket is interfaced throughout the body as per the pattern instructions but you can see on the sleeves that the fabric has a bit of drape. The jacket is lined in a black poly stretch satin from The Lining Company.
The collar on this is enormous. I haven’t really worked out how to wear it. It can get in the way when worn up (see picture below!) but folding it down seems a bit of a shame. In fact it’s not just the collar: the whole jacket is very difficult to style. It’s come out rather more formal-looking than I intended. The black jeans and boots I’m wearing in these pictures are the best I’ve come up with so far but I wonder if this one isn’t best kept for weddings!
The pockets have come out a bit more clearly on the picture below. They are very shallow; about deep enough for a credit card or your keys but nothing more. I wish now that I’d made zipped pockets instead of the welt pockets as they’d make the style more casual.
So, honest options? Should it be reserved for weddings and christenings and if so what on earth do I wear with it, jeans probably not being appropriate? Or can this be made to work for every day?
Filed under: Dressmaking, Finished, Sewing, Silver, Vogue | 19 Comments
Tags: 2607, Dressmaking, guy laroche, jacket, Sewing, silver, Vogue