Sunday, 13 October 2013

Reviewed: My Image Magazine M1103 and Patrones 298-07

This post consists of a win and a fail.

The Win: Denim skirt (M1103, from My Image S/S 2011)

M1103 - Technical drawing and scan from magazine

My results from My Image magazines so far have been a bit mixed - one semi-successful top that unfortunately disintegrated in the wash after 3 wears (bad sewing/fabric rather than the fault of the pattern) and one total failure of a dress (bad everything on my part, not totally convinced that there wasn't also a pattern issue). Nevertheless, when I decided I wanted to make a denim skirt for autumn I found half a dozen possible patterns in my collection but found myself continually coming back to this one, even though I am a bit dubious about dipped back hems (in the end, the dipped back hem is barely noticeable, though). It's pattern M1103 from My Image Spring/Summer 2011. There aren't too many reviews of this online -- I found one on PR and one via a google search -- but they both looked really cute, so I decided to give this skirt a go. For the sake of brevity on this blog, here is the link to my formal review on PR, and I'll just add some extra notes here with my photos.

Front view

- Fabric: This skirt is made from lightweight stretchy denim from Croft Mill that I bought in April 2012. I am sure I had an idea then what I would do with it, but for at least the last year or so it's lurked, unloved in my 'What They Hell Am I Going To Do With This?' pile. It cost £5.93 per metre including p&p, which makes it among my more expensive fabrics, and I had 2m. I used up 1.2m, which leaves me with probably just enough to do a short straight denim skirt next summer as well. Sadly, however, it's really not a great match to the pattern at all. It's genuinely a light-weight denim, but not lightweight enough that the flounces don't end up sticking out rigidly where they should be more flowing.

Back view

- Cost: The main cost was the fabric because all I needed other than that was an invisible zip and then the usual basic overheads. My total costs were probably somewhere around £8-9 (or €10, these days I guess!)

Close-up of the front just because I am proud of my seams and stitching
- Argh, pattern woes: The sizing is just totally wrong on this. I ended up taking 2cm off every seam at the waist and hip, for a total of 8cm off all round -- and worst, I had to take it in AFTER I had actually sewed almost everything, because of when I realized how bad a fit it was going to be in the sewing process. I do actually know better than to sew and topstitch to the point of no return before I try something on but I did it anyway. What is even more annoying is that previous reviews had all said that the skirt came up large but I made it in the perfect-match-for-my-measurements size 44 rather than an optimistic 42 to begin with. Ugh. In the end I cut the pieces that meet at the waist and side seam down to something very close to a size 40, so it really wasn't a well-sized pattern AT ALL.

Side view: the only view on which the dipped back hem is visible, and also you can see how I had to bodge the upper side seam

- Persnickety Sewing Critique: I was SO PROUD of the curved seams and finishing. There are a couple of teeny tiny errors, but nothing that I think it visible unless you know it's there. I wish I had got more of a point to the top of the side panel, which ended up more rounded than I intended, but I think it still looks OK. Then I had to hack the side seams open and reshape/re-sew them for fit, and that did a number on my otherwise awesome seam matching. It's still pretty good for something I had to unpick once everything was done and sew again twice, but it's not as perfect as it was. Also, the colouration of the denim obscures more of the seaming detail than I entirely expected, which is a bummer. Still, overall, I am pretty proud of this skirt. I did a good, but not perfect, job on the invisible zip, I'm really happy with my fake flat-felled seams and hem, and I like how the inside and the outside turned out. I sewed this skirt really slowly and carefully, and I feel like the result bears out that slower, more thoughtful sewing on my part produces an overall better outcome for me.

The fail: Patrones 298-07

I already have a few copies of Patrones and just recently, after some friends bought me a couple of issues while they were on holiday in Spain, I finally pulled the trigger on a year long subscription. I am already thinking that might have been a mistake and am having epic shopper's remorse, but never mind.

This top is from issue 298, which is from, actually I'm not even sure, 2010 or so probably. It's a "Joven" (Young) issue which basically just means the sizes provided are one step smaller (38-46 instead of 40-48), really, and there are a few that look more like patterns for teenagers rather than grown ups. I picked out this draped blouse top ages ago, more on the strength of the technical drawing than the sample in the magazine, however.

Patrones 298 #7
It's a simple draped neck bias cut blouse, sleeveless, with an asymmetric hem and asymmetric pleats along the side seam. It's meant for a woven, with an exposed zip in the back neck.

This is where the mistakes start. For ages I've been hoarding a single metre of a thinly striped blue and white poly-cotton jersey. I meant to make an Ottobre Summer Basic Tee -- you know, the tee I already have seven of -- or else use it as part of a stripe/solid mix raglan. However, two days ago I woke up and thought, no, you know what this could be? A draped bias blue/white striped top, very slightly (VERY SLIGHTLY) reminiscent of the Vivienne Westwood Anglomania blue and white stuff that was around for a long time. VW clothes always have interesting tucks and pleats and stripe directions, and so that's what I set out to do. I figured that knit vs. woven wouldn't make that much of a difference in this case, except I would be able to miss off the exposed zip. And anyway, it's a 1m pattern, who cares.

Front view: Note that Flossie is significantly different in boob shape to me, so this is not a totally accurate representation of how this fits (yes, I know, stuff a bra etc etc, I just don't have a spare bra right now!)
Um. Well, on the plus side, I legitimately love my many directional stripes. I have been brainwashed for years by the NO HORIZONTAL STRIPES IF YOU'RE FAT! rhetoric, and so bias stripes actually really do appeal to me because they avoid the question. I have the bias stripes on the front and back (the back was meant to be chevroned, but I screwed up when I was positioning the pattern pieces, alas), and then horizontal lines for the front waist band and vertical on the back neck binding. I really love it. I also legitimately like the way that the tucks/ruching along the side seam disorders the stripes, and actually, I like the way this drapes over my abdomen, although I wish it had had equal ruching on each side.

Side view. Note that I realized before I got into any finicky finishing bits that I was never going to wear this, so it's got loads of crappy seam finishes. This side has most of the pleats though.

Unfortunately, I dislike everything else. The neck is really high, so all the draping does is make it look like a weirdly baggy turtleneck. The armhole is INSANELY massive and dips almost to the bottom of my bra band. Also, for some reason I decided I should follow the instructions and make the back in two pieces -- done this way in the original because of it being in a woven so you could put the zip in -- rather than more sanely cutting it as a single piece. If I had managed to get the chevron look I would be less annoyed, but having screwed up cutting it as well, the back is just a dead loss.

Back view. Not only did I not get the chevron effect because of stupid cutting, I didn't get my stripes to line up either. SIGH.
I also suddenly remembered how much I loathe asymmetric hems, especially when the "short" side is too short on me. Finally, I have no idea what I was thinking making a sleeveless top, because I don't LIKE sleeveless tops and almost never wear them.

Possible future top
In short, a fail!whale of a top. No idea what I'll do with it -- the problem with cutting on the bias is that it's difficult to repurpose it. I might just fling it in the fabric recycling. It was genuinely cheap -- £3.50/m from Tissu ages ago -- so I don't feel a lot of angst about it, AND I did learn several useful things, the most positive of which is that I'm really into the idea of tucks/pleats/playing with direction with stripes, and I do like the ruched effect. On the latter front, it encouraged me to look again at a particular Ottobre pattern from the most recent issue that I had picked out but then hummed and hawed over, 05-2013-16, because I think it could be a top I wore a lot. The only problem is getting the bust fit right on that upper bodice piece. There is a little adjustment process suggested in Ottobre, but I don't think it's meant to deal with my particular enormous boob problem.


  1. LOve your blog! Off to add it to my list.

  2. That skirt is so cute, and you did a lovely job on the seams, love it.

    Is it just me or is the armhole bigger than the neck on that top? It is a shame you had to waste some cute fabric on that top, but at least you realized you weren't going to wear it before you finished the seams nicely.Does anyone ever look good in a high neckline like that?

    1. Wore the skirt for the first time for a full day yesterday and it definitely passed the wear test, so I am still really pleased with it!

      The armhole is so massive that twice while trying it on I managed to put my head through it rather than my arm. :| I did realize as I was cutting that it was a very big armhole but I don't have quite enough experience yet I don't think to realize when it's so big as to make the top unwearable.

      Personally, I do occasionally wear turtle-neck type tops, but mainly as a base layer with a top or shirt over the top in very cold weather. You can't really layer with this top at all. It's really a total dead loss as a pattern.

    2. I always forget that some people actually have necks and can wear stuff like that. On me that top would almost be a turtleneck! Not terribly flattering.