I always look forward to the autumn and winter Vogue pattern releases. Sadly the autumn collection was underwhelming this year. The winter one came out in the US a couple of weeks ago and the good news is that it’s a definite step up.
The designer patterns are few but good. I’m disappointed there’s no Chado Ralph Rucci (again!) but what we do get is what Vogue designer patterns are all about: styles with unusual details or dramatic impact. My favourite is the Donna Karan pattern for leggings and a wrap top. I’m posting the technical drawing rather than the photograph because the whole point of this one is the seam detail in the leggings.
Another highlight is the spectacular evening gown from Badgley Mischka. If I had a glamorous evening event to go to, this pattern would definitely be on my shopping list. The pattern description also hints at some interesting techniques: ‘back pleated drape with weighted tab’. You don’t often get that sort of thing in Burda.
The most unusual designer pattern this time around is a top and skirt from Guy Laroche. I really like this one, and not just because it has pockets. I’m not sure how flattering it would be on a non-model but I bet it’s an interesting sew.
Very Easy Vogue has some hits. There’s a classic cape and a simple and pretty colour blocked dress – although given that this is the Winter collections, sleeves would have been nice. But I’m being a bit picky there because we also have 8495 (shown below) which not only has sleeves, but interesting ones.
Also in Very Easy Vogue there’s a simple overcoat with a slightly unusual draped detail at the back. But it’s not all good: there’s also this.
The undisguised elasticated waist would be fine if the dress had been made up in a really casual fabric. But with the sequins it just looks odd. OK pattern but poor fabric choice perhaps.
Speaking of belts, there’s something odd going on with the waist on the custom cup size pattern. This is a closefitting dress with a lot of seam detail at the waist. The model’s wearing a purchased belt in the full length pictures, but in the belt-free closeup you can see the intersecting seamlines haven’t matched up on the dress. It could be a sewing failure rather than the fault of the pattern, but I’d certainly look out for some reviews before buying this one.
The rest of the Very Easy patterns are knit tops, mostly with mullet hems. Nothing in there you couldn’t find elsewhere. The hoodie top is the best of them. It seems to have more waist shaping than is typical – at least in the model shots – and you could easily remove the mullet.
The Easy Options patterns are good as always. We get two dresses: a French darted style with a waist seam and a princess seamed style without a waist seam. As usual they come with a selection of neckline and skirt shape variations. Rather than just the obvious ‘pencil skirt version’, ‘A-line skirt version’ variations there’s a peplum option on the first and a mermaid skirt on the second.
The third Easy Options is a skirt, and probably my favourite style out of the whole collection:
This is so Vivienne Westwood. There’s also a pencil skirt variation in there, and one with the drape on both sides. Even better, it’s rated Easy. I’d have loved for this to have been available when I first began sewing; so many of the more unsuual styles were beyond my reach at the start.
The regular Vogue patterns are a mixed bag. There’s a lot of eveningwear but also some more casual styles. I’ll just pick out two: 8955 because I love the drama of palazzo pants:
And 8946 because it’s oddly like a maternity style, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. There aren’t a lot of maternity patterns out there, and although this isn’t intended to be one, it looks as if it could accommodate a small bump.
But the most important question is: will I actually buy any of these? And the answer is that I won’t be rushing to get them the day they come out in the UK, but a few are going on my Christmas list. And that’s a definite improvement.
What do you think? Love this release or bored by it?
Filed under: Patterns, reviews, Vogue | 11 Comments
Tags: Dressmaking, Patterns, review, Sewing, Vogue
I’m very fond of Burda magazine. I’ve been subscribing for a few years and, despite my Vogue addiction, I probably sew more Burda patterns than anything else. Last year I had a look at whether Burda’s patterns are getting easier. I’ve accumulated quite a few more issues since then so I thought it was time to bring the stats up to date. Or maybe I am just avoiding cutting out my current project, which involves a single layer layout and endless tailor tacks.
So here’s the average dot rating for each issue of Burda I own, right up to November 2013. I have only included women’s patterns in the stats: no children’s or menswear.
That graph looks pretty flat to me. I fed the numbers into OpenOffice‘s linear regression function and it agreed with me; the regression line gradient is zero. Burda still isn’t dumbing down, whatever it might look like when we see issues covered with the ‘Easy’ banner.
As I was going through my collection I noticed I had a lot of issues which I’d never removed the pattern sheets from. I started counting the number of patterns I’d actually used from each issue. I have only counted patterns which have produced a finished garment; there are a few more I’ve traced but never made up. The most I’ve ever made from one issue turned out to be a meagre two patterns, but that’s not the surprising thing.
I haven’t made anything at all from issues published in the last year. This despite my last five or six projects being Burda. It used to be that I’d find a ‘must-sew’ pattern about every three issues, but apparently not any more. I just renewed my subscription so I’ll definitely be getting Burda for another year, but when it comes up for renewal next time I’ll be checking whether the hit rate has improved.
I don’t know if Burda has changed or fashion has or I have; I’ve been unthrilled by recent Vogue pattern collections too. Everything currently on my sewing list is a repeat of a pattern I’ve made before.
Anyone else feeling underwhelmed by this year’s pattern releases?
Filed under: Burda, Rants, Sewing | 30 Comments
Tags: Burda, Dressmaking, Sewing
This Burda pattern has been on my to-sew list for a long while. It’s 120-01-2012, a short trapeze-line design. This is a pattern that I was drawn to the moment I saw it, but put off making because of a fear that the trapeze shape wouldn’t work on me.
Here’s the line drawing. The dress has a tiny yoke with a very high neckline attached to a six-panel a-line dress body. There are invisible zips in the right shoulder and side seams and side seam pockets.
The fabric is a poly brocade from Minerva Crafts. At the time of writing it’s still available here. It’s quite floppy so I underlined it with poly organza. I also lined the entire dress, partly to help with maintaining the a-line shape, and partly to get an easy clean finish on the lower armscyes. The original version only has the yoke lined. You are supposed to finish the lower armscye with self fabric bias tape. I have no faith in my ability to do that neatly with fraying polyester fabric! Instead I made up the dress body in lining fabric and stitched it to the fashion fabric dress right sides together along the armscyes, clipping the lining at the ends of the armscyes. After turning and pressing I sewed the yoke to the dress, keeping the linings on both pieces free, and pressed the seams onto the yoke. Finally I stitched in the ditch on the yoke seams, catching the previously pressed under edge of the yoke lining.
The dress holds its shape quite well. It could probably be improved by adding something like horsehair braid to the hem. These photos were taken straight after pressing so you’re seeing it at its best. Unusually I didn’t feel the need to take any length off the hem, which makes me think this one comes up very short. I did have to adjust the neckline. As drafted it’s uncomfortably high at the front. I deepened it about 2cm and it’s still a touch too high.
I found it very difficult to get the hem level and I’m not sure I succeeded. I aimed to have it level for my normal posture, and you can see here that it makes a considerable difference if I stand slightly straighter. There are a few problems with the fit: the yoke is a little too tight and the side seams are swinging forward, probably because I made no attempt at a full bust adjustment. If I make this again I’ll probably go up a size and make the front skirt pieces longer and wider. But I think this version is good enough to wear.
The back is entirely plain but here’s a picture of it anyway.
The pattern is not quite as easy to sew as it appears at first sight because of the shoulder zip. Finishing off the lining at the outside shoulder edge on the side with the zip is very fiddly indeed. I had to hand sew a little because I just couldn’t get at the last bits with the machine.
I think the shape works ok in practice. I was half-expecting to end up with a dress that I wouldn’t want to wear out of the house. I suspect the key is to keep it short. I wouldn’t rule out making this pattern again some time, although I’ll pick fabric with a lot more body.
Filed under: Burda, Dressmaking, Finished, Fitting, Sewing | 15 Comments
Tags: brocade, Burda, dress, Dressmaking, Fitting, Sewing
Cleaning the sewing machine is a never-fail way to kickstart the sewing mojo. Cleaning and threading the overlocker, even more so. Clearly I haven’t been lacking in mojo lately because ewww.
I wanted to switch from three to four thread mode on the overlocker which meant inserting a second needle. I have trouble getting needles into this overlocker correctly. I sometimes even have a needle slip out while sewing because I haven’t tightened the screw enough. And this time, something seemed obviously wrong because when I put the second needle in the eyes didn’t line up. No mention of this in the manual. No amount of undoing and redoing, trying different needles, or fiddling with the screws made the slightest difference. Eventually I resorted to the Internet. And apparently they’re not meant to line up! How have I never noticed this before?
Filed under: Machines, overlocker, Sewing | 18 Comments
Tags: overlocker, serger, Sewing, sewing machine
Here’s another version of Burda 103-07-2010. They’re made from the same silver-painted stretch denim as last time, but this piece of fabric wasn’t pre-washed so is still very shiny. It won’t last of course but I will enjoy them before they fade.
The last pair had loads of wrinkles under the bum. I tried taking the crotch seam in a bit on the new ones and it’s slightly improved, but I think The Sewing Miserablist is right and there’s something else going on as well…maybe the back is too wide because I can certainly pinch out a vertical dart there.
Another thing I did differently with this pair was pressing some of the seams the opposite way to the Burda directions. Here’s the technical drawing, which we’ll probably need in order for this to make sense. The style has the side seams moved forward to accommodate an extra panel down the side and back of the leg. Burda has you press both the seams on that panel towards the back. For this pair I pressed both the seams onto the side panel (ie the back seam was pressed towards the front of the trousers) which gives the extra panel more emphasis, especially when topstitched.
The front’s come out pretty well. Like last time I deliberately made the legs very long, so all the wrinkling at the knees and below is because of that.
And just for fun, here’s me failing to replicate one of my large collection of shiny trouser inspiration pictures.
Me. I forgot she had those sunnies, I was wondering what to do with my left hand.
Anyway that’s probably it for trouser-making for a little while. I have a couple of cycle-friendly dresses planned next.
Filed under: Burda, Finished, Sewing, trousers | 16 Comments
Tags: Burda, Dressmaking, Sewing, silver, trousers
Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while knows I have a strange love for shiny trousers. But I don’t wear trousers a whole lot so up until now I’ve only made one shiny pair, which gradually shrunk in the wash until I could no longer do them up. Now I’m needing some cycle-friendly clothes (thanks for all the pattern and blog suggestions!) I thought that recreating the shrunken shiny pair would be a good place to start. The pattern I used is the same as before, Burda 103B-07-2010. This is a skinny jeans style with an extra seam down the back of the leg. I made them up in a silver stretch denim from Minerva Crafts.
The fabric was originally much more silver in colour, but a trip through the washing machine removed a lot of the coating and left this sparkly black effect. This is no reflection on Minerva, I’m pretty sure they said it wasn’t washable when I bought it.
Here’s the back view. I added patch pockets because I think trousers can look a bit odd without some sort of detail on the backside. Or is that just me? I also made the legs extra long, which is in part what’s causing all those wrinkles on the leg. It’s bad fitting but I like the effect.
However there’s definitely some extra fabric pooling under the bum that can’t be explained by the longer legs. According to the fitting books this means the back crotch length is too long – or as they generally put it, a flat bum adjustment is needed. I could probably fix that on this pair as it just means sewing the crotch seam a bit deeper, but it isn’t bothering me and I’d rather not unpick the topstitching.
So why are they the deadly jeans? They killed my sewing machine. It jammed really badly while sewing a test buttonhole. It was the sort of jam where you have to get your scissors out and cut everything you can reach. And while hacking out all the snarls I must have damaged something. It wouldn’t pick up the bobbin thread when I rethreaded it, and when I took the needle plate off it was pretty obvious why: the hook timing is now completely off. I’m lucky enough to have a second machine so I was able to finish the trousers and I’ll be able to sew while my main one is repaired. Which is a good thing because I have another pair of these cut out!
Filed under: Burda, Dressmaking, Finished, Sewing, trousers | 17 Comments
Tags: Burda, Dressmaking, Sewing, sewing machine, silver, trousers
It feels a bit strange posting pictures of my new sewing area because I haven’t actually sewed anything in it yet, but I’ve been waiting a while to do this. We’ve moved house and have been camping in this room while work was done in the rest of the house. Today we got the bedroom back, so theoretically I now have space to sew and here it is!
I’m going to need to sew a lot. I’m living further from work which means cycling instead of walking, but most of my existing clothes don’t work on a bike. The next thing I’m making is definitely a pair of trousers. The pattern’s already out and I know I have fabric for them somewhere in that pile under the stairs.
Anyone got any recommendations for dress patterns you can cycle in? Trousers are all very well but I’d like some dresses too.
Filed under: Sewing | 22 Comments
Tags: moving, Sewing, sewing room