Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vogue 1021 - Pink sheath dress

I've had this dress finished since Tuesday night, but have been in Houston Wednesday through Saturday visiting my sister and buying lots of great plants. This is going to be my Easter outfit, paired with a jacket in matching fabric. I'll be very pink. I tend to gravitate towards reds and maroons for some reason, so this is a change of pace for me.

The back. Looks like a simple little sheath dress, right?

Check out the yolk and upper front sections. I love interesting construction lines so had to have this pattern the minute I saw it. I also really like the large curved neckline.

Here's the drawing if you want to see exactly what's going on:Another neckline close-up. This dress is fully lined.

The one thing I didn't especially love is that Vogue didn't provide a simple front lining piece. Instead you are sewing the yolk and front section pieces again.

The matching jacket is from the same pattern. I cut it out with the dress to maximize the layout and fabric usage. However, I had to cut the sleeves 3/4 length because of fabric shortage. Which I'm fine with, to be honest with you, because it's a Spring suit. I'm needing a brake from the pink and have a little black skirt to throw together. Oh, and some mending, not my favorite.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BWOF April issue - My picks

I received my April issue in the mail yesterday. I always love it when the magazine gets to me early. There's something very satisfying about having all the patterns in my hot little hands and not just seen on the internet. This is yet another great issue that I've found lots of designs I like.

It is rare of BWOF to photograph a garment where you can actually see it clearly. This is skirt 101B and I find it simple and totally cute. I barely own any skirts and none of them are casual. I plan to make this in black really soon (or as soon as I find a good button sale.)

This next one is the same design with added pockets and topstitching. It's 101A and I love it!
I like this little jacket 106. Maybe I'll make it for fall.

This is top 110B. In the magazine that rectangular piece is made from a contrasting sequin fabric and it is so cute. It's going to be low, though. The back has darts (!) and it's for a knit.

Top 112 is a very simple knit design. The neckline would be easy to raise a few inches. Another piece that would be great for fall.
I really like the construction lines of dress 115, but it's sized for petites. I wonder if it would fit if I simply made the waist longer. Does anyone have any tips for converting a petite pattern to a regular size?

Jacket 116 is my favorite from this month's magazine. This is another rare shot where you can see the item clearly. I love the bias plaids and black outline on the pockets and collar. The sleeves have turned up straight grain cuffs. Oh, it's so cute!!!

This is jacket 117 and pants 119. They have them made up as a wedding suit, but I like both pieces separately as well.

This simple little top is 112. I'm thinking in a sheer for summer with a cute cami peaking out.

I put top 104 last because I'm not sure I love it. I think it might be cuter with a different collar. I do like the bottom that's cinched in around the waist and buttoned and the fact that it has short sleeves. I'll have to think about it for awhile... (Not sure why this picture from the website is so small.)
This issue also included 4 jumpsuits. I know this style is going to be popular but am not sure it would be very flattering on my body type. What do you people think? Did I miss any of your favorites?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Questions, answers & thanks

Okay, I've been putting this off long enough. Time for another Q&A installment:

Of floral wrap top Ruth asked:
Your clothes are so beautifully sewn Amanda.
I have a question/s?
Do you do the french seams and binding because you don't have a serger?
Also, your invisible zippers are so perfect. I've tried invisible zippers but I can't match them up? I've given up on them, but I'd like to try again because of your work! Any tips?

Thanks! I do french seams and binding because I like neat insides and don't have a serger. However, you don't need to finish knits because they don't ravel. Invisible zippers can be tricky. I've been planning to do a tutorial on making them match up for awhile. Hopefully I get around to it soon.

Of brown fad-classic knitted vest Renata asked:
I can't knit anything, but after reading and seeing your work, I want to learn. Can you give me some advice on a good Learn to Knit book? Also your sewing skills are wonderful.

Thank you. In order to learn how to knit, I took a class at my local yarn shop. I looked at some how-to's on the internet, but couldn't wrap my mind around what they were showing. I'm a hands-on learner I guess. I do like the Knitting Answer Book by Margaret Radcliffe for various questions after you learn the basics. I hope that helps.

Of Simplicity 2665 My Fabrication asked:
Love the vest! Do you have any tips about how to stop thick top stitching threading jamming in the machine. Do I need a special needle? I use a lighter thread in the bobbin.

I use a regular needle for top-stitching with thicker threads without any problems. I'm not sure why yours is jamming. Have you tried adjusting the tension? I believe I had to put my tension wheel on the 2 to use the thicker thread. (It's normally set on 4.)

Of BWOF 3-2009-106A Cindy asked:
I just cut my Joann's yellow/grey fabric for a spring coat. Did you track some down?

Hi Cindy! Yes, I asked my sister in Houston to see if she could track any down and she found some. You know you have a fabric addiction when you're calling relatives in other cities for fabric that already sold out in yours!!! (Thanks again, Elisa.)

Of BWOF 1-2009-106B Shorty asked:
I love your top! I have been wanting to make a top with that kind of fabric but every time I try something it just doesn't look GREAT, just ok. I would love to see a tutorial on how to sew seams without a serger, I assume you do not use one. I do not have one and I just can't seem to get it just right on my regular machine. I know I am asking a lot but it never hurts to ask!hehe Thanks for your lovely blog, it always inspires me!

You are so sweet! Have you tried using a special knit needle? (I can't remember the proper name for it - possibly a jersey needle?) I use to use one on my old machine that skipped stitches like crazy on knits. This new machine doesn't do that. I really don't do anything special when sewing on a knit other then to stretch it a bit so the stitches don't pop when you're putting it on. Sorry, that's not too helpful.

Of BWOF 1-2009-106B Geek sewing asked:
What is "ITY" jersey knit?

It's a thin polyester knit that has great drape and doesn't wrinkle. I don't know why it's called ITY - maybe that stands for something but I don't know what.

I think that's it for the questions. I hope I answered every body's. Feel free to ask me anything (within reason) and I'll try to get it answered in a timely manner. I don't get any one's email address with the comments and I'm not very computer savvy. Is there some trick to that?

Here's a great big THANK YOU to Mimi, Rachel, and Kristine for nominating this blog for the Sisterhood Award. I'm very honored, ladies. And sorry it's taken me three weeks to thank you for it. Sometimes I'm a flake, I admit it.

So, what am I currently working on? Vogue 1021 - the dress and jacket will be my Easter outfit for church. I'm using the lovely pink brocade from this post, but I had to make the sleeves 3/4 because I ran short on fabric. The dress is 80% complete and I'll probably post pictures of it tomorrow, hopefully.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In case you don't know about this...

Did you know BWOF previews its entire new edition on the web usually around the middle of the month? You can get to it by going to their website, clicking the Magazines tab, and clicking "Preview burda world of fashion 04/2009" link on the left side. Or I've linked it for you here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

BWOF 1-2009-106B - Black & tan leaves print knit top

Finished! This was an easy little top - as near to instant gratification as I get. I really liked the sleeves of this top. The knit used in the magazine is a bit thicker and the sleeve flounce stands out more, but I wanted to try it with a more fluid fabric, so I used an Ity jersey knit.

I bought this fabric from On the website, the leaves looked more off-white then tan. I don't wear tan well; it makes me look washed out and sickly. I was a little worried this print would cause the same effect, but I think it's got enough black to break up the tan. Here's a closeup of the sleeve flounce:


I made my usual 38, but cut 1/4" off each side seam, reducing the total width 2". The sleeves were already form-fitting. In fact, with a thicker knit, those sleeves might be a little tight. Then again, I don't exactly have stick arms.

Here's a few interior shots. I went ahead and used the facing they provided because I liked the shape of the neck and didn't want to round off the V. I did trim it with bias tape, and then I had to topstitch it down.

Here is the shoulder seam sewn with a french seam. I stabilized it on the inside so it wouldn't stretch out. I think I used a thin twill tape, but next time I'm going to look for something with a little stretch. Any ideas?

This side seam is french as well and you can see my twin needle hem on the bottom. I trimmed the fabric really close to the stitches. This is the only way I think it looks somewhat neat.

Okay, up next is BWOF 8-2008-121 in a light gray to match this blouse.
We have family in town and are running around to various tourist attractions tomorrow. Yawn, I'm so tired. Good night!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

BWOF 3-2009-106A - White floral gathered neckline top

When I started this blouse, I thought spring had arrived. Now it's cold and wet and overcast. Where are you, sun?! Anyway, I loved this design the second I saw it - the cute neckline, interesting collar construction, and nifty cuffed sleeves.

Here's a closeup of the neckline:


I used bias tape to cover the yolk, shoulder, and armhole seams. I did french seams down the sides and sleeves.

I couldn't figure out how the inside neckline would be sewn until I stitched the button facing down. Here's a picture of that in case anyone else is confused:

I bought this poplin from Denver Fabrics for $5.25/yard and used about 1 3/4 of the 2 yards. I just loved the colors and the small birds scattered throughout. It has since sold out, but they have such great fabrics and the prices are super duper low! Plus they run sales every 2 weeks for even more savings (most Jersey knits are on sale this week for $3.95!) It's my favorite online fabric store.

Up next is this knit top with flounce sleeves from BWOF 1-2009 issue. I only have the sleeves to make - maybe I'll have this done tomorrow? With daylight savings, Justin can now photograph my finished garments during the week. Hurray!

Monday, March 9, 2009

A flower of passion

I couldn't resist showing you what I found blooming this morning:

It's a red passion vine flower (dwarf pittosporum in front). Isn't it breathtaking?! The vine only blooms in spring and the flowers only last a day, but it holds my position of favorite in the yard. These are rare plants. I found mine at the Mercer Arboretum & Botanical Gardens annual plant sale that I go to every year with my sister. If you live anywhere near the Houston area and like plants, I strongly recommend this place.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Simplicity 2665 - Black leopard vest w/ red topstitching

Here's is my first spring FO. It is extremely hard to photograph, even in full daylight. If you scroll down, I've included a bunch of close-ups so you can see the details better. The white blouse I'm wearing underneath was made last October.

I thought the pattern was super cute when it came out last month, and this fabric, which has been marinating in my stash for at least 3 years, wanted to be made into the vest. I did red lining and red topstitching for a pop of color.

I used thick heavy-duty thread for the topstitching and regular thread for the bobbin. I think the thicker thread shows up a lot better. I also used my walking foot to do the stitching so the outer fabric and lining didn't shift out of place. Here's the back, or what you can see of it:

Okay, so now you can see the stitches a bit better and the bright red lining. I used red thread to sew the buttons on. Notice this inset is sewn onto the vest with the 4th row of topstitching. I thought that a very neat detail.

Here's the full lining:

These back tabs aren't that noticeable, but another cute detail. I used red lining fabric for the under-tabs and under-pocket flaps.

This is a junior pattern, but I simply cut the 11/12 and had no fit issues. I do think junior patterns tend to run small in the bust. Not that this was a problem for me (having a small bust and all). I would totally have loved the shorts a few years ago. But now that I'm in my 30's with kids I just don't feel comfortable showing that much leg. I guess that's why ladies' shorts get longer and longer the older they get. :)

I finished the vest last Tuesday and have been working on these pants ever since. They're Vogue 1051, and after figuring out my first ever welt pocket and matching all the horizontal lines of this pesky plaid, they are unfortunately too small. Arg! Making pants is so hard for me!!! It didn't help that this fabric has zero stretch. And yes, I made a muslin, and thought I'd worked out all the fit issues with it.

I think I'll trace off this blouse today and get it cut out tonight. However, spring is here and I love gardening! All my plants are putting on leaves or flowering or emerging from the ground. This is the time of year I like to be outside working in the yard. It's a mad dash these next 3 months to get the dead growth cut off and new plants planted before the dog days of summer hit. So, I might be around a little less then usual.

Monday, March 2, 2009

BWOF March issue - my picks

I think the general consensus among BWOF subscribers is that the February 2009 issue was awesome. So I was expecting luke-warm designs for the next month. But, I found just as many patterns that I love in this month's issue.

This is blouse 106A. I love the neckline! Expect to see this soon as I just ordered some stretch poplin from for spring.

I like this little knit dress - 102 - with asymmetrical pleats that hold the ribbon belt in place. It's got very interesting construction and is the sewing course for this issue. (Otherwise I'm not sure I could figure it out!)

Up next - dress 107 - reminds me of the failed red Christmas eve dress I made back in December, except that the "sleeves" don't extend down the arm as much. Maybe I'll have more success with this one. And I'm not a huge pockets-in-the-fitted-dress fan, so will probably leave those out.

Just a simple and cute fitted jacket - 111 - except the front darts and pockets have some unique seaming. Hey, my career use to be building construction - I enjoy figuring out the way things go together.
I do not like this top, but the pants 117B are kinda nice. Sometimes having plain designs comes in handy when you need a simple garment to match something specific.

This skirt - 104B - looks pretty simple but has interesting curved construction lines. I like it a lot.

Not sure I'll make tunic 103, but think it's unique with that large curved collar. This is for a knit. I can see it with calf-length leggings.

Okay, so every girl needs a trenchcoat, right? I bought one years ago because I thought it was a wardrobe basic. The problem is that I bought one in pink. It matches nothing! I hardly have any pink in my closet. I'm seriously in love with this one - 119 - but have no clue when I'll get around to it. Maybe in the fall? There's a whole bunch of fabric and notions to be purchased in order to make it.

And lastly, this pattern is plus sized, but I think skirt 125 with its triple flounces is very chic. I'd have to cut it down to my size, but I can figure that out, right? It can't be that difficult, right???

Did I miss any of your favorites?