Behold the third Make 9 2018 project of the year. Yes, so I have six to go, but honestly I didn’t think I’d stick to it even this much. They’re being posted out of order–I can’t keep track–but there are two more to come in the next month or so.
Long drapey wrap skirt. It startles even me, apparently.
I took the pictures and then remembered that I hadn’t yet cut off all the threads, so if you see a thread tail or two, that’s why. Sorry. Anyway: Simplicity isn’t available in Canada, so I ordered the pattern off the internet, which is so much more than I want to pay, except that this was such a great fit for the Make 9 project and I couldn’t find another pattern I liked nearly so well for it.
It has, I think they say, “drama.” This amuses me. I’ve never had a piece of clothing throw a temper tantrum on me, stop speaking to me for no reason, start a baseless rumour, or pick a dumb fight. The closest I’ve had to drama from a piece of clothing would have been when I went out dancing in university in a dress that was apparently mostly translucent under black light, worn with white underwear, and found out my error only when the black light in the club illuminated my unmentionables for the benefit of the entire venue. Otherwise, I find clothing mostly drama-free.
The flounce is enormous. Most of the yardage required is for the flounce. The hem on the flounce is both enormous and tedious. It must be at least 3 metres long, possibly more. Expect to spend a lot of time sewing the hem if you go for the flounce version, is what I am saying. But it is pretty and it goes together well.
The fabric is a rayon poplin from Fabricland. It has enough heft to make a sturdy skirt but being rayon also drapes really well. It’s got a lot of fabric for the front, so there’s low risk of accidental exposures. Which is apparently not zero risk, as I found when I wore it the first time; but the top of the upper flounce is placed perfectly to be a handle when walking down the street on a gusty day. Just a hint.
I should be a size 14/16 in Simplicity based on the body measurement chart, and this is a 12/14. Honestly it would have been fine too in a 14/16, given the amount of drape and the fact that it’s a wrap skirt; there are 2″ of ease in the waist, so the finished waist measurement is about my own, which is the ease I prefer in something like this.
You know how sometimes you have a sewing project in which every mistake that you can make, you do?
Dear Readers, this poor skirt. I tortured this fabric to within an inch of its selvedge. That it exists now as a skirt is testament mostly to my stubbornness.
I bought this (mariner cloth? This is a thing? I googled it, and the top four results relate to online games. It seems like Final Fantasy and Allison Glass have a monopoly on the term between them) because of the lovely, textured, colourful stripes, which are made of something like a thick floche fibre that is woven into the thinner threads. It’s a very lightweight cotton, almost gauze-like, but the thicker fibre stripes give it weight and body. And I thought it would be perfect for this skirt, which I made a couple of years ago, back when I was both a bit heavier and hadn’t yet figured out I need to size down by one in Burda. So that skirt is a bit big, though I still wear it.
Regardless, and wordy prologues aside, the point of the skirt was to play with the direction of the stripes: vertical in the body, horizontal on the waist and hem bands.
On the way, I unconsciously decided to experiment with my tolerance for making mistakes on nice fabric, mostly inspired by Burda’s terrible welt pocket instructions.
How do they do it? I’ve sewn single welt pockets dozens of times. Yet, somewhere between the terrible wording and the flat-out inaccurate illustrations accompanying them, not only could I not make heads or tails of how to install the welt pockets in this skirt, but the instructions somehow rendered me completely unable to comprehend any written instructions on welt pockets. I cracked open all of my sewing reference books, and it was as if the English in them had been replaced by Lithuanian. You might as well have told me to shake a unicorn’s horn at the fabric while chanting Grimm’s fairytales by candlelight. And while attempting to figure it out, I sewed the welts on backwards, sewed the large pocket pieces to the welts, sewed the large pocket pieces in the wrong direction, each occasion for seam ripping bringing with it some little fabric tears given how soft and spongy the fabric is, and, for the coup de grace, at one point cut the pocket opening on the wrong side of the welt, creating a five-inch gash in the fabric of the skirt, and inspiring some inventive new curses for the instruction writers at BurdaStyle. I sorted myself out by watching this youtube tutorial. I have no idea who this woman is, but bless you, Diane.
I then patched up the gash with fusible knit interfacing, a lot of handstitching, some more cursing, and then sewed the pockets the right way. Then later on serged a side seam to the skirt front, but thankfully without cutting anything, so it was just a mess of seam-ripping rather than a new catastrophe. (Cutastrophe?) (Ha!)
So the one pocket is a bit of a dog’s breakfast and the inside is super messy (seams finished with serging after sewing because this fabric is super ravelly), but it is so pretty! On the outside! And so lightweight! And I will wear it with joy.
I bought mariner’s cloth in the weight/neon pink colourway too, that I’m hoping to turn into a top, preferably with fewer issues than the skirt presented me with.
In Burda’s sizing, based on body measurements, I should be a 40/42 skirt. This is a size 38/40, and it fits perfectly. Sizing down by one is standard for me in Burda patterns.
Back in my ignorant youth, I would roundly ignore the ends tables at Fabricland. Why would I bother? I wondered. Clearly the ends table was where they stuck all the crap they hadn’t been able to sell previously, and it would be ugly and awful.
I can’t remember how it happened, but one day I found some really nice wool suiting on the ends table for an unbelievably good price, and I couldn’t remember it ever being for sale in the store generally. And the clerk, when I took it to the table for cutting, confirmed that; it turns out that Fabricland regularly gets ends from other fabric suppliers and they just go straight to deep discounts in the ends sections. I’ve found some really great stuff there over the years for really great prices, but my favourite finds have been the silks.
This one, a bright yellow silk noil, was $8/m. And for the fabric illiterate among you, a generally cheap price for silk is maybe $20/m; a standard price for a decent silk is around $40 or a bit more; and you can find good silks at $100/m or more. So $8/m for silk anything is like a new hardcover book for $2. You don’t think about it or look at it too hard. You just get some and trust that you will find a use for it in good time.
I think this skirt was a pretty good use for it.
The pattern uses about a metre, so including the lining and the zipper, this is probably a $15-$20 silk skirt. And it’s yellow! Making it my third yellow handmade skirt, which is probably excessive, but … yellow … and silk … and a pencil skirt.
Also, while this isn’t a faux-wrap skirt, I think this is close enough to one of the projects in my 2018 Make Nine list that I’m counting it.
The pattern was picked up for the very cool seamlines. And one of the things I found out after I got it that made me like it even more is that the separate lining pieces are basically a standard darted pencil skirt, so if you are missing one of those, you can use the lining pattern for a basic pencil skirt.
The silk isn’t the highest quality (but for $8/m, can you complain?). It’s a bit flannely, it’s very soft, it creases easily. You can see the wear from a day or two of office work in the pictures, and you can also see some weird drag lines on the back that were not at all apparent until I saw the photos. I’m going to blame the camera and lighting because I seriously can’t see them in real life.
For the cost (and the colour!) I’m not going to worry about it too much. I’m just going to love it. Also it gives me the best reason ever to wear the blue floral blouse I made last year. Yes?
At any rate, I loved the pattern so much I got some nicer fabric and made it again.
This was picked up at The Wool House in Toronto, which is lovely, and never ever on a deep discount. My conversation with the shop owner went something like this:
Me: I’d like a yard of this one please.
SO: (Unravelling from the bolt) There are 2 pieces of 1 3/8 yards each left on the bolt.
Me: Oh! I’ll take 1 3/8 yards then.
SO: If you buy both pieces, I’ll give them to you for the price of 2 1/2 yards.
Me: That’s tempting, but I really only need one piece. I’m just making a skirt.
SO: Or I could give them to you for the price of 2 yards.
Me: (Quickly calculating in my head if 2 3/4 yards is enough to make a skirt suit) Sold!
It’s a lovely orangey tweed blend of silk, wool and linen. It feels wonderful, sews beautifully, and will make a gorgeous suit for when I need something more formal in the summer. And it’s perfect for a structured skirt pattern. It also means it wrinkles as soon as I put it on; believe it or not I ironed this before I took the pictures. But I can live with that
Both skirts are lined with bemberg.
I highly recommend reading the instructions through on this one. The first time around I did my usual figure-it-out-as-I-go thing and, while it worked out fine, the front dart would have been a lot easier if I’d done it in the order they recommended (which I did the second time around).
This is a great pencil skirt pattern. Highly recommend it if you’re looking for something classic but with interesting seamlines and construction.
And now I need to dig up a nice summery collarless blazer pattern.
The sizing is consistent with Burda magazine; I should be a size 40/42 and this is a size 38 grading to 40 at the hips, and it fits perfectly.
(Brief aside for Blogspot friends & readers: Please don’t ask me why, I am not a computer person–all appearances to the contrary–but blogger is going through another phase where I can’t use my wordpress ID to comment on posts. When I try, it tells me that it “couldn’t connect to my blogspot ID”–which of course, because I don’t have one, I have wordpress ID and that’s what I put in–but in any case, it won’t let me post. I do read, though.)
The fabric was an impulse purchase bought on sale for no reason other than it is very shiny. It’s a lightweight polyester jersey, with a colourful print and, on top of the print, a metallic gold foil fireworks print. It catches the light in interesting ways and seemed like a fun thing to turn into a dress.
Specifically this dress, which was a good part of the reason I bought this KnipMode issue.
There’s lots of good things going on here. The gathers on the bodice provide ways to add or remove bust measurement without fussing with darts, the separate waistband pieces make it easy to get a good fit and provide support for the skirt, and the angled gore gives the skirt some good swish and movement without a lot of weight.
I chose the size reflected by measurements, did an FBA using the gathers to fold in excess, and this was the first fitting:
Not bad, eh?
Not perfect. A bit looser than I wanted in the waist, and a bit lower-cut in the front than is really wise, but overall a good first fit. I took in about 1/2″ on the shoulder seam, tapering to nothing at the sleeve, and took the dress in through the waist as well. The neck is finished with a neckband, borrowing the shape and method largely from the v-neck Sewaholic Renfrew. And here it is finished up:
I like it a lot. The winter was so freaking cold that I only had reason and weather to wear it once or twice, but that included a birthday dinner with a friend and dancing, so that’s all right. Since, we’ve had our normal will-winter-ever-end/oh-it’s-a-heat-wave tango here so I’m not sure I’ll be wearing it again before November.
And then I went and made a summer version:
This was from a 1.5m cut of Art Gallery cotton jersey. I didn’t have quite enough for sleeves, but the actual dress pieces fit on the cut no problem. And it was already altered so made up in a snap.
With a blazer it’s great for work, and very comfortable. Much more versatile than the shiny verison.
This is a size 38, graded to 40 at the hips, with an FBA. Size chosen based on body measurements and was basically fine, though I chose to take it in a bit at the waist, and had to shorten the armscyes and neckline by about 1″. The FBA in the pleats worked well, though word to the wise: add the bulk of the excess to the centre pleat. Mine is a bit too much in the bottom pleat and that is, needless to say, not where I need it.
Everyone else who has ever sewed a dress has already made up this pattern.
And it’s easy to see why, seeing as the sleeveless version is two pieces, no darts. It doesn’t get much simpler.
This fabric is a thick poly jersey (not quite scuba-weight, but much heavier than usual) with a very large repeat floral, about two feet high. Because the dress pattern is so simple I was able to fussy-cut the front to centre the flower, and make it up without breaking up the print at all.
It’s mostly a size 10. Again, I’m supposed to be a size 16/20 in BMV, but at least this pattern had finished measurements on the tissue that were accurate, so I cut out a size 10, grading to 14 at the hips, and with a pivot-and-slide FBA. And voila:
Approximately 1 hour of sewing plus a bit of hemming.
The print was just the right size for this pattern. The back isn’t so pretty, but it still works. I think with a blazer or cardigan I could wear it to the office, but of course it’s mostly for dancing. It’s super stretchy and very comfortable.
For many knit projects with a single-piece back, I deal with excess in the upper back length by taking it out at the top, from the neckline. I’m not sure if any experts would support this as correct, but it does haul everything up nicely, and it means no waistline seam. I did a bit of that here and below, and it made a difference, though you can see some pooling does remain.
The remainder of this fabric–I bought two metres in case I needed to worry about pattern repeats, which I didn’t–has been given to a friend. Can’t wait to see what she does with it. 🙂
Then when I was downtown fabric shopping with that same friend, I found this rayon/poly/spandex blend knit with a fabulous pebbly texture and a metallic multi-colour foil floral print.
(I found it at Downtown Fabrics on Queen W, and when I was getting it cut, was chatting with a man there while his wife shopped. He asked me what I was going to use it for, and I said probably a dress for dancing. “Salsa dancing?” he asked. “Good guess!” I replied.)
And I thought this pattern would make a great base for a dancing dress from this fabric, but wasn’t quite fancy enough for those foil roses. So here’s where Burda 6417 comes in again: I shortened M6886 by about five or six inches, pegged the sides in by about an inch to get the seams to match, and then added the Burda flounce to the bottom.
I should be a size 16/20 in BMV patterns, and this is a size 10, graded to 14 at the hips, with an FBA. I can’t imagine it bigger; in most places it has slight positive ease or slight negative ease. If I’d made it up according to the sizing chart it would have been a sack.
(And if I’d made it up according to any of the supposed fool-proof shortcuts like high-bust measurement it still would have been a sack, because none of them would put me in a size 10.)
Preamble to prologue: I owe you all a Miss Bossy post, I know, but April kicked my butt three ways from Sunday and I’m still working on the dress. It is coming, and I will post it. In the meantime, lots of other things are done and ready to share.
Just in case you were wondering: in the case of this pattern, 2-way stretch definitely means it needs to be equally stretchy everywhere, because the pattern pieces put the hip and waist on a different grain.
It’s cute, and the pleats are nice, and the flounce at the bottom is fantastic, and there’s no stretch at the waist because this jersey is definitely only stretchy on the horizontal, not the vertical. I can get it on, barely. But I do mean barely.
I had about 1.5m of this fabric, and it was enough to make the skirt, even with the pleats and the flounce. Construction wasn’t too hard, though it was a bit time consuming and the pleats–all sewn together on one side–do make for a lot of fabric. Something to keep in mind, depending on the capacity of your sewing machine or serger. I ended up cutting away some parts of some pleats so that there wouldn’t be quite so much to put under the presser foot.
That said, I would make it again, if I had something that was very stretchy in all directions and hefty enough to make a skirt without being too hefty. It’s cute and it’s pretty simple.
And I’ve already borrowed the flounce for an upcoming dress project, so you’ll see it again soon.
I should be a size 40/42; in this pattern, I cut out a size 38, 40 in the hips, and it worked out fine. The waist is a bit loose, but I think that’s more to do with how hard it is to get it over my hips, given that the waist ended up being cut in the not-stretchy direction. Woops.
It’s pretty gratifying, because this is the same size combo I use in Burda magazine patterns, so it’s nice to see that it’s consistent and translates over well.
This is made from a polyester charmeuse, which isn’t something I normally go for, but it was so soft and drapey and didn’t feel plastic-y at all. And when I saw the December 2017 Burda blouse, it seemed like the perfect match.
Of course, it took me four months to sew it up. But here it is, finally, and worth it. It’s a really lovely blouse, and if you’re looking for something drapey, but not shapeless, and with some interesting details, this is a good pattern.
A few details are kind of fussy:
The shoulders are meant to sit back from the joint, as you can see; I didn’t adjust the seam because I didn’t want to end up with the shoulder seam too broad and mess up that bit of puffiness, but as it turns out, it really would have benefited from a bit of an extension. It’s just a bit snug.
I did the FBA and ended up with my usual enormous side dart, but didn’t add a waist dart–I kept the blousiness instead. I think it works but your mileage may vary. As per usual I basted the dart and left it unpressed so that I could shift it if I needed to–and I did. The dart point was several inches too low so I ripped it out and moved it up. A lot. It took about five tries to get it right–oy. Mostly this is because the FBA was 2″ per side so things moved around a lot, what with all the cutting and pasting; but I find bust darts on most patterns too low for me.
Burda has general pleat instructions, consisting of the number and size. But the last thing you want is wobbly, crooked, uneven pleats on the collar, so a few suggestions:
Pin each pleat securely.
Baste through the top and bottom of the whole run of pleats
Pin to the collar piece from the top of the pleat piece rather than the bottom
Baste, and be prepared to rip out stitches to pull pleats in or push them out to keep the top of that piece even
I recommend using a zipper or other foot that allows you to get very close to the bulk of the pleats when attaching it to the collar
I made my ruffled collar a bit shorter than they suggested as I don’t like a lot of bulk around my neck.
I used a very lightweight tricot fusible interfacing on this blouse to keep the drapeyness, and it worked; cuffs and collar are finished with handstitching this time to minimize visible stitching. Seams were first sewn with a regular machine and then serged to prevent fraying. A french seam would have worked, but I’m just not putting in the effort for poly, no matter how pretty it is.
I’m not sure it’s the kind of shirt you make more than once. I would recommend it, though. It’s pretty and different and works very well with a very fluid fabric.
Is this pink or red? Can I claim that it’s red so obviously not part of the pink avalanche?
I’d already made an altered Renfrew out of this fabric (which has shown up paired with other things from time to time), a very lightweight drapey poly jersey, with a nice big scrap left over–just enough to test out this top pattern before cutting into a rayon jersey I’d been hoarding for the perfect dress.
It’s not a quick jersey shirt, by any means–there’s lots of pleats and interlocking pieces–but it does work up nicely. My one quibble is that the shirt is very, very long. I have 11″ between my waist and full hips, and even so, I had to hem this by about 3″. If I make this again I’ll shorten the back at the waist. It’s tougher when it’s one piece, so I may just use the dress back pieces and shorten accordingly.
Otherwise it’s a great top. The pleated pieces across the waist mean it can’t really be tucked in, but they do snug the waist in nicely and add a nice detail.
And so of course I cut out the dress version in the rayon jersey which is–happily–Not Pink! And because it took me so long to take pictures, I was able to trace the new pieces, alter them, take a month to hem the dress, and wear it a few times, and I can still put them in the same post. Here it is:
The main difference is that the peplum is replaced by a skirt, however:
Neckband is replaced by a higher neckline with a facing.
They want you to put in a zipper; I ignored that. Having ignored it, I turned the back skirt piece into a single piece.
The back piece is split and has a waistband seam for the dress version.
The sleeves are shorter.
I really like this dress pattern. It’s too bad, given how cold and snowy it’s been this year, that I haven’t had more chances to wear it; but it’s rayon so I should be able to continue wearing it until short sleeves become necessary.
You can see there’s a lot less bunching and dragging in the dress version, which is really just because it has seams. If you normally do a swayback or short back adjustment on top patterns, you may want to use the back pieces for the dress on the top to make that easier.
I should be a 40/44 in a Burda shirt, but as usual I traced up a size 38 for most of it, grading to a 42 in the hips, and doing an FBA across the bust. In this case, with all the pleat action, I cheated a bit: I traced a 38 for the neckline and shoulder height, extended the shoulder to a 44, traced the 44 armscye down to the bust, then graded from a 44 at the top to a 38 at the waist, making it quite a dart–but it worked out perfectly. I measured the tissue and it gave me just a smidge of negative ease across the bust, and thank goodness because this was much easier than the usual cut-pivot-and-tape of a standard FBA. In the back I also extended the shoulder to the 44 line, and then graded back to a 38 at the bottom of the armscye. I also straightened the curve between the waist and the back neckline because I always find a curved seam there gives me a lot of floof between the shoulder blades that I end up removing anyway.
I’ll have to line the sleeves, the skirt and the yoke, but I think the floatiness will work well and be wonderful to wear when it’s hot in the summer, and the piping will help set off the print. But I’ll make up my mind for sure in the next day or so.
(Dear Readers! Friends! Tired of my wordy prologues? Tl/dr: there’s a poll at the bottom. Enjoy!)
A boyfriend once told me–repeatedly–that I am terrible at taking direction.
Let’s just sit with that one for a moment, shall we? A boyfriend repeatedly told me that I am terrible at taking direction. Why on earth, you might wonder–I certainly did–would I want to, need to, or try to, take direction from a boyfriend? Excellent questions all.
Putting aside the inappropriateness of his remark (on so many levels!), it does happen to be true.
It’s not true at work. But outside of work?
I like good rules–the kind that help societies and communities function well and for the benefit of everyone. I’m quite happy to pay taxes, for instance, and stop for stop signs, and I actually loathe shoveling the sidewalk with an unholy passion but I do it as soon as I can for the benefit of people who are using mobility aids or strollers or what have you and need that concrete bare. No problem, or at least not much bitching.
But a lot of rules are really dumb. They exist either for no benefit to anyone whatsoever, or to preserve unearned benefits for one group at the expense of another. I joyfully break those rules.
I actually dye my hair red for the sole and express purpose of clashing with my clothes. All that stuff about “redheads can’t wear pink”–or orange or yellow or whatever dumb thing–inspired me to spend money and time making my hair red every six weeks so I can wear pink–and orange and yellow, sometimes all at once–just to poke those rules in the eye.
And the idea that I should go about my life happily Taking Direction from anyone, including random strangers, is just weird. Like the man outside the grocery store who said, “Miss! Your purse is open. … Excuse me! Miss! Your purse is open! … MISS! Your purse! Is open!” At which point I looked at him, said “I heard you the first time,” and he stalked off in a huff that I hadn’t immediately corrected my pursing misdemeanor.
Or the time when, out with a large group after a dance evening, two men–neither of whom I am interested in in the slightest–had a conversation about women while staring right at me.
Man 1: Sometimes women are just too independent.
Man 2: Yes. Women can’t be too independent.
Man 1: Women who are successful and strong might have a hard time getting a man.
Man 2: Yes, a woman who wants to be with a man shouldn’t be too successful.
I do believe I stared at them in open-mouthed shock at the idea that I should be making myself lesser and my life smaller so that they could be attracted to me.
Generally, the fastest way to get me to not to something is to tell me I must do it, for no good reason whatsoever. I believe this has served me well in life. I truly believe I’m alive today and relatively functional because of this bone-deep, Canadian Shield-like stubbornness.
And yet today, Dear Readers, you have an opportunity to tell me what to do.
(Do you see how long it took me to get around to the point?)
Though true to form, the instructions said participants should choose three pieces of fabric for readers to choose between, and I could only narrow it down to four. Three of them are pieces I’ve had in the stash for a few years and have struggled to find the right pattern for, so now you get to force the issue.
Anyway, here they are:
This lovely Liberty of London silk-cotton voile. It’s very light and fairly sheer, though with the mint-green background not unwearably so. I have about 2m.
This linen/rayon/spandex blend. It’s as stretchy and drapey as a jersey, but it has a linen-knit-like texture and the rayon makes it very cool to the touch. I love this print, but it’s been a challenge to use as a) the stretch is entirely horizontal, so I can’t cut it on the cross-grain, and b) it’s very very narrow at 42″ wide. I have about 2m.
This yellow Anna Maria Horner cotton–with I think a bit of spandex, as it has some stretch on the cross-grain. About 1.5m. I love this print! So much clashing.
This Nani Iro double gauze, from off-white to orange on the cross-grain. Also 2m.
They’re all beautiful, they all deserve to be worn rather than stuffed away in a closet for posterity, and none of them are too fussy for sewing so I should realistically be able to fit them into my April sewing plans. None of them were so expensive that I’ll be gutted if they don’t work out. And every one is going to be a challenge to find a good pattern for.