Thursday, November 29, 2012

Burda style 5-2011-113 - Eggplant military jacket

Military jackets are very trendy right now. Last fall I made plans to make one, but didn't get around to it until now. I used a thick cotton twill in aubergine from It was easy to work with and has a great woven texture which you can see in some of the close ups.

This was the only design I liked from the May 2011 issue of Burda style. It is chalk full of interesting details: 20 buttons!, topstitching, sleeve cuffs, shoulder tabs, folding back front lapels, slanting back yokes and back belt. I opted not to trim it in bias strips per the instructions. I also added a full lining and shoulder pads.

After making a muslin, I added 1.5" to the overall length at the waist and .75" to the center back seam. The front dart was altered to slant up a bit. Both the inner and outer collar were fused with interfacing. Since my fabric was fairly thick, I left off all other interfacing suggested in the pattern instructions. I did iron small squares of it to the inside where the buttons were sewn on.

I moved the buttonhole placement on the cuffs over to 5/8" from the edges. The back belt button holes were also stitched 5/8" from the edges.

I initially had some trouble finding buttons for this jacket. I knew I wanted a military crest of some sort, but all of the ones I looked at locally did not have their crests attached the same way on each button, resulting in the crests facing all different directions. For the first time ever I ordered buttons online. These also came from Mood. The buttons on the shoulders, back belt and sleeves are the 20mm size. The ones on the front are 23mm.

I really love how the sleeves have built in forward curves to them.

Here you can see the twill texture a lot better. The fabric has such a nice depth to it that my topstitching sinks in ever so slightly.

I attached the outer collar to the jacket body and sewed the inner collar to the lining. Then I stitched the body to the lining along the edges, graded the seams, and turned it right side out. I stitched in the ditch by hand all along where the collar meets the body so that none of the seams allowances could turn up on the inside and become bulky.

I put a dab of fray check on the corners of the shoulder tabs after I turned them to prevent them from raveling out.

The lining is bemberg Ambiance. I happened to find a really good color match locally.

I had a lot of fun making this jacket. The details were challenging but not fiddly and I got to do loads of hand sewing.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Halloween costumes

Whew! I'm glad to have this yearly task behind me. Like usual, I waited until the last minute to get these costumes sewn.

Nathan is very into small furry creatures at the moment. He owns two gerbils and would really like to have an entire pet store in his room. Two gerbils are stinky enough, though, thankyouverymuch. He also currently wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up. We ordered the lab coat  and stethoscope off The only remotely crafty thing I had to do was iron on the patches to the pocket. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as my boys like to say.

Daniel continues to pick his costumes for the weapon prop he gets to carry along. This was a way more involved project to stitch up. The vest took the longest because I added the gold inserts to the "sleeves" and slipstitched those and the one along the neckline invisibly on the inside. Then I made the black jumpsuit under the vest. I accidentally bought the wrong size pattern and had to cut it down to fit him. It was still too big in the width - he's pretty skinny - so I had to take the legs apart and make the rear end smaller. What a pain. Finally I made the red sash and arm/leg bands that I tacked onto the outside of the jumpsuit. This took me 4 nights of sewing to complete. All fabrics were purchased from JoAnn's and are polyester. We ordered the nunchaku from Amazon as well.

Since we homeschool, they didn't get to wear these costumes to school. And this year our church's fall festival was October 20 and didn't require dressing up. So, these were worn for all of 1.5 hours on Halloween for trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. I think next year they will have to raid their dress up bin for a costume and give me a year off.

McCall's 4951 - Used to make Daniel's jumpsuit
McCall's 6184 - Used for Daniel's vest & sash (shortened)

Rachel did not wear a costume. I am not a Halloween enthusiast and so only make costumes for little people who are excited about dressing up.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

McCall's 5974 revisited - Black + ivory polka dot dress

While taking stock of my wardrobe a few weeks ago, I realized I had only 3 dresses with long sleeves. One is my black funeral dress and one is a lace dress I bought for Les Miserables last year. The third is the first dress I made from this pattern, which I still love. (Check out those bangs - oi!) Since I like to wear dresses once or twice a week and enjoy variety, I decided to add to my meager long sleeved dress collection.

I used a border print ITY knit bought online several years ago. It has small dots along one selvage which slowly enlarge in size until they are colliding with each other along the other selvage. I cut the belt out of the very small dots so that it could be seen amongst the busy fabric. ITY knit is perfect for mild Texas winters in that it is very thin so I don't swelter but with long sleeves I still look season appropriate.

I cut this dress out on Friday afternoon, worked on it Friday night, finished it up on Saturday, and wore it to church today! Having made the pattern once before, it went together extremely quick. 

 This is a straight size 8. I am usually a 10 on top and a 12 on bottom, but like to go down a size for garments rendered in highly stretchy fabrics.

I did not care for how far the belt stretched along the side seams on the pattern envelope examples. It looks okay on the bigger busted woman, but kind of strange on the smaller one. I decided to fold out about 2" of the belt height on my pattern piece. I also cut 2.5" off the length of the skirt pattern before I cut out the fabric. No other alterations were necessary.

Special care was taken when cutting out this geometric patterned fabric. I wanted the front bodice necklines to match and not cross any lines of dots. I also wanted equal distance between the dots at the top of the back neckline and all the dots to match up size wise along the side seams and the sleeves. This is always a pain to do but pays off in the end.

I left off the interfacing the pattern calls for along the midriff band. I also omitted the back zipper. Here you can see the band without the belt tied around:

The neckline was finished with Wright's polyester bias tape. Click the tutorials label on the right of my blog for more information on this technique. All the seams were finished with my overlocking foot and the hems sewn with a twin needle.

I love the fit of this pattern and will most likely make it one more time, perhaps with short sleeves for summer.