Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Nobody does rectangles like Burda does rectangles

I'm having a frustrating week where nothing is quite turning out as I hoped it would. Nevertheless, I've ticked a couple more things on my summer sewing list, even if they're not quite sewn quite the way I would have liked.

First up, absolutely positively my last knit top of the summer, from Burda 06-2016, number 101. This pattern caused some amusement on the PR message board when the previews came out, where it was described as "a square with a rectangle on top". I kept my mouth shut while all around me agreed it was ridiculous because I had a weird yen to make it and was determined to do so as soon as my magazine arrived. Now that I look at the images, I'm wondering if it caught my attention because my fabric was the same colour as the sample in the magazine!
Burda 06-2016-101A, images from Burdastyle
The only significant change I made was the shorten the sleeves. I really didn't like the strange below-the-elbow length on the pattern as written, so I chopped off 12cm before I ever put the pattern on the fabric. I also added just a little bit of length to the lower part of the body, around 5cm in total. This was easy to do because #101C is a mini-dress version of the same top, so I just followed the shape of the pattern for an extra few cm when tracing. Otherwise, it's a size 44 straight off the pattern sheet.

Burda 06-2016-101, my version... yes, also in bright pink!
On Flossie, it really doesn't look all that interesting, but I actually really love the way this hangs on an actual person. I was too lazy (and not feeling well enough) today to take better shots on me, so I'm afraid I'll have to demonstrate with a shoddy iPhone photo from my Instagram. I was a bit concerned that the horizontal seam would run right across my bust apex (because I have a low bust and/or am longer through the upper torso than Burda's standard draft, I've never entirely worked out which), but it actually runs below the bust and I think looks OK.

Burda 06-2016-101 on me
In my very drapey viscose knit (unlike the scuba and weird furry stuff used by Burda in their sample images) I absolutely love the way the sleeves hang and drape. Also, you can see from the photo on me how very curvy the lower part of the bodice is, making it rather nicely shaped -- much more shaped than you'd think from the technical drawing. As usual, too, the pattern is really nicely put together -- as you expect from a Burda pattern, stack of basic geometric shapes or not!

The very curved side seams
Overall I am quite pleased with this top. I'd be even more pleased if it weren't for some fabric/sewing problems. It REFUSED to take a hem on my coverstitch. Like, nothing in the way of changing settings worked to make it stop pulling and gathering and tunnelling. In the end I gave up and left the edges of the hem and sleeves raw. It's really not the finish I like, but if the fabric doesn't want to play, what can you do? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In conclusion: Simple little tee in bright pink: DONE. I'd absolutely make this pattern again, and I actually think it would look great as a really simple evening top in a slinky knit.

Next up I decided to make some more skirts. I started with a Knipmode skirt from the most recent issue that I went nuts for as soon as I opened the magazine. The sewing was all going really well, and I was super in love with it... and then I had an actual conversation with myself where I went: I am feeling really tired and not very well. I should stop and carry on tomorrow! No, wait, I will just run my overlocker along these seams to finish them and THEN I will stop.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that decision? It's not like my overlocker has a giant blade on it ready to punish any inattention due to tiredness or anything. /o\

Three minutes later, of course, I'd cut a giant fuck-off hole in my skirt. I haven't made that mistake in ages and now I've done it on two skirts in a row. With the blue polka dot skirt the cut was pretty small and right down at the hem. I was annoyed but I knew straight away it was going to be possible to patch. With this one, it was an absolute disaster of a hole: massive, impossible to patch, and I didn't have enough fabric to recut the panel I'd wrecked. I was SO ANGRY. Like, absolutely furious with myself, flung the skirt across the room and went to go pout somewhere over my own idiocy. Eventually I got over myself and after thinking about it and pinning the skirt, hole and all, together to a point where I could try it on and see how it looked when worn, I decided to order another 1m of fabric so I could finish it. I'm just waiting for it to arrive in the post now.

Meanwhile, I decided to make my third skirt for the summer, in a rather wild red and white stretch cotton sateen. As the print is quite busy and I didn't have a lot of it -- a scant 1m piece with a corner cut out I bought as a remnant --  I decided to go for a very simple skirt pattern.

Ottobre 05-2013-11 "On Trend" Skirt (from Ottobre magazine)
This is from the Ottobre Woman 05-2013 issue and it is indeed a very simple skirt. I have been in search of my platonic ideal of a semi-casual straight skirt pattern with pockets and a minimum number of seams for a while now, but this is not it, either, unfortunately!

Ottobre 05-2013-10 in stretch cotton sateen on Flossie
This is a size 40 straight from the pattern sheet. I made only one change, which was to omit the lining. I didn't have even remotely enough fabric to match properly along the side or centre back seam -- I barely had enough fabric to cut the actual skirt! I settled for matching the horizontal motifs as well as I could at the side seams and not trying to match the actual shapes with any accuracy. However, to get the side seams to match even moderately well, I then struggled a bit at the centre back (as you can see) because the print was just slightly off grain. I never know which you should prioritize when it comes to pattern matching, the side or the back seam, when you can't get them both to work.
Side and back view of red and white skirt
I put a cotton reel in my pocket in the side so you can see where it is. I like these pockets, but I don't love them. I am never overly fond of pockets that open diagonally over the hip like this, I think it's ripe for them bulging open when you sit down. I also deeply disliked the (straight, folded) waistband and the way it was applied to the skirt. It doesn't fit me super well and it's a very skinny sort of waistband by the time you've sewn it on. It doesn't help I did a rotten job of the little foldover bit at the centre back of the waistband as well. It looks really dodgy. I mean, nobody will see it, so I'm not in despair over it or anything, but ugh, I need to do better on those sort of details. On the plus side, my invisible zip, while not TOTALLY invisible, is considerably less visible than the last couple I did, so that's a win.

Another dodgy iPhone shot for my modelled shot
Overall, again, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. I might not make this skirt pattern up again but it's given me further ideas of what I do (and don't) want from my eventual TNT easy straight skirt with pockets and minimal seams that I can get out of 1m of a a 150cm wide fabric. That sounds really specific, I guess, but it's all because I like the idea of being able to add a colour/print "bottom" to my wardrobe really cheaply and easily. I think it would be a great way to add diversity to my wardrobe if I could just pick up a single metre of a wild print or a bright/different colour and make a pattern I like to wear without having to spend 3 hours trying to pattern match across multiple seams.

Next up: When the fabric arrives, I'm planning to crack on with my Knipmode skirt. In the meantime I am also making a no pattern gathered maxi, and then I will also be done with skirt sewing for the summer and can think about what to make next.


  1. I love that top and (like you), I did from the first time I saw it. Now that I've seen yours, I must make one too. It looks great on you. I love it. I believe I may even have some pink fabric in the stash 8-D.

    1. It's a great easy pattern! I recommend it!

  2. That Burda top looks great on you! I am even tempted to give it a try. I empathise about the cutting a hole thing, that is sooo frustrating. Glad you could get more fabric. Like the Otto skirt too, great fabric.

    1. Thanks! :D I definitely recommend that first top if you fancy making it. :D

  3. I have so many 1 yd cuts for "cool skirts" :) So it is great to have that TNT go-to that you can splurge on a meter of fabric for and no it'll work out. BUMMER about the hole. When I read 'sewing while sleepy' I had a feeling where the tale was headed. Grrr.

    1. Yeah, Sewing While Tired is just SUCH a bad plan. If only I could remember that when the urge to just keep going strikes!