Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Put a bird on it

Ta-da! My enthusiasm for sewing came roaring back, and I have therefore made both of the garments I talked about at the end of my last post.

1. Angled front skirt (Burda 05-2017-113)

Burda 05-2017-113 Skirt (Images from

I've been wanting a solid white skirt for a while, but I've been dithering on the pattern. I really wanted to make something with some design interest since the fabric I'd chosen, a plain white cotton twill, was not very interesting (even if very useful, wardrobe wise). Last year I was very taken with this angled front skirt in Burda 05-2017 and marked it for future use. I had to think how to adjust it though because when Burda make their skirt patterns short, they make them SHORT. I had to 10cm to this pattern to get it to my usual "casual summer skirt" length of around 52.5 cm (~21"). Normally length adjustments are a no brainer, but with those angled front seams and separate pieces for hem facings, it took a little more effort than usual.

My white skirt on me. The angled front crosses just above knee length on me.

The only other very minor change I made is that I left off the belt loops/rope belt because I never belt anything. I did make the pointlessly complicated pockets. They do look nice, if not entirely symmetrical in my version because I messed up somewhere, but also: pointlessly complicated.

Pointlessly complicated back pocket. Yes, there were three separate pieces to make it.
Other than that, this is a straight size 42, which is my usual lower body Burda size. Although the rest of the fit is great, it's very loose at the waist. This is not because I have a small waist, at all. In fact, the opposite: I am more of a size 44 waist compared to my size 42 hips. The waistband is just really big. I realized this as I was cutting it out, because it was one of those pieces where Burda just give you a dimension to cut a rectangle, and the dimensions for the size 42 made me raise my eyebrows. But then for some reason I just carried on blithely and then was surprised when it turned out to be quite loose at the waist. Well, duh. You can see on the photo how wide the waistband is compared to the hips. I'm rectangular in shape, but not that rectangular!

White skirt on a hanger. I tried so hard to get a shot without wrinkles, but lol, no.
Overall, I'm actually delighted with this skirt. It's one of those garments where the finished product looks exactly the way I imagined it would, or maybe even better. I will say that every time I work with white fabric I am impressed all over again by people who do e.g. bridal sewing, because keeping a white fabric looking nice while you work with it is VERY HARD. I wasn't helped in this case by the fact this fabric wrinkles if you look at it funny, but even so, it needed washing as soon as I finished it. I swear to you I pressed this skirt within an inch of its life before I took these photos, but wow, no, it looks like wrinkled mess at the back. Luckily I don't really mind looking wrinkled in real life, but I was extremely frustrated by the photo taking experience here.

2. A shirt with a bird on it/June Magazine Challenge (Burda 06-2018-112)

Burda 06-2018-112 - Images from
Next up was a top with a bird on it, also my June Magazine Challenge garment. It's from Burda 06-2018, and the version in the magazine is so eye-searingly awful that initially I flipped right past it without really thinking about it. (There's also a dress version, #111, in a sad sort of beige colour, that was not any more attractive to me.) However, the technical drawing made it more interesting to me. It's a fairly simple, loose-fit woven top, but I was very taken with that pleated detail at the neckline.

My finished shirt, with a close up of the pleated placket in situ. The sleeves should be folded back in cuffs.
 I made a size 44 with my usual fit adjustments -- narrowed the shoulder, raised the armhole, squared the shoulder, did a rounded back adjustment and also added 2cm of length to the bodice. The rounded back adjustment was easier than usual because the back is gathered into the collar. Rather than put a shoulder dart in, I just gathered a little more.

The pattern is rated 3 dots by Burda, which I was initially surprised by as there aren't many pieces, there are no fastenings, etc. The source of their complexity rating is, I think, the pleated insert pieces and how you attach them to the main front bodice piece. I was moderately happy with how my pleating turned out. It is really not perfect at all, but using a busy print hides many of my sewing flaws! Inserting the pieces into the main front piece is not complicated in theory, but actually doing it was a faff. It was just a lot of trying to manipulate the fabric to get seams line up. Plus, I am not a fan of gathering and you have to gather the horizontal seam at the front. I don't know why people always tell beginners to make things with gathers, because sewing gathered seams is hard and it looks crap if you do it badly. Again, my large print disguises many sins here as well.

The pleated insert pieces before insertion

The fabric I used for this is slightly out of my usual style. For a long time I've had an Indian fabric company on my eBay watch list that sells a lot of blue and white, hand/block printed fabrics. I've been tempted quite a few times because I love a blue and white print. I finally bought this piece earlier this year as an experiment. It's not especially expensive: I got 2.25m of fabric for I think something like £9 including postage, though it did take a little while to get here from India.

Close up of the bird -- you can just about see that it appear on the lower right as you look at the photo of me wearing the top. Sleeves still not cuffed for some reason
The fabric is quite narrow -- just barely 110cm wide -- and not the greatest quality. It's 100% cotton according to the sales blurb, but it's thin and quite loosely woven and it's definitely more off-white/'natural' in colour than white. It's lovely and soft though, and the (lack of) weight made it perfect for a summer top. The block printing is good, but it's not 100% perfect, though I think that's part of the charm. I did wonder if the dye would run/fade horribly when I washed it, but it came through the wash/tumble dry looking much as it did when it went in. I'm not sure it's a fabric with tremendous longevity, but I guess I'll see how it goes. I do like the bird though, and it's fancy eyelashes, though I did have to do some creative pattern positioning to avoid Bird On Boob issues.

I originally thought these two garments would work together really well as an outfit, but the proportions don't really work the way I expected. The skirt looks better with tops that hit higher on my hip and that are more close fitting than this top. Still I am sure to get plenty of use from it if the weather stays warm here over this summer.

Next up: I've traced two new looser fit knit top patterns from Burda, and I've got one from HotPatterns that I need to print and put together, which, ugh, yuck, I hate putting together PDF patterns. Still, since construction is usually very quick with knits, I should have all three done in no time once I have my patterns sorted. :D


  1. "I don't know why people always tell beginners to make things with gathers, because sewing gathered seams is hard and it looks crap if you do it badly. "
    I've said this for YEARS. Gathering, *well* is NOT a simple, straightforward task!!!

    I really love the way both pieces turned out. I agree that Burda's version of the shirt and the dress were quite uninspiring.

    And for some reason I can no longer comment on your blog when I use IE which is weird because I can comment on other Blogger blogs. Blehhhhh.

    1. I totally agree, gathering is hard to do well. Why do pattern companies not know this?