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.

Not a wadder

The second easy knit top I started last weekend is 3-2005-108 BWOF. It’s a 3/4 sleeve v-neck. I used fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics, leftover from my last maxi dress. I figured the pattern was so simple, it was ideal for showing off this large statement print.

For this, I took care to match the sides, because I wanted the hem print to be consistent all the way around.


I didn’t take the same care with the raglan sleeves because I think it was busy enough that it wouldn’t stand out.


My lapped v isn’t as deep as the original.

I used the border trim for the v-neck and for my added sleeve bands. I also reinforced the V with a knit interfacing. The BWOF directions aren’t great for the v-neck. I pulled out my Singer Sewing Reference Library: Sewing Activewear, on V necklines for their instructions.


I didn’t make a swayback adjustment on the pattern and it still worked out pretty well.

I really like this top! It’s easy. It’s a great basic. I’m definitely making it again.


You know, I never considered adding a couple more buttons to yesterday’s dress. But, now, maybe I will. Thanks!

I’ve finished my lining for the second version of the Sherlock Holmes dress. Now, I just need to insert zipper, add collar and hem. Very exciting.

It’s kind of a wadder

Sunday night I decided it was time for some long-sleeved knit tops to transition through the fall. Although, fall lasts for like a hot minute in Baltimore. I pulled some old BWOFs and picked out some easy designs. I chose 10-2005-114 because it’s four pieces. Two hours max from start to finish. But, despite its extreme cuteness on one Christina, I do not care for it on me.


First, I think I need an FBA in BWOF knits, hence wrinkles near the arm pit. Second, note to self: don’t ease sleeves with a serger (take a close look at the left shoulder). Third, go up two sizes in the hip — drag lines around the waist.


Don’t forget to make a swayback adjustment — see massive pooling above. Last, don’t use swimwear fabric. Well, I don’t know that it was sold as swimwear as it was in a gifted bundle from a friend, but I felt like I was on the set of Fame walking the halls at work — all nylon and spandex.


Considering I don’t love the fabric, I’m not upset and I’ll still wear it. Why? Because it looks just fine under a suit :)


Fall means baking for me. Over the weekend I made multigrain sandwich bread from Cooks Illustrated. Great with peanut butter in the morning. Delish.

I don’t even know where to begin….

So, I’ve made my second woven blouse ever. Yep, 15 years sewing and I’ve made two woven blouses. Chalk it up to fear and loathing of even hems, buttonholes and setting in sleeves.


You know what I learned? I don’t know how to sew a blouse! How do I know that? Take a look at this 12-2007-117 blouse. Before I begin this dissection, let me say I don’t think the blouse is awful and I’ll wear it. It just showed me all that I do not know and what I need to work on for the future.

1. Learn to mark your sleeves so you know which is the right sleeve and which is the left. See my sleeve packets? Those should be in the back not the front.


2. Women’s shirts have buttons on the left. Not the right. Remember that.


3. Ummm, I misunderstood exactly what I was supposed to pleat in the sleeves. My tucks aren’t large enough. So instead of this interesting top, I’ve got a big sleeved pirate’s blouse.

4. Oy. I have gots to learn how to do a better sway back adjustment on blouses. I did about an inch prior to cutting it out. I tried adding some darts to take in, but it didn’t really work out for me. I know it’s not the hips because I took out the side seams and it was still doing this.


5. Thank heavens for the Bishop Method of Clothing Construction and Singer’s Sewing Essentials. I needed to look to see how to set in sleeves, notching vs clipping curves, marking and making buttonholes — you name it, I looked it up.

It’s okay. I posted way back in September about needing to make more blouses. I have the shirtings, I have the patterns, I’m on a mission. Overall I’m satisfied, just some room for improvement!

I think I love my serger — Part I

I’ve gone to Christmas brunch, come home and napped and now I am back to the sewing machine.

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

I have a Euro-Pro 100-546 serger. From the first day, I have had a love/hate relationship with this machine. When it works, it works brilliantly. I bought the serger on a whim from the Home Shopping Network five years ago (hey, they broke up the payments over three months). The first night, I serged over needles and damaged the knives. HSN didn’t have knives and couldn’t tell me where to get them, no one I called had serger knives for Euro Pros. Finally, I found a number for Euro Pro headquarters in Quebec, Canada and called and ordered from them. I got the wrong blades three times in a row over two months. Finally, I mailed my old blades back to them with an IRATE letter and got two new sets. The last of that set died two weeks ago and I’ve ordered two new sets for $76. I’m still waiting for the blades.


At any rate, HSN was getting rid of serger attachments and I picked up five for $20 a few years ago. An elasticator, bead / sequin foot, ruffler / shirring, piping attachment and a blind stitch foot. I’ve honestly only used two in the last few years — the ruffler and piping foot.

5-2007-124 BWOF

I decided I wanted to pipe the waistband of the May 2007 BWOF dress to mimic the waistband middle line and the border of the skirt. But, not the bodice sections. So, out came the old piping foot.

Today, I love my serger.


The piping foot has a groove for the piping to pass through. You sandwich the piping between the two layers of fabric and pass it through your serger. Then, you adjust the width and length of the stitch.


It cleanly sews and finishes the piping in one step. Now, I go all out and don’t baste in the piping first. You probably should. But, that’s just how I roll.


I’m basting the skirt pleats tonight and hopefully assembling the skirt front and back. Tomorrow I should get the second part of piping done and assemble the lining over the weekend. I might pipe the top too, but I want to do a final fitting first. I have a feeling this one is going to be snug.


And, I keep a picture of the threading of my serger in my sewing room. Sometimes, the threads break and I’ve got to re-thread. Rather than *just* trial and error, I check out the photo for a quick reminder of what thread goes over what thread.