Archive | January, 2013

Baby Blue Burda Style Pullover: 11/2012 #124

30 Jan file_zpsd5377bc3

People. I have a serious problem. I seem to just to REFUSE to acknowledge that I have some little narrow shoulders and need (nay, MUST) start adjusting for them. It’s like how I didn’t do an FBA for ten years.

Allow me to start at the beginning.

This pullover from the November 2012 Burda features a low and wide neckline with cuff sleeves and cuffed waistband. I was drawn to the upstyle casual look of it.

I really liked how the back and front were two different lengths — providing visual interest to something that could otherwise be a bit ordinary.

For this project, I made my usual full bust adjustment and graded from a 38 bust to a 42 at the hips. I really wanted to make sure the pullover wouldn’t ‘cup’ under my tuccas from being too tight.

For this project, I used the last of my $18 a yard Mood Fabrics sweater knits from my October in-store purchase of three. The other similar sweater knit projects became my marine wool dress and an autumnal sweater. I *love* pastel blue. I seriously have over 20 pastel / baby blue nail polishes. I should be ashamed. But, I am not.

Which brings us back to my shoulders. On the model below, you can see that the shoulder seam hangs over her shoulder. I guess that’s fine. But, combined with my narrow shoulders, I find the entire neckline too wide  by about one inch and would have happily taken a 1/2 to 1 inch more fabric toward my neck. Oh, also, the pattern says to use binding or something on the neckline. I just stablised with interfacing, finished with my serger and did a turn and topstitch for the neckline.

See how her sleeve is is hanging down from the shoulder a bit? I didn’t stretch out the shoulders by using some bias interfacing along the entire armscye, staytape on the shoulder line and interfacing on the once turned in neckline.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with this simple top. I’d like to make more in ‘regular’ sweatshirt fabric or even a wool jersey. It would also make a great summer top in a thin knit or silk jersey. It works well with jeans and leggings. I can be casual, but with a nice twist.

In my mind, Liz and  I were going to recreate the editorial photo with my bike. But, it was so bitterly cold when I completed the top, that we looked for a cozy indoor spot instead :-)

I still have the long promised cardigan to finish and post. Things have been so hectic lately!

The material for this top was purchased in part using an allowance from Mood Fabrics for the Mood Sewing Network

Blessings and Catching Up

27 Jan

Sign outside the VA Hospital in Tampa

A week ago Saturday I flew to my parent’s home outside of Tampa, Florida rather unexpectedly. There was a medical scare with my mom and I was on a plane in less than 24 hours. After a few days in the hospital, some bedside Scrabble and teaching her how my Nook works, I’m happy to report that all is seemingly well. But, I realized (again) how incredibly blessed I am with two awesome parents who are still with me.

The good thing about the trip is I got to spend a few days in the low 70s (22 C). The bad thing is, I returned to temps in Baltimore in the teens (-8.8). Dang. It didn’t even get below freezing last year!

Linus, my chihuahua, has not been doing well in the cold. When we got a few inches of snow, I realized that he just can’t walk in it. Well, he started to walk in the snow, then after five minutes begins screaming bloody murder and limping / lifting his paws. I never ever EVER thought I would be the person buying or sewing winter shoes for a dog. But, I sure did buy them like a chump.

Needless to say, he didn’t like them either. Above is a little video of his trying them out (first ten seconds is dark– skip to 15 seconds). Let me say that this was a VAST improvement. He spent the first 20 minutes outside literally in one place.

The cold snap here has been good practice for next week. I’ll be in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a few days (40 minutes outside of Detroit, MI). I have my thermals, Timberland winter boots (on clearance from Eddie Bauer!), Ukrainian fur hat and ski jacket already packed. I have tentative plans to meet up with Lynelle of You Sew Girl while I’m there. Probably lunch since I have evening plans the entire time I’m there.

Which means, I’ll be in Michigan for the Super Bowl!! I wouldn’t have planned it that way if I’d known the Ravens were going when I booked my flight.  These  tickets aren’t mine. But, aren’t they beautiful?? I watched the playoff game against the New England Patriots from Tampa with my dad.  He kept talking about what a great athlete Tom Brady was. I told him one of us was going to have to leave the room if he kept on about it. Yet, victory was ours! My Ravens watch group kept posting pictures on Facebook of the celebrations in Baltimore. I can’t believe I’ll be at a college bar in Ann Arbor when we play against San Francisco :-/

I was offered a chance to purchase tickets for the Super Bowl. But, I already had my trip planned to Ann Arbor and can’t afford $1,000 tickets plus flying in to Houston and driving five hours since the flights are sold out and scrambling for a floor to sleep on since hotels are requiring four night stays and $500 a night. That’s what my friends who are going are going through and it would have driven me bonkers and broke :)

I haven’t sewn in a few weeks and likely won’t before I leave. But, have a few planned days off for a little sewcation / house beatification around Valentine’s Day.

A Two Picture Post

19 Jan

I’ve been using CollageIt lately for creating collages on my blog. It’s a fun little program that works on an Apple computer. 

My first project was this collage of mailboxes from countries I’ve visited.  Oh, wait. I see Grenada is missing. Darn. I need to do this again, LOL. For a while I was also taking pictures of public pay phones too. But, they started disappearing on me with the rise of the mobile phone. I was able to take most of these photos on my trip. Some I had to take from Flickr though after my backup hard drive crashed. Never thought I want a back up to my back up….

I’m thinking it’s not populated enough to work as the large poster I was thinking of for my bedroom. Should I try to do one of every country I can get a photo of?

Second, the Ravens play the Patriots this weekend. This game decides if we go to the Superbowl. Last year was a heartbreaking game (for Raven’s fans) against the Patriots in the playoffs. Here’s a photo of City Hall (my office) lit in purple for the playoffs. My fingers are crossed!! Just so you know, if we lose, we will not speak of it here.

Dearest Lizzie’s Purple Friday

15 Jan

I’ve been going on and on about my friend and work colleague Liz’s photography skills. To thank her, I gifted her my Purple Friday shift dress. Liz is an actual Ravens fan whereas  I am a supporter for hometwon pride and the economic impact. I did watch Saturday’s playoff game with friends and I have to say, I lost two on my nine lives. That was the most exciting football game I’ve ever seen. This week, we take on the Patriots. As I was not optimisic on Saturday, I will keep my level of pessimism on a win. But, if we lose, I can muster *some* happiness for Reethi and Ann.

Do you like her little jacket too? Well, I bought this jacket on clearance last year from Old Navy. It’s like 70 percent wool and was a steal. But, it didn’t sit well on me because of my bust. She spotted it in my  closet and it became her birthday gift last year.

She’s also taken possesion of my amaze balls paisley maxi dress. Knowing what I know now, I see I need a FBA. So, I gave it to her too.

Things have really worked out well for Liz and my wardrobe, huh? I’m glad I have a friend who appreicates my sewing and likes my wardrobe just for these kinds of moments. Above is the only garment she’s still clamoring for that I haven’t given up. She’s borrowed this cape a few times, but since I love everything about it, she’ll have to to physically pry it away from me.


January 14, 2013 - Everyman Theater Ribbon Cutting Celebration (2)

Thank you for the comments on my Oscar de le Renta cape! I’m having so much fun wearing it durnig our current warmish break here in Baltimore. Our staff photographer caught this shot of me at a ribbon cutting for a renovated historic theater yesterday.  Blackberry in one hand notes and coffee in the other…..

Vogue 8776: Oscar de le Renta Double Wool Cape

12 Jan IMGP5690

With an unexpected two days off from work from Hurricane / Tropical Storm Sandy back in November, I got to business in my sewing room. I decided to sew three ‘quick’ unplanned projects that could be finished within three weeks. Ha! First, I finished up my Tracy Reese Dress (Part I of the Sandy Collection), sewed up my second Purple Friday dress (Part II of the Sandy Collection) and then moved on to this Vogue 8776 cape (the closing piece in the Sandy Collection runway show). I like my style. But, I am NEVER quite this ‘fashionable’. It’s a step outside my box that I plan to return to!

I first spotted this cape on Erica B. in 2011 and it was lust at first site. I wasn’t sure what to sew the cape with but wildly decided to use my Oscar de le Renta double wool that I purchased locally in Baltimore back in 2010. It was a random remnant piece in the store. They’d gotten it from a closing fabric store down south. So, it was by happenstance that I was able to buy it. But, Mood Fabrics online  is still stocking it in this and a second colorway! The lush (and expensive) fabric quickly became ‘too good to cut’. I consulted with my sewing bestie Trena and she said it was a bigger waste to let the fabric sit for years than sew something I wanted *now*.

Plus, the fabric is Linus Approved. How does this dog manage to sit on every piece of fabric in the house? It’s like he has a Warm and Cozy radar.

The first thing to note is this material is crazy thick. So thick  and warm that I  started regretting not making it in to a nice, every day work coat. But, as I progressed, decided the material is not suited to a structured garment. A cape was just about right.

I found it impossible to mark the wool layers with waxed tracing paper. So, for the first time in 20+ years of sewing, I made tailor tacks using my basting thread from the Netherlands.

Because the material is so thick, I didn’t want to use a double layer of the double wool  for the facings. So, I used two different scrap pieces of thinner wool I had laying about  (black and charcoal) for the inside collar and front facing. Which all required hand-freaking finishing. I’m sure there’s a way to do it by machine. I just didn’t think of it in time. I got it all done during a football game last Sunday. And I’m not handsewing for at least a six months. I detest it. From the facing to all those snaps, hand sewing is the worst. I don’t find it soothing, I don’t care how much control it gives me. It’s why projects languish unfinished for three months in my sewing room :)

Oh, speaking of which, Piece 2 (center front) isn’t marked with how many to cut. You’ll need four from your fabric and two from interfacing.  As for interfacing, I didn’t use any. Again, material was so stable with the fused wool, it wasn’t needed. But, I regret not using stay / twill tape at the center front seams. I think my edges are a bit wonky because it needs some stabilisation and the seams have stretched out a bit.

Buttons. You’ll see that I just have two placed at the in-seam buttonholes. I wanted to use all buttons, but with all the layers and double woolness, its was too thick to easily make buttonholes. So, I stuck with the already sewn in-seam buttonholes, and used snaps like Heather suggested in the comments from my last post on the cape. I like that they were already black (except the very last one) so they blend in nicely.

In honor of this cape (and to support two vintage coats in my wardrobe), I bought the cashmere-lined leather gloves I started looking for last year. Neiman Marcus Last Call had them for 50 percent off so they were “just” $47. I was pretty happy with them until I saw Oliva Pope’s cream colored, opera length, leather gloves on the latest Scandal episode. I swear that woman is *owning* winter white!


I know capes can by super impractical. But, they are great for warmer winter days and going in to fall. After a week of 30 degree temps, we’re back up to 50s this week. You never know what the weather will bring! I seriously now believe in having a coat wardrobe.  My blue cape is crazy popular and I get stopped on the streets.

I was so sad when I couldn’t tell you where to find this fabric. It was a total random find for me.  Here’s a link to the black and white herringbone version.  It’s pricey, but seriously luxurious. I’m glad I didn’t let it fester in ‘too good to sew’ land.

Thanks again to my Dearest Lizzie for her photography. Can you believe she has no photography experience?? When she offered to take pictures for me, I was hesitant. She’s big on the dark photos on a camera phone for her Facebook page. But, she blew me away!! Turns out, all she needs is a flash! It was her idea to go under the overpass at our office to get these shots. I apologize for the bitch face. All my smiling photos showed my increasing laugh lines in HD.

I also got several unsolicited compliments on my outfit. I’m wearing a blue bubble skirt I made to bike in the Netherlands with my recently completed black turtleneck.  It’s probably a little short for work but with the tights it seems to be o.k.

Onward! I need a palette cleanser. Two final sweater knit projects are coming down the pike.

Burda Magazine 9/2012 #104: Superlong Turtleneck

7 Jan IMGP5572

I may never be able to leave my job if I lose Liz as my new photographer. Or I’ll have to take her with me.

Are you ready for some basics? I saw this Burda Magazine turleneck on Sew Skate Read  from September 2012   in an awesome stripey knit and decided I needed a few in my life. So, into  the ye-old-stash I went for my two versions (one black and and a stripey grey and black).

I wanted these tunic-style turtlenecks for transitioning my clothes into winter and comfy weekends in leggings. Plus, I’m visiting Ann Arbor, Michigan in February and am already DREADING the ten degree temp difference from Baltimore. I need all the layers I can get!

Alterations: Dartless FBA (One inch width, 3/4 inch length)  and a swayback adjustment. I have *got* to start shortening my shoulders on a regular basis. These are both too long by 1/2 inch in the shoulder.

These are so simple I’m really just showing them to keep a record for myself of what I’ve made and to show you the difference fabric can make.

This grey is another sweater knit that feels the same as my Purple Friday side gather top. Oh! I now know where the fabric comes from!! I bought it in Montreal during PR Weekend three years ago. I didn’t remember it because I was over my weight limit baggage wise and sent it home with my mother. From my post back then,

I bought so much, that I had to split the haul with the Colonel. I sent her back to Tampa with several sweater knits that I know I won’t be working with this summer

I didn’t get it back for another two years :) So, I’d kind of forgotten about it. That purple and these two knits are all from Montreal.

Because the grey has a lot of stretch and a loose weave, it’s super scrunchy in the neck. The sleeves as drafted are supposed to be 1 1/4 inch longer than usual.


I never wear all black. I felt like a mime or a beatnik, LOL.

The black is a sturdy rayon double knit. I think I planned some kind of form fitting dress originally. But, as I was sewing, I regretted not using the material for leggings. It would have been perfect!

I’ve got a little pooling at the back waist. While I did slice and dice my way to a swayback adjustment, I decided to still cut on the fold to see the difference it made. Better than RTW, but more fitted with a center back seam.

While long, the turtlenecks work well both on their own and layered under other garments.  The other pattern version in the September issue is three inches shorter. I would make that version if you don’t see yourself wearing these over skinny pants.

Here’s how I layered them this week:

This dress has been worn like three times since I made it. I was sewn in 2011 from Burda Magazine 10/2009 #119. I was never really happy with it. I hate the way it flares out on the sides. My first version was much better.

My trusty tuxedo pants! These get worn weekly when the temps drop. The blazer was (funnily enough) also purchased in Montreal during PR Weekend from H&M.

First posted project of 2013 :)