Ponte Wrap Top: Burda Style 10-2012 #119

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I was so bored making this grey top I almost fell asleep typing the title. Last top was black and grey. This one is like a muddy  grey. I really do prefer grey to black. And, I *like* grey. But, I am a magpie. I gotta sew color.

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I am still on the basics train for hourglass figures.  Wrap tops rank high with items that work. They provide waist definition and a low/ wide neckline. And, I liked that this one from Burda has some length to it (no need to cut me off at the waist) and had darts in the back for shaping. I *think* next time I’ll make it with 3/4 sleeves too.

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I’m trying to build my casual work wardrobe. And, I’ve quickly realized that’s going to mean a lot more separates in my life. I was worried this top would be Burda-low in the front. But, I think it’s actually ok.

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I made a 1.5 inch FBA. For my size, the recommendation would be 2 inches of length and one inch of width. FYI, somehow, I’ve only just discovered this chart for seeing the BWOF design lines. So helpful to know where they put the bust point. Anywho, my original dart was ridiculous. First, it was huge (read 1.5 inch FBA). It was also thick because of the ponte.

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Second, if you look where my finger was pointing, the original dart was way, way way too long and low. “Long and Low” are words you should never use to describe your bust. Not sure if this is a product of a bias, stretch item. Also, they totally point down instead of up (or rather ‘to’ my BP) as you can see below. I’ve already altered to pattern so hopefully the next time will be better.

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I used my coverstitch for the neckline and hems with wool nylon on the lower looper. I reinforced the armhole with my Viseline tape, the neckline and shoulders with bias fusible interfacing. In thin knits I sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. But, with a thicker knit you gots to go with 1/2 inch.

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I suspect this fabric is a little thicker than intended. The pattern suggests drapey knit fabrics. But, I was looking for cosy comfy tops to wear to work. I really love how the darts in back give great shaping.

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I took it in quite a bit at the waist to make sure I had some definition. But, I am not big on how the side seams on wrap tops always seem to pull forward a bit.

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I think the back, like in almost every Burda I sew, is a little wide at the neck. I would reccomend a little wedge in the neckline for fit and for me, adding a 1/4 – 1/2 inch at the shoulder neckline so bra straps don’t show.

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I quite like this top. But, it really grew on me.  Originally, I kind of felt like a concrete brick. I think with a looser weave fabric, this will be a real winner. In the meantime, warm and cuter than a sweatshirt.

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Ok. I gotta sew some color.

Black Knit Double Tee: Burda 8-2010-112

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I’m almost a little embarrassed to even blog this basic knit tee shirt. But, I’ve discovered if I don’t blog it, I almost can’t keep track of what I’ve made and what worked / didn’t.  And, I think I may have found a basic TNT tee shirt pattern.  Besides, I always like a layered look and had long admired this tee from BWOF.  And, after my last knit top, I thought I should try something more along the guidelines for my body type. I figured with a FBA, darts and the right amount of ease, this double tee top from Burda would work.

Also, photos are a little soft. Jordan bought me a new camera and some lens for Christmas and I’m still playing around with it :-)

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For my version,  I sewed a 40 grading to a 46 starting at my waist. I used two cotton interlock knits from my stash in black and light grey. While a lot of people are trying to incorporate color into their wardrobe, I’m always trying to put in solid neutrals. And, since I wear jeans nearly every single day now, I thought this top provided interest but is still casual.  Essentially, the pattern is one sleeveless top attached to a long sleeve top. I joined mine at the armscyce and tacked it down in the shoulder seams. I decided to shorten the sleeves to 3/4 length to limit the expansion of fabric. Other alterations? I shortened the shoulder seam by almost 1/2 an inch. Next time, I’ll also make a sloping shoulder adjustment.

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The oringal is dartless. So, I did a 1.5 inch FBA and added a dart. A dart you can’t see because I’m wearing black and taking photos indoors. Winter = ten degrees out today.

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I also made a 1.25 inch swayback adjustment. It looks like I could use a hair more.

As for length, these days  I like things to end just about my widest part to create a longer line. Some examples of how it looks different were it to be hemmed at various lengths:

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I think this shows my widest part are my thighs and not my hips. Even though my hands are covering my *actual* hip.  So… no more waist length tops for me I think.

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This ends right above my widest part (just below my hip line). I think it is a better than waist level.

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And this is the length I used. Here, I’m pointing to my widest part. I also think next time, I’ll lower the center of the necklines of both by 1/4 – 1/2 inch. Hmm, which means I think you’ll be seeing me in this pattern again.

I was a little bored taking photos and started doing moves from Beyonce’s 7/11 video. Because, Beyonce (I would have done number #10, but I don’t have any red Solo cups).

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Thanks for all the feedback on my last post. I have more comments and folks I’d like to respond to. I think there was an amazing exchange of ideas and some viewpoints I hadn’t considered. I’m always happy when we can talk about sewing outside of the craft and in a civilized, balanced manner.

The Most Hideous Garment I’ve Ever Blogged: Burda 9-2008 #110 and #111 Hybrid

 photo 000001715498_zpsf0e386ff.jpgI was weirdly intrigued by the grey #110 shirt when it first appeared in Burda back in 2008. Trena made it up and I still liked it. I wanted some quick tops to wear to work with my jeans (I seriously now wear jeans every single day). I realize that the top had high potential for looking ridiculous. So, I decided to muslin it in a long-stashed tee shirting before cutting in to my prized ponte. I took the hood and sleeves of the blue #111 from the same issue, kept the shorter length from the crazy collared #110.

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I figured it was ‘in between’ this way and I could still get a sense of how it would look before I committed to the Shakespearean collar. Now that I don’t even know what to do with my bust, I’ve been reading up on tops for an hourglass figure. Consensus is, lower / wide neck, wrap tops, waist definition, fitted is best. They should end below the hip / or just past the thighs.

This top does none of those things. NOT A ONE.

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At worst, I look like a blueberry. At best, I look pregnant. Ultimately, this is a big fat lesson learned. I’ve been super drawn to full tops with no darts that end just below the waist. Look at what Kristy did with Burda’s 11/2013 #105. I friggin love that top! Trena warned me not to make the tops like that because it would look like boob tents. Just fabric hanging off my rack. She was right. Also, that length below, THE WORST EVER.

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PSA: Don’t cut and sew after midnight. Listen, because I traced and cut this out after midnight. I put in darts for some unknown bizarro reason. This FBA should have been to just increase the gathers at the neck for width and probably not worry about the length since it’s so blousy. Darts are for fitting. There is no close fitting needed here. Besides, where I ended up putting the darts are really just pointing to my belly button. Don’t cut and sew after midnight.

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I did wear this to work today. And a lot of people liked it. I think it’s the color they were responding to. The length is actually not bad on me, when it doesn’t ride up. But, for real. This is the most hideous thing I’ve ever blogged. The most hideous thing I’ve ever made is a coat from ten years ago pre blog. HORRID. Even my mom told me to throw it away.

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Lord have mercy. I have to make tops with a waist!!

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BWOF 11-2007 #107 : Pink and Cream Seersucker Cross Dart Dress

Oh, hey.

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I don’t know know that there is a seersucker I don’t like.  I started this dress almost two months ago to wear to a summer ‘picnic wedding’ in upstate NY where the dress was ‘summer semi-formal’. I didn’t get it done in time :-(

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My sewing of this dress greatly benefited from having lots of extra fabric. I had to recut the bodice three time due to incredible user error. I first used this seersucker to make a sailor-inspired skirt two years ago. The fabric is kind of see through, so this time I underlined the bodice with cotton batiste.

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I’ve wanted to make this dress since it came out in 2007. I thought the bodice darts were so interesting. Add a full pleated skirt and it’s totally speaking my language.

 

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Not only did I need an FBA, I had to move the darts down a good 1.5 inches too in addition to changing the angle of the darts downward. So, while it doesn’t look exactly like the original, it fits and flatters me so much better.

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Like a dolt, I sewed up the shoulders and sides before remembering the correct sleeveless construction order. That meant I needed to use a bit of bias at the neckline so I could clean finish everything. This would have also looked awesome if I’d used the binding at the armholes too (thought for next time).

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The inside of this dress is really my favorite. I used the time consuming but my favorite method: facing lining combo.  I drafted the bodice lining using the included facing. I looks so ready to wear to me! It’s much more work, but worth the effort I think. There is no peeping out of lining from the sleeves or neckline this way.

I used ALL the machines on this dress. Sewn up on my Bernina 830 using the AMAZING invisible zipper foot.

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Seriously. Perfect insertion every time. I hate to admit that this sucker was worth the $40.

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The hem of the lining is made with my Brother Coverstitch (my new favorite way to do lining).

 

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And the hem of the dress itself is secured with rayon tape and my Japanese-made  blind hemmer (using the invisible thread).

Seriously. All. The. Machines.

I think this dress would benefit from a belt. But, I don’t have one that works. Yet. I’m thinking a pale blue or teal? I would also make the tulle underskirt if I need this for dress up rather than work.

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Overall, I’m meh on the dress. I put a ton of effort in to it. But, I really don’t like it on me. On the dressform it’s rocking. But, the proportions are ever so slightly off on me and I look like a rectangle.  I’m sorry it didn’t make it to the wedding as thematically it was perfect. I am just off my sewing game as of late. I have one more skirt to post that I made a few weeks ago and I’ll be caught up in project back log.

BurdaStyle 5-2010 #104: The Accidental Maternity Top

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I bought this delightful silk / cotton fabric from Mood four years ago when I was in NY for the Met / Brooklyn Museum High Style exhibition. I’ve really, truly, hoarded it looking for the right pattern. This fabric was everything to me. It’s got polka dots, has contrast, and has pink. And, to me, the pink dots remind me of the halo/pink sapphire of my engagement ring. Really, it’s screams my name.

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I didn’t check reviews for this pattern until after it was cut and I was sewing. Imagine my delight  (read: here horror) when I saw every review made it up AS A MATERNITY TOP. There’s a reason for that. I look three months pregnant. And, I am so not pregnant.

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Now, I like this top. I love the colors. I love that it’s breezy. But, there’s a definite expecting vibe. The pink and blue probably don’t help. What I’m not sure about the material is how ‘secure’ it is. I messaged Peter on Twitter (he made it up into a man skirt) and asked if he secured the seams in any paticular way. The design is loose enough that I’m not straining the seams. That said, I’m being super careful with it: hand wash, careful to take it off and on, etc. Yes, I could have used silk organza in the seams to reinforce… but, I didn’t.

I’m also not modeling it. Why? I don’t have any bottoms that ‘go’. Yes, I sewed an orphan. But, orphan sewing has stopped me from making the separates I so desperately need. So, I’m going to plow ahead and make separates anyway. Otherwise, I’ll jut never do it.

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For this pattern, I used the shirring method from the Vogue Sewing book. You use elastic thread in your bobbin, secure the ends with hand tied knots, and stitch over those with pink tucks. It’s a’ight. I’ve never shirred before so I’m glad I got to try it out. Not my greatest work. But, you have to try something to learn something.

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On the neckline, I used bias trip to create some interest. And, sewed up the V a bit for modesty’s sake (i.e. no cleavage in the office). I also took the sleeves from the dress version rather than the strips in the tunic top. Oh, I also made a one inch FBA. I think I could have added another 1/2 inch to the length to get it perfectly under the boobage.

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Ok. Now, my shame. The shirring is off center (and kind of sloppy). ARGH. I look at it and all I see is off-center shirring. It’s off by about 1.25 inches. I thought it was centered when I put it together. But, obviously it’s not.  Jordan assures me when on it’s not noticeable. Mostly, because I look pregnant. His words. Not mine.  I’ll be honest with you, it’s bad, but I have no interest in taking it apart and fixing. Mostly because I just don’t think the fabric can handle it.

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Nice enough top. Probably better for maternity.  Not my greatest work. Saved by my absolute unabated love of the print. I’ll wear it while I can. Hopefully, the material is stronger than I’m giving it credit for.


Youse guys! I have a new job that I start next week.  The thing is, I’m going from a strictly businesses dress/ political gig  for pretty much my entire career to a totally casual private sector job.  I mean, we had a strict dress code at my high school. I remember being absolutely startled when a mid 20s guy I was dating didn’t own a suit (we went to church every weekend growing up in clothes that didn’t get worn the rest of the week). Top ten embarrassing moment  was the Executive Producer at the Washington TV station I was interning at pulling me aside to say my knee-length short suit with blazer from Dress Barn was not appropriate for work and she wasn’t comfortable sending me to a press conference  on the Hill. I was mortified. I am super conscious of what I wear to work.

It was bizarre to me that this feels like an existential crisis. I’d actually had this post queued up for over a month now. But, worried I sounded crazy for not knowing what to wear to work or feeling weird about not being in business dress. Now, I  feel in good company! I read Audrey’s post last night about her office going to casual wear. In my position the last year, I was the one who instituted a business casual dress code (no jeans, flip flops) and people damn near revolted.  I still stayed business (dresses, occasional suit). Because, I’ve always had to dress up for work.

Robin and I talked about this a little (since new job is practically in the parking lot of her development) and we both think we couldn’t do totally casual. I’ve been home the last week sewing for the new job and just trying to take a mental health break. I’ve completed a dress, skirt and tunic. I plan to trace out three more items and sew at least one more before I start working again. The all-to-me sewing time is unbeatable!

Rainbow Brite Shorts: Burda Magazine 6-2011-111

I haven’t owned or worn a pair of non-athletic shorts in well over three years. I mean, I used to have some. But, they got ratty or I outgrew them.  And, I just never found any that I liked and which fit (blame my tragic waist / thigh ratio). I decided this was the summer I was going to have a week’s worth of summer shorts. After all, I’m working on having ‘dog walking clothes’.

I ordered material from Mood Fabrics online. I want to point out that when the box reached me, it was already open. Why? Because I took delivery at work and my co-workers (Project Runway fans) couldn’t wait for me to come out of my meeting before opening it for me. They said they knew I would understand. But, I digress…

Anyway, here’s the plan: seersucker, red poplin, laminated linen and black embroidered cotton. I think these will run the gamut from dressed up to dressed down. I’m not sure I’m going to make the madras anymore. We’ll see…

For this project, I chose this #111 pattern from the June 2011 Burda(link to $5.40 download on Burdastyle.com) I wanted a short inseam. Longer shorts make my legs look like tree trunks. I like to distract from the width of my legs with the shortness of my shorts ;)

These have a nice flat front, side zip and contoured waistband. All things I knew I wanted. For my first pair, I eliminated the side pockets.

I’m calling these my Rainbow Brite pair, heh. I love color and stripes and seersucker. I was sold on these the minute I saw the material.

I underlined them in cotton batiste (also from Mood online). When I made this skirt last summer I realized that light seersucker is see through. I means you can not only see my underthings, but you can also see clothes tucked in to them.

The underlining also gave the fabric some more structure. I’ve seen seersucker shorts in the store and they never seem to be substantial enough. But, the seersucker suits I see at J.Crew and Brooks Brothers seem to be much thicker.

I also used a template to make the pockets. This made sure they were both the same and gave a nice sharp edge / finish with pressing. Oy. As drafted, pocket placement is comical on me — just  6 cm from the waistband. I moved these down and out several inches.

I’m very very happy with this patch pocket version. I found the waist a too high by one inch for my taste and have altered the pattern for my next go round (red poplin this weekend I hope).

The nice thing about the higher waist is there’s no belly to hang over the waist band or fear of showing my underwear when sitting. But, I’m still going to tweak these.

I’m happy! It’s been so long since I’ve had shorts that fit me well and are flattering!

1940s Puffy Sleeve Dress: Burda Magazine 5-2009-122

Well, hello sailor! I am digging the World War II era vibe from this Burda 5-2009 #122  dress.

It feels like I’ve just been cranking out projects lately. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I started this dress a little over three months ago back in November 2011. I thought it would be fun to wear to the DC Tweed Ride but only managed to finish my cape. Then, I started  thinking I would wear it to church when I was visiting my parents in Florida at Thanksgiving.  I never got around to finishing the dress on the trip because I left one of the sleeves back home. Once I got back to Baltimore I wasn’t insterested in sewing a non-winter dress.

But, last week, I decided it was time to clear the sewing deck and tackle one of my three UFOs. It’s really just taking up mental and physical space. You’ll understand that I don’t remember too many details at this point.

Alterations? Just my now standard FBA and a swayback adjustment. I also raised the center front waistline by about two inches (perhaps over modulation on my FBA?). I’ll be honest. I don’t think this is a great dress if you are busty. It’s a very full top with all the tucks and the waist isn’t super defined. You may look a bit ’round’. I don’t think this is my most flattering silhouette. Not bad. Just not my best. But, I still like it. I think it’s best suited to a tall and lean Audrey Hepburn vs busty / curvy Marilyn Monroe :)

The dress has 52 pleats. Fifty. Two. Pleats. That includes pleats in the sleeve, sleeve lining, upper bodice / shoulder, bodice waist and skirt. I really really have to recommend that you baste the pleats. I do usually just pin in place, but for this many, I think you’ll be happier with the results if you hand baste.

The material is a wool challis from the Carol Collection. All deep purples and blues with paisley. Again, another fabric I would not have chosen for myself. But, is lovely for fall. The pattern does not call for lining, but I added a lavender silk for lining (also from the Carol Collection) and it’s absolutely luxe! Seriously. I would sleep in this dress just because the lining feels so very good.

The one thing I do not love is the neckline. Even with interfacing for reinforcing, one side is a little warped. Not enough for me to take it apart and fix. But, enough for me to notice. I wish I had used a facing / lining combination. The silk ins’t really stable enough to hold up the neckline well.

Overall, I’m pleased with the dress. It’s not my usual somewhat sleeker style. I love puffy sleeves and a full skirt. But, I do feel a bit twee and Talbots at the same time. Maybe because it’s retro I feel like I’m playing dress up a bit? I felt the same Talbots and twee feeling from this 2007 Burda dress from five years ago (mmm, would like to make that one up again now that I know to make an FBA). That being said, I plan to make this dress up again in a black washed silk that Carolyn gifted me about two years ago. Not the most ‘original’ idea — it was how they made it up in the magazine.

While the tucks and pleats are daunting, it’s well worth it for a fun design.

My pattern review is here.

Four Skirts in Four Days, Part IV!: Burda 6-2009-104 Wrap Skirt

I actually finished this skirt months ago and didn’t get a chance for photos or to blog. After writing this post ages after completing the garment, I realize I am *boring* when an article isn’t fresh on my mind! So, I apologize now for the rudimentary post. I’m just fuzzy on the finer points after all this time. What happened to my memory? I used to recall conversations verbatim. Now, I write notes to myself so I can remember what people said to me. While we’re talking about getting older. I’ve been obsessed about these laugh lines around my mouth lately. I was almost relieved when I saw some forgotten photos of me from 10+ years ago with the same lines. Turns out I didn’t care in my 20s. Only in my 30s did they stand out :)

Enough of that. Back to the skirt! The flash washed the color of the skirt out a bit so I’m posting it below with no flash.

 It’s a strawberry cream seersucker. I *think* I bought it at Metro Textiles last year. But, I honestly don’t remember! See, again with the memory thing! The cream buttons are from A Fabric Place here in Baltimore.

This Burda 6-2009-104 skirt sucked me in by two elements: double row of buttons and seersucker. I am so totally predictable. Make it a trench, vest, cape or seersucker and I’m all in.

The line drawing shows it looking fairly straight, but I found on me it was a little a-line. This could have been for the additional width I added at the thighs.

The buttons on the front are mostly decorative as this is a wrap skirt with a side zipper.

There’s a slit on the inside for walking.

Ummm, I’ve worn the skirt bunches. But, I dont’ love it on me. It’s slightly too small with no room to let out. I had to do a lot of futzing with fit. After completion, I actually took the waist in two more times before it was wearable.

Despite adding about 2 inches of width in the thigh, it’s still about 1/2 inch snug. I also made a full seat adjustment in two places to accommodate for my swayback and full seat and it’s not quite enough (or smooth based on this photo!).

You can see the skirt still sits a scootch higher at the center front. The center back seam isn’t really centered on me and the side seams are off because of all my adjustments (and my full forward thighs).

Overall, I’m meh. It’s a nice staple and certainly adds to the work wardrobe. But, it’s not top garment for 2011. I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of it, but I don’t know if I would make it again. I think I need to make a simple pencil skirt and make some decisions on the best skirt style for me.

Weekend Summary

Since Friday, I’ve been dogsitting for my friend Catalina. Her dog, Frida Khalo, and I have been hanging out together in the sewing / TV room bawling our eyes out over Surprise Homecoming and  Say Yes to the Dress while discussing the debt ceiling crisis. If you’re wondering, yes. I would absolutely love a dog. But, I only want a toy breed and couldn’t  bring myself to purchase one when so many animals need homes. The small ones at the ASPCA, etc are the first to go and just about impossible to get if you don’t know someone on the inside. So, I’m satisfying myself by dogsitting. Kind of like being a grandparent and spoiling the heck out of the kid and turning them back over to the parents hopped up on candy and Frappes.

While Frida and I were spending quality time together, Liz came by to take her first stab at machine sewing a dress. You see, she used to hand sew garments when she did historical re-enactments at Ft. McHenry (home of the Star Spangled Banner (the US National Anthem) and right here in Baltimore). She’s liked my sewn garments but not enough to try sewing herself.  It was the Burda 6/2010 #123  knit sack dress that sent her over the edge. Can you stand a third version of it in one week? Clearly, I need to enter this in to the one pattern, three looks contest.

We picked out the material last week at G Street in Rockville. Can you imagine they had a Groupon? Woot! Woot! Her main concern with sewing is that she’s too much of a perfectionist. She thought it would drive her bananas if it wasn’t absolutely perfect and would get frustrated. You know what takes the frustration away? Sweet Tea Vodka while you’re sewing.

Mom. Don’t freak out about Frida on the sofa. I gave her a bath, brushed her and vacuum daily while she’s here. 

She has more material to make a second version. But, not bad for your first dress, right? We even matched motifs on the side.

I had her sew with a knit because the beginner fear of sewing with a knit boggles my mind. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’re not told something is hard, then you won’t think it’s hard. I believe in Fearless Sewing. Then again, I only made French seams this year and still haven’t done a rolled hem.

Oh, also sews on a Kenmore 1040. She had a Wal Mart Special that jammed every third stitch. This absolutely led to her irritation with sewing. So, when I was in Tampa buying my Singer 301, I found the Kennie and brought it home for her.

Oh. She was also blown away that I took 50+ photos for one blog post.  And, got a little tired of it near the end :D I just would not let her get away.

I feel like an idiot. Stop taking pictures.

I have no more poses. Stop.

Seriously. Isn’t that enough?

C’mon!

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Trena came up to Baltimore Friday night to be my date for an Artscape party. Artscape is the largest outdoor arts festival on the east coast and is hosted right here in Baltimore.

That night, I was invited to a rooftop party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Artscape. There was a live Fantasia concert on the ground. There were SO MANY PEOPLE. They were expecting 350,000 people over the weekend.

Cocktails and food were on the roof and fireworks at a reasonable hour (I just can’t stay up late).

It was a GREAT time.


Here’s a photo of us with some of my work friends.

More importantly, Trena and I were both in the same Burda 06-2010 #123 dresses of our own making in totally differnt prints.

She went with an elegant silk jersey, and I made up this yellow and gray polyester from Philadelphia’s Jomar.

According to her, the fan fabric is just $3 a yard. So, the dress was under $10 and I have a bunch leftover.

As Trena mentions, the swayback in this is pretty significant. I took out two inches and could have taken out another 1.0 to 1.5.

This was my test run of the plaid sack dress. This first version is two inches shorter. Which is fine just as long as I don’t try to blouson it like I did the silk version.


That’s me looking for the rest of the skirt

I think this length is also a little ‘stumpier’ on me vs the plaid dress. But, the right length for a summer cocktail party with fancy people.

Overall, it was a good night. I had fun with my bestie and got to show off my town.