Brown knit winter dress

Continuing on my quest for more long sleeved tops and dresses as the weather turns decidedly chilly here in London, I’ve pulled out KnipMode 09/2010 #11 from my stash for a quick and versatile knit dress.

The dress is a pretty basic shape – a rectangular skirt (same for the front and back) at a gathered waistline with a basic V-neck bodice and long sleeves. But the twist is that there are two triangular waistband pieces in front to help cover that waist seam, visually cinch in the waist, and create interest in an otherwise basic dress.

And I had the perfect fabric – when we met up with Karen for drinks when we were in Philly a few months ago, she brought me this lovely and soft poly/viscose/lycra(?) jersey for me as a gift! How nice! So I thought it’d make the perfect winter dress.

The Burda meets Armani coat – muslin FAIL

I absolutely LOVE the Burda magazine September 2010 issue. Loved it from the first second I saw the technical drawings, and now, several issues later, I’m still not seeing much that tops it. I literally have 11 or 12 must-sew patterns from it, and one of them is the Tall coat, #118.

As you recall, when I was in New York, I saw an eerily similar coat in the window of the Armani 5th Avenue store, and this sealed the deal – I must make this coat using my super thick, ex-Burberry dusty teal coating that’s been in my stash since last winter!

I don’t make muslins for a lot of things, but when the fabric is expensive, or can’t easily be resized (like leather), or if there’s a lot of work involved before a fitting can be made, then I’ll grumble and moan and make a muslin first rather than waste my nice fabric (and time!) and get any fitting issues out of the way first.

Let’s get down to the instructions first – Burda’s instructions aren’t too bad on this one EXCEPT for the zippered inseam pockets – they are absolutely nuts, and account for a good third of the instructions for the entire coat. But the instructions are besides the point, because if you jam your hands into your winter coat pockets when you walk like I do, you really don’t want metal zipper teeth digging in to the backs of your hands! So leaving off the zippers not only saves you time, but makes for a much more usable coat.

The disappearing silk zipper

The Colette Patterns “Eclair” dress is not a quick, one-weekend project, but it’s well worth taking my time over and going through all the careful steps in the instructions to get a nice finish. I inserted the side, invisible zipper last night (more on that in a second), so now I only have to attach the lining to the zipper tape, stitch in the ditch along the waistband to join the shell and lining, and hem the two skirts! I’m doing well on time, too, since the wedding’s not until May 9th and I’ve got a bank holiday between now and then, too.

So here’s the invisible zipper on the side seam (yes, I am rather proud of matching the waist seam there!):

You can’t tell on the tech drawing, but this dress has inseam pockets, too, and the instructions have a very clever way of dealing with the pocket, side seam, and invisible zipper area that makes it all nice and neat!

Copying the Rick Owens top

A few months ago there was a Pattern review thread highlighting this amazing top by designer Rick Owens that seemed like a great pattern drafting challenge!

The original top is here but I think Sigrid’s analysis of it is more interesting. There are obviously the folds to contend with, but there’s also a hidden seam at the shoulder, and frankly, just trying to visualise what a pattern piece for this would look like is rather far beyond my limited drafting skills.

One for the Brits

Apologies to any readers outside our little isle (ok, ok I’m know I’m an immigrant, but my naturalisation paperwork is currently sat on a desk somewhere at the Home Office so I think that’s close enough), but this post is really only for those of us in the UK…

First – did you know The Observer are giving away a free dress pattern designed by Alice Temperley to the first 500 people who send in an SAE jiffy bag? Really, I’m so excited about this, I could barely hold off writing about it until I posted my own off. I don’t want all of you ahead of me in the queue, after all!

It’s difficult to see the details of the dress in the photo used in the linked article, though, so I went digging through’s runway archive and found this “mini Dana” dress in Temperley London’s Spring 2009 collection:

Blue silk cocktail dress

This dress has been in the works for quite a while now, but yet again I find myself with a new cocktail dress just in time for all the Christmas parties! I first noticed BWOF 09/08 #114 when the issue’s preview came up on the website because the seaming was exactly like a Versace dress worn by Kate Moss in the Fall 2007 Versace ad campaign. Besides being a great designer knockoff pattern, I simply just loved the seaming details, though I’m not terribly keen on Burda’s styling of it as a jumper (in the American sense of the word).

When bias met straight grain…

I’m mostly finished with BWOF 09/2008 #114 (which, you’ll remember, is the spitting image of a Versace dress) which I’m making in navy blue silk with a square neckline. The silk is really lovely and drapes beautifully, and I love how it feels, too. I’m super pleased with how the whole dress is turning out, actually, but this morning I noticed the two front seam lines are doing a funny thing towards the hem:

Tweed capelet

Almost a year ago I saw and instantly fell in love with this Trina Turk capelet:

Around the same time, the lovely ladies at Go Patterns sent me their new capelet pattern, #2002 after I was so impressed with their little black dress pattern. Really, how nice of them!

Looking at the two together, I instantly saw the possibilities, but didn’t quite get around to finding the right fabric or the time last winter, but this year it all came together to form this sweet little capelet…

Versace vs Burda WOF

Breaking news!

Burda WOF have just posted a full preview of their September 2008 issue (though only for members at the minute), and this dress practically jumped off the screen at me:

Gorgeous, right? Well, the reason it stood out to me is because those central bodice seams are a spitting image of a Versace dress from Fall 2007. I saw the ad with Kate Moss last year and I loved the design so much that I ripped it out and have had it hanging on my sewing room wall ever since:

Reddy, Set, Sew!

When I visited the States last summer, I bought lots of fabric but did very little clothes shopping, despite everything being so cheap on the “dollar discount”. The only garment purchase I did make was a simple black top from the Issac Mizrahi for Target range, and I’ve absolutely worn it to death in the past year. I was really excited to see that Vogue 8305 contains a shirt absolutely identical to my Target one, so I thought I’d give it a go in some inexpensive red cotton jersey to check the fit and construction before cutting into anything more expensive in the future.