Thursday, October 29, 2009

A week of sewing, in the trash can

It's bound to happen to everyone now and then. The dreaded wadder. This one was a combination of poor fabric choice and bad pattern drafting. And just so you're warned, these photos are super unflattering.

This pattern is McCall's 5931.I picked this pattern because I thought the bustline gathering was very flattering, and there is a curved piece sewn into the front side which creates a little pocket for the boobs. Does that make sense? (I think you can see this the best on the side view.) However, the neckline was a super low scoop, so my first order of business was to bring that up 1.5 inches. Under the front gathered piece there is a lining that is ungathered. I didn't notice until it was sewn up, but that only allowed 5.5" between bust points. That is very small, maybe the size of a child? And there is no way the girl on the envelope is that tiny. Measure yourself and see what I mean! So no problem, I have extra fabric, I'll just add in 2.5" extra and start again. Only now the front side pieces are way too long, and those have to be trimmed but trimmed to where the sleeve will still go in at the appropriate spot. Okay, I can make that work. Not too too bad, right?

Check out these ginormous sleeves! And people, I took 9" in width out of them! And then they might not be so bad if there wasn't so much fabric under the armpit. They are at a 90 degree angle with the bodice! No shirts are made that way.

But, here's the clincher. Do I look a little, um, pregnant?! Augh!!! This fabric is a polyester charmeuse border print. Now, had I followed the fabric suggestions on the back of the envelope - crepe do chine, handkerchief linen, challis, etc. - these gathers would not be standing out so far away from my body. So I am owning that mistake.

I am not loving the fact that I started this project to get a break from the contest but all I get for my efforts is an ugly wadder. Now I'll probably be scrambling at the end to finish all my garments and lamenting the fact that I spent a week on this horror!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The November issue of Burda is here!

One of the main themes of this month's magazine is special occasion gowns in Christmas red. I have absolutely nowhere to wear such an extravagant dress, so we'll just skip right over that section.

Jacket 110 did not appeal to me at first. They've got it made up in a very heavy quilted fabric, and it looks bulky and unflattering. But the line drawing is actually quite nice. I can see it in some tan suede-backed-sherpa, with the collar and cuffs on the sherpa side. Or maybe one of those thinner quilted sequined fabrics JoAnn's is currently carrying.
Not that I need another jacket project, but I really like this one -119- especially in velvet like the magazine has it made in. The muted mustard yellow is very nice. I think this design is super cute. The back shoulder yoke meets the back seam in a V.

I'm a sucker for a crisp pleated skirt. Here, the pockets extend up into belt loops, and the front pleat is doubled. This design is 120.

I like this simple little polo shirt, 121, but not the folding inside collar. That will be easy enough to switch out.

So, what are your favorites?

Friday, October 23, 2009

BWOF 11-2008-117 - Brown skirt w/ inset panels - Wardrobe contest garment #6

Here's some more brown for you. Although it is a wardrobe staple so I'm glad for the addition. The fit on this one turned out to be really nice. As you can tell, I shortened it to knee-length by trimming 3 inches off the bottom and 6 inches from the middle. Long skirts of any kind aren't the most flattering on my body, IMO.

Burda calls for this to be made in a stretch fabric. This is because there are only 3 pattern pieces, with one being the facing, so the front and back are the exact same. You need some give to stretch over the bum and not pouch out in the front. This fabric is a stretch suiting bought from JoAnn's earlier this year.

I loved the interesting construction lines on this design. The hardest thing was making those corners crisp and lining up the seams correctly. Otherwise, it is pretty simple and straightforward. Do you like my "hose"? They are actually nude-colored fishnet tights. I love the subtle addition of texture they offer. The brand is Hue from Macy's. I bought some black ones also.

Here's the full lining. This was my first time using a knit for a lining. The instructions call for cutting it off before the fabric flairs out but I opted to extend it down to just above the hem. I ended up moving the invisible zipper from the side seam to the center back so it would lie smoother.

Here you can see where I zigzagged the facing in place onto the lining, as per the instructions. I thought this might turn out wonky but it actually looks really nice and neat.

My shoes are from Bandolino. Aren't they fun? I've had them for about 2 years.

Butterick came out with some new patterns for Winter. I'm not very impressed with the new selections, but do like the tied front jacket from 5428:

Now I am taking a break from the wardrobe to work on McCall's 5931. It has ginormous sleeves, of which I am making smaller in width. Hopefully it turns out looking cute.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This and that

Remember how much I loved this jacket from the October Burda magazine? But then I was lamenting about where to find some leather or possibly faux leather. Y'all had some great advice about where to go to get skins. I was thinking it over, wondering if I should start with something a little more simple for a first leather project.

And then while perusing through some new fabrics at Hancock's I ran across this:

It's a wonderful fake leather in a great shade of tan with light and dark areas to it. Talk about perfection! It was a steal at $10.99/yard for 60" wide fabric. But wait! Hancock's takes JoAnn's coupons and I just happened to have one for 50% off. I got 2 1/4 yards and hope that's enough. The pattern calls for 3 skins of 30" X 30".

There's not been much sewing going on around here. We went to Houston this weekend to visit my sister and brother-in-law and attend the Texas Renaissance Festival in Magnolia. It had some fun parts but entirely too many freaky people walking around. Exactly what does an S&M costume have to do with the Renaissance, I ask you? Or a chain metal halter top with nothing else on underneath? Yikes! I'm glad my boys aren't old enough to really take notice of those things.

In other news, I'm really struggling with my enthusiasm for this wardrobe contest. I am super bored with aqua and brown, and would really like to be making some other things for fall. Perhaps that is why I've only completed one garment and it's past the middle of this month. I feel like I have to be working on wardrobe garments in order to get them all done, and I hate that feeling. I want to rebel and just forget the whole thing. But then I really do want to complete it. At this point I'm not sure what I'll do.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

BWOF 10-2008-113B - Teal & brown floral charmeuse top - Wardrobe contest garment #5

Miss me? Yes, this 'simple' collared shirt took me 11 whole days to complete! Early on I felt I'd made a mistake in choosing this pattern. Burda totally leaves you on your own to figure out the sleeve cuffs. Then I had a problem with making the button holes. I began to think the sleeves would turn out too loose and unflattering and lost confidence it would turn out. Whenever this happens to me I have trouble blazing through. I watch TV while I sew and only get a few seams done a night. I do other things instead like knitting or reorganizing my fabrics and patterns. I don't put it aside and make something else, but it takes me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get it done. Whew! Finally finished! And what do you know but I love the end result! These are the matching pants I'm wearing with it.

This polyester charmeuse is from the JoAnn's Monaco line that I bought back in late spring. Isn't it gorgeous? Charmeuse is definitely not an easy fabric to sew with. It slips and slides, and I can't tell you how many machine needles I went through and still got the occasional pulled thread.

This pattern is extremely small through the hips. I measured the bust and waist before I cut the fabric out, but forgot to do the hips. Thankfully, there is a very large dart through the bodice fronts, and I was able to let that out. However, I wish I had been able to let the back out as well so the bottom side seams were at my actual sides and not a little pulled to the back.

I decided not to use the sleeve tabs because I didn't like the way they looked. If I'd chosen larger buttons they probably would have been fine. But the small 7/16" size just looked odd on the much wider tab. To keep the cuffs from rolling down without the tabs, they were tacked to the sleeve on both front and back vertical seams.

Covered buttons have come a long way in the last few years. They use to make me extremely frustrated. I have thrown a few across the room, then had Justin "help" me. Those suckers were hard to snap together! But these new ones have teeth that grip the fabric and the back simply pops on. Still rather fiddly with this small size but so much better then the old ones. On this blouse I covered the buttons in the same color as the surrounding buttonholes. That way there wasn't a brown button poking through a teal buttonhole.

I left off the top and collar button/buttonhole simply because I don't plan to ever wear it all buttoned up. And speaking of buttonholes, for some reason my machine did not like this fabric. The buttonholes it made were super ugly. I tried everything I could think of and then discovered they looked good on the back side. So I put them in from the wrong side of the button band.

Here is the top of the shoulder where the raglan sleeves come together. I think it's pretty neat looking.

Here's the hem. I was a little leery about these button bands not having interfacing, but they turned out looking fine.

I used french seams throughout. This picture is of the underarm and raglan seam.

Okay, for the sleeve cuffs I had to do some thinking. Burda doesn't even provide a fold line, so I had to experiment. I ended up cutting the sleeve without a hem allowance. My fold line turned out to be 4" from the bottom, so while sewing the sleeve sides, I taper the seams out from 5/8" to about 1/4" at the bottom. These are approximate because I used french seams on the sleeves as well. After ironing a crisp fold line, I turned the very bottom in about 1/2" and then sewed that up to the sleeve arm, stretching it just a bit to fit. Then I turned the cuff up, ironed another crisp fold line, and tacked to the side seams. Does that make sense?

Five down, five to go. Next up is an extra for the contest, a vest. It doesn't go with all the bottoms nor all the tops, so can't be considered the "topper". I think it will be a great addition to this wardrobe so I'm making it anyway. It should be easy, but then you all know my track record with supposedly easy projects. Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Woot! New Vogues!!!

I love when I get emails alerting me to new pattern releases. This is Vogue's Winter/Holiday collection. There seemed to be a little for everyone this time around and lots of fresh designs.

Up first is my favorite, 1143. I LOVE this pantsuit!!! It's so flattering, interesting, and just all around awesome. And people, I have zero pantsuits in my closet.

Dress 1150 is another great one. This is for a knit - maybe a thick double knit? I love the collar, front patch pockets, and even exposed zipper on the back. It would definitely need to gain some length for me, though.

Vogue 8616 is a lovely little knit shirt. With all the jackets I'm planning for fall and winter, some simple tops are needed to go underneath. I like both necklines.

The Burda top has been traced and cut out, but I somehow ended up without any matching thread for it. Of course I notice this Saturday after child #2 is down for his nap and Justin and child #1 are off running errands. Then we drive purposefully past a Hancock's yesterday evening only to discover that - surprise! - they close at 6 PM on Saturdays. So I finally picked some up this afternoon but have wasted the whole weekend's sewing time. Grrrr. I'm off to watch Drop Dead Diva (love that show!) and try to get something accomplished. Hope your weekend was wonderful!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Houndstooth information

I've gotten several questions about this houndstooth that happened to be sitting on the top pile in a drawer during my last post. It is actually a recent buy from Hancock Fabrics. I think I bought it just a month or two back when they got a bunch of new fall fabrics in. They are hard to come across, right? It has great texture and a somewhat large weave. If you are near a Hancock's, go get yourself some!!! I've currently paired it with this jacket from last year's December Burda, but that's not set in stone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Out with the old, in with the cold

Okay, so technically it's not cold around here yet. I think the high for today was in the mid 80's. But seeing as it's already October, I thought I'd do the semi-annual changing of the seasons with my fabrics and patterns. I have too much, you see, to keep it all out in neat piles or drawers, and have to put the warm stuff away to wait for next spring. Happily it only took up 1 and a half bins.

I unpacked all my winter stuff that I either didn't get to last year or bought on sale at the end of last winter. It was so much fun! I felt like I was greeting old friends I hadn't seen in awhile.

I did notice a trend, though. There are a lot of jackets waiting to be made. Two pants, a few tops, a hand full of dresses, and the rest jackets. In six drawers of fabric!

I have decided that in order to not carry over all the same things year after year, I'm really going to have to get after those jackets. The plan is to make at least one each month, if not two. I actually don't mind making them. Most things that are fitted and lined seem to turn out great for me. But it does take extra time and I think I've been making easier things for the last year or so.

Here is my sad sad array of jackets, all made by me. (I don't think I've ever actually bought a RTW jacket, come to think of it.) The zebra and the white linen (an orphan) on the left are short sleeve and the black quilt-look on the right is the only long sleeved.

Have any of you done the old switch-a-roo lately? Got any major sewing plans in the works?