Saturday, July 31, 2010

Burda 7-2010-108 - Aqua & brown knit twisted bubble skirt

***Updated pictures of this skirt can be viewed here***
Yeah, I know in the last post I wrote that my next garment would be a purple stretch velvet dress. Well, the desire to squeeze in a 4th project before the end of the month was too great, so I made this simple skirt from last month's Burda instead.

I cut this out night before last and stitched most of it yesterday, finishing with a bit of hand sewing today. I did make several mistakes that required some seam ripping, but that's really quite fast for me. For most other sewers it would take just a few hours. This fabric is an ITY knit purchased last year from I originally bought it to match the wardrobe of teal and brown I made in the fall, but didn't end up using it.

As for modifications to the pattern, I cut 3 inches off the hem and 4.5 inches off the lining. You can see the lining of this skirt on page 19 in the magazine, and I didn't want mine to show. Also, after reading this great review by Sonoemi, I twisted it only 45 degrees instead of the 90 degrees per the instructions.

The MOST difficult part of this project was the stupid invisible zipper. I am never fond of zippers in knits, especially a super stretchy ITY knit. However, I wanted to be able to tuck tops into this skirt, so wanted a smooth wasteband with interfacing. Hence the zipper. Well, I must have sewn it in at least 5 times, always getting it too stretched out at the top or not meeting smoothly at the bottom. I cried. I beat my palm against my forehead. I prayed fervently for God's mercy. It sounds funny to me now but I was so frustrated!!! Anyway, it finally went in smoothly:

I had a lot of this fabric, so went ahead and used it for the lining as well. This knit is very slippery and will wear nicely over winter tights.

Here it is with my brown brocade jacket made last November. Picture it with tights and boots for a nice winter look.

Tomorrow my friends are throwing me a baby shower and I'm super excited about it. Then my in-laws will be taking the boys to their ranch for a week and I've got to get the baby's room completed, and hopefully several more sewing projects as well. Whew! This summer has certainly flown by! I'm looking forward to baby girl's birth and slowing down for a month or so.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BWOF 9-2008-129 - Gray wool jacket w/ cropped sleeves

***See updated pictures of this jacket here***

Sometimes when trying to document a finished garment, you'll get one that doesn't photograph well. Other times you'll find it just looks plain weird when not on an actual human body. This jacket has the rarity of being both unphotogenic and strangely stubby-armed-looking. I'm including a picture of Burda's jacket on their dummy to give you a better idea of how it would look on something with arms.

This is my jacket for July. I loved the tuxedo looking collar of this design, the front welt pockets, back half belt and fun topstitching. After making it, though, I have decided not to do any more jackets with reglan sleeves. The shoulders tend to not wear as smoothly on my body as traditional set-in sleeves do. See how the Burda jacket has puckers along the outside arm seams? I had to really work to get those to go away on mine, and they'll still probably crop up when I actually put it on. The fabric is a very soft lightweight wool bought from Hancock's last fall. I'm pretty sure the label read 100% wool, but it's not very scratchy and has a slight tendency to wrinkle.

Okay, so what happened to the welt pockets? Well, they just plain intimidate me. I cut out all the pieces and did the markings but couldn't make myself actually sew them in. I kept seeing the finished result as an awful mess right in the front of my jacket - with no fabric left over to recut the front pieces - and psyched myself out.

I had a hard time deciding on what type of topstitching to do. First I tried a single row in the all purpose gray thread being used for construction seams. It was too light. Then I tried heavy duty black thread in a single row, and it was too dark. I finally settled on two rows of gray, just like the example jacket. It's somewhat subdued for my taste; I usually like my topstitching to POP. But then again this does match quite a few garments in my closet, so I suppose I'm glad for it's slight mundane-ness.

I always sew these half belts in before the lining fabric goes on so it's nice and smooth on the inside. After this jacket was completely finished and given a final pressing, I turned it around and discovered one of the belt buttons was noticeably 3/8" higher then the other. Pulling up a few inches of the lining and sewing it in the proper spot wasn't too much of an inconvenience, but still annoying when I thought I through.

The full lining was done with black Ambience. This pattern was first-rate, as is typical for Burda. I love how their interfaced facings never meet the lining at an over-the-bust seam. Instead there's usually a small lining piece in-between the front side and front facing. You just don't see this type of construction on big 4 patterns. (Note that I'm not trying to bash the big 4 pattern companies, but rather to praise Burda. Although not all Burda patterns are perfect either.)

I made this to coordinate with the pink and gray line planned for fall or early spring. It was suppose to go with my most recent pink blouse. However, I didn't end up liking the two pieces together. No matter, there are other planned garments in that line that will go with either this jacket or that blouse. Here I've paired it with this floral tunic and some tan slacks. Squint your eyes a little and maybe you can see past the odd look of pants on a dressform.

Also discovered to be a great match was this charmeuse summer dress from last August. Picture the ensemble complete with gray opaque tights and tall black boots. I'll be able to wear it into late fall.

I have just 4 days to try to squeeze in a 4th project for this month. I have in mind a simple winter dress in a gorgeous patterned purple stretch velvet. Notice I'm not writing "easy" or "fast".

Monday, July 19, 2010

Butterick 4985 - Light pink polka dot blouse w/ tie

This blouse is the first in a handful of pink & gray coordinates I have planned for fall. I originally bought the pattern for the collared view, but decided I really liked the vintage feel of the neck tie and peek-a-boo front. This fabric was found amongst the remnant fabrics at JoAnn's sometime last year. It's some kind of thin, crinkled polyester with a very tight weave that made handsewing a real chore. I loved the pink on pink polka dots and texture of it.

Being a remnant fabric, I was only able to purchase 1 1/3 yards. The pattern calls for 1 5/8, so I'm pretty proud of myself for fitting all the pattern pieces in. However, I did have to change the sleeves to NewLook 6615 (now out of print) that I have used previously for this dress and the sleeves of this dress. They are way less poofy then the Butterick and took less fabric. I also had to shorted the ties a few inches, not that you can tell a difference.

I decided to take a 5/8" rolled hem at the bottom to give it a bit more length, as it will be worn tucked in.

Instead of using four 5/8" buttons as the pattern calls for, I opted for six 7/16" covered buttons and spaced them closer together. The covered buttons blend in well with the fabric, which I feel is important when using a polka dot.

Here on the inside you can see my typical use of bias tape along the front facings, empire seam and sleeve seams. Being a crinkled fabric, the empire seam did stretch out a bit, especially along the back. So when I applied the bias tape, I stretched it a little along the back to get rid of that problem.

French seams were used for the lower princess, shoulder and sleeve seams.

Here you can see how nicely this pink pairs with gray and even prints. I used the same skirt from my last jacket post, and forgot to mention it was made by me as well, last winter.

Up next is another lined jacket. I'm off to trace it after I fold a little laundry. Have a fabulous week!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fall Vogues!

First, thanks for all the encouraging words about my recent wadders. I actually have just as many wadders as most of you, I just don't always do a post about them. It's depressing, and I don't like to dwell on depressing thoughts.

Anyway, the new fall lineup is online for Vogue patterns. Vogue is my very favorite pattern company, and this new collection didn't disappoint. I'm also especially excited because I've been concentrating on making fall and winter garments lately, and I could start on these designs right away.

Up first is 1189, a Rebecca Taylor dress. I love the braided fabric trim around the neckline and the fact that it's a wrap dress for a woven fabric. I'll probably make the sleeves long with buttoning cuffs at the wrists.

Next up is 1190, a darling dress by Tracy Reese. It features a bunch of gathered ruffles along the front neckline and an interesting back. I actually have the perfect fabric waiting in my stash for this design, but it will have to wait for spring or summer.

The blouse is my pick from 1199, another Rebecca Taylor design. The ruffles are a bit too much for me, but I like the overall design without them. I can see this flowing over skinny jeans tucked into tall boots.

Included in 1200 is a really neat jacket from Anne Klein. I like the dramatic collar and bias sleeve and waist bands. I will probably attempt to make it a little more fitted, as is it looks rather boxy. What do you think of it made up in this houndstooth?

I keep going back to the website to look at 1202, a design by Donna Karen. I absolutely love the dramatic back of this top. The skirt is pretty awesome too. But I'm thinking they're really not my usual style. This might be one of those patterns I buy and just drool over for a few years. Or I'll wait to see one of you make it before I take the plunge.

I really adore the fitted cowl top from 1203, another from Tracy Reese. The skirt is lovely as well.

I may or may not buy this next design, 8663. It reminds me a lot of this dress sewn last December, and is very simple. I like complex and intricate. However, I have recently purchased several cuts of wool knits and doubleknits on sale at This dress might be perfect for one of those fabrics. I'd extend the sleeves to my wrists.

8670 Has a great mock turtleneck top with buttoning front side closure that I'll for sure be making for winter. So cute!

And that about wraps it up! Now all I have to do is wait patiently for a good pattern sale and go snatch these all up. Hurray for Vogue!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Big Fat Fabric Fail


The last three words from my previous post were "easy fast project." Given my track record, I am usually very weary of the words "easy" and "fast". I suppose I was feeling confident from not having a wadder in quite some time. At any rate, here is the state of the easy fast knit top that was suppose to be whipped up in only a day or so:

WHY does this happen to me so often?! I can make a very detailed, fitted, lined garment and it goes together with relative ease. I attempt and easy project and have issue upon issue.

Okay, here's the story. I bought this green matte jersey specifically to match some brown & green plaid jacket fabric. I ordered 1.5 yards from sometime last year, and they generously sent me 2.25 yards. I started with Butterick 5354, which other sewers have had good luck with over at Once the facing was attached, the weight of the front tucked area pulled down on the facing and it showed. I thought perhaps I had picked too heavy of a fabric for the design. Not that matte jersey is a particularly heavy fabric. Okay, no matter, I've got extra fabric. I unpicked all the shoulder stitches as I planned to reuse the back, and cut a new front and facings from Simplicity 2603, view E (the little knit shell.) I turned the inside facing under and slipstitched it to the outside facing for a smooth finish. Except this darn fabric shows every little pucker from hand stitching. It is the peachskin of knits and looked very homemade. Ugh! After two top attempts I am out of fabric and 4 days sewing time. And totally turned off my next jacket project.

I am now going to attempt a fitted blouse, which I'll not describe as either "easy" nor "fast".

Thursday, July 8, 2010

BWOF 8-2008-115 - Plum wool military jacket

***An updated picture of me wearing this jacket can be viewed here***

This design is from the very first Burda magazine I ever received, then BWOF. I've been planning to make it ever since this post when I bought the fabric and buttons. It's one of the longest planned garments in my stash, and it feel really good to finally get it done.

I always enjoy a detailed fitted design, so it is no wonder I was drawn to this one. There is a lot going on! The front welts are purely decorative. This pattern does provide pockets bags, but after making this jacket earlier in the year, I learned those front pockets just don't receive that much use. The sleeves have some interesting outside shaping tucks that look a little like whiskers to me.

One thing I really like about this jacket is the feminine back peplum. From the front it's all business and military-looking, but in the back it's got a bit of frill. Very fun. You can see here at the back the decorative buttoning tabs of the sleeves and the little half belt. There are 17 buttons on this jacket, people. That is a lot of buttons to sew on!!!

The front collar, yoke, tabs, welts and opening edges are all topstitched.

This fabric is a super scratchy wool purchased from Hancock's in January 2009. I remember the description on the bolt as being 100% wool, but it has some long hairs in the weave that look a bit like alpaca. It's sure to be warm come winter, and has to be layered over clothing with neck coverage - otherwise it's too itchy. BTW, I use to think wools couldn't be steamed and had a hard time sewing with them. I'm not sure where I got that idea from, but have since figured out that they iron wonderfully with lots of hot steam.

I didn't encounter one fitting issue and cut a straight 38. The one thing I did change was to give it a full lining. Why Burda only does a flimsy partial lining in a wool jacket is a mystery to me. That funny lone white button fastens on the inside. I'll probably purchase a clear one and replace it eventually.

This lining fabric is generic polyester, picked to match the color of the wool.

I'm counting this as my jacket for June, even though it was sewn entirely in July. It was a ton of work, but I LOVE it, so was totally worth the effort. I've got another jacket all ready to cut out, but am going to make the matching knit top first to give myself an easy fast project.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Burda picks for July

There has been lots of excitement in blogland about this newest Burda issue, and I must admit to loving it as well. It's stock full of fresh and current designs, fun details and fitted shapes. I feel like donning Heidi Klum and saying "Let's start the show!"

First up is this fun knit bubble skirt, design 108. In some of their pictures the lining is visible. I plan to shorten the lining to get rid of that issue, and also take several inches off the entire skirt length.
This next top is 111. What an interesting design!!! It's available in dress form as well, but I think I'll wear it more as a shirt. This is also for a knit.

Another flirty knit top I love is design 114, although in the magazine that tie does not appear quite so long. It's flattering and different without being weird.

This lovely little ruched skirt is 116, which I have already bought the fabric for day before yesterday. Here you can see the polka dot stretch tulle I ordered from, which is having a huge sale. I plan to make mine somewhere in between the short and long version, and the lining will be black as well.
Okay, I thought this next dress was very pretty but not something I would wear. That long scarf part would blow around and look silly when walking. BUT, I have since though that it might be better if the scarf was shortened in the front and sewn in between the top and dress bodice. That back long scarf could just be left off completely. Then the drape would only be over the shoulder. What do you think of that idea? The side ruching and cut look otherwise very flattering.
NOT that I need another jacket pattern to fall in love with, but I really like 118. I am always a sucker for back interest, and this has it with a pleated peplum. The zippers are another fun touch.

Another great dress is design 120, but finding the perfect fabric might be tricky. I think it would look best in a solid color, with the skirt and bodice inset in chiffon and the rest of the bodice in something sturdier, like a crepe. The magazine calls for linen jersey and stretch chiffon. Um, those aren't really fabrics I come across on a daily basis...
Flirty and feminine are the two words that come to mind for skirt 125. Maybe a wee bit shorter, though. However, cutting 108 circles of fabric for the hem treatment is not going to be a fun endeavor.
Skirt 126 is just a basic preppy style with fun back pleats. Didn't I just mention how I like back interest? Plus it's got side pockets behind those welts. Very cute!
So, what is that, 9 designs I like from a single issue? That's got to be my record. (March 2009 is a close second with 8.) What do you think of this month's selection? Did I miss any of your favorites?