Burda 6921: a work in progress

A few months ago,  I made view A of Burda 6921 and am actually still getting lots of wear out of it (since the summer has proven to be a bit rainy and cold for this time of year).

Still though, I haven’t completely given up hope to see more of the sun this year and am currently making it again, in a shorter version, to be worn in the morning/evening on hot summer days.

The front panels of this one are going to be shorter than the others, so it looks a bit victorian (or what I imagine that to look like). I changed the collar to be a bit bigger, as the small collar bothered me on the original. The sleeves will be button-fastened at the wrists, so that I can unbutton and then roll them up. That is, if my shipment of buttons ever arrives at my door…

I made the decision to add a lapped slit in the sleeves with three buttons for a closure on a whim when cutting out the pattern, so I ordered some more of the buttons I had intended for the front, but guess what? DHL is on strike again… I know I could add different buttons to the whole coat and just go and buy them, but I really like the ones I already have for the front closure…

Well, I’m sure I’ll still be working on sewing it together till the end of the week, so DHL, you have 4 days to deliver. Also, it would be really nice if I could get that parcel from the UK, which, according to RM tracking, arrived in Germany on the 4th (19 days ago…)

Ok, I’m sorry. I will stop ranting now. I guess I should use the time to actually finish this coat. Let me tell you though, it is quite a bit of work.

Despite not being overly difficult (it is classed by Burda as intermediate) – and if you make a few shortcuts (as I do), it’s not overly tedious either – it still takes an amazing amount of time to make a coat.

I am a lazy seamstress and try to avoid all the handsewing the instructions suggest. I didn’t baste a single stitch on the original and only handsewed the very middle of the hem to finish it up. Everything else was machine-sewed. And yet, it took me about two weeks (mostly evenings and weekends) to finish everything.

The most difficult thing is probably fitting the collar on. I am still on the fence about having the whole lapel on the front panel of the coat. I know that this is the proper way of doing it, but, as a home sewer, I think it would be easier if it was a separate piece. As it is, the instructions ask for the sides of the back collar to be sewn onto the top of the lapel first, then for the bottom of the back collar to be sewn onto the back. It is rather awkward and the instructions are a bit unclear if you’ve never made a coat with a lapel before. Both times, it took me an entire evening to sort out the collar and lapel.

I think that this is something most people say about burda patterns in general though. Often, their instructions make you feel like you should already know more about sewing than you do, and are taking for granted that you know what they’re talking about. Things are not as well explained as on other companies’ patterns.

I might be wrong here, but in my experience, this is pretty much a tradition for all things German. We are expected to know stuff already or have been shown it by our mums/nans/aunts or whatever other female with sewing skills available. Never would we turn to a pattern to learn how to do the stitches it requires. 😛

I always find it such a luxury to work with a non-German pattern, where seam allowances are included and instructions are super detailed… (This, btw, also goes for recipe books…)

Oh yeah, I forgot to say, this pattern does not include seam allowances. The first time I made it, I looked at the pattern pieces and thought “hmm, they look a bit small”… Luckily, I had only cut into Swedish tracing paper at that point.

And here is my work in progress:

 

 

I haven’t sewn the lining into it yet and the whole thing needs to be hemmed. Then of course, I will need to make button holes and sew some buttons on.

Adapting McCall’s 6741 to make a space dress

McCall’s 6741 was the third dress pattern I ever bought. I have used it many times and changed it a few times along the way to make different garments.

The first time I made it, I chose a size that was essentially too big for me and I ended up taking it in quite a bit. In this case, I had picked a size 16, which was still better than the first dress I ever made, where I managed to ruin a pattern by cutting it out 3 sizes too big for me. 🙁 That pattern was also from McCall’s (6504) and even though I still like the shape of it, I cannot quite get myself to buy and make it again…

I have since decided to make the dress in a size 14, but add a fuller bust, which seems to work fine.

However, making this particular dress, I didn’t seem to take into account that I was going to overlock the seams, which leaves quite a bit more room, so another size down would have probably been more appropriate…

On top of that, the material is a bit stretchy as well, so I ended up taking it in a few times once again…

I must say though, I absolutely love this fabric. It is so gorgeous, and I could have never imagined making anything but a dress from this. Even though I bought it as a “digitally printed stretch jersey”, it feels quite a lot like a (one way) stretchy, but heavy satin and has a slightly shiny look to it.

 

digitally printed stretch jersey

 

I wanted a dress with a spacey look for this spacey fabric and adapting McCall’s 6741 seemed like the perfect choice to me.

First, I made the front panel into two pieces that would overlap just over the bust.

Here is the top and bottom piece:

 

edges sewn with the coverlocker

 

 

And here is what they looked like once I secured them on the sides:

 

all sewn together

 

 

I did the “hems” on those pieces (and on the whole dress) with my coverlocker and for once, I was happy with the result, despite using a stretchy fabric.

For the arms, I simply cut two 15 cm-strips of fabric that where slightly thicker in the middle and tapered off towards the ends. I sewed each one together lengthwise and inserted them into the armholes, with the middle of the strip meeting the shoulder seam.

I then hemmed the shoulder seams and made sure to straddle the seam where the “sleeve” and bodice meet. Here you can see the back and front view of the finished armholes:

 

arm finish back

 

arm finish front

 

I didn’t manage to finish hemming the whole dress, but this is what I plan on doing all around the hemline. I made each panel longer than the one before, so that the back is 21 cm longer than the front. However, I kept the edges instead of slowly grading them down, so that I get a kind of “stairs-like” hemline.

 

partly finished hem

 

Since I can’t wait to show it off, here is the dress in its half-hemmed state:

I am aware that these pictures aren’t the greatest at showing the dress off, but as I said, I just couldn’t wait… I will put pictures up once it is hemmed. Maybe I can get my husband to even take some of me in the dress. 🙂

I am currently working on a summer jacket as well as this and the “fox” dress (a panelled jersey dress, nicknamed in the process of making it, as the bodice had the appearance of a fox’s face), so I have a few unfinished projects at the moment. I also keep putting off making a short tracksuit jacket.

Since it is now only about 6 weeks to the HTID summer gathering, I better get a move on…

panel jersey dress

I have started doing too many things this weekend. I began work on two dresses and a jacket. Naturally, none of those projects were finished, but this dress is the one where I got the furthest. I only have to hem it and add the sleeves.

After making a few dresses out of cotton jersey and realising that I quite like the material, I decided to move on to the next challenge. Ultimately, I always want to make more complicated things and design lots of elements as I go along. I really enjoy changing patterns to add something a little bit extra or to make it more diverse.

This time, I decided to use two colours, purple and black, and divide the bodice to make a panel jersey dress. I made the panels up as I went along, so I didn’t think too much about it, but once I sewed them together, I realised they look quite a lot like a fox. 🙂

I used a jersey dress bodice pattern like this and cut where I thought would look good:

 

bodice all sewn together

I also shortened the sides by cutting off a triangle at the bottom.

These are all the panels for the front (the back is identical):

 

all panels

 

For the skirt, it was just a question of adding the required length on the side panels, so it would still meet the bodice where I shortened it.

And this is what the bodice looks like, once sewn up:

 

fox bodice

 

 

I lined the neckline, as I wanted it to be quite smooth. Also, I didn’t want to ruin it with my coverlocker by stretching it out… There are fabrics that it doesn’t hate, but cotton jerseys sadly don’t belong to that category.

Here is the lining from the outside:

 

lined bodice

 

and from the inside:

 

bodice and lining

 

 

Originally, I wanted to line the armholes as well and make it a sleeveless dress, but then realised that I should have left the shoulder seams unsewn. It wouldn’t have been difficult to rip them out again, but I generally don’t like the bulkiness I get when I sew shoulder seams after lining. My other option would have been to have an open back, which would have been a whole lot of work and it probably wouldn’t have lined up properly in the end. Well, there’s always next time…

Here is the dress, as yet unhemmed…

jersey panel dress

On the subject of next time though, I am definitely planning on making more panel dresses with more panels. 😉 It is definitely a part of sewing I enjoy immensely and it doesn’t appear to be too difficult.

 

Update

 

So in the meantime, I did get a bit of time to hem the dress, and even got my husband to take pictures of me in the finished version:

 

The summer dress made of “blue lizard” fabric

When I got all my new fabrics, I knew which one I wanted to work on first. Even though my husband said I would look like a blue lizard in an item made of this, it just had to be the ridiculous snakefoil jersey, didn’t it?

It’s a pretty lightweight fabric with plenty of stretch, so I knew a summer dress would be possible. Where I would wear such a thing, is still a mystery to me, but I somehow couldn’t keep away from the fabric. Maybe it was because it is so shiny, or maybe I have a yearning for outrageous dance clothing to an extent that even I didn’t realise. Somewhere in my mind, it says that it would be perfectly ok to wear a dress made of blue lizard fabric to a summer festival.

In any case, making the pattern was really easy. I simply used the pattern I made from taking apart my old dress in this post and changed the neckline so it wouldn’t be as low as it was before. I basically just cut the whole top of the bodice as a square to adjust later.

The neckline I had in mind, would be gathered at the top and end in a collar around the neck. I actually ended up pleating it, cause I felt too lazy to gather.

I also attempted to make more of a molded shape for me, not by adding darts but by cutting out and reshaping a whole section of the bust:

DSCI0210

 

 

I forgot to line up the seams with the skirt seams, so I need to remember to redo that for future dresses. I added a waistband to “hide” that fact a bit, or at least in my mind, make it look a bit less obvious.

This is the dress:

The back of the skirt is slightly longer, although I realise now that to really get the effect I wanted, the difference in length between front and back should have been larger. Since I only had about 1.5 metres of fabric, that was not an option though.

The waist sits a bit lower than I wanted and the bust seams sit just a bit under the bust, so I will redo the collar and shorten the bodice a touch.  The whole dress was sewn with my overlock machine.

To finish the edges, I used the rolled-hem foot of my overlocker. This is the second time I have used it, and while the hems are not as rolled as they could be, I really like the finish.

Here is the finish on the arm:

 

DSCI0215

And here it is on the skirt:

DSCI0216

 

 

DSCI0217

 

 

Unfortunately, the fabric has a tendency to lose it’s colour. While trying it on, I suddenly saw lots of white specks all over the front of the dress. When I tried to brush them away (don’t know what I was thinking), more appeared! It seems the blue “varnish” comes off the edges of the little metal plates that the coating is made of. I wonder how that would fare in a washing machine. I probably have to hand wash it, and even then I’d be worried about the loss of colour.

I am very tempted to do this again and improve on it, but since the quality of the fabric makes it so hard to rework it or even wear it more than once, I think I might have to find a better fabric first.

New fabrics for new projects!

This is more of a preview than anything, but I am just so excited!

After waiting for what felt like forever, I finally got all the fabrics I ordered in the last month. I can’t wait to sew them all up!

I stacked them up in a nice pile and took a picture for you to see:

 

new fabrics

From top to bottom, I have got:

– a digitally printed jersey (it is much steadier than I imagined and is only stretchy one way, so it will be great for constructing a party dress)

digitally printed stretch jersey

– a turquoise lining fabric (for a jacket)

– a turquoise gabardine (for that same jacket)

turquoise gabardine

– some black scuba jersey (for a dress and a tracksuit jacket)

– a shiny snake foil jersey (for a dress, what else could be made out of such an outrageous fabric?)

blue snake foil jersey

– a purple, a black and a blue cotton jersey (to make some t-shirts)

 

The top four are from Calico Laine, while I ordered the bottom four from stoffe.de

We have had some issues with DHL lately due to strikes, so both parcels came to me on the same day after waiting 4 weeks for the one and one week for the other. I know, one week doesn’t sound very long, but if you’re used to next-day shipping, it seems almost unbearable. 😉

Also, the 4-week wait for the Calico Laine order was partially due to them not having certain fabrics on site, so altogether, it probably took about 2 weeks to get to me once they sent it. However, I reordered from them since and the shipment was sent within a day.

I plan on making some t-shirts with the cotton jerseys and dresses with the scuba and print jersey. Maybe I will finally get onto sewing up that short tracksuit jacket too.

So far, I have no idea what I will wear the shirts with, as I have not yet made a single skirt or pair of trousers. To be fair, I probably only wear trousers once or twice a year. Since I like making t-shirts, I might have to get into the habit though.

The turquoise gabardine and lining fabric will be made into a summer jacket. I have had great success constructing a coat out of Burda 6921 and will attempt to make the short version for the warmer weather.