Empire Waist, Surplice Green Sweater: Burda 5-2009-103

 photo DSC_0148_zpshqw7nidi.jpg 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!  photo DSC_0156_zpskajufpxs.jpg 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  photo 000001764893_zpsxgaoqpx1.jpg 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.  photo DSC_0158_zps6wca3i4m.jpg 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.  photo DSC_0161_zpsqajbs9zy.jpg 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.  photo 000001764897_zpschvrm3vr.jpg    photo DSC_0163_zpseys2zy3k.jpgI 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.  photo DSC_0129_zpshs3bm7si.jpg 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.  photo DSC_0152_zpsva1hos3w.jpg 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?

Burda 10/2011 #122 / #123: Maxi Knit Wrap Dress

This pattern is also OOP Burda envelope pattern #7187

 photo USER1837_zpsw8snmmdm.jpg

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.

 photo tech_123_large_zpseiayhpbq.jpg

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.

 photo USER1860_zpsq3hepzd4.jpg

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.

 photo USER1854_zpsfjsxky8i.jpg

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.

 photo USER1858_zps5rtnqiuw.jpg

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.

 photo USER1825_zpsl8hhdxdw.jpg

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.

 photo USER1838_zpss4lvo9uz.jpg

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.

Burda 9/2012 #130: Sweater Knit Semi Fail

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.

 photo DSC_0336_zps6asrk3qt.jpg

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.

 photo DSC_0358_zpsm013jfwl.jpg

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.

 photo DSC_0346_zpsyfpdw4sa.jpg

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::

 photo DSC_0360_zpsmhstpnqd.jpg

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.

 photo DSC_0351_zpsuziftapy.jpg

I did make a swayback adjustment, added darts in my FBA.

 photo DSC_0354_zpsx8xdrpal.jpg

Yet, I gotta give it a solid ‘meh’. Mostly due to fabric choice.

 photo DSC_0353_zpsc3epex6x.jpg

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.

Ponte Wrap Top: Burda Style 10-2012 #119

10-2012 -119 (12 of 25) photo 10-2012-11912of25_zpse11ed407.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (25 of 25) photo 10-2012-11925of25_zps7fa45ad6.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (2 of 25) photo 10-2012-1192of25_zpsdae9b446.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (16 of 25) photo 10-2012-11916of25_zps796c54d3.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (3 of 25) photo 10-2012-1193of25_zps0f43629c.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (4 of 25) photo 10-2012-1194of25_zpsdb7cf533.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (8 of 25) photo 10-2012-1198of25_zps7ece1261.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (17 of 25) photo 10-2012-11917of25_zps21a62f5c.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (9 of 25) photo 10-2012-1199of25_zpsaeadf9fe.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (19 of 25) photo 10-2012-11919of25_zps2f55c530.jpg

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.

10-2012 -119 (15 of 25) photo 10-2012-11915of25_zps16ab1711.jpg

Ok. I gotta sew some color.

Burda 9-2012-109: Black Eyelet Dress

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.

 photo file_zps0e9b54f4.jpg

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.

 photo file_zpsecffdd95.jpg

These sleeves give both me and the dress life!  I actually wish I could have made the dress this came on (below).

 photo file_zpsa0404996.jpg

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.

 photo file_zps94338bde.jpg

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.

 photo file_zps51db969d.jpg

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.

 photo file_zps0753f6f1.jpg

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.

 photo file_zpsf2c748d8.jpg

I’m going to see if I have enough of my pink and cream seersucker to make another.

Geometric Sweater Knit Cardigan: Burda Magazine 11/2012

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.

The material for this sweater was purchased in part using an allowance from Mood Fabrics for the Mood Sewing Network

Burda Magazine 9/2012 #104: Superlong Turtleneck

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.

I never wear all black. I felt like a mime or a beatnik, LOL.

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🙂