1940s Puffy Sleeve Dress: Burda Magazine 5-2009-122

Well, hello sailor! I am digging the World War II era vibe from this Burda 5-2009 #122  dress.

It feels like I’ve just been cranking out projects lately. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I started this dress a little over three months ago back in November 2011. I thought it would be fun to wear to the DC Tweed Ride but only managed to finish my cape. Then, I started  thinking I would wear it to church when I was visiting my parents in Florida at Thanksgiving.  I never got around to finishing the dress on the trip because I left one of the sleeves back home. Once I got back to Baltimore I wasn’t insterested in sewing a non-winter dress.

But, last week, I decided it was time to clear the sewing deck and tackle one of my three UFOs. It’s really just taking up mental and physical space. You’ll understand that I don’t remember too many details at this point.

Alterations? Just my now standard FBA and a swayback adjustment. I also raised the center front waistline by about two inches (perhaps over modulation on my FBA?). I’ll be honest. I don’t think this is a great dress if you are busty. It’s a very full top with all the tucks and the waist isn’t super defined. You may look a bit ’round’. I don’t think this is my most flattering silhouette. Not bad. Just not my best. But, I still like it. I think it’s best suited to a tall and lean Audrey Hepburn vs busty / curvy Marilyn Monroe🙂

The dress has 52 pleats. Fifty. Two. Pleats. That includes pleats in the sleeve, sleeve lining, upper bodice / shoulder, bodice waist and skirt. I really really have to recommend that you baste the pleats. I do usually just pin in place, but for this many, I think you’ll be happier with the results if you hand baste.

The material is a wool challis from the Carol Collection. All deep purples and blues with paisley. Again, another fabric I would not have chosen for myself. But, is lovely for fall. The pattern does not call for lining, but I added a lavender silk for lining (also from the Carol Collection) and it’s absolutely luxe! Seriously. I would sleep in this dress just because the lining feels so very good.

The one thing I do not love is the neckline. Even with interfacing for reinforcing, one side is a little warped. Not enough for me to take it apart and fix. But, enough for me to notice. I wish I had used a facing / lining combination. The silk ins’t really stable enough to hold up the neckline well.

Overall, I’m pleased with the dress. It’s not my usual somewhat sleeker style. I love puffy sleeves and a full skirt. But, I do feel a bit twee and Talbots at the same time. Maybe because it’s retro I feel like I’m playing dress up a bit? I felt the same Talbots and twee feeling from this 2007 Burda dress from five years ago (mmm, would like to make that one up again now that I know to make an FBA). That being said, I plan to make this dress up again in a black washed silk that Carolyn gifted me about two years ago. Not the most ‘original’ idea — it was how they made it up in the magazine.

While the tucks and pleats are daunting, it’s well worth it for a fun design.

My pattern review is here.

Four Skirts in Four Days, Part IV!: Burda 6-2009-104 Wrap Skirt

I actually finished this skirt months ago and didn’t get a chance for photos or to blog. After writing this post ages after completing the garment, I realize I am *boring* when an article isn’t fresh on my mind! So, I apologize now for the rudimentary post. I’m just fuzzy on the finer points after all this time. What happened to my memory? I used to recall conversations verbatim. Now, I write notes to myself so I can remember what people said to me. While we’re talking about getting older. I’ve been obsessed about these laugh lines around my mouth lately. I was almost relieved when I saw some forgotten photos of me from 10+ years ago with the same lines. Turns out I didn’t care in my 20s. Only in my 30s did they stand out🙂

Enough of that. Back to the skirt! The flash washed the color of the skirt out a bit so I’m posting it below with no flash.

 It’s a strawberry cream seersucker. I *think* I bought it at Metro Textiles last year. But, I honestly don’t remember! See, again with the memory thing! The cream buttons are from A Fabric Place here in Baltimore.

This Burda 6-2009-104 skirt sucked me in by two elements: double row of buttons and seersucker. I am so totally predictable. Make it a trench, vest, cape or seersucker and I’m all in.

The line drawing shows it looking fairly straight, but I found on me it was a little a-line. This could have been for the additional width I added at the thighs.

The buttons on the front are mostly decorative as this is a wrap skirt with a side zipper.

There’s a slit on the inside for walking.

Ummm, I’ve worn the skirt bunches. But, I dont’ love it on me. It’s slightly too small with no room to let out. I had to do a lot of futzing with fit. After completion, I actually took the waist in two more times before it was wearable.

Despite adding about 2 inches of width in the thigh, it’s still about 1/2 inch snug. I also made a full seat adjustment in two places to accommodate for my swayback and full seat and it’s not quite enough (or smooth based on this photo!).

You can see the skirt still sits a scootch higher at the center front. The center back seam isn’t really centered on me and the side seams are off because of all my adjustments (and my full forward thighs).

Overall, I’m meh. It’s a nice staple and certainly adds to the work wardrobe. But, it’s not top garment for 2011. I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of it, but I don’t know if I would make it again. I think I need to make a simple pencil skirt and make some decisions on the best skirt style for me.

Weekend Summary

Since Friday, I’ve been dogsitting for my friend Catalina. Her dog, Frida Khalo, and I have been hanging out together in the sewing / TV room bawling our eyes out over Surprise Homecoming and  Say Yes to the Dress while discussing the debt ceiling crisis. If you’re wondering, yes. I would absolutely love a dog. But, I only want a toy breed and couldn’t  bring myself to purchase one when so many animals need homes. The small ones at the ASPCA, etc are the first to go and just about impossible to get if you don’t know someone on the inside. So, I’m satisfying myself by dogsitting. Kind of like being a grandparent and spoiling the heck out of the kid and turning them back over to the parents hopped up on candy and Frappes.

While Frida and I were spending quality time together, Liz came by to take her first stab at machine sewing a dress. You see, she used to hand sew garments when she did historical re-enactments at Ft. McHenry (home of the Star Spangled Banner (the US National Anthem) and right here in Baltimore). She’s liked my sewn garments but not enough to try sewing herself.  It was the Burda 6/2010 #123  knit sack dress that sent her over the edge. Can you stand a third version of it in one week? Clearly, I need to enter this in to the one pattern, three looks contest.

We picked out the material last week at G Street in Rockville. Can you imagine they had a Groupon? Woot! Woot! Her main concern with sewing is that she’s too much of a perfectionist. She thought it would drive her bananas if it wasn’t absolutely perfect and would get frustrated. You know what takes the frustration away? Sweet Tea Vodka while you’re sewing.

Mom. Don’t freak out about Frida on the sofa. I gave her a bath, brushed her and vacuum daily while she’s here. 

She has more material to make a second version. But, not bad for your first dress, right? We even matched motifs on the side.

I had her sew with a knit because the beginner fear of sewing with a knit boggles my mind. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’re not told something is hard, then you won’t think it’s hard. I believe in Fearless Sewing. Then again, I only made French seams this year and still haven’t done a rolled hem.

Oh, also sews on a Kenmore 1040. She had a Wal Mart Special that jammed every third stitch. This absolutely led to her irritation with sewing. So, when I was in Tampa buying my Singer 301, I found the Kennie and brought it home for her.

Oh. She was also blown away that I took 50+ photos for one blog post.  And, got a little tired of it near the end😀 I just would not let her get away.

I feel like an idiot. Stop taking pictures.

I have no more poses. Stop.

Seriously. Isn’t that enough?

C’mon!

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Trena came up to Baltimore Friday night to be my date for an Artscape party. Artscape is the largest outdoor arts festival on the east coast and is hosted right here in Baltimore.

That night, I was invited to a rooftop party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Artscape. There was a live Fantasia concert on the ground. There were SO MANY PEOPLE. They were expecting 350,000 people over the weekend.

Cocktails and food were on the roof and fireworks at a reasonable hour (I just can’t stay up late).

It was a GREAT time.


Here’s a photo of us with some of my work friends.

More importantly, Trena and I were both in the same Burda 06-2010 #123 dresses of our own making in totally differnt prints.

She went with an elegant silk jersey, and I made up this yellow and gray polyester from Philadelphia’s Jomar.

According to her, the fan fabric is just $3 a yard. So, the dress was under $10 and I have a bunch leftover.

As Trena mentions, the swayback in this is pretty significant. I took out two inches and could have taken out another 1.0 to 1.5.

This was my test run of the plaid sack dress. This first version is two inches shorter. Which is fine just as long as I don’t try to blouson it like I did the silk version.


That’s me looking for the rest of the skirt

I think this length is also a little ‘stumpier’ on me vs the plaid dress. But, the right length for a summer cocktail party with fancy people.

Overall, it was a good night. I had fun with my bestie and got to show off my town.

Pattern Review: BWOF 10-2008-117: Bubble Dress Redux

I first made this dress in October 2008 for a wedding. It remains my most flattering dress. This is the one I constantly get a positive response in. It’s slim and flattering through the waist and is complementary on the bottom. In fact, it’s my go to ‘Get ’em gurrrl’ dress. In fact, a few weeks ago I knew I was going to see an ex-boyfriend (Ladies. Do not sh*t where you eat. No good will come of it). The original purple version is what I chose to wear. And, it did what I wanted it to do. Everyone needs a dress like that.

I’ve been wanting to make this up again for some time. Mainly because the original purple (this is mortifying), is stank with body funk. Yes, there I said it. I have a garment that is only wearable in the winter when I have no opportunity to get warm. I have done everything prescribed to it by the incredibly knowledgeable doyennes of pattern review. It’s significantly better (it was once unwearable) but it is not without flaw. Man, last week I soaked the pits for eight hours in  a pure ammonia and baking soda paste. Again, better. But, not perfect. I’ve since moved on to dress liners, prescription strength antiperspirants and washing my knits (with amonia, baking soda and borax) as soon as I wear them. But, I digress.

I bought this material at PR Weekend in Montreal. I have no capacity for remembering how much fabric was.

For this iteration, I left out the CB zip, did not interface the collar (so I could pull it over my head), widened the turtleneck, and did not sew the bust darts. I find bust darts in thin knits super annoying and I was thinking that they weren’t going to make that much of a difference.

Voila! I have a very nice gray almost sweater knit that I think I’d like to make it up in. This dress was especially needed this week as someone thought I was in my mid 40s. Not that there is anything wrong with your mid 40s. But, for heaven’s sake! I’m 34 !!

** I took pictures twice. Now that it’s dark out, the lighting in my living room isn’t great. And, I’m too much of a wimp to take pictures outside in the cold. I had some really nice detail photos on the dressform. But, my four-year old iMac is currently in the shop. I put in a Netflix DVD of Butterfield 8 (great costumes by Helen Rose) and my computer just stopped working. They are ordering a new elliptical drive. But, for now,  all my good photos are on there.  Boo!!

Pattern Review: Burda Magazine, 9-2010-121 Turtleneck

I don’t think this counts as a review. Burda 9-2010-121 was so simple I didn’t even look at the directions. The pattern is three pieces. I did make a swayback adjustment so that necessitated a center back seam. I made a 40. I should have made a 38.

My first version is black and I made that Sunday night in maybe two hours from trace to sew. For the second go round, it literally took me less than an hour to make. In fact, I made it before going to work on Monday morning. I widened the bicep by about an inch and lengthened the sleeve another inch. I really wanted that exaggerated cuff. This rayon knit is from PR Weekend in Montreal. I *almost* gave it to Trena because I couldn’t quite picture me in it and she likes this kind of avocado green. It’s ok, I have other stuff for her🙂

To secure the turtleneck, I stitched in the ditch along the two side and back neck seam. I didn’t finish hemming the top. You know I don’t usually bother hemming knits. I might on this one. Depends on if I can find my twin needle anytime soon.

There’s not much more to say. Easy peasy. Simple basic. I’m sure I’ll be making lots of these for years to come.

Pattern Review: BurdaStyle Magazine 4/2008 #107, Trench Jacket

I’m DONE!

Whew.  The jacket is actually pretty straighforward construction. For this, I cut a size 40 and made a 1/2 inch FBA.

I added a center back seam to make my swayback adjustment.

The inside is finished with bias tape which I had to do when my serger died mid construction. But, it’s a beautiful way to finish an unlined jacket.

I made the back facing in the same contrast fabric as the undercollar and reverse of the chest gaurd.

The buttons were from a FabricMart.com bundle. The fabric is from a Michael’s clearance last year or the year before. Total project? Maybe $20?

I don’t know what happened to me, but my handsewn hem is terrible. If this jacket makes it through two weeks of China, I’ll have to even the hem out.

I do like all the topstitching. While cute, this fabric was all wrong for this jacket. It’s a very stiff denim – linen blend. It has no sheen whatsover and no drape. It was like making a jean jacket from canvas. The color is also pretty dull on me too. I’d like to find a summer scarf to spice it up.

I put the chest flap on the wrong side, not that I think it would make too much of a difference. I left off the pockets (made me look hippy) and the button loops. I don’t like this self fabric belt so I wanted the freedom to use a purchased one. I also placed the buttonholes too close to the front edge. My buttons overlap a bit too much.

I leave on Wednesday morning and for the first time in two months, I kind of don’t have anything to sew! I might try and make a sleeping mask. That could be done in an hour, tops. And, maybe an infinity scarf for the plane(s). LOL. I must be crazy.

The other fun thing I did this weekend was go to the drive in movie! Toy Story 3. I don’t know if I can go back to the theater after this.  So much fun!