Burda 117-11-2014 front

This is a project that didn’t quite work. The fabric isn’t quite right. It’s a stretch denim that is too lightweight for the style and an odd shade of black. The fit isn’t quite right either. I don’t think it’s the fault of the original pattern, which is Burda 117-11-2014, described as ‘skinny pants with insets’; more what I did to it. Sorry, Burda. Here’s the line art:

Burda 117-11-2014 line art

I liked the overall shape in the drawing but not the placement of the insets, so I decided to go for some padding and quilting at the knees instead. I traced the quilting lines from another Burda pattern, 106-03-2013. Unfortunately I did it very slightly too high up the leg and the padding I used was a bit thin: just a layer of boiled wool left over from another project, backed with cotton. As a practical feature it just about works – I was very grateful for the padding when I found myself having to kneel down on a concrete floor to reach something at work recently – but it would work a lot better if it was a few centimetres lower.

Burda 117-11-2014 close up

The sizing is off because I’ve increased in circumference this year and the last two pairs of Burda trousers I made came up much too small. Determined not to make the same mistake with these I measured myself and decided to cut a size and a half larger than normal. I did not think to measure the pattern. I may have cut too generously, or perhaps there’s more ease in the pattern than one might expect from trousers described as ‘skin-tight down to the ankle’; of course they are much too large. It’s not all bad though. It might look sunny but was extremely cold when we took these and I was able to get two layers – tights and leggings – on under them. But yeah, look at those wrinkles. Skin tight they are not. I also added less length than I usually do, because Burda trousers always seem to turn out longer than I expect. This was the ‘correct’ decision because objectively on me they are exactly the length the pattern is intended to be, but I want them to be longer! I normally wear them tucked into knee boots because they feel too short.

Burda 117-11-2014 back

Although it may sound like these are a complete failure they’re not. I made them a couple of months ago and have worn them about once a week, mostly at work. And denim trousers usually get better with age.

Burda 117-11-2014 front


Stylearc Hedy dress front

Remember the 80s? Big baggy tunic tops worn over leggings, a triangular silhouette, lots of lycra. This is the Style Arc Hedy dress, and it would fit right in there. For me it was love at first sight.

Absolutely the best thing about this dress is that it has pockets cleverly integrated into the design. They’re standard inseam pockets but the way they are placed in the curved front seams means they hang very well and don’t mess up the lines of the dress.

Stylearc Hedy dress front

I made this in a shiny grey mystery knit bought on Goldhawk Road last year. I don’t know what you’d call it. It’s a fairly stable doubleknit construction but the hand is very drapey and slippery, and it’s shinier than most of the “scuba” knits I’ve seen. There was a lot of the stuff around at the time; I saw it in several different shops and lots of colours were available. It washes well and needs no ironing at all. It’s completely artificial fibre but I guess in the right light it could double for silk jersey. Come to think of it, this pattern would be amazing made up in silk jersey. Love those seamlines.

Stylearc Hedy dress back

Here’s a better look at the underlying shape. The dress comes in two lengths and this is the shorter, “knee-length”, version. I deliberately didn’t make any pattern adjustments so it is not a surprise that it came out pretty short – I normally add between two and four inches length to most dress patterns. I like the proportion as it is though. I think the pattern runs true to size although with so much ease it’s hard to tell. Anyway I made the size closest to my measurements rather than going down one as I do with Big Four.

Stylearc Hedy dress front wide

It’s a fairly easy sew. You don’t need an overlocker. I used mine for the side seams and to finish some edges because it’s fast, but the rest of the dress was constructed on my regular machine. I sewed the hems with a regular zigzag stitch because I was too lazy to fight with my twin needle and I wanted to wear the dress quickly.

The pattern instructions are Burda-style minimal, although unlike with Burda there are diagrams provided for the trickier bits, such as folding the neckline pleat. I like that the instructions include interfacing everywhere it’s needed. I’m very impressed with the overall quality of the pattern. Everything matched up beautifully and the industrial-standard seam allowances used made sewing it easy and accurate.

It has already passed the wearability test. I made it just before Christmas and it’s been worn about twice a week ever since. There may be another one of these soon if I find the right fabric.

Stylearc Hedy front


Vogue 1335 and 1247 front

I never intended this top and skirt to be worn as a set, but I think they work together and produce a sort of 60s effect – maybe a bit Courrèges? My first thought when I looked in the mirror was ‘oh dear this is Jackie Kennedy goes into space’. I therefore decided against wearing big sunglasses for the pictures.

They’re both made from mystery silver sweater knit which I bought on Goldhawk Road some time in 2014. The new garment in this post is the skirt. I had 4m of the fabric and I made two fairly fabric hungry tops out of it, but there was just enough left after that to make the very practical skirt from Vogue 1247.

The top in the pictures dates is based on Vogue 1335 and the details are here. The other top I made is Burda 109-10-2015.

Vogue 1335 and 1247 front with pockets

This top is quite long, which makes the skirt pockets less useful than they might otherwise be when worn together.

Vogue 1247 silver front

The pockets on this implementation of the skirt can sag a bit when you put things in them. The pattern was not intended for knits. The pockets on my woven version behave much better than this. I probably should have done something to stabilize the top edge when I made the knit one.

Vogue 1335/1247 back

Despite being made in a knit this skirt still needed a zip because it’s lined in a woven – a heavy black polyester satin lining fabric which was also left over from another project. The original design isn’t meant to be lined but it’s very easy to do: cut out the skirt fronts and backs again in lining (folding the pocket bag extensions out of the way) and sew them up with tucks instead of darts, leaving a gap in the top of the centre back seam for the zip opening. I then machined the lining opening edges to the zip opening edges on the skirt shell, and then basted the shell and lining together around the top before adding the waistband. This gives a nice neat finish without any hand sewing required around the zip. I did hand sew the shell hem though; the fabric is actually a very fine silver and black stripe and a machined hem would have looked a bit odd as it would have cut across the stripes.

Vogue 1335/1247 side

Despite the woven lining the skirt is quite drapey and shapeless in the knit. Very different from the woven version! The top in the pictures has more body than the skirt because every piece on that is interfaced.

Vogue 1247 silver side

The only thing I interfaced on the skirt was the waistband. If I was doing this over again I’d definitely interface the whole skirt but it’s perfectly wearable as it is. I made it a month or two ago and it’s been in fairly regular rotation for work. I normally wear it with the black polo neck jumper in the picture above which is an old make loosely based on Burda 122-04-2011.

Thanks as ever to my husband for taking the pictures!

Vogue 1247/1335


Burda 109-10-2015

Burda’s having a good streak lately and the October 2015 issue was a case in point. It normally takes me months to get around to sewing up patterns that catch my eye, but Burda 109-10-2015 was traced, cut and completed within a few weeks of the issue arriving. This is a loose-fitting top pattern designed for heavy-weight knitted fabrics. It has a big collar and a shaped hem. Unusually for a knit pattern the body is cut on the bias, so it’s great for showing off fabrics with a stripe. My fabric is striped silver and black but the pitch is so fine it doesn’t show up in the photos.

Burda 109-10-2015 line art

This is a very quick pattern to sew. As it’s for knits you wouldn’t even need to bother finishing the seams if you didn’t want to, although I did for this one because the overlocker happened to be threaded in black. The only difficult part is inserting the zip. Not only are you inserting an invisible zip on a heavy and stretchy fabric, it’s positioned in a curved seam. Don’t skip the interfacing around the zip. Burda recommends Vilene bias tape; I went for strips of Vilene F220 because that was what was to hand but it was probably a little on the heavy side. You could omit the zip entirely of course, but with it in it’s possible to wear the collar in different ways. Here it is zipped up and folded over.

Burda 109-10-2015 front view

On whole I prefer the collar unzipped. The back hangs a bit strangely when the collar is zipped up and folded over, and my fabric’s a bit too floppy to look good with the collar zipped and unfolded. It’s not just the way I’m standing in the picture either; all of the pictures we took of the back had strange wrinkles with the collar folded over.

Burda 109-10-2015 back view

Unzipping it allows the back to hang much more naturally.

Burda 109-10-2015 back view

I found the sleeves on this one came out strangely short. They’re definitely bracelet length on me, whereas on Burda’s model photos they come well over the hands. On my version they align nicely with the shaped hem which Burda’s don’t either. I am pretty sure I forgot to add any extra length or hem allowances when I traced the sleeve piece and so the shortness is my fault not the pattern’s. Next time I’d definitely make the sleeves longer.

Burda 109-10-2015 left side

This top is proving a firm favourite. I think it’s a pattern that will only work with exactly the right fabric, so I doubt I’ll be making it again soon, but I’m enjoyig the one I’ve got.

Notes:

  • 1.8(ish) metres of mystery silver and black knit fabric
  • Size 90 universal needle
  • 9″ invisible zip. 8″ would have been better.
  • Vilene F220 interfacing around the zip. No other interfacing used.
  • Added 2″ to body, forgot to add any length or hem allowance to sleeves

Vogue 1247 front view

This pattern is Vogue 1247; a Rachel Comey design that’s been on my mental to-sew list for a while. I’ve seen so many great versions of this made up that I expected Vogue would be selling the pattern forever, so it was a big surprise to see it in the “out of print” section on Sew Direct recently. Here’s the line art.

Vogue 1247 line art

I hastily bought a copy before it became completely unavailable, only to discover that it calls for finishing all the seams in the skirt with bias binding. At first I thought I’d ignore such fiddly nonsense and overlock the seam allowances instead, but then I noticed the right angle internal corners between the pockets! Attempting to feed those through the overlocker sounded like a recipe for disaster, so I reluctantly dug out a roll of black cotton bias binding and set to binding seams. I couldn’t even use my faithful binding foot as it doesn’t work well on sharp corners. I did manage to save myself one bit of extra work by cutting the waistband edge on the selvedge of the fabric so at least I didn’t have to bind that edge. And it does look really nice inside if you don’t look too closely at the corners.

Vogue 1247 insides

This skirt is seriously short. I added five inches to the length and made a one inch hem instead of the two inch one in the pattern. I’m tall, admittedly, but I wouldn’t want it any shorter than it is. I also think this one is a bit more true to size than some Vogue patterns; there’s not a lot of ease built in. If like me you’re in the habit of always going down a size in Vogue without really thinking about it then make an exception for this one. Luckily I checked the finished garment measurements before cutting; I ended up making my true size for once.

Vogue 1247 back view

I really like this pattern. Unusually for me I’d worn the finished object quite a few times before taking photos. The pockets are huge and it’s very comfortable to wear despite having a high waist. I can cycle in it (with thick tights or leggings underneath) too. And for once I’m pretty sure I will make it again because I’ve already cut another one out.

Notes and changes:

  • About a metre of heavy weight green/brown cotton twill; the same fabric I used for my Burda 115-12-2009 trousers
  • Size 90 denim needle
  • Black cotton bias binding for seams
  • 8″ invisible zip
  • Skirt hook
  • Vilene F220 interfacing for waistband
  • Added 5″ to length, made 1″ hem
  • Added hanging loops in black poly satin ribbon
  • Top-stitched hem

Vogue 1247 sitting


Vogue 9112 3/4 view

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.

Vogue 9112 envelope photo

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”.)

Vogue 9112 back view

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.

Vogue 9112 left side

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.

Vogue 9112 right side

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.

IMG_4897


Burda 116-12-2009 front

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.

Burda 116-12-2009 tech drawing

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.

Burda 116-12-2009 back

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.

Burda 116-12-2009 side

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.

Burda 116-12-2009 front




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