Saturday, August 28, 2010

Burda picks for September

No baby yet.

My professional steam iron has broken. After 5 months use. I know I use my iron quite a bit, but 5 months?! It got good reviews off Amazon, so I'm hoping I just received a dud. It also has a 3 year warranty, and the company is sending me a brand new one by Fed Ex, so hopefully it will be here sometime next week. In the meantime I bought an inexpensive iron at Target to have as a backup. It unfortunately has auto shutoff after only 30 minutes, no matter if you are in the middle of using it or not. Not fun. I am in the midst of making that simple skirt I mentioned in my last post, but it is taking longer than usual thanks to my iron issues.

I have renewed my Burda subscription for another year. The September issue isn't the thrill of my life, but it does have some very interesting designs that I plan to make up.

Skirt 106 B is simple but slightly different. I like the small hemline slits on front and back as well as the dropped yoke. Maybe I'll finally bite the bullet and make something out of leather. does put their leather skins on sale 50% off from time to time...
I think this next blouse, 109 C, is really pretty and elegant. Perhaps in a crepe back satin with the yoke, collar and cuffs made with the satin side.
Fitted, interesting design lines, not your run-of-the-mill style, skirt 116 has my name all over it. They've included separate lining pieces so you don't have to piece that all together. Love the back interest as well, although I think I'll put a vent at both back side seams to make it symmetrical. I'll also probably shorten it to the knee.

Dress 122 is THE REASON I renewed my Burda subscription. I've got to have this dress! Although I am not at all fond of those armhole bands - they're just not me. This dress is made from wool jersey, which I happen to have the nicest cut of dark gray wool doubleknit in my stash to use for it. It'll need to have long sleeves, though. And also shortened to the knee. Oh, I'm in love.

There's a new feature in this magazine that looks like it will reoccur monthly called "Styling Suggestions". Burda will present suggestions for teaming the latest garments in the same or previous issues, and they'll have a different theme each month. This month it's "Charming Gathers" and there's 4 romantic looks pulled from this issue and the July issue. I think it's a fun addition, and gets you thinking about pieces that can be worn together that you might not have thought of.

So, did I miss any of your favorites? I know this isn't the most jaw-dropping issue ever, but if I can find 2 or 3 designs to like, I'm usually quite contented.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BWOF 12-2008-130 - Navy blue floral silk w/ navy wool combo dress

Hurray! Here it is, the finished 130 dress, previously blogged about here. It took me one day shy of 2 weeks to complete. I kept thinking of this as an epic project - mostly because of the silk chiffon bodice - but it's really just a glorified sheath. I fell in love with this design nearly two years ago. It was the interesting design lines of the skirt that drew me in, although they are really hard to photograph. Perhaps the enlarged pictures will show them off better.

After the bodice was completed, the skirt portion went together with relative ease. The hardest part was altering the low hip because of the absence of true side seams. Instead of making a muslin, (I should but try to avoid if at all possible) I measured the pattern for waist and low hip and altered accordingly. Then I cut out the skirt lining and fit it to my dressform. I ended up taking out all four vertical seams because the first go was too large. After I achieved a perfect fit in the lining, the wool was cut and stitched up.

I used the recommend fabrics for this dress - silk chiffon for the bodice and wool crepe for the skirt. They were both purchased from in early 2009. Navy Ambiance was used for the skirt lining.

Here is a list of all the little tweaks I made in case anyone is interested:
1. Changed the back binding to straight grain instead of bias. I actually made one side in bias but since the backs are cut on a slant, it stretched out. It's a straight piece, so I went with straight grain and the result was perfect.
2. Added 3/8" to the back slanted pieces for fit.
3. Added 1" total to the top rib cage area of the skirt. I actually only had to do this to the lining as the wool crepe I used was a bit stretchy.
4. Added 1.5" total to the lower hip area and took that all the way to the hemline.
5. Included an Ambiance skirt lining.
6. Simplified the slit as my skirt was lined.
7. Included some small gathers at the bust in the bodice as I ended up with a little too much fabric in that area.

The few people that have made this dress and posted it on have complained about the lack of lining in the bodice. I put the flesh-toned cami I intend to wear this dress with on under it and it's totally modest.

Besides the interesting skirt design lines, I also really loved the way the back closes by lapping over itself. With the straight grain bias bands, I had no issues with it stretching out.

Here's the skirt lining that I added. This was completely slip-stitched on once the bodice and skirt portion were sewn together to my satisfaction. I slip-stitched the slits together as well and it was finished!

I will be making a matching cropped jacket to wear this with as it is intended to be a fall/winter outfit. However, I am not finding any pattern that fits what's in my mind's eye, and will have to alter another Burda pattern to get what I want. It won't be difficult, but I'm going to take a little break from this outfit and make a simple skirt first.

I am currently answering my phone by saying, "No baby yet." My due date has come and gone and baby girl has yet to make an appearance. You would think since this is my third baby that it would be on time. But no. We are both doing fine, though. I am praying she comes soon so the doctor will not have to induce me. Pitocin is not my friend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Silk chiffon is not my favorite

If there's a more difficult fabric to work with then silk chiffon, I've yet to encounter it. It's paper thin, drapey, but has a mind of its own and is difficult to get to lay properly. Oh, not to mention almost impossible to cut out on grain. Now add to that 1/4" bias binding around the neckline, armholes, and back closure, and you've got a recipe for ripping your hair out.

This is dress 130 from the December 2008 Burda issue which I loved the moment I laid eyes on it nearly two years ago. I bought the fabric just a few months later, but it's been languishing in my backlog ever since because I've been too darn intimidated to cut into it.

I cut this out a week ago and have spent an entire week sewing just the top part. This fabric is so impossible to work with that I can only take it in short bursts. But I've finally gotten all the horrid bias bindings done, and can now start on the skirt. I was so unsure about the top working out that I didn't even trace or cut out the rest of it. That way if it turned into a disaster I wouldn't be wasting my beautiful navy wool crepe.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to lately. No baby yet, just swollen feet. Oh, and somebody posted a comment about wanting to see what I look like lately. (Sorry! - I'm too lazy to go back and find out who it was.) Here's a picture from my baby shower with my girlfriends who hosted the event. Dang! The camera adds at least 10 pounds, right?!

Monday, August 16, 2010

August Burda picks

I just got this month's magazine in the mail. For some reason I thought my subscription ran out at the end of July. Probably because when I started getting the magazine, they sent me the first issue for free to try it out, and that was back in August 2008. Anyway, I was perfectly glad to not receive the August issue. I can sum it up in one word:


What a bunch of potato sacks! Anything with a fitted shape is extremely simplified without any interesting design elements. And how many pairs of tapered ankle pants does one person need? I struggled to find a single design to make up.

Skirt 128 is it, although I'm thinking a seam cutting right across my widest area (hips) probably isn't the most flattering of designs. It would have to loose the exposed side zipper and six or eight inches of length.

I did just call to renew my subscription because, even though this magazine is a dud to me, I generally find plenty to keep my interest. FYI, the price has increased $10 per year. They must be experiencing some money issues, don't you think? First they do away with the English website, then the patterns are all crammed onto a single sheet of paper, and now the rate hike. I know everyone is upset about these changes, but chances are they aren't trying to screw us. Perhaps they are simply scrambling to keep the magazine afloat.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sugar tank in white

I started this simple little tank back in June when my boys were in swimming lessons and I was keeping myself busy while I waited in the heat. Then I worked on it here and there on car trips and doctor's waiting rooms. After my dr.'s appointment on Tuesday I decided the nurses probably think I get nothing accomplished, so finished it up quickly. Tada! Another knitted FO for 2010.

This pattern is called Sugar Tank, and is a free download from I knit it with Queensland Collection Sugar Rush yarn, made from sugar cane. Interesting, right?

This was NOT on my list of must-make items. I actually went in to my local yarn store for some lace weight non-scratchy yarn in white to make a summer cover-up with. The sales lady said, "Oh, look at this lovely new yarn made from sugar cane viscose. The drape is really great, and would look wonderful in the pattern you brought." Never mind the fact that I wanted lace weight and it is sport weight. So I let myself be talked into buying something other then what I went there to get, and the wrap I knit it into wasn't very lacy at all. Or I guess I should write half a wrap because it never was finished. This is partly why I'm only on my second knitted project for the year and it's already August.

I actually do really like this lacy tank top, and who can't use more white tops in their wardrobe? This was my first time making I-cords (used for the straps). How easy! What was I so intimidated about?! The only changes I made were to use size 4 needles for the lace portion and size 3's for the top. Also, I knitted 12 inches total for the lace portion and 6 inches for the top.

Here's a few close-ups so you can see the lace pattern:

I'm about to cut out the dress portion of a suit I've had planned for years. It's a very involved project so I probably won't have much to report on in the next few weeks.

Monday, August 9, 2010

An Update

Hello! Even though I last wrote that my boys would be out of town for an entire week and that I had a few sewing projects lined up, I sadly have nothing new to display. The purple dress turned out to be a wadder and I've learned I absolutely hate to sew with stretch velvet. I next attempted a plaid skirt out of a thinnish polyester. Even without the fit issues that I'm experiencing, the fabric is plain cheap looking. It could probably be salvaged but I just don't like it enough to bother with any more attempts at fixing the issues.

Oh, and I think I've caught a horrible disease called Pregnancy Brain. This is when you cannot figure out the solution to the smallest of problems. I feel like I've had a stroke and cannot do simple things that use to come easily. Like math. Or zipper insertion. Not a good illness for a seamstress.

On another note, Butterick came out with some cute fall offerings that I'm excited about. The first one is 5519, a fitted dress with interesting construction details. I plan to use this for some gorgeous charcoal wool doubleknit recently obtained from Denverfabrics. I want long sleeves, but don't care for the pleated cap sleeve version.

Up next is 5521, also with really neat construction lines. This design is a dead ringer for Vogue 8614, which I almost bought in the last sale at JoAnn's until I saw this pattern. Vogue's does include a jacket, but not one I was too eager to make.

And lastly is 5522, a knit dress with super fun patternworked sleeves. I'm planning to buy the pattern only for the sleeves, then using a fitted sheath dress for the bodice and including a full lining.

So, not a very exciting post, but I wanted to update you lest anyone be thinking I'm off having a baby or something. She is not due for several more weeks, unfortunately for my poor swollen sausage extremities.