Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Burda Style May issue and some new fabrics!

I love it when the latest issue of Burda Style magazine arrives. Never mind that I have enough patterns in my stash or, indeed, enough back issues of Burda to keep me sewing for A Very Long Time! No, the excitement of having new patterns never seems to diminish.

This month just two styles jumped out as being realistic propositions that I might actually get around to sewing some time.

Firstly this cute looking blouse, pattern 128, (which, by the way, was my DH’s pick of the month)
I especially like it because I think it could also work, in the right fabric, being worn as a light weight little jacket over summer clothing.

Secondly, these shorts, pattern 136, also caught my eye.
These are part of the Take 1 Make 4 designs but this style attracted me because it has an invisible side zipper (rather than a fly front) which I thought would look quite neat. Burda suggests that I wear these “showing off beautifully sun-tanned legs while shopping or partying!” That’s a laugh – my legs are the colour of milk bottles and, at my age, if I wore something that short out shopping, or even partying, I’d probably get arrested. However if I add a little to the length I think I would get away with these on the beach or poolside.

Talking of things arriving, my latest order from Gorgeous Fabrics was delivered yesterday. I’m just going to say that this order was placed in the recent one day sale and I limited myself to two fabrics, no more excuses or justifications! Here’s a picture

The one on the left is a cotton fabric, in a beautiful print, which I had planned to use for a shirt but when my DH saw it he thought it would make a really nice skirt and, as it has quite a lot of body, I think that he’s right.

The one on the right is a “Luxe Stretch Silk/Cotton Floral Twill” and I’m completely in love with it. It has the most fabulous drape and texture. This has to be a dress. I have one or two options in mind but I need to be sure - this is such a lovely fabric that I don’t want to risk a disaster!

In the meantime my home is still a bit of a building site – our kitchen renovations are continuing (but progressing nicely) and we now have a carpenter working on new shelving in the bedroom. However, amongst all this, some sewing is still going on so I’ll be posting about that very soon ……

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Burda Magazine, April #105, ruffle top - finished!

As I was making this one it was definitely coming under the heading of Never Again!

Burda give this top a two dot “Easy to Sew but More Time Consuming” rating and I have to say that, although it was reasonably easy in the sense that it wasn’t too difficult to figure out what you had to do, it was a bit of a pain to put together. There’s all that curved ruffle hemming, which is a little bit tricky to get perfect, and then getting the bodice with the slit neck, the two ruffles, the facing and the collar all layered and sewn together accurately wasn’t very easy for me. But, hey, don’t they say no pain, no gain?

And there was some gain because, once I had completed it, I have to say that all my frustration and irritation with it was (almost) forgotten and now I really like it. There’s something about the frivolity of ruffles that I love! Here’s a picture

And here’s a close up of the ruffles (sorry that it’s not very easy to see the detail because of the colourful print)

The neckline is quite low but I did actually raise the slit by an inch. To alter the bodice front I just redrew the marking for the start of the slit a bit higher and traced the facing piece to match. After that however it was necessary to alter the ruffle piece where the ruffles are attached to the neckline slit. To do this I pinched out an inch at the inner curved edge of the ruffle pattern where it joins the bodice front, then folded it so that on the other side (the part of the ruffle that is free) the curved edges met up – this creates a wedge shape that is taken out of the ruffle. Here’s a picture of the altered pattern piece so you can, hopefully, see what I mean

The other change I made (which I mentioned in my last post) is that when making a muslin for this top, I discovered that I didn’t need a zip. I guess, however, if you want to make it to be more closely fitting then you might need one but mine comes on and off very easily without. The fabric, in case you are interested, is a cotton and silk voile: it’s sheer but not see-through, very lightweight and very nice to wear.

So, that’s done, what’s next? The weather here in London is quite remarkably sunny (and no evidence of Icelandic volcanic dust to be seen!) so I am thinking that another summery garment will be in order.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Burda magazine quick and easy A-line skirt

Way back at the beginning of March I mentioned that I was making this skirt, pattern 104 from the February issue of Burda Style magazine

So, you might be wondering, where is it? Well, with all the distractions of my Miami vacation, an eagerness to complete my skirt with the bow and my kitchen remodelling project, I now realise that I have been holding out on you! I did indeed complete not one but two! of these skirts in a mad frenzy of sewing in the days prior to my vacation. Here is the first one

It’s made in a classic white cotton stretch sateen and I have lined it with a light weight nude coloured bemberg rayon (which is an excellent stash stand-by). The pattern doesn’t call for a lining but with a white fabric to be worn in the sunlight it’s usually a good idea. Here’s a picture of the lining

Because I liked the first one so much I was inspired to throw together another one made from some printed cotton I had left over from a dress. This one I didn’t line, so it was even quicker to make.

There’s nothing particularly exciting about this skirt pattern but it does make a great summer basic – it has handy cut-in pockets, a curved waistband and an A-line shape that’s very comfortable to wear. If you’re looking for a casual skirt and want it fast, I would definitely recommend giving this one a try.

Moving swiftly on to what’s happening right now. Most of my kitchen units have now been installed so I have been able to move enough boxes out of the living room to make some sewing space. In between talking to the electrician, plasterer, tiler, window blind installer, carpenter and floor layer I have been making a muslin for this blouse, pattern 105 from this month’s issue of Burda magazine.
The fit is looking good so I am hoping to complete it soon. In the meantime, if you are thinking of making this one, I do have a tip – check that you actually need to insert the side zip. With my muslin I discovered that I don’t – I can easily get it on (and off!) without one.

More soon

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Sewing tips from some talented people ......

I want to say thank you to everyone who left me a nice comment about my Burda skirt with the bow and flounce, featured in my last post. Readers, you are such lovely people! As an added bonus two very skilful sewists left me some sewing tips which I am reproducing here in case you missed reading them.

KayY, from The Sewing Lawyer, suggested that instead of hemming the flounce, it could be lined:
“Sew the lining and fashion fabric at the hem, turn, press, and then treat the lined flounce in the same way you'd treat it if unlined. A very neat, fluid hem results, and the weight of the lining helps with flippiness. You can then line the skirt portion shorter without fear of the unlined flounce getting caught on hose.”

Isn’t that an ingenious way of treating a flounce? I think it would be especially good if you are using a light weight or silky kind of fabric because it would give the flounce more body and prevent any unsightly puckering at the hem. When it comes to flounces, flippiness is definitely what we’re aiming for!

I made my skirt from wool crepe, one of my favourite fabrics, and Carolyn, from The Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, very generously offered the following tip for getting the best out of this fabric: “When I use wool crepe for a skirt, 9 times out of 10 I add a silk organza underlining. It helps with drape and wrinkling!”

I am now very keen to give this a try. I have read quite a lot about underlining and I have been thinking that this is a technique that I should be using if I want to give a garment more of a ‘couture’ look and feel. Here’s what the authors of Vogue Sewing (published by Sixth&Spring Books) say on the subject: “If you intend to construct a garment in the manner of the fine designers, follow their example of underlining your garment to give it beautifully controlled shape and body”. This definitely sounds like something I should be aiming for!

In the meantime there’s not much sewing going on here, couture or otherwise, because we’ve just had our kitchen ripped out ready for a new one to be installed. My sewing machine, which usually lives in the kitchen, has moved to the living room but the living room is piled high with boxes of kitchen stuff so there’s not enough room to turn around, let alone actually do anything constructive. When not involved in the madness of the kitchen construction chaos I have been spending time sorting and organizing my patterns (good!) and internet shopping for new patterns (bad!). I am, however, looking forward to getting back to actual sewing ……. oh, and having a kitchen again will be nice!

I hope you find these great tips from our 'virtual sewing circle' helpful and that your own sewing is coming along beautifully ........

Friday, 2 April 2010

Finished - Burda Magazine Bow Skirt!

My new skirt (pattern 125 from April’s Burda Magazine) has a bow, some pleats and a flounce – what more can a girl ask for!

and here's the front -

and the back -

I used a black 100% wool crepe, purchased last December in New York Elegant fabrics, which has just the right amount of drape for this style. I lined it with Bemberg rayon.

Once I had got over the shock of the tracing difficulties with this month’s issue of Burda (see my last post), I have to say that this skirt is very nicely drafted and went together without any trouble at all. The instructions were reasonably straightforward but I did make a couple of ‘improvements’.

Burda tell you to fuse shaped strips of interfacing to the upper edges of the skirt lining to stabilize the waist. This worked well but I also sewed ¼” seam tape to the wrong side of the outer fabric along the waist seam to be certain that it wouldn’t stretch out when worn.

To hem the flounce Burda instruct you to press the hem allowance of 1 ¼” to the inside and sew by hand but I decided to make a very narrow machine stitched hem instead. I would really recommend doing this because it makes the flounce hang much better.

When making the bow you might find (as I did) that you prefer not to press it flat. After sewing the lengthwise edges of the bow together you have to turn it right side out and press it so that the seam is centred on the back. When doing this I very carefully used the point of the iron to press the seam flat but made sure not to press the edges of the bow – this way the bow turns out a bit puffier not flat and sharp edged. Personally, I like a bow to be puffy!

When I saw this skirt in the magazine I knew I just had to have it and now I’ve got it, I’m delighted with it! I’d really like to make another one for summer - maybe a bright pink, or even a flowery print, would be nice?

More soon but, in the meantime ………….
A Very Happy Easter to You All
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