So, I have just returned from HTID Summer Gathering and I have to say, apart from absolutely loving the experience, I felt rather comfortable in my self-made clubwear outfits.
Obviously, improvements can be made and I am still practicing. My finishings are not perfect, despite using an overlock and coverlock machine. They are a lot better than they used to be, but I still have a long way to go.
Mostly, people don’t seem to look at the things I make with the same eyes as me though, so no one else seems to notice the dodgy stitches and they appear to be taken by surprise when I say that I sewed them up myself.
I am definitely going to make more outfits for myself, as I find that I feel quite proud of them.
However, there is one thought I have not been able to shake:
Am I the only one?
I do wonder if there are other ladies out there like me, who have fuller figures and find it hard to find anything nice to wear to a rave. I know I bemoaned the lack of decent rave clothing for my size before, but can I be the only one?
I don’t want to dress in black every time I go out. I also don’t like feeling frumpy and need something that highlights my waist (as otherwise my boobs make it look like I am wearing a tent). Most alternative clothing lines, like hell bunny, will cater to bigger sizes and make beautiful things, but while I have a few of their dresses, they don’t make anything I would wear to a rave.
I want neon colours and weird straps, spacey cuts and foam-filled hemlines. And yes, that is mostly inspired by cyberdog, who make exactly what I would love to wear in their one tiny size. They do make some things in S to XL sizing, but most of what I would identify as comfortable clubwear are made in one size, which I could squeeze myself into, but it just wouldn’t look nice.
I am a size 14 (UK)! I can make my own stuff, and that is fun, even if it is hard to find the right fabrics in the right colours at times, but what about people who don’t make their own stuff? Am I the only weirdo out there that likes to rave it up while not being a size 8?
Clearly, I saw other girls at Summer Gathering, but most of them were thin and wore what appeared to be bathing suits with tutus on top, which, don’t get me wrong, looks well cute on a tiny girl, but would look horrendous on me.
So what do I actually want to make?
Apart from making my own dresses in neon colours and spacey fabrics, I would like a kind of futuristic design element as well.
I recently went to a second-hand bookshop and saw this book called millenium mode.
In it, 40 designers are asked to envision what they would like the fashion of the future to be. While this book from 1999 is incredibly outdated, I found all the models wearing these creations looked like they were going to a rave.
It was rather inspiring for me. There is, for example, a long trenchcoat in camouflage fabric, which I absolutely must make for myself. There are lots of metallic fabrics and interesting cuts.
Maybe I am just stupidly nostalgic for that era when electronic music and the fashion that went along with it was massive, and when I was too young to take part in it, but I want to make outrageously nice things to dance in, as well as nice things to go home in. Most importantly, however, if I ever go to a festival in England again, I need to make myself a lightweight, 100% waterproof coat. 😉
This weekend was hot. So hot, it felt like I couldn’t leave the house. Even opening the window, nothing but warm air would come in…
I took this opportunity to make a summer dress for myself. I wanted to play it safe and use Burda 124b-072014, which I had made twice before. The second time, I added a full-bust adjustment. However, it being Burda, there were no seam-allowances added and I couldn’t remember how much I had given it before. (The version of this dress in question has a lining, so I couldn’t check without taking it apart.) This lead to some fit issues, which I am still working out (most apparent in the side view.)
It seems that even when I think I play it safe, I never get consistent results. The solution to this is obviously to be more dilligent and write everything down. I simply cannot trust my memory.
With that in mind, here is the more or less finished product. I have not decided what to do with the hem yet. Part of me wants to drape it nicely, and the other part just wants to shorten it. With the length it is at the moment, it doesn’t suit me at all. Plus, it’s too hot to wear anything longer than above-knee-length.
And here is some of the construction process:
As you can see, I overlocked every single edge. I had originally planned to line it, but the hot weather made me think twice about this idea. “The less fabric, the better.” had become my motto.
I used a lightweight cotton, which is really the best material for summer dresses in my opinion. I don’t particularly like working with it, and as you can see, I have some issues with puckering around the topstitching around the shoulders.
I bought this fabric mostly for its pattern and I can’t say I’m disappointed. I might just have a thing for little flowers on a black background. It is really forgiving when you don’t pattern match and I find it rather hard to find the seams when I don’t look too closely.
Also, I could have basically used any colour thread, as long as it was present somewhere in the pattern. I chose light blue, as it was prominent in the flowers and I think that came out rather nicely.
I added some alterations to the pattern (not including the FBA). The original dress asks for a gathered circle skirt. I made some skirt panels and matched them with the vertical seams of the bodice instead. I also shortened the straps, as they were falling off my shoulders.
Once I have widened the seam allowance on the bust and hemmed it in one way or another, I will finally be done. I have definitely spent a good 6 or 7 hours on this dress so far.
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.
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.
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:
And here is what they looked like once I secured them on the sides:
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:
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.
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…