Sunday, November 29, 2015

November Burda Challenge - Birthday Dress!

My November Burda Challenge is completed. And before the end of the month too! I scored the current issue of the magazine at Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley while on a birthday junket with my friend, Lisa. This is Sheath Dress #114.

According to Burdastyle, "The fitted dress follows the figure due to the perfectly placed darts diagonally toward the breastline as well as along the length to envelope the silhouette - especially accented by using fabric with a stretch. The closure zipper is tucked into the left side seam. A zipper at the shoulder seam allows the cut-on collar to lay beautifully."

Line drawing from Burdastyle

The darts are what we used to call "french darts," back when I was a youngster. I always thought they sounded a little risqué; just the kind of darts that would envelope the silhouette. Sadly, the finished dress is a bit too loose to qualify as an envelope. I took the side seams in an inch at the bust and the fit is still what I'd call "comfy."

I'm always a little nervous about installing zippers, even though they usually don't go bad on me. It felt even more dangerous in a knit. So why double my stress by installing two?  I decided to use just one zip and to move it to the center back seam. As it turned out, it went in easy peasy lemon squeezy. No rippling at all.

I used a teal blue ponte that I'd bought at Stone Mountain & Daughter some years ago. Still stash busting those knits!

Back view - there's some nice shaping going on with that center back seam
While this isn't my favorite of the Burda dresses I've sewn, I like it pretty well. The fabric and the long sleeves make it nice and cozy for chill winter evenings, and the color makes me feel festive.

I wore it with boots and a velvet scarf to the theater and dinner last night and it felt like just the ticket.  The Man treated me to Riverdance and a steak with fried shallots for my birthday. He's a doll!

My pattern review is on here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Stash Busting Coat

The September theme for the Stashbusting Sewalong was Outerwear/Seasonal Change. I actually started this coat more or less on schedule. Finishing was another story. Partly I blame the weather. We had an unusually long and hot fall. The kind of fall where I spent much of my day flopped on the couch in front of the fan, sapped of the will to live.

Burdastyle January, 2012, jacket #107
Partly the fault lay with my sewing skills. My friend, Lucy, recommended this pattern as a good prospect for my first coat. She made one herself, which is utterly adorable. Lucy made her version out of a boucle fabric, and, wouldn't you know it, I had a boucle-ish fabric in stash that would be just enough to cut this bad boy out. Well, it's not really boucle. It's more like cream colored fuzzy worms squiggling on top of a black mesh that frays madly. It looks nicer than that sounds though.

back view with seam
I really like the style of the pattern; it's shaped to the figure at the side and center back seams. It has a two piece sleeve for a nice fit at shoulder and arm, and it's lined.

That two piece sleeve was a first for me. I learned:
  1. mark your notches carefully, because the sleeve seams do not match up with the side seams, and
  2. it's really hard to mark your notches carefully on this fabric
I put a sleeve in wrong twice, once on the lining and once on the actual coat. I was worried I wouldn't be able to pick out the stitches on my coat fabric without making a huge mess, but it worked out OK.

Lime green lining
The lining was another challenge. This is the second time I've lined a garment. I'm generally what I like to think of as a thrifty sewist. If you line a garment, that means you're making it twice, meaning you have to shell out for twice the material. There was just no way to pretty up the seams on the innards with this fabric though, and I just happened to have some lime green cotton sateen sitting in stash that looked like it would do the trick (thanks, Jessica!). 

I trawled the internet to find something to supplement Burda's terse instructions on bagging the lining and ended up with a Threads tutorial that helped immensely. It was still a bit of a struggle but everything worked out in the end. I just hope my finish is neater on my next go.

Burdastyle wanted me to add big patch pockets and a ruffle at the neckline.

Line drawing from Burda site - you can buy the pattern there if you want
 Cute, right? I made up the pockets, but they just didn't look right when I pinned them on for placement, so I left them off. Even though I know I'll miss them.

Besides being kind of bulky and a pain to handle, my fabric had a definite wrong side, so I couldn't get the ruffle thing to happen either. I've decided I kind of like the clean look of the plain neckline though.

Plus, I'm a knitter with an extensive collection of scarves and cowls, so I can fluff up the neckline easy as pie.

In short, Lucy steered me straight. This is a great pattern and I highly recommend it for a first coat. I have some blue wool in stash that I think I'll earmark for the jacket-length version of this baby. Definitely with pockets next time.

My pattern review is on here.