I am a keen dressmaker, and try and make something every few months or so. My main problem is laziness and procrastination, so I find that it often takes me a few months to get going on something. Particularly with Burda Style magazine patterns.
I buy Burda Style magazine every month, unless there's nothing in there that I fancy making (it's happened once in the last year), and there are usually a few things in each issue I like. The major drawback is that these patterns need tracing, and it's such a pain to crawl around on the floor finding the right line (there are hundreds - I'll post a picture some time to show you), tracing the right line, then cutting out, pinning to fabric, cutting out the fabric etc. It's a right pain in the knees I can tell you! (Perhaps I need to invest in some knee pads...)
Anyway, this particular pattern was in the August 2011 issue, for a cape which looked gorgeous in the magazine in a lovely boucle fabric. When Mum kindly bought me my new sewing machine, we went to Leon's Fabric in Chorlton and I found a gorgeous pink and black houndstooth wool, which I thought would be perfect. I cut the pieces out in September (while watching Downton Abbey on a Sunday evening - perfect sewing time I find), but had said I would make 16 jackets for our Pom Dance team's competition in November, so had to have a break to make those. They were finished in November, and then of course it was Christmas, so I only just got time to finish my cape this weekend!
The Burda Style magazine pattern was claimed to be "Easy" and highlighted as one of the easier patterns in the magazine. However, as with many Burda Style magazine patterns this was far from true! The first part, to stich the main sections, was easy, and I got this done in no time at all. The main seams are long simple seams, with only the front two with the gap for the arm holes being any more tricky. I even managed the vent without any problems, which was a suprise as I was quite daunted by this at first.
First challenge was to work out which facing piece was the "right" side facing. The easiest way to do this was to put the cape on, and hold the facing up against the cape as it would be. I had marked the buttonholes on both pieces so either way would have been just as easy. Having identified the correct side, I stitched the four buttonholes in - dead easy as my sewing maching has an automatic buttonhole setting.
Next step - neck facing. This was a nightmare. I stitched the centre back and side back pieces together no problem, and from the picture in the magazine instructions was fairly confident that I'd got it right. However, the side pieces were nowhere near as clear, and I had to unpick these twice. It only became clear which way round the pieces should go on closer inspection of the illustration, and when I came to try and fit the neck facing to the neck. Anyway, once I worked that out it was a bit of a lightbulb moment, and I was able to attach the neck facing to the front facing, and then to the top edge of the cape (having first attached the front facings to the front edges).
From there it was a simple task to hem the cape, topstitch the facings (although wider than the 5 cm the pattern instructs due to buttonhole width - adjust as appropriate!), and stitch on the buttons.
It turns out the fabric is not actually as thick as I thought it would be, so I might try and line the cape at some point for a bit of extra wind protection, but otherwise it might be just the thing for spring/summer.
I might be tempted to do another cape out of some thicker fabric, although given the bulk of the interfaced facing pieces this might not work. Alternatively, I'll take this as a good first effort at outerwear, and move on to something a little more challenging.