Tag Archives: burda style

One More Skirt!

16 Jan

Another long weekend, another skirt completed:

This one, I think, is a little better. I like the shape of it, straight through the hips and then with a little flare. It’s based on the skirt pattern from the BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook. This time, I just copied the pattern pieces and then put it together myself, bypassing any potential confusion in the directions.

Between my rust handbag, my olive-green shift, and now this skirt, I have now depleted my stash of all corduroy fabric. But it’s such a good wintery fabric, I will relish wearing each of these items.

In with the New!

1 Jan

I started off the new year with a brand new handbag:

It’s corduroy, it’s gathered at the bottom with rows of gathers and at the top with elastic. It’s based on the bag pattern in the Burda Style Sewing Handbook, “Chie’s Variation”.

I changed some things–adding a silk scarf instead of the sash of the same bag fabric (although I made a sash, as well, if I ever want that look.) I removed the extra detachable strap, using the D-ring tabs instead for my main strap, but changing the proportions of that a little bit.

I also added extra pockets–this variation comes complete with a zipper pocket in the lining as well as two extras on the other side, which I appreciate, but I also added a pocket to the inside of each end panel, as well. I’ve never heard of a handbag with too many pockets, after all. (I laugh imagining it: “Oh, no! So many different perfectly designated places to put all my many various things!”)

And I changed the lining a little bit, making the elastic casings continue in corduroy so that the lining isn’t easily visible. I never did resolve my differences with the book’s pattern instructions, and largely because of this issue. The way I made it conforms with the illustrations on p. 175, diagrams 14, 15, and 16, which do not conform with the written directions, which are depicted in diagram 12  and the project photos. This contradiction (and others like it) are why I would not particularly recommend this book to beginning sewers who want to use it step by step for its patterns: it’s tricky to puzzle out the “creative differences” inherent in a pattern written this way.
But I like the bag in spite of this. I can trade out the scarf for other colors and make it coordinate with various outfits. The shape is slouchy and casual, and holds a good bit of stuff inside without looking lumpy or misshapen.

And it starts out my “make everything for myself” challenge, at the beginning of the new year, with a firm declaration. For this one step, at least, I can make it myself.

Sewing from books

27 Dec

Work on my homemade handbag continues rather laboriously.

I’m going slowly, because I want this one to end up really nice: something I can carry every day and appreciate, without being distracted by crooked seams or other details I wish, later, that I had done better.

Also, I’m going slowly, because I’m following a pattern from the Burda Style Sewing Handbook.

I may very well be the only person not head-over-heels in love with this book. Then again, I may also be the only one who’s actually using it to sew a project.

It seems disorganized, to me. I suspect that the publishing house saw it as so “on trend” and with such a huge internet following that they rushed the book to print before it could be carefully edited. I’m finding errors or shortcomings at almost every step of the way. For example, the yardage requirement for the project I selected was waaaay off. I thought  it sounded weird, when I read it (2 1/4 yards of main fabric, with 2 1/2 yards lining fabric?) but I’m used to trusting pattern directions, and so I trusted…and ended up with far too much lining. It’s okay, this time: I can always use extra lining fabric for something else. But still…editor, please.

The most annoying thing, however, is inconsistency between the main “inspiration” project and its multiple variations. The way the book is laid out there is one main project with a pattern for it, and then multiple variations on each pattern, with directions for each, adapted from the original paper pattern. This is great, for general inspiration. But I’m following one of the variations, and it’s never clear whether the next direction or material or step comes from the original, or from the secondary directions. For example, there’s a “materials list” for each variation. But it’s not complete: you will still need things from the “materials list” on the main pattern…but not all of those materials, but the book won’t tell you which they’ve superseded, and which to rely on, you’ll just have to figure it out along the way.

Same with the directions: some steps you will find under the variation, and sometimes it will refer you back to the original, but nowhere along the way did anyone think of doing that by numbers, the way most knitting patterns would, for example. “Follow steps 1-3 on pages xxx-yyy”. So it requires constant scanning of both sets of directions, flipping back and forth to make sure you’re not missing or overlapping anything.

Same with the pattern layouts themselves, in fact. I’m used to clearly marked patterns from Butterick, Vogue, McCalls, Simplicity, etc. They tell you right on the pattern paper “Cut 2, cut 2 of lining, cut 1 of interfacing.”  Here, to know if a pattern piece applies to your main material, your lining, or your interfacing (or none at all, for your particular version) you have to cross your fingers and just hope to find it, somewhere. (On the bag I’m making, the lining is cut from the same pattern piece as the body, but only to a specific line, which is one of three lines on the pattern piece, none of which are labeled, nor is it described in the cutting directions for the version I am making, but rather under the directions for a bag that I am not making. I found this out only after staring long and hard at a diagram that didn’t look anything like my work in progress, even though I thought I’d been following along just fine.)

And then, as if that is not all confusing enough, I’m reading along on the main pattern (the bag I am not making, just to cover all bases) and I find an additional set of directions that says, essentially, “Oh, yeah, for the bag shown in the photos, we did something entirely different, so if you want to make yours look like the photo, here’s another step, requiring another material, also not included on any of our multiple materials lists that you’ve been using.” Nothing like cruising along, sewing, and find oneself completely stalled and unable to proceed, because whoops, here’s a surprise. So…the project proceeds in fits and starts, stalling each time I discover I need some other thing, or waiting on hold while I stop and try to figure out what I’d like to do, next.

I’m going to try another pattern from this book once this bag is finished (the skirt, probably…and using just the basic pattern, creating my own variation) before I give up entirely…but for now I say use this book as design inspiration and eye candy, but sew with caution. And if you’re weighing this against other pattern choices for some specific garment, keep in mind most commercial patterns come with multiple variations, as well, and are just as easily adjusted as any in this book. Plus, you’ll probably get an accurate materials and notions list along with it, as well as directions that proceed in a numerical order directly from the first step to the last.

Onward, handbag!

Bag Challenge: the Strategy

22 Dec

I decided to try corduroy, for the fabric of my handbag. That makes it very wintery, and I’ll want to do another one by springtime, but that’s fine with me–I’m feeling rather wintery right now.

My local fabric source did not have much in the way of wide wale corduroy.  No buttered-toffee color, no caramel, no gold, not even a mustard.

There was some rust-colored fine wale, however, a color I can enjoy.  For my pattern, I decided to try out one of the bag variations in the Burda Style Sewing Handbook. I bought this when it first came out, but I haven’t tried making anything from it, yet. I’m not used to the make-your-own-pattern Burda experience, so I’ll let you know how that goes.
This is how my concept looks, right now:I’ll post more when I’ve got more!