One Week, One Pattern: Day 1

Day 1: Jersey top, Burda 8155 skirt in plum suiting.

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Tilly is having a One Week, One Pattern challenge and I definitely am participating.

The pattern I’ve made most often is Burda 8155. The pattern is very simple to make and very versatile. It was also one of the first projects I’ve made that fits me properly and I still make skirts from this pattern.

Burda 8155.

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I’ve made this from plum suiting, floral Hawaiian fabric, polka-dot cotton sateen, faux leather, and black cotton sateen. Each version looks different and hopefully I have enough for the whole week.

Halloween 2011: The Black Dahlia

Sweater: H&M, many years ago
Top: ?
Skirt: Burda 8155, homemade
Shoes: thrifted


Esteemed Sewing Assistant also dressed up this year, as Count Beanicus.

I ran out of time sewing my Halloween costume this year so I decided to go as the Black Dahlia. “The Black Dahlia” was a nickname given to Elizabeth Short, a woman who was found mutilated and gruesomely murdered in the mid 1940s. Her face was slashed from the corners of her mouth toward her ears, called the Glasgow smile.

I’ve always been a purist in Halloween, thinking that dressing up should be saved for ghouls, goblins, monsters and anything generally scary. I broke that rule the past year or so dressing as a princess and a mermaid (what was I thinking?), but my commitment to Halloween gore is back full-swing.

I might recycle this costume this year (with an actual attempt to sew a 1940s dress), since it looks gory enough to revisit in future years.

She’s in Fetish: My Love/Hate Relationship with Leather

Pre-sewing me from many years ago, wearing latex, not leather.

I have a love/hate relationship with leather. It’s sensual, classic, doesn’t mar easily, is durable and can go from punk rock to 1970s edgy rock and roll to dominatrix with just a few accessories. It also sticks to the skin, doesn’t breathe in humid or hot weather, is very sensitive to heat (and in cases of faux leather, will actually melt right off), is difficult to press creases out of, is slippery, and might requires a teflon foot so it will behave.

Leather is a huge trend for Fall 2011, but far from following trends, my most inspirational fashion icon for dressing in leather is Dita von Teese:

Dita’s leather dress, #1.

Dita’s leather dress, #2.

Over the weekend, I finally attempted by tried and true pencil skirt pattern (Burda 8155) in faux leather. To my surprise: my machine can sew through leather! I found a material which had just enough drape, wasn’t too stiff, and had the sheen of leather.

Sewing a test piece of faux leather. Standard needle (80/12) and polyester thread.

Some tips for sewing through faux leather:
- Sew very carefully
- Be careful when pressing the seams flat
- Be careful when using your iron (the heat melted one of my seams right off)
- Use press cloths carefully (I was too afraid that I’d melt off my garment, so I didn’t even do this)
- Fitting is more tricky than using a woven (I had to take in the waist by a few inches, for no apparent reason)

The skirt is definitely not perfect, but very wearable for only an hour’s work, from cutting to assembly. About 1/4 of an inch of the bottom slit melted when I tried to press it, and the side seams need to be pressed flat, but I’m happy with it. I still need to take a proper photograph with this skirt at some point.

Now that I know I’m somewhat capable of this, I plan to definitely make more leather pieces (hopefully vintage inspired) for this season.

Synopsis of my evening.

This picture sums up my evening: duckie umbrella (for sloshing through 10 blocks of rain, stepping in puddles inadvertently, and coming home soaked), ironing board, Bean’s two stray cat toys, and Burda 8155, the leather version, waiting in the wings.

Burda 8155, Plum Pencil Skirt

This is my TNT (tried and true) pencil skirt pattern, Burda 8155. This is my modified one-half of Hollywood 1412. I paired it with my pink floral Colette Sencha blouse, my wearable test muslin made over a year ago. The fabric is some mystery cotton? polyester? blend that I got the last off the bolt at the garment district last month.

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B8155-plum

B8155-plum3

B8155-plum2