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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Lace Dress : BurdaStyle 02/2009 - 124

I recently travelled to Ireland for a wedding (and decided to have a holiday there while I was at it which was wonderful).  I hadn't planned on making anything new, but as the date got nearer and nearer I remembered that sewing for a special occasion is really one of my favourite types of sewing projects.

I decided to be a bit sensible and choose a simple style that I've made before, but in a special fabric.  I used this old BurdaStyle sheath dress pattern, it's from 02/2009, but I can't find it available online.



I found some guipure lace just over the border in Shenzhen, China in one of my favourite colours and immediately knew it was the one, I also got some matching silk crepe lining.



While this is normally a very straightforward dress to put together, making it in lace is quite time consuming.  I underlined each piece with the silk lining - I always prefer to baste them together by hand on a large flat surface than stitch on the machine.  I also cut the fabric with extra wide seam allowances so I could have plenty of room to fit as I sewed,  which added in extra time for basting, trying on, taking off, tweaking and so on for what seemed like forever.

When I was happy with the fit the seam allowances were trimmed, pressed and then slipstitched by hand to the underlining so they would stay nice and flat.  I didn't add a separate lining so I also wanted the sides to look good and feel smooth.  I used interfaced pieces of the silk crepe for the neck facings.  The hems were also finished by hand.  It was surprising how heavy the dress was when finished, it has a luxurious feel to it and I was really happy with it, but pleased to get it finished after so much handstitching and the deadline fast approaching.

This is the back partway through fitting, the dress form really helped me get pretty close actually.



And the finished dress which looks so simple from the outside!






The wedding itself was fabulous (obviously - you know the Irish are going to put on a good party) and the sun even made an appearance during the outdoor ceremony.    

The whole trip was great, although I'm really stuck with my sewing now that I'm back.  I think I have that trans-seasonal problem that seems to strike - it still feels far too hot to think about anything other than summer clothes, but I am also kind of excited to get stuck in to the recent brilliant issues of Burda.  I can't seem to get my brain to focus on anything, I think a fabric shopping expedition may help don't you?!





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Monday, 7 August 2017

BurdaStyle 12/2011 - 108 Skirt

This is a really simple skirt from BurdaStyle, there's not a whole lot to say about it really, but it is ideal for using the vibrant prints I can't seem to help buying.  I just wanted a basic a-line midi skirt and went through my stash of Burda magazines until I found this one.

12/2011 - 108 PDF Download



It is however designed to be cut on the bias and I've come to realise that I really don't like bias cut things on me; I find they cling and emphasise bits I'd rather disguise.   I cut the pattern a bit wider at the hips since bias has some stretch which is lost when you change to straight grain.  I totally forgot to consider the hem circumference and while it is OK I do need to be careful if I take big steps.

I made this twice - the first in a silky peacock print, I'm not sure what the fabric is to be honest, but it's a bit sheer so I wear a slip under this one.




The instructions have you interface the top of the skirt pieces and then finish with lace edging.  I simply finished the waist with a strip of interfaced fabric - basically a narrow facing - and topstitched in place.   The original pattern has hem facings also cut on the bias, but since I changed the grainline my hem is just serged and turned up.



The second version is made from a linen/cotton blend with brightly coloured parrots printed on a black and white leafy background.  I loved working with this fabric, so easy to handle and it doesn't crease as much as pure linen.  

I changed this version a bit by adding a waistband, a centre back seam (I much prefer a centre back zip than a side one to fine tune the fit) and added a small split in the centre back to make it easier to walk in.  I didn't have any invisible zippers on hand so I did a centred zipper instead.  I think I last did one of these about 20 years ago, but it turned out ok!







I took both skirts on a short vacation to Singapore which is where the photos below were taken.    They coped with the heat and humidity brilliantly which is more than I can say for my hair!


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

BurdaStyle 5/2010 - 105 Knit Dress

I have made this dress so many times that I'm already on my second versions of them in black and navy which just get worn all the time!  It takes only around 1.5m of jersey, sews up in a couple of hours at the most, dresses up and down easily and is great for travel.  




So, I've made two more to add to my collection (currently up to 5!) - a deep red ITY version and a black textured knit version.

I always add a bit of extra width to the skirt, but if you have less hips than me this dress would look even better with a narrower skirt.




Here I'm wearing it a bit dressed up with gold accessories, but I frequently wear them with my skechers pumps for a casual daytime look.





This is the fabric I used for the black one :





The only change I made here was to use a scrap of plain jersey for the neck binding and I decided to leave it visible instead of folding it to the inside just to reduce bulk a bit.  So this one has a slightly higher neckline.



I don't have any photos of me wearing this one yet, but I'm flying to Ireland for a wedding soon and both of these are packed (along with jackets and raincoats!) so weather permitting I will get some photos on vacation.



Friday, 30 June 2017

Palm Print Jersey Dress

This is a dress made from two different knit patterns, I've shown exactly which ones below, but really you can consider mixing up any of your favourite patterns.  Since this one has an elasticated waist casing and it's in a knit fabric there isn't any special drafting to do as the bodice and skirt can easily be made to fit together.

I used two patterns I have made before, the top is from BurdaStyle 08/2011 - 126 which I've made several times as a top with a peplum band and a raised neckline.  I also eliminate that centre back seam.  You can see a couple of versions here.

08/2011 - 126 Link to pdf dress pattern

The skirt is from McCall's 6744 although I changed the length to midi.  I'm finally coming around to appreciate this length now, maybe in a few more years I'll be wearing flounce sleeves and jumpsuits!

McCall's 6744 (out of print)


I used a green and black palm print ITY jersey - this didn't even get to live in my stash, I just knew what I wanted to do with it and bought and sewed it within a week.  Often I can get a bit paralysed by procrastination so this felt good!






The elastic casing at the waist is around 1 inch wide as I had that sized elastic to hand.  I also had enough fabric left over to make a self fabric belt so I have an option of wearing it both ways.


Part of the reason I made this up so fast was so that I would have it to wear on a short trip to Singapore which is where the photo below is from.  I always seem to decide at the last minute that I need something new for any trip, but at least I've learned to make something quick and easy!








Thursday, 22 June 2017

Style Arc Summer Cover Up

It seems that cover ups and kaftans/caftans are popping up around the sewing world at the moment.  Closet Case Patterns have just released one and Goodbye Valentino recently posted how to draft your own.  It makes sense, they are pretty easy to make and you can go quite wild with prints and trims!  I made this one a few weeks ago for a short resort holiday to celebrate my birthday.





I know I say this a lot, but the fabric was another "oh my gosh I must buy it and figure out what to do with it later" purchases.  It is a silk printed with a sunset and palm trees with an ombre effect.  I actually decided to use the reverse side which is more matte and with more intense colours.

I know that silk is probably not the most practical choice for a cover up, but the reality is it won't get worn that often and it just felt like this was the perfect use for the print.  I would like to make it again in the shorter version in a more practical cotton someday.

Reverse side
Right side
I made a couple of minor changes to the pattern.  I raised the neckline around 2cm at the base of the V tapering to nothing at the shoulders.  I know I'll be wearing it over swimwear so it doesn't really matter if it shows, but that's just my preference.

I also eliminated the centre front and back seams on the bodice, but getting a nice sharp point on the front neckline would probably be much easier with a centre seam so I will leave it in next time.  I also didn't want any stitching showing round the neckline so have just secured the neck facing at the shoulder seams.




The waist seam of the bodice has a 2.5cm seam allowance to form the casing for the drawstring so unfortunately I lost some of the ombre effect and there is quite a difference between the colour of the bodice and skirt.  It's not quite how I envisaged it, but I still like it.



Here I am wearing it swanning about at a resort in Vietnam - hopefully it won't be too long before I can pull it out again!