Leftovers: Vogue 1247 skirt

Vogue 1247

I always seem to overestimate how much fabric I need for any project and end up with a piece left over that’s too big to throw away but too small to do a lot with. The skirt from Vogue 1247 (sadly now out of print)  is a great use for such leftovers. I got this one out of a 70cm length of 150cm wide grey denim left over from my Burda 115 12/2009 trousers. Come to think of it, exactly the same thing happened with the leftovers from my previous version of those trousers. The denim was from Truro Fabrics but is now sold out.

Here’s the line art. I have never made the top, but the pattern is worth tracking down for the skirt alone. It is a simple style but beautifully implemented. Most importantly, it has pockets! And they are not an afterthought but an integral part of the design. Incidentally I’ve just noticed that the line art of the back view has a mistake. The zip doesn’t actually run to the top of the waistband. Instead the waistband has an underlap and closes with a hook and bar. The zip stops just below it as you’d expect.

Vogue 1247 line art

The original skirt pattern is seriously short. My version is lengthened by something like six inches. Admittedly I’m pretty tall but I don’t normally have to add length below the waist on any Vogue pattern. The original also has next-to-no ease. If you’re making this, check the finished garment measurements before picking a size; I found I needed to go one bigger than I usually do.

The original skirt has seams finished with bias binding throughout. It’s a beautiful effect but very time consuming to do. It’s much quicker to line the skirt than bind all the seams and in fact I prefer it lined. The first time I made this pattern I did the bound seams but that version of the skirt sticks to my tights and rides up. The lined versions don’t. This one’s lined with a large scrap of black satin lining I had left over from another project. I think it might be The Lining Company’s acetate/viscose satin.

I also used the lining fabric for the front pocket bags. The back pocket bags were cut out of the denim. The original pattern has the back pocket bag pieces cut in one with the skirt yoke but I cut them separately to save fabric. I also interfaced the front yoke just above the pockets to try to avoid any sagging and it seems to have worked.

Vogue 1247

I added some yellow topstitching to this version of the skirt. It’s just about visible in the photos. The grey denim needs the extra interest. I topstitched the yoke seam on the panels before inserting the zip or sewing the side seams so I had to be very careful about matching the topstitching lines up afterwards. Later I realized that I could have done it the other way around, sewing one continuous line of topstitching around the yoke starting and finishing at the centre back zip after I’d put the skirt together completely. This would probably have been easier to do. The eye is drawn to the topstitching and not the seamlines so it also would have disguised any failure to match the seamlines precisely at the side seams and centre back.

Vogue 1247

I expect I’ll make another version of this pattern any time I have a suitable leftover piece of fabric. The pockets are nicely roomy, it’s comfortable to wear, and if you skip the seam binding it’s a pretty fast sew.

Vogue 1247

Notes:

 

  • Vilene H250 interfacing on waistband, zip seam allowances, and front yoke above pockets. It was probably too heavy for the zip allowances.
  • YKK invisible zip, somewhat longer than the original pattern called for
  • Size 90 denim needle for main seams
  • Size 100 denim needle and Gutermann 968 denim gold top-stitch thread for top-stitching
  • Single row of topstitching on yoke seam and hem. Double row on side seams. None on waistband because it’s such a high waisted style it’s not visible

 

Burda 115-09-2012

Never say never again: Burda 115-09-2012

Burda 115-09-2012

Last year I rashly said I was done with a particular pattern – Burda 115-09-2012. I’d made two versions, one silver and one green. Neither was a perfect fit and I was fed up of fiddling with the pattern and wanted to move onto something new. But come 2017 I found myself looking for a pattern for a practical pair of trousers; something with pockets that you can wear with boots and sit on the floor in. It’s much easier to use a pattern you’ve already traced so out came 115-09-2012 for a third try.

Here’s the line art for 115 and the variant style 116. My latest version is a cross between the two styles. They have the same main pattern pieces but differ in details. I took the horizontal  in-seam pockets from 115 and the top-stitching and belt loops from 116. I made the pockets larger than the ones on the pattern in order to be able to fit my phone in.

There are no side seams on this pattern below the hip; the curved panels swoop around to the back and there’s a seam down the back of the leg. I went for contrast top-stitching to make the seam details stand out. The fabric is a lightweight non-stretch grey denim from Truro Fabrics (now sold out) and the top-stitching thread is Gutermann top-stitch in shade 968, “denim gold”. The fabric could have done with being a touch heavier, or perhaps just more tightly woven. I didn’t iron the trousers for the photos, and they’d had two days of wear so they’re a little creased and baggy at the knees.

Burda 115-09-2012

The top-stitching was quite time consuming. It really helped that I had my second machine set up for that so I didn’t have to keep switching thread colours and needles on the main machine. I made good use of the ditch-stitching foot for many of the straight lines, but those back yoke curves had to be free-handed which took a couple of attempts to get right.

Burda 115-09-2012

Here’s a closeup of the front. There’s a little bit of puckering on the waistband seam that I couldn’t quite steam out. It’s only on one side so I guess I accidentally stretched the yoke out there.

Burda 115-09-2012 detail

And the back. I’m pleased with the way it came out.

Burda 115-09-2012 detail

I’m much happier with the fit on these than the previous two pairs. However the pockets are gapping a bit. I wish I’d interfaced the front yoke as that might have helped. I do have things in both pockets in these photos though which contributes to the gapping. People who can manage with trousers without working pockets could sew them shut but I’ll take gappy working pockets over perfect fake ones any time.

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I’m very happy with these. I might even make another pair one day if the right piece of denim comes my way! A few notes:

  • Vilene H250 interfacing on waistband and fly facing
  • Size 90 denim needle for main seams
  • Size 100 denim needle and Gutermann 968 denim gold top-stitch thread for top-stitching
  • Size 90 stretch needle for overlocking
  • YKK 13cm lightweight metal trouser zip (size 3 teeth)
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Vogue 1378 leggings in grey scuba

Vogue 1378 grey scuba side view

There are a lot of garments in this picture – that’s winter for you – but the one this post is about is the grey scuba knit leggings. I cut these out in October and have been sewing them up a tiny bit at a time when the baby is safely asleep. You might think that this is a very long time to take over making a pair of leggings even given that constraint, but in my defence these are not ordinary leggings. There’s a lot of decorative lapped seaming and topstitching which makes them quite a big project. They’re based on the trousers from the discontinued Vogue 1378 Donna Karan pattern. Line art below:

Vogue 1378 line art

You can’t really see it in the line art but the pattern has a vertical opening at the bottom of the leg where those four parallel rows of topstitching are. I’ve always thought that looks a bit odd so I eliminated it. The previous time I made this pattern I did it by overlapping the two pattern pieces for the lower leg and cutting them as one, but I didn’t like the end result because the topstitching fades into the background without a seamline next to it. For this version I cut the two separate pieces but sewed the opening shut by doing the topstitching through both the layers. That way the seam and topstitching matches the other decorative lapped seams in the garment.

Vogue 1378 grey scuba closeup

These are my usual size in Vogue, which is one size down from what the measurement chart would suggest I make. I normally find that works out fairly well. These have zero ease at the hip on me. I had to add some extra width below the knee to make them go over my large calves. I wish I’d taken them in at the ankle because I intended these as leggings not trousers, hence the skirt over the top. The other adjustment I made was to raise the waist. As drafted these came up much lower on me than the intended one inch below the natural waist.

My fabric is a scuba knit from Tissu Fabrics (long since sold out or I’d link it; they have other colours of scuba available though). It was easy to sew but tricky to trim evenly for the lapped seams. You can probably see the edges look a bit ragged in the picture below. It’s also a little too stretchy for the design; I’ve popped a bit of the topstitching since making these. My previous pair in neoprene worked a lot better because it’s that little bit more stable. The neoprene is also thick enough that I can wear that pair without a skirt over the top; the new pair are far too clingy for that.

Vogue 1378 grey scuba back view

So, probably not my most perfect or flattering make but they are warm and washable so I’ve worn them quite a lot since finishing them. You can’t say fairer than that.

Vogue 1378 grey scuba

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In two minds: Drape Drape 2 No 11 one piece dress

Drape drape 2 no 11 bodice closeup

This dress is from the Drape Drape books by Hisako Sato: specifically Drape Drape 2 style number 11. It’s an unusual pattern even by Drape Drape standards: there is only one pattern piece for the whole dress and it’s absolutely gigantic. The logistics of cutting out such a style at home would normally put me right off, but I was looking out for an interesting breastfeeding-friendly pattern that I could make quickly from stash fabric, and this ticked all the boxes. The neckline falls well below the bra band: I’m planning to wear it with a tank top underneath.

It takes nearly two metres of extra wide (165cm) fabric. You also need to cut a rectangular strip of self-fabric to make a casing for the waist elastic and provide a couple of cuff pieces to finish off the sleeves. I have the Japanese language edition of the book and I know no Japanese so I can’t tell what the recommended fabrics for the style are. Going by the pictures the body is done in a very drapey knit; I’d guess a single knit; and the cuffs are some sort of sequinned stretch fabric. I used an extra wide lightweight viscose single knit from Tissu Fabrics that had been lying around in my stash for a couple of years. Amazingly it’s still available for sale here at the time of writing. The cuffs are a doubled piece of the body fabric.

The only place in the house where I could easily make room to spread enough fabric out was the conservatory, which has a tiled floor. Hard on the knees, although it was nice to have lots of light while cutting. I had to pin the pattern piece to the fabric before cutting. Normally I use weights not pins, but I didn’t have enough weights to hold the shifty fabric in place so it was pins or nothing. This wasn’t ideal as they left a few holes in the rather fragile fabric. Transferring the markings was a challenge too. I cut out right side up but needed to mark the waistline casing on the wrong side. I was a bit dubious about using dressmaker’s carbon paper over the hard tiles so I pinned along the casing lines as well as around the pattern edges and then after I’d cut around the edges I flipped the lot over and chalked along the pins marking the casing. I guess tailor tacks would have been a better option but I didn’t have sufficient patience for that!

Sewing was far easier than cutting out. You could easily sew this up in an evening although I did take a couple of shortcuts: it’s not hemmed yet and I skipped making the openings in the overarm seams because in my opinion that feature really reduces wearability.

And here it is. Dressform shots only because my baby has not yet arrived and the waist is not compatible with a bump.

Drape Drape 2 no 11 front
Drape drape 2 no 11 back

It hasn’t come out how I expected. The first peculiar thing is that my version hangs completely differently than the one in the book. In the book version the skirt hangs evenly whereas mine’s really pulling to one side. My fabric has only one-way mechanical stretch which might explain this. Two-way stretch fabric with some lycra would probably have worked better.

The second odd thing is the sleeves. Now admittedly this is probably made worse by choosing insufficiently stretchy fabric, but the left sleeve is incredibly tight; I can’t raise my left arm above shoulder height. The first picture is the left sleeve and the second is the right. Hopefully you can see from the pics that the left sleeve is skinny and grows out of the waistline whereas the right sleeve is wider and starts higher up. It’s hard to say how much of a problem this is right now because it’ll fit me differently once the baby is here, but the sleeve lacks mobility even on the dressform so I’m not optimistic.

Left:

Drape Drape 2 no 11 left sleeve

Right:

Drape Drape 2 no 11 right sleeve

So as yet I don’t know if this is going to be a wearable dress or not. It was fun to make and I’m glad I finally found something to do with the fabric, but I may have to file this in the ‘failed experiments’ pile. Drape Drape often works out like that for me. I have made up a few different ones and they either become huge favourites or never get worn at all. Oddly enough, I’ve even had one pattern turn out both ways when made up in different fabrics. I’ll try to come back with a wearability update on this one at some point.

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Stylearc Toni take two

Stylearc Toni 3/4 view

I don’t repeat patterns very often, but my first Stylearc Toni dress has been such a favourite that I made another. It isn’t a maternity style but it’s roomy enough to work over a bump without too much distortion. I’m trying to make regular patterns with plenty of room on them rather than maternity ones in the hope that they’ll still look OK after the baby arrives.

My original version was made up straight out of the packet but this time I made a few changes. The first dress is a bad length for me: it ends at the widest part of my leg which means I can’t take long strides because the dress is very narrow at the hem and it catches on my calves. That was my fault for not bothering to add any extra length to the pattern. I normally need to add 2-4 inches to dresses. This one’s supposed to end at the bottom of the calf so it probably needed four inches adding if not more. I was a bit short of fabric for the second version, so instead of lengthening it to the intended proportion I shortened it by four inches so it ends just below my knee. I’m really pleased with the way that’s come out. It’s comfortable to walk in and it’s more flattering than my previous version.

Stylearc Toni front view

The fabric is a lightweight viscose woven from Macculloch and Wallis. Right now it’s still available here. It drapes very nicely, which is good for the style, but I used very lightweight interfacing on the collar to go with the fabric and that was a mistake as it’s come out a bit too floppy. This is the same fabric I used the pink colourway of for my first Vogue 1482 dress. It is very comfortable to wear and although it’s lightweight it’s relatively easy to sew.

I lost the pocket piece from the original pattern and had to make a new one. Unfortunately I didn’t make it quite deep enough to be perfect. But any pockets are better than none. The position of the pocket is better on this version because I took out some of the length from the top half of the pattern, raising the pockets up a couple of inches.

Stylearc toni side view

Here’s the back view. Last time I said that the centre back seam could be eliminated, but I’m glad I kept it. I had trouble fitting the collar to the neckline on this version – I probably stretched the neckline out while handling – and having the seam allowed me to fix the mismatch by taking the dress in a little at the top of the centre back.

Stylearc toni back view

Clio made the great suggestion of adding a zip to the centre front seam for breast-feeding access. I increased the seam allowance on the centre front seam to half an inch (or 1.2cm; it was 1cm originally) and interfaced the seamlines to make inserting the zip easier. I also removed the seam allowance from what was originally the centre front seam of the neck facing pieces so I could use the all-machine method of applying facings to the top of the zip and neckline from Kathleen Fasanella’s centered zip tutorial.

Here’s a closeup of the zip, which also shows the collar worn down rather than up.

Stylearc Toni close up

An unexpected bonus: because the only black invisible zip I had on hand was a 24″ one I can put the dress on by stepping into it rather than pulling it over my head.

Since we took these pictures the weather in the UK has turned autumnal and I’ve been wearing this dress with leggings and my grey boiled wool kimono jacket. I’m hoping it will keep going all winter with enough layers. I can even see me making a third version of this one day; I’d like to try it in something really crisp like a cotton poplin to see what happens to those drapes.

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Vogue 1482 purple

Purple peril – Vogue 1482 again

Vogue 1482 purple 3/4 view

I liked my pink Vogue 1482 dress so much I made a second version. This one’s made up from a deep purple crepe de chine from Macculloch and Wallis. It’s a fibre blend I’ve not come across before: 20% silk and 80% acetate. Macculloch and Wallis describe it as having a very matt finish but I think that must mean by comparison to other crepe de chines. It’s not as shiny as a satin but it definitely has a bit of a sheen to it. It also creases as soon as you look at it. I ironed the dress before we took these pictures so you’re seeing it at its best here. The good news is that the creases will drop out on their own if the dress is hung up for a few hours so ironing isn’t strictly compulsory.

I had horrible doubts while sewing this as to whether the fabric was really suitable for the outside of a garment or should be kept for lining (the Selfish Seamstress’s epic rant on the subject has stuck with me) but it seems to have come out OK. And the fabric’s very pleasant to wear and wasn’t any more difficult to sew than any very lightweight fabric.

I cut this one out by laying the pattern on the fabric, chalking around the pattern pieces, and then removing the pattern and cutting along the chalk line. I find this method works better for me on very lightweight fabrics than trying to cut out around the pattern while it’s still on the fabric, which just leads to lots of messy jagged edges.

I used a self-fabric covered button for the back closure. There’s something strangely satisfying about making those up, although I suspect it would rapidly get boring if a garment needed lots of them. Just as with the pink version I had to make the self fabric loop for the back closure much skinnier than the pattern directs. I also meant to shorten the split this time, but forgot. Oh well.

Vogue 1482 back view

The long bias seam across the front has not come out brilliantly on this version. It looks fine when laid flat but there’s quite a bit of rippling when I’m wearing the dress as you can see in the picture below. With 20/20 hindsight it might have been better to stabilize the bias edges with some very lightweight interfacing and sew a conventional seam there rather than the French seam the pattern instructions use. And actually the seam doesn’t need to be on the bias; what I really like about this pattern is the overall shape of it and the pocket, and the pocket could just as well go in a horizontal seam. The seam doesn’t incorporate shaping so would be easy to change. I’d be inclined to make it slightly curved rather than dead straight across if I did change it as I think that would look more flattering.

Vogue 1482 showing bias seam

This version has the same pattern adjustments as the pink one: it’s the size medium with two inches length added at the hem and two inches added on the sleeves, split evenly between the cuff and the sleeve piece. This is a size bigger than I normally make in Vogue but my usual length adjustments. The exact choice of size in this style makes very little difference as it fits where it touches and nowhere else. Perfect for hot weather. I’m also hoping I might be able to keep it going a bit with leggings and a long sleeved t-shirt underneath when the summer finally ends because I love the colour.

Vogue 1482 purple back view

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Should have known better: Burda 127-10-2014

Burda 127-10-2014 front view

Here’s a make that didn’t work out, Burda 127-10-2014. The annoying thing is that most of the problems were entirely predictable, had I thought about the pattern more carefully in advance. But I was carried away by the cute raglan seaming, the exposed zip, the pockets, and the roomy silhouette. Here’s the line art. Have a good look, maybe you’ll see what I missed.

Burda 127-10-2014 line art

It’s basically rectangular, and the bagginess only goes so far in accomodating my current shape, but that’s not the issue. The pockets are nice and big which is a point in its favour. I somehow managed to cut the sleeve bands horribly off-grain which is why they’re twisting, and they were a pain to insert because the polyester crepe I used does not tolerate even the smallest size mismatch. But none of that is the fault of the pattern.

Burda 127-10-2014 pockets

The problem is the shoulder line. Look what happens when I move my arms. The shoulder line creases and the whole dress moves up. The shoulder line is so dropped and curved that there’s no way you can lift your arms and hence the sleeves without lifting the rest of dress. And the shape of the shoulder is quite clear on the line art so this shouldn’t have been a surprise; I just didn’t spot it in advance.

Burda 127-10-2014 pulling

Some of the pulling is clearly being made worse by the distorting effect of my bump. Look at that drag line.

Burda 127-10-2014 pulling

Just for completeness, here’s the back complete with exposed zip. The back is so plain it really needs that zip detail. I’m slightly surprised Burda didn’t repeat the raglan seaming on the back to add a bit of interest.

Burda 127-10-2014 back view

I often have trouble getting the right zip for  a project but for once for once I got lucky. I found this one on eBay. The tape colour is almost an exact match for the fabric and the puller is a bit different: a short chain with a ball on the end rather than the usual zip puller. The back of the dress is so plain it needs all the help it can get. I didn’t do the greatest job inserting the zip but it looks OK from a distance. The neck binding isn’t great either because the fabric I used was a bit too heavy for the pattern and so the binding pattern piece didn’t have enough turn-of-cloth allowance.

Burda 127-10-2014 zip

I am going to put this dress away until after the baby and see if it’s any more comfortable when the bump isn’t taking up all the extra space in it.

Burda 127-10-2014 side view