Sewing Frustrations: Burda: 2, Thea:0, or Burda and the redefinition of ‘quick fix’.

Readers, thanks for the helpful feedback on the last post! I’ll take the plunge and take the dress apart. Hopefully, it’ll be ready for a wedding I’m going to in (late, phew!) August – I’ll keep you updated, and will try to take pictures of work in progress.

In the meantime, I owe a confession: I have been posting far less than I have been sewing. But, a lot of the things I’ve been sewing have been complete misses. We could also call it a very steep learning curve. Time to share! Today, we start with Thea vs. Burda: Matches 1 and 2. You can also already look forward to some idiocy-induced Alma fails, as well as the monster bag. Anyway, here we go, me vs. Burda. These two matches are demonstrations of the classical adage of picking both your fabric and your patterns carefully. I failed with one in each category.

They are also the re-definition of the ‘quick fix’: I meant them to be a quick fix in being a quick project, fast to make, no fuss. They ended up taking a lot more time then they should have.

Number 1: The wrong pattern choice.

Well, this is a bit of a no-brainer. As paunnet, and many many others, have pointed out, Burda has a tendency to publish rectangles sewn together. Unfortunately, I fell for it, in Burda No. 5, with 05/2013/104A. It’s supposed to look like this:


Source: www.

But for me, looks nothing like it:

What I don't feel about this top

What I don’t feel about this top

How I really feel about the top

I made it up in the smallest size, but there was much too much fabric. So I took out a wooping 20 cms in total, but it still looked weird, so I thought to insert a piece of elastic at the waist to aid the gathers. It did not aid the gathers, nor did it aid my patience or liking of the top. The shoulders are too lose, and it just does not look good on me I think. Either way, here’s my version. Needless to say, I don’t think it will get worn (I actually had to hunt very very hard to find it for the pics. Woops). Burda: 1, Thea: 0. Time it should have taken: dunno, 2 hours_ Time it did take: 5? Plus some extra time for headscratching. Verdict: wrong pattern. What was I thinking? This is going in the scrap bin. Also, apologies for the overlighted pictures – the fabric doesn’t photograph very well (for me at least, and my resident photographer was still at work). It was a silver-blueish striped polyester from, yes, you guessed it, Goldhawk Road (how did you know?).

So, if this was wrong pattern, we now move on to wrong fabric, number 2. Again, Burda won, I guess, or at least I failed. It was supposed to be this lovely drapey cozy top, 11/2012/136A.  But, and here I take the blame, I picked the wrong fabric. It’s meant for a drapey fabric, and I have to say I’m still not particularly good at identifying fabrics with the right amount of drape. So instead of my top looking like nice and drapey and so:

I looked like an American footballer in sugar-pink, with very sticky-out shoulders. Sadly for you, I hacked the excess shoulders off faster than you could say ‘camera’, so no pics of that. Mind you, I hacked the shoulders off straight (hi, I’m quite new to this), so I couldn’t move very well in the top, until I used my Renfrew top to re-draft the armholes. Here, I then forgot to substract the shoulder seams, so the armscye now comes down very low, and I haven’t actually finished the shoulders beyond a zig-zag. Hey, I bet you can almost feel my enthusiam from that description, right? It’s not too bad now, I promise – here’s proof. It just has nothing in common with the original 😉


spot the loose armscye on the right (it's a bit pulled out of shape)

Spot the loose armscye on the right (it’s a bit pulled out of shape)

You can just spot the very low armscye on this one...

You can just make out the very low armscye on this one…




Time it should have taken: 2 hours, maximum. Time it did take: 2 hours, plus one hour, plus another hour, each for hacking of and amending the sleeves. In total, this has been sitting around for a record 3 months now, since I started it as a quick fix project after my Minoru. Woops.

Lessons learnt from this? Fabrics usually have less drape than I think (it’s not the first time this has happened to me, sadly). Burda and me are not meant to be unless I’m more experiened, either*.

So, what was your least successful pattern so far? The one that looks nothing like the draft and ended up in the scraps pile? Do they ever stop happening, or are they part of the fun of sewing for you?

* If this has given you the impression that Burda is impossible to sew, sorry! It’s just me. I can’t figure it out. But others are more successful – check out Oh Sew Cultured’s lovely dress, or the amazing jeans and shorts that Yes I Like That made from Burda patterns. And both the Slapdash Sewist and Miss Celie’s Pants are highly successful with Burda patterns. And I’m sure there’s many more…