Saturday, 23 April 2016

Seemed like a good idea at the time (Burda 08-2015-132 cardigan/jacket)

As much as I like to talk about my "sewing plan", I can't honestly say my sewing proceeds in an orderly fashion. I tend to change my plans about fifty eight times before I actually do anything, and quite often end up making things in quite a different order than originally intended, in a different fabric, and with different details. I figure I spend about five times as much time "planning" as I do sewing, but I'm OK with that since that's about par for my course in life in general. It's therefore quite unusual for me to buy a new fabric, find a pattern and start (and finish) a garment in the space of a week.

The story begins last Friday when, as an antidote to feeling very miserable, I decided to peruse fabric online, which led, inevitably, to buying some of said fabric. (I know, I know, this is a slippery slope to hideous levels of stash accumulation. It's still better for me as stress relief than some of the alternatives!) One of the fabrics I bought was at the more unusual end of my purchasing spectrum, being a pink and white boucle poly/viscose blend. Boucle is something I am generally ambivalent about, so the fabric type at least is a definite departure.

Pink and white boucle fabric (with pattern pieces)
As even a cursory glance at my collected sewing output shows (and my 2015 completed garments page shows this off perfectly) I tend to wear a pretty limited colour palette. I like black and white and a little bit of grey, lots of blue, green and turquoise, and for variety I'll throw in some red and brown (though the latter never for my upper body). My RTW wardrobe is basically more of the same with one notable colour addition that, somehow, I've never previously had occasion to sew -- hot pink or fuchsia. Actually, the reason I haven't ever sewn it is that I never have much of it, usually just one or two pieces and a couple of accessories. However, it is something I own and wear, so while this looks kind of random as a wardrobe addition, it's not really quite as odd as it seems.

I hit purchase on two metres of this fabric (among other things) without really looking for a pattern. My first stop to rectify that was my Burda collection which, can I just say, is easily the best investment of my sewing life. You can always find something that works if you have a few years of Burda in your pattern stash! By the time the fabric arrived in the mail mid-week, I'd more or less fixed on the idea of making an easy unlined jacket from Burda Easy A/W 2015, and had even gone so far as to cut the pattern out (Burda Easy provides pattern sheets rather than a "road map" to trace). I was a little frustrated however, because I'd turned up what I thought was better pattern but it needed 2.3m of fabric. Then I had the happy surprise when the fabric arrived on Wednesday that the vendor sent me 2.65m not 2m! I have no idea why. I can only assume it was the end of the roll or something and they decided to send the whole piece rather than have 0.65m hanging about. Anyway, with 2.65m I went back to the pattern I liked better, Burda 08-2015-132, a Plus, open, unlined coat pattern designed to use the fringed selvedge of the fabric on the shawl collar, which is what I really liked about it.

Burda 08-2015-132 Open boucle coat (images from
I traced out the pattern in a straight size 44 on Wednesday -- only my usual minor Burda corrections of a very small square shoulder adjustmnt and lowering the bust dart by 2.5cm required -- and started work on it on Thursday. Here it is pinned together on Thursday evening, and then on Flossie with the side seams done and the sleeves attached on Friday morning this week:

Pink boucle coat at the original length
When I took the photo on the left on Thursday I didn't precisely dislike the coat at this length, but eh, I really didn't love it either. I persevered for a while but once I got to the point of construction on the right by Friday lunchtime, I was starting to feel like it looked a bit like a giant pink boucle blanket and I wasn't really into it. On a whim, I tried pinning up some of the length to see if it looked better shorter, and then, after a break to think about it and eat lunch, that is what I decided to do. I chopped 22cm off the length in total.

Finished boucle jacket on Flossie
This is how the jacket ended up. I left off the pockets because although I cut them down to fit the new length of the garment, I didn't like the proportions of large patch pockets on this length of jacket.

Back of pink boucle jacket
The pattern calls for you to tape over the seams with 3cm wide twill tape. A quick search for this revealed that 3cm wide pink cotton twill tape in the amount required for this jacket was going to cost me far more than the fabric (which was, to be fair, pretty cheap), so I wasn't thrilled with that idea. Two summers ago though I went through a phase of making bias tape from random bits of fabric from my bag stash, including one in white with little pink flowers. I had 11m of it and I figured this would be enough to tape at least the visible seams and hem on the jacket.

Inside construction
As you can see from this photo, I did indeed manage to tape the majority of the seams -- the front band, hems, shoulder and armscye seams. I did the shoulders and armscye because I felt like they would benefit the most from the extra structure of the bias tape. I didn't have enough for the side seams or the insides of the sleeves, so I just overlocked those seams. It looks fine, if not quite as pretty as the taped seams, and being at the sides is much less likely to be on show as the hem and front band seams.

Close up of taping and how the fringed selvedge of the fabric is used
Of course, bias taping every seam seems like a good idea at two points in time: before you start, and after you finish. At every point in between you realize that it is a TERRIBLE idea, as you go over the same seam for the third time, fighting with what feels like four miles of recalcitrant bias tape as you sew. I mean, it looks great now it's done, but oh my god, the swearing I was doing while I sewed this.

One of the big draws of this pattern was the way it used the fringed selvedge. You can see it in the photo above on the right. It's a really great detail on the pattern and I am really pleased with how the shawl collar looks with the fringed edge.

Pink cardigan as modelled by me
Overall, though, I think I like this jacket better on Flossie and on a hanger than I like it on me. I took a hasty photo flung over my normal Saturday morning attire, so, you know, not necessarily how I'd wear it in real life. On the fit front, there's not much to worry about with such a loosely fitting style. I have been making a lot of Burda size 44s lately and I am not convinced I am entirely right to be doing so. Yes, the fit through the bust is great without an FBA, but I think I really need a 42 at the shoulder. (Not that this was an option on this pattern, since it is a Plus pattern and only starts at a 44.) In this particular case, one size smaller at the shoulder wouldn't have helped me I don't think: the garment is designed with big dropped shoulders. That never looks good on me and I hate how the low hang of the shoulder makes the upper arms twist.

I don't know, I am just not crazy about the outcome. I am definitely second guessing my decision on length, even though this length (75cm at the centre back) is one I normally like a lot in a jacket.

Maybe it will grow on me. Or something.

Striped t-shirt made using my basic tee pattern (based on New Look 6150). I added a sleeve band this time for some interest
While I am waiting for that to happen, here is my very last t-shirt for this summer. As I mentioned in my previous t-shirt roundup post I had temporarily mislaid this piece of fabric when I was making the others but a more thorough search turned it up eventually. This is just my basic t-shirt pattern, iteration number 9. I do like sewing with stripes, if only because little details like cutting the neckband in the other direction and adding a little contrast stripe sleeve band are so easily done and look really cool.


  1. "Of course, bias taping every seam seems like a good idea at two points in time: before you start, and after you finish. At every point in between you realize that it is a TERRIBLE idea, as you go over the same seam for the third time, fighting with what feels like four miles of recalcitrant bias tape as you sew. I mean, it looks great now it's done, but oh my god, the swearing I was doing while I sewed this."

    I legit laughed out loud and shook my head in complete agreement!

    I like the shorter length better. It looks less like a robe and more like a in-between seasons coat. Maybe some time in the magic closet will help?

    1. It's been lurking in my closet since I finished it and I think I am coming round to liking it. Perhaps the horrible bias binding experience soured me on the thing for a while!