November 20, 2013

The Brasilia Dress Pattern Testing

Pattern: The Brasilia Dress (test pattern, one size only)
Fabric: printed stretch cotton
Alterations: added short sleeves, added a V back neckline, omitted the back zipper

So I signed up to do some pattern testing for The Brasilia Dress, a pattern from House of Pinheiro's Rachel. I wanted to do this because:
* I liked her version very much
* thought that the outline was pretty interesting, with those front joining darts
* I had never before tested a pattern for release :)

I'm glad I joined the fun, although this was no piece of cake. Let me explain why. First of all, I'm very lazy. So lazy that in 2 years of sewing I had not once made a muslin. That's because I was pretty lucky to fit Burdastyle's measurements chart and if I ever got fitting issues, they were small and I could work on altering them directly on me or on my dress form. But this was not such a case. After cutting the pattern I realized I had to make adjustments to the bust, the lenght and width of the bodice and hips. All this was pretty daunting for me so I thought "Oook, THAT moment has come! Let's do the muslin thing!"


So after I fitted my muslin I had a second version of the pattern that was more or less closer to my measurements. But it turns out I forgot my fabric was a stretch cotton. So the dress was too large for me even after the muslin adjustments. I still had to take in a lot on the bodice sides. On the bright side, the stretch cotton fitted me just fine without the need to add the back zipper. Yey!
The back is still too long though. I noticed this pretty late and no matter what I tried, I couldn't fix it.

And just when I was so upset and thought I wasn't ever going to finish this dress something good happened :) I was going to add the interfaced doubles for the armholes and after sewing the joining seam I realized I could as well use those for short sleeves. I added some lace on the inside of my new unexpected interfaced sleeves and voilĂ :


To emphasize the side panels I added some red piping. Initially I wanted to layer the side panels with lace but I gave that plan up because I thought it looked weird.

All in all, it was a fine experience. Thanks Rachel for giving us the opportunity to test your pattern and I can hardly wait to see lots of Brasilia dresses popping out all over the internet! :)

October 23, 2013

Autumn Dress - BurdaStyle 12.2012 #133


Pattern: BurdaStyle 12.2012 #133
Size: 34
Fabric: wool
Alterations: added lining to sleeves, shortened the hem, centered zippers to sleeves (instead of hidden) and hidden zipper to back (instead of centered)
Techniques: hidden zipper, centered zipper, zipper on sleeve, full lining

This is a dress I've been wanting to make ever since I saw it. I think it's perfect for the cold autumn or even winter days. It has long sleeves and a full skirt so I think it will keep me warm enough.

The construction was somewhat more difficult than what I've been sewing lately. The pattern doesn't ask for lined sleeves but I really wanted to do that so things got a little more complicated.


I remembered how much I dislike sewing sleeves! But this time I promised myself that never ever ever will I sew a sleeve without first sewing a basting stitch on both lining and fabric, on both bodice and sleeve. Like this:

Marking the seam on the inside and outside of the fabric really makes everything easier in this case. Especially when sewing the lining, which must be attached on the bodice from the right side of fabric.

There are some nice features of this dress that I would like to show you. I find them interesting and cool, maybe because I haven't sewn anything similar until now.


First, I give you the Detachable Collar! The lace collar has a binding ribbon at the base and is attached to the dress with snaps. I like the idea that I can wear the dress with or without the collar :) Here's a closer look:

Second, those sleeves have zippers! I'm telling you, it feels GREAT to play with them! :)) And I really made the right choice by adding lining to the sleeves, I don't thing I would've liked them that much if I skipped this step.


And third, maybe not that interesting from the sewing point of view but definitely cool from the wearing point of view, Pockets:


I'm very glad I got to sew this dress. The next issue of Burda seems to have some interesting patterns for long sleeved dresses. I will surely buy this one.

Until next time!

October 6, 2013

Fall/Spring Skirt - BurdaStyle 08.2011 #131

Pattern: BurdaStyle 08.2011 #131
Size: 36
Fabric: wool
Alterations: made it shorter, lining not sewn to front pleats
Techniques: invisible zipper, lining

This skirt has been waiting for a really long time to take this form. I started it about a year ago but left it aside due to my inability to successfully decipher "The Burda Code". You know... that very ambiguous listing of words that are supposed to instruct you into sewing the garment... I abandoned the quest when trying to sew the pleats in the front. And the skirt ended up spending the following year in a plastic zipper bag.


Until last week!
I decided to be brave and try again. Only I had to do it from the very start because I am now about 10 kilos slimmer than last year so I had to trace the pattern again and grade all the skirt pieces down to a 36 size.


Although my skills at interpreting Burda instructions have somewhat improved over the time, I still could not understand what they were saying when explaining how should the pleats be done so that they can be sewn to the lining... I read both the romanian and english versions and still didn't figure it out. So I decided to do what I should have done from the beginning: put away the instructions and follow my instinct. I didn't sew the lining to the pleats after all.


The result however is not very satisfactory. I like how it turned out but it's not a favorite.
First of all, the lining is kind of a disaster. This is Totally my fault because I knew the piece of fabric I had was not enough and still I was too lazy to go out and buy a larger one. I guess I really wanted to finish the skirt and didn't have enough patience... So the lining is now way too short and way too... unequal. It's kind of annoying because due to the fact that it's too short, the wool fabric of the skirt sticks to thick stockings. (Now try reading the last part very quickly!) You can have a closer look at the lining disaster in this photo:


Another thing I don't like is the way the narrow waistband sticks out. Don't know if this is my fault though... This time I did follow the instructions. I tried to fix it by sewing a snap and trying to pull the ends of the waistband closer but it doesn't look that nice.


Anyway, it's a wearable skirt. It's just that it won't make it to the favorites list. One can only hope to do a better job next time around, right?

October 5, 2013

Party dress - BurdaStyle 11.2012 #121

Pattern:         BurdaStyle 11-2012 #121
Size:               36
Fabric:           brocade
Techniques:  invisible zipper, pleats, upper lining.
Alterations:   shortened the sleeves

I wore this dress to a friend’s wedding party and I can gladly say it's the most comfortable party dress I ever owned. Loved the pleats and the pockets! Overall, I find the silhouette of the dress very flattering. 

The pattern was very straight forward and easy to follow. Still, I managed to spend about 3 days sewing it... All thanks to my extraordinary ability to mess things up when you would think there's no way one could possibly mess things up! 
Anyway, I kept calm, kept the seam ripper close and managed to get the job done.

The fabric was easy to work with. I've worked with brocade before so I was expecting it to fold nicely and submit willingly to steam power. The thing that's not so great with brocade it's the fact that you risk to pull the fabric threads when using the seam ripper. But this is manageable if you're careful enough.

Here's the back of the dress with the nice looking pleats :)

And because I got some extra free time in the morning before the party, I also made a coordinating brooch from the fabrics of the dress and it’s lining. Thought about pinning it to the dress but then changed my mind and pinned it to the black bolero I wore. 
This was my last (late) summer garment. Now I'm off to sewing me some fall dresses because I've been wanting to do that for so long and I finally got the time!