Monday 23 April 2012

Not terrible, not great...for a film premiere, Burda Feb 2012/117 "cheongsam"

Everybody has had such a great time with Burda's February "Chinese" feature , that I was surprised at what a toughie Number 117 was for me. I cut out the interfacings for the diagonal bodice fronts the wrong way,  (easy to do when you've got two colors in the bodice) and although I was measuring a 38 tapering out to a 44, (when you call me Major Pear, at least salute!) I still didn't take in enough at the center-back neck seam.

Another problem arose from my decision to make it a summer dress and to use cotton knits, instead of the sturdier wool knits others used. On top of that, it was hard to find so many colorways in the same knit, so I had to settle for a firmer, more synthetic midriff black.

Because it was to be a summer quickie, I also eliminated two features which bugged me: the extraneous zipper, a look I find cherché and predict will wane by summer, and the needless bottom seam across the skirt.

So eliminating the zipper insertion and the bottom piecing simplified things, but I fugged up the front somehow. The fit was great, but the closure of the bodice requires snaps. They're just impossible to disguise when using a cotton knit, and though I tried hand-stitching them to the facing only, they just pulled and gapped in an unsightly way. So I had to restitch them more firmly, making a row of unsightly puckers down the bodice.

I'm considering just stitching the two bodice parts closed as far up to the neck as I can to leave a T-shirt- sized neck opening for slipping on overhead.

Anybody have better sugggestions?

I added an obi belt to wear to yesterday's Visions de Reel Documentary Film Festival premiere of "A Home Far Away," the heart-rending documentary about my very good friend and neighbour Lois Snow and her exile with her late husband Edgar Snow, author of "Red Star over China," to Switzerland because of harassment by McCarthy and FBI agents.

 See video preview here and order the DVD. Skip the dress.

A Home Far Away preview

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Tracing marathon finished!

Just to say that a marathon tracing session produced Burda patterns for
1. the Alberta Ferrari dress pictured below,
2. the waistband-less pants,
3 the popular zig-zag knit dress
4. and the other floaty chiffon dress from the April issue
5. the double-layered sleeveless top with the trailing tail. I have some construction ideas about that one to save on expensive fabric that I'll be sharing soon.

Do I need fancy, floating dresses during a Swiss mountain summer full of rain and evening chills? No.
Do I need double-tailed silk sheath tops while planting radishes and lettuce? No.
Do I need pants without pockets when I carry stuff up and down three stories of farmhouse all day? No.

Could I survive the whole summer with the wardrobe full of skinny jeans and long white shirts I already own?
Could I make it all the way to September on the safari jackets I've already made up in beige, khaki, navy blue, white and black?

Am I, like you, just somebody who needs to feel the pleasure of creating something that is new, fits and gives the fresh season a lift?


I'm inspired by all the spring sewing I see going on, but what with the "visitations" to Switzerland of three adult offspring from UK universities, all time is devoted to cooking for five and catching up with their news.

Happy Easter, everybody!