Burda 107a-04-2014 front

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.

burda 107-04-2014 tech drawing

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.

Burda 107A-04-2014 front full length

Burda 107A-04-2014 model photo

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.

Burda 107A-04-2014 back

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!


Butterick 3108 front view

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.

Butterick 3108 envelope front

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.

Butterick 3108 front full length

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.

IMG_4678

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.

Butterick 3108 side view

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.


Burda 115-12-2009 front view

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.

Burda 115-12-2009 line drawing

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.

Burda 115-12-2009 back view

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.

Burda 115-12-2009 side view

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.

Burda 115-12-2009 side view on climbing frame

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!

Burda 115-12-2009 on climbing frame


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.

Vogue 2607 skirt front view

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.

Vogue 2607 envelope art

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.)

Vogue 2607 skirt front view

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.

Vogue 2607 skirt back view

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.


Vogue jacket 2607 front
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.
Vogue 2607 envelope art
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.
Vogue 2607 jacket side view
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!
Vogue 2607 jacket back view
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.

Vogue 2607 jacket front view

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?

Vogue 2607 jacket


I recently made Vogue 8512, a style which definitely needs a belt. I’m one of those people who never really figured out accessories so I don’t own a whole lot of belts, and none of my existing collection went with it particularly well. Clearly a new belt was required.

I asked for advice on the blog and the consensus seemed to be that something metallic would fit the bill. Janene suggested making a belt out of metallic pleather, and it just happened that I had a scrap left over from a very scifi Burda dress I made a few years ago. There was enough to make an obi belt with piecing, even after I accidentally melted a bit with the iron. There are a lot of tutorials out there on the Internet for how to do this. I read through quite a few of them but didn’t end up following any particular one religiously.

Here it is. The straps ended up long enough that I can tie them in front and take them back around to the back which I like because when I tie them in a bow at the front it always looks messy.

Pleather obi belt and Vogue 8512 front view

I have tucked the ends in at the back here. It still looks a little messy but so does leaving them untucked, and I certainly don’t want a bow at the back.

Pleather obi belt and Vogue 8512 back view

As well as making the obi belt I also bought a silver metal belt. This particular one came from ASOS but you can find similar ones all over eBay and Amazon. I figure this is plain enough to go with quite a few of my other dresses too.

Asos metal belt and Vogue 8512 front view

Asos metal belt and Vogue 8512 back view

I like them both although it has to be said now I’ve tried them both at work I’ve found the pleather one is more comfortable to wear.


Thanks so much for all the nice comments on my silver version of Vogue 1335. I said I’d post some detail pictures next so here they are.

Welt pockets first. The silver colour is actually a very fine silver and black stripe – probably about a millimetre wide. The stripes made lining up the welt pockets nice and easy, although you can see it’s not perfect. The welt is an even width though; it’s the picture that’s on a slant here.

Silver Vogue 1335 welt pocket detail

Cutting out with those very fine stripes was a pain in the neck. There are a lot of strong horizontal and vertical lines in the design so if the grain was slightly off it really showed. I cut a lot of pieces single layer because of this. It’s still a stripe or two off in places.

I interfaced all the pieces of the top with Vilene G405 to give it plenty of body. Unfortunately it wasn’t until this point that I noticed that my fabric shrinks when pressed. Luckily I’d cut the pieces out with the usual generous 1.5cm home sewing seam allowances so I could afford to lose some of those. However in a few places this design has extra wide seam allowances which are pressed to one side and top-stitched down to give the appearance of bands. I had to reduce the width of the top-stitching slightly because otherwise the fabric shrinkage would have meant I wouldn’t have caught the seam allowances at all.

Here’s the neckband. The upper diagonal line coming out from the neckband looks like a seam but is actually one of the lines of top-stitching. I used Gutermann top-stitching thread so it would really stand out against the fabric. I marked the line with chalk before top-stitching as the seam it has to run parallel to is too far away to be able to simply line up with something on the machine presser foot. You can just see the lining here; it’s acetate/viscose satin from The Lining Company.

Silver Vogue 1335 neck detail

Details of the sleeve bands below. The top and bottom seamlines are more top-stitching. The top-stitching interacts with the stripes in an annoying way where the stitching line is almost but not quite parallel to the stripe: it gives a stepped effect which you can see here on the lowest line of top-stitching. I found that using a smaller stitch length reduced the effect but didn’t eliminate it completely.

Silver Vogue 1335 sleeve detail

I think I’ve done this pattern to death now; between this version and the last it’s been about seven blog posts. I’m aiming to sew a completely new-to-me pattern next.



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