I imagine this is the last cold-weather top left in me before I start some spring sewing. I just CANNOT with winter anymore. Is it me, or as you get older, do you just get totally over cold weather? We had a surprise snow storm over the weekend. They called for 1 – 3 inches and we ended up getting 7 – 10. The roads were such a mess! We were slipping and sliding all over, got stuck at an intersection and had to leave our car on the side of the road. We ended up taking a bus home (yay for mass transit!) plus a one mile walk. After all that, I STILL didn’t make my 10,000 steps. Grrrr. I’m really over winter. Just four weeks until spring! I think the greens of this sweater knit sort or looks forward to spring, don’t you? It’s interesting, I rarely sew green. I love a green nail polish, but think I’ve sewn only two green items. This luscious fabric is from my December 2013 trip to Mood. Anywho, it’s very similar in look as this blue cowl top and this blue sweater dress (Loved that dress. I should have treated the fabric better). But, this knit is the sturdiest of the three with far better recovery. And, as I type this, I just remembered that I can’t remember if I pre-treated before cutting or not. Ugh. I think I didn’t pre-treat and have sewn myself a dry-clean only sweater #RookieMistake I chose this pattern because it combined a wrap top with a fitted waist. Both features good for a busty hourglass. And I LOVE it. I sewed a 40 grading to a 44 at the hip. I also tried taking 1/3 inch off the shoulder seams. I usually take 1/4 inch and think I may stick with that. Sadly, I find the neckline wide for me and had a bunch of photos where you could really see my bra strap — versus the ones here where it’s just peeking. I’ve since altered the pattern adding another 1/2 inch to the neckline on each side. I made a 1.5 inch FBA on this top and added a bust dart, it’s almost invisible in this sweater knit. I’ve since added to the pattern an additional 1/2 inch under the bust. If there is something I personally can’t stand it’s a bust bifurcated by a seam. It makes me ragey and sad inside. Looking at the made up version from the magazine, it looks like my bust is just eating up all the length in the bust. Maybe what I need it a bigger FBA rather than just throwing some length on to the upper bodice. And, let’s face it. This is too low cut on its own. I’ve raised the neckline 1/2 inch for my next version. I like how I walked around all day with a massive center part at the back of my head from my twist out. I really need to get a second mirror in the bathroom. Moving on, as drafted, the pattern already has a center back seam so I made my swayback adjustment at the waist line. I think the darts give awesome shaping. I think this would be better on me a few inches longer (becuz I hates my thighs). So, I’ve also altered the pattern to add three inches in length. There you have it. A good sweater that I hope will be great the next time I make it. Can’t you see this in spring weight knit with 3/4 sleeves?
This pattern is also OOP Burda envelope pattern #7187
I wanted to make a non-winter dress for our nice (read: Valentine’s) dinner out in San Antonio over the holiday weekend. Back in November, I bought a stack of poly knits for $3.99 a yard from Jomar in Philadelphia on our way home from Long Island, NY. I loved this fabric because I figured I could play around with print placement.
This pattern was made up four different ways in the magazine, a top, dresses with three lengths with two sleeve options. Plus, there’s a gorgeous flounce you can add if you have the right fabric to carry it off. For this dress, I chose #123 for the length, minus the flounce. And #121 for the bell sleeves. The pattern(s) are available still on Burdastyle. The pattern calls for either a woven or a knit. And, because the print was on the border, I even cut the dress with the stretch going vertically at the front, and horizontally at the back. I would normally never do that (different pieces hanging / stretching differently), but I was stuck on making the print run vertically instead of horizontally as it was printed.
I’m normally not a ‘black’ clothing person. But, the print definitely helps keep me interested. Sadly, I didn’t go a great job on the print placement. I think it’s a little jarring the way it worked out. In an ideal world, the print would have had more of a northwest to southeast orientation and maybe a hit of color on the bottom right to balance out the left side. But, I’m glad I tried to do something different with it.
Below might be the view I like best since I was able to wrangle some print on to the bell sleeve hem too.
I can tell you I really love this pattern for a wrap dress and think it might become my TNT wrap. Why?
1. There are bust darts already!! Easier (for me) to make a FBA (mine was 1.5 inches)
2. There are release darts at the waist. So, there’s is great shaping that doesn’t come from negative fabric ease. Plus, it’s so easy to shove the volume created from your FBA into the waist dart.
3. The pattern is in three lengths. Yes, yes, I know I could just cut or lengthen myself. But, I is lazy.
4. I didn’t have to adjust the ‘V’. So, no awkward cleavage.
5. It already has a centerback seam and darts in the back which only help with my swayback adjustment.
The pattern calls for an interfaced facing. For this, I followed Ann’s Wrap-A-Palooza lead and added clear elastic to stabilize the front and shoulders. If not for her posts, I’m sure I would have just turned and topstitched instead of cutting a facing. The facing does flip out along the skirt. Could be because facings suck at life or because the skirt is cut off grain. I like to think it’s a combo of the two. Definitely next time I’m going to practice using the binder on my cover stitch and bind the edges.
I sewed a 40, grading to a 46 at the lower thigh. This dress was exactly what I was looking for in a traveling Valentine’s Weekend. It packed well. It’s good for my body type and think it works for me. There are some issues I see that I hope to fix in my next versions (not mixing fabric direction, pattern twinning) And, I’m curious to sew this in a knit where the stretch goes around the body rather than up and down. Luckily, I have two or three more knits to try this out in.
Ahhh, Jordan loves nothing better than to spend 20 minutes taking blog photos out in public on our mini break just before heading to a nice dinner. This is me, getting annoyed at him, getting annoyed at me. It’s obviously a vicious cycle.
I first made this September 2012 Burda Style sweater two years ago in a poly sweater knit (line drawing and pattern description in that post). It was extremely flattering and I got compliments every time I wore it. But, given a few years and the poor quality of the knit, it pilled and got gross. So, I thought I’d recreate it in a wool blend sweater knit I bought in Mood back in December 2013. The pattern is still available for individual download.
When I first started this project, I thought more than a few times about underlining it with a tricot knit for fabric support. But, I wanted some instant gratification and I didn’t. It’s too bad, because the material has ZERO recovery and stretches any which way you move it. So, it doesn’t hold it’s shape well. Which makes it impossible to get the curve hugging I did from my first version.
It ends up looking stretched out after just a few wears. I’ve taken it in several times already. But, at the end of this shoot, you can see that it’s stretched out at the hips. I just don’t know how long for this world this top is.
I love the color, I love that it’s wool and I love a sweater knit. But, the fabric doesn’t have enough recovery to work on a body skimming sweater. I didn’t even bother with the side and sleeve ruching since I knew it wasn’t going to ‘hold’. Even the hem is wonky. It looks lovely after a press, but one bit of tension and it’s all out of sorts. Plus, I’ve worn it twice and it’s already pilling ::sad trombone::
This fabric also didn’t take the drape at the neck very well. I might actually lower the front neckline if I make the patter again.
I did make a swayback adjustment, added darts in my FBA.
Yet, I gotta give it a solid ‘meh’. Mostly due to fabric choice.
In exciting news, my friend Liz and I started a photography class at the local community college. We’ve both always like taking photos. And, when Jordan gifted me a new DSLR at Christmas, I gave my beloved white Pentax k-x to her and we’re taking a class together. So, be prepared to be bored with loads of landscapes and such over the next few months.
I was so bored making this grey top I almost fell asleep typing the title. Last top was black and grey. This one is like a muddy grey. I really do prefer grey to black. And, I *like* grey. But, I am a magpie. I gotta sew color.
I am still on the basics train for hourglass figures. Wrap tops rank high with items that work. They provide waist definition and a low/ wide neckline. And, I liked that this one from Burda has some length to it (no need to cut me off at the waist) and had darts in the back for shaping. I *think* next time I’ll make it with 3/4 sleeves too.
I’m trying to build my casual work wardrobe. And, I’ve quickly realized that’s going to mean a lot more separates in my life. I was worried this top would be Burda-low in the front. But, I think it’s actually ok.
I made a 1.5 inch FBA. For my size, the recommendation would be 2 inches of length and one inch of width. FYI, somehow, I’ve only just discovered this chart for seeing the BWOF design lines. So helpful to know where they put the bust point. Anywho, my original dart was ridiculous. First, it was huge (read 1.5 inch FBA). It was also thick because of the ponte.
Second, if you look where my finger was pointing, the original dart was way, way way too long and low. “Long and Low” are words you should never use to describe your bust. Not sure if this is a product of a bias, stretch item. Also, they totally point down instead of up (or rather ‘to’ my BP) as you can see below. I’ve already altered to pattern so hopefully the next time will be better.
I used my coverstitch for the neckline and hems with wool nylon on the lower looper. I reinforced the armhole with my Viseline tape, the neckline and shoulders with bias fusible interfacing. In thin knits I sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. But, with a thicker knit you gots to go with 1/2 inch.
I suspect this fabric is a little thicker than intended. The pattern suggests drapey knit fabrics. But, I was looking for cosy comfy tops to wear to work. I really love how the darts in back give great shaping.
I took it in quite a bit at the waist to make sure I had some definition. But, I am not big on how the side seams on wrap tops always seem to pull forward a bit.
I think the back, like in almost every Burda I sew, is a little wide at the neck. I would reccomend a little wedge in the neckline for fit and for me, adding a 1/4 – 1/2 inch at the shoulder neckline so bra straps don’t show.
I quite like this top. But, it really grew on me. Originally, I kind of felt like a concrete brick. I think with a looser weave fabric, this will be a real winner. In the meantime, warm and cuter than a sweatshirt.
Ok. I gotta sew some color.
I needed a dark / black dress that I hadn’t just been seen in. I really don’t have a lot of dark clothing. Since I had minimal time to sew, I chose something I’d already traced and worked out my fit issues, Burda 9-2012-109. I made it first in a blue sweater knit. This time, I sewed it up in a woven black cotton eyelet from my stash.
Since the dress was going to be SO BORING in solid black, I decided I wanted sleeves with an impact. I stole these awesome flutter sleeves out of the December 2011 Burda.
These sleeves give both me and the dress life! I actually wish I could have made the dress this came on (below).
But, I was 3/4 of a yard short in the only other black fabric I have. Actually, I had to cut two inches off the length of this dress to eek all the parts out of this dress.
The fit was pretty loose and I ended up taking in the waist by a total of three inches. I’d already worked out my French dart FBA from my knit version. I also added binding to the neck, like the knit version.
The dress is lined in a rayon lining (breathable for summer). The hemline is done with Snug Hug seam tape and my blind hem. The lining is sewn with my coverstitch using the hemmer/ feller foot from Brother.
I love it when a plan comes together (and I get to use every single machine in my arsenal). Of course, since this was practically made overnight, now my mom thinks I can make a dress at the drop of a hat! But, this was already worked out and just three pattern pieces and made interesting with the sleeves.
I’m going to see if I have enough of my pink and cream seersucker to make another.
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t usually care much for sewn cardigans. And, when people were getting on board the waterfall cardigan train three years ago, I happily passed. They don’t have the fitted look I seem to like in hand knit sweaters. But, I fell for the feel of this Burda waterfall cardigan (they call it a waistcoat) when it appeared in the 11/2012 edition (#137 available on the BurdaStyle website for download for $5.40).
They recommended using a lightweight mohair, but I wanted to use this thick and cozy geometric sweater knit from Mood fabrics. This is a non-knitting sewists dream material! Warm and spongy, with amazing recovery.
The pattern though, is a massive, fabric-eating PITA. You see, I purchased two yards of this sweater knit from Mood when it first went up on the site. Then, a few months later, it was 50 percent off of the original $18! I jumped at the chance and bought two more yards so I could make this cardi.
But, I didn’t heed the Burda directions and decided to cut my back on the fold — unlike the single layer layout I was directed to use (2 yards). Of course, this meant that I could only squeeze one single ‘front’ from the leftovers (2 yards). So, I had to order another two yards of the knit so I could have all three peices.
For those who may be lost, that means it took me six yards and three orders to make one sweater because I’m an idiot. Pieces of it were laid out in my living room for so long, my Chihuahua Linus took to sleeping on it.
The pattern and sewing are fairly simple at 1.5 dots. I made zero alterations for fit and sewed a 40 to allow for my bust and my lack of adjustments for my wide lower thighs. I also didn’t match the motifs at the side or front. To finish the edges, I just serged the edges.
Along the neckline and shoulder seams, I used cotton shirting selvedge to stablize the seams and prevent stretching.
The fabric is thick, so lots of steams and my clapper was used to open the seams as flat as possible. I loved my fabric choice. This sweater is WARM!! Office peeps loved it and I’ve worn it all weekend too.
Now, the only problem with using the thicker fabric, is that it’s not flattering at the middle. You can see here that the intergrated collar and scarf is already double once, then doubles again when folded. If you’re at all self-conscious about thickness at your waist — this isn’t the the waterfall for you. I look about four months preggers from the side.
The tie belt does afford some waist definition, but I’ll be on the lookout for a wide, elastic stretch belt to use instead.
Overall, fabric hog but great pattern and super cozy in a thick knit.
I may never be able to leave my job if I lose Liz as my new photographer. Or I’ll have to take her with me.
Are you ready for some basics? I saw this Burda Magazine turleneck on Sew Skate Read from September 2012 in an awesome stripey knit and decided I needed a few in my life. So, into the ye-old-stash I went for my two versions (one black and and a stripey grey and black).
I wanted these tunic-style turtlenecks for transitioning my clothes into winter and comfy weekends in leggings. Plus, I’m visiting Ann Arbor, Michigan in February and am already DREADING the ten degree temp difference from Baltimore. I need all the layers I can get!
Alterations: Dartless FBA (One inch width, 3/4 inch length) and a swayback adjustment. I have *got* to start shortening my shoulders on a regular basis. These are both too long by 1/2 inch in the shoulder.
These are so simple I’m really just showing them to keep a record for myself of what I’ve made and to show you the difference fabric can make.
This grey is another sweater knit that feels the same as my Purple Friday side gather top. Oh! I now know where the fabric comes from!! I bought it in Montreal during PR Weekend three years ago. I didn’t remember it because I was over my weight limit baggage wise and sent it home with my mother. From my post back then,
I bought so much, that I had to split the haul with the Colonel. I sent her back to Tampa with several sweater knits that I know I won’t be working with this summer
I didn’t get it back for another two years So, I’d kind of forgotten about it. That purple and these two knits are all from Montreal.
Because the grey has a lot of stretch and a loose weave, it’s super scrunchy in the neck. The sleeves as drafted are supposed to be 1 1/4 inch longer than usual.
The black is a sturdy rayon double knit. I think I planned some kind of form fitting dress originally. But, as I was sewing, I regretted not using the material for leggings. It would have been perfect!
I’ve got a little pooling at the back waist. While I did slice and dice my way to a swayback adjustment, I decided to still cut on the fold to see the difference it made. Better than RTW, but more fitted with a center back seam.
While long, the turtlenecks work well both on their own and layered under other garments. The other pattern version in the September issue is three inches shorter. I would make that version if you don’t see yourself wearing these over skinny pants.
Here’s how I layered them this week:
This dress has been worn like three times since I made it. I was sewn in 2011 from Burda Magazine 10/2009 #119. I was never really happy with it. I hate the way it flares out on the sides. My first version was much better.
My trusty tuxedo pants! These get worn weekly when the temps drop. The blazer was (funnily enough) also purchased in Montreal during PR Weekend from H&M.
First posted project of 2013
Folks, this is the last of my Purple Friday Posts for this football season! The Ravens had an amazing game against the Giants last week and are AFC North champions (I only have a vague idea about what that means). I’m told we’re in the playoffs. I’m sure someone at work will clarify for me…
I needed one more winter Purple Friday garment for work. Also, I think purple is a lovely Christmas color, no? I’m posing in front of the outdoors Christmas tree at my office building. Liz, my friend and colleague, is my photog today and she *rocked* it. I didn’t have to retouch a single picture and only cropped like two of them. I don’t want to be obviously self-indulgent and post *all* of the amazeball photos. But, if you want to see them, you can click here and I can maintain the pretense of modesty.
This little pullover from the September 2012 Burda Magazine is kind of perfect (available for download on BurdaStyle.com) . I like the gentle drape of the slight cowl. I looooove longer sleeves. I support any top that I can wear over leggings / jeggings and cover my bum and distract from my thighs.
I sewed a 38 and did not grade up for my hips. I did make a one inch dartless FBA and I think the fit is spot on. And, of course I made my usual swayback adjustment. Looks like I could have taken a ‘smidge’ more there too.
Any other changes? Well, I think the elastic length called for (or the braided elastic I used) needs to be shortened. When I first sewed the side seam elastic is wasn’t really gathering much and providing the shape I wanted. So, I shortend it by about five inches.
I took about two inches of the elastic on the sleeves too. I haven’t a clue where this sweater knit came from. I have some vague memory of it. But, that’s it. Just a vague memory. It was discovered in the great fabric-move-to-higher-ground so Superstorm Sandy doesn’t get it. I can happily see this top in other fabric iterations including a burnout / see through jersey layered over a tank. When I first tried on the finished top, I also thought it would be *great* as a ballet / yoga top.
Speaking of tank tops. In the editorial, the model is wearing one. I found the neck opening a bit wide and adjusted the shoulder seam by about 1/2 inch on each side. This does impact the drape slightly, but not much. I also think the shoulders are long for me. But, most shoulders are. I just never think to measure and adjust.
I’m not even sure of the content of the sweater knit. But, it’s cozy and will be great this winter. But, because I’m perennially cold (Carribbean parentage!), I’ll also be pairing it with this blazer.
Likey? It’s an exact copy of a beloved J.Crew blazer from college. My mom had this version made for me in Korea about six to eight years ago. The original was beige and while it still fit, it was showing it’s age and looked dingy. So, I sent it to my mom and she had it remade in Korea. I loves it. I guess the tailors did too, because they didn’t give her back the blazer!
I hope you all had a Merry Christmas with family and friends! I was sick like a dog with a wicked cold. My mom is arguing with me that it was the flu. Somehow her 40+ years as a nurse tells her that, lol! I spent a big chunk of my mini-break in bed instead of sewing. But, Christmas Day I ws better and had a low-stress and lovely time. I saw Le Mis, ate sushi for dinner and latkes for breakfast. I think 2012 is going down as my best Christmas ever. Well, except the year I got a Speak and Spell. That was pretty awesome.
I’m on to my second Purple Friday ensemble for this football season. Hey there Oona… how about that game on Sunday?
In Baltimore, we wear purple for our American football team the Baltimore Ravens on Fridays. Why? Well, they mostly play on Sunday and Purple Fridaysare a way to show pride and support in the team. Did I mention my house is right behind the old Memorial Stadium?
Every Friday of football season is PURPLE FRIDAY!!!! Proudly wear your purple to work or school to support the Ravens! — Ravenstown
I wanted to make a simple shift for Purple Fridays that could also be worn on the weekend during winter. I want more casual clothes that look nice and not ‘I rolled out of bed and threw on yoga pants’.
I started the shift dress from the May 2011 Burda Magazine during Superstorm Sandy. It was a simple project that I could complete in a day. And, I did. A few hours actually.
But, I’m salty about the fit with those fold lines under my bust. I’m not sure if the need for an FBA would solve the problems. I know it’s a another sack dress but the folds are A-nnoying. Maybe one fold for each 1/4 inch I should have adjusted for?
I asked a few friends that are smaller up top to try on and the folds go away.
Here on Trena (obviously three sizes too big for her too) and below on my B Cup dress form.
I decided to forgo the facings and use a woven bias binding. This is my first time doing this kind of finishing technique on a woven and I’m really pleased. I also like leather and contrast bindings I see on RTW and now I have a good way of doing them consisently well.
The material is a wool in a violet shade of purple from the Carol Collection. I originally thought I’d make a skirt in the fabric but Purple Friday called and I thought this shift would be fun.
Oh, here’s a photo of the back. I omitted the ties (and the pockets). I can kind of picture metal chains instead. Hmm, maybe a T-back shirt in black too (my bra definitely shows without). Ooh, a lacy T-back would be hot.
I’m wearing the dress with leggings. It’s too short for me as drafted to wear with pantyhose. I’ve already altered the paper pattern for a FBA and a swayback adjustment. Why didn’t I when I started? I thought it just wouldn’t matter
The dress looks pretty good in movement and I think it works well with the leggings and boots. It’s fun because the front is simple and all the interest in really in the back. It is just the look I wanted. Casual, but styled.
My immediate boss was a fan. She said I was dressing rather chic lately. I realized after she said so that she never wears prints and for work only wears black, navy and sometimes white. Her clothes are very tailored and architectural. She also specializes in large earrings and big jewelry. I like her style. I wouldn’t say this was chic exactly. But, very minimalist. I have about three garments she’s really complimented. Hmmm, that might make an interesting post!
I think I’m going to make two more Purple Friday items. That let’s me get through a month without repeating.
I hope you (Americans) have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’m not going to see my parents this year (Can you say $600 tickets!?!?!) and I’m a little pouty about it. But, as I detest traveling on the holidays (chaos and stress) there is a silver lining to hanging out with local friends. Plus, I get to put my new *pink* Christmas tree up as soon as I digest my Thanksgiving dinner
Here’s the happy couple!!
Saturday night I officiated my friend’s wedding. It was beautiful! Her dress was amazing. Like, seriously, amazing.
Not only did I finish my dress on time, I had several people tell me how well the dress colors fit into her plum and grey wedding. Since there was a large NYC / PR / fashion contingency, I was asked a few times if I was a designer. Well, first they asked if I had a theater background and then when they found out I made my dress, they asked I was a designer. It’s so funny how it just doesn’t occur to people that you might sew for *fun*.
I went back to my celebrant dress (Burda 2-2009-124) last Friday night. I don’t know why I was so unhappy with it. I’m not sure if the style isn’t me or it just wasn’t what I wanted to be sewing, but the only thing I liked was the beautiful Carolina Herrera poly jacquard from Mood Fabrics (seemingly backordered / sold out since my August purchase) . I sewed a 40 on top grading to the largest size on the bottom. Fundamentally, I realize I just sewed a dress that was too big for me. I should have made a 38 grading to a 42.
After sleeping on it, I decided:
- to peg the hem and taper the bottom for a very narrow pencil, while adding a slit for walking ease
- to release one inch (total) on each side at my saddle bags to rid myself of drag lines across my thighs
- take in one inch from each side of the waist — hoping to eliminate some of the ‘block’ look I was getting.
- taper the shoulders by taking out two inches at the neckline and blending into the original seam line at the shoulder.
Sigh. Yeah. I’ve been slacking off in the gym and my mental state reflected this as I was sewing. I just thought the original was boxy on me and I looked like a shiny present. This though, this is better. My shoes were ordered from Zappos days before the wedding. I wanted silver to dress up the outfit, and I took some flats with me too. I cannot wear four-inch heels for six hours That being said, I bought them in a size 9 and by the end of the night they were a 9.5. I’m thinking of reselling them on eBay.
My friend Julia came as my date…
It’s so interesting to see the colors of the dress shifting depending on the lighting.
…and my mom flew in from Florida to watch me officiate.
And now, it’s all over! I’m so glad I stuck it out with the pattern and despite early reservations, the material was *perfect*. Gah. I’m so happy I got to pick it out in person at Mood when I was in NYC. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.
The venue was the George Peabody Library here in Baltimore. My friend told me when she was my intern 12 years ago that she was getting married here. Over the years, I managed to stay on her running guest list. I never imagined I would be up front marrying her to the perfect man for her.
Here’s a photo of the library (image from Conde Nast Traveler)
I’m not in these, but here’s a Facebook sneak peak of the wedding photos from the very talented photographer. Does it sound dumb when I tell you I didn’t realize I’d be part of the posed photos? LOL! Seriously. It didn’t occur to me. The photographer even noticed my color coordination.
It was such an honor to be part of a gorgeous ceremony with two of my favorite people.