Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Reviewed: Burda 01-2004-121 a.k.a the World's Most Boring Skirt

Although I'm not currently doing the 6PAC thing I tried last year, I am nevertheless actually still sewing to a wardrobe plan. At the moment, I am concentrating on plugging wardrobe gaps with some simple staple items. The first item in this set of basics was my red Hummingbird skirt (I know glow-in-the-dark red might not look like a staple item colour to everyone, but since I wear a lot of red as an accent colour it actually fits into my wardrobe very neatly). That's probably about the level of complexity I'm going to be working at for the next few weeks, so I guess you should look forward to a series of things being made that are not all that exciting or technically demanding. This one CERTAINLY isn't. However, since my blog is only about 10% for the entertainment of my readers and 90% for my own edification as a sewing diary, I'm afraid anyone who reads on will just have to live with the tedium.
Burda 01-2004-121 pattern (images from Burda Russia) and technical drawing. Exciting, eh?
So: wardrobe gaps. The next most pressing item on my wardrobe replenishment list was a simple navy skirt, of a sort that is comfortable and nice but that can be a neutral background to a variety of more colourful and interesting tops. I wanted to make something A-line but not too triangular, and I wanted a skirt with a yoke. I've made a yoked A-line skirt before, Ottobre 05-2007-03 (most recently this one) but that pattern is quite a wide triangle shape and wouldn't have fit on my fabric. Obviously I could have just changed the shape of the pattern but since I would have had to re-trace anyway due to size changes since I last made the Ottobre pattern up, I decided to give this old Burda pattern from January 2004, which already had a narrower hem, a chance. Only observe how incredibly exciting the technical drawing is! Thrill a minute stuff, for sure!

And it's just as exciting in person

Pattern Description: From the magazine: "A brilliant soloist! This knee-length A-line skirt ... is extremely simple to sew! There's no waistband, just a zip as fastener. A wide yoke ensures a perfect fit and a flattering waist line."

Pattern Sizing: 34-44. I made a size 40 as I was using a ponte knit with some stretch. My measurements would ordinarily put me in a size 42 in Burda.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, just like the line drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I only glanced over the directions as I didn't need much guidance, but they seemed terse but adequate, typical Burda.

An exciting view of the lining fabric. Blue tulips!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is such an incredibly basic pattern it's hard to like or dislike anything strongly. I was particularly looking for an a-line pattern with a yoke to use with a ponte knit fabric I had in stash: this very easy lined skirt pattern fit the bill perfectly, didn't require any pattern changes, not even for length, and was exceptionally easy to make. The most remarkable thing about it was that once I got started cutting it took less than 2 hours to make.

Fabric Used: I used 1m of a 140cm wide ponte knit in navy, plus 60cm of lining fabric as I prefer to self-line the yoke rather than having a slippery synthetic fabric next to my skin at my waist.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: As I was using a ponte knit with a small amount of stretch, I left off the zipper and cut the back of the skirt on the fold rather than having a centre back seam. As mentioned above, I cut the lining yoke from ponte rather than the synthetic lining fabric I was using. I should also have adjusted the curve of the back yoke a little as it is not quite as closely fitting at the back waist as I would like, but it is wearable nevertheless, particularly as I never tuck my tops in.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would definitely make it again. This is an old issue of Burda that I picked up cheap on eBay and I really doubt anyone would run out to try to find it on the strength of this extremely basic pattern. However, it's a great little workhorse pattern and I like it a lot.

Conclusion: This is possibly the least exciting garment to ever be reviewed on Pattern Review, but it was quick, easy and filled a wardrobe gap I desperately needed to fill. I'm very pleased with it!

Additional Wibblings

1. Cost: My 1m piece of ponte knit was from Fabrix in Lancaster (UK) from their remnants rack and set me back a princely £4 in May 2013. The lining is left over from the Disappointing Cape wadder last year and was bought somewhere on Goldhawk Road in London in November 2013 for £4/m. I used all of the remnant, about 60cm, so about £2.40 worth. With overheads, that makes the cost about £7. This was definitely a money saver for me, since I actually seriously considered buying this very similar, equally boring £25 M&S skirt just a couple of weeks ago.

2. Fabric: I've never used ponte knit before and I LOVE IT, oh my goodness. I definitely want to make more with it. I haven't really got any more, unfortunately, but it's top of my list of fabrics to keep an eye out for in the future. So easy to sew with, and also so forgiving! I love how the weight of the fabric creates a bit of drape in this simple A-line and makes the skirt less triangle-y looking. It's got just a little flare and swing at the hemline but looks almost like a straight skirt when you stand still.

3. Burda! This is my first actual wearable garment from Burda (I've made a couple of muslins of other items). I know, I know, I talk about Burda CONSTANTLY, and yet I don't tend to make much from it. This first project wasn't a great size testing run because of course I was using a stretchy fabric with a non-stretchy pattern, but it was definitely good experience. It's also one of hopefully at least 12 Burda patterns I'll be making this year. It's not one of my official Sewing Goals for 2014, but one of the things I thought I might try to do is make one Burda pattern a month. This month it so happened that I came across a January pattern I really wanted in January (albeit 10 years after it was originally published) but I'm not going to try to slavishly go month by month. I will if I can, and if I can't, well, any old Burda at all will do! So far, so successful, I guess! :D?

4. Sewing: This was really my first item made with my walking foot in earnest and oh my goodness, I LOVE IT. LOVE. LOVE. I was kind of dreading sewing the ponte yoke onto the synthetic lining because that is usually a recipe for terrible puckering and awfulness, but no! Not even a TINY pucker. So happy I got a machine that came with a free walking foot this time!

Also, I did a two needle hem with my coverstitch. It wasn't 100% successful, I would say maybe 90-95%, because I had a little bit of tunnelling in a few places. However, for a first attempt on a knit and a second attempt overall, I am pretty damn pleased with it. :D I also find it absolutely amazingly quick to re-thread. I dread threading my overlocker because it always takes me forever, but my coverstitch is so quick and intuitive, I LOVE it. I still have one big thing I need to try on my coverstitch, and that's binding/neckbands on a knit, but my verdict so far is that is has been money so incredibly INCREDIBLY well spent, I am thrilled with it.


  1. I think simple is often overlooked and underrated. Who doesn't want a nice, cheap, easy to make skirt that's almost guaranteed to work out? I only regret that this is an old issue, so I'm unlikely to find the pattern!

    1. I can understand why people are more interested in talking about exciting, dramatic sewing creations, and even in sewing them, but I want to make clothes I will actually WEAR, and that means a lot of basics, really. Can't offer much hope on 2004 Burdas though. I got a few of them from a woman on eBay who was selling off her older magazines cheap, but it's a totally random selection really.

  2. I often go hunting for simple patterns, and come up short - I have found more luck with Burda envelope patterns, Most recently I tried to make a simple ponte skirt and tried to use a Butterick pattern. Even after all the more complicated things I've made, and all that I know about the excessive ease in the big 4, I basically fitted it out of all recognition from the original pattern. I'm glad that you not only found one, but one that actually worked!

    1. My favourite place for simple, effective patterns is Ottobre, I think. Partly that's because they seem kind of in tune with my idea of what a nice basic item is, more than Burda or the Big 4. The other thing is that I feel like the draft is really good for my body shape. General consensus seems to be that if you like Ottobre, you will also like the Burda draft, so I am hoping that holds true for me as I start to use my Burda mags more. At the moment, sometimes I think I should just make a whole wardrobe from my Ottobre back issues and chuck everything else out!