February Burda of the Month: 2/2013 #133

Thursday 28 February 2013
The good things about doing my self imposed Burda challenge are that I'm actually using my Burda magazines and I'm using up stash fabric, but one of the unexpected outcomes has been that I've sewn things that I normally wouldn't because I force myself to sew at least one thing each month (and as we all know sometimes there's slim pickings in some issues!).  I don't normally sew or even wear pants, so I was pleasantly surprised at how these red panelled pants turned out, and this bomber style jacket in quilted satin was equally unexpectedly good.

Normally I go for highly fitted and structured dresses, even my casual dresses are usually simple sheath dresses (like this stripey one which is one of my faves) or sundresses with fitted bodices with full skirts (like this one, another fave).  But I thought this floaty dress looked nice on the model in the magazine (not a good measure by any means I know), so I'd thought I'd try something different.  And when you see the fabric I used you'll see how different I mean! Firstly, the pattern - 2/2013 #133:


Yeah, I know it's pretty much a standard Burda potato sack with pockets, saved only by a bit of elastic around the waist with a touch of Viking tunic with the binding around the neckline! I don't know why this one caught my eye this month, maybe because I happened to have some fabric similar to the model photo in my stash, but sadly it turned out that I didn't have enough of that fabric to make this dress.  Digging deep in to the stash to find a fabric with a reasonable amount of body for a wintery type dress but still enough drapiness, I decided to go completely ker-razy and use this umm, rather wild fabric:


Yes that would be a paisley print in orange, brown and purple shades - a vast departure from the grey, grey and more grey that I used to make my winter clothes from! This is a mystery fabric, picked up a long time ago from somewhere or other that feels like wool crepe but without the wet dog smell so maybe it's  a polyester crepe.

To go with the 70s vibe of the fabric, and taking strong cues from the styling of the magazine model, I decided to wear this with knee high boots too.  Normally I take my blog photos on my way out so what you see is actually how I wear it, but for this one I had to play dress ups because it was so hot outside that as soon as I took these photos I had to change.


I left off the bias binding strips around the neckline and around the shoulder seams because I didn't have any bias binding in a suitable colour but also because I didn't think this dress needed any more interesting element to it.  Instead I fully lined the bodice so that I could do a slit at the neckline, and also meant that I just did two rows of topstitching around the waist at the bottom of the bodice lining for a channel for the the elastic instead of having to sew on a separate strip of fabric for a casing.

The side view looks a bit hunchback, and I need to yank it down at the front because the dress looks lower at the back in this photo.  It doesn't look too bad in real life though so this is how it shall stay:


I really need to improve my posture because this back view looks all sorts of wonky, but I do like the wide neckline:


The skirt is just wide enough to drape nicely but not too full to be a wardrobe malfunction on a windy day risk:


The true test of any garment for me is in the wearing - I like to give it at least one or two wears before passing judgement on it, so this one will have to wait a while until it cools down around here before getting a road test.  But it feels comfortable, and if I tone it down with a denim jacket or a dark leather vintage jacket that I have I'll probably get quite used to wearing such a wild print too!

Burda 11/2012 #124. Again.

Sunday 24 February 2013
Thanks for your compliments on the last dress for Anna, I'm quite relieved to have it finished and not make it into a UFO, but I do have to say it's probably my least favourite thing I have sewed for Anna.  It looks very homemade to me, a little bit too much Holly Hobbie for my liking but of course Anna loves it and wants to wear it all the time instead of the other great dresses I've made for her!

Burda-11-2012-#124But back to some grown up sewing.  Of course I should be on with my Burda challenge since it's nearly the end of February and I haven't done the February garment yet.  Actually the reason I didn't do an end of year round up of my 2012 Burda challenge projects like Melissa over at Fehr Trade did is because I still haven't made the December project yet.  But in a fit of procrastination of the useful kind, I decided to remake one of my favourites: #124 from the 11/2012 issue - an a-line skirt with welt pockets and a top stitched centre front seam.  When I made it back in November last year I made it from an emerald green cotton drill which I've worn many times since making it.  I've had to take the skirt in a bit due to losing the baby weight since I made it in November (helped along quite a bit by my recent illness), so it's a definite stayer in the wardrobe.

I recently cleaned out my wardrobe, and one of the garments to bite the dust was a denim skirt I made back in 2010 (ironically from another Burda pattern).  It was looking pretty worn out, and being a pencil skirt style in a rigid fabric like denim it always crept up while I was wearing it and I was forever pulling it back down into place.  But a denim skirt is a good basic to have in the wardrobe, especially in a darker colour, so I decided to make another one using pattern #124 because I figured an a-line shape would be more comfortable.


Because I've made this previously, I didn't need to trace the pattern out (one of the most time consuming parts of using the Burda magazines) and it sewed up really quickly.  I did move the welt pockets in towards the centre a little bit because I felt on the last version they were practically in the side seam, only by a little bit:


but it turns out that doing that means the welts stick out open a bit and the dark blue cotton I made the pocket bag from is visible, so I probably should have left them where they were.  Perhaps the Burda pattern makers do know what they're doing after all!  You can see in the side view how they stick out a little:


A dark denim skirt is hugely versatile.  The day after I made this I wore it out for some child free shopping (the best kind) with a plain white tshirt and a yellow scarf.  Are the matching yellow shoes too much though?

I also wore this to my first Australian Sewing Guild sewing day with the Rhodes Fashion Sewers on Saturday (how was that for a segue?).  Actually I didn't do any sewing, just a lot of chatting with Maria and Sharon, because I went there to check things out but it looks like loads of fun so I'll definitely be back next month with my machines in tow.  How could being in a big room full of like minded women busily sewing, talking and pin fitting each other in a spot far away from distractions from pesky husbands and kids be anything but good?

No new UFOs

Tuesday 19 February 2013
Apologies for the short blog silence here, I've been extraordinarliy busy doing boring and unblogworthy things otherwise known as ordinary everyday life.  Thankfully no more illnesses to report, and Toby seems to have settled into daycare really well so fingers crossed we go a few more months before the winter lurgies arrive.

As I said a few posts back, I don't do New Year resolutions anymore but I do set myself little rules to follow until something becomes a habit.  Doesn't always work of course, but one that has stuck is my no new UFO rule. Sure I still have a big box of UFOs that have piled up over the years, but I haven't created a new UFO for several years now.  So I wasn't about to let Anna's rainbow dress get the better of me, no matter how tedious it was to pull apart.

I was also determined not to buy any more of the fabric to make the dress bigger, so I pulled it apart completely, made the bodice narrower and interspersed two layers of contrasting fabric to increase the length.  When I finally finished all that, I resewed the invisible zipper and facing in but wouldn't you know it but as I was doing up the zipper to take a photo the zipper got caught and then split and was unfixable.  I tell you it was a good thing that both kids were in daycare that day because they would have learnt a few unsavoury phrases!  I'm sure I saw the dog raise his eyebrows though....

But it's all done now and Anna loves it and we shall never talk of this dress again.  And I will put a 'do not sew ever again' note on the Style pattern.

never judge a pattern by the cover....

Sunday 10 February 2013
Don't we all just love vintage patterns with their glorious illustrations? Problem is, I bet many of us have been fooled by them too - the garments never quite turn out like the illustration, and in some cases look completely different.  This has happened to me several times before, so really I shouldn't have been surprised, nor annoyed.....

Anna had been invited to a rainbow themed birthday party, and of course she demanded a new dress because unfortunately I think I've created a little fashion monster who thinks getting a new dress every week is the norm.  But I happened to have purchased some Lisette fabric bought from Spotlight during the January sale earlier this year that she liked, so I was able to oblige.  It is described as sateen, but it's quite thin like a poly-cotton voile, which would be perfect for a twirly dress style that she likes best.


I also let her pick out the pattern which she just loved doing since I've transferred all my scanned pattern covers to my Ipad so she just had to flick through them.  The hardest part was settling on one pattern, but in the end she chose vintage Style 1485 from the 1970s that I hadn't used before:


I always like using an unused pattern from the stash, and I've had good results from Style patterns before so I went for it.  I did the necessary measurements, sewed it up and finished it last Tuesday while both she and Toby were at daycare and had it ready and waiting for her to try it on when she got home Tuesday afternoon.    I congratulated myself on another productive day.  I then spent part of Wednesday unpicking it all.  Sigh.....


The completed dress looks ok on the hanger, but on Anna it may as well have been a wine barrel - it was really wide and really short.  In fact I think it may have been as wide as it is long.  I know the fashion for little kids in the 1970s was for short dresses, and I also know that Anna is exceptionally tall for her age (above the 100th percentile in the growth charts), but this dress barely covered her butt when standing and if she lifted her arms up the dress rose enough to show off her Dora underwear which is not so classy.

I didn't have enough fabric left to add another layer, so instead I decided to add contrasting layers in a solid colour in between.  However life intervened and it's still all in pieces in my sewing room.  But it didn't really matter in the end because it just wasn't to be a party dress.

Last Thursday, after his first 3 days at daycare, Toby got terribly sick with some virus and spent hours vomiting continuously for most of the day and evening.  We ended up in the emergency department at the wonderful Concord hospital (the staff in there are so lovely) for him to be re hydrated, which luckily they were able to do with medicine and he didn't need a drip.  In fact he perked up quickly and has been fine since.  We got home from the hospital at about 1.30am on Friday morning, and by 5.30am I was doing my best impersonation of Toby the previous day.  By Friday afternoon Anna joined in the fun too.  My husband who is proud of his iron guts constitution managed to hold out until Saturday night before he too succumbed.

So that is pretty much the whole weekend wasted, and I can't even say that all that bed rest and couch time has left me well rested.  Worst of all I missed meeting up with everyone who went along to the second Sydney sewists meet up as I had planned to on Saturday afternoon.  But there is always next time!

And now a mound of washing awaits me tomorrow, but on the bright side the kids are well enough to go back to daycare - whatever doesn't kill makes you stronger, right?!

The sound of silence. And a pair of shorts

Monday 4 February 2013
Did you have any babies or kids screaming and crying at your house this morning? No? Neither did I!

Today was Toby's first day at daycare and I had planned to only leave him there for the morning since it was pretty much his first time away from me and his dad.  There were tears, and plenty of them (not from me though!) but he also played a bit and slept a lot.  For three whole hours! So he stayed there until 2pm, which gave me enough time to not only sew my latest project, but also to photograph it and here I am posting it on my blog on the same day.  It's amazing how much can be achieved when there are no small children around and you know you have a finite time period.  It's also amazing how quiet it is without a super talkative four year old and a shouty baby, plus the noisiest and most annoying kids that live two doors away back at school too.  It was lovely.  And I get to do it all again tomorrow.

I've been seeing on lots of blogs people vowing to conquer some huge sewing feat or to not buy any more fabric as part of their new year resolutions.  I've long since given up on such resolutions - there is just way too much pretty fabric out there for me to stop shopping and my sewing nemesis is making a pair of perfectly fitting trousers but frankly I just can't be bothered spending the time required on refining muslin after muslin to get rid of fitting issues, especially when I rarely wear pants anyway. 

But every summer I do try to tackle the little sibling of the pants - the shorts.  I do mostly wear skirts or dresses on a daily basis, but with two small children there's lots of sitting on the floor and climbing on play equipment at the park so sometimes a pair of shorts is just the practical thing to wear.  Mostly I fail and make something I don't particularly love, so this year I went for something quick and simple. Enter Burda 6/2011 #111B:


Can't get much simpler than that can you? In fact I even left off the rear patch pockets because it already had side pockets, and my fabric was a little too busy for them to be noticeable anyway.  I was heavily influenced by all the floral short shorts I've been seeing around the place lately, and dug out some fabric from deep within the stash to make these:



I did lengthen the legs by about 5cm, because Burda's idea of "short" is my idea of "too short" but overall I'm pleasantly surprised by these! A pair of floral mid thigh shorts are so far out of my comfort zone it's not funny but I actually think these look flattering despite my pasty, freckly legs as well as being comfortable and practical.  I just wore them today with a simple black tshirt, but I think they could be worn with a crisp white shirt for a still casual but dressier look or perhaps I need to find a top in a complementary colour.


As I said, I managed to make these completely this morning, including tracing the pattern, cutting out the fabric and sewing it up in probably about 2 or 3 hours.  They were made completely from the stash so they were practically free, plus I used a Burda mag that haven't used before.  It's a win all round.

Thank you all for the lovely comments and helpful tips on the blue dress from two posts ago - I have already unpicked the hem and will re-sew it again by hand but this time with some fusible tape on the sewing line as suggested by Suziecurls and MrsMole.  If I make this dress again I will definitely play around with the shapes of the back panel to get a better fitted swayback, although I had to look up the shapes you mentioned Sewing Princess - I've clearly forgotten a good chunk of my primary school education!

Second Sydney Sewists meetup

Sunday 3 February 2013
I've completely forgotten to mention that Christy over at Littlebettydesigns has organised another meet up for people who like to sew, like to read sewing blogs, have a sewing blog or just want something to do this Saturday! But of course you all read her blog too so I'm already telling you something you already know, but just in case here are the details again:

Date: Saturday 9th February
Time: 1pm
Meeting point: Tessuti Fabrics, 110 Commonwealth St Surry Hills

Since I flippantly said at the last meetup that we should wear something made from the fabric purchased that day to the next meet up I've been madly trying to sew something with my fabric.  I did make the ponti dress in the last post from the fabric I bought at Tessuti's at the last meetup, but that's a bit too officey for shopping + drinks, so I've been planning something from the lovely Liberty fabric I also bought there.

Unfortunately (but probably for the best really since I shouldn't be stash building at this point in time) I can't make the shopping part of the day, but I'm going to try my best to make it to the drinking part at the end and admire everyone else's purchases.

Hope you can make it!