Category Archives: Burda Style

The What Does The Fox Say Dress

I would be the first to admit that I can be a bit behind trends. Or maybe I wouldn’t be first, because I would behind the trend of knowing that I was behind the trend. I think part of this comes down to the fact that I get most of my pop culture news from my friend Ben, hi, Ben! And Ben only sends me things that have to do with Game of Thrones or cat ladies dying alone, I guess because he feels like those are my two major interests. And, hey, he’s not wrong, per se, but it does mean that I saw the Rebecca Black Friday video way later than everyone I’ve ever met. And I still haven’t seen any of the Miley Cyrus stuff, or the Gangnam Style Video. But that might be a conscious choice on my part, I’m okay with my existence as it is. I HAVE seen this video with kittens doing the Lion King, so, you know, I think I’m doing pretty well. Though if those people would do kitten Shakespeare I would seriously lose my mind with happiness. Meow is the winter of my discontent made glorious summer, AM I RIGHT?

Ahem. As you enjoy that splendid joke in all it’s glory and admire my brilliance, let me tell you about my latest dress, which I have named after a new internet Meme (well, not THAT new, as I explained) that my friend Ranjit introduced me to (THANK YOU, Ranjit. Ben, step up.) Basically it’s this video. And it’s weird. And scientifically inaccurate.

763a1ba9552164ff69a0c079a0e47b34Foxes actually sound like this. Except in England where they probably sound like “STOP HUNTING ME FOR SPORT YOU COMPLETE AND UTTER TOOLISH PRAT!” It’s England, they say prat there. But the point is, that video is super weird and I can’t get the song out of my head. Also, there is an awesome SNL parody of this with the incomparable Kerry Washington who I would love to be my best friend and we could drink copious amounts of wine and talk about how pretty and talented she is. I feel that this could happen. If you see her, do let her know about this plan, I’m sure she’d be on board.

So, this song implanted itself in my consciousness, which is probably another reason I let youtube video trends pass me by, because I get WAY too into them and influenced by them, and I went ahead and bought some fox themed fabric. Like you do.

WDTFS 3.jpgAnd I made a dress! Please enjoy my face filled with laughter and delightful closed-eye photo. The pattern is the Hope Wrap dress which I have now made 4 times. When I like something….This time I made it a faux-wrap by stitching the whole thing together. I have to say, I love this style, I know a wrap isn’t for everyone and I respect that, but it really works for me.

WDTFS 2.jpgThis is me, thinking seriously about what the fox says. The foxes on MY dress just tell me I’m pretty.

WDTFS 1.jpgMy boss took these for me at work and I got lots of posing advice from her and my co-worker, Martin. This three-quarter turn with the Miss America arms is all them. Can’t you just see me telling everyone what I want is World Peace? Cue the “cupping a bird” wave.

WDTFS 5.jpgThe fit of this is pretty nice, I think. I mean, knits make all that so easy, and this jersey shrank a tiny bit in the wash but also softened a bit, becoming a little heathery, and the stretch is nice but not too drapey, so it holds the shape well. I should just tack the wrap part at the bust, I have it kept together with a safety-pin now like the class act I am.

WDTFS 4.jpgThese indoor photos make the color look duller then it is, it’s actually a deeper blue and a truer brick red. I got the fabric from Girl Charlee, duh, and while you can’t find the dark blue there anymore, they have the same pattern in a lighter blue, if you want to go foxy as well.

WDTFS 7.jpgThese foxes are so cute. I love them. I love wearing this dress! Seriously, this pattern is great and so easy, I would recommend it heartily to anyone, especially someone new to knits, because it’s simple and flattering and quick and looks good on everyone I’ve seen make it. There are tons of wrap dress patterns out there but this one is FREE.

WDTFS 6.jpgYou are never lonely if your clothing is covered in friends! Fantastic foxy friends. So I’m pretty sure what the fox REALLY says is, awesome dress, Leah!

Also, in holy cuteness news, Foxes apparently wag their tails when they are happy. AND IT’S AWESOME.

You’re welcome.

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The That’s A Wrap Dress

The body is an amazing thing. My friend Jenny, who is, in time, going to be the best doctor who has ever lived, and I were recently having a conversation about stress and its effect on the body and the way it can manifest in physical ways. Most people don’t want to deal with this connection, but it actually makes me feel better to know that I’m feeling sick through stress and not through some kind of stomach ailment. Of course, it’s no easier to control, but still, it’s nice to know. Of course, if your mind can cause you pain, the implication would be that the reverse is also true, it can repress pain until it’s time to deal with it. Which leads right to my theory that just after a stressful and difficult time I end up getting sick, right in the moment when I’m allowed to relax, boom. The last thing is due and the day after it’s sniffles for days. So given that I just finished my third semester of Graduate School, it makes complete sense that I would get a cold. Right? It’s this kind of logic that comforts me when I’m drowning in a sea of herbal tea and my own mucus.

But before I succumbed to my head cold, which really hasn’t been so bad, as they go, knock on wood, I had a chance to get some photos of a recent creation! Honestly, my garment backlog right now is astounding, I can’t even deal with it. Slowly but surely over this break I will be catching up, though that being said I’m also making more things too, so….it’s a vicious cycle. But given that I’m taking two trips in the next 5 weeks at least the backgrounds to these future photos have the potential to be more interesting than my current batches which have been taken in stolen Tisch classrooms. Not that I should complain, they are super well-lit, and my lovely co-worker Griffin took the following photos, too, because he is a rockstar.

So I’ve wanted a knit wrap dress for a while, and didn’t make one for literally no reason at all. Honestly, there is no good reason I didn’t make this earlier, there is even a free pattern for it, The Hope Dress from BurdaStyle. It was easy and quick and painless and I love it. Why didn’t I do this before? Maybe I was swamped with my writing dreams? That sounds as good an excuse as any….but don’t just take my word for this, see how cute it is yourself!

TAW 1I got the fabric on Ebay, and it’s a sort of soft black. This photo captures it the best. It kind of reminds me of someone, actually, can you guess who?

image-2I sent my mother a photo of him the other day and she was like, I always forget how large he is! And then my roommate Emily saw this amazing video and asked if WE could get a baby elephant and I explained that we already have one. And now I have a dress to match him! Or at least his dark little tail.

TAW 2This dress was a breeze to make. I didn’t even have to print the pattern, we actually used it in the costume shop for a show set in the 1970’s, so it was all printed out for me and then my awesome boss just handed it to me when we were done.

TAW 4This fabric is a little drapey, which I like, and I modified the pattern to make it my size (40ish, or about a 6) from a size 34. I also lengthened the sleeves, but made no other alterations.

TAW 6The edges are bound with a strip of jersey, and that’s the part that takes the most time, really. But that’s okay! It’s worth it! Man, comfortable, stylish, timeless, who doesn’t love a wrap dress? Thank you, Diane Von Furstenberg! You are the best!

TAW 5Wrap dresses do have one drawback, and that’s of course if you have things that can, uh, be easily UNwrapped should the edges of the dress slip. I just secure the neckline with a small safety pin, myself, which makes for a slight curve in the line of the front wrap piece, as you can see, but I’m fine with that, it’s much better then the alternative…

TAW 3

What can you do? Is what it is. And if the only true solution is to avoid wrap dresses altogether, well, that’s not going to happen. I’ve already made this pattern three times. It seems a fitting end to my semester, after all, wrapping things up (SEE WHAT I DID THERE BAHAHAHAH OH GOD I THINK THE COLD MEDICATION IS SINKING IN.)

And with that terrible joke, I bid you adieu, I’m off to nap and cough. Seriously, if you are on the fence about this pattern, make it, it’s easy and fun and I think it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. Annnnd that’s a wrap. Wah wah waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

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The Dynamic Duo Outfit

Some things just go well together, like steak and fries, or Barbie and Ken, or wine and I, or bacon and …everything (shush, I know I’m Jewish, you let me worry about that, I had a nice long chat with Elohim and he was like, Yaweh or NOway, and I was like, yes, but try this, and he was like, this is amazing, what was I THINKING when I made this trafe? And I was like, we all have our off days. And then we ate ALL the bacon and laughed and laughed and laughed and talked about how everyone in the Torah was in bed. Spoiler alert, Issac was pretty kinky. Sigh. How I wish this was true…. maybe I will write this, a la Salman Rushdie, and have a fatwah put out on me. That’s how you know you’ve really made it, when large groups of people are calling for your head. Joan of Arc was, like, so famous.) Combinations are important, I believe. As a child I always loved this plastic plate my mother got for us that had little compartments for different parts of the meal. I still love this, to be fair, show me a bento box and I will love you forever, this is a fact. I know it’s all the same to my stomach but I am a segregationist when it comes to food. But when it comes to making things, that’s another story.

So, a few years ago now, my, how time does fly, I saw this outfit on Mad Men:

jane-hollowayI love this, and not just because of Christana Hendrick’s super sassy expression, but because it’s such a lovely outfit, and in a lot of ways is super modern, couldn’t you just see this in a modern office? I loved this image and I filed it away as inspiration to some something similar. And then I….didn’t.

The thing is, some outfits inspire you not just because of the individual pieces, but because of the combination of factors. Why must all things be a choice? Why are we suffering under this oppressive yoke of election? Can’t I have everything at once? Can I have bacon AND Judaism? Why do I have to limit myself to one piece of inspiration or the other? Can’t I copy an entire outfit without feeling like a loser? Well, regardless of how I felt, I still made an imitation outfit. So step right up and judge me, internets, I don’t even care, because I love this very much:

DD 2Obviously it’s not quite as Joan as Joan can be. First of all it’s a faux-wrap top, which I made from the Hope Dress Pattern, a free Burda Style download (FREE PATTERN!), and Girl Charlee fabric and it’s lower cut than Miss. Holloway’s top, which is funny, I don’t think I’ve ever been LESS modest then Joan before… Not that I’m casting aspersions on her honor, here, I love Joan, I respect her, I’m not a Jaguar executive (ooooh, it’s still too soon to joke, isn’t it? The Other Woman is one of the best single stand alone episodes to television ever. Fact.)  Second of all, it’s a sort of dark teal peacock color (not as it looks in the photos) not red. But that being said, I think the tweed pencil skirt/wrap top thing works pretty well! I’m thrilled with it, anyway.

IITSFOF 2

See my odd grimace? Nothing says happiness like grinding your teeth together so hard you start to feel powder between them!

IITSFOF 3There is sort of a drop-shoulder thing going on with this pattern which is fine, but I don’t know that I would include it next time I make this. I’m thinking about doing a slim-fitting faux-wrap dress in red. Thoughts? Seriously, if you haven’t tried the Hope Pattern, do it, it’s free, it’s one size but easy to size up or down with a knit, and I actually really love the neckline, it’s a nice shape and quite flattering.

To the skirt!

IITSFF 1Oy, that invisible zipper is a little visible. OH well. Whatever. Why did I use an invisible zipper? Because that’s what I had. Factual. The pattern is my beloved pencil skirt, Simplicity 4529, a godsend, a dream, a wonder, the one of 10 darts and one seam and all my devotion. I used a yard of grey tweed wool from the Ebay, and a china silk lining from Mood, so that’s 20 darts in total. 20. Darts. Holy hell, this thing is a dart monster. Worth it! Look at that fit! Love it. I know I’m asking the internets to enjoy the view of my posterior and I don’t even care, such is the majesty of this skirt pattern. Back vent! I think Joan would approve.

The waistband button looks like something off a Sailor’s Peacoat, no?

DD 1I love skirts like this that let you use up all those single buttons in your stash. Delightful.

DD 4Channeling Joan with the sassy pose, though she probably would have preferred a nice pump to the boots I have here, but I can’t be Joan all the time, guys! I have to live my own life!

As you can probably tell, these photos were taken at work by my lovely co-worker, Christopher, who is an amazing sewer and costume design student. And a peach. He put up with all of my demands, like, okay, more, but make me look better, would you?

As a parting gift, enjoy this photo of Cadfael, who is the best part of any combination:

image-2I’m happy to have made a skirt that finally matches him. At least all the cat hair will just blend in this way! Ha, unintentional genius moment, well done, self! And yet, somehow I know he will find a way to assert himself, he always does….

 

 

 

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The No Place Like Home Outfit

And now we come to my costume. My costume which is of course the iconic and rather boring Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.

At the age of ten I was IN The Wizard of Oz, but I was the Cowardly Lion. I was AMAZING. This is a fact. Ask my mom. It’s for real. But this year I decided to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Why? I couldn’t tell you. I have no really reason why I decided on this costume. I just knew I could make that costume and I felt like it would be easy and…no other reason. I’m a weird fixator. So that was all decided.

And then I made it! This is not that great of a story…

Again, Emily snapped these of me quickly at that same Halloween party I had previously mentioned, so the color quality is…terrible. Sigh.

I took a Burda-Style pattern, the ever popular ever hated Dress with Gathered Skirt, and modified the bodice. I basically chopped off the arms, made up the bodice as a strapless one, and then added strips in for sleeves. I then took two large rectangles and gathered them for the skirt. Side zipper, machine hem, boom.

I also made the blouse, a JJ Blouse without ruffles. Boy, Burda Style really did me well for Halloween!

A little back view for you.

I got the red shoes from Payless, I know, I know, that’s terrible for the world, but they WERE cheap…

Because I wore what is essentially a cute and non-threatening or creepy or extremely revealing costume, and I wore it on the subway, people felt quite comfortable coming up and talking to me all night, both in Manhattan and in Brooklyn. It was rather disconcerting, but fine.

Oh, yes, here is my toto:

Given the insane hurricane that hit the East Coast this week, I’m stuck in my apartment (and in Brooklyn in general, the subways have been shut down since Sunday). So I hope you are all safe and secure if you were in the path of the storm, or even if you weren’t! Happy Halloween!

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The “I Barely Get the Reference” Dress

Let’s just start right here and say that I’ve never seen Game of Thrones. STOP YELLING AT ME! I know, I know, it’s great, blah blah blah. I just, I have a lot of T.V. in my life, do I really need more? Okay, maybe I do, I’m sure it’s a lot better than Hart of Dixie. Ha, I’m just kidding, nothing is better than Hart of Dixie. But I digress.

The POINT is, my roommate, Emily, wanted to go as a character from Game of Thrones this year for Halloween. Well, I had talked her into being Mary from Downton Abbey because A. She loves the show and B. I really wanted to make someone an Edwardian gown and that business is never going to look good on me but on tall EMILY it probably would be baller. But alas, we were invited to Emily’s sisters Halloween Party and said party had a fantasy theme. My costume could remain the same (more on that later) but we had to either Doctor-Who-up Mary (which didn’t sit right with any of us, Steven Moffat included) or find something else. And hence my wonderful roommate picked Daenerys Targaryen.

Of course, I knew I would never be able to perfectly duplicate the original dress. But I wanted to get close! It’s actually a lot lighter, the shade of blue, but this is the image Emily and I took fabric shopping with us, so this is the business we’ve chosen.

Together we scouted the New York Garment District for polyester chiffon. Now, normally I’m a natural fibers girl to the point of mania, but this was a Halloween costume on Emily’s dime, so it was man-made all the way. We also wanted to find something that was a reasonable price, because, again, Halloween costume. The upside of the New York Fabric scene is the variety. The downside, for me, is the price. How I miss my beloved Philadelphia!

Still, we managed to find a nice blue polyester Georgette for 6 a yard, which was the best I thought we could do, at Fabrics Counter at 554 8th Avenue, and the very nice cutters there agreed with me that Emily was going to look amazing. And look amazing she did:

Of course, these photos had to be crammed in during the party, so the light and surrounding aren’t as regal as one might have hoped, but what can you do?

Emily had to put a serious face on, as befits a queen.

But eventually I forced her to smile.

The color of the dress is less teal then it appears. The pattern I used is Burda Style’s Drape Dress, and of course it has the typical non-instructions Burda always so sweetly gives us. Whatever, I just made it up as I went. The inside of this dress is a huge struggle and you will never see it. The changes I made, oh, boy. Well, I basically made my own drapes, rather than following the pattern for the waist and bodice. But I quite like the effect.

You can just see the lining, a navy taffeta I had on hand, I should have under-stitched. Should have, could have, would have.

And I lengthened the pattern signficantly to hit Emily’s feet. And I added long shoulder pieces, because that’s what the original costume has. And I totally made up the back, just made it the hell up.

Of course, Emily’s wig is in the way, but you get the idea.

Look at that. Would you ever steal that woman’s dragons?

I literally know nothing about the show. That’s a thing, right? Dragons?

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The I Guess It’s Okay Skirt

First of all, thank you all so much, SO much for your amazing and thoughtful comments on my last post. I haven’t been able to respond to them yet the way I would like to, but your thoughtful responses just thrilled and amazed me (though I really should stop being amazed at how awesome this sewing community is). If you haven’t read the book discussed, give it a gander if you get a chance, it’s really worth readying. I think this is such an interesting subject and clearly is something that we all think about or consider when we sew, both the gender roles involved and it’s impact on our lives and then the world in general. And just to clarify, when I talk about smugness, I really mean myself, I’m SUPER smug about sewing, I’m really just the worst, on the outside I’m like, ohhh, no, it’s really NO big deal, but on the inside I’m like, yes, I’m just generally better then you, ain’t no thang. It’s okay to be impressed about what a huge flipping deal I am. No biggie.

In other news, meh. Meh on me. I have NOT been a diligent blogger of late. Or a responsive person. Or a good emailer. The only thing I’ve kept up is consistent feeding of the cat and if I don’t do that he screams at me.

 

So deceptively calm.

But school is wonderful but busy and guess what? Guess what? Guess what? I got a job working in the Tisch undergraduate costume shop! Waaaaaaaaaaa? Yeah. AWESOME.

Actually, in all seriousness, I couldn’t be more thrilled. The people who work there are lovely, the woman who designed the show we are working on right now is a lovely young designer still in college but she’s so talented and smart that I want to just learn from her now, and she’s just one person there! The supervisors are lovely, the shop is fascinating, and I’m pleased as punch to have been able to hustle work-study into sewing time. Seriously, I sew and they pay me (in theory, I just started on Friday so I have no proof of that yet). It’s splendid.

Technically I’m overhire, so I just work around the student productions, but there is something really fun about rushed crazied costume building. (Especially when it’s a part time gig, let’s be real.) But I got to use a serger! On my first day! Living the dream, people, living the dream.

So now that we are all caught up, this thing is a thing I made. Meh to this thing too:

I made this three weeks ago, forced my roommate to take photos of it last week, and am just posting it today. STRUGGLE. I’ve worn it a number of times, and it’s cute enough, I suppose, but it’s not the skirt I set out to make. Can you believe the impulse behind this was to be more pencil than pouf? No? At this point neither can I…

I used BurdaStyle’s Marie pattern, a pattern I have used TWICE before, and yet for whatever reason this time I must have cut it wrong? Or something? I don’t know, it doesn’t taper at the hem which it is supposed to do. I converted the back pleats into darts, but that really oughtn’t to make a difference…..I don’t even know, guys. I don’t even know.

It’s also a bit big. Sigh. And wrinkled. Ah, well, that’s reality for you!

Still, it’s cute enough, and insanely practical (a solid colored neutral modest-but-cute skirt? Yeah, where CAN’T I wear this thing? Other then the Met ball or a nightclub, it’s pretty much a go-everywhere thing). And it’s stash busting, which is, by the way, my biggest fall goal, because I just really need to rid myself of fabric. It’s…taking over my life.

So all in all it’s fine, but honestly, it’s really just okay. Still, I’ll wear it, I’ll use it, but I wish I knew what had gone wrong!

In the meantime, I made another skirt (more on that to come), cut out a blouse and a pair of black denim Clovers, and looked at the men’s shirt pattern for a long time with no motivation. Why is it so hard to sew for other people? Sigh.

Fall Sewing! It continues! Has anything crazy (like a new graduate program and a new city) taken over your life lately? How did you deal?

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The Something Blue Dress

Another dress, you say? Good lord, Leah, can’t you make anything else? Well I can, of course, but sometimes I CHOOSE not to. And for a wedding, when the attire is formal/cocktail attire, well, a pant-suit just isn’t going to cut it (unless you are Hilary Clinton. Then you can do whatever you want.)

Real Talk: What is WITH people making up their own degrees of dress? Sport Causal Basic. Business formal fun. Black-Tie Interpretive. COME on. I discussed this with my friend Becca’s boyfriend, Derek (hi, Derek!) and we agreed you can’t just MAKE stuff up, it’s confusing and upsetting, especially if you are coming in from out-of-town and don’t have unlimited wardrobe options because you have a suitcase not Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. Luckily, Jenny did not do such a thing with her wedding because A. She’s a champion and B. she was PROPERLY raised. I went to a “black-tie-modest” wedding last year. Granted, it was an orthodox Jewish wedding, but STILL. That’s not a THING.

At any rate, this is the dress I made for Jenny’s amazing wonderful spectacular moving and gorgeous wedding. Of course, what I made is rather inconsequential because the bride was the focus of the day, as well she should have been, walking around all beautiful and stunning and glowy, but I thought you might like to see what I sewed up anyway, so here it is:

The pattern is a Burda Style, V-neck cocktail dress with starbust (PS: Burda Style, could you please put any effort at ALL into your pattern names? It’s embarrassing. Almost as embarrassing as your instructions! ZING.). I made a muslin and liked the shape, but found the neckline extremely low, so I raised it a full 3.5 inches, because it was a day wedding in Highland Park, IL,  not a night wedding in Vegas.

I forced my friend Lisa at gunpoint (i.e. I asked her nicely) to shoot some photos before the ceremony started, and she graciously agreed. With all her pageant training (true story) she was the best photo-director I’ve ever had! Thank you, Lisa. This is my angry model face.

The material is a silk charmuse from Mood in New York. Love the color. I learned a lot making this dress, and looking at the final product I do like it, but I think I should have underlined it with silk organza to stiffen the slippery charmuse and give it a bit more structure. Still, it’s not too shabby, don’t you think?

I lined the bodice but didn’t line the skirt, and I switched the invisible side zipper for a visible one, (hand-picked, of course) but otherwise made no changes. I straight up ignored the instructions, as they are worthless.

A little over the shoulder action for you. Hello, sailor….

Funny story, Becca and Derek, who housed Lisa and I for the weekend (Thank you thank you thank you!) live in Chicago proper, in a lovely area that just so happened to be in the heart of this weekend’s Gay Pride Parade. The parade looked like an awesome event, but it seriously interfered with our “getting to the Suburbs for the wedding on Sunday morning” plans.  So we ended up getting up early, taking a cab to a train stop and taking that train to a suburb and finding a Starbucks to hang about in until we got caffeinated and called ANOTHER cab to take us to the country club for the wedding. All of this, of course, we did in our wedding finery, which for Derek just meant a suit, but Lisa and I wandered around in heels and fancy dresses like crazy people. Becca, being a bridesmaid, didn’t have to deal with any of this crap. Still, it was an adventure! Not a day goes by I don’t wish I was walking around an empty strip mall parking lot dressed for a wedding….

That’s the face I wear when I think about wandering around strip-mall parking lots. It also shows you the starburst which, try as I might, didn’t iron quite right. Sigh. You can’t have everything. ]

Still, not bad from the back, eh? Oh, that’s right, I also added a slit to make entering the garment a bit more, shall we say, user friendly?

Of course, I simply must feature a photo with my lovely photographer:

Isn’t she just to die for?

I totally failed at asking Jenny what her four things were, like, something old, something new, blah blah blah. I’m sure she had four amazing things (including her AMAZING dress), but just in case she didn’t, she had the something old (her friends) and something blue (Lisa and I) completely covered:

Are those not some of the most attractive people you’ve seen today?

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