Friday 31 December 2010

February Burda...Basics dressed up as "looks"

I'm so behind!! The Russians and Germans never let us down, (at least not so far in this century) and here they come already with the February Burda preview! I'm still working on my holiday clothes, and nabbed some great black silk charmeuse for the underdress of the Vogue B-M outfit, and some royal blue silk charmeuse for a Burda ruffled blouse traced out from the ancient issue of...uh...this month. If I finish it in the next three hours, I'll be right on time to trace something new from the now-ageing issue this.January and then get right on the coming new clothes as posted here. Have a look: February Burda Preview.

Personally, I'm a little let down by the safari section. As many of you know, I happily anticipate a lot of jungle outings each spring and always do one of the Burda safari numbers. As far as I can see, however, they came up with only one genuine safari look this year, which is basically a shirt with some kind of cargo pocket over a straight skirt my cat could have drafted.

And what kind of "safari" look is this? That's just a pair of brown pants with some kind of beigey chiffony thingie which would last about five minutes on trek. So Burda, don't think that you can add sandals and a pseudo African collar to anything veldt-coloured and call it "safari!" I've been tolerating your confusion of "trench" with "safari," for some years, but this is just brown cotton, tout court.

Now for their other stand-by, the spring "marine" look. Here they do a bit better by giving us a variation on the blue and white stripes by doing it in red and black. Wow, I bet that idea took you guys weeks. And then they roll up the cuffs of some pretty ordinary "brown cotton safari pants" (now in black cotton) and call it "marine." I don't see what's so special about that T-shirt pattern, and only a red coat above, saves the day. We'll have to see if that red coat is any more special than the one I made last autumn and just wore out on a snowy day with great cheer in my heart. And there's no way I would wear my red coat with sarouel pants like hers. Actually, there's no way I would wear sarouel pants at all, unless I was in one of the two age groups requiring diapers.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

If I get a chance before Christmas, my next project is ready to go...

I couldn't resist picking up a black chiffon covered in self-fabric rosettes for the top of this design. You have to see past the garish print chosen by Badgley Mischka to see that this top has great bones with umpteen possibilities:

Saturday 11 December 2010

The January Burda

I've been away for a week, watching one kid conduct his first full concert— of Beethoven, Shostakovich and Schubert— at Cambridge Univ.  (For those of you who read A Visit From Voltaire, this is the grown-up Theo who as a little kid plays violin on New Year's Eve to soothe the fractious Party from Hell.) For over a week I wondered what the mother of the maestro should wear and whether I should sew something special. The answer is humbling: don't worry, nobody cares at a university about the mother of the maestro unless you import chocolate for the whole orchestra in your suitcase, and if you do, I realize, they're too busy munching to worry what the lady with the chocolate shipment wore. Instead of tending to my wardrobe, I spent the morning of his debut ironing the maestro's black ensemble on a broken ironing board and a low heat "safety" iron in the basement of student housing.  This was cosmic payback for a quip I made a decade ago watching Maxim Vengerov solo in a crumpled tuxedo jacket, saying, "Doesn't that kid have a mother who can iron?"
And it was so cold that I left my "MaxMara knockoff" camel coat on the whole time. It was worth it, even if it took two planes instead of one to get me to Luton and it took two days of unexpected flight cancellations including an unexpected night in a Paris hotel next to the Gare du Lyon to reach Geneva and home by TGV.
Easyjet is getting suckier by the day and it seems, even a Swiss airport can't cope with a blizzard these days. At any rate, what else would a sewer choose when offered a week's wait for a seat to Geneva, or a substitute ticket to either Warsaw, Marseille or Paris? Paris was, as I remembered it from long ago, permanently perfect. Would you believe it's back on a plane tomorrow with daughter for a college entrance interview on Monday in the UK?  Lord, let the skies be blue.

Back to sewing. Although I didn't like the preview, I'm definitely more inclined now to give the January Burda a more thorough look once the holiday madness is over. I like romantic blouses, so I'll trace the one above, and also a jacket and coat in the same late 30's mood. I'll skip the (literally) dippy skirt and unless you're built like a gazelle, I'd advise you do, too.

There's also a slinky dress that looks easy and depending on the fabric, could be partyish or just chic or in a sweatshirt flannel, very comfy. So after the first shock of the Carnival costumes, and the quick flip through the lounge lizard section that features every January, there are a few nice things here if you're in a retro mood.

P.S. I know my black leather pants were sinister-looking, but would the person using the site and then being "referred" to my blog please explain the connection? The CIA shows up in my "referral sites."Maybe I'm the preferred expert on sewing for the fashionable spy? Cool.