Saturday, February 27, 2010

Vogue 1150 - Turquoise wool double-knit dress w/ front pockets

Hello! I finished this dress earlier in the week but had to wait for some daylight for pictures. This is such a fun and youthful little dress. I love the big patch pockets, raglan cap sleeves, and of course all the topstitching. The wool double-knit I used (a recent online purchase from was perfect for this design. It has the needed stretch and thick body to support the pockets and pocket flaps. I ended up adding 3 inches to the length. How are girls suppose to sit down in these super short styles and not flash their undies?!

I also really loved the back exposed zipper on this design. However, after a lot of thought, I decided to leave it off and do a small invisible zipper at the neckline instead. I'm a stay-at-home-mom and wear most of my dresses to church or for date nights. That means some of my dresses only get worn 2 or 3 times a year. I wondered how long an exposed zipper would be in style. I also had to take into account the fact that I used a high quality expensive fabric. In the end I was uncomfortable with the thought of only getting to wear this a handful of times before it started looking dated. I would still really like to make a garment with an exposed zipper sometime in the near future.

I took my time making these pockets and pocket flaps so they would be perfectly aligned.

Here's a close-up of the neckline and front topstitching. I was glad for all that topstitching because this wool double-knit did not want to stay ironed down. I find wool challenging to sew with because I am use to using my high-powered steam iron to make fabric bend to my will. But steam makes wool shrink so I spend three times longer pressing it.

The back is suppose to be cut on a fold. I added a 5/8" seam allowance and didn't cut on a fold in order to incorporate a 7" invisible zipper at the neckline. The neckband is interfaced and there was no way to fit my huge melon through the opening without it.

I'm nearly done with my jacket for February, but probably won't be able to get pictures of it until next weekend. Tomorrow is the last day of the Winter Olympics so hopefully I'll be able to get some focus back. Anyone else crazy about the Olympics like I am?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

March 2010 Burda picks

The English Burda site is finally carrying the current magazine preview again. Here are the designs that caught my eye for next month:

First up is this cute pencil skirt, 106B. I like the interesting angled pockets in the front and welt pockets in the back. I might opt for a side invisible zipper instead of that front fly to cut down on bulk.
Dress 107 is by far my favorite pattern from this magazine. Love all the fitted construction lines and flirty sweetheart neckline. The pockets are nice as well. I have zero strapless dresses because I tend to think of them as super dressy. But if I made this in a stretch sateen it would be perfect for a summer date night.
I can see this next dress, 111, in a flowy asian-looking fabric. Maybe make the obi belt with a bright coordinating color.
This next jacket 121 is cropped at the waist and has lapels sewn flat in the front yokes. I usually like these shorter jackets because they provide great waist definition.
Blouse 122 is also a favorite. I always love a wrap top, especially if it's fitted. This one also looks to have a collar stand sewn to the collar, another big plus. I'm not a big fan of the extra long sleeves, but that's a simple fix.
Have you had a chance to look through the preview yet? What are your favorites?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Vogue 1150 - A muslin

Okay, just posting this to prove to you that I actually do make muslins on occasion. This fabric is a lavender cotton knit that I've had in my stash forever. I didn't know what to do with it since I'm not that fond of pastel colors, but it finally proved to be useful. I want to use my beloved turquoise wool doubleknit from a recent purchase, but didn't want to take a chance on ruining the fabric if the dress was a poor fit. I cut a 10 on top and graded it out to a 12 at the hips and the fit is perfection. But scandalously short on me, and I didn't even take the 1" hem! I am 5'5", people. So I'll add 3.5" to the length and cut it out tonight. This should go somewhat quickly but does have a fair amount of topstitching. I'm super excited to get started.

By the way, Justin says to me after he snapped this picture, "That sure seems like a lot of work for something you'll just throw away." I totally agree, and don't know how some of you do it for every garment!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

McCall's 5470 - Green floral empire-waisted top

So, here's what I've been working on for the past week. This blouse makes me laugh because I set out to make something to wear with this recent jacket. But when I finished making it I didn't love the two together. And instead of a warm winter day outfit, it is more of a spring/summer look. This has happened to me more times then I can count. At least this time I didn't make an orphan.

I'm showing you this first picture with the denim jacket covering a lot of the top because this is how I plan to wear it. I like the proportion of tunic with cropped jacket, especially with the cinched in drawstring of the blouse. Cute?

And here it is without the jacket. Not so cute. It's the sleeves, maybe. They're too long and the puff starts at the very end of the shoulder. Or maybe the bodice is too short and should have been extended farther down the rib cage? Something's off.

Here's the back. This top was actually quite a bit of work - collar with collar stand, all those gathers on the sleeves, making a drawstring and casing, a fair amount of hand sewing. Sigh. Kinda dowdy without the jacket.

You can see on the pattern envelope how it was designed to be longer on the top. After looking over what others had done on pattern review, I thought the proportion was off. I took 2 inches out of the top of it, but now I'm thinking that was a bit much. Don't those puffed sleeves on the drawing look cute? This is why you never trust a drawing! I'll not be making this again. In fact, it has a date with my trash can.

Moving on, it's back to winter sewing for me. Next I will be making a muslin for Vogue 1150. Surprised? I do make muslins on occasion, especially when I plan to use expensive or much loved fabric. I'm hoping to make the finished dress from my recently acquired wool doubleknit. However, I have a deep love and enthusiasm for the Olympic Games, currently occurring in Canada. I might be distracted for the next few weeks. It's hard to sew and watch figure skating at the same time.

***Edited 2/15***
You ladies are brilliant!!! I tried on the blouse with the sleeve band rolled up a few times and that made all the difference! The sleeves are too long and hitting my arm at the same place the drawstring does - not flattering. I have a tiny bit of fabric left to recut sleeve bands (no, they aren't elastic) and will be cutting the sleeve shorter. Although now that they are already attached to the bodice, sewing will not be as easy. Oh well, might as well be perfect, right?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Vogue 8480 - Tan twill jacket

Here's my jacket for January. In case you don't recall, I'm attempting to make at least one jacket each month. I lost my sewing mojo earlier in January, but it seems to finally have returned.

I've adored this pattern since it came out 2 years ago. I love the interesting front and back vents, side buttoning closure, bell sleeves, and loads of topstitching. It was cut out in December of 2008, but then I got stuck thinking about the inside finishes. I wanted something unlined and washable since it's such a light color and casual wear. But the front pieces have some difficult angles, and I couldn't figure out how to apply the bias tape with clean results. Then I thought to line it but couldn't grasp how to cut the front lining to accommodate the pleats below the pockets. So the whole thing got put aside, something I rarely do.

This pattern is very well drafted. The back collar has a curved integrated collar stand, my first time sewing something like that. The back topstitched sleeve seams match up perfectly with the back princess seams of the body.

I used heavy duty polyester thread for the topstitching. This heavier thread really pops out against fabric.

The only thing I changed about this pattern was the button placement. They have you install the bottom button below the pocket topstitching. This is too low on a jacket IMO, and creates a somewhat ballooned midsection with too much space in between the buttons and the extra fabric from the pockets; especially with this medium weight cotton twill that I chose. I left off the top button and button hole and the inside hidden button because they were unnecessary.

Here's the inside finished with three packages of bias tape. I'm a little sick of bias tape at the moment, believe it or not. But it did make a very nice finish and I can now throw this in the washer if it gets soiled.

And just in case anyone wants to make this with bias tape, I've included a picture of how I finished the front sections.

Next up I'm planning a billowy chiffon top to wear with this jacket and peek out from underneath. I know it seems like I've moved on to spring sewing but I honestly haven't. There's still loads of winter sewing begging to be made up.

Monday, February 1, 2010

For Rachel:

Looks like flowers with green stamens or leaves to me. Hope this helps.

February Burda Picks

No, I did not finish my Vogue 8480 jacket by the end of January, unfortunately. But I got it mostly done in January and will make another jacket for February, so I think I'm still on track with my goal. Since I have nothing new to show you, how about some Burda picks from this month's magazine?

I really like the collar from this first design, jacket 101. That and the cute bell sleeves. I have the perfect thinnish faux leopard fur in my stash for this. Theirs was made from matelasse (???) and I can't tell from the picture if that's a thin or thick fabric. However, fur jackets are frequently rather bulky looking, so I think I'll be safe with what I've got.

Jacket 109 is a cute denim-styled design. It's a petite/half size pattern so I'll have to figure out how to un-petite it. Which will probably involve making a muslin. Don't look for this in the very near future. (I do make muslins on occasion, they're just few and far between.)

This is top 118. This would make a really great date-night blouse.

The little knit tops from Burda are always made in abundance, and I expect no less from this next design, 122. Although it's a bit off the shoulders for me. That should be an easy fix, though.

That's pretty much it. Pants 102 caught my eye if every I'm in need of a super simple pants pattern. What patterns did you like from this month?