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.

Pattern Review: BWOF 10-2008-117: Bubble Dress Redux

I first made this dress in October 2008 for a wedding. It remains my most flattering dress. This is the one I constantly get a positive response in. It’s slim and flattering through the waist and is complementary on the bottom. In fact, it’s my go to ‘Get ’em gurrrl’ dress. In fact, a few weeks ago I knew I was going to see an ex-boyfriend (Ladies. Do not sh*t where you eat. No good will come of it). The original purple version is what I chose to wear. And, it did what I wanted it to do. Everyone needs a dress like that.

I’ve been wanting to make this up again for some time. Mainly because the original purple (this is mortifying), is stank with body funk. Yes, there I said it. I have a garment that is only wearable in the winter when I have no opportunity to get warm. I have done everything prescribed to it by the incredibly knowledgeable doyennes of pattern review. It’s significantly better (it was once unwearable) but it is not without flaw. Man, last week I soaked the pits for eight hours in  a pure ammonia and baking soda paste. Again, better. But, not perfect. I’ve since moved on to dress liners, prescription strength antiperspirants and washing my knits (with amonia, baking soda and borax) as soon as I wear them. But, I digress.

I bought this material at PR Weekend in Montreal. I have no capacity for remembering how much fabric was.

For this iteration, I left out the CB zip, did not interface the collar (so I could pull it over my head), widened the turtleneck, and did not sew the bust darts. I find bust darts in thin knits super annoying and I was thinking that they weren’t going to make that much of a difference.

Voila! I have a very nice gray almost sweater knit that I think I’d like to make it up in. This dress was especially needed this week as someone thought I was in my mid 40s. Not that there is anything wrong with your mid 40s. But, for heaven’s sake! I’m 34 !!

** I took pictures twice. Now that it’s dark out, the lighting in my living room isn’t great. And, I’m too much of a wimp to take pictures outside in the cold. I had some really nice detail photos on the dressform. But, my four-year old iMac is currently in the shop. I put in a Netflix DVD of Butterfield 8 (great costumes by Helen Rose) and my computer just stopped working. They are ordering a new elliptical drive. But, for now,  all my good photos are on there.  Boo!!

Pattern Review: Burda Magazine, 9-2010-121 Turtleneck

I don’t think this counts as a review. Burda 9-2010-121 was so simple I didn’t even look at the directions. The pattern is three pieces. I did make a swayback adjustment so that necessitated a center back seam. I made a 40. I should have made a 38.

My first version is black and I made that Sunday night in maybe two hours from trace to sew. For the second go round, it literally took me less than an hour to make. In fact, I made it before going to work on Monday morning. I widened the bicep by about an inch and lengthened the sleeve another inch. I really wanted that exaggerated cuff. This rayon knit is from PR Weekend in Montreal. I *almost* gave it to Trena because I couldn’t quite picture me in it and she likes this kind of avocado green. It’s ok, I have other stuff for her :)

To secure the turtleneck, I stitched in the ditch along the two side and back neck seam. I didn’t finish hemming the top. You know I don’t usually bother hemming knits. I might on this one. Depends on if I can find my twin needle anytime soon.

There’s not much more to say. Easy peasy. Simple basic. I’m sure I’ll be making lots of these for years to come.

Pattern Review: BurdaStyle Magazine 4/2008 #107, Trench Jacket

I’m DONE!

Whew.  The jacket is actually pretty straighforward construction. For this, I cut a size 40 and made a 1/2 inch FBA.

I added a center back seam to make my swayback adjustment.

The inside is finished with bias tape which I had to do when my serger died mid construction. But, it’s a beautiful way to finish an unlined jacket.

I made the back facing in the same contrast fabric as the undercollar and reverse of the chest gaurd.

The buttons were from a FabricMart.com bundle. The fabric is from a Michael’s clearance last year or the year before. Total project? Maybe $20?

I don’t know what happened to me, but my handsewn hem is terrible. If this jacket makes it through two weeks of China, I’ll have to even the hem out.

I do like all the topstitching. While cute, this fabric was all wrong for this jacket. It’s a very stiff denim – linen blend. It has no sheen whatsover and no drape. It was like making a jean jacket from canvas. The color is also pretty dull on me too. I’d like to find a summer scarf to spice it up.

I put the chest flap on the wrong side, not that I think it would make too much of a difference. I left off the pockets (made me look hippy) and the button loops. I don’t like this self fabric belt so I wanted the freedom to use a purchased one. I also placed the buttonholes too close to the front edge. My buttons overlap a bit too much.

I leave on Wednesday morning and for the first time in two months, I kind of don’t have anything to sew! I might try and make a sleeping mask. That could be done in an hour, tops. And, maybe an infinity scarf for the plane(s). LOL. I must be crazy.

The other fun thing I did this weekend was go to the drive in movie! Toy Story 3. I don’t know if I can go back to the theater after this.  So much fun!

Pattern Review: Burda Magazine 2-2010-127

Considering I started this Burda 2-2010-127 dress well over two months ago, it feels like a joke that I’m *just* finishing it this morning! Yeah. So, here’s the thing. I traced it during the big snowstorm. Then, things got busy and I would work on it every so often. Then, the sleeves were too small and the collar lopsided. After I recut the sleeves and re-sewed the collar, it started warming up and I figured I wasn’t going to wear long-sleeved blue-grey wool dress in summer. I mean, it was 90 degrees last week! Well, today — barely 50 and it was 30 something overnight. So, this morning I got up and figured I could insert a zipper, hem the skirt and sleeves all before leaving for work and wear my wool shirtdress one time before the season was over.

I LOVE THIS DRESS!! But (yeah. There is always a “but”). I didn’t line it because I was lazy and wanted to finish up faster. That means it wrinkles much easier than something lined would. And, when I recut the seams, I caught some moth damage on both sleeves. I didn’t realize it until way too late. And, it’s on both sleeves. I’ll back it with some interfacing tonight and make this a dry clean only dress.

The dress has a side zipper, which I’m starting to love. I can’t tell you how often I get to work and someone tells me my dress isn’t zipped up.

Of course, there is my NOTCHED COLLAR. My FIRST. I’m shouting, because I’m tooting my own horn so loudly over a NOTCHED COLLAR that I can’t hear myself think.

I did my usual swayback adjustment. Which was perfect for this since it already had a CB seam. I also was lucky enough to use fabric from the Carol Collection. So, this dress was pretty much FREE!!

Here it is without the belt. I do think it needs the belt for shape (unless you are very slim / straight on the bottom. Which, we all know I’m not). I don’t have a skinny belt.

The pattern calls for elastene fabric. I did cut a 40 — which I think is pretty much my new mid-30s size. IT fits. It’s snug across my rear. But, well, everything is. Seriously, this summer I need to learn a better adjustment for my thighs. Again, I shaved the hip curve down. But, still need more depth at the thighs.

Whew. Two finished projects in one week! What is the world coming to? Now, seriously. I have to sew for some other people. At least that  boring duvet cover for a friend.

Can I Name My First Born ‘Cheviot’?

I am 100 percent in love with these pants!!!  They are Burda 9-2007-115  and I first made them two years ago.  Between the amazing fabric and finally getting the construction down, I honestly and truly love them.

These pants are not fast nor are they easy. Iactually had them cut in this gorgeous cheviot wool from Egypt for over a year. But, I was so disappointed with the jacket and just generally struggle with sewing pants that I put it away.

And, I was actually going to throw it out in the “great sewing room move” but never got around to it.  It’s really starting to get cold here and I am (as always) in DESPERATE need of pants / separates.

I love the pockets. They are a thorn in my side to make, but I do just love them. This time, I interfaced all the upper edges so that the pockets stayed crisp.  I also used pocketing  in addition to the fashion fabric.

And, lookit!! My fly front! Yes, I use the Sandra Betzina video. But, it’s always been hit or miss for me. This time, it worked (well, it worked after I ripped it out the first time).

Now, I did leave the pants unlined. But, I am SO BAD at making pants that I figured I was better off focusing on the actual construction of these and getting comfortable with pants before I tackled the lining. Yes, I have fears of the knees bagging out. But, for now, I don’t care! The fabric is super firm and just deliciously soft. I would fly myself back to Egypt for more of this fabric. Truly.

I will say, I have a desire to move away from wide leg pants. Burda says these are suited for ‘tall women’. I’m not short at 5’6. But, I ain’t tall. To qoute my mother, I don’t know that they are doing me any favors.  The muslin Marji and I are working on is a slimmer cut but still needs some tweaking. In the meantime, I have ordered some fabric from Fabric.com to make at least two more of these this winter.

Oh, this is pretty much what I want to wear all winter. Pants / skirt, sweater, shirt. I’m kind of into the three -piece wardrobe right now. When I worked at Lord and Taylor post college the rule was a dress, a suit or pants / skirt with a jacket. I think it’s a good rule of thumb for work attire.

I am so stinking happy right now folks. I have clearly been in a slump. I think, well, I think that 2009 was just a lot harder for me than I was admitting to myself.   I put on the ‘no one is going to ever love me so I might as well get fat’ 15 pounds — which does not make you want to sew (especially when family members think it’s ok to point it out to you. Like I don’t *know* that I’ve put on weight).  Work has been just incredibly busy and painfully stressful. This left me not wanting to sew and not wanting to blog and honestly with little *time* to do either.  But, making these pants — something I have just never done well and have little confidence in reminded me that I LOVE my craft. I LOVE to create and I LOVE to sew. I was SO happy after these pants that I’ve already got my sweatshirt dress from La Mia Boutique cut and pinned. I’ve pulled skirt lengths for my next four projects. I’m happy and not stressed in my sewing room since Marji helped me straighten it out. I guess what I’m saying is I’m back baby, I’m back!

Oldie But a Goodie

I had dinner plans last  night with a boy and wasn’t sure what exactly to wear. Mostly because I wasn’t sure if it was a date or not. After consultation with Christina and Leslie I came up with jeans and a top.  I wanted casual but sexy. We weren’t meeting up until 10 p.m. so I wanted a little New York but a lot of me. It’s getting cool at night here, so I wanted sleeves. I needed something easy, so I needed a knit. Enter Burda 5-2002-108.

It's a thin knit so it looks kinda wrinkly, but in person it's nice and casual

It’s not meant to be worn pulled over the hips like I do below. But, when I wore it like I did last night (above) it looks kind of sloppy in the photos

The pattern is made up of four pieces with cut on sleeves. My fabric is from Jomar in Philly and was about $2 a yard.

You get the look of a wrap without using up all that fabric. I love it as it’s kind of geometric but simple.

The color above is closest to real life color. I didn’t hem the waistband or the sleeves. I just don’t believe in it for casual knits ;) Total project time, under two hours. All construction on the serger with top stitching of the neckline on my sewing machine.

Here’s the back, similar with a less deep V

Slightly lower than I would normally wear for someplace like work. But, it was for a possible date and we were going to have the flush out his intentions early. A girl has got to do what a girl has got to do.

Pattern Review: BWOF 6/2009 #107

I actually almost forgot to review this dress, 6-2009-107! I’ve been waiting for a nice day out so I could get some decent sun photos (navy is hard to photograph). But, it’s raining today and I wore the dress to the office  so sub-par basement photos it is!

Ok. First, this dress is no good without the belt. I won’t like to you. Gah. It looks like I’m in some cult where I’m ashamed to have girl parts.

Jean likens it to a mu mu and she’s spot on. BTW, if you’re not reading her blog, you should be. She does impeccable work and is a knit designer too. Kind of makes me wish I lived next door so I could be all clever and trick her into becoming my friend. But, I digress.

I didn’t make the obi — yet. But, instead tried it with my red Anthropologie knock off belt. The fabric is linen from Denver Fabrics. I washed and dried it a few times to soften. I like the soft rumpled look. But, still pressed and starched it like I was in the military.

Here it is with my pink J.Crew belt knock off — I need to do photos of that sometime.  I know the blousy look trends young, but I think it’s very cute and super comfortable.  As you can see, this is my summer of showing my knees. I read that minis are the rage this summer, and this is as close as I can get for the office. Also, I don’t love myself in black, so navy is my dark neutral of choice.

June 107

You’ll notice mine is not off the shoulder like the original. I didn’t want the off-shoulder look since this is a work dress and I have narrow shoulders. So, I just took much bigger tucks than called for–  which shaved about three or four inches off the neckband. That brought everything up higher, and still made a very cool dip in the back neckline.

So, this dress totally works for me and I think it should only be made in a solid. I feel it could just be too much in a print. For my body type, an X, it’s good because it highlights the smallest part of me, but glosses over my bottom half. It’s super comfortable, can be made I think in under two hours and has elicited loads – o-compliments from the fashionistas I’m trying to keep up with at work. Again I say: I HEART the June 2009 BWOF!

Just Skirting Around

“Every now and then your wardrobe needs an injection of something, new, trendy and fun.  That was the thought when we spied the pencil skirts shown in the large graphic prints and florals in the June 2009 issue of Lucky Magazine.  These skirts provide a great way to update a classic…so with that photo spread and a little conversation…we were ready to create our own versions.  Following are our individual interpretations of an updated yet classic pencil skirt.”

Inspiration:  A feature in Lucky Magazine highlighting the pencil skirt done in large scale prints/graphic prints.
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The ChallengeCreate a pencil skirt that works on our own body and use a bold print.

Participants are Carolyn, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic;  Me, LindsayT, Lindsay T Sews (Again); and Marji Fiber Arts Afloat. (Marji proposed the challenge after reading Carolyn’s post of May 9 and asked a few fellow sewists she emails and talks to regularly if they wanted to participate.)

For me, the challenge is in just making a skirt. I never really made them and seemed to skip to far more complicated garments years ago. So I am generally uncomfortable with my skirt fitting and construction issues (discussed below) for skirts.

The skirt:

 

Pattern used: ‘vintage’ BWOF from June 2002, #104 (6-2002-104)



Fabric / Fabric source:
White waffle weave pique from the Carol Collection with graphic red and black flowers. It’s bold and graphic, but not necessarily a LARGE scale print.

Construction details:

I have loved this skirt since it first ran seven years ago. I’ve said before that I don’t make a lot of skirts. Mainly because I don’t have tops to go with them and the vicious cycle of no separates continues. I also don’t make a lot of skirts ‘cuz I think a lot of what I see is b-o-r-i-n-g. So, when I make a skirt, I do it for the details.

On this one, it was the side button placket. First, it provides visual interest and second, it prevents me from having to work with a slit which I still have not mastered.  It also appears that I need to learn the ‘my skirt hikes up in the back’ adjustment due to my swayback and my Jamaican caboose. A syndrome I see all over the streets of Baltimore.

I will be looking for some different buttons though. These blend in a bit too much. If I were making this same skirt again, I would have worked the buttonholes in a different  color than  white.

Because the skirt is white, I chose to underline with white cotton batiste and line it with a tan Bemberg Rayon — rendering it Princess Diana proof. And, I’ve finally got a handle on the blind hem function of my Kenmore!

Here’s the back (All my RTW tops look like this H&M one with pooling at my waist). My version has a CB seam so I could take a horizontal tuck for my swayback.

Skirts also sit higher on my front than on my back (another swayback issue) — which causes some not pretty pulling across the front.

** In the photo above, there are two less buttons. I took photos Monday morning,  wore the skirt to work and decided to add two more buttons after I got home. I wore the skirt to work on Monday and have compliments from the first three women I saw. A success I say! But, I really need to master some basic skills for skirts. I never like making them because of lining and fit. I want to be like my girl Trena with her 50+.


** Pay no attention to the junkyard grass in the background. I was going to mow this weekend, but cut my hand slicing that  baguette I just *had* to have on Sunday and I was too cheap to submit to the THIRTY DOLLAR extortion the kid across the street  wanted to mow my 20 sq ft of grass. That, and I hate yardwork.

Giddyup

I never make dresses that look like they might be clingy or straight. I am a pear shape with my widest part being my thighs, not my hips. Yet, I was intrigued by BWOF 2-2009-119.  I knew Trena made this one up and I checked with her. She said the line drawing was deceiving and it was flowier than it appeared.

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It seems what she meant is that my thighs are bigger than hers. ‘Cuz,  I cut it out while grading up three sizes through the thigh and all I can say is ‘giddyup’.

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Holy saddlebags Batman.

Nothing like fabric bulging at your thighs and unceremoniously dipping back in. Since I can’t wear this to work, I went ahead and hemmed it above the knee.  Now, before you say ‘It’s not that bad’. These are the most flattering photos I could take. I’m honest, but Vanity is still my middle name :) This still may get cut into a top. Overall it’s a nice pattern. Although, the sleeve construction seems to be more fussy than it should be. I called Trena about three times to understand them. What does Burda have against the word ‘understitch‘ ??

Alright. Instead of making a knit bias strip, I underlined the upper yoke. I think the dress would be better if I had underlined the entire thing in a knit. It would make this print sturdier and give a little more support. dscf7929

From the back. I made a swayback adjustment. The line is pulling some. Probably from the squirrels fighting back there.

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And here I have found my Costco brand spanx. Hence the big smile. I’ll see if I can wear this over the summer for going out. But, if I find I don’t wear it. It’ll be cut into a top. I’m going to give this pattern another go. I’ve already altered to add two more inches to the thigh area. Hopefully, that will do it.