Burda Tie Sleeve Dress

 

I love this dress from Burda issue 02/2018. The dress is made for woven fabric but I knew it was destined for this crepe knit fabric. I adapted the pattern for knit fabric but not doing my usual FBA, omitting the zipper, and relying on negative ease by only adding a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance. I think it worked very well.

 

Because the knit fabric has a white backing, I needed to make a facing for the ties so that the wrong side didn’t show. Due to fabric constraints, I couldn’t make the facings extend to the split or hem. Instead, they are just facings for the ties.

 

The fit is not perfect. The fabric was bizarrely difficult to cut so some seams are not as straight as they could be (see the centre back seam above). The side seams are pulling back so I definitely need a full butt adjustment back there.

The upper sleeve could also use slightly more room.

I shortened the skirt by about 5 inches (in a super accurate way of folding out the length until it fit on the fabric) and added massive pockets that are sewn into the waist so they sit nicely.

 

In spite of those minor issues, which are mostly hidden by the busy pattern of the fabric, I adore this dress and feel amazing in it.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Dress from Burda issue 02/2018
  • Pros: I love the final result! I think it looks great on me.
  • Cons: The usual cons with Burda patterns. Really long. Bad instructions. But it was an easy creation and overall really nice.
  • Make again?: I will definitely make it again. I would like to make it in a woven fabric, too.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Burda Magazine Jersey Blazer 08/2016 #134

The Curvy Year of Sewing Jackets and Blazers theme was the perfect opportunity to finally make this Burda blazer. I keep talking about making a million blazers and then never doing the thing. I think starting here is a great gateway into maybe finally making the Vogue Claudia Shaeffer blazer of my dreams.

The Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue is a lined jersey blazer with a shawl collar and patch pockets. I’m not sure if you know, but I am a fan of Burda. I can always rely on their drafting for getting a good fit with some adjustments. Mostly, I love the classic styles they have. I don’t love their lack of instructions, however, and they certainly are famous for sparse instructions in their magazines. Burda plus sizes range from size 44 (39.25 inch/100 cm bust) to size 52 (48 inch/122 cm bust). Admittedly, not the greatest size range, but it works for me with minor adjustments.

My measurements are: 51/52 bust, 46 waist, and 54/56 hip (depending on my swelling that day due to my chronic illness). I made a size 52 with a 2 inch FBA (adding 4 inches overall) and a 2 inch full bicep adjustment. I added 4 extra inches to the bust to allow for a button closure. The original pattern is meant to sit open, but I often want to pull blazers closed and quite frankly I think the look works well with the Cashmerette Rivermont, which was my planned pairing for this blazer.

Let’s talk fit issues. The blazer is long on me. I am a shorter person at 5’3″ and I have short arms. I prefer longer sleeves that cover my hands since they get cold easily. The back could use a sway back adjustment as well as a bit more room in the hips, which would help the pulling at the front button. I think the bust looks good. I do wish I had but in 2 buttons and may be adding that later, but we’ll see if I ever get around to that. For future versions, I will shorten the length overall, as well as do a swayback and full hip adjustment.

I love the blazer in spite of that and for most non-sewists those issues are minor.

My favourite details of this blazer are the purple piping along the lapel and the small purple buttons on the sleeve vents. Speaking of the sleeve vents, the instructions weren’t very good to help me do my first sleeve vent. I actually used this tutorial from Patterns Scissors Cloth. It was fantastic in holding my hand throughout the process.

I used a medium weight poly blend jersey in a dark grey. The piping is Wrights pre-made piping from Funky Monkey Fabrics. Buttons are sourced locally. I didn’t line the blazer. I don’t think it needs the lining at all. I used my serger for the most of the construction so the insides are nice anyway. I made shoulder pads for the blazer using the grey jersey and some poly padding I had leftover from a previous project. Easier than buying shoulder pads and they match my blazer.

Construction, except for the sleeve vents, went together really easily. With the tutorial, the sleeve vents were a breeze. The instructions were no help there. My one issue with the pattern is that the back facing seemed unnecessary. The lapel is cut on and then facing is sew on. The front facing pieces attach at the back and then get sewn into the seams below the pockets. The back facing is supposed to be attached to a cut out part on the front facing and then sewn into the seams on the shoulders and back neckline. It is likely my error with adding in the seam allowances (since I eyeball them when cutting out the pattern) and not using a lining, but the piece wasn’t necessary to me and could have been incorporated into the front facing piece which has a seam at the back anyway. I was able to sew the front facings to the back neckline and the shoulders without the back facing piece. Likely my error, but also possible not. I will see the result with a more stable knit since I plan to use a tan knit next time with blue piping.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue
  • Pros: Great size range. Jersey means comfort! Opportunity for customization. Love those princess seams.
  • Cons: A little long. Burda does tend to think that plus sized equals tall so I often have to shorten things. Unnecessary back facing piece possibly. Easy to draft out, though. Terrible instructions.
  • Make again?: YESYESYES
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Burda Cowl Neck Top

The Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135) was part of my 2017 Make Nine so I wanted to share it for that reason. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I really think the issues are due to the fabric. The top really requires a fabric with enough drape to make the cowl really look gorgeous. On the bolt, the fabric appeared to be nice and drapey, but it wasn’t really. It washed up a bit crisper as well. A knit with rayon would work beautifully in this top.

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The top has raglan sleeves and an inset for the front and back for the neckline/cowl. The sleeves are also in the original pattern ruched at the side from forearm to hem. I chose to make sleeve bands instead since I doubted I would like the ruching. In terms of fit problems, the sleeves fit like wings and the bust is pretty good. The cowl neck could be more cowl-like. More room in the hips would be good.

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In terms of sewing, it’s not my best work. The cowl was difficult to get in and there is something weird with the side seams.

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And yet the times I have worn it, I really loved wearing it. Just goes to show that a garment doesn’t need to be perfect for you to enjoy wearing it. It’s a super comfy top and I just love the colour of it. The length is perfect for wearing with jeans. Overall I feel pretty great in it even though I know there are fit problems and sewing problems.

Go figure.

Burda has the usual sparse instructions so this top isn’t for the faint of heart. You just sort of have to “interpret” their instructions or go your own way like I do 90% of the time.

Speaking of 2017 Make Nine, I’m on track to get five out of the nine done. Way better than my 2016 Make Nine where I made exactly zero of the things I planned.

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Here is my #2017makenine Except for the middle column, these are @burda_style patterns. I made a goal to make more Burda patterns since I love the designs and think the block fits me pretty well. Plan is to make at least these 6 this year starting with the grey sweatshirt using some cat print terry I have. In the middle column, I want to make a maxi length @cashmerette #appletondress with some lovely tropical fabric I recently acquired in a swap. I love #M7537 from the @mccallpatterncompany early spring release. I can see it becoming a quick favourite. Finally, I have a bunch of flannel in my stash that is due to become pjs using the free pattern from @5outof4patterns If I bust that stash, I clear out an entire shelf of my stash! And I get many cozy pjs to wear about the house in various lengths for the year. Last year I didn't get any of my list done. This year feels pretty reasonable and should be doable. 😁 #sewing #sewcialists

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I think the summer dresses just aren’t going to happen, but the pj pants and the kimono robe will for sure. I finished my Appleton dress, Burda sweatshirt and now my Burda cowl top. I would love to get the top left corner Burda dress done sometime this winter. I have fabric for the other Burda dresses, but it doesn’t seem to make sense to make summer dresses when there are leaves on the ground so those will likely be pushed over to my 2018 Make Nine list. The McCall’s dress fell off my to make list. I ended up buying fabric for M7624 instead. Hahha oops. I hope to make view  C or D depending on how much I can squeeze out of the fabric at some point during the winter.

I’m just not sure that both of those dresses will happen in 2017. They may be muslined in 2017, but not finished up.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135)
  • Pros: Even though it was tough to put in, the separate pieces for the back neckline and the cowl make for a nice shape and lovely finish. I really like the relaxed fit and with some tweaks it would be perfect.
  • Cons: The usual sparse instructions issues for Burda patterns.
  • Make again?: With some nice drapey rayon knit and a few fit/style mods. I would increase the cowl width and try to figure out how to adjust to get rid of the flaps of fabric in the sleeves above the bust.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Burda Faux Wrap Tunic Dress

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Fittingly, I found the Burda Faux Wrap Dress through a link on the Curvy Sewing Collective’s facebook page. And I sewed it up for the CSC Wrapalong and as part of my FESA 2014 sewing plans (a fabulous frock, indeed!)

I’m pleased with the result. In the middle of summer, I would probably see the dress as frumpy and shapeless and find the draping really odd, but in the middle of our Canadian fall with the doom-stricken Game of Thrones-like “Winter is Coming” on the horizon, I am loving the comfort of the dress. It’s like wearing a sweatshirt and still looking stylish with all that draping and the cuff details.

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The look at my pockets stance

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The casual lean against the wall and look cool stance

Sorry for the indoor photos. All it does it rain rain rain and when it doesn’t rain, I am too busy to take pictures so I sucked it up and took pictures in the house. I finished this up last week and figured I should get on posting it.

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Fashion….

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….Turn to the left…. FASHION

I had quite the time with the pattern instructions. You can read about some issues with Burda patterns in CSC’s burda sewing tour wrap-up post. Basically, to sum up, the pattern pieces are marked with numbers and don’t also have what they are written on them (ie. front bodice, back skirt, etc.). A lot of the direction isn’t written on the pattern pieces either. The instructions are also all in text and the instructions for this dress specifically were missing steps.

Burda magazine patterns can be challenging and are definitely not for beginners. One of my first dresses was a burda dress, in fact, but the Kristen dress actually had really nicely detailed instructions, if the pattern itself ran extremely large. Start off by reading through the instructions really well and then read through them again and again and go slowly to make sure you get them.

For the instructions, there were missing steps and not clear steps. Missing was the step to sew the back bodice together. I get that is practical knowledge, but it’s not there at all and that is a huge oversight. Unclear was the draping at the front. Basically, the front skirt is one large piece, where you take the bottom and then fold it in half and pleat and baste the bottom into the waistline, essentially making the fold line the hem. The pattern really stumped me in how that was worded and I ripped the thing out three times before I got the pleating and the folding right. There is also pleating in the centre back, which to be honest made very little design sense to me. I did it, but I think the pleating adds unnecessary bulk to the waistline where it can easily be gathered more. The other part that was unclear was the waistband construction. I chose to use the instructions from Colette’s Myrtle dress instead, except that I fed the elastic into the channel, which was reallllly difficult with all the pleats and fabric bulk in the channel. Anyway, I did it and it came out lovely. The last bit that I just chucked out the window was the waistband ties. The placement of the faux ties didn’t work out for me and so I didn’t add them. I also didn’t do flat felled seams, because again it added a lot of bulk. I used a lightweight jersey, but maybe not light enough for this pattern and all that fabric!

Fitting for this pattern runs super large. I cut a size 52 and added the seam allowances. I am probably more in line with a size 54 + FBA with Burda, but I figured the stretch in the material would make that a non-issue, but I could have cut out a 52 without adding the seam allowance and still had the dress be roomy. If you decide to try this pattern out and don’t size down, I definitely recommend sizing down for the cuffs, because they are humongous and by the end of the day are stretched out and falling down. Do yourself a favour and cut two sizes smaller for the cuffs, because ripping out all of the drawstring channels and drawstrings to size down the cuffs is not something I am willing to do. I do recommend grading up to the larger size for the kimono sleeves, though, if you have bigger arms like me. Mine are fine, but not as puffy as the pattern picture.

I followed Jen’s instructions in the wrapalong for the neckline. Partially because the instructions rock and also because the pattern pieces for the neckline in this pattern are cut into three pieces: left side, neck curve, right side. I tried going with burda’s pattern pieces and then ripped out the whole thing and drafted my own piece.  The neck curve ends up being stupid. It bunches and doesn’t sit right and is just stupid. STUPID. One long continuous band is much much smarter. Draft it slightly shorter than the length of the neck and right and left sides and stretch it a little as you sew. I should have made it shorter and stretched, because it is a faux wrap, but I didn’t. It’s fine, but by the end of the day the neckline stretches out a bit even though my fabric has good recovery and becomes slightly revealing. Hence, the camisole underneath for work. So, I recommend making it two inches shorter and then stretching to fit the bodice and neck. Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow has an excellent guide on where to stretch for a faux wrap dress neckband.

To sum up:

  • Start by sewing the back together, because the pattern doesn’t mention it!
  • Draft a new neckband (one long piece two to three inches shorter than the length of the right side/neck/left side combined) and follow the CSC tutorial for sewing it like a t-shirt neckband and follow Gillian’s tutorial on where to stretch the neckband to get the perfect faux wrap dress look
  • Size down or leave the seam allowances out, because the pattern runs large (Size 52 is supposed to fit up to a 48 inch bust, but my bust is 52 inches and it is still very roomy)
  • If you decide not to size down, make the cuffs smaller or else you will have them fall all over the place by the end of the day
  • If you have big upper arms, size up the kimono sleeves to get the puffy look
  • Follow the Colette tutorial for installing the waistband
  • Use a lightweight jersey keeping in mind the bulk of the material throughout (the lighter the better without being totally see-through)
  • Fold the bottom of the front skirt up to the waistband and pleat at the waistband
  • Mark paper pattern pieces with what they are (front right, cuff, etc.) and with some instructions, especially for the front folds/pleats

I actually, in spite of all of that, enjoyed sewing this up and love wearing it. It’s a super comfy faux wrap dress and perfect for the impending Canadian winter.

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WINTER IS COMING!!!

July dress

I would have posted this sooner, but I’ve been on vacation this week. I finished this on August 1st, but it’s a July dress.

Death to the evil dress!

It’s done and I am done with it.

Problem after problem with the pattern and the fit. It just wasn’t an easy dress to create. I’m glad it’s done. I’m not sure how I feel about it because of how difficult it was to make. I am proud of finishing it, but it destroyed me.

I altered the bodice to fit my shape. I altered the collar because the neckline was enormous. I took out the back pleat, because it made me look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I had to increase the size of the sleeves because they were made for much smaller arms than my plus-size arms. I got rid of the lining. I took about five inches off the hem, because it reached to my ankles and looked off at that length.

I still have to go through and pick out basted stitches and make it look pretty. It’s a nice dress and conservative enough for work. I might need some distance from it.

Have you ever struggled with a pattern and not wanted to wear the dress because of the sour feelings?

In the meantime, I am moving on and creating two shirt dresses.  A kelly green dress and a purple plaid dress (it also has silver thread in it):

The pattern is much simpler than the evil dress. It’s the top right-hand corner pattern. I’m starting with the kelly green fabric. I can easily wear these into the fall with belts and leggings and boots and leg warmers. While I don’t love fall weather, I do love fall fashion.

I love patterns with buttons, because I love shopping for unique buttons. I already have both fabrics cut out, but I ran out of fusible interfacing. I am going to go shopping in the Fashion District here in Toronto for some really unique buttons and more interfacing. I’ll take some pictures and post an entry on the Fashion District.

Toronto’s Fashion District is really wonderful. When I started sewing, my only option was either Walmart (which doesn’t even have a fabric section anymore!) or Fabricville (the east coast Canadian fabric superstore; I was in St. John’s, NL, at the time) and neither had really unique fabrics in them. The Fashion District has tons and I’ve been lucky enough to get some really amazing prices on fabrics. Haggling is easy there. All you have to do is say how it was more money than you wanted to spend and most shop owners will lower the price. At one store, I was given a 25% discount on my entire purchase after haggling down the prices for all fabrics. There’s so much competition there that they are all trying to get your business. Sometimes they also throw in an extra yard here or there. One place gave me a yard and a quarter of mint satin for $3. This store also gave me about five yards of really amazing faux fur for my tribbles for about $30. Some of the faux fur was actually $30 a yard. If you’re ever shopping in Toronto for fabric, you should never believe the first price they tell you. Always try to get them to lower it. More on that later.