Again, again, again: Vogue 1247

I don’t normally find that sewing clothes is any cheaper than buying them, but this project is one of the exceptions. The pattern is one I’ve made several times before: a modified version of the skirt from Vogue 1247 (previous versions: green, silver knit, grey). The fabric is the scraps left over from my silver jeans. I had plenty of suitable top stitching thread to go with it left too.

The technical drawing for the pattern is below but my version has some changes.

Vogue 1247 line art

I am trying to use more things from my stash, and amongst my zips I had a metal one of about the right length with a large silver decorative puller. It was a good match for the fabric but there was no way I wanted the puller digging into the small of my back, so I moved the zip to the side seam.

Close up of zip

The puller meant it had to be installed as an exposed zip. I used a lot of Wonder Tape to hold the zip in place while I stitched it because you can’t pin or baste this fabric anywhere it might show!

I wasn’t sure what to do about the waistband. Previous versions I’ve made of this skirt have an invisible zip which stops just below the waistband, and a hook and bar closure on the waistband itself. I couldn’t find a picture of an exposed zip installed like that, but I was worried that it wouldn’t stay closed without the help of an additional closure at the top; the waistband is close fitting and so takes a lot of strain. In the end I stopped the zip just under the waistband and made a small overlap on the waistband with a hook and bar to hold it. Seems to work and looks fine.

Another change I made was to add a centre front seam and top stitching along it and the yoke seam. The front of the skirt is very plain and I thought it needed something to break up the expanse of shiny silver.

Silver skirt with centre front seam

Here’s a back view. Yes it needs pressing, but on the other hand this is how it really looks after I’ve been sitting down.

The reason I keep going back to this style is the pockets. They are well placed and nice and big. I’ve got my purse, keys, and phone in them in the modelled photos.

I had a lot of trouble figuring out how to style this. I thought black would look too stark against the silver and so tried various grey tops and tights, but they all looked wrong. It would probably work with a white top and bare legs but the UK is well into autumn now so that’s not going to be an option for a long time. The black top and tights seems to be the best option.

Modelled photos taken by my husband; flat ones by me.

Burda 103 07 2010

Full on Cyberman silver jeans

I’ve made various pairs of silver jeans over the years, but never in fabric quite this reflective. It’s a foiled stretch denim from a new-to-me company, Top Fabric. I found it in their online shop a while ago but ummed and aahed about it for quite some time because it’s quite pricey and narrow enough that my favourite jeans pattern would need at least two metres. Anyway I was lucky enough to get fabric money for my birthday, so here are the ultimate silver jeans.

Burda 103 07 2010 front

The pattern started life as Burda 103b 07/2010 but I’ve made it five or six times over the years and tweaked here and there each time. The most dramatic change is probably lowering the waist by a couple of inches. The original pattern is astonishingly high waisted; something I often find with Burda trousers. I also added the back pockets to the pattern at some point. Looking at this version I think they need to be a bit larger and closer to the centre back seam. Maybe I’ll fix that next time.

Burda 103 07 2010 back

One thing I really like about this design is the extra panel down the side of the leg. It’s just about visible in the picture below.

Burda 103 07 2010 side

The top stitching caused much agonising over thread choice. I went with a very light grey and it seems to have worked well. I did the buttonhole and bartacks for the belt loops in regular thread in the same shade. I find I get a much better result that way; neither of my machines likes making dense zigzags in thick thread. The rest of the stitching and seam finishing was done with black thread because the base fabric is black.

Burda 103 07 2010 front closeup

The fabric is a bit more difficult to work with than regular stretch denim. You can’t unpick without leaving marks and the foil surface is very slippery. I used Wonder Tape instead of pins to hold things in place while sewing the fly front and back pockets because pin marks would have been very visible.

Burda 103 07 2010 back closeup

The fit isn’t perfect in that I have my usual problem of folds under the bum. But I have only worn these for try ons so far. I find the fit on skinny jeans improves after a bit of wearing time. My gold jeans had the same problem when I made them and now they’re much better. The silver ones currently feel quite tight but again I expect they’ll ease up with wear.

I’m hoping these will be very versatile. I’m wearing them with a t shirt here but I think they’ll also work with a big white shirt, and worn under either of the white dresses I’ve made recently when the current heat wave finally breaks. And I think I have just enough scraps of the fabric left to make a Vogue 1247 skirt too. Silver is a neutral, right?

Burda 103 07 2010 front

The results are in: topstitching thread for silver fabric

Thanks everyone for all the advice about picking top stitching thread for bright silver fabric! I washed a bit of the fabric, and then did some samples of the best two thread colours so far. Lefthand fabric is unwashed; top row of stitching Gutermann topstitch 40, bottom row Gutermann topstitch 38. Righthand fabric is washed; top two rows are the Gutermann 40 and the bottom row the Gutermann 38.

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Rather to my surprise, the lighter thread (Gutermann 38) looks slightly better on both. The fabric has held up fairly well to washing considering I put it in with a regular wash. I’d normally wash something like this on a gentle cycle. It’s darkened and picked up a few crease marks, which is about what I expected. Not like a previous silver fabric I had where I washed it once and it came out black…

Several people suggested trying out more unexpected colours than grey and I was really tempted, but I haven’t had any spare time to visit a bricks and mortar shop with a fabric sample. And I wanted to get on with sewing the actual garment, so in the end I went with the 38. Here’s what it looks like so far.

Top stitching on silver fabric

Not my greatest ever topstitching, but you can’t unpick on this fabric at all, and it’ll look fine from a normal distance. I find going round the pocket edges on jeans at an even width is surprisingly difficult, even when I chalk a line to follow. It’s very difficult to see the chalk on the reflective surface and I resorted to using black chalk, which has rubbed off on the topstitching thread and darkened it slightly so I might as well have used the Guterman 40 after all. Oh well. I think I have enough fabric left to make a little skirt, so I might yet experiment with a pink or a purple thread!

Top stitching thread colours

I have some very special fabric in the sewing queue right now. It’s a stretch denim with a shiny silver foil finish and is destined to become skinny jeans. I’ve made a few pairs of silver jeans before, but never from fabric quite this reflective. And the question is, what to do about top stitching? I’ve always used a black or a dark grey thread on silver before, but this fabric is so bright that those will be highly contrasting. I want top stitching with a bit of definition, so that the garment looks like jeans and not trousers, but the fabric should be the star and not the stitching.

Here’s a collection of top stitching threads against a swatch of the fabric.

Silver fabric sample with various top stitching threads

Left to right: Gutermann Topstitch 000 (ie black), Gutermann Topstitch 36, Gutermann Topstitch 701, Coats Duet Extra Strong 4009, Gutermann Topstitch 38.

It’s clear to me that two lightest shades are best, but the Coats seems too dark and the Gutermann too light. The pictures only give a vague idea because the fabric can look anything from white to almost black depending how the light catches it. Normally the rule with thread choice is to go with the darker shade if in doubt, but I’m not so sure here. I’ve looked for images of garments made in similar fabric and am none the wiser as to what shade the top stitching is because they are all taken from too far away.

I acquired an intemediate shade of Gutermann thread, and realised that I ought to be looking at one strand of thread against the fabric rather than the whole spool:

Various grey topstitching threads against silver foiled denim

Left to right: Gutermann Topstitch 000 (black), Gutermann Topstitch 36, Gutermann Topstitch 701, Coats Duet Extra Strong 4009, Gutermann Topstitch 40, Gutermann Topstitch 38.

The new one is the second right, and that still seems too dark and too blue in shade and the rightmost one too light.

Here are those two on their own.

Gutermann topstitch thread colours 40 and 38

Left: Gutermann Topstitch 40. Right: Gutermann Topstitch 38.

I still can’t decide. I think once I’ve cut the fabric I’ll have to do stitching samples on the scraps. Anyone else had this problem? Did you go darker or lighter, and were you happy with it?

Style Arc Hedy dress

Stylearc Hedy dress front

Remember the 80s? Big baggy tunic tops worn over leggings, a triangular silhouette, lots of lycra. This is the Style Arc Hedy dress, and it would fit right in there. For me it was love at first sight.

Absolutely the best thing about this dress is that it has pockets cleverly integrated into the design. They’re standard inseam pockets but the way they are placed in the curved front seams means they hang very well and don’t mess up the lines of the dress.

Stylearc Hedy dress front

I made this in a shiny grey mystery knit bought on Goldhawk Road last year. I don’t know what you’d call it. It’s a fairly stable doubleknit construction but the hand is very drapey and slippery, and it’s shinier than most of the “scuba” knits I’ve seen. There was a lot of the stuff around at the time; I saw it in several different shops and lots of colours were available. It washes well and needs no ironing at all. It’s completely artificial fibre but I guess in the right light it could double for silk jersey. Come to think of it, this pattern would be amazing made up in silk jersey. Love those seamlines.

Stylearc Hedy dress back

Here’s a better look at the underlying shape. The dress comes in two lengths and this is the shorter, “knee-length”, version. I deliberately didn’t make any pattern adjustments so it is not a surprise that it came out pretty short – I normally add between two and four inches length to most dress patterns. I like the proportion as it is though. I think the pattern runs true to size although with so much ease it’s hard to tell. Anyway I made the size closest to my measurements rather than going down one as I do with Big Four.

Stylearc Hedy dress front wide

It’s a fairly easy sew. You don’t need an overlocker. I used mine for the side seams and to finish some edges because it’s fast, but the rest of the dress was constructed on my regular machine. I sewed the hems with a regular zigzag stitch because I was too lazy to fight with my twin needle and I wanted to wear the dress quickly.

The pattern instructions are Burda-style minimal, although unlike with Burda there are diagrams provided for the trickier bits, such as folding the neckline pleat. I like that the instructions include interfacing everywhere it’s needed. I’m very impressed with the overall quality of the pattern. Everything matched up beautifully and the industrial-standard seam allowances used made sewing it easy and accurate.

It has already passed the wearability test. I made it just before Christmas and it’s been worn about twice a week ever since. There may be another one of these soon if I find the right fabric.

Stylearc Hedy front

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

Burda 109-10-2015

Burda 109-10-2015

Burda’s having a good streak lately and the October 2015 issue was a case in point. It normally takes me months to get around to sewing up patterns that catch my eye, but Burda 109-10-2015 was traced, cut and completed within a few weeks of the issue arriving. This is a loose-fitting top pattern designed for heavy-weight knitted fabrics. It has a big collar and a shaped hem. Unusually for a knit pattern the body is cut on the bias, so it’s great for showing off fabrics with a stripe. My fabric is striped silver and black but the pitch is so fine it doesn’t show up in the photos.

Burda 109-10-2015 line art

This is a very quick pattern to sew. As it’s for knits you wouldn’t even need to bother finishing the seams if you didn’t want to, although I did for this one because the overlocker happened to be threaded in black. The only difficult part is inserting the zip. Not only are you inserting an invisible zip on a heavy and stretchy fabric, it’s positioned in a curved seam. Don’t skip the interfacing around the zip. Burda recommends Vilene bias tape; I went for strips of Vilene F220 because that was what was to hand but it was probably a little on the heavy side. You could omit the zip entirely of course, but with it in it’s possible to wear the collar in different ways. Here it is zipped up and folded over.

Burda 109-10-2015 front view

On whole I prefer the collar unzipped. The back hangs a bit strangely when the collar is zipped up and folded over, and my fabric’s a bit too floppy to look good with the collar zipped and unfolded. It’s not just the way I’m standing in the picture either; all of the pictures we took of the back had strange wrinkles with the collar folded over.

Burda 109-10-2015 back view

Unzipping it allows the back to hang much more naturally.

Burda 109-10-2015 back view

I found the sleeves on this one came out strangely short. They’re definitely bracelet length on me, whereas on Burda’s model photos they come well over the hands. On my version they align nicely with the shaped hem which Burda’s don’t either. I am pretty sure I forgot to add any extra length or hem allowances when I traced the sleeve piece and so the shortness is my fault not the pattern’s. Next time I’d definitely make the sleeves longer.

Burda 109-10-2015 left side

This top is proving a firm favourite. I think it’s a pattern that will only work with exactly the right fabric, so I doubt I’ll be making it again soon, but I’m enjoyig the one I’ve got.

Notes:

  • 1.8(ish) metres of mystery silver and black knit fabric
  • Size 90 universal needle
  • 9″ invisible zip. 8″ would have been better.
  • Vilene F220 interfacing around the zip. No other interfacing used.
  • Added 2″ to body, forgot to add any length or hem allowance to sleeves

Necessity is the mother of invention: Vogue 9112

Vogue 9112 3/4 view

Do you wash fabric as soon as you’ve bought it, or only when you’re about to use it? I’m firmly in the latter camp, which meant that my sewing plans were abruptly derailed when my washing machine broke down recently. However I did have the remains of a length of silver polycotton twill which I’d already washed and made three garments from. You’ve previously seen as trousers, a jacket, and a skirt. It’s from Truro Fabrics and at the time of writing is still available.

I’d bought Vogue 9112 in a recent pattern sale, intending to make it out of black cotton poplin at some point in the future. It’s a very asymmetric, trapeze-line design that looks as if it needs a crisp fabric. Here’s one of the envelope pictures.

Vogue 9112 envelope photo

Cutting this out was a big job. The design means that everything has to be cut single layer, and I was slightly short of fabric as I’d lengthened the pattern and I wanted to cut two of the collar and make it double layered. It took me a few goes to fit all the pieces in without messing up the grain. My fabric had a small discoloured patch which was impossible to cut around, but I managed to get it on the back and fairly close to a seamline. I can’t see it in any of the photos.

This pattern is very short out of the envelope and has no adjustment lines. It’s probably easiest to add length at the hem but I needed to add a lot and didn’t want to mess with the proportions so I slashed and spread in two places: just above the bust point and between the bust and waist. All the curved and slanted seams made that more difficult than it normally is and I messed up repositioning few of the notches. That made the dress a little harder to sew but I’m glad I added the length as the hem is mid-thigh at the shortest points even with the extra. (Actual measurements for anyone who’s making this: I added two inches and I’m 5’10”.)

Vogue 9112 back view

One thing I love about this dress is that it has roomy pockets. You can just about see them in the picture below. This is also a good shot of the gathered panels. As usual my gathers are a mess if you look at them closely – I just can’t get fabric to gather evenly no matter what I do. I don’t think it matters here though.

Vogue 9112 left side

I made the collar double-layer (cut two copies, make the collar pleats in both, sew them right sides together around the top edge and ends, turn out) and added sew-in interfacing to one collar piece to make absolutely sure it would stand up. Otherwise I sewed the dress up exactly as the pattern suggested: bias binding finish on the armholes and at the collar-neckline junction; top-stitching around the neckline; and narrow hem. The lack of closures mean it’s quite a quick sew despite all the curved seams.

Vogue 9112 right side

This is a very comfortable dress to wear – unsurprising given how easy-fitting it is. It’s an interesting style and I think the pockets will mean it gets a lot of use. I’m definitely tempted to go back and make it again in the black cotton poplin I’d originally intended. Or maybe black taffeta? I think it would be good in any fabric with a little sheen to show off the seamlines and gathers.

IMG_4897

Burda 115-12-2009

Burda 115-12-2009 front view

I’ll admit I’m mildly obsessed with making shiny trousers. Up until now my experiments have all been skinny jeans made from Burda 103-07-2010. This however is Burda 115-12-2009, a pattern for wide legged trousers with interesting curved seams. Sadly I can’t find it in the Burda online pattern store or I’d link to it. The technical drawing will have to do.

Burda 115-12-2009 line drawing

What you can’t see on the drawing is that here are no side seams; the side front panel wraps round the back to the inside leg seam. I always think trousers look better with a bit of detail on the back. The curved yoke seam on these is much faster to sew than back pockets but has the same effect of breaking up the expanse of backside. And I never use back pockets anyway. Instead there are nifty little inseam pockets in the front yoke. They look lovely but they’re unfortunately a little on the small side. OK for keys and cards but I wouldn’t get my phone in them.

Burda 115-12-2009 back view

The trousers are made from yet more of the metallic stretch twill fabric I got from Truro Fabrics recently. Technically speaking it’s not a great choice for this style. The shine means that every single wrinkle is hugely visible. I swear they’re not too small – they feel fine on – but in these pictures they certainly look a bit clingy. I think the pattern was intended for a sturdier fabric. The pattern instructions simply say ‘trouser fabrics’ (thanks for that insight, Burda!) but the finished garments in the magazine are made from gaberdine and corduroy; ie heavier weight than my twill and lacking stretch. This all sounds negative, but in fact I like my version a lot. I was going for a practical style with a twist; a colleague described them as looking ‘industrial’ which on reflection I think is a success.

Burda 115-12-2009 side view

One thing I still haven’t got the hang of with Burda is how much length to add to their trousers. I know exactly how much length I need to add to bodices for Burda, and based on that plus the difference between my height and the height they design for I should be able work out exactly how much length to add to the legs. But it always comes out too much. I took an inch off these before hemming them and I’m wearing them with platform boots here. Still, better too long than the opposite. I know I should just add less to the length, regardless of calculations, but I’m always paranoid that the next pair are going to be the ones to come up disastrously short.

Burda 115-12-2009 side view on climbing frame

These seem to be passing the wearability test with flying colours. I’m keeping them for work because of the pockets – I still don’t have enough clothes with pockets – but I’d happily wear them at the weekend too. I might make this pattern again one day. There’s an alternative view with combat trouser details (side pockets with flaps, bellows pockets on the thighs, belt loops) which I’m quite tempted by, to the extent that I’ve traced off the extra pieces. Might have to go up a size though!

Burda 115-12-2009 on climbing frame

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.