I have lots of sewing plans for 2022 and very little wardrobe space. It’s time to purge some things I don’t wear any more. And as I still haven’t finished my Montana coat, here’s a blog post about the garments I’m getting rid of instead.
First up is my Vogue 8956 skirt. Sadly I don’t have a great photo of it because being made of black wool flannel it soaks up the light. This back view is about the best.
But to give a better idea of the shape, here’s the model photo. Very Vivienne Westwood.
I’m getting rid of it because it’s no longer fit to be seen. The fabric was beautiful but it wore badly; fuzzing and shrinking when washed. I also made a mistake in swapping the pattern’s suggested narrow hem for a deep faced hem with interfacing that was too heavy for the design. And I attached a lining to the hem. The shell and lining fabric shrank at different rates, the lining pulled on the hem, the hem facing descended, and the whole thing became very sad indeed. It sounds like a disaster, but before all this happened it was a dramatic yet very practical skirt that I wore a lot. It even got compliments at work.
One day I’ll make the pattern again, but this time I’ll keep the lining free from the shell and not interface the hem.
The second one is a pair of Oxford bags made in the same black wool flannel and the same shrinking happened. They are Burda 118 09/2015.
They were always a touch too short. I’d made the pattern once before and they’d turned out slightly long and a little big in the waist. So when I repeated it I took the waist in and shortened the leg, not taking into account that the smaller waist would make them sit higher. Again they had a lot of wear, and as I washed them they got shorter and shorter and more and more fuzzy. After a few years they looked disgraceful so I stopped reaching for them.
I guess the moral is don’t wash wool flannel. I still have the original, slightly too long, pair of these in my wardrobe. Wearing them with braces has cured the length issue. I may make the pattern again when that pair wears out.
The next one, by contrast, hardly got worn at all. This is Burda 110 08/2017 and when I’d just finished it I was really enthusiastic about it.
But once I started wearing it I realised that it wasn’t as comfortable as I’d thought. It’s made in a very stretchy, lightweight viscose jersey and the skirt has a ruched section. The bodice isn’t stable enough to support the weight of the skirt so it pulls down, and the ruching on the skirt sags at the front. Every time I saw it in the mirror I found myself adjusting the skirt. Perhaps the skirt needed to be tighter to hold the ruching- but then it would be hard to walk in. I think this would have worked better in a different fabric, but I’m not sure what. Maybe lycra jersey? And the bodice needs a second layer. This got very few wears and I don’t miss it now it’s gone. I am curious though: what sort of fabric makes these ruched designs work? I have a couple of old Donna Karan Vogue patterns in my collection with similar ruching, and I have read pattern reviews where people complained about the same sagging.
The last one is yet another Burda, 116 04/2014. It was the last project I completed before lockdown. It photographs well but has a fundamental design flaw.
If you look at the collar and placket there is a inward right angle corner where they join; the collar doesn’t extend across the top of that placket like you’d expect. This is a terribly weak point: you have two stable interfaced bands, the collar and the placket, meeting at right angles at an uninterfaced edge of the bodice. It frayed and tore.
So sadly that one has had to be retired after not a lot of use. It was also a little difficult to style. It isn’t warm enough on its own for most UK weather and it looks odd with a layer underneath the top. And for hot weather I have other summer dresses I prefer – this one is a bit too short for wearing with bare legs. I think the design might work better in black, with the collar fixed, but I didn’t love it enough that I want to make it again.
So that’s made a little space for some new things. I have some patterns lined up I’m really excited about.