Posted in sewing

1940s Puffy Sleeve Dress: Burda Magazine 5-2009-122

Well, hello sailor! I am digging the World War II era vibe from this Burda 5-2009 #122  dress.

It feels like I’ve just been cranking out projects lately. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I started this dress a little over three months ago back in November 2011. I thought it would be fun to wear to the DC Tweed Ride but only managed to finish my cape. Then, I started  thinking I would wear it to church when I was visiting my parents in Florida at Thanksgiving.  I never got around to finishing the dress on the trip because I left one of the sleeves back home. Once I got back to Baltimore I wasn’t insterested in sewing a non-winter dress.

But, last week, I decided it was time to clear the sewing deck and tackle one of my three UFOs. It’s really just taking up mental and physical space. You’ll understand that I don’t remember too many details at this point.

Alterations? Just my now standard FBA and a swayback adjustment. I also raised the center front waistline by about two inches (perhaps over modulation on my FBA?). I’ll be honest. I don’t think this is a great dress if you are busty. It’s a very full top with all the tucks and the waist isn’t super defined. You may look a bit ’round’. I don’t think this is my most flattering silhouette. Not bad. Just not my best. But, I still like it. I think it’s best suited to a tall and lean Audrey Hepburn vs busty / curvy Marilyn Monroe 🙂

The dress has 52 pleats. Fifty. Two. Pleats. That includes pleats in the sleeve, sleeve lining, upper bodice / shoulder, bodice waist and skirt. I really really have to recommend that you baste the pleats. I do usually just pin in place, but for this many, I think you’ll be happier with the results if you hand baste.

The material is a wool challis from the Carol Collection. All deep purples and blues with paisley. Again, another fabric I would not have chosen for myself. But, is lovely for fall. The pattern does not call for lining, but I added a lavender silk for lining (also from the Carol Collection) and it’s absolutely luxe! Seriously. I would sleep in this dress just because the lining feels so very good.

The one thing I do not love is the neckline. Even with interfacing for reinforcing, one side is a little warped. Not enough for me to take it apart and fix. But, enough for me to notice. I wish I had used a facing / lining combination. The silk ins’t really stable enough to hold up the neckline well.

Overall, I’m pleased with the dress. It’s not my usual somewhat sleeker style. I love puffy sleeves and a full skirt. But, I do feel a bit twee and Talbots at the same time. Maybe because it’s retro I feel like I’m playing dress up a bit? I felt the same Talbots and twee feeling from this 2007 Burda dress from five years ago (mmm, would like to make that one up again now that I know to make an FBA). That being said, I plan to make this dress up again in a black washed silk that Carolyn gifted me about two years ago. Not the most ‘original’ idea — it was how they made it up in the magazine.

While the tucks and pleats are daunting, it’s well worth it for a fun design.

My pattern review is here.

Posted in sewing

RTW Quick Fixes and Kwik Sew Bra Pattern Winner!!

“Do you think you could fix this for me? Because I didn’t pay a lot for it so I don’ t want to take it to the tailor. I’d pay more for the fix than I paid for the dress. I thought maybe you could shorten / hem/ sew / take in / alter it for me.”

Sound familiar? This has happened to me twice in the last six months. And let me tell you. It makes me SEETHE every single time it’s said to me. Here’s the thing, you want me to take my time to fix your Forever 21 / H&M garment for free? I tell you what….

Don’t get me wrong, I will occasionally help someone in a pinch. I’ll even teach you how to hem your jeans. If you already know how to thread a machine and just want some help, I’m happy to oblige. Teach a fish and all that.  But, telling me that my time and skills are less valuable than someone you would pay? All you get is the stink eye.

I bring this up because I bought a tuxedo dress from H&M a week ago. I originally saw it there a few months ago, but at $50 it was more than I wanted to spend for a dress that had some fit problems for me. But, I was able to get it for just $20 on clearance.

I needed the US 12 / EUR 42 to fit my lower half. But, it’s way big in the top. Not that I’m not busty. I just have a much smaller torso than my bottom.

You can see my bra from the back and the side.

And, I was getting awesome sideboob.

I realized it just needed a simple taking in at the center back neck — about four inches total. Not worth my $50. But, definitely doable for $20.

Twenty minutes of work later, I was able to wear it to a black-tie work event on Saturday night. Those four inches brought the dress up, took care of the cleavage and the bra showing too. I think it could also use small darts in the side seam (under the arm) but I am wearing a terrible strapless bra (one band size too big and three cups to small, and *painful*). I need to get one that fits before I make anymore changes to this dress.

Clearly the staff photographer at work. I cannot *wait* to get my DSLR back from the shop!!

So, for me, it’s totally worth a few tweaks to make a low cost ‘disposable’ RTW garment work. But, it’s not worth it for me to do it for someone else. Period.

Woot Woot. Thank you all for entering my little giveaway. Using the Random Number Generator:

#2 was the winner which is Jo K.!

It would be great to have these patterns! I am a flight attendant and my goal is to avoid the dreaded security pat-down in Eastern European airports because of my underwire. (!)

Posted in sewing

Boring, But Necessary Sewing: Kitchen, Living and Dining Room Curtains

When I first bought my house a long long eight years ago (where does the time go??), my mom forced me to get my home dec sewing done. You see, I was staying with them while between apartment and home. And, I was buying fabric for all my sewn house projects. She would literally nag me to sew until she was tap dancing on my last nerve. So, I would sew slip covers, curtains and pillows just to get her to STOP NAGGING ME. It was great. I moved in an everything was already sewn!

Enter my kitchen curtains. They faded years ago (you can see especially in the middle). I get a lot of sun through the back window and door, but didn’t want to completely block the light, so I have cafe curtains. I want the windows covered enough so no one can peep in.

I’ve had this primary color plaid Marimekko fabric in my stash for at least three years and just couldn’t get myself to make them. I finally did this weekend after realizing I’m hosting a dinner party this Sunday and my curtains look like @$$.

There. Done. Seriously. These barely took an hour to make. I am mad I wasn’t paying enough attention to detail. These should be mirror images with the colored lines matching. But, I didn’t even think about it until I was finished. And, there is no way I’m sewing another panel.

The second curtain project was for my living room.

Plain and simple drapes. These two took a little over an hour. They are unlined, I’ll never close them. I just wanted something so the windows didn’t look naked.

The third curtain project is in my dining room. The same print from the living room (so they look ‘connected’). Simple little things held in by tension rods.

Obviously, I will be sewing a matching air conditioner cover next winter.

This was my exciting holiday weekend. Ohh. Did I mention I also got my carpets cleaned. Yessir. I was living it up.

The best thing about getting these done is that it’s two bolts of fabric out of the stash. Now, if I could just get around to my bedroom and bathroom curtains, that would be the last bolts of home dec!

Posted in sewing

Lemonade Out of Lemons: Burda Magazine 8-2011-116 (as a top)

As mentioned, I turned my cowl neck knit dress fail into a successful top. I’ve already worn this twice in the two weeks since it’s been made.

I find it needed belting to drape nicely — which is totally fine. It’s a great top. The belt gives it some more structure. This was my happy hour look last night t. I got several male compliments on it, some of whom I didn’t even know. I think men respond to graphic prints. Maybe that and the primary colors, LOL.

Not the dress for me. But, a great top. I can see myself making several of these from leftover knits.

Am not sure why I didn’t move that box at my feet and grocery bag in the kitchen out of the photo as I did with the 20 other things that were on my floor. Oh well. That’s just how I roll 🙂

Posted in sewing

The Rip Heard Round the World

Thank you for the lovely comments on my red Parisienne dress. I am very pleased with it and I’m happy I’ve introduced red back in to my wardrobe.  

Thank you to Jo for the best explanation ever on the difference between Parisienne and Parisian.

“Parisienne” means that the noun or person being referred to is feminine. “Parisian” is for the masculine people and nouns. I was a married to a Frenchman for 15 years, so I did pick up some knowledge, other than how to spot a philanderer!

When I got home last night I finally got a look at the lining rip I heard while reaching for chocolate at the office. I should also note that both versions of this dress require a hand in getting in and out of. I usually get to work and ask someone to zip me up. I forgot to ask for a little tug down before I left the job. Doh! Serious acrobatics when I got home trying to get myself out!

Mrs. Mole said:

…adding some reaching ease of 1/2 inch or more might help on the next one.

Here’s the lining. As you can see, it’s torn about 1.5 inches along the underarm seam line than shredded another 1.5 inches. This wasn’t a problem in my previous dress, but the previous dress was also sewn larger.

I’ve slapped a thimbleful of Fray Check on the tear and will probably patch it at some point. I doubt I will actually replace the lining, etc. A patch will do just fine.