Basics – a Burda pencil skirt and a Forget-me-not Patterns Vera top

This is one of those boring posts about basics. Great for blogs that are mainly personal journals, like mine. Not so good for blogs that other people actually read.

And to make it worse, this post comes with not so great photos of creased garments and tired faces because the photography was done at the end of a day of sitting at a desk. At least I am wearing yellow snakeskin ankle boots. That’s got to count for something!

Feel free to move on to something more interesting and with better images.

Basic 1: The Camel Pencil Skirt.

Camel is supposed to be one of those excellent basics. So are pencil skirts. I’m a fan of pencil skirts. And I’m very taken with pencil skirts that have a teeny bit more interest than normal. Like this one with its horizontal darts.

I used this pattern for one of my gorgeous Linton tweeds but it was not a resounding success. The tweed version may have stretched out, or been traced too big. Whatever.

So this pattern needed a second chance. And what better fabric to use than one I picked up at a fabric swap! This polyester twill fabric was from my dear friend M of Nonsuch, who had already offered her large remnant to me. I didn’t recognize its potential until I saw it again at the fabric swap.

This skirt turned out so much better than the Linton Tweed version.

Changes I made were minimal – I took 5 cm off the length (still plenty long enough for that retro look) and shaved about 1 cm of the side seams above the hips (making this a sort of size 47 waist, I should have just gone to a straight size 46 because its still loose).

Its lined with a lovely bemsilk from the stash, and I love the way my aqua label really pops.

Basic #2: a Black Knit Top.

This is Vera, a free PDF pattern from Forget-me-not Patterns

This pattern is also elevated above basic with its sleeves and subtle high low hem

The V-neck is nicely proportioned, and the instructions for achieving a nice finish for the V neck are terrific.

My first version was a size 42 in a red fine merino wool, and it was a bit too big. I wanted to make the next version in a black merino/nylon blend. The black knit is much firmer than the red 100% merino knit. I also knew that I’d made both into a Papercut rise turtleneck in the same size and the black one was almost too tight whereas the red one was just right.

So, with all that in mind, I went ahead with the firmer black knit cut out in the same size as the red one, but sewed it up with a seam allowance of 10 mm rather than 6 mm.

It worked well! either the fabric difference or the larger seam allowance, or both..

The sleeves really are quite lovely – here’s the red one at work (I made this first version wearable by shortening the shoulder seam by 8 mm and reattaching the sleeves and reducing width through the body of the top about the same).

Lesson (re)learned- stretch and drape and weight matters with knits!

A coatigan to remind me of my grandma’s carpet: Burda 12/2011 #114

I was lucky enough to get 2 yards of this totally glorious fabric from emmaonesock last year. It looks like a fabulous vintage carpet.

It’s a wool fleece with raised areas, a brushed texture, and decorative selvedges. The design seems to be knitted in as you can see below on the reverse.

The fabric arrived and I petted it. A lot. And then it sat in my stash. You know. That too precious to cut into fabric. I had a Pinterest board dedicated to it. Searching for the perfect pattern. Surely what I did with something similar to this fabric several years ago was too simple and wouldn’t be good enough?

Winter passed, before I was smart enough to realise that it was more than good enough. I still wear the coatigan I made in 2013 a lot. It’s the ideal pattern for this fabric.

So I bit the bullet and cut it out.

This is Burda 12/2011 #114 and I made a 44.

For my version there’s no zip, no petersham ribbon trim, no hip length seam or pockets, no lining, just a neck facing and I lengthened the sleeves to be full length.

The hem is simple turned up and stitched by hand. No finishing treatments – it doesn’t fray.

Sometimes simple is best!

I adore my carpet coatigan!

Monochrome floral tunic: BurdaStyle 08/2020 #125

Experimental sewing. Wearable, but getting close to a wadder. I guess we’ve all been there.

I wouldn’t have said this when this top was fresh off the sewing machine, but subsequent episodes of wearing have led me to conclude that its not quite the right fabric for this pattern.

What is this pattern I hear you say?

BurdaStyle 08/2020 #125 in a size 46 bust and waist and six 48 hips.

Recommended fabrics are light weight blouse fabrics like viscose-rayon crepe

The fabric I used was not the recommended types but is actually quite lovely – a sophisticated monochrome panel print in a fine stretch cotton woven. With a beautiful multi coloured striped selvedge. And it has those special souvenir fabric vibes – bought in Bordeaux, France in between meetings on a work trip, back in the day when that was a thing I did.

I knew the pattern would be better in a drapey fabric, but I thought I would give it a try anyway. Experimental. Did I say that already?

It sewed up beautifully. Lovely fabric.

The interesting faux button V neck thing is good- not too deep but deep enough to be not frumpy. The lack of depth of colour on the underside of my fabric shows though- because there is no button band just a narrow turnback of the fabric edge to finish it. It’s not terrible, or even very noticeable to anyone else, but it irritates me.

The three quarter sleeves are nice but I had the unwelcome discovery that my forearms are larger than the pattern was drafted for. The cuffs only just meet. No chance of an overlap and buttons.

So instead I have ribbon tie cuffs. Design feature? Maybe! And an easy thang to fix for next time.

I used the burrito method for the yoke. It always seems like magic! And I couldn’t help myself with the label. That multi-striped selvedge needed to be seen – even if only by me. The native American blanket vibes are incongruous, but it makes me smile!

So what don’t I like about the top ( apart from the wrong side showing at the neck edge)?

It sticks out – it doesn’t drape. Of course it does. It’s a cotton with body. All operator fault in matching fabric to pattern.

I’ll keep on wearing the top before I judge it better donated, and I haven’t given up on the pattern. I just need to select a drapier fabric.

This photo is not very convincing is it? Its good to acknowledge that not all sewing results in garments you love. All part of the rich tapestry of life….