After the success of the last three slim fitting trousers, I wanted to continue experimenting with styles and silhouettes. My bottom half is quite firmly in the Burda Plus range, unless I want to adjust patterns excessively (which I cannot be bothered to do unless severely pressed), so I thought I would trace off this little gem from Burda 8-2011-136 and see how it went. I don’t always like the way Burda styles curvy women – the proportions are all wrong and the fit is always 1,000,000,000 miles off of anything a self-respecting woman with curves would want to wear, in my not-so-humble opinion. But I was curious to see what some of the styles they put out in the plus range looked like on someone like me i.e. not young and statuesque.
I chose to make this pair out of tencel denim from EOS. I had some misgivings about making trousers from the fabric, as it’s quite drapey, and my previous experience of anything tencel or rayon includes horrible wrinkling and pilling. But this is a medium-weight poly-rayon-elastene blend, tightly woven, and although I’ve been wearing the trousers all morning, you can see the fabric doesn’t really hold onto the wrinkles, thanks to the polyester, I’m sure.
I’m not completely comfortable with the style of these trousers on me. They are a rather loose fit, and I sometimes feel like they are too loose while I’m wearing them, but they look as though they fit well enough in the photos. Opinions?
My tops change in these photos – I was trying to see what would look OK with the trousers, as I really like the fabric and I’m totally in love with the colour. I find mirrors don’t often offer an accurate perspective on ratio or proportion. This is with Vogue 1093, a Donna Karan pattern that I made up in 2010, I think, and almost never wear because it’s just such a statement, and I don’t always like people staring at me as I walk through parking lots or whatever…
You can see the top of a tank top made from silk jersey at the neckline. I’m planning a post on that top shortly.
And me rolling up the hems for the next set of pictures….
And what they look like with the tabs doing their job. The top is Vogue 1245.
I have to say, the inseam tends to roll down to my ankles after wearing them for a bit…
The front crotch depth is very long – I even shortened it as per my usual pattern adjustments – but check out this action shot. I noticed in the Burda magazine photo there doesn’t seem to be so much length on the model, so I really don’t know what happened.
I love the details on the back. I left of the superfluous centre back waistband button tab. I just couldn’t see the point. The pockets are faux, as I didn’t want the bulk of the pocket bags on my backside.
And a close up of the hemline tabs.
Well, whatever the fashion police verdict on these trousers is, they’re in my wardrobe, and I’ve been wearing them quite happily. I’m pleasantly surprised at how many random pieces in my closet actually work quite nicely with them.
Thank you all for your kind comments on the last post. You realize, right, that the topstitching on the previously posted trousers is now The Standard, which I shall drive myself insane trying to meet for the rest of my sewing life….. 🙂
Earlier this summer I went on a stash-busting spree. No particular motive in mind, except that I was so sick and tired of feeling ugly and underdressed. It started at Easter back in the spring, and I’ve been sewing up a storm, but never feeling like I wanted to photograph anything when I was wearing it. So I’m working backwards.
In August I took DD2 and DD3 on a month-long road trip to Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. I grew up in western Canada, and had a deep need to drive for miles under the open sky, wind through the mountain passes, and dip my toes into the Pacific Ocean. Along the way we visited Drumheller in the middle of the Alberta Badlands and home to the Tyrrell Museum. It’s ground zero for dinosaurs. Now, I’m not particularly interested in dinosaurs, but I do love the geography of the Badlands. It’s dry, windy, dusty, incredibly surreal and other-worldly. See?
I’m wearing the second version of the slim BurdaStyle trousers mentioned in the last post. The fabric is a stone-coloured stretch denim from EOS that’s been languishing in my stash for I can’t remember how long. It was a roll end, I believe, and there was just enough for these jeans. (Trousers? I always want to call them ‘trousers’, even if they’re made of denim, because they don’t have all the traditional ‘jeans’ details…)
This is a softer, stretchier denim than the peach denim in the last post. This was actually the first iteration of this pattern.
The top is from the last set of Donna Karan patterns that Vogue put out. I purchased it just because it was a Donna Karan pattern, and I’m glad I did. I love this top. It’s boxy, but it’s so comfortable and so fun to wear. I made it up from a linen blend from very deeeeeeeep stash. I honestly cannot remember where I purchase the fabric, and that’s saying something, because I always remember where fabric comes from.
Now, I really dislike fabrics that show the outline of undergarments, and this wasn’t quite opaque enough for me. So I self-lined the bodice, and used flat-felled seams to ensure nothing will ever get shifty.
But it didn’t quite work out in my favour at the hemline… lack of planning, I suppose, in terms of which direction the ‘fell’ went in the flat-fell. 😀 But it’s not really noticeable while I’m wearing it, unless you’re a fellow seamstress looking closely at details. Yes, this is the right side of the garment, looking at it from the front. oooopsie…
It was windy on the photoshoot, which worked in my favour, because it shows how the back flounce moves on this top.
Here’s another photo to show how much ease is built into this design. It made for a cool top in hot weather!
And a last one from the front. Like I said, it’s boxy, but I’m somehow liking this at the moment.
I’ve had this lovely black and cream striped rayon jersey in my stash for about a year, and I wanted to make something unique or unusual with it. After seeing Allison’s striped top I went on a hunt for a design idea for this fabric. I had a little more than one yard of 60″ fabric and I hoped to get a dress out of it, not just a top.
If I had any degree of creativity or technical skill, I would have tried draping this fabric in an homage to Vivienne Westwood, but I don’t, so I hunted through patterns and landed on Vogue 1282. I know. Not very adventurous, but I had just finished making it up in a roll-end from EOS in a dark dijon rayon knit, and wondered if it would work in a stripe. I thought perhaps the excess fabric below the waist in the top would be perfect in a lengthened dress version, creating visual interest with the stripes, and hiding fluff. Then I stumbled upon Ellen’s version from a couple of years ago that had a subtle stripe and it decided me. I picked laid out the fabric and the pattern….
….. and shortened the bodice above the armscye (because it sits very low) by about 2 inches (5 cm), instead of just adjusting it at the shoulder seams during construction, as I did for the top, and plunged in with my cutting shears.
Instead of facing the armholes, I cut strips of fabric on the cross grain, one stripe-width finished width and left them as an extended edging. It completely changes the fit of the pattern since they act as little 3/4″ sleeves. It means the neckline sits at the outer edge of my shoulders instead of close to the neck, and results in the front drapes being a bit wider/shallower instead of narrow/deep. But it also means I don’t need bra strap keepers and the shoulders are stable. And it creates an asymmetrical look across the top, as the binding extends the vertical stripes on the right, making it look wider than the left. Just one of those quirky things that are currently endearing this dress to me at the moment. As for the CF plunge, I’ve discovered a new little trick: use a bobby pin to pick up one or two seam threads and clip it to the centre bridge of my bra. Nothing moves. Brilliant!
I honestly wasn’t sure about this, but after seeing the pics (mirrors lie, y’know) I like it, but some details bother me. For instance, the lack of stripe matching on the CF of the drape.
And again down the CB seam.
Try as I might I just could not match up those stripes without creating weird alternating patches of easing and stretching which refused to lay properly and looked terrible down the back of the dress.
Similarly, if I match the stripes on the front drape, it will mean one side is longer than the other and sits at a different angle. But my inner seamstress/perfectionist is squirming looking at these photos! So, because I’d like your opinion, I’ve created a poll to either leave it, or fix it. It’s anonymous, so please be brutally honest.
Wow. It feels good to be sewing so much again. And sewing garments that I like, that fit and that are fun to make and wear! Case in point, this fantastic over-sized tunic – blouse? – shirt? – from Donna Karan, courtesy Vogue 1038.I’ve made the skirt, although I’ve never blogged it. You can see the skirt here. It’s a dream to wear. But this post is about the shirt. That glorgiously oversized off-the-shoulder shirt that I don’t wear off the shoulder…
I delved into my linen stash for this very lightweight semi-opaque woven stripe, and started cutting. I’ve always loved Donna Karan’s designs from a construction point of view, and the fact that they are so very unusual. This top was no disappointment in either department.
The yoke is cut so that the shoulder seam is actually sitting on the bias. Because I don’t really want to have to wear this off the shoulder, I added strap keepers at the shoulder points along the collar seam.
It makes the back yoke curve down a little bit, but it’s secure this way, and the sleeve cap sits at the edge of my shoulder like it should this way.
I made absolutely no adjustments to this shirt, except to add a self-fabric wrapped 3-inch long piece of spiral steel boning at the CF to tuck behind undergarments in order to keep the front securely in place.
The silhouette of the shirt is so dramatic. It’s got great lines from all angles. And people love seeing Donna Karan garments. Wearing this shirt was no exception. People stopped to comment on it and ask “who I was wearing”.
I’m not a model, so wearing it with the skirt is completely out of the question.
See? Ridiculous on anything but a 6 foot stick with legs.
I’ll pair it with one of my many versions of another Donna Karan pattern: Vogue 1039. I’ve tried to make this pattern a TNT – I just love the details on the capris – and I’ve made them up just recently in a leopard laminated denim and the light olive stretch denim I’m wearing with this shirt for these pics.
Yeah, maybe it’s a bit on the big and loose side, but it’s super comfortable and something different for those days when I crave “unusual”. Have you made anything outside the tried and true world of staid jeans, trousers, tops or dresses? Do you wear your unusual make very often?
A lovely Donna Karan top! I made mine out of poly georgette, and it worked beautifully despite the pattern suggesting charmeuse, which is heavier and drapier. Actually, I think it looks better on me in a flimsier fabric than the called-for charmeuse because I’m not a model with a small bust and long waist, and the georgette falls in softer less voluminous folds than a charmeuse would, imho. This is a typical DK design – very interesting and fun to sew because it’s just such a fun riff on staples: the pencil skirt and a full-sleeve cowl-necked blouse. The blouse pattern front comes in 2 piece and requires taping together prior to cutting, and it’s huge. The pattern dictates 60″ (150cm) wide fabric but this large piece easily fit on my 45″ (125cm) fabric on the cross grain. Obviously this wouldn’t work if you wanted the effect of contrasting grains like the pattern photo. But for my print, it didn’t matter, and I was determined to get this blouse out of 3 yards of 45″ fabric from my stash.
The two-piece raglan sleeves are cut on the bias, and the seams twist around to the front of the forearm in a large 3-inch deep pleat. The idea is wonderful, but I don’t think it really works unless your normal pattern adjustment for sleeve length is to add 4 inches. This is the tunic untucked with the sleeves hanging where they’d like to on me. Please note that I usually do not make any adjustments to sleeve length on patterns.
The cuffs are supposed to be single layers attached in a regular seam to the sleeve with a deep 1-inch hem, but because the georgette was transparent, I cut two cuffs per sleeve, shortened them by 1 inch, stitched them right sides together, turned them and attached them as per the instructions. However, after putting it on to wear for the day, I realized they were waaaaay too long, and rolled up the cuffs for my morning engagements. When I got home (and after taking all these pics) I turned them up to the inside and fell stitched them into place, as below. Much better, no? You can see the very deep pleat and the seam on the top of my wrist. It’s an interesting sleeve.
The upper back is in two pieces, seamed down the CB with an opening about 3 inches long.
It’s hidden in a deep 2-inch pleat, and falls above the bra line. It’s rather unnoticeable, even if you go around with your arms reaching out in front of you. A neat little detail that probably only you will notice!
The finishing of the CB of the collar is interesting, too. The pleats are all basted, the cowl folded down and then the CB is sewn. I don’t think I’d do it this way again if I were to make up another. I’d baste all the collar pleats, stitch the CB seam and then turn the collar/cowl facing in and tack it down. As per the pattern, though, the CB seam allowances are simply pressed open and finished hong kong style. You’ll notice that the facings for the cowl are different on each side, too. This isn’t a mistake, but a quirk of the cowl. It doesn’t affect how the cowl drapes or wears.
The top has a band around the bottom, which would be a cool way to wear this top, but not on my silhouette. You can see some of the front pleating detail in the pic below. I cut my usual size based on my upper chest measurement. I did not to the requisite FBA, and it really doesn’t make a difference. I usually grade up a size through the hips, and if I wanted to wear this top outside my skirt/trousers, it would be necessary to do so. This photo was taken prior to shortening the sleeves.
And here’s the back view untucked. Yup. I need a sway back/short waist adjustment with more width through the hips, but since I’m only likely to wear this tucked in, I don’t really care. If I make this up again, I may make the necessary adjustments to be able to wear this as a tunic.
And now I’m hunkering down in the sewing corner to work on my coat. It’s not quite cold enough to wear my usual interlined winter coat, so I need something in a “between” weight: Marfy, you’re next!
Let’s talk about one of the new Donna Karan patterns from Vogue this fall, which I used for items 2 and 3 for my fall sewing plan.
A couple of people have made this up and reviewed it on PR – both the skirt and the top – but although there’s a couple of mentions of my issues, I couldn’t find any great pictures or discussions about them. So this is my take on the skirt. You’ve already read my musings about the fit of this skirt, and after wearing it for a day, I’d like to share some ideas to make your versions a little more successful than mine.
First, I love… love the seaming detail on this skirt. It’s just brilliant, even if it does make fitting it a pain in the **s. All the seams are edge and topstitched, including the darts. Now, you can’t see it very well in this photo, but edge/topstitching the darts made them almost impossible to shape as perfectly as I would have liked.
The fit through the back is really flattering. I’m liking the silhouette.
And now we come to the front. I made this skirt out of a mid-weight wool that slightly felted during the pre-shrinking process. It’s heavier than a wool crepe, but I’m still wishing I did two things:
1. underline it. I presumed on the weight (in comparison to the green wool) of the fabric, and I should not have. Underlining this with silk organza would have made a big difference in how this wears and I think would have prevented the angled side seams from puckering as I move around in it.
Second, I wish I’d boned the front of the waistband. It’s high – about 2 inches deep – and I’m short waisted, so giving it that extra bit of reinforcement would prevent it from folding over while I wear it.
Third, don’t topstitch the front darts as per the instructions. I took out the edge/topstitching after wearing it because I couldn’t stand how it exaggerated the poochiness happening below the waist. And finally, be smart like Kay the Sewing Lawyer and do a muslin of the skirt first. The back pieces wrap around to the front across the top of the hips, and that little extra triangular shaping makes for a bit of fitting nightmare. I usually grade down one size for my waist, but I didn’t think through how to do that for this, so just took up the extra at the CB. There was a little extra to ease in to the waistband at the side fronts – unevenly, I might add – and I did my best to shrink it out, but it didn’t quite work. If I had the patience, I’d unpick the entire thing and re-make it doing everything I’ve suggested you do to get your perfect version!
That all said, I like the skirt, although I’m mad at myself for not following my sewing instincts and taking all of my own advice. It’s interesting and if you took the time to fit it properly through the hips – or perhaps made it in an RPL or double knit – you may have better luck through the waist. Gotta love Donna Karan for making interesting clothes that are fun to sew.
Well, it’s done! Donna Karan’s unusual top courtesy Vogue 1039 and the accompanying pants, unveiled yesterday. I’m not wearing this outfit today, but since I was futzing with the pants yesterday, I thought I’d throw on the top (which has been hanging in my closet for a couple of weeks) and take pictures of it.
Let me just say there is nothing like me-made challenges to make you understand what you should and shouldn’t wear for your body’s shape. Take this top for instance. I love this top. I love everything about it: the pleats, the fabric choice (same green silk as my Ruby camisole), the ruching down the side seams and the general weirdness of it all. But I don’t think this top really likes me. I made this up in my chest size – not my bust size – to get the fit through the shoulders. This is my general rule of thumb, and then I usually proceed with an FBA. The pattern describes this tunic as a loose-fitting. Sure. It’s very loose fitting, but it is not loose fitting through the bust. There is supposedly two inches of wearing ease through the bust point. Unfortunately for me, the chest:bust ratio that I own negated that wearing ease. I should have cut my bust size. I just need to find an undergarment that FLATTENS instead of supports. Then the darn thing will hang closer to my body. But whatever! This top is so weird that I’ll probably wear it anyways just for the strange looks I’ll get! And there are a LOT pleats in the back. Isn’t this cool? What’s not to love about the 30 odd mini-pleats and the ruching? And if it’s windy, or I turn suddenly, it billows out and adds about 100cm to my circumference.Well, there’s no one else in my social circle that owns such a top. And that’s why I sew!
OK. Pretty pictures first. Just keep in mind how slim, elegant and long-legged the pants on the model are in the picture above. First, I’d love to say that I really had fun making up these pants. Of course, mine look nothing at all like hers because I’m not elongated like she is, but the details are all the same! First up, lookee here at the pocketses!
And the detail at the centre back yoke. Crappy topstitching job, but honestly, no one will notice or care once I’m wearing them. And the little tab is truly sewn in straight – you just can’t tell from the angle at which the pants are laying!The inside. I used gingham remnants for the binding and pocket lining Let me just say that this pair of pants is designed a little on the large side. I cut one full size smaller than what I usually cut for a Vogue, and this is what I ended up with.Not so skimming, huh? The waist fits perfectly, after tapering down one size as per my usual adjustment. But I had to take in a 2 full inches from the inseam and crotch. And then I noticed that I could have should have taken in two inches at the centre front. Too bad for this pair, because I’m not going to adjust them any more!Obviously I can still take in more across the back, but I’m settling for this particular pair. The picture above was taken after wearing them for a few hours post adjustments and the fabric bagged. I guess it’s missing the Lycra. There’s still too much fabric in the back leg, too, which I shall fix for the next pair.
What’s that you say? Yup. I’ve decided these were so much fun (thank you, pockets!) that I’m going to make up a second pair and see if I can make them skinnier. I may regret this yet….
I’m working on a camisole version of the Ruby slip. As soon as I saw the Sew-A-Long, I downloaded the pattern, knowing that I wouldn’t get around to it until I got around to it. I’ve always wanted a properly fitting slip, but could really never be bothered harnessing my intellect to wrestle through the bodice fitting issues. When I saw Sherry’s version it was so pretty I just couldn’t resist giving it a try. Then all sorts of Rubys started popping up in the sewing blog world and I really thought I’d give it a try.
The final impetus was this blouse, however, which I made in a silk chiffon that definitely requires a camisole. I could wear something nude coloured, but I personally find it annoying when I see curvy people like myself wearing something sheer with only a nude something else hiding their undergarments. It’s visually distracting and I don’t like to see details, if you know what I mean. So, after cutting out a Donna Karan top (yet to be sewn), I was pleased to see there was enough of this green silk charmeuse to cut the Ruby slip pattern to make myself a camisole.
I just want to say, regardless of all the stupid pattern adjustments that can (and do) make me tired of not being a B cup girl, Sherry did a wonderful job drafting this slip pattern. The bodice cut is perfect, even though I’m not planning to use lace for this version. And the required FBA was a LOT easier than any other slip adjustment I’ve attempted in the past.
I just want to say, that if I was a swearing kind of person I’d be swearing my head off right now. This outfit is the most ridiculously impossible dress to photograph flatteringly. I realize I’m the farthest thing from “model” as possible, but honestly! Trying to find the right light, the right angles and the right…. well…. bloody everything took a lot of time. I think I took about 160 pictures just to get the few that I’m posting here.
Ok, that said, let’s talk about this outfit. I’m not going to bother posting the pattern picture here, as comparisons would be awful. So here’s a link to it! First off, I love Donna Karan’s designs. I find them extremely interesting to sew and, for the most part, flattering to wear.
But…..I’m not so sure about this one. Actually, I bought it because Vogue’s version was in the purple family, and I am a complete sucker for anything purplish. And I do like ruching, so this pattern purchase was really a no brainer for me. I have had some purple wool coating in my stash for years. It has an interesting weave, and when I saw Vogue 1263 (also by Donna Karan) I thought it would be perfect. I even ordered a rayon-lycra knit to complement the purple coating to make up the skirt/top. However, after seeing a few versions on the web made up by fellow sewists, I thought the rayon-lycra was too lightweight – probably perfect for the top, but I really hated the way the skirt hem was AWOL on the versions that I’ve seen. So I arranged another (botched) project for the rayon. And then Fabricland had a lovely little sale on the day I was buying fabric for DD3’s winter coat, so I bought a few knits.
I used a dark olive Ponte di roma knit, but it’s a lighter weight than any other Ponte I’ve come across. It was substantial enough that I thought it had the body to deal with the skirt, but, of course, any person with any pattern drafting experience is going to realize that there is absolutely no way that the skirt can maintain its horizontal gathers without some foundation, regardless of how stable the knit is.
This is the “straight hem” version. I actually have to hold the gathers in place for the hemline to be horizontal. Below is the, shall we say, “natural” way the skirt wants to hang. It’s interesting to look at the design drawing – it’s perfectly gathered, and the hem is horizontal. Not so on the model (OK, I’ll post the picture! grumble grumble) See? Even her hem is wonky. And let me tell you, to get the backside gathers of the skirt to look so perfect took an assistant individually putting them into place and probably praying they’d stay there until the shoot was over. (Or maybe they used double-sided tape?) Pulling this skirt on is one thing, but arranging the gathers so they look good is a 5 minute task. However, on Vogue’s model, the one and only seamline on the skirt is also very much pulled to the side. Mine isn’t so much, which probably makes a difference to how the skirt hangs. Let me try that out……
Yup. I just stood up and twisted my skirt to the side a lot and it seams to hold the gathers better. Wearing tights would probably hold them in place, too, due to the “sticky” factor of tights & knit fabric. I’ll have to try that the next time I wear this! The other possibility is making an underskirt of power knit or something and very carefully tacking the gathers into place. Can you imagine the tedium?!
About sizing: I went down one size for the skirt waist, and down two through the hips, and used my usual size for the top without doing the standard FBA. This is my standard sizing adjustment when working with knits, and seems to work well with DK’s designs. But it depends on the knit! If I had made this up in a lighter rayon-lycra knit, it would have been miles too big and saggy. A mid-weight stable knit with moderate give is perfect for this, although it can be slow sewing over the gathered layers at times.
Now let’s talk about the top. It is very long. I am a short waisted person (2 inches shorter than the standard 17” from neck to waist), and the hem on this top sits 9 inches below my waist without pulling it down as far as it could go. The hem of it is at the level of my wrists. Now, given the weirdness of the skirt, this is a good thing because it camouflages where necessary. The top has two layers across the front. You could almost leave off the top “wrap” and get a complete top. The wrap is actually the LH sleeve proper and the LH side of the turtleneck. The actual front of the shirt has an unfinished crew neckline and a hemmed armscye like a tank top. And I like the back. You can see my short waist in this photo, or how I’ve not pulled the top down as far as it could go in order for the gathers to sit as designed. And the opening below the neck will pull open. I’ve thrown my shoulders back in this photo, so it doesn’t pull quite as much as it would if you were standing normally.
There’s 5 snap closures along the back of the turtleneck collar. It’s not particularly snug for a turtleneck, and I think it’s a nice look. But I happen to like turtlenecks.
There is also a point in the instructions – Step # 24 – that is not quite clear about the overlapping of the front layer and where it should end under the right arm. Here’s my picture of exactly where the edge of the gathered top layer should meet the raw edge of the front. It’s not quite clear from the instructions, and unless you are in the habit of using tailor tacks to identify markings, you will need to mark this particular set of circles on both sides of the garment.
The pattern called for seam binding which provides a stable base for the gathers. I chose to use the selvage from silk organza because it’s thin – I didn’t want to add more bulk if I could help it. Here’s a picture of the inside gathers on the top.The skirt has two layers of gathers stitched over each other with the edges left raw. It’s an interesting touch. The only other change I made to the instructions was in the hemming. Because the Ponte is thicker than other knits, I didn’t turn the raw edges of the hems under prior to stitching them. I just left them raw and double stitched them using a straight stitch. I did stretch the Ponte as much as possible while stitching the hems so I don’t end up with broken stitches while walking. Here’s a superfluous picture of the hem on the skirt.
So what do I think of this ensemble? I’m not really sure, to be honest with you. It looks great on the model, but she’s taller than me, and I think they probably helped the silhouette with significant editing. I can see that this garment would look a lot better on someone with a longer torso than mine. You can really see this from the back. On my short waist you miss the CB “v” that is a nice design point (see Vogue’s pattern cover). I have to say that when I looked at the first batch of pictures I took this morning in less-than–ideal-light, I really liked the outfit (the pic below is significantly lightened).
It’s super comfortable to wear (if you can get over a completely misbehaving hemline). It walks nicely, too. But after seeing the pictures of it in the sunlight, I’m just not convinced this is something that will get much wear, unless I’m wanting people to look at me askance. I might wear it strictly for the entertainment factor. Y’know, the furtive glances and whispers….
What the heck is she wearing? ….. A piece of fabric randomly wrapped and stitched into place!! …… Does she think it looks nice? ……. What the !#@* is she thinking??!?!?!?