Monday, 22 March 2021
THE LONG READ; My version of the season's quilted jacket, made from six pairs of old jeans and lined with a patchwork of remnants, using Burda Easy pattern 06/20 #1B
Seen that twisted top design before? I have, and in fact, I sewed it up in the dress version many years ago. But it has just reappeared in a 2021 Burda Style magazine. As did the parka below, in an edition that appeared some ten years ago. So did the elasticated skirt with the slit, above, only a few years ago. In fact, Burda Easy seems to think we just want the same knit sheath dress with a collar variation and yet another pair of joggers or leggings to get by. Come on, Burda. The Easy editions were much better before you increased the number of issues per year.
This 'new money for old rope' approach with Burda seems to have stepped up—or I've just collected thirteen years of Burda only to discover that they always recycle old designs?
For me, the disappointment started with Burda Style monthly reprinting some of their featured retro designs that had been collected for their 'one off' vintage issues of the past, the 50's, the 60's, etc. But they were upfront about that. They weren't trying to sell their vintage greats as if they were new product, but marketing them in a different publication for a wider audience. I could forgive that, as many people passed up those special editions and missed some great designs.
But now, those of us who collect BurdaStyle mags might have noticed that we're often just getting recycled patterns without any admission that these were sold to us already.
Take April 2021, for example: here are two jackets, the one with the button the 'new' April 2021 version and the one with the snapped collar, the version from 2011.
Thursday, 4 February 2021
Tuesday, 3 November 2020
Back to the Future, the second Burda longer dress, (a 'handkerchief') dress meant for autumn, November, 2019 103 A/B EPIC FAIL. Should it see out 2020 or die an (ig)noble death?
The second autumn dress I sewed up for Fall-Winter 2019 repeat 2019 pre-Covid was another attempt to wear the longer skirts lengths without looking dowdy. I wore skirts and culottes this length in the 70's the first time around and still have some fantastic Vogue Designer patterns from that era to prove it. It's a little harder to wear now that I'm so much older, with wider hips, a shortening torso, and the inability to trot all day in the high-heeled boots that make it work best. But I liked the grace of this silhouette after so many years of tight, knee-length sheaths.
This was made up in a drapey navy-blue leopard viscose print ordered online. There are two unsatisfactory things about my fabric choice for this design: First, the 'leopard print' is too busy to see any of the waist piecing and second, the underside of the fabric is noticeably different from the printed side. Ideally, the skirt should flow without drawing attention to the two sides of the hemline.
This dress is a fabric hog as the skirt pieces are cut on the bias. I'm not sure I'm really feeling this handkerchief hem. And to do it, I needed 3.5 metres of fabric, almost twice the fabric needed for a sheath dress.
This dress was also a frightening reminder of how much my skills and patience have slipped. I forgot how to do a proper invisible zipper and made a bit of a mess of it. Only later did I review Kenneth Lane's excellent Youtube on this particular step and have resolved not to mess up again.
But worse! I misread the instructions and doggedly went ahead putting in the zipper below the collar point, assuming the collar folded down over the zip in the back. Wrong. So I had to add a dirty fix—to close the collar at the top.
Added to that frustration the fact that, in the end, I wouldn't have chosen this fabric online if I'd had a chance to see it up close. It doesn't look like leopard print at all, just a messy, ugly print. An entire long dress of this stuff just looks... awful. I'm not sure how much wear, if any, this dress will see.
UPDATE as of January 2020, not worn once. EPIC FAIL
UPDATE as of February, 2020 worn once under a long navy cardigan to casual dinner out. Looked all right, just, as the cardigan gave it a bit of shape at the waistline.
UPDATE as of March, quarantined, so no need to wear a dress until 2021.
Thursday, 10 September 2020
ARRRGGH! Trying to delete some spam comment, I lost all your wonderful comments going back at least a year! I'm so sorry! (meanwhile...) Burda Easy Cardigan January 2020 models 4A+C. A modest replacement with a few hesitations.
For me, navy had become 'the new black' over the last few winters. The jewels in my capsule were two navy-blue jumpsuits to be worn under various kimonos in silky blue prints for evenings with friends at home. I wore one to the wonderful wedding of goddaughter in England under one of my kimonos, blogged already.
But the basic piece that pulled many of these combos together by day was my basic navy cardigan.
Now dead. I scraped it across some wet white paint and when I tried to remove the paint, I rubbed an actual hole in the weave in the front tail.
I have tried here, with only some success, to replace it. With the best of intentions, I ordered a navy blue knit online that turns out to have just a tinge of too much violet to it. And the pattern I chose, which looked quite trendy in Burda Easy in January 2020 may not be my style. The hem is asymmetric, the sleeves are a bit too dolman for my taste and without neater finishing by a knit cuff or elastic, the sleeves require being pushed up the arm not to look a bit naff. There are no buttons, so the tie from Version A is a must, as are the pockets from Version C. I had to make little thread belt loops which I hate doing, too.
But let's give it a winter to break in and I may learn to love it as much as my long, slim-line classic with the buttons.
Wednesday, 9 September 2020
CONFINEMENT SEWING PART II Croquet Dresses for Lockdown Games, Burda Easy March 2020 #4C, Burda Style 6-2020-118, and Burda Style 4-2020 cover model, with Burda's Hollywood homage
During a summer of serious Covid confinement, keeping in consideration my soon-80-year-old husband's lung frailties and my own last decade of serious health treatments, we needed to find a more and immediate source of daily joy here in our Swiss village in hard-hit virus-heavy Vaud. Our three adult kids were in lockdown in London. Our constant worries for them with their employment abruptly curtailed or, in one case seriously overloaded, were sometimes overwhelming. Our routine companions here were also being ultra-careful because of age and health histories and sticking close to home. I continued writing and husband continued his own projects, but...meh...
We had wonderful weather, a large house and garden to enjoy, a vast library of music and books to rediscover, the internet and a new Netflix account, and myriad digital contacts with friends and family. And we've kept our health, fingers crossed, so far. The numbers are shooting up again and we know we're counted among the 'vulnerable.'
But we mourned our cancelled vacation to a beloved hotel on the Ligurian shore in Italy, where the virus has been raging up and down the coast with the coffins piling up, as well as our traditional visits to rough it lakesite at camp with extended Swiss family in Walchwil, not far from Zurich, another national hotspot of infection. I also missed all our usual outings to concerts in Lausanne and Geneva for which I love getting properly dressed.
So, no occasions, no meetups, no sewing?
Working hard as usual, we still needed to play away from the computers on a regular basis. So we settled into a serious season of good old-fashioned American croquet, with suitable iced drinks and lots of laughs. And I sewed three 'croquet' dresses, (as this is a decorous sport, to say the least.) White sneakers were de rigeur.
First, the striped linen-viscose number, with its very loose-fitting, dropped waist and unfitted bodice is my tribute to the 1920's resort of Deauville, using Burda's Easy March 2020, 4C. The only challenge of this model was to match up the stripes and reverse the given layout for the more interesting horizon/vertical effect of the stripes.
The second dress, Burda Style's 6-2020-118, is my tribute to a 1940's tea dress, with its chintzy viscose print, fitted waistband, and slightly puffed shoulder seam. To mature this wrap dress a little for a woman my age, I finished the lower edge of the sleeve without the gathered puff. The construction of this design's waist band extending into ties turned out to be a bit of a puzzle. I had to take it slowly, and translate Burda's cryptic instructions from the French into English with an uncharacteristic level of attention. Their construction of what should have been a straightforward collar was also odd and I ended up just reverting to what I was used to doing with similar collars, using a technique from a book of couture shortcuts.
My third 'croquet dress' is a rip-off of the Pretty Woman polka dot dress, done in a lively red viscose.
This is a beast of a skirt to hem, as the skirt pieces are cut on the bias, but the result gives a really lovely flow. I skipped the slit cut at the back neckline as I found this construction cheaply designed, without a center seam and in the end, unnecessary. The dress slips over your head without any special opening at the back.
CONFINEMENT SEWING, PART I Rescuing the 'Epic Fail' blue linen jumpsuit and a new white Burda Easy Japanese workshirt in broderie Anglaise cotton.
As the late, great Alan Rickman says in the comic film, Galaxy Quest, 'Never Give Up, Never Surrender!'
Remember the 'Epic Fail' blue linen jumpsuit on which I spent so much money for high-quality imported linen, only to end up with a baggy, crumply mess I wore only once, to the Verbier Music Festival when our Fiddlerkid was performing? (below) The Burda Style pattern featured a very long torso and the design was suitable only to Burda's choice of a satiny, drapey fabric that settled discreetly over the elasticated waist. My quality linen puffed out too much.
The waste of such good fabric hurt my heart. I finally bit the bullet and ripped out the waist seam and made a very serviceable work shirt and pair of pull-on pants that I've been actually getting wear out of all summer. Here's my new rescue version, cut in half.
The new white wrap shirt above is a second version of the Burda Easy Japanese workshirt I already blogged, below, (this time without the sleeves.) The white version is a direct copy of the model featured on the cover of that edition of Burda Easy,
which is why I fell in love with the pattern in the first place. Because of its tight wrap effect at the waist, I can get away with a pretty unexciting elasticated waist from the jumpsuit as it was.
Tuesday, 28 April 2020
Friday, 15 November 2019
From trash to class in one pattern...To survive the first rainy days, the Vogue OOP 2614 gray wool wrap jacket and its 'evil twin' the blue snake leather biker jacket.
Have you ever seen a snake this blue? So kill me. I know, the collar! This blue jacket comes from a wonderful Vogue OOP 2614 pattern offering some great options. When I saw this snake-embossed 'pleather' I splurged without thinking and even found a perfect little gray buckle, but I immediately regretted the per metre cost. It is eye-catching but cheering for the first days of full-on rain here in Switzerland. It pairs well with this great Central Asian scarf gifted by a well-travelled neighbor. It makes the bad weather actually fun.
Wait! The same pattern?? The gray jacket was also made from this SAME pattern, which is some kind of object lesson in the difference changing 'options' and fabric can make. It's made of a very good quality gray-black chevron-weave wool coating and I did some pretty good top-stitching down the princess seams which gives it something extra. From trash to class in one pattern...
Sunday, 10 November 2019
Two autumn dresses.... first one, BurdaEasy, Spring-Summer 2019 (three versions combined for maximum ruffle oomph!)
Skirt hems have been dropping for some seasons but many came with a buttoned-up, ruffled-bodice 'prairie girl' look which is too costumey for someone my age. So I planned two dresses in viscose in my favorite color-way of navy blue to satisfy the urge to try these longer dresses, without going for the bulk of accordion pleats (that would sit on my very wide hips pretty badly,) or spending too much on so much fabric for a look I'm not sure of.
This is concocted from Burda Easy Models 2, A+B+C from the Spring Summer 2019. This design had three variations and I chose the longest and then maxed out the ruffle options, (see tech illustrations below) combining the offerings from three versions into one:
The fabric is a viscose twill, a very good weight for chilly autumn weather which gives some body to the ruffles. I found the perfect boots to wear with this length—some graceful height, a delicate heel, but not too high.
I did go wrong with this Frankenstein, however. Normally I have to adjust a 51 cm dress hem to 58 to hit at the bottom of my knee. So I automatically added 7 cm to the hem of the main dress body, then added my two ruffles to its bottom. But the dress dropped practically to my ankles which didn't match the photo in the magazine at all. I think I was working with the wrong option's hem? I took in a tuck totaling 8 cm just above the ruffles to form an extra pleat and the dress is still long, but closer to the model shown. I'm generally happy with this dress, though the size 42 neckline is wider than the illustration and slips off one shoulder or another in the wearing.
I've worn this dress twice already to friends' Sunday lunch/tea and it seems just the right style for casual dining without being either overdressed or too casual, especially under a leather jacket and a beige scarf. But it's not a look I'd wear for anything dressier or the office.
I'll deal with the second dress in a separate post...