Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BWOF April picks

Well, there seem to be an overabundance of t-shirts and t-shirt dresses in this magazine. Snore. Once I got past that whole "Family Holiday" section, there were some real winners that I absolutely adore.

Top 101 is cute with that double-breasted button closure and bottom tie with casing. I'm not especially fond of the sequin trip it's sporting, but otherwise it looks fun and flirty.
Top 105 I LOVE. I have been looking for a ruffled front blouse pattern for some recently purchased kelly green charmeuse. Jackpot! Although I think I'll add some button and loop closures to that deep V neckline.
Skirt 125 is another one I'm certain to make up. The bottom flounce is bias cut and the back bow looks a little retro to me. I may even copy the color of their sample and do it in red.
Dress 127 is by far my favorite design in this magazine. The off-the-shoulder arm bands are super sexy and gathered to look like bows. The front inset rectangle really gives it some visual interest, and y'all know how much I like interesting construction lines.
But, I'm taking a pass on this month's many do-it-yourself projects and accessories. How about you? What do you think is a must-have of these new designs?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

McCall's 5470 - Green floral top w/ improved sleeves

Remember this top from last month? I loved everything about it except the long and unflattering sleeves.

Well, I finally got around to fixing them:

All it took was removing the bands, letting them out 1/2", cutting off 1.25" from the bottom of the sleeve, regathering and reattaching the sleeve bands. What do you think? I like these MUCH better and they look more like the drawing on the pattern envelope.

My camera does not take good indoor pictures. I was all set to take this picture outside except when I stepped out the door, I got a big surprise. The temperature is currently in the 50's and the wind is blowing. Brrrrr. Come back, spring!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kwik Sew 3755 - Progress report

Last night I sat down with my pattern and did a bunch of tracing/drafting. I'm having to transition from an x-small on top to a small through the hips, and that took some figuring. Keep in mind all of the tiers on this dress and the fact that I'm adding tiers to the back. I had planned on telling you exactly what I did, but I got confused several times and had to erase and redraft. So, if you are wanting to make this out of a knit with the above changes, you are on your own. Sorry. Here are my finished pattern pieces.

Tonight I cut out the top 2 tiers both front and back, as well as the top ruffles. Here's how it looks so far - not too bad, right? (And before you get all excited, yes, I did finally receive my custom dress form after 3 months of waiting/pestering the manufacturer about it. I was all set to do a blog post with all the details until I noticed she has no butt. Yes, after all that waiting, there was some miscommunication/misunderstanding of his thick accent, and she arrived derriere-less. So, the manufacturer is making me another form - with a butt - and I am holding this one hostage until it arrives in the mail.)

Okay, back to the dress. It was fine from the front but very gappy under the arm. This is when having a dress form is super useful. I was able to pin the dress to her to check fit, something I would never be able to do to my own body. If I pinch out just a little under the arm, I get a great fit. Oh, and I need not make the ruffles 1" wider as that is messing up the vertical line of the knit. SO, I will be recutting these pieces tomorrow as well as the rest of the dress. I think the hard work is now over and the rest of it should go together quickly.

In other news, I currently have an unpleasant and persistent cough that has made going to sleep at night very difficult. Every time I start to nod off I am racked with coughs. Today I bought a humidifier to hopefully relieve some of the dryness that is tickling my throat. I really need a good nights sleep. The middle of the night is a lonely and depressing time to be awake and tired.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Greetings from Wadderville

Hello there! I have been busy sewing, but nothing is turning out. I am all set to start the Mini-Wardrobe contest over at Patternreview.com tomorrow, and am hoping my recent rash of wadders doesn't continue.

Here's my latest failure. It's skirt A from Vogue 8455, recently OOP. The problem with this pattern is that the front overlay rests atop a back overlay, and they both have pleats. I made view B a few years back and there was way too much bulk from having over and under pleats. For A, though, the pleats from the front and back overlay are in the same spot, so I thought I could stitch them together and cut down on bulk. Except with double fabric pleated at center front, I'm getting an 80's coo-lot effect. Blah! Plus this fabric has been in my stash for years and is not something I would gravitate to these days. It's that polyester peachskin stuff JoAnn's stocks every color of that I have learned the hard way to stay away from (resists ironing, puckers, and won't be steamed into shape.) Everything I've ever made with that stuff turns into a wadder, and this is no exception.

Grrr this pattern. It's being boxed up for Goodwill. Although maybe I'll just throw it away so it doesn't sucker anyone else into making an ugly skirt. If I was super ambitious I'd draft a smooth front skirt to sew the pleated overlay on top of. Na. Two wadders from one pattern is enough for me.
Okay, guess I'll go trace my Burda 9-2008-129 jacket to be all set for tomorrow. I hope you are all having gorgeous spring weather like we are here in Texas.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Update on my fabric fiasco

So, I was tossing out all that fabric from my failed 113 dress and I noticed the original unwashed fabric has the same discolorations. It came from the store that way, I just didn't notice. For some reason this changes my mind about it. Like I didn't cause the damage so maybe it's suppose to be that way. It's probably just cheap fabric and I should move on. Right? But, I think I'll fish it out of the trash and think about it for awhile...

I had such high hopes for this dress...

Here is the project I've been working on lately. It's dress 113 from the Burda August 2009 issue. (See below for a picture.) This wasn't really on my radar until I found this nifty burned-out velvet looking fabric at Hancock's for super cheap.

It turned out to have a really big repeating pattern. Since the front bodice and sleeves are cut on the bias, I decided to starch those pieces so I could match up the patterns perfectly and not have it slipping and stretching all over the place. When the die in the fabric promptly bleed onto the muslin it was starched on top of, I though "Uh-oh. This is not a good sign." However, I thought it might wash out so I completed the seams for the top of the dress. The pattern matching turned out just about perfect:

This is the back seam where I omitted the zipper and planned to have a small button and loop closure:

Here's what happens to you when you think pridefully to yourself that you are the best pattern matcher ever:

You go to wash the starch out of the fabric and it bleeds horribly and stains the surrounding fabric. (I handwashed with cold water in the sink.) This is unwearable, people. Please, no comments about how it's not so bad and I should finish it anyway.

I guess I'm glad this happened before I got caught in a rainstorm wearing the completed dress out and about. The moral of this story is that sometimes cheap fabric is cheap for a reason.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Burda 5-09-103A - Pink zebra print knit top

I meant to make more long sleeve tops this winter but it just didn't happen. I did get one done, though. I know I confessed to not being much of a pink lover, but when I saw this pink zebra print at Denverfabrics.com last fall I had to have it. It's pretty thin so will make a great winter to spring transition piece.

I totally removed the back seams from the upper bodice, bodice band and bottom bodice. What was the point of having them? I simply cut the upper and lower backs on a fold and altered the band piece by cutting it into a front and a back band. The back of this has darts, something I rarely see on knits. But it fits really well and I'm thinking I may need to make this again in a sleeveless version or dress even.

I'm not sure what Burda instructs you to do for the front. I'm sure it's a facing of some sort. My motto is don't read the instructions unless you totally can't figure it out on your own. This top was very simple so I just did my own thing. Here at the neckline I used bias tape to finish it. I like using bias tape in knits because it has a little stretch but really helps knits not stretch out. And there's no facing to flip up and annoy.

I used french seams for the shoulders and side seams and more bias tape to enclose the sleeve to bodice seam.

Here you can see the side seams and the inside band. It is not interfaced and simply slipstitched down.

Burda pattern - $80/12/6 (6 is the amount of patterns I plan to make from this issue): $1.11
1 3/8 yards zebra knit: $6.88
thread: $1.00
bias tape: $0.80
grand total $9.79 give or take

I'm currently working on a simple dress in more purple but the fabric is kicking my butt. It has a huge repeating print that I didn't notice when I bought it but that I now feel compelled to try to match up. The front sleeves and bodice are bias cut so in order to match up the pattern perfectly I starched the fabric. It then bleed onto the muslin fabric I starched it on top of. And I need more fabric for the front skirt portion but am waiting to buy it until I see how the bodice turns out. SO, I am not sure it's even going to be completed. Keep your fingers crossed!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Butterick 5334 - Purple wool jacket w/ shawl collar

This is my jacket for February. The idea for it was born last fall when Hancock Fabrics put all their wool on sale half off. There were all the usual colors - black, gray, brown, red, and this deep purple. Since I'd stashed quite a few coordinating purple fabrics at that time, I knew a matching jacket of some sort would be the perfect compliment. Wool is usually scratchy on my sensitive skin, so I went looking for a pattern without a close collar. This is what I ended up with. Although this design wasn't originally picked out of the pattern book as a must have, I really like it. It reminds me of all the sweater knit cardigans that have been made up lately by various bloggers.

I liked the wide shawl collar, princess seams, front peplum and raglan sleeves. The cuffs at the sleeve bottoms were also a fun little detail. I added belt loops at the sides so that I could take this jacket off and not have to keep up with the matching belt. Thin raglan shoulder pads were put in for a little definition. Oh, and the blouse and skirt were also made by me last year. I get a real kick out of wearing an entirely hand made outfit .

This collar is surprisingly not scratchy at all.

The front is closed by a fabric loop and a fabric covered button. These are hidden underneath the tie belt. For the lining I used gray Ambiance. I could not find a similar shade of purple nor any fun coordinating charmeuse fabrics, so I went with plain gray to match the gray in my blouse.

Full lining:

Here's a close-up of the belt loop I added to the side seams.

If the fabrics and notions I've used are recent enough to remember, I thought it would be interesting to post how much a garment costs me to make. I meant to do this for my turquoise wool dress but forgot when I was doing the post.

Butterick pattern: $0.99
2 1/2 yards purple wool on sale half off: $18.75
1 3/8 yards gray Ambiance purchased with a coupon: $7.42
a yard or so of interfacing (which I purchase large quantities of when it's on sale): $1.50
covered button floating around my button box: $0.50
grand total: $29.16 give or take plus a little bit for sales tax

Not bad for a fitted lined jacket, right?

I must say that this jacket was not much fun to make. I started it in January and promptly lost my sewing mojo. Finishing it was almost painful, I guess because it's a solid color and doesn't have any challenging bits like topstitching or pockets or some such. But I hate to leave projects unfinished. And I knew it would get a lot of wear. Er, maybe next winter on the lots of wear, though. Spring is coming on quickly here in Texas.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mini Wardrobe Contest plans

FIRST, thanks so much for all your wonderful comments on my Vogue 1150 dress. This is the first time I've ever received over 50 comments on a post. I'm blown away by all the feedback!

The Mini Wardrobe Contest over at Patternreview.com is set to kick off March 16th and run through April 15th. I am determined to enter and finish this one, even though I'll be out of town for part of one week. But it's only 4 garments. I should be able to do that easily, and hopefully won't get tired of my color pallet in that short amount of time.

Here are the fabrics I've chosen. I'm usually more of a vibrant color lover and pink is not my favorite. Especially this pale color pink. But somehow I've amassed a small array of coordinating fabrics and I do love pink and gray together.

As you can see I have 5 fabrics chosen and only need to make 4 garments. The three in the middle are definites and the outer two I can't decide between.

On the left is a black tweed suiting weight polyester with flecks of gray and white in it. I've got Burda's skirt 120 from the November 2009 issue paired with it.
The pink crinkled silky-type-polyester-something-or-another (augh! I never know the names of fabrics!) is going to be made from NewLook 6831, view D (top right drawing). It is low cut and I plan to wear either a black cami or white cami underneath, depending on what it's paired with.

For the middle pink printed silk - my favorite from the bunch - I'm planning to make a simple knee-length bias skirt using Simplicity 4881. BUT, I don't do elastic waisted anything, so will be drafting a waistband for it.

For the gray wool suiting I'm planning a fitted jacket. I love jacket 129 from Burda's September 2008 issue, and have been saving it for the perfect fabric. I plan to do the topstitching in thick black thread. It'll pop just a little off the gray color, but not enough to distract from what I'll be wearing underneath. Although the bow from the pink blouse and the ends of the jacket lapels might make too much fabric in one area. I'll probably make the blouse first and then decide on the jacket design.

The pink on the far right is actually a thin textured knit. Thin and see-through and delicate. I've had this fabric in my stash for several years and have struggled with what to make out of it. A church friend of mine has the cutest tiered knit skirt that I've been thinking about replicating for awhile now. Then I found a similarly spaced tiered dress on Kwik Sew's website. You may think - Oh Horror! - unflattering ruffles and no body definition!!! But I think if I make this out of the thin pink knit in a figure-hugging smaller size and sew the ruffles in the back as well as the front that it just might turn out super cute and flattering too. I think. And it would look nice under a fitted gray jacket as well.

So, do I make the black tweed skirt to pair with the pink blouse? It might look kind of bland from behind when wearing with the gray jacket. Or do I take my chances with the pink tiered dress that might go horribly wrong but would look better with the gray jacket?

***Where to find the contests at Patternreview.com***
I totally understand any confusion about upcoming contests. I found that site a bit hard to navigate at first as well. Okay, click on the "Message Board" tab at the top of the site. Sometimes you have to click it twice because the first click only shows new pattern releases and such. Click on "Contest Discussions" under the "Contests" bar. There you can find a complete list of all the contests for the year under "2010 Contests" as well as all the discussion threads for each contest. HTH!