Black Burda jumpsuit

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!

Utility clothing: Burda 130-09-2011

Burda 130-09-2011 front closeup

So I made a jumpsuit. This is Burda 130-09-2011, which in the magazine looked like this:

Burda 130-09-2011 magazine photo

Mine is considerably less glamorous. I suppose I could have styled it with heels, but that wasn’t really practical for taking photos by the lake. And it does feel more like a garment that should be paired with a headscarf, or possibly goggles and a biplane. I’ll spare you the pictures of me trying and failing to do the classic Rosie the Riveter pose though.

This is made from a very silky cupro twill from Maculloch and Wallis. It looks like sandwashed silk. At the time of writing it’s available here in a few different colours. It feels beautiful, but it’s an odd fabric to sew with. It marks if you so much as look at it. I started out being very careful and pressing it only on the wrong side, and rapidly gave up on that because the iron marked it no matter what I did. But the funny thing is that all the marks vanished after a day or two. I’d just about resigned myself to them and now I can’t see them at all.

I used a blue tip size 70 needle to sew it, and even changed the overlocker needles to size 70 to match. I also used a lot of lightweight interfacing. The pattern has you interface the waistband and the seam allowances around the side zip, but I also interfaced the self facings and the pocket edges. That helped with getting nice sharp edges and I think it made the very wide top stitching around the facings easier to do.

Burda 130-09-2011 front full length

This is a regular-sized pattern. It runs fairly true to size. I made my normal length adjustments but that was all. By the way, when cutting this one out watch out for the hem allowances! Burda magazine patterns normally have neither seam nor hem allowances included. This one has the hem allowances included but no seam allowances. It sounds insane, but makes a certain amount of sense given that you’re supposed to make turn ups of a particular size at the wrists and ankles. I didn’t bother and just rolled them up. Once I’ve figured out how long I want the legs and arms to be I may sew them in place, but they seem to behave OK as they are.

The back bodice pleat is a nice design feature, but is entirely non-functional as it’s stitched shut along the whole length. I could do with a little extra room in the back so I might unpick that.

Burda 130-09-2011 back view

The sleeves are interesting. The shoulder is very extended and has a small pleat at the top which gives it an unusual shape. There isn’t a lot of sleeve cap but you do still have to set them in.

Burda 130-09-2011 side view

This was definitely a pattern where I needed to follow the instructions carefully. There were a couple of steps where they seemed to make very little sense, but if you do exactly what Burda says it does all work out in the end. The construction of the pleats and front facings is particularly pleasing because you end up with a very clean finish inside and the facings all firmly top stitched in place.

For a garment that claims to have a relaxed fit, it’s not an entirely fuss-free wear. I find myself adjusting the bodice quite a bit. I haven’t actually worn this out of the house yet other than for these photos. But it’s going to the pub tonight and I might try it at work next week. At some point I will definitely report back on the wearability of all these Burda patterns.

Burda 130-09-2011 side view closeup