Back in late April/early May when I got my sewing machine, I already had a pattern picked out for a first piece of clothing: Burda’s Linda Skirt (8164). It’s marked as easy, and sounded straightforward enough. I also like having some volume to summer skirts, as it means I can plop myself on the ground comfortably without flashing everyone. Also, the pattern is cheap.
I started it almost right away, and I finally managed to finish it on July 12. (Here’s a photo.) I wore it out last Saturday, and it was cute and comfy, and I am happy with the end result. That”s a good thing, because putting this together was a pain in the ass. Here’s the rundown:
- I misunderstood the information about fabric widths, and bought a fabric that was not wide enough for the skirt pattern. I spent some time cutting out little triangles of fabric and stitching them onto the cut pieces so they were the correct shape. Luckily these patches are at the hem, so you won’t see them unless you are looking for them.
- I struggled to understand the instructions for attaching the skirt outer and lining to the zipper. If I understood it correctly, you wind up stitching over everything twice. I bungled my way through an attempt to follow their instructions. Turns out the mark on the pattern that indicates the bottom of the zipper was too far down for my zipper (and yes, I got the correct length of zipper).
- Once I got the lining and outer assembled and the zipper added, I tried it on. It was way too big (not to mention that the zipper was wavy). As in, it fell right off of me. Since it’s not gathered, I knew that attaching the waistband would not really help. I measured myself for a third time (I had measured twice before I cut the pattern pieces), got the same numbers, and compared that to the pattern size chart. Got the same size. The same, very much too big size. The skirt was put away for a few weeks while I worked on some other projects.
- Then I spent time ripping out the zipper. Using a skirt that fits me, I figured out which size I wanted to cut. I cut the pattern pieces down, and then I cut down the fabric and started over.
- I looked at some zipper tutorials and made up my own method of attaching the zipper. Basically I hand-basted everything together to make a zipper sandwich, and then just ran it through the machine. (I also ironed the zipper before and after every step, as that is supposed to help, and I think it did. The re-installed zipper is much flatter.)
- I tried it on and it was a much more reasonable size. I proceeded to decipher the instructions for the waistband, and then made up my own method based on my understanding of the final goal. I had also cut the waistband down to the new size and guess what? The waistband didn’t reach all the way around the skirt! I double-checked what I had done and everything was cut for the same size. I angrily stitched a couple of inches of what I had cut off back on to the waistband.
- Lastly, there was not enough room on the waistband overlap for me to install the button that I had purchased for that purpose. I’m not sure how much of this is a problem I created with the way I did the waistband, or if it’s the button size, or what. I decided that I would just put in a hook and eye.
Overall I am not sure what to make of this experience. Obviously I caused some of the problems. But the skirt wasn’t too big because of anything I did — I was as precise as possible in measuring myself and cutting out the pieces. I should have made a muslin (and I knew that before I started) but I wasn’t able to find anything at the fabric store that seemed cheap enough to use for that purpose. Now I know that this step is worth the investment.
Even before I started this project I had planned to make a second version for fall, in a chocolate brown or a tweed. But now I’m not so sure I want to go through this all again. While I have things cut out so that the final product is a size that will actually fit me, I’m not convinced that I want to work with this pattern again. Maybe I just need some time away from it.
I’m also not sure that I’ll get another pattern from Burda Style (and this pattern is one that they produce, not a user-produced pattern), which is a shame because they have some cute stuff. There was just not quite enough instruction & diagrams for some of the steps, and while I can understand that in something marked advanced, this has their easiest rating. To me, that indicates it’s suitable for a beginner, but I would disagree with that assessment of this pattern. Does anyone else have experience with Burda Style patterns? Is this a fluke? Are there particular pattern makers that you gravitate towards?