Saturday 21 July 2012

Finished Burda 06-2012-121 spencer jacket and halter top

When sewing up Burda's June issue spencer jacket for my daughter last weekend, we didn't do the two-tone thing shown above, but bought lining for the inside and enough extra exterior fabric to cut out the inner lapel piece. To my surprise, completing this project took the entire weekend, mostly because I cut a 38 and had to trim it down to a 36, then fit, trim, fit, trim, etc. but also because of all the buttonholes—and I didn't even do the bound buttonholes suggested by Burda which make this a difficult pattern.
As the hours crawled by, I was upset to think that it wasn't working out because, besides making her a jacket, I was trying to demonstrate that sewing gets you exactly what you want, and not something on the rack in the wrong color that costs you an arm and a leg to boot.
Instead, I was demonstrating that sewing is a frustrating, fruitless, thankless and unproductive task. Until it was done and (whew!) she pronounced it something "she would actually wear."
High praise indeed.
We decided that using all the buttons Burda suggested across the front of a white jacket, would make her look like:
a) a refugee from the pre-revolutionary Russian Czar's naval officer corps,
b) an orderly in a mental home, or
c) a waiter.
Now that I'm sure she is still a 36, despite the worst university food in the world, I am tempted to make a second one. I didn't care for the serge we used. It was both soft and coarse. Notice the pull around the waist. She's more a 35 there and wanted it very fitted.

She seems very happy with it, and showed me how to intends to style it for the Proms in London next week. Those are jeans, not tights, although you wouldn't guess from these photos. Please, don't even ask about those shoes/boots. With them on, she's more than six feet tall. Apparently this is desirable.

Meanwhile, the halter chemise took about ten minutes and it's gorgeous— with cream silk lining on one side and champagne charmeuse on the other, it's completely reversible (I fudged on the instructions.) She promises to send photos of that in action once she gets "home" to London. She wanted the back elastic looser than I expected, and the halter ends up pretty much "backless" on her. I'll be very intrigued to see how she solves the bra problem.

The big excitement is that she has to go back early to act in an indie horror movie shooting in Scotland later this ummer. It's a largish part, e.g. she doesn't meet the deadly monster until fairly late in the script. Or she is the monster. Or something. After four summers of theatre summer school in London, including two at RADA to study Shakespeare no less, this is progress?

Friday 20 July 2012

Burda's Lanvin look-alike for autumn and AWARDS!

By the way, I've now been given two blogger awards and stunned, staggered and sheepish, done nothing about passing them on. The beautiful Marie in the Cave gave me the Versatile Blogger Award (maybe out of sheer loyalty to another Swiss blogger? I can't see how I deserve it,) and some time ago, beloved and talented CyberDaze (yeah, okay, beautiful, too!) gave me an award for bloggers who don't get enough attention. Now I'm sure I deserve that one! 

Anyway, this neglect I will remedy soon, passing on these awards to people who actually merit them, once I return from my Week on the Movie Mogul's Yacht. Yes, friends, (and I will share
 photos,) because among the many things I don't believe is that by hook or by ambulance, husband and I will be floating around Split next week with the kindest friends in the world. sewing!
The new Burda offers us a bright yellow two-piece peplum dress for autumn in its August issue.  I must say, I've never thought of neon yellow as an autumn color, and the closest thing I can think of to a seasonal version would be saffron or ochre. But you can see the potential, especially if you're one of my zillions of readers over seventy, French, ferocious and elegant. The Lanvin team has decided this season to showcase their clothes on "real people" and I'm not sure their model below looks very pleased about it. Look at that expression! What is she saying? "I will not, repeat not, wear those shoes!"In fact. I'm not sure she looks any more real than the usual clotheshorses out of Paris, (and I'm sure she packs a collapsible whip and handcuffs in that handbag) but you gotta love the autumnal teal color, the commitment to the peplum on this version and the (to die for) matching teal-dyed fox.
Sorry about that, Mr. Fox.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Audrey-in-Rome skirt for holiday sojourns, Burda May 106 B

We've got two (count-em!) invitations this summer to holiday on the French/Croatian coasts with friends. Well, they're so nice, I should say, Friends. Friends. FRIENDS! People who'd like to help us catch up on three summers lost to grave life-changing illness requiring months and months of hospital confinement.
I really like this Roman Holidayesque silhouette and although I should be fined for trying anything with an elevated waist after the Epic Graduation Day Fail posted below, I think the belt might help it work on me. God knows I've got enough white shirts. And if I starve myself between now and departure, I might manage to tighten up that belt a notch and eat my ice cream cone without a care!

But I've been distracted by daughter coming home, rooting through all the Burdas and insisting we go to the fabric store for her. Oh dear, you want them to come home and then...the previous post was what she has ordered up. She has now traced out the halter top and jacket and I must now check it all and move these projects along.

Sunday 8 July 2012

What Daughter Chose

Looking through two summers' worth of Burdas, daughter EM has asked for the following. We bought some white chiffon and champagne charmeuse for the little halter top and white cotton serge for the jacket below. We never found the suitable wide silk cloqué for the dress.
Anyway, I used the halter top as an opportunity to teach her how to trace and add the seam margins.

Friday 6 July 2012

Philip Lim knock-off tunic from Burda, April, 129

All I can say, after all that (see previous painful posts,) is Ta Da! And yes, it rained!

Thursday 5 July 2012

August 2012 Burda, Lost the 2012 Momentum

Oh dear. I've really enjoyed the 2012 Burda Style magazines. In almost every one I've found something to sew, and I've still got a "to-do" list many garments long before the summer is out.

Lucky thing, then, that the August Burda is a MISS! I see that the editor-in-chief, interviewed on the U.S. Burda site, doesn't really specify too much where she gets the inspiration for her collections. To be fair, she says, there are some 600 items for each season to plan.

The lovely and lithe Dagmar Billy says she is now planning Spring/Summer 2013; she works nine months ahead of the game. So I'm reckoning charitably that Ms. Billy was on vacation in late summer 2011 and left this issue to an intern.
Or maybe on vacation is where Ms. Billy learned to play golf in high heels? (Do you know how fast that woman would be kicked off a golf course for leaving divots everywhere she walked?) And what are to make of that outfit? It's so utterly witlessly, staid! Retro doesn't mean blah. We just had such lovely references to the 1920's in the July issue, proving that Burda can do Retro properly when they try.

The August issue lacks the thematic clarity and inspiration of previous 2012 issues  and even produces some truly weird styling. Under the rubric, "Do It!" (as in look ridiculous?)

Let's start with Mrs. Berenstein Bear Goes Formal look:
 It's draggy, bottom-heavy and fattening.
Or the outrageously unflattering Bow-Thing-Sticking-Out-of-My-Stomach Look?

Maybe everyone loved the Pippa Middleton wedding dress knock-off earlier this year, so now we get the Kate Middleton Most Boring Dress. Lovely, but fashion? You could date Prince Philip in this dress.And now the irkiest (is that a word?) collection of the issue. Just because you put a flower in somebody's hair does not make it Asian. Burda did a fabulous Asian issue in February from which many of us made the cheongsam knit dress, (most recently in stunning red here: Cyberdaze in a red version of Burda's February 117) Those were genuine Asian silhouettes. They've also included a marvelous kimono in an earlier collection of languid, lacy looks which I've detailed in three "how-to" posts earlier. 
But a tie-blouse and a sheath aren't Asian enough to warrant this treatment. 
I might make the blouse. It's sweet. But that won't make it Asian.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Mother's warning: very dangerous styling, the cowl-neck bias-cut blouses, Vogue basic design OOP 2611

I had forgotten how much wear I got out of two versions of this Vogue Basic Design 2611,
                       versions E and C, one with sleeves and the other without—both of them made from pure silk and cut on the bias. Bias-cut designs hang fluidly and cling to the body, the only way to go. (pace the new Vogue cowl-neck blouse which more economically uses a bias layout only for the upper half). Having a short length of beautiful black stretch charmeuse after cutting out the underdress of Burda's Alberta Ferretti chiffon cocktail dress, I whipped up yet another  2611 in less than an afternoon, after finishing the lilac-peach pastel silk tunic. (I'll be wearing one of the knock-off Philip Lim tunics to a Geneva garden drinks party on Thursday. Watch this space...for rain?)

So here's to the new black charmeuse cowl-neck bias blouse
joining her rust and amethyst girlfriends:

Nothing is more flattering than clothes cut on the bias, since they move with the torso and hips, calling up images of movie stars in the thirties for whom the bias-cut evening dress was de rigeur. 
I have to impress upon all the mothers out there a few words of caution: never, never, never dress your daughter in a bias cut dress. Heed my warning, summed up in two words: Jean Harlow. The neckline of Vogue 2611 calls to mind the slinky seductive style of Miss Harlow, as in the four photos below.This styling is so dangerous that it should come with a health warning.
Poor good-hearted and irresistible Jean was married off at 16, divorced at 20, and dead at 26.
Don't tell me that her bias-cut dresses had nothing to do with it.

Monday 2 July 2012

Graduation Day 2012 "Together Again!" with joy and an epic dress fail

Some days are just too important and rare to ruin by worrying about a epic wardrobe malfunction, and here's a doozy which I didn't let ruin my day. The graduation day of our son threatened to rain on and off, so the white pants with either one of the flimsy silk Philip Lim knockoff tunics didn't feel right.

I decided to wear the lilac/mauve Burda lace tunic which I had sewn as a back-up in case my eldest's Cambridge graduation day a year ago wasn't hot enough for the Burda butterfly silk dress. (see previous posts)

So, in Switzerland I packed up the Burda tunic with the Burda "shark skirt"— and only discovered once it was all on, in the dim lights of our nasty B&B on Chesterton Road, Cambridge, UK, that the waistband of the skirt showed through the lace as high as the bottom of my bra. I couldn't pull out the camisole underneath the tunic because, folks, I admit with shame, it's a mauve charmeuse nightie that hangs longer than the tunic. It looked like the skirt was crawling up my body...
Epic Mother-of-Graduate Fail.
But here's the point: The Kid "T" was the point. He won the major university-wide prize for music, nabbed an end-of-year soloist gig for the college Fellows and graduates, (photo) and a place to continue at the Royal Academy in violin/conducting for another two years. For a little kid shuttled from New York pre-school to a Francophone village maternité and a Swiss Matura to the hallowed halls of Cambridge University, he's done brilliantly and we're so proud of him.

I couldn't have cared less about looking a dork, as if anybody looked anyway, because we were all so pleased for T. and even more important, grateful to be together. 

Last year, their dad was in critical condition in hospital and missed both the graduation of our eldest at Cambridge and our daughter from high school on the same day. We were all scrambling to keep up our spirits, especially daughter graduating all alone with her father lying semi-conscious a few miles away.

Just being together after scares like this family has been through (my 2009-2010 illness was a similar Dance with Death) makes us feel like happy Muppets, singing, "Together AGAIN!" (YouTube link)