Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Pantone Challenge-- Patterns from Manequim, My Image and Burda

Okay people, this is it!  It's the last project for the Fabricista Fashion Challenge sponsored by Fabric Mart.

The folks at Fabric Mart will post all contestants work on their blog Tues, Nov 19th-- voting will be open Tues and Wed the 19th and 20th-- results will be up on their blog Thurs, Nov 21, 2013.  You can check everyone's final work HERE and VOTE!

This is what I sewed up... 

Let's review what we were assigned this final round:

Challenge: Create three pieces that can be worn together as one outfit or two outfits that could be worn to the same event. Using the Pantone Fall Color Report, select two colors to inspire your outfit.  You will be judged on creativity, craftsmanship, use of color, and fit. 

I started with Emerald-- the Pantone Color of the Year, and Mykonos Blue.  I also was inspired by Carafe as an interesting addition to my palette. 

I put together a veritable United Nations of sewing patterns with designs from Brazil, Germany and the Netherlands.  My goals: 1) To sew with a bold color palette 2) Make an outfit with three easy to wear separates. 3) Include interesting design details. 4) To be able to mix and match each item with many other garments already in my wardrobe-- I wanted to make stuff I WILL wear on a regular basis.  Over the past weeks in this competition I may have sewn up a few garments that will likely be worn 1-3 times a year.  

I started with the skirt.  This pattern is from the April 2012 issue of the Brazilian magazine Manequim.  It's #2211, a Marc Jacobs knockoff (I think... I don't read Portuguese and there are no English translations.)  I tried to translate some of the directions on Google Translate but it was so tedious... so I did what I wanted.  I really liked the swooshy, soft a-line with the pleating details on the waist, front, back and hemline.

I made a size 44 muslin and quickly realized that the hemline pleats were weighing it all down in an awkward way.  Plus the skirt was NOT an a-line at all, it was a full straight skirt.  I got rid of those pleats on the lower hemline and created a hip skimming a-line. The sizing was spot on for me.  This was my first go with a Manequim pattern.

I had plenty of this really lovely floral poly fabric-- it acts much like rayon challis-- so I used it to line my skirt as you can see in the pic below.  I was careful to hand pick my zipper on the inside, too.

And now for the top!  I wanted a blouson top to tuck into my skirt and Burda 7/2013 #103 pattern was perfect.  You can download it here on BurdaStyle.com.  I cut a 42 and graded to a 40 at the neck/shoulders.  It's pretty boxy and full, the underarm dipped really quite low showing off my bra.  I took it in to a small-ish 40 at the bust and waist.

The fabric has a subtle paisley throughout the weave of the material.  It's a beautifully draping poly jacquard with a very light amount of spandex.  I actually cut my back panel in one whole piece as opposed to the two separate parts the pattern recommends (I accidentally marked my traced pattern to cut it on the fold, but it was no big deal.)

Here is what the top looks like untucked.  I made this to tuck and intentionally made the hip area closer fitting to lay nicely underneath the skirt.  The shirt is self lined, too.  There is a seam down the front middle.

The final garment is my ponte knit blazer.  This material was actually from my first pilgrimage to Fabric Mart's store in Pennsylvania just a few weeks back... I paid only two dollars a yard for this!  I had plans to make a knit jacket this fall and knew this was the right moment to.  I wanted a nice and cozy alternative to a cardigan.  I used My Image M1161 from the Winter 2011/2012 issue in a size 42 and shortened it by 2" (5 cm) for a cropped look.  (I also made all of these cowl tops from the issue just last winter).  I've worked with many My Image patterns before... and like the rest of them I have the same issue/complaint: the directions suck.  They are translated to English from Dutch.  Something has to be lost in translation, they are confusing and hard to follow.  I got so annoyed with them that I chucked the directions and went at it on my own.  Much easier!

The technical drawing isn't fully accurate adding to my confusion: 1) The front panel seam ends at the top of the pocket but shows it continuing to the bottom hem. 2) They show seams on the inside of the neckline that aren't really there. 3) There are two seams in the arms that aren't in the drawing, and the back one doesn't match up to the seams on the back bodice!!  The fabric layout is inaccurate: they ask you to cute two back collars when you only need one.

BUT otherwise the pattern itself is really great.  It's meant for woven fabric but I knew a stable ponte would be pretty nice, too.  It's labeled as a 2 out of 4 on their scale of difficulty but a mildly experienced beginner would toss this one in the bin part way through with such confusing directions.  I really like My Image patterns but often have to just push through the directions.

I sew a lot with knits... it is a PAIN in the rear to photograph.  Wrinkles and shadows that you don't see magically show up in all the pics.

I'd normally add my own lining on a blazer that doesn't include one in the pattern but I wanted this to be comparable to a casual but slightly nicer sweater cardigan.  I opted to serge my seams inside.  I also stabilized my shoulders seams by using Easy Knit Tape.  It's marketed to quilters... I buy mine at Jo@nn Fabric.  This is a perfect substitution for us Americans who have no easy or immediate access to Vilene Bias Tape (a product recommended in Burda and other European knitwear patterns).  I use it the same way one would use its European equivalent.  I explain more about it in this blog post.

The knit is really more brown (or should I say Carafe?) then it looks here-- the gray and cloudy day created an interesting light making it look a bit different.  I used some scraps from my blue top for the pockets.  I love that paisley in there!  So juicy!!  See, you can spot where the seam ends at the pocket.  This was my first time seeing a My Image technical drawing have inaccuracies.

I'm really excited to have all of these three pieces in my wardrobe!  I was sure I wanted to make three things I will actually wear.  I like to sew useful, wearable, everyday stuff.  I've already worn the blazer over a turtleneck with jeans and LOVE it to bits and pieces!  If I ever have a lifestyle that demands office-wear, avant garde design or fanciful cotillion gowns, you bet I'll be sewing them up.

And that is my final project for the Fabricista Fashion Challenge!  I think the biggest challenge throughout this thing was the time limitations.  It forced me to work with what I already had (and often make due with fabric shopping at a particular big box fabric store, unfortunately... but I did score some nice material!)  My favorite technique that I mastered (finally!) is a machine rolled hem.  It's stupid easy.  I used this hemming technique on both my top and skirt in the final challenge... plus a multitude of other garments.  I never once felt like I was "competing" with the other folks in the contest-- instead, I was so excited and thrilled to see everyone's work each week!  I had fun and hope you all enjoyed seeing how all the ladies in the competition sew under pressure.  And because I am a compulsive seamstress, I've already cut and began sewing my next project-- Papercut Pattern's Ooh La La Leggings for cold weather running.


  1. Green is my favorite color and I love it paired with blue. That's a really cute top. I love the twisty thingy going on. Yes twisty thingy is my technical term :) Good luck in the challenge! We are all winners in my book!

  2. Nice! I love all the pieces, but especially the top - I'd been interested in that pattern, so it's nice to see it sewn up!

  3. You did such a great job! I especially like that you always talk about the patterns you use!

  4. We are totally winners!! Good luck to you!!! And thanks for the kind words :) And also, I don't think Burda articulates any better as to what that twisty thingy is!

  5. Thank you! Yes, go sew that thang up. It's really easy and has so much potential with some crazy fun fabric.

  6. Thank you Kelly! I was a little nervous about my color palette even after I finished it. But I found that floral green fabric and HAD to use it ... and the rest just followed along.

  7. You have to sew that top. I didn't give that pattern a 2nd look before and I'm totally sold on it. Thanks for such kind words, Gail!

  8. Awww, thanks Pam! I'm obsessed with sewing and how patterns work so I can't help but talk about what designs I sew with.

  9. The skirt is my favourite out of the three, but I'll bet the jacket gets tons of wear! I really love the skirt fabric, such a cool colour and print. I'm glad you managed to make sense of the pattern, I don't think I'm confident enough in my construction knowledge to fly blind like that!

  10. You did an amazing job! Such detail in everything. I know you worked so hard. I have to make that jacket....I would wear it all the time. Good choice of fabric. I've enjoyed your projects and commentary so much. Thank you.

  11. What a great outfit, Kathy, with so many possibilities! I especially love your bright and cheery skirt. Congratulations on making it to the end. You always sew well made garments. I love how you use magazine patterns, too. I have some narrator's that I'm planning on working with soon and I'm hoping it won't be a confusing pain to sew them.

  12. I love the skirt and the blazer. Emerald green is my favourite colour., so no surprise there! And the blazer looks so darn cozy! Great job and good luck!

  13. Just been off and voted for you! Love the jacket. Love love the skirt and simply adore the top, which is in my fave colour!!! SO hope you win, then we get to read stuff from you on the fabric mart site as well as this one. Double Kathy :-) Yay!!!

  14. Woah. Woah. WOAH!!

    I remember this jacket but didn't realize it was the same ponte.

    You. Went. To. FabricMart?!?!?!?! Color me green! :-) Not to mention the $2/yard SCORE. I think I paid $7.99!!!

  15. Ha! I have no idea why it was only two bucks. They have this big front room in their store where everything was marked down on a bunch of tables... I got a boatload of stuff that day. I even got this really interesting wool that I plan to make a jacket with. I am only about 1.5 hours away from them, and easy drive there through PA.

  16. Hey m back stalking your makes ;) Lovely trio here..
    Well I am curious to make this jacket now..last year i started with Anise colette patterns and left it to gather dust in my to-complete list. It was a way too complex pattern for a fairly experience beginner like me. To try a jacket again,do not want notched collars so was thinking of this one. is it as complex as anise for sewing ? By looks of it , it is not . is it a two piece sleeve ? will I be able to make the pockets and shawl collar with the not-easy-to-understand instructions ?