Posted in sewing

You Say Tallis. I say Tallit. We say Talliot.

Every fall at the Jewish high holidays I think, “I should sew Jordan a prayer shawl.” Then, it quickly leaves my head and I move on to something else more fun.

#goingtothetemple #ubudorbust #ubud #indonesia #batuantemple #wanderlust #travelgram #instatravel

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In Bali w. Stephanie

So, last year when my friend Stephanie (who I traveled to Bali with) said her son was going to be a bar mitzvah in 2017, I volunteered to sew him a tallit as a test run for Jordan’s eventual prayer shawl.

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I suggested Stephanie ask her dad for an old necktie that we could use for the neckband (attarah). We thought it would be a nice way to represent and connect the generations for years to come. Using that tie Jeannie and I picked out silk dupioni for the color blocking at the prayer shawl while we were in New York before Christmas. Due to my extremely bum hand at the time, Stephanie and her daughter came over and did all the fabric cutting with my guidance. So, all I really had to do was sew!

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I’m sorry I don’t have any construction photos. I swore I took a slew of them and even posted on Instagram while in progress. But, I can’t find any of them now. So, this post is more for posterity than instruction!

I used this link for ideas about sizing — bearing in mind he would need to use this as as adult too. And, they are reform so not super observant / religious so it didn’t need to be very long or wide. The main fabric came from my stash. A nice beefy off white wool with a faint plaid pattern. The tie was an all bias, massive PITA to deconstruct and work with. But, the sheen is beautiful and goes well with the silk. For anyone attempting this project, I used the eyelet template from my Singer buttonholer in the corners. Make interfacing and a walking foot your friend.

Stephanie ordered and tied the corner strings (tzizit) using a YouTube video.

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Overall it was a satisfying project. And, I’m glad it helped me be part of such a big occasion for their family.  Stephanie and I hope this becomes an heirloom that he will wear on his wedding day and perhaps even pass on to his son.

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At the bar mitzvah party with Stephanie wearing Burdastyle 12-2010 #102 I made back in 2013.

I wish I had sewn one for Jordan for our wedding! But, it didn’t even occur to me that I could sew one. He borrowed his dad’s for our wedding and isn’t sure where his is from his bar mitzvah. When he goes to services he uses the loaners at the synagogue. We actually have his great-grandather’s prayer shawl framed in our guest room.  So, I figure I have another five months before sewing one up for him too.

Posted in sewing

Red Wool Trench Skirt: Burdastyle 8-2009-107

If you know my preferred clothing style even a little bit, you know that throwing some trench / military details is the way to my heart.

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So, when this sweet trench skirt came out in 2009 I immediately knew I was going to make it someday. I cut this out back in late summer 2015 from a  beautiful gifted red wool left over from my Parisenne dress. It has a teeny bit of stretch and a nice flowy hand.

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I am admittedly out of Burdastyle practice because the directions left me confounded. Oh how I hate when people complain about Burda directions. Yet here I was not making hide nor tail of the instructions in front of me. Luckily, YouSewGirl had photo details of her pockets and Handmade By Carolyn provided an interior shot of her skirt so I was able to muddle though.

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It feels like I haven’t sewn a woven in AGES. It felt really good to work with a nice fabric and get those incredible sharp seams from a good pressing.

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Sizing: I sewed a 42 grading out to a 46 at the lower thigh.

Pattern Changes:

I extended the front facing and waistline facing by 2.5 inches based on reviews.

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I made my pockets way, way too big. I read a complaint on PR that the pockets were too small. So, I drew a new pocket based on my hand size. Well, that same pocket is now sewn into the front of the skirt due to the top stitching and extended facing. So, I have NO pocket.

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Sewing randomness:

I utilized my blind hemmer rather than a visible hem with top stitching

I did use top stitching thread when topstitching called for — setting up my Singer Featherweight for main sewing and my Bernina 830 for topstitching because my edge stitching foot is the bomb. But, I’ll be the first to admit that this tone on tone red top stitching isn’t really popping.

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I paired this skirt with a turtleneck I sewed up in 2013. Thank goodness for knits, eh?  Buttonholes sewn with my Singer buttonholer. I have got to stop hoarding these. I made a step towards letting go by giving one to a friend last year. Baby steps. Buttons were sewn on using my buttonhole foot from Bernina. Built in shank, baby!

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The pattern calls for sewing a belt and belt loops. I ended up leaving them off which takes away some of the trenchiness of said trench skirt. When I make this again in a nice khaki I’ll definitely add it back in.

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Thanks to Liz for taking photos (she’s wearing an old RTW silk dress of mine I gave her). This mural is “Welcome to Baltimore” and shows different neighborhoods and attractions in the City. We illegally parked and whipped these out in 10 mins.

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And since we were so rushed we totally forgot to take photos of the back 😂.

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Posted in sewing

Lingerie / Athletic Manufacturer Warehouse Sale This Weekend

ETA: as of Feb 9 the sale is postponed. New date TBA. But, probably on a a Friday based on the cancellation email.

 

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Remember the local manufacturer warehouse sale where I’ve bought laces, elastics, athletic and outdoor fabrics for $1 to $2 a yard? Well, it’s baaaacccck. Slated for Saturday, February 11 starting at 8 am. I will be there when the doors open with a coffee in hand. I’m helping a friend sew a tallit (prayer shawl) for her son’s bar mitzvah that day.

I finished this Isabell bra from Sewy last night from Fashion Unlimited laces. It looks phenomenal on.  I have no recollection where the main fabric is from. I took 1/2 inch out from the band and it fits perfectly! I have a second one coming up in a stiffer powernet. So, I’m adding back in that 1/2 inch and hoping the cups will cover :-D.

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From the 2013 sale I made up the red jacket in 2013 above. I first found them back in 2011 in a quest for someone else to make nice buttonholes on my clothes.


 

The Maryland Historical Society (headquartered in Baltimore, natch) has several textile related lectures this year. I hope to make it to a few. And, their annual gala ($$$) will feature the fashion collection of the Historical Society. We might go to the afterparty for younger (less affluent) people.   Two years ago they exhibited jewelry from Wallis Simpson.

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So, that’s some local fiberly things I know about.

Oh, Jeannie and I have talked about starting a machine knitting group. If you might be interested let me know. We think there has to be more than two of us locally.

 

ETA: as of Feb 9 the sale is postponed. New date TBA. But, probably on a a Friday based on the cancellation email

Posted in sewing

Letting Go: Burdastyle Magazine

I received postcard notification a few weeks ago that my Burdastyle subscription was up for renewal. And, I shrugged. Like, straight raised my shoulders up to my ears and shrugged.  Which told me it was time to let my Burdastyle subscription lapse. Grab a small cuppa and I’ll tell you why.

When I first started buying  BWOF (as I still like to refer to it)  ten years ago I was drawn in by the plethora and diversity of patterns delivered every month to my door.  I had a ready archive any time I wanted to sew. The patterns fit my then C cup well (ok, I was probably bigger than a C cup but the rest of me was skinny and I could cram myself into a 38 with no problem). They were easy to modify if need be and not that hard to trace. The patterns were unique and interesting and looks I did not see reflected in the pattern cabinets at my local Joanns.

Back then, you got 30 patterns in the ‘straight’ sizes alone in addition to kids and plus. Now, you get maybe 15 patterns in straight sizes with the addition of plus and kids. There were multiple items in each issue I wanted to sew IMMEDIATELY. Now, I see one or two things that I think I’ll get to at some point.

I once loved nothing more than coming home to a new BWOF, pouring a glass of wine and thumbing through the latest issue. But, I don’t do that anymore. BWOF disappoints me more often than not. I DESPISE the condensed pattern pages but understand why they needed to do so. I understand simplifying the patterns because people want quicker and easier. But, I don’t like that one pattern is repeated two or three times. I don’t like the shapeless look that is better suited for straighter figures or smaller busts which look terrible on me, Captain of Team Busty Hourglass.

The truth is, I also don’t sew as much I used to. And, not because I knit more now. But, because I sewed waaay more when I was single. I also spent two years working in a very casual work environment where jeans and tees were the norm. Now in the last six months I don’t go into an office every day (more like two to three times a week) so I just don’t need as many clothes as I used to.

Finally, I *have * that archive of patterns. I have ten years of BWOF,  25 years of Big Four and a few years of some indie designers I haven’t even gotten to yet. So, the last thing I need are more patterns that don’t make me happy  when there are ten year old items I still think about sewing.

I’d be happy to give BWOF my $90 each year to support the industry. But, I barely look through it anymore and it feels wasteful at this point.  And, if I ever really want to sew something they have, I can download it from Burdastyle or beg someone to borrow a copy.

I’ll still buy their vintage editions because they are the bomb diggity.

So, I’m letting go and trying a trial separation. Have any of you decided to break up with Burdastyle?

Posted in sewing

Beyonce Magic For New Years: Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan in Silk Jersey

Last year we went to dinner for New Year’s Eve at the Prime Rib. It’s a jacket required steak place where Jordan proposed. We had 9 pm dinner reservations and I was dozing at the table by 11. We left early and I was asleep on the sofa before the ball dropped. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

This year we got together with friends to go to a restaurant on top of a museum with a view of the fireworks at the Inner Harbor. I needed something to wear and was about to buy a dress. Then, remembered I have a ROOM FULL OF FABRIC and sewed instead. I binged on The Crown and decided to go all out vintage with a mink hat and cashmere opera coat (and lashes. I’m now ‘Team Lashes’ for going out). Barbara pointed out on IG I needed pearls and she’s right! I don’t know why I didn’t think to put some on.

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This  silk jersey version of the Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan is a bit of a dream project for me. But, sadly a semi fail. I first got this idea from Erica B’s blog like ten years ago. She showcased the Michael Kors dress the pattern is modeled after. And, in 2015 I found the right color jersey at Mood in New York.

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I made a few design changes to the original pattern (I’ve made it about eight times over the years). For the neckline, I did modify it a bit to be a U shape similar to the Michael Kor’s inspo dress. But, it’s too wide and D shape still (I keep altering it a little bit each time)  :-/ I also did an exposed neckline facing based on these directions from Gigi’s old blog, but it’s not done neatly and kind of wonky. Instead of the button cuffs as drafted, I made a simple in-the-round cuff to model the inspiration dress.

I also wish the facing was maybe 1.5 inches vs 1 inch wide. It was a really easy technique that I’d done before on a silk jersey blouse. I think I gave that top to Liz because I no longer have it :-/ I was a little too busty for it.

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I also meant to make a slip to wear with the dress. But, did some hand finishing on knitting and destroyed my wrist (a recurring theme) and couldn’t cut out a slip when it was time.

The seams are left raw inside and I used my blind hemmer to make the hem. And, i should mention… when I was deciding on the neckline dip, I held the patten up to me to make sure it was as low as possible without showing cleavage. So, yay me!

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You’ll see that it’s also tied at the back. I should have doubled the length of the waist ties so it  could wrap around and come to the front with some ‘hang’. I made note of this before and I might actually resew the straps.

So, overall it’s a totally fine dress. It’s a little bit of an expensive venture for me not to be 100% in love with it. But, I do like it a lot. And, can see myself trying again (I’ve already altered the neckline). And, I still had something fun to wear for New Year’s Eve!


 

My Bernina 830 was in the shop for a few weeks. I took it in because I could hear the belts slipping and it wouldn’t sew very sporadically. They tuned it up and replaced the foot pedal. I’ve always sewed on it on full speed. It never occurred to me it should sew slower if I didn’t push the pedal as hard. I’ve never really believed in machine servicing, only if it’s say ‘broken’. Otherwise, I figure you can oil and maintain yourself. But, I have to admit it’s sewing much better.