Sunday, July 20, 2014

Burda Style 02-2011-119

I just finished up this breezy seersucker dress using Burda Style 02-2011-119.

I was drawn to this pattern as soon as I saw it.  But back in 2011 I was leery of a pattern with straight lines and hardly any waist shaping.  I think I liked the way the bias cut hem panels looked with the straight cut dress.

Burda said:  "Our shift dress with bateau neck-line, epaulettes and bias cut hem band is timeless yet so very modern and just perfect for cocktails or a dinner date."

 Burda rated this as a 2 dot pattern, and really it is just a modified princess seamed shift.  But see those corners where the front, side, and under sleeve come together?  Yes, it's the same on the back, too.  That is not for the faint of heart.  That's some precision sewing right there.  I would have made this at least a 2.5 dot.

Other than those corners, the pattern is pretty easy.

Burda used natte, which according to the dictionary is a basket weave fabric with contrasting colors in the warp and weft.  I didn't have any natte, so I used this pink, orange, red, and white seersucker which has been marinating in my stash for years.

I cut a 44 through the bodice and a 46 through the hips.  I added my customary 1 5/8" of length at the waist.  A muslin showed the fit was pretty good, but I had to move the darts up 3/8" and I added an additional 5/8" of length to the skirt to make sure the hem hit me at knee level.  It looks a tiny bit longer than it really is because my photographer has grown and is now taking pictures from a higher angle.

I wanted to get some detail shots of the epaulettes, the inset corners, and the bias hem band, but wouldn't you know, my camera gave out after only three shots.  Maybe tomorrow after road-testing.

I'm pretty pleased with this dress.  It's comfortable and I like the look.  I'll get plenty of wear out of it for work and for being out and about.  I don't know about cocktails and dinner dates, though!  

Up next is maybe another straight and easy dress and some more shorts for the Princess.  Oh, and she wants some jeans.  So I might break down and finally sew some.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Burda Style 03-2013-126 Shorts

We are on a roll making shorts for the Princess.  This pair turned out especially cute.

This is #126 from the March 2013 issue:  Shorts with contour waistband and hip yoke pockets.

The fabric is this paint splash denim from Hancock.

We saw this back in December and the Princess loved it, but I didn't buy any because at $19.99 a yard, it was a little too expensive to buy with no plan in mind.  Then I saw it again a couple of weeks ago and it was marked down 50%.  I bought a yard thinking we could make a vest or shorts or something for the Princess.  This pattern just fit the fabric!

These shorts are adorable.  They are simple to construct (2 dot pattern) but you get a lot of impact with the front and back section seams and the pockets which wrap to the back.  I also added double top stitching to all the seams in lime green thread.  It's hard to see in the photos, but looks nice in person.

The denim was weighty, so I used lime green micro check for the waist facings.  The zipper doesn't quite match- it was from stash.

I cut a 34 for the Princess and the only adjustment I made was adding an extra half inch to the waist at both sides.  I think the finished shorts are the perfect length for her.  I like them so much in fact, that I'm considering making a pair for myself.  Or maybe the longer version:

I love all the pockets and section seams!  I'll have to grade up 2 sizes, though, so we'll see.

My vacation is over and it's back to work tomorrow.  I have another pair of shorts cut out for the Princess and a dress all muslined and ready to cut for myself.  I hope I can keep the sewing momentum going once I get back into my work routine.  So many projects, so many plans!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Burda Style 02-2013-115 Maxi Dress

Here is my version of the "Contortionist" maxi dress from the February 2013 issue of Burda Style.

You may remember it looking like this:

Burda said:  "Don't worry.  You don't have to strain yourself.  The dress itself provides enough entanglement with its integrated front ties, gathered at the front and intertwined."

Here is the tech drawing for clarity.  The dress features a two piece front with the lower portion threaded through a loop in the upper portion and attached at the sides.  Separate sashes are gathered and attached at the side seams.  The front and back shoulders are gathered and both the front and the back feature a V-neckline.

My fabric is a polyester/spandex knit from Hancock.  It's very smooth and rather thin with a busy all-over print that features every color in the rainbow and then some.

The fabric is still available on the Hancock site.  It was slippery and wanted to move around while cutting, but it sewed very easily, even hemming was a breeze.

The pattern was offered in sizes 36-44.  I cut a 42 at the shoulders and eased out to a 44 at the bust and then added about 3/4" of extra width to each side of the back skirt from the hip down.  The finished dress feels a tad big, but I think it's because the weight of the skirt pulls it down. If I made it again I would probably fold out 3/8" above the bust to bring the twist up a bit higher.

Burda rated this a 3.5 dot pattern and if it hadn't been the illustrated sewing course, I don't know if I would have attempted this.  I'm not sure I could have gotten the front twist done without the diagrams provided.  It wasn't hard, but I definitely needed the visual instructions for this one.

The front bodice is very generous- there is a lot of fabric gathered together at the center front.  The shoulder seams are also generous with gathers in front and back.  The result is plenty of coverage in front, even though the neckline is plunging.  (Hey, it is Burda, right?)  I raised my neckline by sewing my CF seam about 1.5" higher than the marked seam and it is still very low.  I may go back and try to sew it up a bit more.  Nothing is going to show, but I like my V-neck to be a little higher.  Once again, I think the weight of my skirt is pulling the bodice down making that neckline lower than the paper pattern indicated.

Other than the intricate twist in front and the gathered bodice, I also appreciate that the sashes are generously long on this pattern.  They literally reach the hem of the dress in back.  I had to ask my daughter if they were dragging the ground as I walked because I could feel them against my heels.  She assured me they didn't.

I hemmed this at my ankle.  I didn't want it dragging the ground or getting caught on my shoes.  I also like the idea of my shoes showing.  I'm wearing the dress here with flat, gold metallic sandals.  It's so refreshing to wear a long, swishy dress with flat shoes.  I could really get used to that.

I think I'm done with maxi dresses for the moment.  I have more shorts cut out and in progress for the Princess and I think my next project for me will be short, and shaped quite differently.  Of course I could change my mind...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Burda 07-2008-125 Bermuda Shorts

Shopping for pants and shorts for the Princess has become a challenge.  The items available in the girls' department don't fit and the offerings in the juniors' department are tacky at best, but more often than not, just plain vulgar.

I wanted something cute, stylish and age appropriate for my girl.  I found it in a back issue of Burda World of Fashion, the July 2008 issue to be exact.

I remember liking the look of these shorts way back in 2008, but never made them because, well, they only go up to size 42 and I would have had to grade them up.  That would have been too much work only to find that leg bands would not look attractive on short, chunky legs like mine.  The Princess does not have that problem.

Here is what the model photo looks like.  Whoa, shiny, metallic linen.  Can you say "wrinkles?"

The line drawing is much better.  I was taken with the pieced legs, the gathers, and the bands.  Lots of opportunity for topstitching.

Burda rated this a 2 dot pattern.  It was also the illustrated sewing course in that issue.  The shorts were surprisingly easy to make even with the inset corners on the front and back, and the zip fly.  As cute as they are and as easy as they were to make, I could not find a single pair made up online.  Maybe no one else but me found these interesting.

I made these in a straight size 34 based on the Princess's hip measurement.  The only change I made was to let the waist out about 1/2" on each side after basting everything together.  I cut the back waistband in two pieces to allow for adjustment at CB, but it turned out I didn't need to do anything there.

The fabric is a mystery chambray type that I picked up at Walmart just to try out this pattern.  The buttons- two at the front closure and one on each leg band- are sparkly plastic "jewel" buttons, also from Walmart.  I figured the Princess would appreciate a little bling.

I really like the way these turned out and, more importantly, the Princess does, too.  I'm already planning another pair, and the Princess has been perusing my Burda stash looking for other shorts and things for me to make for her.

While I'm tickled that I was able to make a pattern that I really liked but would never have worked for me, I'm not sure I'm ready to be sewing for my girl from the grown-up patterns in Burda.  (I still have to watch out for tacky and vulgar!)  Where has the time gone?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Image M1411

Every summer since Maxi dresses have come into style, I've said I'm going to make one.  And every summer I've put it off and didn't get it done.  This year I decided to stop procrastinating and just sew one.

I have quite a few maxi dress patterns in my stash, but this little number in the Spring 2014 issue of My Image finally gave me the push I needed to get started.  It's very simple and quite modest with it's tank style bodice and I liked the ring detail on the belt.

One thing that I like about My Image is that unlike Burda, everything the models are wearing in the magazine is offered as a pattern.  No falling in love with a skirt or pair of pants only to find that the pattern is for the blouse.  And even though they make the model garments up in some wild fabrics, the models are posed so you can see the finished garment pretty well.

So here is my version of M1411 in an ITY knit print I picked up at Hancock's last year.  I'm not 100% satisfied with my pattern placement, but I was trying to maximize the teal and rust and I had just enough of this print to cut out the dress.  Oh, well.  Live and learn.

I cut a 42 shoulder and eased out to a 44 at the bust and a 46 at the hip.  The back skirt looked narrow so I gave myself an extra 3/4" on each side to keep the side seams straight.  The dress turned out rather loose through the bodice and I ended up taking it in all the way down the sides about 1/4".  It still feels loose and I might go back and nip it in a tiny bit more.  This is the second My Image project I've made and both turned out big and had to be taken in.  I'm sensing a pattern here...

I also added 5/8" of length to the bust to make sure the under bust seam ended up in the right place.  This was after a quick and dirty bodice muslin.  The muslin was just about right across the fullest part of my bust, but way too big at the under bust seam.  I ended up taking off an inch from the side of the front and back bodice pieces, tapering to about 1/4" at the armhole.  I also noticed the the back bodice piece was much wider than the top of the back skirt and would never have fit together without my alteration.  I'm not sure, but I think the back bodice is missing some darts.

Other than the pattern placement, I'm quite pleased with this dress.  The neckline is just right- it shows some skin, but doesn't feel scandalous and the dress is bra friendly.  The skirt is drafted with tiny pleats at center front and generous darts in back so the skirt skims the body and hugs the figure in the back.

I did make one major change...  I could not find a ring for the belt.  I decided to use a plastic buckle and make the belt one piece instead.  It worked out just fine.  I'd still like to make the ring version, so if anyone knows of an online source, please let me know.  

I'm so glad I finally got around to making a maxi dress.  I already wore it out and road tested it and it performed just fine.  I was comfortable and felt good in it all day.  I liked it so much in fact, that I already cut out another one today.  Stay tuned for more on that in a day or two.

I am on vacation this week and I have lots of sewing plans.  The Princess and I are working on a project together and I have a couple of things I'm making for her as well as that maxi dress I cut out today.  I hope to have much to wear and share before the week is done.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Plans Interrupted

So a few posts back I announced that I wanted to make the Asymmetrical Dress from the May 2014 Burda Style.  I even blogged the fabrics that I ordered from  Well, those fabrics arrived right before I went out of town on a business trip, and as I feared, they weren't exactly what I thought they would be.  Don't get me wrong, they are all great on their own and I will use them all...  Just not as I had planned.

Here is the combo I ordered for the dress.  The red pique is gorgeous!  It's a bright, saturated red with a fabulous texture and a little bit of stretch.  I'm seriously thinking about ordering more in a different color(s!)

It's the knit that is the problem.  It doesn't go with the red.  I expected a little bit of color variation, after all they are two completely different fabric types which take dye differently, even if they had used the same dye, which I am pretty sure they didn't.  But the "red" in the knit print is much closer to pink.  Even though I am okay with the colors not being "matchy matchy" it's just too great a color difference to look right to me.  Sigh...

Lucky for me, I ordered a back-up:

This knit is from the same line, but a different print with different colors.  It's not quite as contrasty and exciting as the first print would have been, but the colors go with the pique better.  There is green in it as you can see in the photo above, but not as much green, as you can see below (different part of the fabric.)

I did order a little extra, so I may be able to cut strategically to get the best contrast.  I'll have to see when I lay it out.  And the first knit fabric?  I think it will make a cute top for me or maybe a cute dress for the Princess.

So fabrics are here, and even though I'm going with plan B, I'm still procrastinating.  I am still trying to shed some winter pudge before I cut and sew a fitted sheath dress with a side zipper that will be hard to take in, so it may be another couple of weeks before I actually cut this out.  In the meantime, if you've made this dress or know someone who has, please share a link.  I'd love to see it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Look 6297

Here is another little project that rolled out of the sewing room this week.  New Look 6297 in lime green zebra print for the Princess:

I found this pattern recently and snapped it right up.  New Look so rarely makes anything for "tweens" and I thought the Princess would love this dress.  Just as I suspected, she went right to View C with the mullet skirt and the shoulder cut-outs.

We used a lime green zebra print knit from Hobby Lobby.  This fabric has been around for a few years and I bet they carry it for a while yet.  I used the same print a few years ago for a top for me, and the hot pink color way for a halter dress for the Princess.  She prefers the green- lime is her favorite color.

I used the size 14 per the waist and hip measurements.  The Princess actually measured at a size 12 through the bust, but I decided to use the 14 just to give her some extra growing room and I'm so glad I did.  I don't think the 12 would have fit.

I added 5/8" extra length to the bodice and increased my waist seam allowance to 1" because there is a waist casing and I wanted to make sure I could use some substantial elastic there.  Other than that, I made no changes to the pattern.

The neckline is finished with a band made of the same fabric as the dress.  It's folded in half and stitched to the right side of the bodice.  Then the band is pressed out and the seam allowances are topstitched to the bodice.  It's a quick and easy finish that looks quite nice on the outside.

The sleeves had me worried- I wasn't looking forward to finishing that tiny cut-out.  But the pattern is actually pretty creative.  Each sleeve is two pieces.  You do have to do a tiny 3/8" finish on the cut-out, but it's in 2 pieces so that makes it easier.  (I found that clipping the seam allowance helped a lot.)  Then you stitch the sleeve together at the bottom below the cut-out, and the top overlaps at the shoulder.

New Look would have you stitch the inner sleeve seam and then set the sleeves into the bodice, but I sewed them in flat and then sewed up the side seams from hem to sleeve hem- so much easier!

With the mullet skirt you do see the wrong side of the fabric so I serged my side seams and did a very neat 5/8" hem.  In this fabric, I think it's okay.  The hem is curved, but it's pretty gentle so I had no problems getting my hem to lie flat.

I think the dress turned out super cute and the Princess loves it.  It was pretty quick to cut and sew and it's completely age appropriate, so if you have a young lady who needs a new dress this is a great pattern to try.  I'd love to make the sleeveless version as temps are finally starting to rise here, or even the maxi version, but the Princess has said she doesn't want a maxi dress.

Up next is a project the Princess and I are working on together, plus a maxi dress for me.  More sewing soon...