Courrèges alike

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

Silver skirt: Vogue 2607

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.

Belting up: styling Vogue 8512

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.

Searching for styling pictures

I’m a big fan of Vogue patterns but I find I often have to look past the envelope art to the technical drawing to spot the best ones. The problem is that styling and photography is so subjective! Vogue give us several good clear shots of each pattern they photograph these days but I’m always interested in more views. And of course for the designer patterns there are often runway shots of the same garment to be found on the Internet.

So I started putting together a collection of Vogue pattern photos with other photos of the same garments for my own reference. (See I’m not just idly browsing, I’m doing research.) If anyone’s interested there are links to the designers I’ve done a pattern image hunt for here. It’s all on Pinterest at the moment because that was the quickest way to set it up. Hopefully I’ll add more as I find them.

May the Force be with you: Vogue 8512

Vogue 8512 side view
I’m getting the Star Wars thing out of the way in the title, because there’s no denying this dress is something a Jedi would wear. It’s not just my version though: look at the envelope art below. All the girl in brown needs is a lightsaber to hang off her utility belt. And I can see Princess Leia in the white outfit although obviously she’d have some amazingly elaborate hairdo to go with it.

Vogue 8512 envelope art

Anyway. This is Vogue 8512, a pattern from the Very Easy range that I was given for Christmas when I first started sewing. I don’t think it stayed in print very long; there are only two reviews on Pattern Review which implies it wasn’t particularly popular. It certainly is a simple pattern in its original form: kimono sleeves so nothing to set in, princess seams for easy fitting, and there are only four pattern pieces to worry about as the lining is cut from the same pieces as the dress. The pattern has a zip down the centre back but it’s not needed if you use a fabric with any stretch. I made it up in dark grey doubleknit when I first got it and skipped the lining, substituting a facing around the neck. I never managed to get the neck to stand up as well as the one in the envelope picture though. This was way before the blog but there are some murky photos of that version here and here.

Recently I was going through my stash trying to reduce it a little and found some mocha ponte double knit. I had a plan for it when I bought it, but life moves on and the dress I’d originally intended won’t work for me any more. So I went looking for an alternative pattern with long sleeves, pockets, and a skirt I can cycle in. Nothing completely fit the bill, but Vogue 8512 looked easy enough to alter. I traced it again and altered the pattern to have large pockets in the princess panel. I also extended the sleeves to full length. I then made separate pattern pieces for a lining with facings of the body fabric around the neck, rather than simply reusing the body pieces for the lining.

Vogue 8512 front view

I was also determined to make that boat neck look like the one on the envelope. I interfaced the neck area with some knit fusible, but that didn’t look like it would give enough shape so I also attached two layers of poly organza to the wrong side of the facings before sewing them to the dress. This was not a scientific process: I tore a couple of rectangular strips of approximately the depth of the facing and basted them along the neck seam, letting the bottom edge of the organza hang free. It seems to have worked: the collar stands up on its own. I honestly did not adjust it at all for the photos, and it was a windy day when we took them.

There’s a back zip in this version because despite using a stretch lining (The Lining Company’s stretch poly satin) I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get into it without. It turns out there was no need to bother. But it’s a good invisible zip insertion.

Vogue 8512 back view

The lining was bagged: I’m proud to say there isn’t a stitch of hand sewing in this dress. I didn’t make a perfect job of it; the lining tends to pull on the lower hem a little, hence some of the strange shapes in the pictures above. The sleeve hems don’t seem to have the same problem. But now I’ve figured out the process I’ll do a better job next time.

Although this is certainly a practical dress and I’m going to wear it, styling it is a challenge. It definitely needs a belt. The one above is the best out of the ones I already have, but I think it needs something slightly different so I’m looking for a new one. Right now I’m wavering between canvas webbing or full-on metallic. Suggestions welcome!

Art teacher meet urban warrior: Vogue 1410

Vogue 1410

This is Vogue 1410, a Lynn Mizono pattern described by McCalls themselves as Art-Teacher Chic. I normally aim more for futuristic than artistic, but the adjustable length and drawstring detail in this one really appealed to me so I bought it in the last pattern sale.

Here’s the original for comparison. The only pictures I’ve been able to find of it online are the Vogue envelope art – anyone seen it elsewhere?

Vogue 1410 envelope pictures

I didn’t want to look too much like I knit my own yoghurt (rampant hypocrisy from someone who makes their own clothes I know), so I made this up in black and am wearing it with a pair of wet-look leggings from Topshop which hopefully don’t look too ridiculous.

The suggested fabrics list on the pattern envelope covers quite a range: Stretch Poplin, Seersucker, Silk Dupioni, Lt.Wt. Wool Crepe. That seems to run the gamut from very stiff (dupioni) to very drapey indeed (crepe). I wanted the skirt to have an exaggerated shape so I went for a cotton poplin from Tissu Fabrics. It has 4% lycra which I thought might help with the inevitable creasing you get with cotton but it didn’t. All these pictures were taken after wearing the dress all day so creases abound.

Vogue 1410 back view

The neckline on this dress is really wide. I don’t normally have to adjust that for Vogue patterns, but I wish I had brought it in a little on this one. You can see it gapping in the side view below. I notice that in one of the envelope pictures the shoulder of the dress is falling down the model’s arm, so I presume it’s meant to be like that. The neckline and armscyes are finished with a narrow hem. Another time I would probably change this to binding because I always find binding has the effect of drawing an edge in, whereas narrow hems tend to stretch it out even more.

Having said that I’m pretty pleased with the way the narrow hems came out this time. I’ve never had a lot of success with those in the past. I used the method where you sew a line of stitching close to the edge, crease and press along that line, and then turn the edge up once more over that, press, and stitch. The pattern suggested something slightly different but I find this one works best for me.

Vogue 1410 side view

The dress length is adjustable. There are buttonholes in the seam allowances at the end of the side seams, and three pairs of buttons sewn into the side seams on the inside of the dress so you can loop the hem up to different heights. Above I’m wearing the dress with the hem buttoned to the middle pair of buttons. The shortest length is too short on me, and the second longest one isn’t particularly flattering so no pictures of those. But here it is unbuttoned completely. I doubt I’ll wear it like this much, but it makes an interesting shape.

Vogue 1410 full length

The back shaping is unusual. You sew a pair of very square pleats on the outside of the dress front and back. The front ones get pulled in by the drawstring, but the back ones stick out like fins. A few people who have made this have stitched the back pleats down to the dress, which looks nice, but I’ve left mine sticking out. I interfaced both the front and back pleats to make them good and sharp.

Vogue 1410 full length back view

I added side seam pockets. They ended up a bit low because I didn’t want to interfere with the button placement; they’re where that big shadow is in the picture below. The dress is french seamed throughout so I had to find out how to do french seamed pockets. This tutorial from Deborah Moebes was very helpful.

This is a seriously quick sew. Even with the french seams and adding pockets I managed to make this in a day.

Vogue 1410 full length side view

So, the final question: is it art teacher or urban warrior? Or a bit of both?

Vogue 1410


After making four knit dresses in a row I finally feel like tackling a woven project. I am also still in need of interesting clothes that I can cycle in. I’ve been gradually improving my cycle friendly wardrobe over the last year, but I find myself wearing my Burda jeans a minimum of once a week. And then I need tops to go with them. Putting on a dress involves so much less thought than finding separates that go together.

Clearly the answer has to be a jumpsuit. All the convenience of trousers with the simplicity of a dress. Surely that makes up for the aggravation of having to take it off when going to the toilet.

So I went looking for patterns. This is the one that first caught my eye, from Burda April 2014.

burda 107-04-2014 tech drawing

I like the fact that it’s fairly smart, but that notched collar looks complicated. I’ve never made one, and tackling it for the first time with only Burda instructions for help probably isn’t going to produce a polished result.

Then there’s this one from Ralph Pink.

Ralph Pink jumpsuit tech drawing

I’ve seen a great version of this from Kazz the Spazz (sadly no longer blogging). I really like the style (click on the link, Kazz looks amazing in hers) but I’ll admit that the fact it’s a PDF pattern puts me off. I don’t mind tracing at all but I hate assembling A4 sheets.

I’m also not convinced I could do a good enough job with the fly on this one. The instructions say something brief at the end along the lines of ‘attach buttons and work buttonholes in your fly to match’. I’m not sure it works to wait until the very end to make buttonholes in a fly; wouldn’t you want to do it before the whole thing was assembled? Kazz left her buttons off altogether but I’d be worried about the whole thing falling open if I did that! I think this might be a pattern to leave until I’ve got some more experience.

Burda have produced many jumpsuit patterns over the last few years.

burda-103-10-2010 tech drawing

This is Burda 103-10-2010. It looked considerably less boxy in the model photo where it was made up in grey silk and worn with a belt. I think I’d take off the breast pockets. Who needs pockets right over their boobs?

burda-119-05-2010 tech drawing

And this is 119-05-2010. I like the elasticated ankles. This was styled as a safari look in the magazine. I think this one needs the pocket flaps to make the style work, but I’m not keen on sewing fiddly details that are not functional. Yes, I’m very lazy.

And finally the one I’m actually planning to make, Burda 130-09-2011.

burda-130-09-2011 tech drawing

I like the casual drapiness of this style and the turnups at the wrists and ankles. There are no really fussy details. It’s not very fitted, which is probably a good thing as I’ve changed shape a bit and will be trying a new size in Burda in future. The plan is to make it up in a brown cupro fabric I have that looks like washed silk. Fingers crossed!