Posted in sewing

Pucci-like Panel Print Tunic: Burda 5-2010-104

I never really know what to do with panel prints. I think they would make great boxy tops. But, then I look like a billboard of fabric without some darts and waist definition in my life.  Enter, a remake of Burda 5-2010-104. I made this a good three months ago, but just never got a chance to take photos.
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Look, I know I complained about this looking maternity when I made it last summer, but I wore it a TON. So much in fact that I’ve worn it out. Still, I decided to sew it again using a stretch silk charmeuse panel print I purchased in China five years ago. I purchased three panels while there for about $15 total. I LOVE the colors of this top. It’s so summery and the blue is calming. That said, I think silk makes me sweat. Is that possible? Shouldn’t it breathe beautifully?

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I did a few things a little differently with this version.

  • I made a much bigger FBA adding another 1/2 inch in width and length for a total of 1.5 inches. Last time, I didn’t think my bust fit fully in the right spot.
  • I added a few more inches in length to the hem. Not enough to make a dress (I don’t really want a thin, white silk dress). But, long enough that it’s a little more flattering to my legs and still wearable with skinny jeans.
  • Took up the v-neck an inch or so. The bridge of my bra was always showing. I kind of didn’t care. But, fully recognize it’s tacky and I should care a *little* more.

I’m happy to report that the drapier charmeuse seems to have less of the maternity vibe too. I mean, as ‘less’ as a flowey, empire waist, ruched top can look…

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Now, I tried my best to match prints with this tunic. But, for the love of all that’s good, I just didn’t have enough fabric to do it well. Hard to explain without photos, but the circles aren’t balanced. So, I could get half of everything matched but not the other half.

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Plus, I managed to put two scoops right on my butt. I worked so hard to avoid this look on my bewbs that I managed to put two cheeks on my cheeks.

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Oh well!

I’m pretty pleased with this silky beauty. In large part because reading about my shopping in China brought back such good memories! Imagine, someone I’ve never met offers to take me shopping in a foreign country. That experience wouldn’t have been as great without them.

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I’m totally casual at work these days. And, I’m starting to like wearing jeans daily. But, I want to look a step above basic tees whenever possible. These jeans though. They are the PITS. You can see how worn they are at the inner thigh and knee. These are barely a year old. It’s okay. I’m still working on my jeans muslin. And, once I get it right, I’m going to make One Million Pairs.


Finally, remember a few months ago I was my friend’s photo assistant at a wedding in the Catskills? Well, the wedding photos are now up on her blog. Please have a look! I had an amazing time and bawled my eyes out multiple times during the ceremony. And, Jen was kind enough to include a couple of pictures I took too.  Jen and I were journalism students together in college. She was a brilliant reporter and now an incredible photographer.

Posted in sewing

The Right Measure

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I no longer hate my blue and pink polka dot tunic. Why? Well, I finally broke down and got measured for new bras this weekend.
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And, my new size has made a world of difference.  I don’t think I look AS pregnant. The FBA I made fits much better now. And, with this new size there is more space between my stomach and my bust.
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I also added more shirring to try and balance out my uneven shirring. It’s still not perfect, but better (at least I think so!)

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This photo is meant to show you the shirring. Not my bust. But, as I’m between home computers and posting from a tablet, I can’t crop!! So, please forgive the bust eyeful and focus on the underbust.

Never underestimate the power of a good bra and the magic closet.

Posted in sewing

BurdaStyle 5-2010 #104: The Accidental Maternity Top

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I bought this delightful silk / cotton fabric from Mood four years ago when I was in NY for the Met / Brooklyn Museum High Style exhibition. I’ve really, truly, hoarded it looking for the right pattern. This fabric was everything to me. It’s got polka dots, has contrast, and has pink. And, to me, the pink dots remind me of the halo/pink sapphire of my engagement ring. Really, it’s screams my name.

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I didn’t check reviews for this pattern until after it was cut and I was sewing. Imagine my delight  (read: here horror) when I saw every review made it up AS A MATERNITY TOP. There’s a reason for that. I look three months pregnant. And, I am so not pregnant.

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Now, I like this top. I love the colors. I love that it’s breezy. But, there’s a definite expecting vibe. The pink and blue probably don’t help. What I’m not sure about the material is how ‘secure’ it is. I messaged Peter on Twitter (he made it up into a man skirt) and asked if he secured the seams in any paticular way. The design is loose enough that I’m not straining the seams. That said, I’m being super careful with it: hand wash, careful to take it off and on, etc. Yes, I could have used silk organza in the seams to reinforce… but, I didn’t.

I’m also not modeling it. Why? I don’t have any bottoms that ‘go’. Yes, I sewed an orphan. But, orphan sewing has stopped me from making the separates I so desperately need. So, I’m going to plow ahead and make separates anyway. Otherwise, I’ll jut never do it.

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For this pattern, I used the shirring method from the Vogue Sewing book. You use elastic thread in your bobbin, secure the ends with hand tied knots, and stitch over those with pink tucks. It’s a’ight. I’ve never shirred before so I’m glad I got to try it out. Not my greatest work. But, you have to try something to learn something.

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On the neckline, I used bias trip to create some interest. And, sewed up the V a bit for modesty’s sake (i.e. no cleavage in the office). I also took the sleeves from the dress version rather than the strips in the tunic top. Oh, I also made a one inch FBA. I think I could have added another 1/2 inch to the length to get it perfectly under the boobage.

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Ok. Now, my shame. The shirring is off center (and kind of sloppy). ARGH. I look at it and all I see is off-center shirring. It’s off by about 1.25 inches. I thought it was centered when I put it together. But, obviously it’s not.  Jordan assures me when on it’s not noticeable. Mostly, because I look pregnant. His words. Not mine.  I’ll be honest with you, it’s bad, but I have no interest in taking it apart and fixing. Mostly because I just don’t think the fabric can handle it.

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Nice enough top. Probably better for maternity.  Not my greatest work. Saved by my absolute unabated love of the print. I’ll wear it while I can. Hopefully, the material is stronger than I’m giving it credit for.


Youse guys! I have a new job that I start next week.  The thing is, I’m going from a strictly businesses dress/ political gig  for pretty much my entire career to a totally casual private sector job.  I mean, we had a strict dress code at my high school. I remember being absolutely startled when a mid 20s guy I was dating didn’t own a suit (we went to church every weekend growing up in clothes that didn’t get worn the rest of the week). Top ten embarrassing moment  was the Executive Producer at the Washington TV station I was interning at pulling me aside to say my knee-length short suit with blazer from Dress Barn was not appropriate for work and she wasn’t comfortable sending me to a press conference  on the Hill. I was mortified. I am super conscious of what I wear to work.

It was bizarre to me that this feels like an existential crisis. I’d actually had this post queued up for over a month now. But, worried I sounded crazy for not knowing what to wear to work or feeling weird about not being in business dress. Now, I  feel in good company! I read Audrey’s post last night about her office going to casual wear. In my position the last year, I was the one who instituted a business casual dress code (no jeans, flip flops) and people damn near revolted.  I still stayed business (dresses, occasional suit). Because, I’ve always had to dress up for work.

Robin and I talked about this a little (since new job is practically in the parking lot of her development) and we both think we couldn’t do totally casual. I’ve been home the last week sewing for the new job and just trying to take a mental health break. I’ve completed a dress, skirt and tunic. I plan to trace out three more items and sew at least one more before I start working again. The all-to-me sewing time is unbeatable!