Sunday, September 25, 2011

October Burda picks

Look what arrived in my mailbox last week:

Love this issue! There are a ton of styles I can see myself in, a few of which I previously blogged about. BTW, I ordered this single issue directly from GLP News, and it was $10. The price on the front is 6 Euros - that's around $10 US, right? So I'm not sure how much less expensive it would be to buy it in a store. Not that I can find a store that sells them anywhere in San Antonio.

(I like to document the styles I like from each issue, as they're easier for me to look through here on my blog instead of going through 3 years of magazines for a specific design.)

This is design 101, the same cape as the magazine cover photo, except slightly longer. I really like the shape of it. Other capes I've seen have more volume coming off the shoulder; this one has narrow shoulders and fans out at the hemline. I'm also liking the front zip and hood.

For a long skirt, 103 definitely has a lot of shape. Love the bias plaid paired with a chambray button down.

Pretty and interesting blouse. The Peter Pan collar is a fun girly touch.

This dress is the same pattern as the blouse before it, but cut longer. I'm not sure I'd need one of each in my closet. I have been looking for a 3/4 sleeve like this one for awhile now. Most have too much volume but this one looks just right. Even if I never make the dress, I will certainly be tracing off the sleeve to use with other patterns.

Cute! Like the black and white. It's a simple dress that can be worn lots of different ways.

Nice basic skirt with front buttoning pockets and topstitching. Reminds me of this skirt without the front pleats, which I have gotten a lot of wear from.

Love. Sleeves have too much volume to me with all those ruffle and tie going on. Maybe I'll use the sleeve from the white blouse.

Pretty, although I've been over puff sleeves for awhile now. This dress is sized for petites, so I'd have to figure out how to un-petite it.

Nice pants. I like the leg shape and front welt pockets.

This is a pretty tie-neck blouse. I would love to find the same fabric for mine.

This vest looks like a great layering piece. Not sure I'll ever make it, but I do like it.

That makes 11 designs in total that I could see hanging in my closet, an all time record from a single issue I believe. I am so pleased to be able to buy single issues of Burda. Thanks again to everyone who chimed in about where I could purchase it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vogue 1252 - Tracy Reese knit dress w/ front drape

This pattern was not in my original picks from the Vogue fall pattern offerings. I loved the other Tracy Reese dress with the front twist and wasn't sure I needed another similar dress. Then I looked at the pattern construction at the fabric store, and was sold that I needed this one as well. It is gorgeously constructed, which I will write about further down.
The reason this jumped to the top of my fall sewing plans is that I already had this knit on hand. It was purchased this past spring from JoAnn's and was part of their green/camo inspired line which I have forgotten the name of. It was going to be for a sleeveless summer dress but I thought it looked very fallish so got reassigned.

I LOVE the ruching along the midsection, the elbow length sleeves, the front draped overlay, the full skirt, and...

the back exposed metal zipper. When I first modeled this for Justin, he was not all that enthusiastic about that design element - he thinks it is an eyesore in an otherwise pretty dress. I think it adds a bit of oomph to the back. This is my second dress with this kind of closure and possibly my last. It's a fun look, and I enjoy jumping on a trend now and then, but metal zippers are honestly a little irritating along the spine. Perhaps I need to wear a cotton undershirt with it.

You can see the front drape in this neckline close-up. The other side of the neckline has ruching along it's top and bottom as well. That side gave me a bit of trouble at first because the outer fabric hung off the lining fabric. It wasn't at all taut like ruching should be. I remedied this by cutting the extra fabric off of the outer fashion fabric. I had to repeat this process in other areas of ruching too.

When I first attached the full skirt, it was gathered all around. However, I don't like gathers along the sides of my waistline because they add bulk to my already square shape. So I took the skirt off, regathered the skirt, and reattached. This dress has a TON of gathering. If you aren't fond of gathering, I suggest you pass on this pattern.

Along the sides of the fashion fabric, I cut 3/4" from the side seams, so that when they were gathered and attached to the lining, the ensuing gathers would be taut. I basted the zipper in by hand, and then went back and stitched it with the machine. These sorts of zippers always make me nervous. It went in twice as well since the first time I stretched the fabric too much and had a pucker at the bottom.

This is the fullest skirt in my closet and I love it's twirlability. The length was really dowdy at first and I kept second guessing weather I would like the finished dress or not. Does anyone else do this? About 50% of the time when I'm making something, I convince myself that it won't turn out as cute as I'd hoped. Then I flounder around for a few days wondering if I should put any more hours in on it, and finally decide to just power through. I usually end up loving it. When I hemmed up the skirt and cut off the excess length, it magically transformed into a really lovely garment.

This full knit lining is what sold me on the design. I have never put one in before and have never worked with knit lining fabric, but I do love a beautifully finished interior and was excited to try something new. This lining is tricot from in a beige color and was a dream to sew. It had lots of side to side stretch but no top to bottom stretch, so the ruching along the side seams stayed put without having to use stay tape.

 I didn't want to ruin the clean finish of the dress interior, so I added bias tape along the sleeves to enclose that seam. The neckline is also finished prettily with a bias facing included in the pattern. I basted it in first so I could machine stitch along the outside of the dress and get a nice uniform topstitching. I'm becoming a big fan of basting stitches lately, and like to use a really bright color like red so they are easily seen and removed.

Okay, so I'm actually really excited to have this completed because it took a full two weeks of sewing time with lots of little stumbles along the way. After figuring out how to get the ruching taut, the next main obstacle was the length of the bodice. I should have measured it - this is an alteration I often have to make lately as bodices seem to be drafted shorter and shorter. But I looked at the example dress from the envelope picture and thought it would be long enough. It was not. Without the skirt attached, the bottom of the fabric hit me well above the belly button. I had already invested at least a week for the bodice and was extremely depressed over this blunder. After sleeping on it and thinking about the problem in the shower (does anyone else work out sewing issues in the shower?), I decided that I could add to the bottom of the bodice and it would be invisible amongst all the ruching. That involved drafting 4 more pieces - front and back lining and front and back main body fabrics - and more gathering and matching up of side seams. I ended up adding 1 3/4" to the length, as you can see in the picture below. This was taken before the outer bodice lining was put in.

I used the tricot as an underlining in the bodice to gather the side gathers onto and to eliminate the need of stay tape, which I didn't have on hand and thought might add some bulk to the sides. This worked extremely well as the  tricot was very thin and remember it has no top to bottom stretch. One thing I love about this pattern is the tacking of the ruching to the inside. (That's what looks like black thunderbolts in the above picture.) WHAT a great idea. In the other dresses I've made with ruching, I find myself constantly adjusting that area while I'm wearing it. But with the ruching tacked, there is no to do that! Also, with having an underlining, I could tack my ruching to that and the actual lining covers up and protects those stitches.

Other tweaks I made were to cut the sleeves slightly longer so I could take a deeper twin needle hem and left off the front pockets. I cut a size 10 and the waist is very snug, so I eliminated the waist elastic.

Whew! I am relieved to have this project completed. I originally thought I might remake this dress without the front drape, as the neckline is so pretty and interesting underneath it. But with all the gathering and fiddling about with thin stretchy fabrics, that is unlikely to happen. Besides, I still have the other Tracy Reese dress with the front twist to make up, and it has a ton of gathering in it as well.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I just called GLP News and placed my order for the October issue of Burda. It was $10 with postage. A regular yearly subscription is $90, which breaks down to $7.50 per month. Paying $2.50 extra to just get the magazines I really love is a good deal to me, especially since I can't find it anywhere locally. Thanks to everyone who chimed in on this. You guys are awesome!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I knew this would happen

Check out these beautiful creations from the October fall preview of Burda:

You may recall that I've let my subscription lapse after August. September didn't have anything I was too crazy over, but the October magazine I love. So here's my question - is there a way to buy just one magazine? Perhaps a website that will sell the single issues that you know of?

BTW - I have called all the Barnes and Noble stores in town and none of them carry it. Apparently they don't think there is a market for the magazine in my city. Any other suggestions?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Making basics

Hello! We were on vacation for 2 weeks in August - pictures coming soon - and I was too busy before we left to do any sewing or posting. Even though we've been home for nearly a week, I am still trying to get caught up and completely unpacked. Vacationing sure is a lot of work.

When my boys were gone to their grandparent's the latter part of July, I had an entire week mostly to myself. I decided to sew some basics. Of course I had a huge laundry list of garments planned, and was only able to get three done. These are the two I actually like.

I normally do not make skirts with yokes. It's not that I don't like them, it's that they never fit my body. They are shaped for a more hour-glass figure, and I am a square. The Selfish Seamstress coined the term Full Waist Adjustment, which I think is funny and needed by me in most cases as well. Too bad I'm horrible at figuring them out in yoked clothing. However, after the success of these shorts and their shaped waistband that fit me perfectly, I think I have found a TNT waistband. 

I ended up using the "slim" cut and my TNT waistband and made a muslin. A few tweaks later and I had myself a great fitting black straight skirt:

This fabric is a black denim from that has a little stretch to it.

I also wanted a white shell top for layering under jackets and sweaters for fall, and picket my TNT shell pattern, Vogue 2925, also made here and here. I do like it, but the fabric I chose had too much texture to really be worn under other items.

This textured polyester knit was purchased from It is a little big even though I've made this pattern before and didn't do anything differently. The fabric is just more expansive, if that makes any sense to you. This skirt was also made by me and posted about here. I removed the small front pockets so that I could wear it with untucked tops.

And yes, I do have the same pair of shoes in two different colors. I love the yellow ones so much that when the red ones went on sale, I had to have them too.

Even though it's still in the 100's everyday around here, I am so ready for fall clothes. This week while I was suppose to be unpacking, I switched out all the stuff I didn't get around to making this summer (so much!) for the cooler weather items left over from last year. I can't wait to get started!