Child’s silver bomber jacket: Burda 133 4/2017

Normally the person wearing silver clothes in this household is me. But not this little jacket. This is for my pre-school aged son. One of his heroes is Andy Day, the lead singer of Andy and the Oddsocks, who wears a silver bomber jacket on stage. My son was rummaging through my fabric box and found a piece of silver foiled lycra exactly like the fabric Andy’s jacket is made from, so it had to be done.

The pattern is Burda 133 04/2017, somewhat simplified. No way was I making welt pockets in stretchy lycra fabric.

Technical drawing of Burda 133 04/2017
Burda 133 04/2017 technical drawing, burdastyle.ru

It’s fully lined in white mesh fabric. Seems like overkill for a costume but the lycra is pretty flimsy. I ended up bagging the lining so no hand sewing required.

Inserting the zip looked like it might be a challenge. I used strips of interfacing along the front opening and sewed really carefully. It’s come out quite well.

But I’m kicking myself for not trimming the seams closely enough around the collar. I could open the lining back up and fix it…but I won’t. And I didn’t top stitch the zip either.

Back view for completeness. I’m pleased with the colour of the ribbing against the silver. The ribbing and the zip had to be bought online and colours are always a bit of a gamble when you do that, but this time it worked out.

Incidentally I think there is a mistake in the pattern for the ribbing pieces. The measurements given in the magazine for the cuff piece are far too small; you’d have to stretch it an amazing amount to get it into the sleeve. Luckily I noticed when tracing, and made them quite a bit longer. Other than that it’s a good pattern. And I swear Burda’s instructions are better than they used to be. I had no problems making this up.

I’m very pleased with how it came out. But despite measuring my son and making a size up from what I thought he needed, it’s still only just big enough. I swear they grow when you’re not looking.

This isn’t our first Andy homage. Previously we made the Gizmo prop from his TV show Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures…and then we made the one from Andy’s Wild Adventures too. I just need Andy to branch out into literature now, as that way I’d have the dreaded World Book Day costume covered well in advance.

Silver trousers again: Vogue 1347

Work on the Merchant and Mills Strides trousers continues. But here’s a trouser pattern I recently finished instead.

Long time readers of this blog know I have a thing for silver trousers. I usually have at least one pair in my wardrobe and they get a lot of wear. Recently I’ve changed shape – I lost weight while sick – and my clothes no longer fit. Things should return to normal soon but in the meantime I need some trousers that don’t fall down. Enter the bottoms from Vogue 1347, wide leg trousers with a drawstring waist. No link to the pattern because this one is out of print, although it’s often available second hand on eBay and Etsy. Here’s the line drawing.

Vogue 1347 line drawing, McCalls

The lines of the trousers are pretty simple but this is a Ralph Rucci designer pattern so the finishing is amazing. If you followed the pattern instructions closely you’d get an absolutely exquisite garment: fully lined without an exposed seam allowance anywhere. I’m afraid I didn’t bother with the lining at all, and my seam allowances are finished with the overlocker. I’ve never seen such comprehensive instructions for lining trousers with a fly front anywhere else though, so I may come back to the pattern in future just for that.

I always find things drop out of inseam pockets on trousers so I added zips to mine. And I couldn’t be bothered to make a long skinny drawstring out of self fabric so mine is an acrylic cord. The fabric itself is Lady McElroy Uttoxeter, a black and white tonic twill that looks silver from a distance. It’s no longer available anywhere I’ve looked but this particular piece came from Sherwoods Fabrics.

And now the obligatory back view, because this is a sewing blog after all. I’m standing up straighter than I usually would which I think explains the folds. They have plenty of room anyway, and would even if I was at my normal size. I normally need to go up one size for the hips in most sewing pattern size charts, but this pattern has so much ease built in I didn’t bother when I traced it. I added 5cm to the length, as I usually do with Vogue, and they’ve come out just above floor length which is perfect. The hem allowance is a huge 8cm so there is a lot of wiggle room even without lengthening the pattern but I wanted to be sure to have a deep hem.

I’m really pleased with these. They are a lovely shape and I like that they have a proper fly front despite the adjustable waist; it makes me feel slightly more dressed up. And it’s so nice to have something that fits.

Thanks to my husband for the photos.

Remember this? Burda 114 11/2019 quilted coat modelled photos

This was going to be my new winter coat. Only I didn’t finish sewing it until after lockdown started and we were only allowed out for really essential things – blog photos definitely didn’t count! Things have eased up a bit now.

The pattern is Burda 114 11/2019, made up in an unusual black and white tonic fabric that reads as silver at a distance. It’s a Lady McElroy fabric called Uttoxeter, but I don’t think they’re making it any more because it’s not been available anywhere I’ve looked lately. It’s a shame because it’s lovely fabric and it’s my favourite colour. I went back and bought the end of the roll from the company that supplied me with the first lot, so I still have some in stash for future projects.

I haven’t had many chances to wear this yet but so far it’s proved quite practical. And it looks like I’d imagined it which is a bonus. It’s very roomy and the pockets are nice and deep. It’s warm too, although I’ll have to wait for winter to see if it completely replaces my long wool coat.

I’m glad to finally get photos of this project on me. It feels like it’s finally finished, after almost six months. Thanks to my husband for braving the park in the rain to take them.

Burda 121 04 2020

Burda 121 04/2020 draped t-shirt

Burda 121 04 2020

This top was a very quick sew. A bit of gathering, four seams, and four hems. It is Burda 121 04/2020 – it’s not often I make up a Burda pattern in the same month the magazine is dated. I am not first off the mark though – check out Sonja’s stylish all black version. And here is Burda’s version.

The cut is unusual, with the same pattern piece used for both front and back. This sort of thing can be very hit or miss in my experience. I’ve made similar designs from the Japanese Drape Drape books and they’ve either become firm favourites or never been worn at all – there is one Drape Drape t shirt I have tackled three times without producing a wearable garment yet. But this Burda one does work. I’ve worn it twice already.

It’s not completely perfect. The problem area is the neckline, which is too tight for a cowl neck and too loose for a boat neck. It doesn’t seem to know quite where to sit. Mine tends to fall backwards and so I end up showing off a bit of back.

Burda 121 04 2020

I sewed this entirely on the sewing machine. If you’re super accurate you could use an overlocker for the construction seams, but I’m not and there didn’t seem to be any point setting it up just to finish the seams in a completely non fraying fabric. I even did the hems on the sewing machine with a twin needle. I haven’t had great success with that in the past but this time I added a bit of lightweight knit interfacing to the edges which helped a lot.

The proportions aren’t quite what I was expecting, although I like them. Burda only shows it on a seated model where it appears to stop around the hip bone. It’s definitely longer than that on me. I made my usual length adjustments so possibly this one just comes up long.

Burda 121 04 2020

I don’t think I’m likely to make this again – it’s perfect for the current warm weather but I certainly don’t need two of them. It’s a great little pattern though. It could easily be adjusted to have full length sleeves or even lengthened into a minidress.

Burda 121 04 2020

And now for something a little different

Burda 121 04 2020

Continuing with the blogging about frivolous sewing, because I need a break from thinking about the real world. This unusual t-shirt design is from the April 2020 Burda. It’s style 121 which is the Trend pattern for the month. It reminds me of various Vivienne Westwood designs, and also some of the Drape Drape patterns. Here’s the technical drawing.

Burda 121 04 2020

The pattern is unusual in that there is only one pattern piece. It is cut twice, but with both pieces oriented the same way up, not mirrored as pattern pieces are normally cut. Here is the pattern piece. I’ve made my usual length additions so it’s not quite shaped like Burda’s.

The model photo made me think of a piece of fabric that’s been lurking in my stash for a long time. It’s a lightweight single knit with wide grey and black stripes, and a silver glitter coating over that on the right side which makes it look like dark and light silver stripes. I bought it on Goldhawk Road many years ago and foolishly only got 1.5m. Even though it was a generous cut that worked out more like 1.8m I’ve never found anything to do with it – if I’d bought a little bit more I would have had loads of options. The Burda pattern calls for 2.1m but that is for a with-nap layout. By rotating the pattern piece 180 degrees before cutting the second copy I was able to get it out of the shorter length.

I know in general one should always use a with-nap layout for knits, especially ones with a sheen, but I think this pattern is busy enough that any difference between front and back will be lost in the noise.

Anticlimax? Burda 114 11/2019 finished

It doesn’t look much different from the pictures in the last couple of posts, but my Burda 114 11/2019 quilted coat is finally finished.

The big change since last time is that new vertical line of top stitching down the front. It’s sewn right at the end, through all the layers, and goes from level with the top of the zip right to the hem. This holds the lining and facing in place – there was no need to understitch the lining on that side of the zip at all! And if you recall it was my attempt to understitch which led to the whole thing getting jammed in the sewing machine. I should have just followed Burda’s instructions in the first place.

I haven’t been able to get modelled photos yet. This has been such an involved project that I really want to do them in a location that’s more interesting than my back garden, but as we all know that won’t be possible for a while yet. But I do have some detail shots.

The closure has a zip and snaps too. No wind is going to sneak through that front opening.

Sewing on the snaps seemed to take forever. They’ve come out neater than I usually manage. Maybe I’m getting the hang of hand sewing at last.

The zip is two way but I’m not entirely sure it needs to be. There’s plenty of room even with the zip done right up.

At the moment I can’t quite believe I’ve finally finished it. It’s come out pretty much how I imagined it, but I’m completely unable to judge how successful it is as a garment because I’m not likely to have an opportunity to wear it until next winter now. And I’m very conscious of the less than perfect bits. It feels bit weird after all that effort. I’m hoping I’ll be delighted and surprised with it when I pull it out of the wardrobe in October.

Standards for success

Comic courtesy of XKCD

OK so the comic is about computers, but the moral applies equally well to sewing projects. The coat project continues, but standards are slipping.

Here’s what it looked like when I was trying to sew in the lining. That didn’t go too badly, so I turned the coat right side out and tried it on. And the zip got promptly got caught on the lining. So there I was, wearing a duvet, and unable to take it off. I eventually managed to wriggle out and extract the lining from where the zip puller was trying to eat it, and decided to understitch both sides of the zip to keep the lining and facing well away from the puller. Which meant all that bulk ended up on the right, stuffed under the harp of the sewing machine. This was a bad idea.

I got to a point where the whole thing got completely wedged. I couldn’t lift the presser foot because the lever was hidden in a tangle of wadding. I couldn’t pull the jammed fabric either forwards or back without risking damaging the machine because something was well and truly caught around the needle shank. I seriously considered getting a screwdriver and taking the whole shank off.

After much careful pushing and pulling I got it out, at the cost of a small snag on the the fabric. Luckily it’s right under the arm so it doesn’t show. And my machine seems to have survived the experience.

There was no way I was going to be able to complete the under-stitching to the top of the zip, so I pressed it all as hard as I dared and so far the zip hasn’t jammed again. But after all that I didn’t feel like rearranging the room to take pictures with a clean backdrop! So here it is quickly slung on the dressform surrounded by a pile of clutter. The lining isn’t attached to the neck or armscye seams nor have I sewn any of the hems yet.

The collar needed a little bit of reshaping from the pattern; the edges looked slightly concave near the points so I shaved a bit off. I think it looks OK now.

So I’m still plugging away. I’m definitely making something simpler next!

Quilting fix

Well I for one need a distraction from external events right now, so I’m going to keep on blogging about my coat, trivial though it is.

Thanks so much for all the advice and support about my quilting error. In the end I decided to go with susew’s idea of repeating the quilting lines close together down to the hem. I really liked the idea of doing the double line on the sleeves but I didn’t want to unpick the sleeve seams and I didn’t think I’d get it sewn without the layers shifting if I sewed it in the round. The new hem quilting lines aren’t entirely flat either but being lower down I hope it isn’t obvious.

The hem isn’t turned up here but when it is there won’t be that gap at the bottom; the fold line is placed at the same distance from the last line of quilting as the space between the lines.

The actual quilting was a bit of a challenge. I didn’t want to rip the side seams in order to quilt each piece separately, so I laid the whole thing flat and drew the guidelines across the entire width of the coat, with chalk this time not pencil, so I had a chance to correct any mistakes. Then I fed it through the machine, using a walking foot to try to reduce creep between layers. It worked pretty well; there’s a little bit of puckering where the stitching crosses the side seams but it’s liveable with.

It looks amazingly wonky below but it’s much better when viewed from a more normal distance.

The seamline that got crossed second is slightly worse for puckering.

I’ve also figured out what’s going on with the vertical quilting line that is present on the technical drawing but didn’t seem to be marked on the pattern. Summer Flies spotted it: it’s sewn right at the end, along the line of the zip, through all the layers, so it’s correct that my coat hasn’t got it at this stage.

I’ve started sewing the facings. Here’s my coat chain basted to the back facing piece. Really pleased with how nicely that’s worked out.

And here it is with the facings laid in place but not yet sewn on. I need to construct the lining too.

Feels like the finish is still a long way away!

Spot the mistake

Progress on Burda 114 11/2019 continues, slowly. I have the body constructed now. But can you see the mistakes?

Here’s the line drawing for comparison.

I missed the vertical quilting line down the front completely. Oddly it doesn’t seem to be marked on the pattern, or maybe I missed it when I traced. It’s not shown on the diagram of the pattern pieces either, which does include the horizontal lines.

I also put the lowest horizontal line in the wrong place on the front pieces. I unpicked it but I couldn’t get the markings out of the fabric, so I ended up restitching the quilting along both the wrong and the right lines. As it’s the lowest line I think it looks like an accent rather than a mistake, but maybe I’m kidding myself.

The fabric is nice and shiny. Here it is with flash. Sparkly. I’m so glad I ended up with this fabric and not my first choice; this one can tolerate a lot of pressing which has been essential to tame the batting around all the seams.

Setting the sleeves in was a battle. Usually I just pin strategically and then sew without bothering to gather the sleeve heads or baste, but these involved several rounds of basting, ripping, and basting again to get them in smoothly. It was just like how I remember setting sleeves always went when I first started sewing. So maybe if I make a load more of these coats I’ll get the hang of it, heh.

Funnily enough the second one went in much more easily than the first. They look like they need shoulder pads here but I think they are better on a body than the dress form.

In other news I finally found a nice coat chain, after being disappointed with the Prym ones that are most readily available. If anyone else is looking, the Hemline brand ones look good but I eventually ended up with a no name one from eBay that was exactly what I wanted and cost about a pound.

Anyway I’m having a few days break from the coat while I recover from those sleeves. Maybe I’ll go back and add the missing front quilting next week.

Quilting my coat

The next step on my Burda 114 11/2019 coat is quilting the batting to the shell fabric. I was a bit dubious about doing it without a layer of something underneath the batting to help it feed through the machine, so I took my calico toile to pieces and used that. It worked really well; no problems feeding at all and very little shifting of the layers.

The problem was deciding what thread to use. Burda’s instructions don’t recommend anything different to the usual sewing thread. I thought I might use top-stitching thread to make the lines stand out a bit more. I tried a few sample lines of Gutermann top-stitching thread on scraps and it looked very heavy. I then tried regular Gutermann sew-all thread and it looked too light.

I’d read on Fiona’s blog that she prefers to top stitch with extra-strong rather than top-stitching thread because it’s a little bit finer, so I got my hands on a spool of that. It makes a nice medium line, but after comparing all my tests I went back to the original plan of using the heavy top-stitching thread to make a really bold contrast. Here are my samples.

Once I’d decided on the thread the quilting itself went smoothly – or at least as smoothly as possible given the bulk and size of the pieces. Quilting blanket-sized pieces must be a real challenge! I can see why quilters need those long arm sewing machines.

I marked the sewing lines with an HB pencil because it gives a sharp line that shows up against the fabric but is close though to the base fabric colour not to be very obvious. I then pinned the layers together along the lines with a lot of extra long pins rather than hand basting, and added a few more pins around the edges. The pinholes press out easily on this fabric once the pins are removed.

And finally I sewed along the lines, rolling up the section of the piece on the right side of the line so that I could fit it under the machine. Quilting the whole coat took me a couple of hours. That includes marking, stacking, and pinning the pieces but not cutting them out.

Now all I have to do is sew the pieces together. Watch this space.