Posted in sewing

Unexpected Benefits

My Consew Gravity Feed Iron had gotten fairly gunky the last week with all the fusing I had done. It’s kind of unusual, but I’ve also never done so much fusing at home. I tried the vinegar and salt trick I read about online and it got me nowhere. So, I thought I would try Dritz’s  Iron Off Hot Iron Cleaner.

You squeeze a two inch squidge onto a cloth and rub the hot iron back and forth on it.

After several applications, it didn’t completely clean my iron but clearly got quite a bit off.

They warn you about the fumes, and they weren’t kidding. Wow. It was super hazy after. I had to open windows from my basement to the second floor (it’s a warmish/ not frigid mid 40s (6.6 C)  here today).

Don't judge me. This is clean for the sewing studio / basement

But, look at how much steam I’m now getting from my iron!! I actually had been wondering if my iron needed replacing as the steam generation wasn’t all that great. Turns out, it was massively clogged.

It was such great steam I went back to re-press the collar on my coat!

Tomorrow (or Sunday) I’ll show you how I made my belt, sleeve tabs and loops for the coat. Hint: Not the Burda method.

Posted in sewing

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I’m a third through my first project of 2011. I spent most of my Christmas furlough working on a winter coat.  There is something to be said for having several days to focus on one project. I’m attempting the September 2006 Burda Trench Coat. I realize the September 2006 trench is hard to distinguish from the half a dozen trench coats they produce annually!

I’m using the most incredible 100 percent wool. It’s still available from Fabric Mart. It’s a ‘Civil War Heather Grey’ from Uruguay.

This Civil War Heather grey 100% Melton wool is dense thick coating from Uruguay. It is heavy weight, has a smooth slightly brushed hand, a wide cone drape, sheds the rain and blocks the wind. This is the ideal winter coat fabric. This would also make a great cape.

I don’t think it’s ‘thick’ but it is ‘dense’. And, it’s a pleasure to sew with!

Truth be told, I’m exhausted from working on it. I interfaced, shaped and pressed so much  the last two days I have a blister on my hand!! I didn’t have this fabric when I went to NYC or I would have had it interfaced throughout.

I’m using every tool and trick in the book for this coat.

I interfaced most of the front in addition to chest

Fused a woven back stay

Fused a chest gaurd from weft insertion for shoulder reinforcement


Tricot fusible for the facing, pocketing

Twill tape to shape the shoulders

Made welt pockets

Sewed and shaped the collar

Fused: belt, sleeve loops, epualets, welt pockets, back vent… the list goes on

I also went with two gun flaps instead of one. I like the opposite print on the reverse. Sort of my own version of Burberry!

I cannot believe how much work a coat is!! I’m not even 50 percent done. I still have to do the lining, interlining, sleeves, attach all the loops and tabs plus hemming.  Oh, and the vent which I’ve never done before and lining. And the buttons. Oy. Am tempted to wear it with the belt until I can take it to NY for professional buttonholes.

I was thinking I would finish this over the New Year’s furlough but the amount left to do is a bit daunting. And, I seem to have picked up a bit of a head cold. So, I’m going to bag it for the rest of the day and finish my BBC America Marathon. Who knew Law and Order was so much better with British accents?

Posted in sewing

2010 Sewing Review

RSS readers, please click through for slide show or skip to gallery at the end of post

Favorite Garment(s): Creamsicle dress, Tracey Reese Ghana print dress for China and my Jacket/Coat

Good Things:

  1. I made two pairs of work appropriate pants!
  2. I started wearing lipstick in photos
  3. I made activewear. Now, I just need to work out
  4. Because of China, I finally sewed some separates!
  5. I photograph taller than IRL!
  6. Several of my garments were repeats.
  7. I went to Montreal and China this year!

Well, clearly, I like my Burda. It was 75 percent of what I sewed this year. At least I’m getting my money’s worth!

I still love dresses. They flatter me the most. But, I branched out into separates. Mostly because of my China trip. I’m thrilled I made two jackets this year and hope that continues.

The not so good things: The Patrones dress, my pleated Burda and the notched collar Burda. The Patrones was my first FBA and I didn’t do a great job. It was always just too snug for me across the bust so I bid her adieu. The Burda pleated dress got shrunk.  The notched collar Burda should have been lined and had a touch more ease in the lower body. And, again, still hadn’t mastered an FBA. I would definitely remake all three.

I really do like grey, don’t I?

I’ve started my first project of 2011. But, I don’t want to say yet since I have a habit of chickening out. But, I traced it out on Christmas Eve and have started my lining/muslin. If that is ok, then we can say it out loud.

I don’t say it enough, but it must be said often. I have the best blog readers and friends in the world. Writing my blog and knowing that anyone out there cares about what I have to say is the best gift I could have. Thank you all for taking the time to read and encourage me.

Posted in sewing

Flannel Pajama Pants: Burda Magazine 11-2009-126

It’s like I can’t stop sewing! LOL. Don’t worry. Even I’m almost blogged out.  I only need to make one Christmas gift and I’ll do that tomorrow and Wednesday night. I have one more UFO that may wait until Christmas break. I consider all of this ‘basic’ sewing. Stuff I’ve wanted or needed to make for a long time. They are all fairly simple so I felt like I should just spend an hour every night working to crank them out. This post is more so for my end of year record rather than actual information to pass on 🙂 Besides, it’s good to remind ourselves that it’s ok to make basics.

After seeing Elizabeth’s pajama pants, I decided I needed a few pairs of my own. These, took me less than one hour each to make (after pattern is traced that is). The first draft I made a 1.5 inch swayback adjustment. I cut a 38 at the waist and graded to the 44 around the thigh.

They are snug without a lot of ease. I’m used to wearing my dad’s nursing scrubs in cotton so I thought I wanted more ease throughout. I think these are meant to be a slimmer cut (and from silk).

It’s possible I have a little body dysmorphia. I swear the first pair were too small, so I added 1/2 inch of ease through the thigh, another 1/2 inch to the crotch depth to accommodate for my chub rub and tapered back to the 44 around the knee. instead of drawstring, I used 3/8 inch wide elastic from my China stash.

Overall, I find the pants easy easy easy. They are such a good starter project. Minimal fitting is needed and super warm and comfy. I can’t believe how long I’ve been wanting to make pajamas!!

The flannel is from Joann’s fabric several seasons ago. I have some remnants left that I hope to make into flannel boxers in the spring.

I went there for fabric today and steered clear of the flannel sale. Truth is, I don’t need more until I am *ready* to sew them again. And, these should hold me a couple of years.

Posted in sewing

Wrap Yoga Top: Burda 11-2007-121

I went on my deli / bakery bicycle ride  (today’s Sun story) yesterday wearing my new yoga pants over thermal wicking underwear and a new ‘base layer’ wrap top from the Burda in November 2007 under a fleece. It was about 35 F (1.6 C) outside. So, just about freezing and, I swear to you, I wasn’t cold! But, more on that after I show some food.

Our first stop was Wockenfuss Candies. I’m not a huge chocolate fan, but I couldn’t resist.

The second stop was at Mueller’s. It’s a German speciality store I’d never been to.

I bought potato dumpling mix for my mom, reisling for myself and ate Lebkuchen the remainder of the ride. My brother Ted loved lebkuchen when we lived in Germany. Sadly, they are not able to bring Kindereggs into the country anymore. Choking hazard or some such nonsense.

The final stop was at an Italian deli (didn’t catch the name) where I bough fresh mozzarella to make pizza later today and got a bowl of olives. Mmmmm. What a neat way to experience Baltimroe city! There were about 10 other riders. So much fun.

It helped that I dressed in all knits! For my outfit, I worked in layers.

On top I wore this wrap top from the November 2007 Burda Magazine. The fabric is knitting wickaway from Wazoodle. It wasn’t what I had in mind at all when I ordered it. Upon closer inspection I realized it was the same kind of material that Eddie Bauer uses in their ‘base layer’. So, I decided I would use the gobs I got for long sleeve tops, wider leg cropped pants and maybe some running skirts. The direction is only two way so I think they can also substitute for woven patterns.

For this one, I cut a 38 at the top, made a so-so 1/2 inch FBA. I used elastic at the neckline to snug up the fit. I shortened the elastic by one inch and it’s a bit too much. You can see it pulling at the shoulders. If I were to make this again, I wouldn’t add the elastic and I would go down a size. I ended up pulling the wrap section taught by almost two inches on each side.

I did make a swayback adjustment with a CB seam but there’s still a lot of gathering because I think the shirt is just big on me around the waist and the elastic I used just pulls awkwardly. For the hem, I used my friend Liliya’s coverstitch machine. In fact, all the knits I made the last week were taken to her place for hemming.

I doubt I’ll make this again. The size IMHO is too loose for me and I think I don’t like wrap tops. I don’t know where it’s supposed to wrap. Over my bust, under my bust, across? It confuses me. And, they take up more fabric. I prefer sleeveless tops for working out. I like my arms a lot. I made the sleeveless top from this same issue. I’ll try to post that before Christmas. This top makes a good base layer but it’s not my style. Of course, that won’t stop me from wearing it to ice skate in this afternoon!