Saturday, 28 May 2016

Seamed skirt & my first use of Knipmode

When the most recent issue of Knipmode (06-2016) arrived through my door earlier this month, I was delighted with it. It's a really lovely issue with tons of patterns I like. I'm particularly enamoured with Knipmode's semi-regular sets of bodice/sleeve/skirt mix-and-match dress patterns, and there's another great one of those in this issue. However, what really leapt out at me was the one skirt pattern in the issue, pattern number 20:

Knipmode 06-2016-20 skirt, image and drawing from Knipmode
(Unfortunately, Knipmode don't make every pattern in the magazine available electronically, and this is one of the patterns that is missed off the electronic release this month, so I can't link you to it.)

Although I've been receiving (and thoroughly enjoying flipping through) Knipmode for close a year now, I haven't actually made anything up from any of the issues so far. (The one Knipmode pattern I have made up previously (a shirt with placket) was an older (2013) PDF pattern that I bought from their website.) You might have noticed, however, a slight uptick recently in my use of patterns from more recent issues of my magazine subscriptions. I'm trying very hard to be a little less slow and deliberate in my use of patterns! In keeping with this new policy, I bumped this skirt up to the top of the sewing queue and always hoped to make it this month.
It is virtually impossible to get a good image of a black skirt indoors, but here it is anyway - Knipmode 06-2016-20 in black stretch denim, with grey topstitching and a silver metal zip, as modelled by a hanger.
What really grabbed me about the pattern was the seaming and the centre front zip. I happened to have a rather nice zip that I salvaged from a hoodie thing that I made about 18 months ago but only got to wear a handful of times before the terrible fabric totally fell apart on me. However, I had to buy fabric because it required something bottom-weight with stretch, and the only piece I had was not big enough. Instead I picked up 1m of a 5% lycra black denim online (and then, due to operator error, bought a second 1m piece to finish it.)

The first challenge was to pick a size as the sizing chart is different from Burda/Ottobre. The main difference for patterns where you're looking at lower body only is that the Knipmode measurement chart puts you one size smaller than Burda/Ottobre. I usually choose by hip measurements only. My current hip measurement is 99cm, or a closest to a size 40 (98cm) in Burda/Ottobre and a size 38 (also 98cm) in Knipmode. Both of my most recent skirts were in an Ottobre size 40. In theory, I ought therefore to have gone for a 38 in this pattern. In the end, however, I decided to use a size 40 for this pattern as well, mainly because the skirt in the modelled image seemed to have very little ease. Also, I honestly could not really wrap my head around making anything in a size 38. I mean, I know it's an arbitrary number and meaningless, but it just seemed like any size that started with a 3 was likely to be too small for me. 

(Click to make the image larger) Top-stitching detail on the front, back, and the shape made at the side seam
Actually making the skirt was very straightforward. I can't read a word of Dutch beyond what I can intuit based on English + exceedingly rusty German, but handily every seam is labelled and the instructions are very much of the "Stitch seam A. Topstitch." variety which doesn't take a lot of mental effort once you've translated it once. Plus of course I can work out waistbands/zips, etc for myself at this point in my sewing career. The biggest problem I had in construction, as I reported in my last post, was my own idiocy. I was finishing a side seam on my overlocker when I caught the fabric in the blade and cut a massive hole in it (Instagram evidence). Other than that, though, I felt like it went together well. My seams/stitching don't match up 100% perfectly -- I am sure anyone who quilts would shudder away from my finished item as I know perfect point matching is their goal! -- but they are certainly close enough for me to be happy with it. I topstitched in grey but just used a slightly heavier cotton thread rather than proper topstitch thread as I did with my polka dot skirt. I made no changes other than to miss off
the belt-loops, but only because I forgot to make any!

I'm sorry, this is a terrible photo, but it was the best I could do. Photographing black garments is a trial.
As for fit, well, it's not perfect. It's a close-fitting design and I think possibly Knipmode make assumptions about hip & thigh size that don't hold for my thighs (which I know is certainly true of Burda -- I definitely have larger thighs than they draft for compared to my hip size). On the other hand, I might have been better with a 38 at the waist rather than the 40. It's not loose by any means, but it's not well fitting for a stretch fabric. That said, I am hesitant to draw too many conclusions about fit or future pattern size choices because I used a stretch denim with PLENTY of stretch, so it's hard to know what I'm getting away with fit-wise simply because the fabric is forgiving.

This turned out to be a really nice test of Knipmode for me. It's a pretty simple pattern, but with all those seaming details it was a good chance to see how well pattern pieces fit together, what the tracing experience was like and how well the pattern and the modelled image resembled one another. My conclusions were: this pattern is well-drafted in the sense that the pieces fit together beautifully. It had zero notches, though, but it also didn't really need them. I found tracing it overall pretty similar to Burda/Ottobre -- there are more pattern sheets and fewer patterns per sheet than Burda, and it's less eye-searingly Spirograph-like than Ottobre, but personally I found differentiating between adjacent size lines less obvious than in Burda. I think my skirt and the modelled image look pretty similar. However, I was quite surprised to discover the skirt is moderately pegged at the hem rather than straight, because it doesn't really look at all pegged in the technical drawing. That is something I'll keep an eye on as I make more from my magazines.

In conclusion: I am really delighted with how this turned out, especially since halfway through I was reduced to extreme frustration by my overlocker mistake. I'm definitely keen to make more from my back issues and future issues of the Knipmode magazines now I've gotten started!

12 comments:

  1. Oh, I love that skirt! Hope you will attempt it again. I admit I've been subscribing to Burda magazine for almost two years and have yet to brave a pattern. Well done.

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    1. All the magazines are quite intimidating at first, but they are great when you get going! Just pick something with a low star rating and a small number of pattern pieces and you'll be surprised how well you get on I am sure!

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  2. Looks great! I'm Dutch so if you ever get stuck and need a translator, let me know.

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    1. Thank you! I am really liking Knipmode so far but I do feel a bit nervous of attempting more complicated patterns when I really can't read the instructions at all!

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  3. I love the lines on the skirt. The finish is lovely.

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  4. Wow, you have been sewing some great stuff , love both your skirts and pink top . I have made a few knipmodes. Tried using google translator but it is tediously slow and inaccurate . I have had trouble with sewing but get there eventually by playing around the the pieces.

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    1. Thanks! I know what you mean about the problems with google translate -- it's really not translated at all. I am planning to make myself a little glossary of Dutch terms as I learn them though, in the hopes it will make sewing them up easier as I make more up.

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  5. This is so awesome. I hate that they didn't make it a download! I would buy it in a heartbeat!

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    1. I know! I think they underestimated how much people would like this design!

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  6. I finished my skirt yesterday and share some of your comments about sizing. I started with a 44 and found it to be waaaay too big. Granted, this is my first Knipmode garment so I still have to learn their draft. But still. I take a 44 in Burda and thought it was a good place to start.

    I also agree with you on the ease of construction. After tracing the monochromatic maze of the pattern, I thought the pieces went well easily. I was confused about the waistband and just did my own thing.

    Your skirt looks good. We can be twinsies! =)

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    1. Yay for long distance twinsies! :D

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