Monday, August 29, 2016

Burda Style 07-2016-105 Short Sleeve Cutout Dress

This is dress #105A from the July issue of Burda Style.

This is how it appeared in the magazine.  There is a 105B in the issue too, but it appears to be the exact same dress just in solid white instead of a print.

I knew as soon as I saw this dress that I would be making it.  It's a relatively simple style and work appropriate.  But that cool little cutout detail (which really isn't a cutout, but the illusion of a cutout created with an overlay) makes it just interesting enough to be different.

Here is a little bit better picture.  The main dress has a deeper, faced neckline and the overlay is caught into the right shoulder seam.  The neck band is attached to the right back, the overlay and then forms a bridge over the left shoulder and attaches to the left back about an inch or so past the left shoulder seam.

In the photo above, you can just see where the band attaches to the left back.  I wish it laid more flat, but oh, well.

So this is a 3 dot pattern.  It's a little bit challenging because of the neckline construction.  I read and re-read the instructions and I finally just had to take a leap of faith and do what I thought was going to work.  You cut the back pieces together and then you have to trim a little bit off of the left back bodice piece to create the "cutout."  The line for trimming is clearly marked on the pattern sheet.  What wasn't clear were the instructions, which said to trim off the seam allowance.  What?  What on earth for?  I went back and forth over that and finally figured it out.  DO NOT TRIM OFF THE SEAM ALLOWANCE.  If you do, you will have nothing to attach your neckband to!

What the instructions really mean, is to sew the left back facing to the left back bodice as far as the marking and stop.  Then you clip the seam allowance at the marking (I put in some stay stitching before sewing the facing to the bodice) and turn the facing to the inside leaving a nice seam allowance to attach the neckband to:

This is the right side of the left back.  The shoulder is on the left and the CB is on the right.  My facing is neatly turned to the inside and my seam allowances are basted together.

And this is what it looks like from the inside once the neckband is on:

The sides are reversed since this is the inside, but you get the picture.

And here is the inside of the front for good measure:

The facing goes from the right shoulder, around the front, over the left shoulder to the center back.  The right back side has no facing, just the neckband.

That neckband is the worst part of the whole thing.  It's only about 1/2" wide and curved, so attaching it and then trimming and clipping and pressing and finally hand stitching it together are a pain.  But well worth it in the end.

The pattern is offered in sizes 36 through 44.  I cut a 42 through the shoulders and a 44 from the bust down.  I made my usual petite adjustment above the bust and added 1.5" of length to to the bodice just above the waist.  (I could go for another 1/4 to 3/8" of length.)  I also shaved 3/8" off the bottom of the back bodice between the darts, tapering to nothing at the sides- a sway back adjustment.

My fabric is a fabulous floral print cotton shirting from Joann's.  It was the color combination that caught my eye.  I love pink, orange, and yellow together.  And did you see the snakeskin?  It's very "tropical" and yet I think the colors will take me right into fall.  Check out my mad pattern matching skills on the front of the dress.

I didn't do quite so hot on the back:

Other than the neckline, the dress is really simple.  It's an A-line with bust and waist darts, a waist seam, and side seam pockets.  The sleeves are finished with a narrow hem and the dress closes with an invisible zip and a hook and eye.

I did make one little mistake.  The overlay is supposed to be sewn to the bodice front from the side seam to just before the dart.  I didn't catch the placement line when I traced the pattern and didn't see it in the instructions until I already had the darts sewn.  I considered topstitching it down once the dress was finished, but when I pinned it in place it formed an odd flap right at the bust, so I just left it loose.  No one will know but us!

I love this dress!  I am going to have a blast wearing it.  Although this is a great pattern, and I highly recommend it, I doubt I will make it again any time soon.  I don't think...  even though I have several ideas for making a contrast overlay, binding the edge of the overlay, lining the overlay...  Did I mention it's a great pattern?

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Burda Style 08-2016-128A Panel Pencil Skirt

I am in love with this skirt.  This is one of my favorite patterns I've ever made from Burda and it's likely to end up a TNT pattern.  This is skirt 128 from the August issue.

I knew the moment I saw this picture that I would be making this.  I love those section seams!  And even though they are a little unusual, the skirt itself is very basic and versatile.

Now granted, mine looks a little different.  For one thing, it's orange, and my fabric isn't quite so nice- it wrinkled a bit (the photos were taken at the end of an almost 12 hour workday.)  But the fit and the lines are great and I intend to make this again.  And again.

My fabric is some sort of jacquard weave suiting with a tiny bit of stretch, and most likely a fair amount of polyester.  I'm surprised it wrinkled as much as it did, but then again, it's not the worst I've encountered and I did wear the skirt all day, sitting at a desk for most of it, so some lap wrinkles are to be expected.

My favorite thing about this pattern is, of course, the curved section seams in the front.  Burda calls them "wandering panel seams."  They weren't too hard to sew, but added just enough of a challenge to make it interesting.  Okay, I wouldn't even call them a challenge, just a detail that you need to take your time on.  I stay stitched all of the convex curves then clipped and pinned carefully.  I like to sew with my clipped edge on top so I sewed part of the seam, cut the thread and then flipped it over to finish the seam.  I think they turned out pretty good.

I love the princess seams in the back too.  They are flattering and make fitting so easy...

The pattern is offered in sizes 34 to 42.  I traced a 42 and "graded up" to a 44 by just adding extra to the side seam allowances.  That took care of the hip circumference but I ended up having to take in the waist at the side seams and at the back section seams so it's now approximately a 40.5 at the waist.

This skirt is drafted long.  I added 1 3/4" for a hem allowance and then ended up taking 2.5" to get it to hit just below the knee.  I should have made my walking slit a little longer, something I will probably go back and correct.

The waistband for this view is a straight strip that you cut to measurements.  It finishes narrow and is added before the zip (I used an invisible one) so that it goes all the way to the top and you don't need a button or hook.  The band sits at the natural waist which is my preference both for comfort and for looks.

I would really like to make the second view offered in the magazine with the wider, shaped waistband and the curved hem:

I will be on the lookout for some nicer fabric because I'd love to have a couple more of these.

I'm really pleased with the Burda August issue.  There are so many things in it that I want to make.  I don't know what to choose next!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Burda Style 03-2016-104 Asymmetric Blouse

This top rolled out of the sewing room today.  It's the "Asymmetric Blouse" from the March issue of Burda Style, and I love it.

I've been telling myself for a while now that I need to make more tops instead of dresses all the time.  And every Friday when I wear jeans to work I find myself wishing I had something to wear besides a company logo T-shirt.  Or my "Everything is Awesome" T-shirt.  Last weekend I decided to trace this pattern out and give it a go.  I'm so glad I did, because this is just what I needed in my wardrobe.

Here is what Burda had to say about this pattern:  This simple blouse features three quarter length sleeves, darts for a feminine fit and an asymmetric hem that is a bit longer in the back than in the front.

There is not a whole lot to it.  It's a very simple pattern to put together.  The sleeves are cut straight and finished by machine.  The hem is finished with a narrow machine hem also and the neckline is finished with a narrow bias binding.  I left off the front slit.  I really didn't want to bother with it, and I felt the neckline was already wide and didn't need to open any further.  There are no closures and the top fits easily over my head.

The main design feature is the deep pleat in the back which opens out to give the top some swing.  Here is a closeup:

My fabric is a rayon challis print from deep in my stash.  It originally came from Hancock's and was left over from a dress I made a few summers ago.  I love the colors and the print and the challis is breezy and comfortable.  It wasn't bad to work with for this simple design and it gave me a chance to experiment with the variable pressure of the presser foot on my new sewing machine.  I lightened the pressure just a bit and the challis sewed beautifully, even on the bias parts.

I cut a size 42 through the shoulders and a 44 from the bust down.  I made a 3/8" petite adjustment above the bust and removed about 3/8" of ease from the back of the sleeve cap.  I narrowed the shoulders by about 3/4" on each side in the front and by about 3/8" on each side in the back.  (A muslin showed me that the shoulders were a little wide for me and the neckline didn't cover my bra straps.)  I also added 2 inches of length at the waist to make sure the hem in front adequately covered my waistband.

I wore this out tonight and it was comfortable and made me feel sort of dressed up.  I can definitely see myself making this again.  The Princess likes the cropped version of this pattern and I'd love to make her one as well.  I'm thinking I need a slim black skirt to wear with this.  We'll see...

Monday, August 1, 2016

Burda Style 06-2016-109 A Summer Shift Dress

I love a shift dress.  And when I saw this one in the June issue of Burda Style I knew I would be making it.  It took a few weeks to find the right fabric and the time to put it together, but here it is.

Here is the magazine photo and the tech drawing.  It's funny, but I still get mildly irritated that these things don't look quite the same on me as they do on the tall, slim Burda models.

It's a simple enough design- just an A-line shift dress.  But it does have a few interesting features, such as the wrap over shoulders, the back shoulder darts, and the angled seams at the sides, set off by fabric "frames" caught into the seams.

You can see my "frame" in the photo above.  The strips are sewn together at the corner and then pressed to form the angled shape.  They are then basted to the CF of the dress and the side front pieces are sewn in.  Yes, there is an inset corner, so precision sewing is the key.

My favorite feature of the dress is the shoulders, or lack of a shoulder seam, rather.   The back prices wrap around and tuck under the front and everything is caught together in the neckband.  It's quite nifty, and perfectly placed to cover bra straps, which is a huge plus for me.

Here is a shot of the inside showing the back pieces attached to the neckband and showing off the pink gingham binding I used to finish the edges.  I chose to use a contrast binding for 2 reasons.  One- it's a nice little touch to have a contrast binding inside that no one knows is there but me.  And two- by using the gingham instead of my main fabric, I have enough of this linen left to make a little sleeveless top to wear with jeans.

My fabric, but the way, is a light weight linen hibiscus print from Joann's.  I love the print and the linen is cool and comfortable, even on hot, muggy days.  And we have had a lot of those lately.

The back of the dress is pretty plain.  It does have those shoulder darts which shape it nicely, and a center back seam which is drafted completely straight for a zipper.  I omitted the zip since this goes over my head easily and I did a small sway back adjustment which put a slight curve in my CB seam.

It also has pockets!  Nice, big generous ones!

I cut a 42 through the shoulders and a 44 from bust to hip.  The fit is loose and easy.  I added 1.25" of length at the waist.  Although the dress is pretty straight, I wanted to balance the proportion of the side inserts.  I also added 2 extra inches to the hem to bring the finished length to the knee.

This may not be the most flattering thing I've ever made, but it was a fun sew and the finished dress is comfortable and unique.  I probably won't make it again, even though now that I see the photos, I wonder if I should have used a contrast fabric for the "frames."  There are just too many other shift dress patterns out there calling my name.