A Summer Dress with an Interesting Geometric Back Detail

Self-drafted from a Burda pattern

I am sure we all have patterns we use all the time. Ones that just work for our body type, don’t need too much alteration and are simple to use. One of mine is a pattern printed in Burda Magazine Nr. 07/2014. It is a gathered skirt and simple bodice made up of 4 pattern pieces. I have used the bodice pattern countless times before, making many different types of dresses, and was always happy with the results.

So when I was looking for a pattern to make an alteration to, this came to mind quite quickly. I had this idea in mind that I would change the back of the dress to be a bit more open and airy. I wanted something that combines comfort with style in the summer heat, while also satisfying my love of geometry.

So here is the result, a slightly different dress with a geometric back detail.

 

folklore summer dress geometric back detail back3

 

And yes, I am starting with a picture from the back this time. 🙂 It is definitely nice from the front too, but the wow-factor is certainly going on in the back. The geometric pattern is made of 2 sets of 2 fully-lined triangles overlapping each other. The lower triangles are a bit smaller than the top ones. Here is the back in a bit more detail.

 

geometric back detail

 

I did not have quite enough of the patterned fabric to make the whole dress, so I used just a strip of it for the skirt, while making the rest in a plain black polycotton. I think the whole dress has got a sort of folklore feeling about it because of that.

 

folklore summer dress with back detail front1

 

 

DSCI1160

 

 

 

 

A self-drafted coat (in camouflage) made with Burda 6921

camouflage coat Burda 6921 me side 2

This week, I am well excited. After what seems like an eternity, my new camouflage coat finally came together. And as if that was not enough, the weather decided to get colder and give me a chance to wear the coat out every day now. I am so happy with this one, I would have hated to leave it hanging in the wardrobe.

Yesterday was a sunny day and I got my husband to take pictures of me in the coat! He seems to like it a lot, as he keeps telling people that it is really nice.

A bit about the pattern

This is my third time working with Burda 6921 and I decided to change a few things and also add a hood. What I love about the pattern is the way the collar/back of the coat works. Even though I didn’t do a collar at all, the hood still stands up somewhat against the back of my neck, so that I never get too chilly there.

Burda 6921 is pretty well-suited to an hourglass figure, which makes it a great base pattern for me.

The sizing is fairly accurate. I am a German size 42 (UK 14), so that is what I traced and cut and it fit me pretty well. This seems to be true for all Burda patterns, or at least the ones I have encountered before. The only adjustment I made is grading down to a size 40 (UK 12) around the waist.

I pretty much never go off the size charts on the back of any pattern, as that would put me at a UK 22. I did this only once, with my very first pattern, which ended up looking like I was lost in a stylish potato sack. (I am currently working on a Butterick pattern and there the size is always such guesswork…) With Burda at least, I know I can use my “store” size.

On the other hand, Burda patterns require you to add seam allowances. That’s ok when you do it once, but every time I get this pattern out, I have to do it again and it’s starting to annoy me. Next time, I will make new pattern pieces on Swedish tracing paper that will include seam allowances.

What did I add?

I self-drafted a hood. This is my second time attempting a hood and I think I did rather well. It is definitely big enough for my head and would have probably accommodated my dreads when they were longer as well.

I also made some small alterations to the width of lower half of the sleeves, as I thought that a wider sleeve would suit the look of the coat better.

I widened the lapel and added a zip to be closed on the side front of the coat. Again, I didn’t think buttons would be suitable for this coat.

Normally, the inside of the lapel is meant to be made of the same material as the outside of the coat. However, my husband convinced me to use the lining fabric instead and I think he was absolutely right.

This is the original sketch I made for this coat

This is the original sketch I made for this coat

 

The Fabrics I used

The outside fabric is a ripstop I bought from ebay. It is very sturdy and originally meant for military uses. It’s wind-resistant and shower-proof.

For the lining, I bought a shiny polyester satin. While it was cheap and looks really nice, it was certainly a pain to work with and kept fraying very very badly. Next time, I will overlock the edges before working with it.

 

And here it is in all its glory

I do apologise for the dorky faces I pull…

 

camouflage coat Burda 6921 me front

 

camouflage coat Burda 6921 back me

 

camouflage coat front me Burda 6921

 

camouflage coat walking

 

camouflage coat hood Burda 6921 me

And here is a bonus picture of the grumpy jerk that tried to prevent this coat from happening 😉

you are not sewing now

 

A flowery Burda 124b-072014 summer dress

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.

 

 

 

Some details

 

burda 124b-072014 front neckline

burda 124b-072014 back neckline

burda 124b-072014 open back

 

And here is some of the construction process:

 

burda 124b-072014 constructed bodice

 

burda 124b-072014 inside

 

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.

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.