Posted in sewing

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

Posted in sewing

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 🙂

Posted in sewing

Burda Magazine 9/2012 #130: Purple Friday Side Gather Pullover

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.

130B_technical_large

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.


(I should have rolled my sleeves down. And, this is my first time in five years wearing jeans to the office. But, it’s a holiday week and a Friday)

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.

Posted in sewing

Burda Magazine 5-2011-111: Purple Friday Wool Tunic

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

This is the true color of the dress

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 🙂

Posted in sewing

Burda Magazine 2-2009-124: The Officiant Dress

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.