Frocktails outfit! Burda of the month 10/2017 #109 and Style Arc Skye

Monday 19 February 2018
Last Saturday night was another fabulous Sydney Frocktails, organised by the lovely Caz of Useful Box. Lots of ladies wearing beautiful frocks, drinks a plenty and a night out in the city sans husbands and kids - all the right ingredients for a great night!

Even though I have loads of outfits already in my wardrobe that I could have worn, of course I had to make a new one. In a fit of efficiency I combined by Burda of the month project for last November with a bit of stash busting to come up with this outfit:

copper top and black pleated skirt

The top is Style Arc 'Skye' and the skirt is Burda 10/2017 #109 which is the cover pattern for that month:

The skirt is a pretty easy project to sew although there are quite a few pattern pieces to it. You just need to piece the yoke pieces together and sew those to the main skirt pieces and then it's just a matter of sewing it up as a normal skirt so it didn't really take too much longer.

The fabric I've used is a raw silk I bought in Cambodia or Laos (can't quite recall) way back in 2008 when I travelled there in my pre children days. It was rather cheap so I have several metres in a few colours that I've never really found anything to make with it. It's a bit thin but stiff at the same time and the black is a bit of a faded black colour.

It looks like Burda have used a jacquard fabric with quite some body for their version, and I was hoping that my stiff fabric would work just the same at making those pleats stand out.After pressing the skirt though it's turned out rather flat.

And I'm just not sure that a pleated skirt is the most flattering cut for a heavy pear shape, even with the flat fitted portion over the hips. I think this skirt accentuates the heaviness of the bottom half of my body.

copper top and black silk skirt

The back of the skirt is a plain a-line skirt, which reduces bulk there, and the lining is also an aline skirt shape. Please excuse my posture in the photo below, I don't know what I was doing but it looks terrible!

I've made this Style Arc top several times now and I still love it. It's a simple shape but it has nice curves and is a very quick sew. The fabric I've made this version from is a metallic woven fabric in a copper colour that I bought from the Remnant Warehouse last year:

The fabric frayed like crazy so I had to overlock every edge, and it didn't really hold a press very well either so the seams look a bit puffy but I think a sparkly fabric pairs well with a simple pattern. The fabric is also quite stiff, so when it was tucked in it was quite bulky which you can see in the photo below :

The top also didn't stay tucked in either, so even though I prefer the look of it tucked in to the skirt I ended up wearing it loose. I have lengthened the front by 3cm so that I don't have any bare flesh showing at the side slits which is my usual adjustment for this pattern and usually sits in the right spot but looks a smidgen too long with this skirt:

Although the fabric wouldn't press that well it certainly did wrinkly around the bottom where it was tucked in - typical! The back neckline is a simple slit opening that I held closed with a hook and eye instead of the recommended loop and button.

So my verdict on these patterns: the skirt is great pattern because it looks exactly as the pattern picture and was an easy sew, but I think it's a frumpy look on a pear shaped body. So I give it a pass for me, but it would look great on other body types, especially in a lofty jacquard or brocade in a fabulous print like Burda has used. The Style Arc Skye top remains a favourite but I will pair it with a more fitted skirt or slim fitting pants so that I can wear it out because it's too bunchy to wear tucked in.

And yes your eyes aren't deceiving you - my hair is now a brighter shade of red! I used a home dye kit on a whim because I was a bit bored with my hair but I didn't want to cut it shorter. I feel like a teenager again with crazy bright hair and it's certainly getting lots of comments but it's only hair - it'll fade soon enough.

Burda of the month: 5/2017 #111 layered dress

Tuesday 6 February 2018

I'm still playing catch up with my 2017 Burda of the month projects, and I'm so glad I've made this one because it has turned out so well. This is 5/2017 #111, which is a simple sheath dress with an interesting layered front:

image via Burda Style

I chose to make my dress from a black and white plaid fabric that I bought a while ago from The Remnant Warehouse. It has a slight amount of stretch which was a godsend because this dress turned out very form fitting! I put the two bodice layers on the bias in opposite directions to make them stand out more but that bottom layer is mostly covered up by the top layer and only a corner of it is visible:

Once I figured the pattern out this was a really simple dress but I did struggle to work out the front section until I went back to the pattern layout and discovered that you need to cut out two front bodice linings. Essentially one bodice lining is sewn to the skirt fabric and forms the bottom layer,  the two bodice pieces are place on top and sewed at the neckline and side seams, and the second bodice lining is sewn as a traditional lining that encloses the raw seams.

After the bodice is sewn the rest is just a standard sheath dress. I tried really hard to get the plaids to match since the white lines were screamingly obvious on the black fabric and I think I succeeded. I did have to shift the darts at the back slightly to make sure they were in the black section and not on a white line so they aren't symmetrical but at least the vertical lines match up at the back waist seam, and the horizontal lines match up at the side seams.

I've made my usual size 34 at the bust, grading out to a 36 at the waist and a 40 at the hips and the fit is very snug. The dress is fine because it has that bit of stretch, but I used a non-stretch lining that I had to let out at the side seams as far as it would go because it was too tight. If I make this again I probably would size up from the waist down so I don't feel the need to suck my stomach in all day!

Overall I think this is a great pattern - a simple shape with a point of difference. It would look great both in a solid fabric or with a print fabric for the bodice, or even colour blocking for the different pieces. The shoulder darts are great for fitting to avoid that gaping that I sometimes get in dresses due to my narrow shoulders, and I always prefer a dress with a waist seam because it's easier to fix a sway back. So I highly recommend this pattern, and I think I will make it day, when my to do list is a bit shorter!