The “Ritzy” ensemble

This weeks’s photos were taken at the most modern square we have in entire Berlin and I’ll be honest with you: It’s not my favorite place. There are hardly any trees there (or they are so small that I don’t perceive them as trees…) and modern buildings as far as the eye can see. I am talking about Potsdamer Platz. “The Platz to be.” (Yes, this is their advertising slogan. They are very witty bunch.) Potsdamer Platz used to be no-man’s-land because the Berlin Wall went right through that area. I tried to get a pic in front of the part of the Berlin Wall that is still standing there but all kinds of food vans were parked around it – don’t ask me why! I didn’t want a meat delivery van to steal my thunder so we went towards the Ritz that is also located there. Ironically, we weren’t even aware that the Ritz was behind me when we took the pics…we had simply wanted to have a less crowded area. Probably not the smartest move because which of you guys wants to see grass and the boring Ritz building in the background?

The proof that this was really the Ritz. Hubby obviously thought the golden letters were more important than my pretty red shoes.

Oh well, all in all, we’re getting better at taking photos although there’s still a lot to improve. Like in this poorly photoshopped picture here:

I forgot to include a “Don’t chop off feet” note.

 

I like the way I look in this pic and I am including it because it shows my oufit best. I don’t like that hubby didn’t pay attention that an ugly grey box was right next to my head and that he actually didn’t get any part of the Sony Center in the picture.

 

This is the Sony Center from the inside:

See the creepy giant spiderman head?

 

Supposedly, it is a big architectural accomplishment and you can always see tourists staring up the dome with open mouths. I have seen St. Paul’s Cathedral in London – maybe I am just being a spoilt brat. And maybe I am just terribly unappreciative of modern architecture. The dome has blinds that can be opened and closed depending on the weather. In the pic, the blinds are open because it wasn’t raining. When it rains, the blinds close automatically but they don’t offer a 100% protection from the rain – you can always feel a few drops – but it’s better than being out in the pouring rain. There is a movie theatre in here that shows American movies in the original language and that’s the only reason why we keep going back here. Hubby still has trouble with German and I hate watching the dubbed versions of movies that I am perfectly able to understand in the original language.

Anyway, back to my outfit which consists of 3 pieces: a blue spiral skirt, a white and blue blouse and a coral red wool jacket. The jacket doesn’t totally fit to the blouse’s neckline but it was chilly that evening and it was the jacket that worked best with this outfit. I already have so many jackets and blazers but nothing that really works well with this blouse. Good excuse to make another jacket…

Trying to show how the hem flows during movement – didn’t succeed much.

 

The skirt is made of an extremely lightweight denim. It drapes so well that I am not even sure whether it really is denim. It does look like denim but that’s pretty much all that it has in common with it. It was very difficult to work with because the seams slip apart when there is tension on them. Well, one look at the tight skirt and you know that such fabric is a big no-no for this type of skirt. I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to wear it but I undid all the seams of the hip/thigh area, put fusible interfacing on the seam lines, sewed the seams, made something similar to a flat fell seam on the critical parts (the hem area has to drape well so that has simple seams only) and when this still wasn’t enough I zigzagged between the two straight seams to keep the fabric from slipping – it actually does work very well now but I think in future, I’ll test the fabric beforehand for seam slippage when I plan to make a tight skirt.

I finished the skirt in early June but didn’t wear it because it didn’t have a top that went well with it. The afternoon before we were about to go out I had the brilliant idea to refashion a dress into a blouse. Yes, the blouse used to be a dress that I had made when I was 20 and was extremely skinny. The dress still fit me but only because I am one of those people who put on weight in the hip/thigh/leg area not because I still weigh the same *sigh*. Anyway, all my extra weight is on my lower part of the body and nowadays, I’d never ever wear a dress that finishes above my knees. Since I still really loved the dress it was a great solution to cut off the skirt and make a blouse out of it. I made a shaped hem so that the blouse is shorter on the side and longer in the center front and back. I love this blouse so much that I have decided to use that dress pattern to make another blouse for myself.

I made it in 2006 and so far I have worn it only once or twice since then. It’s made of boiled wool with a rose print and the wind goes right through it. This means that it’s completely useless for a really cold day but too warm for a warm day. We’re having a strange June though – rainy and relatively cool but not really cold. I have finally found the perfect weather for this jacket so I might be able to wear it more often from now on. The fit is far from perfect – it was one of my first projects after I had taken a pattern drafting class and I might have been a bit too ambitious at the time but it looks alright and is definitely wearable if one manages to find the perfect weather for it. I am starting to love this jacket and am actually wearing it right now while I am writing this post. It’s warm and cosy and for once I look a bit fancy when I sit at the computer.

 

 The facts:

Patterns:

Skirt: Spiral skirt pattern from Birch Street Clothing – modified. I combined the pattern with my favorite pencil skirt because I didn’t like the baggy look of the original design.The pattern is still available but if you want to try it out be wary about the measurements. I tried to make the original skirt for my sister and it turned out way too small. Make sure you calculate yourself how many skirt panels you really need and don’t trust the instructions there.

Blouse: Dress pattern from a Burda sewing pattern magazine from the early 90s. Rayon material.

Jacket – self drafted in 2006.
⁃ Notions: zipper for the skirt – 1.60 EUR. The buttons of the blouse were already on the dress.

⁃ Time to complete: Blouse – 1 hour (Easy!) Skirt – don’t ask. It took me FOREVER to adjust the pattern the way I wanted it. I made two muslins. I struggled with the seam slippage…I don’t even want to estimate how many hours I spent on this. Same goes for the jacket but that was years ago so it doesn’t count anyway.
⁃ First worn: June 23
⁃ Wear again? – Yes! Yes! Yes!
⁃ Total price: The fabric for the skirt was about 20 EUR plus 1,60 EUR for the zipper.

 

 

Author

Djamila

Djamila is a German translator living in Berlin, Germany. She is married to an American and has a 3-year-old son who never sleeps. She used to sew A LOT before her son was born. After 3 years of wearing practical sandbox-clothes she finally wants to get her original fashion style back and sew a lot more again.

19 Comments

  1. I feel your pain! I’m in the middle of a refashion at the moment, and I think I’m on my fourth muslin… The fit and flow of your skirt worked out well in the end though- hurray!

  2. Hi Djamila,
    Great combo of items, I like the way you refashioned the top. It looks great with the wiggle skirt.

    • Thanks, Krista. I am really quite happy I had the idea to cut off the dress and finally start wearing it again. I have always loved the neckline although it’s made in a really lousy way…it was one of my very first dresses and I am happy no one can see it from the inside. ;)

  3. Love the skirt! Wowzers look at the way it hugs your curves! The fabric looks amazing too – pity that it was so hard to work with. Is it a twill weave? And the open-neckline of the blouse is so good on you. The early ’90s were a great time for necklines.

    • Thanks, Leimomi. The fabric of the skirt is quite amazing indeed. I have never seen anything like this. It looks like denim but it’s very shiny and drapes extremely well. It doesn’t have a twill weave though (no diagonal lines) but it looks like plain weave…and like I said, it’s very loose – the fibers really slip apart. Maybe that’s the reason that it drapes so well. I’ll be very careful in future and won’t use such fabric for clothes any more where there’s a lot of tension on the seams. A jacket or a blouse would have been more suitable for this type of fabric, I guess, but I am not much of a denim girl. Just made a huge exception for this one.

  4. Nice outfit! I love your skirt! I hope you feel it was worth the time and it hugs your curves nicely though I am sad to hear we will never see your knees. Knee length is so flattering! Nice refashion and I’m super impressed by your jacket.

    • Thanks, Gina. No need to be sad that you’ll never see my knees. ;) Knee length looks terrible on me – I wish it was flattering on everybody…I have very sturdy farmer knees and my only comfort is that I’ll probably never need a knee replacement. ;)

  5. Beautiful ensemble! So tailored and ritzy looking! Love the color of the jacket with such a flattering collar and petaled hemline. Great designing!

  6. You’ve just given me a great idea: I have a dress that I made back in the late 80s that still fits perfectly on top, but the bottom will never make it past my hips again. Time to chop and refashion!

    I can believe that the skirt took forever. The seaming looks tricky, but it turned out really well.

  7. Oooh. Am digging that skirt…a lot. Not sure what the original skirt looked like but your mods turned out unique and flattering.

    • Thanks, Najah. The original skirt was very loose (see here: http://birchstreetclothing.com/prod.php?itemID=43&colID=7) and has an elastic waistband. I am not a big fan of gathered skirts because it just makes my hips look even bigger than they are so I try to have waistbands that fit perfectly and no gathers at all. The original pattern wanted me to use 16 panels for a skirt in my size and I ended up using 8 – but these were 8 panels of my own pencil skirt (a bit wider than the panels of the original spiral skirt) and I simply added the spirals. Well, “simply added” makes it sound easier than it was…it took me a while to get the length right because the spiral hem makes it hard to know in advance how long the skirt is going to be…and the skirt looks absolutely ridiculous if it’s too long. It might look quite cute in a shorter lenght but we all know I won’t be the one who’s going to try this. ;)

      • PS: Should you ever consider trying this pattern be sure to use fabric that drapes EXTREMELY well. I made the same skirt out of two other fabrics and it looks terrible. I got the worst result with quilting cotton – not sure what I was thinking but I guess the wonderful print deluded my mind. The skirt is practically unwearable and I am still weeping over losing that fabric. :(

  8. This outfit is too much (ie. too much goodness, I don’t know where to start). You’ve worked absolute wonders with the blouse refashion and the jacket, lovely colour and shape. But the skirt…the skirt is AWESOME, I can’t believe it wasn’t one pattern to start with, but that you combined the elements of several to make this wonder….and hearing what a pain the material was to sew. It fits your shape so well, lovely figure hugging but still with hem swing and flare – I love it (can you tell?)

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