Monday, 6 July 2015

Epic paisley twirl (a.k.a. Burda Classics 2013 005B maxi skirt)

Sorry about the colour/lighting. I thought "yay, summer! outside photo!" and didn't realize it would wash everything out.
I seem to have been working on this skirt forever, and yet the results are... not that spectacular.

On the plus side, I legitimately really like this skirt. It's made from a light, crinkly cotton/viscose blend and it is the most floaty, most twirly, most rippling-gently-as-you-walk kind of maxi skirt imaginable. The shot above was taken with the slightest of breeze making my skirt move. I love that about it. I also like the paisley-ness of the fabric. I had some ridiculous quantity of it bought from eBay in 2012. I used a metre or so previously to make a woven tee last summer, which I have not worn that much (for no very good reason as I do like it). Why I bought such a huge piece of fabric when I don't wear prints all that much , I do not know. At any rate, it was cheap and I had a lot of it, which is just as well because this pattern, from Burda Style Special: Classics 2013, is a fabric hog of epic proportions.

Burda Classics 2013 005B -- images from
I don't think it's immediately apparent from the technical drawing or the modelled image that this is actually a full circle skirt below the yoke. To get a maxi length skirt I therefore needed every centimetre of 3m of fabric, although if I'd got the length right (i.e. hacked a great deal off the hem at the point of using the pattern) I might have gotten away with a smidgeon less. As it was, I had to move all my furniture around in my living room so that I had a big enough floor space on which to lay out 3m of fabric as a single layer and cut out it out.

Alas, this would be the point at which things sort of went a bit wrong, and thus, the minus points:

Problem 1: Quite a lot of time elapsed between me tracing the pattern pieces and making the skirt and I sort of thought I'd checked the things I normally check. Not so much. As a result, although I am more or less a perfect match for a Burda size 42 waist and hips right now according to the magazine measurements ... the yoke did NOT fit at all. The magazine image clearly shows that the model is wearing the skirt somewhere below the waist, but this was not so much "below the waist" as "clinging very very precariously to my hips". I ended up taking about 6cm out of the yoke and to be honest it's still kind of loose. Unfortunately, my belated fix of the width means that the yoke seam match up is dismal. Also, I don't know quite what to blame for this but the yoke ends up tilting on my body and being lower at the front than the back. My suspicion is that this is my fault, but I couldn't tell you what I did. The upshot of all of which is: the yoke was FAR too big and I really should have caught this at the pattern stage. That said, I find this discrepancy between size and fit unusual for Burda, which if anything errs towards less ease than more, but there you have it. If I made this again, I'd probably end up cutting 2 sizes smaller at least.

Problem 2: The length. Right, so, in Burda magazines it always says that their straight sized patterns are intended for people who are 168cm. I am 172.5cm (that's 5'8"). I always check the length, or I guess I should say that I USUALLY check, since evidently I didn't check properly this time at all, but, you know, I would assume on that basis that straight size patterns should generally be at or around a sane length for someone my height. Right?

WRONG. Here is the unaltered length -- to which I had not, through oversight, even added a hem allowance -- in a photo I posted to my shiny new instagram account. Not clear from this photo -- I am wearing 7cm heels underneath the skirt. D:

I can only assume therefore, as I said at the time, that when Burda say "168cm tall" they mean "168cm tall and wearing GIGANTIC HEELS OF GIGANTICNESS", because no. This is too long. More importantly, it doesn't even REMOTELY match what the magazine instructions say is the length of the finished garment, which was much closer to other maxi skirts I already own that DON'T drag along the floor like I'm a child playing dress up.

The real problem is that taking up a circle skirt is an absolute nightmare. I let this hang off and on for a few days to let the bias stretch out. When I then had to hack a lot off the bottom, the "easy" way of shortening it, simply measuring some amount from the hem and cutting it down the whole way round didn't work. Instead I got a ridiculous wavy edge because of course it had stretched out unevenly, and then I got frustrated and hacked at it, and then it was an epic mess and I almost gave up.

The side view demonstrates the hideously uneven hem AND the tilted yoke
However, I tried it on again last night and although the horrible uneven hem does bother me because it looks so very VERY Becky Home-Ecky, I decided I could live with it because (a) it's a casual garment that I'll mostly wear around the house and on errands, and thus I can live with amateur hour sewing levels; and (b) there's SO MUCH fullness and movement to the skirt when I'm actually wearing it and behaving like a normal person, as opposed to just standing still frowning critically at my hems, that it's actually pretty much impossible to tell that my hems are a complete uneven disaster.

For completeness, a back view, which I have to tell you was taken mid-sneeze due to the flowering plant in front of me
In conclusion: I do, genuinely, like this skirt but I'll not be making this pattern up again any time soon!

Next up: I am halfway through a wearable muslin of the Wiksten Tank (which I bought for some unfathomable reason, since I already have SEVERAL similar patterns, but whatever, too late to lament that) and will probably whizz through the finishing touches on that in the next 24 hours. After that, through the kindest of offices I have acquired Simplicity 1063 well in advance of it being available in the UK and am champing at the bit to sew it up after it arrived this weekend. :D And I am in the process of adjusting an Ottobre sleeveless top pattern and a Burda dress.

And finally, I decided at the end of last month that I wanted to get on with my next knitting project, and that in order to do so I would try to knit at least a little every day in July.

Photos taken at the end of every day 1-5 July
I started on on 1 July with literally just the cast on stitches, and as of last night (on the right) I am into the main part of the body. I think I have to grind through about 5cm of body per day this week, which will be probably kind of dull. Also, wow, lighting has a crazy effect on the colour of this yarn when I take the photos. The actual real colour is probably closest to the second on the left. (It is Drops Cotton Merino DK in Storm Blue and the pattern is Backshore (but without stripes) (link is to Ravelry).


  1. How did I miss this?

    I love the finished skirt! It looks very easy to wear and I'm 100% in agreement...standing still, frowning at your latest make is sure to make flaws apparent vs wearing it for real and doing real people things like walking and sitting and stuff ;)

    Very nicely done!

    1. I wore it the other day and it's actually a big win for me, dodgy hem notwithstanding. I'm really pleased with it!