A rare dud of the highest order

Last weekend I cut into cut into one of the oldest fabrics in my stash, a dark turquoise silk charmeuse bought in January 2009, to make the cover top from the Burda April 2012 issue:

There are so many things wrong about this pattern that I’m going to revert to list form to get the rant out of my brain:

  • The recommended fabric is silk, yet the instructions don’t tell you to sew French seams, or indeed finish the raw edges at all. As far as I can tell, even if you follow their insane instructions, you’re left with a triangular area of raw seams at the shoulder. If I’d liked the top enough, I’d have had to make my own weird facing to handstitch on to cover this.
  • There’s a ridiculous amount of ease in the bodice – way more than Sorbetto, for example, and that’s also a non-bias, slip on shell. I ended up cutting this with the front and back pieces a centimeter or two off the fold simply to fit it onto my narrow silk, but I checked first to make sure it’d not be too small. And having completed the shell, I can say that it’s still on the loose side, even with my reductions!
  • Facings on a silk. WTFOMGBBQ? Why?? I said Nuts! to the facing and did a narrow bias edge (in leftover silk from my birthday top which I still had lying around) on the neckline, and did a two-step narrow edge for the hem.
  • Burda tells to to cut an extra wide hem allowance on the sleeve edges, press in and out (and shake it all about, do the hokey pokey- oh wait) and mess about with it until the sleeve is entirely completed… and then sew an invisible hem by hand. On silk. And it’s a reeeeeeally long hem. I’d rather eat glass, Burda. The much better option here would be to cut a regular hem allowance, and machine-stitch a narrow edge or rolled hem before basting any of the sleeve pleats. Realising they’re crazy and trying to do this later is much more difficult (ask me how I know).
  • The sleeve instructions are absolutely incomprehensible. Burda would have you flip the entire pleated edges around the neckline and back to the armscye at the shoulder, which a) completely contradicts the photos, and b) there isn’t enough seam length to do. So I had to try and make the best of pre-basted pleats, attach to placement lines that may as well have not existed (since the pleated edges didn’t match up anyway), and a mess of raw edges (see above). My best attempt was not good enough.
  • And finally, when I tried the top on to see if I even wanted to carry on finishing the raw edges, the sleeves are just ugly. Less “quirky chic” and more “80s shoulder pads”. Ugh.

A Year of Burda Magazine Patterns – Challenge Completed!

I (silently) set myself the challenge to sew one garment from each issue of Burda magazine (aka BurdaStyle) in 2012, and I’m proud to say I completed it! I’m not the sort of person to make New Year’s resolutions, or proclaim lofty goals to everyone who’ll listen – I’m more the sort to quietly commit myself to something, and see if anyone notices what I’m up to before the completion… I do know that Kristy has also been keeping up with the Burda challenge this year, and it’s been fun to see which patterns she’s chosen from the same issues (and on occasion we selected the same pattern!).

There were some roaring successes, a few fails (both my fault and not), and some that I changed my mind on only after months of wear. So I thought it was worthwhile to have a look through all the projects from this year, and my thoughts on each looking back from now…


Rating: 9/10
Link to original post: Great Basic – Grey Flannel Trousers

At the time I said: There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about this design, but I just thought it looked nicely versatile, and something I could wear to business meetings as well as just team with a teeshirt if I fancied it.

My thoughts now: I don’t think these look as nice in the photoshoot as they do in real life. I genuinely love and adore these, and have worn them pretty much nonstop, at least once a week to work, since I made them a year ago. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this pattern, and the silk pocket linings fill me with glee everything I slip my hands inside. I really do need to make some more of these!

Burda magazine May 2013

Here’s my “one liner” review of this issue – if you’re looking for Spring sewing inspiration, you probably won’t find it here!

I’ve felt the last few Burda issues were a bit lacklustre and this one is even worse. There are a few nice patterns, but most require alterations in order to make them wearable for most people, or are things we’ve seen before. I’ll leave it to Paunnet to tear apart all the horrible rectangle “patterns” in this issue!

First up we’ve got a retro-style bikini with a cute tie in the front and shirred elastic at the back, and elasticated briefs. I found it a bit strange that this is drafted for wovens, when it’d be much more comfortable in a traditional swimsuit lycra. I also saw an idea online that it’d be really cute lengthened into a dress or top! (PDF Pattern here)

There’s a bunch going on in this page – first a cardigan (rather a lot like Jalie’s new one, but for wovens), trousers that look way too much like pyjamas for my liking, and a quite nice dress (which also has a short sleeved option) if you leave off the cutesy patch pockets. (Cardigan PDF Pattern here)

This twist-top is probably my favourite in this issue, but it looks like it either requires a camisole underneath, or some extensive alterations. And I swear there’s a pattern exactly like this in one of the Pattern Magic books, so it’s hardly original.

Golden silk asymmetric blouse

From a total loser of a silk blouse to a triumph of a silk blouse, all in one afternoon! After the Burda FAIL, I turned around, cut into my gorgeous butter yellow floral silk charmeuse I bought at Ditto in Brighton last weekend, and sewed up this blouse in about two hours flat!

The layout of this blouse is really cool, and the entire blouse is just one piece, with only one side seam (and two shoulder seams). I took a photo of my fabric when it was laid out on the floor, and I added some annotations in pink (below) to help show where the drapey side comes into play. I hadn’t realised it from the diagram, but the CF neckline is on the straight grain, and the CB neckline is on the cross-grain, with the only side seam on the bias. Very cool, and the design feels quite Bunka.

I used the leftover silk in the bottom left corner to make several bias strips about 4cm wide, as I prefer a narrow bias edge on my silk blouses instead of finicky facings. I also left off the shoulder bow, as I felt there’s enough going on in this blouse already!

We were very lucky to catch the “golden hour” on Monday evening, which just makes this silk come alive in these photos! I’ve paired it here with my grey leather skirt to try and give an edgier look to the twee floral of the silk.