Monday, 28 March 2016

Burda of the month: 3/2016 #125 retro dress

I am absolutely killing my Burda challenge this year - three projects made from the magazines in the month of their issue and I like them all (so far, I could be tempting fate by typing this though!). My blogging not so much though, I just can't seem to find the words when I sit down to do a post, but here we go.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Despite this issue being full of bridal clothes and children's holy communion outfits (neither of which I have any use for at the moment), there were a few patterns in this issue I really liked.  For this project I went with 3/2016 #125 which is described as a retro cocktail dress, and is part of the bridal collection as a bridesmaids dress.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com
Image via Burda Style
I made it less "cocktail party" and more "day dress suitable for work" by making it in a linen/cotton blend I bought last December from the Remnant Warehouse, and I used a piece of cotton sateen for the collar for contrast. The lines are irregular, which I figured meant I could get away with minimal pattern matching!

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

However, because of my fabric choice those seam lines at the back and the princess seams on the front are barely visible at all. Which is a pity because I really like how the seams on the bodice line up with the pleats on the skirt - I love that sort of symmetry:

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The Burda recommended materials are "thick dress material with stand" which I assume means materials with some body. Their version though looks to be made from a draped, shiny fabric with no body given the way it hangs and the collar droops. However my fabric had enough thickness for the skirt to get a fullness about it without being too costume-y:

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The skirt has an inverted box pleat at the centre front, and then some deep pleats at either side on the front and the back, so there's quite a lot of material. I've sewn the pleats down for about 10cm from the waistline so it's a trim fit around the waist before flaring out.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I'm not prone to twirling myself, but if that's your thing then this is the pattern for you:

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I used a cotton sateen which was interfaced for the collar so that it would stand up, in a plain black colour for a bit of contrast. The collar is literally a long narrow rectangle cut on the straight grain, so it's not designed to curve but to stand up. It does feel like it is gaping wide open (which it is), so it is taking a little bit to get used to when I'm wearing it.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

As usual the Burda instructions are hugely confusing and I mostly ignored them for the sake of my sanity. The bodice is intended to be fully lined, and it seems the instructions are suggesting sewing the invisible zip on top of the fabric and lining all the way to the top edge of the collar which would mean the zipper tape is visible. I chose not to line my bodice since my fabric is quite substantial, and I sewed the zipper to the top of the dress and used a hook and eye to keep the collar together instead. The zipper and collar looks messy on the inside, but it's ok from the outside and that's all that counts. I drafted some facings for the sleeve edges which are just hand sewn down - I couldn't just use bias tape because the sleeve edge has a distinctive L shape to it.

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The dress looks ok worn without a belt, I just think it looked a little blah without any colour or waist definition:

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Burda 3/2016 #125 black and white stripe dress with full skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

So overall I really like this pattern, but I do find the bodice to be a little big. I had to grade down from  a size from a size 36 and it still feels roomy which I thought was just my dodgy grading skills (which they are) but I can see from the Burda version that even on the model it looks too big with a bit of gathering across the front. I think it's also drafted a little high waisted which suited me because I usually shorten my bodices by 1.5cm but this one sat just right without any changes. Just a few things to be aware of if you are intending to try this pattern - but otherwise I can highly recommend this pattern.

Thankfully we are having a very warm start to our Autumn, so I'm sure I'll get a few wears from this dress before it's time to get out the winter gear.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Bright green for attention!

A few of my work colleagues know that I sew my own clothes, so I often get comments from them like: "did you make that? Looks great". But it's not often that random strangers ever ask or compliment me on something I'm wearing - I am told by my friends that I posses an excellent resting bitch face, so I guess I don't encourage interaction! But I've worn this outfit twice in the last two weeks and both times some has complimented me on the skirt. I guess I stand out in a sea of sensible clothes maybe?

Burda 8/2016 #120 black drape top green plaid skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The skirt fabric is a lightweight wool fabric bought from the Fabric Cave late last year when I was dropping off a donation of fabric. There was almost 3 metres of it for the bargain price of $8, so I have plenty left to make something else. Maybe a matching jacket so I'll have the perfect outfit for next St Patrick's Day.....

The skirt is nothing special, just a simple lined pencil skirt with a kick pleat at the back which I made from an old Vogue Michael Kors wardrobe pattern that is now OOP (1826), from which I've made the shell top pattern many many times. The skirt has no waistband, but I've used cotton tape around the waistband in between the fashion fabric and the lining fabric which is stretched slightly to make the waistband hug my body. I don't find this overly comfortable because I'm used to wearing clothes slung low around the hips, but this method certainly stops a pencil skirt swivelling around whilst walking in it. I have to thank my sewing friend Sharon (this post at her blog Petite and Sewing) for this tip - until she explained it to me I had only used the tape to stop the waistband from stretching out, not for shrinking it slightly.

I don't have anything to report on about the skirt - for an excellent run down on how to make a perfect lined skirt have a look at this three part series by Kyle over at Vacuuming the Lawn. She covers everything you need to know. But I do need to proudly show my superb pattern matching at the sides and back:

Burda 8/2016 #120 black drape top green plaid skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Burda 8/2016 #120 black drape top green plaid skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The top is Burda 8/2015 #120, which was my Burda of the month project in September last year (posted here). At that time I made in a horrible fabric that wrinkled and puckered terribly but despite that I really liked the pattern. This time it's made from a long term stash resident - a drapey fabric of mysterious composition, most likely 100% polyester with a textured surface finish similar to crepe. 

Burda 8/2016 #120 black drape top green plaid skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

This fabric didn't press very well, but it does drape beautifully. I finished the edge of the fabric fold  on the front with a rolled edge on my overlocker instead of a narrow edge, which helps it fold nicely. Of course being black you can barely see anything, so you'll have to take my word that it looks just the like pattern above.

Burda 8/2016 #120 black drape top green plaid skirt www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I also remembered to make the opening at the back neckline slightly longer than the pattern allows for - it just makes it easier to get it over my head which I'm beginning to think must be bigger than the standard Burda model sized head since this frequently occurs with my Burda projects!

So overall, two simple projects but together they make quite an impact thanks to the fabric. Reviewing my projects so far this year it seems I've had quite a colourful start to this year, must be the crazy heat we're having affecting my fabric choices!