Tuxedo Pants, Burda Magazine, 11-2010-129

I’m just going to come out and say it. I think these pants make me look skinny. And, I’m going to say it because I haven’t said that about pants in at least five years.  And, I’ve NEVER said that about pants I’ve made. These pants are *magic*. I had an idea about making a tuxedo after I made the bow ties. I was wearing one out as a necklace and had several men (none keepers, but whatevs) complimented me. I figured a tuxedo might be a nice way to work more into my wardrobe. Especially since Liz and I were launching Baltimore Bespoke Bows this summer. I’m wearing them with my BWOF 1-2008-105 blouse from two / three years ago.

Except, I forgot I HATE making pants. I love them in theory, but, they do not love me back. As noted earlier,  I made half a dozen muslins of a straight legged pair and gave up becore moving to these. I bought the fabric from Guss Woolens in downtown Baltimore when Trena visited a few weeks ago. Mike, the owner, suggested the wool / poly hopsack weave at $8 a yard. It nicely resists wrinkling and presses wonderfully. It’s a little thinner than I would have thought a tuxedo material should be. But, it breathes so nicely! The satin accents are from A Fabric Place in Mt. Washington, Baltimore. I think it was $10 a yard.

The original pattern from November 2010, #129 does not call for a waistband and has no side seams. But, I wanted a satin waistband and pockets — like traditional tuxedo pants. So, I used the top twp inches of the pants to make a waistband.  The lack of side seams made it tough for me to add a satin stripe down the side of the pants. But, I think it’s ok. I did not do additional pockets on the back. But, I would next time.


The only alterations I made were a swayback adjustment and adding 1/2 inch at center front. But, the waistband still dips a bit and I’d like to adjust that in the future. I used twill tape along the upper waistband seam allowance to prevent stretching.

This was my first time using Kathleen Fasanella’s tutorial on making single welt pockets. And, I was so thrilled with the results that I made a donation. She puts out impressive, industrial method tutorials. I know we all think the internet is free, but people’s time and knowledge is valuable and making a small donation is a tangible way of saying ‘thank you’.

I still love wide length pants. They are snug around my smaller hips and waist and gloss over my full thighs. Plus, wide leg pants don’t get caught on my chub rub and give me  as angry wrinkles in the back.

I’m a third a way through a matching tuxedo jacket. I didn’t make a muslin so I have that same feeling of trepidation when I started sewing my wool trench coat.  I may slow down as I really really want a matching puple Bemberg rayon to line the jacket with and have none on hand or locally available. We’ll see!


Remember me?

Gentle Readers,

Thank you for the lovely and funny comments on yesterday’s post. I just want to clarify that I know some colors don’t work on some people. I’ve been lucky in what I work with. I *know* I’m not a designer, but I can pick the right color for me. Which probably precludes me from even being a stylist some day, lol.
You know, I had been feeling pretty unproductive the last month and now I know why! I had about three UFOs stashed away waiting for their debut.

Good grief! How long did this shirt take me to make?

For this iteration, I used a gray, black, red and white striped shirting from Metro Textiles. The buttons are the $.90 for 10 from Joann. I tried different interfacings on this one too. For the button placket I used a knit fusible from Joann and Shirt Tailor for the collar and cuffs. Shirt tailor is super stiff. But, I wanted it like that.

Muslin first, finished garment second

Thank you all for your help on the fit. At the end, here’s what I did:

  • narrow shoulder adjustment
  • added an inch to the bicep
  • rounded shoulder adjustment
  • swayback adjustment
  • added 1/2 inch across the upper back

Muslin first, finished garment second

It’s far more comfortable now and doesn’t feel restrictive. Marji made a good point when she asked me the last time I wore a woven blouse without any stretch. I’d say about 1990. There is something in that kind of fit to get used to.

Mimi was right in that my upper back is probably more developed from yoga and swimming than I realized. Once she pointed that out, those back measurements made more sense.

Also, I like my cuffs wider so they will slide up my forearm further when I stretch. Widening that helped me feel less restricted too.

Oh, the buttonholes on the pattern are a little over two inces long. My new Kenmore doesn’t make them that long automatically. So, I just made the largest buttonhole it could.

I did manage to sew up one buttoned cuff the wrong way. But, no one but you and I are going to know that.

This is a great pattern. I love, love, love the double cuffs. I love the long buttonholes. I love everything about it. But, I’m sick of sewing it! I was going to work on another blouse. But, I am taking a woven blouse break.

I think I love my serger Part 3: The Blind Hem Foot

Ever since Christina at Assorted Notions sent me a link to Style.com pointing out that African and ethnic prints would be huge this year, I’ve been itching to cut into some of my Ghana wax prints.

So, with 39 degree temps and wind strong enough to whip off my grill over, I made a summer dress from the July 2007 BWOF.

#120, July 2007 Burda World of Fashion Magazine

For this dress, I skipped the lining and decided to try out the blind hem foot for my serger and put in bra cups. There’s a first time for everything, right?

So, first, the bra cups. I used a ‘deep plunge bikini’ for this dress, because, um, well, it’s got a deep plunge. Once pinned in place, I used a zig zag to secure the cups and attached the lower band to the hem allowance between the bodice and skirt.

Blind Hem Attachment for my serger

I’m ambivalent about the blind hem. First, you press up your hem allowance. Then, you create the ‘blind hem fold’. But rather than put it in your sewing machine, the serger attachment finishes off the raw edge. I’m doing a horrible job explaining this. Perhaps we should just take a look at how it comes out:

right side

wrong side

It looks like I’ve added a decorative band. Nothing wrong with that. But, not what I would call a blind hem. For this, it works out fine because the dress is long. It was superfast and very easy to do. Now, I just need to tackle a blind hem on my regular sewing machine.

I’ll take photos of the dress on this week. I’m really into maxi dresses this year. This will likely not be the last one.

Ahh, and I have finished the double-cuff blouse! I’ll take photos later this week too. But, in the meantime, here’s a sneak preview. There are no words for how much I love this color combination.

If you get a chance, take a look at the version Ann Rowley made. I am really feeling her classic styling.

Curvy Cuffs

For the record, I’m getting the fabric withdrawal shakes. But, in 2.5 weeks I will be in sunny and warm Los Angeles eyebrow deep in fabric.

I’ve got the new version of BWOF’s 1-2008-105 all cut out and about 50% sewn. I have high hopes of finishing up this weekend and starting on the tuxedo version from the same issue and pattern.

photo of first muslin

What I really liked about this shirt is the solid cuff with print fabric. As you can imagine, this was flat as paper when I constructed it. Normally, a cuff would button, but on this style it’s left open to show off the second cuff.

Using my seam roll and some spray starch, I was able to press some shape into it so it will curve nicely around my wrist when completed.

I wear a cock up splint most days at work (and overnight) for my tendonitis. Although I wear it daily, I’m asked every single day by people “What’d you do to your hand?”

The day they make a chocolate brown brace to match my skin is the day I will do a little dance in front of the medical supply store.

So, for this shirt, I added an extra inch to the width of the wrist so the shirt can cover the brace and make it a little less noticeable. Also, I can slip the shirt on and off far easier while wearing the brace.

I think my next post will be about my fabric shopping list for LA. I’m including most of your ideas for a red, white and blue SWAP. For someone who likes clothes as much as I do, it’s remarkable how I can’t plan a wardrobe to save my life.

Muddling Through

I had little actual sewing time this weekend, but I managed to make the narrow shoulder alteration on my muslin. The right shoulder point is higher than the left shoulder point (unsure why).

There are still annoying drag lines on the front sleeve.

Marji and assorted women rom my ofice reminded me that a fitted woven shirt won’t have a ton of give. I do need to get used to that. But, it now feels tight across the neck. Below, you can see the pull lines on the top three shirt buttons. Which it may have before and I don’t recall.

Look at the back neckline below. See how the fabric seems to be creeping up over my neck a little? I think this gives creedence to my having forward shoulders. And, those wrinkles at the arm… they remind me of a sloped shoulder adjustment I made last year.

And, you can see that the shoulder seam is pulling forward a bit. That could be from the shoulder adjustment (I took the excess in at the princess seams). Marji thought this might be the case last week.

So, what do you guys think? I think I need to take some actual measurements of myself (!) alter my pattern with a forward shoulder alteration, increase the ease on the upper arm, make the shoulder point adjustment, add a wee bit to the back and see how that fits in a second muslin (a muslin with far less buttonholes).


Shoulder Point

First, I am very bitter that my Tivo failed me and I have no recording of last night’s Lost. There are no words.
Moving on.
Thank you all for the feedback! Thank you for taking the time to tell me what you thought about the layout and suggestions on fitting the blouse. I’ve made some changes to both! Debbie, Marji, Heather and Lori weighed in on the shoulder point. After first admitting that I had no idea what the shoulder point was, and more questions back and forth and some diagrams — I asked a workmate to measure my shoulder this morning. They were right. My shoulder length is about 4.5 inches. The pattern shoulder length is 5 inches. Eureka!

Marji tells me that the fold you see in the right shoulder area is what I need to remove from my pattern to bring the sleeve where it needs to be. The folding you see on the left is the blouse trying to correct itself with the excess shoulder fabric.

Helpful highlights courtesy of Marji. I removed the sleeves to see if they were in backwards. Umm, maybe? The sleeve head seemed to fit smoother, but the notches didn’t match up.

She says that “Back, drag lines indicate you need more fabric – front, folds indicate there is too much fabric”. Which helps explain why it was all tight across the back. Fabric just pulling, pulling, pulling. Oh, and there is only one inch of ease in my bicep. I think it’s clearly time for me to start measuring my patterns. She has some thought that I could have a narrow back. But, I need to do some more measuring to be sure.

So, this weekend I’m going to work on adjusting the muslin (thanks Heather!). I would actually like to wear it. Then, I’m going to start some changes on the pattern so I can use it for the Build a Better Blouse class.

And now, I’m off to bookclub.

My back is huge

At least I think that’s the problem with my muslin of BWOF’s 1-2008-105. First, loving this blouse!! Not nearly as kooky as it came across in the editorial spread.

Front seems to fit fine…

Don’t love the collar. It reminds me of the collars men wore in the 1800s daguerreotypes. May have to make that bigger on the official version.

I made a 1/2 inch swayback adjustment using the Sandra Betzina method from Power Sewing (more on that in another post) and graded out from a 38 to a 40 in the hip…

I even practiced ways of showing off the double cuff at work…

“What? This unusual style detail on my uber-trendy and European style blouse? Oh, I made it.”

But, It’s super snug across my upper back with some seriously twisting sleeves. At first I thought I put the wrong sleeves in (not my first time doing that). But, all the notches, etc matched up.

I pulled out my four fit books last night during Project Runway and have some less-than-educated guesses.

1. Do I have a broad back? I seem to remember hearing folks talking about cutting the back bigger than the front. I think this would help.

2. If I could put a godet under the arm that would be awesome. I think that feeling of it being tight when I lift up means something. But, I’m not sure what that feeling translates to.

Oh, I’ll also say that before the sleeves went in the fit felt fine. But, when I was basting the sleeves to check placement, I was thinking there wasn’t enough underarm fabric from either the sleeve or the bodice to make it work.

So, I throw myself down on on the floor of the Fit Court. Do you guys have any suggestions?

On a blog style note, how is it to read with the faded background? At home on my Apple/Mac it looks great. At another PC, it seemed harder to read. But, I also have to bump up the font size on every computer I work at.

And does anyone else know how to make Blogger keep consistent with the 1.5 line spacing? I noticed that it changes midway through my last two posts.

I’m asking a lot of you guys today, huh?

Four things that saved my buttonhole life

I am not good with math. And I don’t mean that in the “Oh, hee, hee. I’m just a silly girl and I’m not good with numbers. hee. hee. I like chocolate. hee. hee.” I mean that in the slight panic I fall into when asked to figure out something that involves numbers. I’m ok with that. I’m plenty good at other things. I just double check everything and speak slowly when giving answers.

But, this not being great with math has been a bit of a struggle when it comes to figuring out my buttonhole placement. I’m horrible at working out these things. i.e. “OK. I have 10 inches of center front, 7 buttonholes to make that are vertical and buttons that are 3/8 inch long, how much space do I need in between each one?” It’s one of the things that kept my away from woven blouses because the buttons never came out straight or where I wanted them!

Enter four simple things that changed my buttonhole life.

#1. Actually marking the center front and fold line. Yeah, that’s right. I used to just eyeball it.

#2.. Not marking the actual buttonhole placement from the pattern. Now, I mark my bust point (is that the right word?). This is where the fronts cross over my bust and would gape if not for a button. From there, I use #3

#3. The SimFlex buttonhole or sewing gauge. There are no words for how much I love this thing. Just figure out how many buttonholes you need and open the gauge. The gauge will spread and you can mark the remainder of your buttonholes equidistant. For the current blouse, I marked all the ‘middle’ buttonholes.

#4. Next, I read in the Bishop Method of Clothing Construction that to mark my button placement, line up the front of the blouse wrong side to wrong side.

For horizontal buttonholes, place the pin all the way to the right.

Mark on the right side of the button side.

Attach buttons (ok, this is the sleeve cuff not the front I’ve been showing. I was sewing 1.5 inch buttonholes down the front of the blouse at 1:00 a.m. I just had to make myself stop. Buttons can get done later.)

And lest ye think I’ve forgotten about the dress formerly known as the Panama Dress, I haven’t. But, it’s in UFO waters. I had an invisible zipper in, but it broke. I now need to put in a regular zipper (piping was too much for invisible zip) with a center application. I haven’t done that since 1994. And it’s winter. So, it might wait until I can actually wear it. Or I get up my nerve to tackle a center zip.

Looks sad doesn’t it, just hanging there wanting to move from the door knob to the closet.

I’m still working on the blog re-design. It’s not quite where I want it, but getting closer.

I am sewing….

I’m taking the Build a Better Blouse class on Pattern Review which starts next week. The plan is to use the 1-2008-106 tuxedo blouse from Burda World of Fashion.
When the previews for the January edition went up, I knew I wanted to make the kooky double cuffed shirt below in a red, black and white stripe I had. Luckily, both 105 and 106 are the same base pattern, so getting the fit right for one will solve the other.

Over the weekend I worked on a wearable muslin of #106 and am 75% done. I have about 20 more buttonholes to make and sew on 32 buttons. I’m not exaggerating. The pattern calls for 32 buttons total.

It may all have to wait until next weekend. Making these 12 just about wiped me out today.