Tag Archives: burda patterns

Burda 8/2016 Skirt 123: An Anti-Winter Project

Winter is a tough season for skirts.

One thinks, on the one hand, “I want to be warm” (or maybe more accurately “I am so fucking sick of being so fucking cold goddammit why is it only February?”). On the other hand, one thinks, “If I wear the same pants again I may set them on fire.” Or, less melodramatically, “Ugh, again.”

But I think this skirt can manage some deep-winter wear without risking frostbite.

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Hey look! It’s one of the Renfrews I made up and didn’t blog. Mini blog-aside: seafoam bamboo jersey I tried to make into a pleated drapey top a few years back and never wore because it didn’t work, so I hacked it apart and made it into something else.

It’s to the knees, meant for a fabric with a bit of thickness and body, and fully lined. This one is made from a thick wool twill. The centre is a double pleat:

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Which is what makes the hem stand out so nicely.

Side-ish.
Side-ish.

The lining is a grass-green bemberg because that’s what I had on hand. I just serged that hem a few inches shorter than the skirt and otherwise left it.

The Back
The Back

The inside of the skirt waistband is made of the rayon twill I used for the drapey skirt; I didn’t want the wool against my skin in case I should ever wear a shirt untucked with this, so I split the waistband into two and added a seam allowance.  Otherwise I made it up as directed in the pattern with no alterations, using standard sizes, and it fits well and looks like it’s supposed to, and is even fairly warm (but no promises that I’ll wear it when it’s not at least near freezing). Overall it’s super simple and you could easily hack pockets into it if you wanted, without affecting the overall fit or line of the skirt.

This pattern is one that I am toying with for the black felted/embroidered fabric I posted about recently.  I need to play around with it a bit and see how it handles pleating before I make up my mind, but would love to hear any thoughts any of you might have.

Burda skirt 11/2015 #105: One Day I’ll Fly Away

I actually ordered a back issue of the magazine just to get this skirt pattern and it still took me a year to make it.

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I love the seam lines on this. I love the way the darts have been rotated into those seams. And I love the way the seamlines work with the godet to shape the skirt.

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I still love all of those things; but I wish I’d chosen a fabric that was a better match for them.

This is a fairly heavy fabric of unknown contents: Is it wool? Is it poly? Who knows? I don’t. It was free and I thought it would make something suitable for a funeral, when I thought I would have a funeral to go to. It is also a bit stiff. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, but it does make the shape of the skirt far more dramatic. And it makes it look like culottes from the front.

Side note: I do not like culottes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a pattern over the last few years and thought, “What a cute skirt pattern! Wait … never mind … culottes. Bah.”

And from the back, you get a snazzy tail fin:

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However: there was no chance that I was going to special order a magazine for a particular pattern and then only make it once, even if it had been a spectacular success, which it wasn’t.  So I tried again in a different colour of the same rayon twill I made the It’s Fine dress in:

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Lord it’s dark in that photo. But hey! It’s a much drapier teal version of the same skirt. Rayon twill is about as unlike denim (also a twill, for those of you who don’t sew) as you can imagine: it is soft, drapey, clingy as hell. Just slightly thicker than challis. There’s maybe not much you can see here, but hopefully you can see that it does not look like culottes from the front. Nor does it have a snazzy tail fin from the rear:

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Instead, it drapes, just as it did in the pattern photo.

All around better, except for the fact that the rayon, no matter how low the temperature I used to press, insisted on going shiny at the seams. So frustrating.

At any rate: it’s a great pattern. Easy to put together, fun shape if you get the fabric right. The seam around the zipper is a bit too rounded and I had to take about half an inch off, and sewing around the peak of the x-cross seam is a smidge tricky and doesn’t make quite as obvious an angle as it does in the pictures.

Something you can’t see here is that the gores make nearly a circle skirt at the hem, meaning that if you were to twirl in this you’d get a nice round swish below the knees. I did try for you Dear Readers, but I nearly gave myself a concussion trying to turn a fast circle on the stairs. Not that the photo wouldn’t have been entertaining for non-sewing-related reasons, right?

And just to round out the Holy Trinity of Sewing Blog Photos:

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The side of the first one, complete with full wings.

Burda 11/2016 Dress 110: It’s Fine

You can see almost nothing about this dress (pattern here) thanks to the print I chose, a rayon twill from Fabricland that is soft, drapey, colourful, easy to sew, and obscures any seam not outlined with a highlighter pen.

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The Acceptable Front

So, in words: shoulder yokes, gathered bodice to a snug waistband both front and back, pleats in the front skirt, gathered bell-shaped sleeves. Like so:

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Or like so:

Still can't see the gathers or pleats, right?
Still can’t see the gathers or pleats, right?

Yeah it’s all pretty well invisible.

It made up just fine and it’s a perfectly ok dress for work, and because it’s rayon, I’ll be able to wear it in the spring, too. But I don’t love it enough to make it again. The print makes the whole thing so impossible to read that the wearer becomes an amorphous blob of paisleyish floral stuff with no details about the garment or the person underneath the garment even remotely visible. It’s practically a caftan.

The Perfectly OK Back
The Perfectly OK Back

The pattern itself works up just fine–everything matches, everything works, it’s not too challenging. It’s not the pattern’s fault that I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.  If this is something you wanted to make up, I recommend picking a less busy print.

By the way, get used to stair photos for the next little while. We have entered the Cold Grey Bucket of Suck winter period here in S Ontario and I plan on keeping my acquaintance with the outdoors limited to shivering from the front door to the car. Weird shadows and bad light are the name of the game until probably May. Sorry.

The Side. Because it's not a sewing blog post if you don't get all three views, or so I have been told.
The Side. Because it’s not a sewing blog post if you don’t get all three views, or so I have been told.

Burda 04/2016 Skirt #113B: Accidentally Underdressed

This is the story of a skirt I made for work that I can’t wear to work.

“What a lovely and interesting pencil skirt!” I thought in April when the Burda issue came. “Just right for the office. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for a cool stripe fabric that might work.”

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She’s even at an office in the magazine pictures. What kind of office, I would like to know.

I had a work meeting in Toronto, after which I went to Queen West and found a very cool watercolour-style linen-spandex stripe in orange, green and yellow. Perfect!

Made a test version in a heavier stretch-cotton just to see how it worked. Good thing, as I initially made the front band (under the slit) about half as wide as it was supposed to be, and holy cow was that version indecent.

Phew! Crisis averted. (cue foreboding music)

Cut out and sewed up the stripey version. Tried it on. Fantastic! The stripes are going in the right directions; it mostly fits, though next time I would make it higher in the waist as it’s too low and low-waisted skirts always want to ride up on me to my actual waist. Also a bit loose for such a light-weight and stretchy fabric. If you make this up (and you should! but not for the office) a non-stretchy fabric will work just fine. What with that slit you will not need stretch.

Smiling again. You know this can't end well.
Smiling again. You know this can’t end well.

Got dressed one morning for work. Walked to the kitchen for breakfast.

Holy crap.

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Woops.

That slit opens up all the way to the top, eh? At every step.

Put some emergency stitches in to hold it a bit more closed. Went to work.

Stitches popped out.

Faced awkward conundrum of either acting like I meant to flash the office all day and just owning it, or holding it closed with one hand if I needed to walk anywhere. Very professional.

The Back, slit free.
The Back, slit free.

It’s a great pattern, a fun skirt, definitely different from the usual and if you can find a good stripe to make it up in, well worth the effort. Runs a bit loose so recommend doing flat-pattern measurements to make sure it’ll be snug enough to stay put.

The Stripes, without un/intentional flashing.
The Stripes, without un/intentional flashing.

However.

Don’t wear it to the office.

Date night? Dinner? Dancing? Sure. Absolutely.

But unless you’re aiming for a very special kind of promotion, if you get my drift, not for work.

Woops
If you have any stairs to climb, or take steps more than about 6″ long … and you should see what happens when you sit in it.

Burda

Remember that sheath dress I made a while back?

It didn’t work out. The flowers didn’t make it through the first wash, and when I removed them, I was confronted with the inescapable reality that the neckline had stretched out during sewing and could not be repaired.

Sad but true.

Happily: I had enough of that lovely silk-linen fabric left over to make a decent skirt. And here it is.

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It’s the first ever garment I’ve made from a Burda magazine. Yes, I got a subscription. Alone out of all of my tech-loving sewmies, I hate pdf downloads. I hate buying them, I hate printing them, I hate worrying about the scale, I hate taping them together, I hate cutting them out once they’ve been taped, and I hate trying to store them afterwards. I would rather trace out a grayscale labyrinthian pattern sheet any day, if it saves me from the horror of the pdf download.

(I said horror, and I’ll say it again if I want to. Horror. See? I’ll keep it up, too, if I have to.)

It’s skirt 101A from the 3/2016 issue. It’s got a deep box pleat in the front, and is otherwise a simple a-line shape. And it’s got a cool extra-wide hem band at the bottom, which gives it a bit more weight and body.

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Technically, it also has welt pockets, but I opted to omit those. I can hardly imagine how I would have botched the whole thing if I’d attempted to put them in, with my focus being what it is at the moment.

I drafted a lining for it as the silk-linen is loosely woven and a bit translucent on its own. You wouldn’t think so, since it’s not thin, but it is. The zipper is supposed to go on the side, but I put it on the back, and I used a wooden button at the waistband for the closure.

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The Side, with extra helpings of linen wrinkles. I did so iron it. I would also like to thank Nikon for making me look as if I have a sunburn in this photograph. I was actually sporting my typical winter pallor.

It was entirely unexceptional and unexciting. The pattern went together nicely and everything fit. The skirt is comfortable and just different enough to be worth making. The fabric is lovely and I enjoy petting it every time–silk linen! All the waxy stiffness of linen somehow combined with the softness and sheen of silk. It’s a technological miracle.

BurdaStyle Twisted Maxi Dress, with literal blood, sweat and tears

I sewed through my finger for the first time ever in the making of this dress.

Fortunately the blood washed out.
Fortunately the blood washed out.

Not intentionally–though I have been assured that this sewing-through-fingers business is a rite of passage–but I still think it could add a touch of gravitas: I bled for this dress. Stupidly.

You know how it is. This fabric is a super slippery, very slinky rayon jersey and it did not want to stay lined up properly, so I was using my fingers to hold edges together even though I’d used a ton of pins, and the machine was going really fast and my finger went up and over the presser foot and, yeah. Yelling. Blood. Half a roll of toilet paper to staunch the bleeding. Band-aid. And then, because I am hardcore, right back to the sewing machine to finish the dress.

The Back, with the tie.
The Back, with the tie.

(OK, it’s not that big a deal, but it’s the first time it’s ever happened to me. Any sewing injury stories to share, Dear Readers?)

The dress, by the way, is the Burdastyle Twisted Maxi-Dress 02/2013 #115.  It turns out pretty much exactly as it looks on the web page, it fits well, it’s very heavy due to all the fabric in the folds and twist, it’s incredibly low-cut in the front so beware of that (I ended up stitching the front pieces together an extra 2″ or so to provide bra coverage), and the front twists and folds are fiddly to put together. There was quite a bit of sitting on the floor with the fabric pieces and the instructions, and squinting back and forth from one to the other to figure out how it went together–but it did, and here it is, and look! Not bad, eh?

Front twists and folds.
Front twists and folds. I do look a bit maniacal in this one, don’t I? 

It would look really smashing with a border print, if you have a border-print jersey. If you don’t, it looks plenty nice in a regular jersey cut on the straight-grain, which is what I did, so long as it’s a four-way stretch. It took 3m of narrow fabric and I cut a size 40/44 mix with a bit of shoulder-broadening thrown in for good measure. The hem was just finished with the serger.

The fabric, by the way, was dirt cheap at $6/m, so altogether with the thread and pattern this is a $30 dress, sewn up in a fit of productivity/procrastination for the Dragon Ball. It’s also super-comfortable to wear, and you can’t even see the blood.

Now it’s a pleated pencil skirt (Burda Pleat Pencil Skirt 03/2015)

This was a pattern that did not want to be a pleated pencil skirt at all. What it wanted to be, based on the skirt as first sewn up, was a hot air balloon.

for visualization purposes

 

But this would have required me to install hot air jets on top of my feet which, in addition to sounding quite painful, I’m sure would also have been much too expensive. So I cut it down.

A lot.

In the front piece on the hips I took out at least 2″ per side and maybe half an inch per side on the back. I also pegged it below the hips slightly as originally it was pretty straight (and still is, so that tells you something).

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The Front. With eye-contact, just for fun. Can you see the pleats? No? Me neither.

 

Despite the fact that the skirt pieces made a skirt that was much too big, the waist band as measured out was too small. One day I will learn to wait until after I’ve got the rest of the pattern assembled before cutting out the waistband piece. (I cheated and added a bit of fabric to the end to get it to fit the skirt waist.)

The Back.
The Back.

I’m not sure if I totally understood the zipper instructions as this has them going up partway, but not completely, through the waistband. It’s a little weird so I added a hook and eye at the top to keep it completely closed.

And there was obviously no attempt at print-matching whatsoever.

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The Side. Do you know, I had no idea that my hair matched the exterior brick on my house until I saw these pictures?

 

But I don’t care. It’s a casual skirt, and at this point it fits and looks pretty well like I want it to. The back centre waistband is not going to be on display much, so whatever.

You can't see them from farther away since the print is so busy, but they are there.
You can’t see them from farther away since the print is so busy, but they are there.

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen bought at Fabricland for less than $10/metre, and given that I only used a metre–with a $5 pattern, a $1 zipper and a bit of interfacing–this skirt cost less than $20. The fabric has a good stiff hand, which works well with the pleats, and just enough stretch to make it comfortable.  I’ve got enough fabric left to make a pair of summer shorts, and I can’t wait.

 

The Side-Back.
The Side-Back.

Now if only I could insert an entire week of free time between Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon…