Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Project of the Month: BurdaStyle Magazine Feb. 2010, #103 skirt

George Carlin liked "military intelligence." For me, there was no better oxymoron than "German fashion." But I'm beginning to change my mind with every issue of BurdaStyle Magazine (formerly called Burda World of Fashion) I get. February's issue had a feature on "Fifties Flair," so of course I was interested right away. If you're not familiar, Burda is a German pattern company that publishes patterns much like our Big Four do here in the U.S., and they also publish a monthly magazine. The magazine contains fashion spreads and printed pattern sheets of the clothes featured. Many patterns are also available for download on BurdaStyle.com.

Unlike the Burda patterns available in the fabric stores, which are printed on tissue, you must trace a copy of the Burda magazine patterns yourself — and remember to add seam allowances. It takes all your concentration and spatial reasoning skills to find all the lines on the printed paper to correctly trace your pattern pieces. What's more, the instructions are written in a fairly shorthanded manner, and there are no illustrations. These factors make Burda magazine projects not for beginners, in my opinion.

So, among the things in the Fifties Flair feature that caught my eye was a half-circle skirt with some very intriguing front soft pleats that are asymmetrically placed, and two back pleats. When I finally pieced my pattern together, I found I had two quite unusual shapes. The front piece has a grainline that you can place on the straight of grain of your fabric if you're making the long version of the skirt, and a bias grain if you're making the short version.

The back piece is also cut on the bias. This skirt has side seam pockets and an invisible zipper closure. It was pretty interesting figuring out how to manage that — I can't wait to try it again.

My results? Hard to say. That front pleating I found so enticing in the magazine picture isn't wanting to behave very well in the lightweight denim I chose. (I may end up stitching this pleat down about 5 inches from the waistband. I've got a pin there at the moment.) I think this skirt would be really fab in a cotton voile, which the magazine suggests, or in a "drippier" fabric like a rayon faille, a 4-ply silk, or a stable knit. At any rate, I've long been wanting to replace my "bad" denim skirt I wear all summer with something a little more unexpected.

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