Warning: A Miserable Project: Burda 11/2012 #138

Burda 11-2012-138 adjustedSome people blog all their pretty perfect outfits and look pretty and perfect, which is all good and uplifting and encouraging and all, but let’s be realistic.  A lot of the garments I sew for myself take a lot of work and reworking and fitting and tweaking before I’m happy enough to wear them for a blog post photo shoot.

Well, this dress project is pissing me off because, well…. let’s be honest here.  Because I’m an idiot and didn’t bother to do a toile prior to cutting, which was beyond necessary because my fabric is wool crepe.  I quote from the pattern instructions:

Recommended fabrics:  Jersey of wool or wool blends.  Use stretch jersey fabrics only.

Yeah, I know.  But I really wanted to use this particular teal wool crepe (I love wool crepe) and I wanted to make this particular dress because the bodice looked interesting, and I needed a wildcard for that Tying-Up-Loose-Ends idea.

At least even Karl Lagerfeld himself makes mistakes matching fabric with design sometimes.  (Don’t believe me?  Watch the documentary Signe Chanel in it’s entirety here or here or buy your own copy. There’s a lovely silk velvet gown that one petite main spends twelve full days sewing by hand, only to have the master admit his original fabric choice isn’t working.)

I measured, allowed for the lack of ease in the fabric, was a good girl and did an FBA leaving the armscye unaltered….FBA Burda 11-2012-138And it failed miserably.  This is before tweaking. The sleeves are the perfect length and it looks good, right?Burda 11-2012-138 front before adjustmentBut I can’t move in it.  See what happens when I move my arms? armscye problemThe armscyes are very low.  Actually, a full 2.5 inches lower than they should be, and it’s because the top of the front armscye is entirely on the bias.  Well, mine was, because I had the brains foresight to do the required FBA. Yes, I was warned when I posted of my SWAP plans, but I’d already cut it out by then, so I just (uselessly) crossed my fingers and hoped.  See the pulling? The sleeves won’t let my arms go anywhere, so the bodice is stretching across all its bias glory to allow for arm movement. I could not reach forward or put my arms over my head if someone had held a gun in my face.

This is after tweaking, with the too-full-but-with-room-enough-to-move sleeves of the wrong length.  Burda 11-2012-138 front The re-cut the sleeves v.1 were from  Vogue 8615:  a 3/4 sleeve with an elbow dart, which was still too tight.  (?!?!)  When that didnt’ work, I thought I may as well go the whole hog and use what I know to be a loosey sort of proper fitting sleeve with wearing ease from Burda 5/2010 #112.  The original sleeve is in tissue overlaying the sleeve pattern I eventually opted to use.sleeve adjustments I used silk organza selvedge to stay the armscye and eased in about 2-3 inches of stretched bias on the bodice front into what the measurements on the pattern dictated the armscye should be (about 9 inches from shoulder to underarm).    Ridiculous.armscye fixAnd now I have this.  See all that fabric trying desperately to shrink into the armscye?  And I couldn’t recut the bodice or reduce any of the fabric from the pleats because the FBA needs the ease to fit successfully.Burda 11-2012-138 bodice adjusted It isn’t pretty and perfect, but I can raise my arms, see?  Doesn’t look great, but let me tell you, from a wearability perspective, it’s 100% better than the original version.Burda 11-2012-138 armscyeThe sleeves are loose enough that they move when I need them to now, and the armscye sits high enough that it basically stays in place when my arms move.  But it’s got to be the ugliest bodice I’ve ever seen on myself.Burda 11-2012-138 sideSo do I like anything about this dress? Yes.  I love the fabric.  I love love love wool crepe.  And the back fits well.IMG_5461 Burda 11-2012-138 backThe hemline finishing – fell stitched to the hem allowance because I wanted a clean finish.Burda 11-2012-138 lining hemMy silk lining.Burda 11-2012-138 liningBut I really hate the fit of the bodice and sleeves on my version of this dress.  I think I’ll chop it off and make a skirt.  So much for this loose end!

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lurex tweed skirt

lurex tweedI made this skirt a couple of weeks ago, and only just wore it today.  It’s part of my TULE (tying up loose ends) plan, which is due April 30th, but won’t be done by then, barring some miracle of time and motivation.

I didn’t quite have enough to cut out the entire skirt (it’s OOP Vogue 1838 by Claude Montana) so I pieced the bottom of the back with pleats.skirt pleated fishtail (2)Here’s the inside:skirt pleats interiorThe hem allowance is a faux Hong Kong finish with the lining fabric, which doesn’t have the pleats – just a simple hemmed slit held in place with a thread chain.thread chain (2)I used petersham ribbon for the waistband and hand picked the zipper.zip and waistbandIt’s a simple basic skirt that will get a lot of wear next winter.basic skirt

winter dessert: cake’s pavlova

Pavlova Glen plaidPavlova, that is.  I must confess I’ve never actually eaten pavlova, so it was fun to sew pavlova.  I’ve read through many recipes, seen it on other peoples’ dessert plates and heard them rave about it, but I’ve never tried it myself.

I wanted to sew up Cake’s version of Pavlova ever since seeing Steph’s winter version in glen plaid and ivory wool.  So here’s my version.  First, the standard mug shots so you can see my bad posture and a variety of footwear.  I wasn’t sure what suited this outfit best, and I find pictures often tell a different story than the mirror. pavlova front 3       Pavlova side     pavlova back 2

The skirt is super swishy, which is always fun.  I thought I’d feel a bit twee in this silhouette, but it looks OK.  I confess to feeling a bit larger than life in it, but the pics tell a different story. I let the wool cure on my dress form after cutting the skirt for about a week before I finished it.  I do NOT want that hemline to travel south. The skirt hem is finished with lace, and I put in a bemberg lining.pavlova hem laceI changed the waist binding to a rather wide waistband – probably close to 2.5 inches –  which flatters my shape better and feels a bit corsety.  And the pocket is lovely.  Even my DH commented how much he liked the entire skirt – “and that’s a nice pocket” – when he saw it on my dress form.waistbandI faced the waistband with red/black shot taffeta instead of the wool plaid.red taffeta waistbandThe top is a lightweight RPL from my local Fabricland.  I looked all over the globe via Google for ruby or burgundy merino wool knit, but really didn’t want to pay it.  Maybe next year, if my youngest doesn’t take this top for herself. And look! It doesn’t gap while changing shoes!no gap Pavlova topThe top was an hour or two in construction time.  I’d say it’s a big bang for the time investment. I can think of a few bottoms in my closet that would love this top for a companion. Next time I’ll make a long-sleeved version, although I was wondering about making this up for spring/summer in much shorter sleeves.  Cap sleeves, maybe?pavlova swish (2)So there’s my first go at anything pavlova.  Have you made this up? What did you think?

Vogue 8626: Classic Harris Tweed

Vogue 8626 pockets (523x800)I wore my new tweed coat for the first time a couple of days ago when it was -11°C.  My fingers were numb after five minutes of trying to take photos outside, but the coat kept me toasty warm. It’s a very simple coat – nothing super fancy or head-turning about it.  The coat is wonderfully comfortable, and I’m glad I interfaced the back on the bias because it gives the feeling of moving with me instead of being separate from me.  Like it’s hugging me and keeping me warm.  I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of this garment.  Here’s a shot of the back pleats.  Vogue 8626 backI’m a little disappointed in the way the pleats fall during wear.  When the coat front is open, they fall perfectly.  Vogue 8626 unbuttonedWhen it’s buttoned, they spread.  The side hangs vertically in a straight line while either buttoned or not, so the pleats should hang properly during wear, but they don’t. Vogue 8626 side If you look at pictures on the web and read reviews of this pattern, you’ll see that this is a problem on all versions made of this coat.  Personally, I think it’s because I assumed the empire back and pleats would eliminate the need for a short back adjustment of 2 inches, and there’s some tweaking that needs to happen with the pattern to get the pleats to lay perfectly flat.  The side back pleats need to be much deeper and shaped over the hips, imho.  Here’s a view, buttoned, on my dress form.Vogue 8626 back pleats buttonedAt least it mimics me in shape and drape!  And now the interesting collar: View C with the very high collar.Vogue 8626 view C collarI don’t have a particularly short neck, but you can see how the collar is too high for me.  Here’s a shot of it unbuttoned and folded over at the CB, which I think is much more flattering.  However, in a gale, the high collar will definitely keep frigid winds away!Vogue 8626 vie C unbuttonedAnd here’s the last finishing details.  I finished the hem edge with bias taffeta.hem bindingI added a hanging chain loop.haning loopAnd, of course, an extra button along with the wonderful Harris Tweed label that accompanies every length purchased from one of the mills in the Hebrides.harris tweedLooks a little 70’s, don’t you think?70s style

algebra

I used to love algebra.  I was horrible at math generally, but algebra made sense to me.  Maybe it was all the letters instead of only numbers.  Anyways, after reading all of Ruth’s posts on the Stitcher’s Guild Algebra SWAP I thought I could do the math without taking away any projects from the catch-up queue.

Algebra SWAP 2014 = (3 X 3) + 2 = 11

In other words, three separate outfits comprising one bottom/two tops; or a bottom/top/dress; or a bottom/jacket/top; and two extra pieces (wildcards).  My plan evolved after sifting through all the never-made muslins, patterns and fabric that were sitting out waiting to be made since…. well, since forever.

So here’s my ideas for the next couple of months, in no particular order.  I’m happy to say that everything except the red and white dresses and the Marfy blouse are cut and ready to sew.Loose Ends SWAP 2014I find that I don’t really know where to begin if I let myself sew randomly, and really need the structure of a goal or a plan.  Let’s see how far I get!

it’s still a jungle in here

jungle januaryA construction jungle, that is.  STILL.  And since I’m being slowly eroded with the endlessness of this project, I sewed up a little bit of animal print to help me feel at home in the mess. This lovely little ensemble accomplishes three things:

  1. let’s me in for a play date at the Jungle January playground;
  2. brings me one step closer to completing my Burda Challenge 2013; and
  3. Burda 11-2013-130checks off two of a 3PAC for the Stitcher’s Guild Algebra SWAP 2014.

My ensemble is the designer pattern from Jo No Fui (Burda 11/2013 #130).  I made it up in a black stretch wool suiting for the skirt and an animal print silk charmeuse with an all-over fleur-de-lis burnout pattern for the blouse.  Let’s talk about the skirt first.

I was a bit skeptical about the extra yardage that drapes at the CF, but I like it. It doesn’t add bulk to the silhouette – it’s very clearly a pretty drape.  Burda 11-2013-130 frontThe wool I chose is perfect for this – it’s about the weight of a heavy silk crepe – and sewed up like a dream.  There is a small hip yoke piece instead of darts in the front.  The CF seam is sewn wrong sides together with the drape finished beforehand.  Burda 11-2013-130 jo no fui

The back of the skirt is simple.  It’s short – only about 19 inches in length – and cut straight.  I added a waistband instead of the facing, pegged the bottom by a total of 4 inches and added a full lining.  I likey this skirt.

Burda 11-2013-130 blouseAnd now the blouse.  Of course the star feature is the sleeves with the deep 4 inch pleat to keep the excess fabric at a decent length.  As it was, I decided to shorten the sleeves by 3 inches in total just to avoid the potential of dragging through dinner or what have you.sleeve pleatI added small squares of organza on either side of the pleat for stability and strength. I don’t want those tacking stitches tearing a hole in the middle of my sleeve, thank you very much.  The bottom of the sleeves are gathered into a narrow binding that just barely fits over my hands.  I’m not complaining – I actually like the smallness of the opening.  I think it will help keep the sleeves at my wrists.organza sleeve interiorThe instructions for binding the CF and CB slits were just asking for punishment, as far as I was concerned.  The binding strips were cut on the bias, and I should have known better and just cut them on the straight grain like one would finish a placket.  But what the hey!  I finished the neckline entirely by hand because of the finicky quality of the bias, but mostly because the charmeuse handled differently than the burnout chiffon sections in the fabric and it was just simpler to do it by hand instead of swearing at my machine.Burda 11-2013-130 bindingThe back binding extends into a loop for a button while the top of the CF slit is completely bound by the bias.  It’s a low opening, too, despite the high crew neck. Burda 11-2013-130 blouse neckline I had initially thought I’d make up a Ruby camisole in the same fabric for modesty (chiffon sections of the silk) and to prevent wardrobe malfunctions with that CF slit but the crossover of the cami doesn’t quite do the trick at this point.  Some adjustments are required before I actually wear this ensemble out in public, and I will probably also sew the bottom inch of the slit closed.leopard ruby As you all know I was a little sewn out after (almost) completing the Burda Challenge 2013, and although I want to finish it (yes, I’m that stubborn), I have a long queue that I’d like to catch up on from the last couple of years that has been pushed aside to make way for other projects.  And a lot of fabric that I would love to wear.  These are the more immediate items that come to mind:

  • Pavlova skirt & top
  • Marfy 2922 jacket in a lurex wool/silk tweed
  • Harris Tweed coat (originally part of my SWAP 2012)
  • finish the Burda Challenge
  • do something for Jungle January
  • participate in PR’s Little White Dress event
  • SEW A RED DRESS

So after sifting through all these nebulous ideas wafting around my sewing room, and reading through Ruth’s post on the SG’s Algebra SWAP 2014 rules, I realized I could fit everything in my year(s)-old queue into a lovely little plan. The more I thought about this little SWAP, the more it gave me the impetus to start sewing after the December rush and holidays.Burda 11-2013-130 backAnd this little ensemble has started me off beautifully.  But more on the SWAP in my next post.