April Burda

Is it me or has Burda come slightly early this month?  I normally reckon on finding in the newsagents from the 22nd but this month it appeared yesterday.  There aren’t a lot of things I will be making from this edition but there are a few pieces I like.

Firstly I thought this blouse (116B) looks very simple and appealing. I think it will go well under my work suits.  I’ve never made button holes before in anger so it will be good to learn.  If the pattern is as simple as it looks I can see myself making several of these.
Secondly I liked dress 128A.  I’m not sure about the a-symetric hem but I like the cowl neck. The same dress appears in beige as 128B but doesn’t look nearly as good.  I can’t really work out why one appeals to me but the other doesn’t but maybe the fit on the second one looks a little odd.  Either that or it’s just that I fancy another red dress!

The only other garment I liked was the Alberta Ferretti dress (147).  I love this drapey look and think it’s very  flattering.

Unfortunately I can’t imagine that I will make either of these dresses, they are lovely but aren’t really likely to get a lot of wear (at least not in my wardrobe!).

Which are your favourite items this month?


Accidental dress

I didn’t really mean to do any sewing on Saturday.  I jut thought I should take a quick peek at the fabric to make sure I had enough, next thing I knew it was several hours later and I had a new dress!

I bought this fabric at John Lewis, it’s a fine viscose knit and I like the colour (they also had it in grey and red so I may go back to get some more).  The pattern is Vogue 1250 which seems to be a bit of a best seller.  It’s certainly easy, only three pieces and five seams.

I was a bit uncertain about the sizing as although the packet puts me as a 14 I have found in the past that I often have to tweak things to a slightly smaller size and I wasn’t sure how to do that with so few seams.  So, being a bit anal I traced the size 12 onto a bit of paper and then cut a toile in the 14.  The toile was fine and I went ahead and made the 14.

I thought the fabric in the toile was sufficiently similar to my fashion fabric to give me a good idea as to how the final dress would fit, however I now think I perhaps should have made a 12 after all.  It’s not so huge that it isn’t wearable but it is a little looser than I would have expected.

I will  be making another one of these because I had two problems.  First of all, ‘fess up time, I completely misunderstood the cutting instructions.  It did occur to me that cutting the dress across the grain seemed a bit odd but as I’ve had very little experience of working with knits I went ahead and did it any way – on both the toile and the final dress.  It was only last night that suddenly it came to me that where the layout said selvedge it meant the horizontal line not the vertical line.  I don’t know what impact this will have in the longer term, particularly as the fabric has a two-way stretch.  Secondly I had problems with the hems which in places look slightly stretched.  I’m not sure anyone else would notice but it’s not perfect!

Anyway nice dress, very quick to make but a few problems with the construction which can be ironed out next time.

(hmmm – perhaps ditch the black opaques in future)

Pencil Skirt (again)

Getting this skirt to fit properly is turing into a bit of an epic, however, I am determined to get it right; the material is a dream to sew with and will be lovely to wear when I finish it.

So just to remind you – this is a Burda pattern (109 11/2011) for which I made a toile which I thought fitted quite well.  When I came to make it up in the wool however it turned out too big by several centimetres.  I have taken about 3 cm out of each side seam and also adjusted the top of the back seams so remove the bit of pooling I had above my bottom.  This is how it looks now:


Much better, I possible need to take a smidgeon off the lower part of the side seams (I made the adjustments to the hip area but not lower down) but on the whole an improvement.  The real problem however is the front:

When I made the toile I pulled up quite a bit of fabric under the waistband but you can see there is still far too much fabric.  If I do this again I am going to end up with a skirt that’s shorter in the front than the back and sides.  I think the real problem is that the pattern has two small pleats on either side of the front panel which give it a bit of additional fullness. 

What I think I need to do is to adjust the front panel, removing the pleats so it lies flat across my tummy.   Do you think this will work?

I’m getting lots of experience of taking invisible zips out of side seams and putting them back in!



Twisty skirt

Officially I’m supposed to be making my pencil skirt, and I was working on it but I had a problem with the fit. Have you ever found this? The toile is fine but for some reason it’s coming out too big in the actual fabric. I think the difference is that I used a rather stiff calico for the toile where as the final skirt will be in a drapey wool. It actually needs about 5cm to come out around the hips (waist is fine) so it’s quite a big difference. Anyway rather than do the adult thing and spend a bit of time fixing it I decided to throw a sulk and start a new project.

This is from the latest Burda magazine (128-03-2012) and I made it out of a fine linen bought from John Lewis last week. When I first read the instructions I couldn’t work out how it went together so in the end I just went through it doing everything I was told to do without question! To make matters worse I didn’t make a toile so I just had to trust I was doing it correctly as I went along. Actually the instructions were fine, a bit complicated and it would have helped to have had pictures, but if you follow exactly what they suggest it works out. The only thing they could have added was a bit of information about when to neaten the edges on the yoke. I put mine together and then took it apart and zig-zagged around the edges, before putting it together again as otherwise I would have ended up with a nasty mess of fraying in the centre.

Anyway I love this skirt and think it will get a lot of use in the summer (2 degrees here today so maybe not quite yet). I’m not certain that adding the pockets was necessary, because the front is fairly full they end up slightly too far back in the skirt to be comfortable for putting your hands in. I not a great user of pockets at the best of times so may be its just me!

It was so quick I am thinking of making another one in wool. If I do that I will leave out the pockets and perhaps make the twist in the centre less complicated. I think it will look nice if I just apply the inner waistband flat rather than put the additional twist in it the last step calls for. That way I can add a lining so it will make a good winter skirt.

Bats, Spots and a Golden Gown

One of the things I love about London is that there is always something to do. On Thursday my friend and I visited the Hayward Gallery and Tate Modern and then on Friday we went to the V&A.  We saw so much wonderful stuff it’s difficult to know how to condense into a single post but my favourites (in no particular order) were:

Jeremy Deller’s video showing bats leaving their cave.  It’s shown in 3D and it makes you feel as if the bats are swirling around you  and is absolutely mesmerising.  You can find it in the Joy in People exhibition at the Hayward Centre.

Brain Activity by David Shrigley (also at the Hayward) is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time.  If you haven’t come across David Shrigley you should have a look at the film he made for Pringle of Scotland

Yayoi Kasuma is a Japanese artist whose speciality is spots and she is exhibiting at Tate Modern.  There were several fabulous pieces in the exhibition including this room of wonderfully coloured pictures.  The final installation is the “Infinity Mirrored Room –  filled with the Brilliance of LIfe”.  It’s very disorienting – stepping into the room felt like stepping off a precipice (I very bravely let my friend go first!).

Lastly the Golden Spider Silk cape at the V&A is just incredible.  Yes it really is make out of spider silk (apparently it’s difficult to collect spider silk as they have a habit of eating each other) and yes silk really does come out of the spider that golden colour.

Ginger Skirt

Just before Christmas I decided I needed something quick and easy to make to restore my confidence. Colette’s ginger skirt seemed to fit the bill & I used some black moleskin with a bit of stretch. I didn’t make a toile and fortunately the fitting was so simple it didn’t require one.


The skirt came together very quickly on my Jones sewing machine.I love this machine and I’ve even managed to find an invisible zipper foot which worked brilliantly.

The only problem I had was with the waistband. I started off making version 2 with the curved top, however widewaistbands don’t really suit me so I altered it so the simpler version 3.  Even so it gapes a bit at the front and I’m not sure I know how to fix that.

This style of skirt does not work very well in my wardrobe but it was a fun and simple project to make.