Tag Archives: top

Geometric Sweater Knit Cardigan: Burda Magazine 11/2012

15 Feb IMGP5921

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t usually care much for sewn cardigans. And, when people were getting on board the waterfall cardigan train three years ago, I happily passed.  They don’t have the fitted look I seem to like in hand knit sweaters. But, I fell for the feel of this Burda waterfall cardigan (they call it a waistcoat) when it appeared in the 11/2012 edition (#137 available on the BurdaStyle website for download for $5.40).

They recommended using a lightweight mohair, but I wanted to use this thick and cozy geometric sweater knit from Mood fabrics. This is a non-knitting sewists dream material! Warm and spongy, with amazing recovery.

The pattern though, is a massive, fabric-eating PITA. You see, I purchased two yards of this sweater knit from Mood when it first went up on the site. Then, a few months later, it was 50 percent off of the original $18! I jumped at the chance and bought two more yards so I could make this cardi.

But, I didn’t heed the Burda directions and decided to cut my back on the fold — unlike the single layer layout I was directed to use (2 yards). Of course, this meant that I could only squeeze one  single ‘front’ from the leftovers (2 yards). So, I had to order another two yards of the knit so I could have all three peices.

For those who may be lost, that means it took me six yards and three orders to make one sweater because I’m an idiot. Pieces of it were laid out in my living room for so long, my Chihuahua Linus took to sleeping on it.

The pattern and sewing are fairly simple at 1.5 dots. I made zero alterations for fit and sewed a 40 to allow for my bust and my lack of adjustments for my wide lower thighs. I also didn’t match the motifs at the side or front.  To finish the edges, I just serged the edges.

Along the neckline and shoulder seams, I used cotton shirting selvedge  to stablize the seams and prevent stretching.

The fabric is thick, so lots of steams and my  clapper was used to open the seams as flat as possible. I loved my fabric choice. This sweater is WARM!! Office peeps loved it and I’ve worn it all weekend too.

Now, the only problem with using the thicker fabric, is that it’s not flattering at the middle. You can see here that the intergrated collar and scarf is already double once, then doubles again when folded.  If you’re at all self-conscious about thickness at your waist — this isn’t the the waterfall for you. I look about four months preggers from the side.

The tie belt does afford some waist definition, but I’ll be on the lookout for a wide, elastic stretch belt to use instead.

Overall, fabric hog but great pattern and super cozy in a thick knit.

The material for this sweater was purchased in part using an allowance from Mood Fabrics for the Mood Sewing Network

Baby Blue Burda Style Pullover: 11/2012 #124

30 Jan file_zpsd5377bc3

People. I have a serious problem. I seem to just to REFUSE to acknowledge that I have some little narrow shoulders and need (nay, MUST) start adjusting for them. It’s like how I didn’t do an FBA for ten years.

Allow me to start at the beginning.

This pullover from the November 2012 Burda features a low and wide neckline with cuff sleeves and cuffed waistband. I was drawn to the upstyle casual look of it.

I really liked how the back and front were two different lengths — providing visual interest to something that could otherwise be a bit ordinary.

For this project, I made my usual full bust adjustment and graded from a 38 bust to a 42 at the hips. I really wanted to make sure the pullover wouldn’t ‘cup’ under my tuccas from being too tight.

For this project, I used the last of my $18 a yard Mood Fabrics sweater knits from my October in-store purchase of three. The other similar sweater knit projects became my marine wool dress and an autumnal sweater. I *love* pastel blue. I seriously have over 20 pastel / baby blue nail polishes. I should be ashamed. But, I am not.

Which brings us back to my shoulders. On the model below, you can see that the shoulder seam hangs over her shoulder. I guess that’s fine. But, combined with my narrow shoulders, I find the entire neckline too wide  by about one inch and would have happily taken a 1/2 to 1 inch more fabric toward my neck. Oh, also, the pattern says to use binding or something on the neckline. I just stablised with interfacing, finished with my serger and did a turn and topstitch for the neckline.

See how her sleeve is is hanging down from the shoulder a bit? I didn’t stretch out the shoulders by using some bias interfacing along the entire armscye, staytape on the shoulder line and interfacing on the once turned in neckline.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with this simple top. I’d like to make more in ‘regular’ sweatshirt fabric or even a wool jersey. It would also make a great summer top in a thin knit or silk jersey. It works well with jeans and leggings. I can be casual, but with a nice twist.

In my mind, Liz and  I were going to recreate the editorial photo with my bike. But, it was so bitterly cold when I completed the top, that we looked for a cozy indoor spot instead :-)

I still have the long promised cardigan to finish and post. Things have been so hectic lately!

The material for this top was purchased in part using an allowance from Mood Fabrics for the Mood Sewing Network

Burda Magazine 9/2012 #104: Superlong Turtleneck

7 Jan IMGP5572

I may never be able to leave my job if I lose Liz as my new photographer. Or I’ll have to take her with me.

Are you ready for some basics? I saw this Burda Magazine turleneck on Sew Skate Read  from September 2012   in an awesome stripey knit and decided I needed a few in my life. So, into  the ye-old-stash I went for my two versions (one black and and a stripey grey and black).

I wanted these tunic-style turtlenecks for transitioning my clothes into winter and comfy weekends in leggings. Plus, I’m visiting Ann Arbor, Michigan in February and am already DREADING the ten degree temp difference from Baltimore. I need all the layers I can get!

Alterations: Dartless FBA (One inch width, 3/4 inch length)  and a swayback adjustment. I have *got* to start shortening my shoulders on a regular basis. These are both too long by 1/2 inch in the shoulder.

These are so simple I’m really just showing them to keep a record for myself of what I’ve made and to show you the difference fabric can make.

This grey is another sweater knit that feels the same as my Purple Friday side gather top. Oh! I now know where the fabric comes from!! I bought it in Montreal during PR Weekend three years ago. I didn’t remember it because I was over my weight limit baggage wise and sent it home with my mother. From my post back then,

I bought so much, that I had to split the haul with the Colonel. I sent her back to Tampa with several sweater knits that I know I won’t be working with this summer

I didn’t get it back for another two years :) So, I’d kind of forgotten about it. That purple and these two knits are all from Montreal.

Because the grey has a lot of stretch and a loose weave, it’s super scrunchy in the neck. The sleeves as drafted are supposed to be 1 1/4 inch longer than usual.


I never wear all black. I felt like a mime or a beatnik, LOL.

The black is a sturdy rayon double knit. I think I planned some kind of form fitting dress originally. But, as I was sewing, I regretted not using the material for leggings. It would have been perfect!

I’ve got a little pooling at the back waist. While I did slice and dice my way to a swayback adjustment, I decided to still cut on the fold to see the difference it made. Better than RTW, but more fitted with a center back seam.

While long, the turtlenecks work well both on their own and layered under other garments.  The other pattern version in the September issue is three inches shorter. I would make that version if you don’t see yourself wearing these over skinny pants.

Here’s how I layered them this week:

This dress has been worn like three times since I made it. I was sewn in 2011 from Burda Magazine 10/2009 #119. I was never really happy with it. I hate the way it flares out on the sides. My first version was much better.

My trusty tuxedo pants! These get worn weekly when the temps drop. The blazer was (funnily enough) also purchased in Montreal during PR Weekend from H&M.

First posted project of 2013 :)

Burda Magazine 9/2012 #130: Purple Friday Side Gather Pullover

28 Dec IMGP5541_zpsaa89b459

Folks, this is the last of my Purple Friday Posts for this football season! The Ravens had an amazing game against the Giants last week and are AFC North champions (I only have a vague idea about what that means). I’m told we’re in the playoffs. I’m sure someone at work will clarify for me…

I needed one more winter Purple Friday garment for work. Also, I think purple is a lovely Christmas color, no? I’m posing in front of the outdoors Christmas tree at my office building. Liz, my friend and colleague, is my photog today and she *rocked* it. I didn’t have to retouch a single picture and only cropped like two of them.  I don’t want to be obviously self-indulgent and post *all* of the amazeball photos. But, if you want to see them, you can click here and I can maintain the pretense of modesty.

130B_technical_large

This little pullover from the September 2012 Burda Magazine is kind of perfect (available for download on BurdaStyle.com) . I like the gentle drape of the slight cowl. I looooove longer sleeves. I support any top that I can wear over leggings / jeggings and cover my bum and distract from my thighs.

I sewed a 38 and did not grade up for my hips. I did make a one inch dartless FBA and I think the fit is spot on. And, of course I made my usual swayback adjustment. Looks like I could have taken a ‘smidge’ more there too.

Any other changes? Well, I think the elastic length called for (or the braided elastic I used) needs to be shortened. When I first sewed the side seam elastic is wasn’t really gathering much and providing the shape I wanted. So, I shortend it by about five inches.

I took about two inches of the elastic on the sleeves too. I haven’t a clue where this sweater knit came from. I have some vague memory of it. But, that’s it. Just a vague memory. It was discovered in the great fabric-move-to-higher-ground so Superstorm Sandy doesn’t get it. I can happily see this top in other fabric iterations including a burnout / see through jersey layered over a tank.  When I first tried on the finished top, I also thought it would be *great* as a ballet / yoga top.

Speaking of tank tops. In the editorial, the model is wearing one. I found the neck opening a bit wide and adjusted the shoulder seam by about 1/2 inch on each side. This does impact the drape slightly, but not much. I also think the shoulders are long for me. But, most shoulders  are. I just never think to measure and adjust.

I’m not even sure of the content of the sweater knit. But, it’s cozy and will be great this winter. But, because I’m perennially cold (Carribbean parentage!), I’ll also be pairing it with this blazer.


(I should have rolled my sleeves down. And, this is my first time in five years wearing jeans to the office. But, it’s a holiday week and a Friday)

Likey? It’s an exact copy of a beloved J.Crew blazer from college. My mom had this version made for me in Korea about six to eight years ago. The original was beige and while it still fit, it was showing it’s age and looked dingy. So, I sent it to my mom and she had it remade in Korea. I loves it. I guess the tailors did too, because they didn’t give her back the blazer!

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas with family and friends! I was sick like a dog with a wicked cold. My mom is arguing with me that it was the flu. Somehow her 40+ years as a nurse tells her that, lol!  I spent a big chunk of my mini-break in bed instead of sewing. But, Christmas Day I ws better and had a low-stress and lovely time. I saw Le Mis, ate sushi for dinner and latkes for breakfast. I think 2012 is going down as my best Christmas ever. Well, except the year I got a Speak and Spell. That was pretty awesome.

Burda Magazine 9-2012 #106: Wool Sweater Knit Pullover

17 Dec IMGP5449

It’s a well documented fact that I am insanely jealous of knitters. I love love love wool sweaters. I think cotton sweaters are useless for keeping me warm. And, they fade. They fade badly. But, wool sweaters have moved out of my price range in the last ten years. For real. I can remember buying 100 percent wool sweaters at lower to mid price stores like GAP, American Outfitters, J.Crew and Express as a matter of course. In fact, I still have a wonderfully warm and dense sweater from American Eagle purchased well over 10 years ago. But, now sweaters are thin blends and just not the same quality I used to find. Actually, I was at H&M and saw a men’s sweater that had a bright sticker saying ’50 percent wool!’  So, it’s not just me who is looking for wool :)

I was super excited to find several wool sweater knits at Mood Fabrics when I visited back in October. I took some samples home with me and started digging through my Burda magazines for an ideal match in this Burda Magazine 9-2012-106. At $18 a yard and needing less than two yards for a sweater, I knew I’d be hard pressed to buy a RTW sweater for less.

My first sweater is a orange/ brown sweater knit that feels as soft as my friend’s J.Crew cashmere. The color just about blends in with my skin in real life :)

It rocks under my suits — including this denim ‘washable suit’, heh. The denim adds to a 70s vibe the color gives off.

The sweater knit doesn’t have the highest recovery. So, my sleeves stretched a bit into a bell shape. Noting this, I took about three – four inches out of the neck binding.

The French darts provide great shaping. Thanks for my Facebook friends I was able to alter the bust for a one inch FBA.

If you’ll notice, I did the binding on the bias, the bottom band on the crossgrain. It helps provide some visual interest.

Ahhh, and the back. I did a 1.5 inch swayback adjustment. I also added 1.5 inches in length to the pattern and shortened the bottom band by about four inches.

Overall, a winner of a pattern and a sweet warm sweater to boot. I’ve already gotten loads of wear and compliments on my sweater. And, best of all, I was *warm* :) I have a few more sweaters planned for this winter from Mood’s sweater knits. I feel toasty already!

The material for this sweater was purchased in part using an allowance fromMood Fabrics for the Mood Sewing Network.

Hot Patterns 1015: Riviera Once, Twice, Three Times a T-Shirt

18 May IMGP3243

While I have a stack of Hot Patterns’ that I’ve purchased, the Once, Twice, Three Times a T-Shirt came from a friend.

Almost true to the name, I made two of the three versions of this shirt. If I had a coverstitch, I probably would have made the third too.

In HP, I measure in a 12 (Glamour Girl) on top and a 14 (Slinky Girl) on the bottom. I’ve read HP is closer to RTW sizing. I’m telling myself they are close to UK RTW sizing. I buy an 8 in US RTW.  Based on reviews and the line drawing, I knew I wanted a snugger fit and cut a 10 through the upper body, an 8 at the waist and tapered back to a 12/ 14 at the hip. I also wanted a shorter version than drafted and took out six inches at the waist. In retrospect, I wish I had just done four inches for length.

The PR Reviews noted some errors in the directions. But, I didn’t follow them. The shirts have very basic construction.

All that being said, here’s the first version (note the French nauticalness of the red, white and blue). This style is based on a  $500+ Chloe shirt (I do not follow fashion. I only know it’s Chloe because Erica B. pointed it out four years ago!).

I made this tee up in two cotton jerseys from the Carol Collection. I always knew these were going to be a tee with contrast! I have narrow shoulders and hate things that feel like they might drop off, so I shaped the neckline by one inch, tapering into the shoulder. As drafted, it’s more like a slit.  I didn’t bother with the facings and just turned down the allowance. I also moved in the shoulder line by about 1 inch on each side (1/2 inch too much IMHO) to prevent my bra straps from showing or having the shirt slip off the side.

The pattern doesn’t note pocket placement and I don’t like where I put it. A little over and further down would make me happier. I sewed everything on my serger, hemmed with a twin needle and interfaced all the edges with tricot interfacing. I didn’t make an FBA either.

 

The front and back are the same

I *like* it. I don’t love it. It should have been longer and slightly more fitted to flatter my figure.

My yellow version is based on a $1200 Roberto Cavalli top.

I was totally not drawn to this style until I saw Christina’s version while checking reviews.And, now that it’s made up, I am 100 percent in love with it!

For this one, I moved the should line only 1/2 inch. This fabric is left over from my Burda 6-2010-123 sack dress. I bought in during PR Weekend in Philly. I still have enough left over for a fitted tee! I think I thought it would be a wrap or maxi dress when I first  bought it.

I didn’t hem the sleeves, but did finish the neckline and hem with a twin needles stitch in white.


The front and back are the same, I didn’t make my usual swayback adjustment


This sews up so fast it’s hard not to love. Each of these was made on a weeknight while watching TV. In the future, I’ll make it a little longer (I took too much length out). And, will have to try and resist not turning every slinky knit I have into one of these shirts. I think this pattern is good value for your dollar. You’ll get three tee shirts in one envelope. It’s awesome for a beginner too.

My review on PR is here

Butterick 5562: Ruched Sleeve Knit Top

4 Feb file-22

After completing the Trina Turk dress I still had red thread on the serger. I pulled out Butterick 5562 from the stash and a red bamboo knit from Fashionmart.  I know. TWO non Burda patterns in a row! I always forget that I have an actual stash of Big 4 patterns :) Oh, and my point and shoot camera HATES red.

The reviews on PR noted that the shirt was generally big. The pattern runs XS-S-M.  I originally planned to make a medium. But, after checking the finished measurements, I decided to go with a SMEDium. Small in the shoulders, medium around the bust, small at the waist and medium through the hips. That and a FBA gave me a terrific fit.

Again, I made a dartless FBA with 3/4 inch in width added at the bust point and 2 inches in length added below the bust point. The two inches was over kill, one would have been fine. I also made a one inch swayback adjustment (hence the seam up the back).

I first thought the sleeves were pleated (a very Burda technique). But, it is in fact all done with gathering and elastic. I used clear elastic for the vertical gathers.

The pattern has you set in the sleeve. But, I ease stitched it with mixed results. You can see some parts didn’t ease as evenly as others. Not enough to bother me though!

The knit is drapey and about two years old (back in my ‘I need more solid colors’ phase). It was only well after I’d cut out the pattern that I realized I hadn’t pre-treated. I’ m sure it’ll wash fine though.

Other notes? I used bias knit interfacing in the neck and hemline. I just turned those down and top stitched with a twin needle. I didn’t bother hemming the sleeves. The shirt is long. But, I like that! No back crack :)

That’s it. I made this Friday night between washing and twisting my hair. Red is such a good color for me, but after pledging in college I stopped wearing it as often (my sorority colors were not red).

My jeans are Levis BTW. I wear 505 (Straight Leg “Straight and roomy through the seat, thigh and leg“),  512 (Perfectly Slimming “flattens your tummy with a hidden panel while it shapes and smoothes your curves”), and 529 (Curvy Boot Cut “stretch fit that flatters, with a rise that contours to your every curve”). These work really really well for me. Smaller waist, larger hips, deep curve for the posterior. And, I can get a pretty good price for them on sale at Macy’s. I’ve also gotten to the point that I buy multiple pairs of them at a time. Actually, I try on jeans, find a good pair, then email Trena. Same shape, I’m just three times as big :)

I have one last red dress cut out to be sewn. Hopefully to be worn to work on Valentine’s Day and another to be work for Valentine’s dinner.

My Pattern Review is here

Vogue 8120: Blue Silk Dupioni Blouse

17 Apr DSCN0451 (1280x1279)

My mom is always lamenting that she can never find nice blouses for a reasonable price at the mall.

So, I brought material from home down to Florida with me. After a run to Joann’s we picked out this Vogue  8120 blouse pattern (they were on sale this week).

I figured making her a blouse was a fair trade off for all the stuff I’ve lifted on this trip (digital camera, vintage pink pyrex casserole, off set spatula, slippers, potato masher….).

Instead of a muslin we did a quick pin fit. Man, I wish I could pin fit myself! What a time saver!  I took two inches of width out the back,  made a two inch swayback adjustment for her and added two inches at the front waist.

The silk is a black and blue crossweave from Fabric Mart. This silk frays badly and needs to be underlined for structural reinforcement. I’ve had garments from this type of material before that have ripped just from looking at it. This underlining gives it a beefier feel. Kind of like an unstructured jacket.

And, because I have no serger or zig zag machine in Florida, I was forced to sew French seams. I say ‘forced’ because in 20 years of sewing I’ve not made a single functional French seam.

Christina was so troubled by this that when I invited myself to her place in Seattle two years ago she literally sat me down to show me how they are made. It’s a pretty way to finish the seams. I even did them around the arm hole.

I used fabric selvedge along the biasy edges of the bodice. This gave me something to ease the fullness onto and keeps it from stretching out.

I made small ties on the inside to tie on the left.

And, my mom had this brooch since their time in Korea and added it to the top.

My mom asked if I was going to make her something every time I visited. I didn’t respond.

Here’s my dad inspecting my work. Honestly, I’m not sure he realized I actually knew how to sew, LOL. He told me ‘good job’. I suspect I’ll have to make something for him next.

I also bought another pattern for a skirt. But, I feel the need to sit around the pool on my last day here and do nothing. I hear it’s raining at home and there was a tornado warning. Plus, I had the asinine idea of leaving here at 7:00 a.m. so I could be at work around 10:00 on Monday. Which of course means I have to get up at 4:30. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

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

19 Oct 15ebf832

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: Burda Magazine 1-2008-122 Poet Blouse

1 Jul DSCF1018

I love this Poet Blouse from the January 2008 Burda! It’s soft, comfortable and just says ‘artist’. I asked my roommate to take my photos this morning because I couldn’t find my tripod for the life of me. I felt so vain telling her that I was going to need about 20 snapshots before I would have a few useable ones. But, she indulged me and did a great job!

It’s hard to see the details of the blouse since my camera had a fit with my skin contrasting with the bright blouse in the glaring sun. I finished this blouse well over a month ago and just got around to photos today. This, is actually going to be a part of my China, East Coast to Far East capsule. Please click on photos to enlarge (slightly).

The fabric is Egyptian cotton from Alexandria, Egypt (a sister city of Baltimore I might add). Despite fabric shopping in Egypt a few years ago, this is actually a gift from an Egyptian friend. The fabric is fantastic. My one qualm is that it is a super tight and dense weave. Pinning it proved a challenge with my needles sometimes bending!

This blouse was all the rage on PatternReview.com when it first came out. I luckily traced it, but never got around to making it.

The only pattern change I made to leave the sleeve cuffs open. Only after sewing did I get the brilliant idea to measure the wrist opening. My forearms are larger than the pattern draft and I decided I just didn’t want to open it back up again.

I could have stood to make a FBA. But, sigh. I’m still learning to remember those. The fabric is a little stiff (and starched) so it can look pregnant without a lot of drape.


Perfect for summer and perfect for my trip!