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.

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?

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.

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.

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!

I can see! I can see!

First, please don’t leave pissy comments about vendors on my blog anonymous or otherwise.  Don’t be an ass.

Over a year ago, a blog reader (whose name I don’t remember. Sorry, because you desrve the credit) told me about the pink Task Lamp from OTT. They were always on sale at Joann.com and of course you could use a coupon on them. At the time,  I didn’t want to spend the money. Well, last week I ordered one because, well. I’ve turned into my mother.

You see, when I was a kid, my mom would have me thread her hand sewing needles for her. I had no idea the time would come when I would be booed up next to a HD lamp so I could see to trace patterns and thread needles. If there was a small child in my house, I would just go ahead and ask them to thread for me.

Now that I sew in my basement, the light isn’t good. I’ve been stuggling with tracing the last few months as there is very little natural light in my basement. I have three bulbs in my overhead light and it’s just not enough for tracing my Burdas.

The lamp honestly makes a WORLD of difference. It makes things significantly brighter. It’s also wonderful for figuring out if that dark fabric is more blue than black. And, before you ask. Yes, it does come in colors that aren’t pink🙂

They are $40 now at Joann.com and when I purchased shipping was free. If I could afford it, I would get the floor lamp too just to keep by my sewing machine.

Now, if only I could find that Jules IKEA chair I wanted in pink, and not in juniors. I think they must have discontinued it….

Burda Magazine 11-2008-126: The Accidental Maternity Pants

I’m going outdoor ice skating and on a cold weather bicycle ride this weekend. How cold? Well, it’s mid 20s F (-2 C) here right now and was like 17 degrees (-8 C) yesterday with the wind chill. The ride is four hours to various bakeries and delis in NE Baltimore city.  I figure we’ll be biking 20 minutes, stopping and eating so it shouldn’t be *too* bad. I realized I was going to need to dig into my supplex and make myself some exercise / yoga pants. I went with the November 2008 Burda pants. I eliminated the pocket because I wanted a quick and dirty project.

I cut a 38 at the waist and graduated to a 44 at the thigh based on my measurements. The good news is this can be made in a couple of hours. The bad news is that as drafted and with my design ideas, they looked like maternity pants.

Yeah. I don’t know what I was thinking. I wanted a pop of pastel yellow color and liked that the pants were bisected. But, instead I made them look like a maternity panel.

It’s not helped with the elastic I cheated with instead of a drawstring. They were also too big at the hips by several inches.

I slept in them overnight and actually got overheated! I also wore them under a dress for my morning commute (I took them off once I got to work). They are very warm and didn’t lose thier shape. When I got home, I removed the waistband and reduced the width by half.

I also took about three inches out at the side and center front seams of the pants and the waistband.

I used the drawstring (actually the remnant from shortening the waistband) they recommended instead of elastic at the top. Whoa. Much better.

Despite making a swayback adjustment of 1.5 inches (the same adjustment also helps for  a full seat), I still needed the drawstring to snug up the back of the pants. I’m concerned about showing my unmentionables in these since they ended up being lower than planned. This supplex is AWESOME. It’s thick enough to lift and support and dark enough to smooth everything out and not show any cottage cheese.

I read several positive reviews on PR about the pattern as drafted. But, for me, it was too big and my bad idea to use such  high waisted contrast.

The belly shot is not intended to show my stomach per se. It’s to show how much lower the pants are with my modification. I prefer them higher waisted. I’m no longer at the point where my mid-section should be seen without me sucking in (as I am doing above). I’m not sure why I feel the need to explain that either though.  I’m generally happy with how these worked out. Especially given how comical they were before. I made a second pair with a two inch sway back adjustment with a blue accent and the waistband is a little higher.

I thought I was going to do the Sticher’s Guild SWAP for a new workout wardrobe. But, I needed to get a jump on my sewing for this weekend. I have a wrap top cut out that I hope to get sewn up in time for Saturday. I’m thinking two coordinating sleeveless tops from the 2006 Burda and leggings from the January 2011 Burda. That should be pretty easy over the Christmas break.