FehrTrade Surf to Summit: Menssss

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Over Thanksgiving I pattern tested Melissa Fehr Trade’s Surf to Summit Top for men. Note, I didn’t make one for myself because I neither surf, nor summit. Jordan on the other hand snowboards, runs and bikes. One time we went running together and I *begged* him not to run with me. I get really self conscious about what a slow runner I am. And, I kind of hate being encouraged when I run. Just let me run in peace and self loathing. He wouldn’t do it and jogged along with me at my 12 minute mile pace. The next day, he had shin splints. Because, it was like he was jogging in place. ::sad trombone:: We haven’t gone running together since….

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Anywho, I tested this pattern because it was free and something I would have bought anyway. I’m probably a terrible tester, because I sewed this sucker up in less than two hours on a Friday night. And, I glanced through the directions, but it’s really simple construction. I will say her diagrams are really good and I think Big 4 patterns could take a lesson from her on how to illustrate instructions. Her pattern description below:

Both the men’s and ladies’ versions feature princess seams, side panels (so no side seams!), your choice of long or short raglan sleeves, optional sleeve mitts for keeping your hands warm without fiddling for gloves, a tall integral collar to keep your neck covered, and your choice of two hem lengths. An optional half zip and back cycling-style pocket are also included.

I made the pullover in long sleeves with sleeve mitts. I would have done the half zip, but didn’t have a zipper on hand and wasn’t trying to go out over Thanksgiving to look for one.

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Guys, I get the love of a PDF pattern — instant gratification and no shipping. But, I’ll only sew them if they are copy shop. Period. I know there are faster ways of taping, but I won’t do it. Some people won’t upgrade to smartphones and get on Facebook. I won’t tape PDFs. So, I was really happy I could get this one copy shop printed.

For Jordan, I first sewed a straight Large. His chest measured 42.5. Jordan’s clothing issues are short torso, broad chest, large biceps and somewhat narrow waist — but with a little extra weight around his middle.

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After taking photos so she could see how the straight Large fit (above and unhemed), I took three inches of width from the waist. Jordan wants it even tighter next time so it’s a more a true compression shirt. When I sew it again, I’ll also add one or two inches in length. At first he said it was fine. Then, he went for a run and admitted his stomach got cold.

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I really like these run mitts. When sewing them, I had zero idea what they were supposed to look like. And, feared I’d sewn them wrong. But, they are correct and Jordan said they worked brilliantly. But, he felt some stares when we was running, but said they worked so well his hands were sweating by the time he got home. Below on the left is the run mitt and on the right what it looks like when not engaged.

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Finally, I made this up in some of my hoarded Under Armour Cold Gear. I have two more pieces of it left in red and sage green. I’m saving the red for myself and donating the sage green to his exercising cause.
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This went together really quickly. All serger construction with my coverstitch for the hems.

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I think I need to make some fit tweaks. I’d like to try an XL on top and through the arms and taper to a medium in the waist. I’ll also add some length at the bottom. And, this summer I can sew him some bike versions from the Nike fabric I bought in Minnesota this summer. Plus, with the seaming details, there’s plenty of opportunity for me to use some reflective tape to make him a bit more visible in the wild.

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I’ve sewn some more holiday gifts for Jordan that I hope to blog after Hanukkah this week. In the meantime, Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate. And for those of us waiting for Christmas, it’s less than two weeks away!!

Allow me to leave you with my new Christmas tree. Because, I can.

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Blue Boxers, German Translation and Most AMAZING Burda Archive

I was planning on throwing in some boxers with Jordan’s Hanukkah gifts in December. But, then I thought, are underwear really gifts? Is that like getting a pack of socks from your parents? So, I decided to just make them over Thanksgiving and give them out when I was done. I tried, but he wasn’t trying to model these for my blog either. SO incredibly selfish.

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These are Jalie 2327. I’ve made them before in two or three batches for Jordan. This time, I made up five in size U. I think I found with these sizing down a size was the fit he wanted. For the waistband, I measured his waist and subtracted six inches. The Singer Sewing Reference library book on lingerie (I don’t know that Jordan would appreciate knowing my measurements for his boxers comes from a lingerie book, heh.) says subtract between 2 and 6 inches for waistband elastic.

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The fabric is Under Armour wicking material at like $5 to $7 a yard that they use for underwear. Local Guss Woolens was my UA fabric resource, and they closed up shop. So, I’ve sort of hoarded this material. I have it in three more color ranges so he should be getting boxers for a few more years now. The waistband elastic is from Sew Sassy (and conveniently University of Michigan colors). I also have it with black and grey from easy.

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Nothing too fancy here. Everything constructed with the serger. It’s as close as I get to production sewing.

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The elastic and hems are sewn with the overstitch and wooly nylon in the lower looper.


 

For myself, I have a few new bra patterns from the German company Sewy.

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They are Isabell and Leonie.  They are blessedly in my size range. But, entirely in German. If there are any German speaking readers who would be willing to translate for pay or exchange of fabric, patterns, etc, please let me know. I’ve made enough bras that I get the gist. But, English would be easier. Just leave a message at the bottom and I’ll contact you.


 

Melissa over at FehrTrade tipped me off to this on her blog. There is an incredible Burda archive here that allows you to search based on tags, size, fabric or garment. Incredible. Check it out. It’s already caused me to track down some Burdas that have patterns I *need*. You can also run the link http://burdavisor.ru through Google Translate to sort out how to download the archive. Seems like it has to be re-downloaded every month. But, with the Plus, Easy Fashion and Regular editions included going back to 2004, it’s well worth it.

Three, Four Times A Lady: BWOF 10-2008-117

While I’m waiting for a slew of wigan samples to make their way to me (thank you!!) I realized I needed a dress to wear to a dinner party last weekend. I figured knit would be fast and easy and with the weather, I knew I needed long sleeve. Enter Burda 10-2008-117.

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I’ve made this pattern twice before and neither version are with me any longer. I’m happy to say I still love it! I love it so much, I cut and sewed a second grey scale version during the week. Sadly for you, two dresses means twice as many photos! Luckily, my friend Liz offered to take both sets of photos :-)

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So, what did I do differently than the first two times? I decided I liked the collar standing up, so, I interfaced that and just used a shortened invisible zipper at the back (vs down to the hip).

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I also decided I wanted to give the darts from the original design another go and made a one inch FBA. This time. I sewed a 40 this time grading to a 46 in the lower thigh. I ended up taking both dresses in a lot at the waist and hips. I usually hate darts in knits. But, they really worked out well this time for shaping!

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Both cuts of fabric are from my Fabric Mart trip two years ago. I thought the colors would be great for early winter. And, I bought like five cuts of poly knits two weekends ago at Jomar in Philadelphia. So, I really needed to sew some down. I like how in 2012 I said no more poly knits and bought a bunch. And, in 2014 I said no more poly knits, and seriously bought 30 yards of them. I am truly a creature of habit photo IMGP1588_zps0e42eec0.jpgOther than the FBA and sewing darts in a knit, my other big difference was finally getting a chance to use Vilene tape around the neckline, shoulder and armsyce.

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This is the tape that you always see in Burda with a little chain thread on it. As you can see below, when you sew a 1/4 inch seam, your stitch falls perfectly on the chain. Perfect for stabilization!

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Melissa of Fehr Trade was kind enough to bring me some when she visited last year. And, when I went to the Netherlands, I bought several packets of it.

In the second version, I made a bigger swayback adjustment and shortened the shoulder width a bit.

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I love the swishyness of the bubble skirt too. It creates movement in a really interesting way.

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I love these dresses. I guess with four makes, this is officially a TNT for me.

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What’s next? Gift making for the holidays. I want to make some tops for Jordan and I promised to alter his wool three piece suit. That is enough of a gift for anyone. And, will probably keep me busy through December.

Spring Raincoat in the Middle of Fall: Burda 9-2003-120

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I managed to finish my spring raincoat in the last week of October. Heh. I have the best timing ever. I cannot believe this took me about a month to make. Which, if you read my blog before last year, would know is a ridiculously long time for me. I once made a winter coat in two weeks! It was even harder getting photos now that I leave the house at 7:30 am for work and don’t get back in until 7 pm. It’s dark when I leave and dark when I get home.

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Also, I SWEAR to you, each time it rained I felt like I was being taunted. Now that the jacket is done, it’s just cold :-/ As I said last post, I left my rain coat in Amsterdam back in September. Nothing tells you how much you need a rain coat until you don’t have one!

Unfortunately, my DSLR camera is in the shop. So, we’re using my (still very good) point and shoot. But, I was hoping to try out some of the shooting ‘red’ suggestions. The photos below aren’t too bad. But, the red is photographing hot making it hard to see some of the details. On to the jacket!

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This jacket is a basic parka with interesting details — something I think Burda excels in– when they aren’t making sack dresses. You could easily take about any parka pattern, add some D-rings and zippers and have the same look. But, this is also a good reason to hold on to your older Burdas. There’s a gem in there somewhere. This magazine is well over ten years old.

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I’m a little late on completing this jacket because after I posted my last update I installed the zipper and tried the jacket on for the first time. Well, when I tried on the jacket, the casing wasn’t balanced (one side higher than the other) AND it wasn’t hitting my waist (too low). So, it looked pretty terrible. I sulked for a day and then decided to spend a few hours taking out six rows of teeny tiny stitching for the casing and redoing the whole shebang. When I re-sewed it, I moved the waist band up about an inch and added the missing fourth row from my first go.  I was worried about the waistline casing then looking totally and completely overworked. But, this fabric actually heals pretty remarkably! And, totally waterproof.

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Redoing the waistband casing was absolutely worth it. The jacket is not  super fitted to begin with and I really needed the waist definition. The fabric was from a local warehouse sale and about $2 a yard. I seriously think this jacket was $20 to make or less! I did NOT tape the seams on this jacket. Because of all the topstitching, the seams were fairly water tight.

On this pattern, I made a 1.5 inch FBA, took 1/2 inch off the shoulders and made a swayback adjustment. I sewed a 40, grading out to a 46 with a touch more room in the thigh. My friend Liz thinks the jacket is a hair too big for me. But, I think it fits and allows for some boxier clothing underneath (i.e. the wool sweater I ‘m wearing).

What else… I wasn’t sure how to do the zipper so that the fabric lips covered up most of the teeth. I didn’t quite trust the Burda instructions and just did it my way. It’s not as closed as I would have liked. But, the blue zipper down the center isn’t as distracting as I thought it would be. And, I do love that the brass peaks through. I also found that NO NEEDLE (microtex, leather, sharp, universal)  I had wanted to top stitch through the zipper tape and two layers of my fabric. One of these days, I need take a minute and flesh out my needle stash.

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Speaking of zips… this two-way zip is 36 inches instead of the 40 asked for in the pattern. And, it was only $2.50 locally from Stadham Sewing in Baltimore (compared to $5 to $11 I saw online). The blue 9 inch zippers on the side were only 75 cents too.

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And they had this tiny 4 inch zipper for the totally useless sleeve pocket (I hope that yellow wax washes out!). I love  that place. I really may go in one day and buy four zippers in every color and length and just stash them.

The jacket is unlined and I am fine with that. The fabric is sturdy and doesn’t ravel.

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Overall, I’m pleased with this jacket. And, I’m really glad I had my heavy Bernina to sew it with. I was looking at the top stitching on Jordan’s jacket and it’s kind of wonky compared to this. You really need a heavier machine when you’re dealing with unruly material.

For this jacket, I went with contrast ribbon rather than the recommended leather. While I love the color variation, these ribbons act a fool on the regular. Please see below. If I take the jacket off and let it sort of crumple on the floor, the ribbons comes loose entirely. I’m contemplating stitching them down to keep them in order.

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The best thing about this project? It might our best photo shoot together.  I might not have to fire Jordan as my photograper.

Ahhh. Onward. I’m starting a winter coat next. At my current sewing pace, I figure that will be ready just in time for spring :-)

Burda 7-2014-113: Cycling / Sport Dress

We are back from our grand tour and I have so much to share about the kindness of international bloggers, lingerie fabric shopapalooza and our fantastic trip in general. But, I figured I’d start with the most sewing related, which is my cycle dress previewed before I left. I’m not sure how long cycling dresses have been around. But, it was Ann Marie from Montreal on Facebook who first suggested one to me. WHO KNEW? Plus, Claire has done all these terrific posts on making her own biking gear. I decided I wanted to wear bike dresses for this trip for a few reasons. 1. I do not look good in bike shorts. 2. I love dresses. 3. Packing is so easy!

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As soon as I saw this pattern in the July 2014 BurdaStyle I thought it was perfect. It has a short flared skirt, the zipper in the front is great for venting and I wanted to keep my shoulders covered. I’ll tell you this much, it was referred to as a tennis dress on our trip more than once! But, overall was a hit with the women in our group.  What I found amusing is that our group was dressed in serious biking gear. All bike shorts, jerseys and racing helmets.  I felt my outfits were right in the middle and I didn’t look too athletic for our 50km a day rides. And, um, I’m not wearing a stitch of makeup in 80 percent of these photos. Please, don’t judge me :)

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in Ghent, Belgium

Anywhoo, a few details.  Alterations included unpetiting the pattern and making a FBA. I made three versions for the trip. The first in blue and grey was really my muslin. It’s made from something or the other from some online store or the other. I seriously have minimal recollection.I think it’s four years old.

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This fabric was TERRIBLE for this. It’s too thin, not enough recovery and you can see my drawers. I made the back all dark grey since I thought light blue would make my rear look wide as a trailer. This fabric was a BEYOTCH to get through my Brother Coverstitch. I, um, don’t know that this version is staying in my collection.

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I also recommend adding several inches to the length if you make this one up. It’s short. Especially on a bike. The other change I made was just to use an invisible zipper at the center front instead of an exposed zip. I totally would have done one if I’d had a sport plastic style on hand. But, I didn’t.

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The other two versions were fabric from the DelMarVa blogger meet up 18 months ago. I got it from Beth who I think was planning golf clothes. I don’t remember why she gave up the ghost. But, it worked out well for me! The fabric was from FabricMart probably three years ago and some kind of wicking athletic fabric. I essentially let the amount of fabric I have dictate the print placement.

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On the reddish burgundy, the print is through the center front and center back only. Super narrow cut. I also added an inseam zipper pocket for my phone or snacks. I ran out of the print and used plain black jersey from my stash for the neck and sleeve bands.

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On the tan/ cafe au lait, the dahlia print is on the outside edges. The tan version proved to be my most popular one on Instagram.

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You’ll note I didn’t follow Burda’s suggested color blocking. Because, when you sew you don’t have to.

For all three versions, I used my coverstitch to finish. And, on the tan, I added an extra inch. I am so not well versed in my overstitch usage. This project was good for getting me to use it more. But, I notice on thin fabrics it was really stretching it out (note the neckline on the red version). But, it loved the beefier Fabric Mart knits I made the final two from (note the flat neckline on the tan version).

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I’m wearing padded shorts underneath all of them.

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I wore these dresses for the one week we were biking (washing one each night in the sink) so they were worn twice each. In the mornings I would put on my Under Armour cropped studio jacket. It also helped make it look different.

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As for the weather…It was kind of terrible some days, lol! There was one day I didn’t bike at all because it was freezing and starting to sprinkle. Me and two Brazillians stayed on board. At the end of the day, Jordan came back and said it was awful. The temps dipped below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 15 mins into the ride, cold, horizontal rain. Some of the people came back having used the lunch sandwich bags as little gloves to keep the cold and rain from their fingers. I went from feeling lazy for staying on board the barge to super smart in 22 seconds. It also was a cold snap in general with temps about 20 degrees (F)  less than they were at home and ten degrees (F) less than is normal for that time of year. We had to go to H&M our first day in town and stock up on warmer clothing. Like, fall coats. Layers I had. But, not enough long pants to keep me warm when not biking.

Overall, I REALLY like this pattern. I’m totally making it up in the winter with 3/4 sleeves in wool jersey.  The pattern needs some tweaking in the upper bust for fit (wrinkles) before I make it up for regular wear. But, as is, these are great for running, tennis, golfing and biking :-) It’s a little Star Trekie. But, I happen to really like Star Trek. And, Star Wars. And, the X-Men franchise. And, the Avengers….

McCalls 6706: Red and Khaki Pleated Skirt

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I fell in love with this full skirt striped silhouette a few years ago when it was popping up on style blogs and in stores. I even remember emailing Mood last year to see if they had a red and white stripe version.  Naturally, I took three years to find the right fabric and ID the perfect pattern.

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Fabric is from Fabric Mart. It’s a double cotton/linen blend from Marc Jacobs. Mood has something similar on their site now (narrower stripes and closer to my inspiration). And, Idle Fancy worked the Mood fabric into a dress.  Liz and Trena both thought it looked like upholstery fabric. It may well be. I think Trena was pretty wary at the thought of me wearing wide horizontal stripes. You know that sound your friend makes when she thinks you’re doing something terrible but wants to be supportive. Heh. That’s the sound she made. Like, ‘Oh. Horizontal stripes…?’

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The pattern is this great McCalls 6706 that actually has a plan for you to piece together the stripes. But, I just cut the non pieced version for my already striped fabric.

My skirt = store awning. I quite love it.

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For this pattern, I sewed down the pleats to release rather than have them open. When open, they added an extra five lbs right at my waist. And, I’m already sewing wider horizontal stripes.  Closed, they are more slimming (I mean as slimming as wide stripes on someone with with hips can be). And, while more slimming, it eats away at the wearing ease.

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I finished the hem with rayon tape (from my last Garment District trip) and my blind hemmer (invisible thread).

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I won’t call this a slam dunk. The waist is a little snug and the horizontal lines at the waist aren’t totally level. But, I’m happy to realize one inspired piece. Also, I know the stripes add width, but I LOVE stripes. And plaid. And polka dots.

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Gah. That part in my hair is super crooked! I like this skirt with my Vogue 1099  jacket from a few years ago. If you recall, I lamented I didn’t really know what to wear this with. I think it works really well with this skirt. Maybe the high waist?

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Jordan and I are still learning to work together to take blog photos.  I think there’s literally one photo of me smiling. And, he thought this below was hilarious. I was making sure my tee shirt wasn’t bunching up under my skirt.

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After wearing this skirt all day, I’m making a few changes. I’m going to lower the waist band. It sits so high that when I’m sitting down, the waist is under my bewbs. And, when I do lower the waist band, I’m going to try and level the center front a smidge more so the line is as perfectly balanced as it can be :)


And, thanks to all the good styling advice on my seersucker dress. I bought a skinny patent navy belt from Nordstrom to break up the swath of fabric and define my waist. And, rather than lower the neckline (I just would never do it)  I added a scarf (a tip I saw online for high necklines and busty women). I think it’s much better! I got several compliments on my outfit at work the second time I wore it (which are several more than I got the first time). Yay! You guys are the best.

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Finally, still no home computer and no posting from work. Editing pictures is a PITA on J.’s eight year old laptop. This is such a first world problem… My plan is a new computer come October. Yay!

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!

Exposed Facing Silk Jersey Top: New Look 6648

I’ve been blogging for seven years now and can hardly believe it. Many people I greatly respected when I started blogging no longer blog. And, that’s fine. Life happens. But, thankfully, most have kept their blogs up with old tutorials still available to us. Today, I have to give a nod to Gigi of the Sewing Divas and Gigi Sews / Behind the Seams fame. Not only have I totally copied her 2008 tutorial on adding an exposed facing to this New Look top. I actually used the same fabric in a different colorway from her third iteration.

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This fabric has been in my stash for six years (insert maniacal laugh). And, don’t fret, I also have it in the same rose/ pink colorway that Gigi does. I don’t have terribly much to say about this much reviewed pattern that hasn’t been said before.

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Oddly enough, I made this top six or seven years ago from cotton and gave it to my mom. In a lot of ways I feel like I’m just easing back into sewing after a long break. This seemed like a good palette cleanser.

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Now, I essentially did all of Gigi’s alterations: lowered neckline 1/2 inch, brought in shoulders one inch on each side (I have narrow shoulders) added the exposed facing, removed ruching from waist.

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What I didn’t do (and should have) was take care to match the waistband motif with the bodice. Sadly, the stripes didn’t match up and I didn’t have enough fabric to recut.

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And, I used my coverstitch whenever possible. Here on the sleeve hems and to secure the waistband. I think I HATE having my photos taken for blogging by Jordan and it shows all over my face in these pictures. It feels so awkward! And, I feel like a massive nag by telling him to retake photos, take more than on in each pose, check the exposure, zoom in on this detail of that. Argh. I think I’m just going to stick with my tripod in the future. The tripod does exactly what I want and doesn’t get salty when I give ‘helpful suggestions’.

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I am 100 percent in love with this top and it’s totally luxurious in silk jersey. I was going to use this fabric for the Vogue 1244 dress I just completed and I am so glad I didn’t. I’m all about upgrading my look for a more expensive vibe.

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This past weekend was the wedding weekend I was rabidly sewing for last week (before Minneapolis). Sadly, I didn’t finish my pink seersucker dress. I just didn’t have time! So, I wore a ready to wear one I’ve had for a few years in pink and white houndstooth. No face featured as this was one of the worst sets of photos I’ve ever taken, LOL.

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I’d love to remake this dress (with an FBA). Kindly ignore that fold above my bust.

Also, we traveled with Linus this weekend to upstate NY for the wedding.  He sat on my lap the entire way there and back.

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We also forgot his food bowls. Hence, he drank from the Days Inn ice bucket. Which, is nearly as big as him.  He’s a great dog to travel with. I had no idea!

Never Say Never. Dress Into a Skirt.

I’ve always said that I ‘sew’.  I don’t ‘refashion’.  When I went to Florida to visit my dad, one goal to was organize my mom’s personal items. My dad was just. not. ready.  But, he was good about me taking any mementos I wanted. So, I went ahead and selected a few items from her closet that I wanted to preserve in some way. It was remarkable to go through her things because an unbelievable amount were either items I bought for her when I worked retail, clothes I made specifically for her, altered for her or clothes for myself that she got when they no longer fit me. She was always happy and excited for any of them. So, there were a great number of memories in her  closet.

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Inow have this fairly sizable stack of clothing that belongs to her that I don’t want to just give away (won’t fit me because she was teeny). But, I also don’t want to be a hoarder! That leaves me with a bit of refashioning to do. Never, say never. Refashioning these items will allow me to keep the memories of the garment, but still get use of them.

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This dress I made six years ago in 2008 (WHERE DOES THE TIME GO??)  I loved this dress!! But, it was before I knew to make a FBA. And, I couldn’t wear it with my strapless bra which made me my ‘real’ size vs smushing me in. So, I gave it to my mom who wore it to church with a little jacket. I always loved this fabric from my trip to Ghana and worked *really* hard on the dress: silk organza underlining, motif matching, pieced waistband, hand picked zipper — the works!

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So, I’ve turned it into a skirt! I removed the bodice, redistributed the pleats and added a narrow waistband. I can’t tell you how much I love the Perfect Waist Maker by  Dritz (below). Perfect for making interfaced straight waistbands. I need to buy it by the roll.

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Now, the fabric is back in my life, I get to remember my mom, and I have a new skirt.

I sewed like I was single over Mother’s Day weekend. I sent J. to his parent’s house and sewed, sewed, sewed with Linus at my side. Which means, I have three (!!) completed projects — all previewed on my Instagram and to be worn on my Memorial Day vacay to Minneapolis. Love the colors of this knit dress!