Tag Archives: Burda 8855

Pseudo-Victorian Skirt

Still wandering blithely down the garden path of “how far can we get from mainstream fashion?”

Back in October, maybe, I spent some time fantasy-fall sewing and pulled out several candidate fabrics for fall and winter pieces that would complement what currently passes for my wardrobe. I wanted a skirt that would fill the same role as the Adventure skirt, but for the grey/red/black subset of my wardrobe, and this grey “flannel” got tapped.

First of all, you know those fabrics that you buy and then they’re too precious to use for fear of ruining them? Well, this fabric is basically the exact opposite of that. It was billed as some kind of flannel, which I guess it maybe is, but I would more describe it as a lightly brushed twill suiting, 100% polyester. I bought it quite a few years ago to make a shirt for a Christmas present, and even paid a significant chunk of full price. At the time, I was thinking the poly flannel would be durable. Which, I mean, hopefully it will be. But it’s also so, so nasty. Although it has a nice drape, it frays like crazy, and worst of all does not want to take a press. Anyway, I’m profoundly grateful to have it out of stash, and that I didn’t turn it into a gift.

I didn’t want to freehand the pattern as I did for the Adventure skirt (the fabric alone was going to be annoying enough) so I pulled out an old Burda envelope pattern I had made back in the day. I figured I could modify it a little bit to get the effect I wanted. (Actual pattern options would be the Folkwear Edwardian Walking Skirt, which I should actually have a traced version of somewhere, from when my mom made it for herself back in about 1992, or the Scroop Fantail skirt, which conveniently went on sale shortly after I started this project. But I already knew I loved the shape and length of the Burda pattern). I actually couldn’t even find the original pattern (curse words) but I did find my traced out version. I knew I needed to add at least 3” at the waist, and I was hopeful that adding a bit more fullness thorough the hips would make room for pockets (since my hip expansion hasn’t matched my waist expansion the last few years.)

My pattern changes were simple. I cut the centre front piece a bit back from the fold (probably adding about 1.5” there, and I cut the back piece not on the fold, but extending out to the edge of the fabric so I would have extra fullness for the pleats. I added a more precise 3” to the waist and length, but in hindsight I should’ve added more because the wide underlap I tend to use on the closures of my “Victorian” style skirts needs more overlap than the narrow zipper closure the waistband is designed for. I also cut pocket bags, shaped to attach to the waistband. This nicely keeps the pockets from pulling on the side seams, but in hindsight I should have cut them using the upper part of the side front pattern piece for the shape, as that would’ve been a good size and supported the pocket nicely. Also I didn’t add quite enough length to accommodate the pocket reaching the waistband, so the actual part of the bag below the hand opening is really shallow. Though my phone didn’t fall out at work when I put it there, so they’re functional.

I came incredibly close to underlining the entire skirt in (real cotton) flannel, but didn’t have enough that I was prepared to sacrifice, so I just went with a single modern-style layer. It makes for a swishier skirt anyway.

I spent a LONG time fussing with the pleats to fit them into the waistband, and they’re still not great.

In the pics the rear closure isn’t lying especially flat, but I’m hoping it’s just my pinning because I got impatient and wore this before I made a button hole for the closure so it’s just held on with a big safety pin.

I was hoping for an invisible hem with hand hemming, especially since it required a LOT of easing, but I don’t know that it’s much more invisible than a machine blind hem. Oh well. It’s done now.

It maybe says something about the weird state of my wardrobe right now, but I’m hopeful that this skirt will be a really practical addition.

Unfortunately, I still have about a mètre of the fabric left. I’m tempted to make a matching top, or at least waistcoat, to extend the historybounding look, but we’ll see.

4 Comments

Filed under Sewing

Simple, practical, superfluous.

IMG_0765.JPG

I’ve had Burda 8855 for a long time—it was one of the earlier thrift-store patterns I picked up. And, frankly, it’s pretty damn near perfect: a long, not too full skirt, one of my favourite styles, and one I wear a fair bit when I’m in a “look at me!” point in my fashion cycle. Amidst all the craziness of Hallowe’en sewing, I was yearning to make something for myself, and traced it off. (A 70s vintage pattern, it doesn’t have seam allowances added. Which means I got to add my own, favourite 1cm seam allowance. YAY 🙂 ) Incidentally, the most fun thing about the pattern itself was discovering that it was printed on tissue paper identical in every way to the big Burda-brand tracing sheets I buy by the package at Fabricland, right down to the one shiny side and the precise folding scheme.) As I was auditioning black fabrics for Batgirl’s jacket/cape at Hallowe’en, I pulled out this mystery suiting, a sturdy twill weave that feels like it might have a hint of wool in. While I went with a leather-look knit for Batgirl, I knew this fabric would make a great, sturdy, plain black skirt.

IMG_0772.JPG

I traced and cut a straight size 38, adding a wide hem allowance to the bottom both because I like wide hems and just in case the length as drafted wasn’t enough (though 70s long skirts are generally fine, for some reason). Once I finally got it constructed enough to try on (there was some sewing together of incorrect sides and other humorous blunders) I trimmed a wee bit off the top to allow for the fact that my waist definitely not size 38, and a wee bit more off the top back in a teensy-tiny swayback adjustment. I often do this in dresses with a waist-seam, but it was interesting to see it happen in a solo skirt, especially since it’s not terribly fitted over the hips. Anyway; side-zip and a waistband. On reflection, while I am coming to terms with skirts that hit at my waist (at least if I don’t try to tuck a top in), I still prefer the look of a facing to an actual waistband. Less bulk in the area where I least need to add bulk. 😉 Especially since this pattern has no back seam so the zipper is at the side. Next time I try this pattern, I will try making a facing for it. Or maybe add a back seam to put the zipper in. Or maybe both.

IMG_0761.JPG

Once I had the top finished to my liking, I tried it on and decided that while the length at the back was good (allowing for a nice 2″ hem), the front could be a wee bit shorter. I trimmed about 1″ off the front, tapering to nothing just past the side seams. To make the turn-up on the flared skirt, I tried something new to me: I cranked the differential feed all the way up on my serger and serged the bottom edge of the skirt, gathering it somewhat as I went. This wound up being pretty much perfect for pressing it up; then I hand-stitched the hem, as I usually do. It’s not terribly smooth or pretty on the inside—a seam binding or other tape would help with that—but it was quick and functional. Quick being a big deal these days.

IMG_0762.JPG

It was a deliciously quick project; IIRC, I traced the pattern on Saturday night, cut and sewed on Sunday, and finished the hem Sunday evening, to wear the skirt Monday morning. Now that is a win.

IMG_0774.JPG

I did a lapped zipper. That probably didn’t help with the whole side-bulk thing. >_<

IMG_0759.JPG

So I’m quite happy with the skirt, aside from some funkiness about my buttonhole on the waistband (buttonhole is not centred but button is, which causes some bubbling at the side, just where you don’t want it.) And It’s been worn a number of times since. I was quite pleased with myself for finally adding such a versatile basic piece* to my closet. Then, while digging through that closet for things to wear with the skirt, I found not one, but two long black skirts from my pre-sewing days that, um, I had kinda forgotten about. So apparently it’s a staple that I already possessed.

IMG_0764.JPG

I still like my new skirt best, though.

*your mileage may vary. 😉

9 Comments

Filed under Sewing