Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pattern Review: BWOF-08-2006-101

I have been planning to make this jacket a long time.  A really long time.  Like, I saw this jacket in an online database of old Burda magazines and it caused me to go to Ebay and start buying old issues of the magazine long time.  It took me a while to gather the fabric and notions, and I didn't even decide on which buttons I would use until the last minute, but even still, this jacket has been a long time in coming.

I don't know why, but I just loved the horizontal detail at the waist.  The blue color in the model photo probably didn't hurt much either, and I knew I wanted to try and find a similar color fabric to re-create the look.  I eventually spotted a lovely deep teal corduroy on the Fashion Fabrics Club website and thought it would be perfect.  Ironically, though the main fabric was a cheap online sale purchase, the lining is my lovely (and somewhat expensive) silk charmeuse from my trip to Santa Fe Fabrics during my time in New Mexico for the 2013 Roller Skating Nationals.  Making my jacket even more special, I decided to use buttons from Spector's Store in Shipshewana, which I visited during the 2011 Roller Skating Nationals in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Yes, having a stash was definitely key in the making of this jacket.

Of course, planning and awesome exciting project isn't exactly the same as actually making one.  I always make a muslin for jackets, but I had to do so many adjustments that this time I actually made two.  And even then I still had to take in the back quite a bit to get the fit to work out the way I wanted.  Then, of course, there was the sewing day from hell.  This definitely wasn't one of those fun easy projects.  But, well, in the end I am fairly pleased with the results, so I guess it was worth the effort.

My teal jacket!

The back took a lot of effort to fit.

Pretty happy with it though.
At least it no longer looks like a grocery sack.

I am going to spend too much time
with my hands in the tiny pockets.

Obligatory staring at my lining photo.
(I LOVE this lining so much.)

Let me show you even more of my awesome lining.

And my piping!  One of my favorite features.
It matches so well!

A close up of the collar detail.  My apologies for bad lighting.
This fabric doesn't like to photograph well. 
A bit hard to see - bit the sleeve vents look pretty good.
Love the little buttons - they match the fabric almost perfectly.
A slightly overexposed photo of the sleeve vent and button.
A view of the guts, including my backstay.
This is the first time I have ever made piping.
Pretty pleased with how it turned out.
Expect to see more piping in the future.

Here is my official Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:  Jacket with asymmetrical notched collar, in-seam and patch pockets, and sleeve vents.

Pattern Sizing:  Burda sizes 36-44.  I used a combination of size 38 at the shoulders, 40 through the waist, and a size 42 over the hips.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I didn't think they were terrible, but I also don't think they would be the best instructions for a new sewer.  I have gotten used to Burda over the years, and I have seen much worse from them, so I actually didn't mind them.  I did, however, use additional instructions to make a backstay and to double check that I was mitering the sleeve vents correctly.

What did you particularly like/dislike about this pattern?  Likes: Well, I chose it because of all the details - the band across the waist, the in-seam pockets, the sleeve vents, and the interesting collar shape.  I still like all of the details because they make the jacket interesting and unique.  I like that the pattern instructs you to use a lot of interfacing.  It doesn't seem like many newer patterns interface the full front.  Sadly, I think I probably would have been better served by ignoring this - my fabric was already rather thick and probably would have eased better without the added structure.  Dislikes: I thought the fit was rather odd, especially for Burda.  I traced/made another jacket at the same time, and the fit was much better with the other style.  I even ended up using the other jacket to adjust the armscye and sleeves.  This jacket was a bit boxier than I had anticipated, based on the model photos and all the princess seams, so I had to do a lot of adjusting to get it to look anything other than ill fitting and unflattering.  Also, not a huge fan of patch pockets over the breast, so I left those off.

Fabric used:  The shell was cotton corduroy from Fashion Fabrics Club.  It had a slight amount of stretch, and was a pain to deal with on the curves.  I have about a yard leftover - probably going to end up as a very basic skirt because I don't want to do anything too complicated with it.  The lining was a lovely silk charmeuse from Santa Fe Fabrics in New Mexico.  The piping was silk dupioni from Jo-Ann.  The buttons were bought at Spector's Store in Shipshewana, Indiana.  I used cotton muslin for the backstay, and interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply for the structure.

Pattern alterations or design changes you made:  Design changes: I left off the patch pockets over the bust because I did not want them.  I also added piping to the lining because I thought it would be a fun feature.  Alterations:  A lot.  I did alterations for square shoulders, swayback, and full upper arms.  I also raised the armscye and changed the shape of it quite a bit, because it extended too far from the body on the front.  I used another Burda pattern (BS-06-2012-121) to help me alter the shape for the arms because that pattern fit me much better than this one did.  Even after making a 1" swayback adjustment, I had to take in the princess seams on the back another 6/8" because in the stiffer corduroy it just looked too boxy and baggy.  I also added additional interfacing and a backstay as instructed High Fashion Sewing Secrets.

Would you sew this again?  Would you recommend this to others?  I don't think I will be sewing this again.  It is a very distinctive jacket, and walks the line between being casual and a bit more formal.  I think the style looks fine on me, but I don't know if I love it enough to make more of them.  I am happy with the way this turned out - it is quite comfortable and fills a need for a mid-weight fall jacket that my wardrobe has been sorely lacking that past few years.  I would recommend this jacket to others if they like the style, but I would caution that the fit seems a bit odd compared to other Burda patterns and that a muslin is a must!

Conclusion:  I am happy with the way my jacket turned out.  It is a bit special because of the lining fabric and buttons, which I had collected on my travels to skating nationals over the years.  I am also loving the piping detail around the lining.  Something I will have to use again in the future I think.  This is also a pattern I had been wanting to make for quite some time, so I am happy I finally got to it.  It isn't something I think I will be making again in the future (I have a lot of other patterns I want to try), but I expect I this jacket will see a lot of use.  It is surprisingly warm and rather comfortable to wear and move in.  There were difficulties and frustrations along the way (and I can still see the imperfections when I look at it), but all in all I am pleased with my jacket and happy to have it off the sewing table and in my closet.

Whew.  This project took a lot out of me.  I decided sort of mid-month to push it up in my sewing plans to try and enter the Pattern Review lined jacket contest.   And, as with all things sewing related, it is getting finished just under the wire.  So happy I am done!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Newsflash: December Burda Early Preview Posted

The German Burda website has the December preview pictures up.  And you guys - I am excited.  I haven't seen a standout "wow" but I have seen a lot of things I like.  Here are the preview pics:

I want to see the line drawing, but I like this coat!

I think this is similar to the one above, but with fewer details?
I like the use of pattern on the collar.

Ooooh.  I like the pants and the top!

I think this dress is also quite pretty.
(Also - note the sun and flowers.  Yeah, it looks like a California Christmas.)

Not sure how I feel about this one.
Maybe it is just the cheap-y looking overlay I don't care for?

I like this!  Looks like lots of nice seam lines for fitting.
Hmmm - I think this looks like the under dress for the green dress above?

This jacket is nice.  I like the collar and pockets.

Skirt could be interesting?  I want to see the line drawing on this.
The Burda Plus section looks like it is going to be fabulous:

Not sure about the shawl wrap, but the dress is lovely.

Nice classy jacket/skirt combo.

Difficult to tell with the glare,
but this dress looks like it could be quite pretty as well.
 Only a few things stood out as being a bit questionable:

This dress might be ok?
It is just all the crazy lines in the photo are bothering my eyes.

This peplum looks so tacked on, almost like a mini apron.
Are those pinecone appliques?  Is the pinecone peplum trying to take
the place of the traditional crazy holiday sweater?
So, what do you all think?  Do you see anything you like?  Are you excited for December?  Or do you want to hold out for the line drawings?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Burda Style US Magazine

I am not sure how many readers have heard that there is a new Burda Style Magazine on the block - the new Burda Style US edition.

Hi August 2012 Peplum Top!

I spy with my little eye... A December 2012 jacket!
And some photos from October 2012 as well...

Looks like the mix-n-match feature will be a part of the US edition as well.

A few things...

1.  It looks as though the US version of the magazine will *gasp* include seam allowances in the pattern tracing sheets.  Whaaaaaaa?

2.  It looks like the magazine will include re-written instructions and not the usual translations.  (Though, I think the translations have been getting better in recent years?)

3.  It looks like you get a mix of paper and digital patterns downloads with the magazine.  (Note: The digital patterns are the same as if you bought them before and do NOT have the fancy new seam allowances added on.)

4.  There look to be articles written on sewing techniques and tools, as well as an introduction to Burda and an article on creating DIY runway looks.

5.  Based on the (very limited) photos I have seen of the cover and Table of Contents pages, all of the patterns and photos look to be re-hashed from the regular 2011-2012 Burda Style magazines.  I will admit that US style seems to follow about a year behind what Burda does, so the looks are very "on trend" at the moment.  And it does look like they chose the most popular/on trend patterns, with a good variety of pieces, so I give them a thumbs up for that.

6.  It looks like they will produce 4 issues per year, so I am assuming that they will continue to use re-print patterns and not have the most current looks from the regular magazine?

7.  One nice thing about this - the English Burda website now has a button on every page that will take you to a page dedicated to telling you how to subscribe to the magazine.  It gives you the new US version info, as well as info for the many other languages the magazine is issued in.  The US issue is $14.99 newsstand price, and a year subscription is $24.99.  Significant savings for a four issue subscription.

My thoughts...

1.  I think having a dedicated US version that they will push into bookstores and craft stores will be good for the magazine.  When I was first getting interested in Burda I only found one book store that carried it.  And then they announced bankruptcy and closed shortly after I found them.  So, a US pattern magazine on shelves gets a yay from me.

2.  I am not a fan of the idea that half the patterns are digital downloads and half are paper.  If I am paying for the magazine, I want them all to be paper.  If I had to I would do it, but printing digital pattens is annoying.

3.  If all the patters are just going to be re-prints I don't have a lot of incentive to buy this magazine.  I would really like to look at a copy, to see how useful/detailed the articles are, but if the fashions and photos are the same, then I already have most of the content.

4.  I don't think there has been enough advertising for this.  You want to know how I found out about it?  Ebay.  Yes, I saw a copy for sale on Ebay a good few weeks before I found the announcement on the English Burda website.  Granted, I spend more time hanging out on the Russian and German websites for news, but still.  Did I miss an email or something?  I saw a tiny announcement on the bottom of the one I got from them today.  I always feel like I am trying to search for news from Burda, but the US website is the worst.  For example, their sewing books?  I found out from other people's sewing blogs about the first one, and the Vintage Modern book I found out about by accident while I was in a bookstore.  At least GLP News sends me a little postcard when they think I will give them money for something, like when they are taking orders for Burda Classics.  Get with the program Burda.  Advertising campaigns!  Try it!

5.  I really hope that the US magazine will not have future impact on getting the normal Burda Style in English.  I am going to assume it won't, as I expect they will still produce the translated version for the non-US English speaking markets (hi Australia, England, and New Zealand!).  And I am going to assume that the US magazine will be more focused on re-prints with seam allowances and re-written instructions than on getting out the latest patterns.

Conclusion:  I think I am going to stick with my crazy good-old-seam-allowance free translated Burda.  I have gotten used to the tracing, the lack of seam allowances, and even the crazy instructions.  And I think it has made me a better seamstress.  If the US magazine had been available when I started sewing I might have gone that route - it seems like it is trying to make Burda more accessible and less intimidating.  But I have gotten used to the real thing and I don't know if there is any going back now.

So, what do you all think?  Would you be more likely to pick up a Burda if you could flip through it in the store first?  Do the seam allowances make it less scary?  What are your thoughts on offering a combination of paper patterns and digital downloads?  Is anyone else curious to read the US version of the instructions?  For those of you who have let your subscriptions lapse - would this less frequent "best of" approach encourage you to pick up the magazine again, even if you are a season behind regular Burda patterns?  If you aren't in the US - do you feel a bit left out by not having your own special country edition?  Let me know your thoughts on this latest Burda development in the comments!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Newsflash: New Vogue Patterns Announced

The latest collection from Vogue can be seen here.  Are you in the mood for designer dresses?  Because the collection consists mostly of designer dresses.  Well, and a few winter coats and capes.  My overall impression: this is a pretty good release!  Definitely much better than a lot of other recent releases this fall.  Though even Vogue couldn't resist the temptation of sleepwear.  Let's take a look:

V1374 - A Badgley Mischka design.

The front is rather plain, but I love this!
Very Hollywood movie star glamourous.

V1369 - A Kay Unger New York pattern.
Love the neckline of this dress!

Not sure how I feel about the back of the dress -
usually I try to remove wrinkles from the small of my back!

V1370 - Another Kay Unger design.
Love the very subtle color blocking.

V8943 - A Claire Schaeffer Collection design.
Cute dress, very pretty in the delicate lace fabric.

V1371 - A Tracy Reese design.
The fabric really hides the design of the dress...

You can see all the lovely tuck details much easier in the line drawing.

V8947 - A Vogue Custom Fit dress with cup sizing.

You can see all the lovely seam details in the line drawing.

V8949 - A Vogue Easy Options Pattern.
The simple bodice makes it a nice option for lace.

There are lots of combinations of skirts and sleeves.

V8948 - Another Easy Options dress.
The style looks vaguely 80s-ish, but some of the other options are nice.

Not a fan of the fluffy skirt, but the sheath dresses look nice.

V8946 - A sheath dress with waist ruching.

Nice design, but similar to other things I have seen before.

V8944 - A Very Easy Vogue color blocked dress.
Basic design, but cute.  I like it.

V8956 - An Easy Options skirt pattern.
Reminds me very much of the pattern from the October Burda.

I think view A is the best option...

V8956 - A jacket/vest pattern.  Love the sharp hem and shawl collar.

V1378 - A Donna Karen pattern.
The top has a nice draped detail.

But it is a bit difficult to see the details on the leggings in the photo.

V8961 - Very Easy Vogue.
This dress/tunic pattern looks very basic, but could be
quite festive made up in sequin material.
I thought most of the patterns were quite good.  Even the oversized knit tops (which I didn't bother to show) weren't too bad.  Even my bottom picks aren't completely disasterous:

V1368 - A DKNY pattern.
The top and skirt are fine, but why would you make them
in this super tacky foil dot fabric?

V1373 - This Tom and Linda Platt pattern is actually not too bad.
But I think the proportions are just a bit off...
maybe if the top part was just a bit shorter?
It needs something to make it look not quite so boxy.

V1372 - This is a top/skirt combo by Guy Laroche.
Maybe it is the fabric, but all I can think of is "Project Runway Trash Bag Challenge."

V8959 - A Very Easy Vogue cape.
It is ok, but for some reason the drape feels a little off.
Maybe if it didn't stand out quite so far from the body I would like it a bit better?

V1377 - A Koos Couture pattern.
The front is boxy, but alright... is the giant swirly on the back that I can't get over.
No, that isn't part of the fabric.  Yes, it is a design feature of the pattern.

V8954 - A Marcy Tilton pattern.  The overlapping fabric is an interesting idea.
Though the boxy shape isn't really my favorite.

V8966 - Marcy Tilton hats.
My first thought: Looks like a tortilla warmer.
I want to, but I just can't get that out of my head.

V8964 - I told you Vogue couldn't resist the sleepwear!

Is this Vogue's version of fan service?
So, what do you all think?  See anything the piques your interest?  Or does your stash already have its fill of holiday frocks?  Feel free to discuss in the comments!