Friday, November 18, 2011

November Burda picks

Yeah. I ordered another one. And I really like the looks of the December issue too. Now I am thinking about re-subscribing. But you can bet the minute I do they will go back to pillow-cases-posing-as-dresses and already-seen-it-a-thousand-times designs. As long as I don't buy the subscription they might keep up the trend toward more interesting clothing, right? You may all chime in with your thanks now.

Wait, what was my point for writing this post? Oh yeah.

Up first is jacket 104. Lets see - fitted jacket, interesting design lines, really cool collar and shoulder tabs - it pretty much has my name all over it. I will have to un-petite it, though.

Next are some rock'in leather pants, 108. I'm posting the picture of the garment as the drawing is pretty ugly looking. These are made from metallic leather, but I do have plenty of cream leather hides that would work. Do I need leather pants? Where the heck would I wear them? I've never had a particularly warm leather jacket, but I'm wondering if leather pants would make me hot (temperature wise). Lots of questions for this one, but I like the looks of them non the less.

It's a jacket - no wait, it's a cape. It's a jape cacket jacket-cape. Well, whatever it is, design 118 is definitely interesting looking.

I reserve my final opinion of dress 119 for when Allison finishes hers. It's hard to see how this dress looks from the magazine pictures. Both the short and long versions have the model sitting down; one is made up in black and the other photographed half hidden in shadows. Again, though, I'm intrigued by originality of the design.

Dress 120 is THE REASON I bought this issue. I love a dress with long sleeves and that ruffle down the front is perfection. Love. It.

Dress 123 is certainly a sexy little number. It's relatively simple but still interesting with all those front pleats coming together at one focal point. The one on the model in the magazine doesn't fit her all that well, so I'm anxious to see this made up.

Dress 126 is a formal gown that I have nowhere at the moment to wear it to. You never know, though, I might decide to make it up for some future theater show. Again, this dress does not fit the magazine model. I am wondering where they got this poor woman. All of the clothing they gave her to take pictures in are skin-tight and puckering at the seams. Except for the long blue taffeta one, where she appears to be sans clothing and is holding it up to herself while smoking a cigarette. Bizarre. I do think this dress is really pretty, despite the fit issues.

So there you have it. I'll be purchasing the December issue as well because there is a coat in it that I just cannot live without.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vogue 1261 - Navy tie-dyed asymmetrical hem top

This is one of the new fall Vogues that I liked because I saw other women wearing the same style and found it surprisingly flattering. Plus I loved the neckline, reglan sleeves and interesting exposed seaming included.

And since I was intimidated by my next leather project wanted something quick and simple, I decided to give this pattern a try. I used a fun tie-dyed matte jersey that has a pebbly texture from Originally it was going to be made into a dress, but had runs down both edges about 15" in. So, I had to find another pattern that would fit inside the runs and was no more then 30 inches in length.

I cut a size small with no fit adjustments. The back was cut on the fold to eliminate the double ribbon detail original to the pattern as I didn't want to break up the print.

Here at the neckline you can better see the exposed seams along the reglan sleeves and bias bound neckline. The pattern instruct you to use a twin needle, but I could only find one with narrow spaced needles. Instead, I simply topstitched it 1/8" from the seamline on both sides of the sleeve seam and then trimmed the excess fabric away.

I thought about leaving the hems raw with a double row of topstitching per the pattern instructions, but it just looks unfinished to me and is not to my personal taste. And since I so liked the bias bound neckline with raw edge, I decided to do the same for the sleeves and bottom hems.

I had to miter the binding at the side points, but otherwise it was very simple to do.

So there you have it! A simple knit tunic in a silhouette that is new to me that I like very much! I plan to make view C from this pattern as well and have a really neat idea for it. But first I have to find the right fabrics...

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gray pinstripe wool dress - updated pictures

The weather has cooled off here in Texas and I decided to wear this dress for the first time today for church. It didn't fit last year because I was nursing my baby, but now is just right.

I took out the top hook and eye from the neckline to let the collar relax a bit. Beforehand the sides of the collar were sticking up in a weird manner.

I opted for no cardigan today as it was pretty mild outside and this dress is made from wool suiting. I froze! Which is making me doubt the 100% wool label on the fabric bolt. Next time I will take a wrap!

BTW, per the discussion in my last post, I hope you all do not think I am walking around Target or the grocery in high healed pumps. I only wear those for pictures, occasional date nights, church or special occasions. Just wanted to clear that up!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vogue 1127 - Badgley Mischka sleeveless bow blouse

Bow blouses are hot right now, and this was trend #1 on my fall/winter must sew list. To be honest with you, I never even noticed this pattern until I saw this review for it on Then I got to looking at the pattern envelope, and noticed the fabric they used for the example reminded me of this pink houndstooth charmeuse I purchased from JoAnn's around the same time. I could see it all made up in my mind's eye, easily worn with a sweater or jacket in colder months or by itself when warmer. That's pretty much all it takes to convince me to purchase a pattern!

Here's mine, being worn with a black wool skirt I made several years ago that is finally fitting again. It's amazing how many items in my closet this blouse matches - my hot pink wool skirt, my gray leopard wool skirt, my gray tweed pleated skirt, etc., not to mention various jackets and cardigans. I would have gotten some pictures of it with other things, but my photographer isn't especially keen on taking tons of pictures of me in different outfits. He can be a tiny bit cranky sometimes. :)

Here at the side you can get a feel for the looseness of it through the torso. It is actually cut like a trapeze dress with no indention for the waist. Since I wanted to wear it tucked in, I decided to cut the sides smaller and used Simplicity 2554 as my guide. Without having much shaping, the horizontal lines of the fabric needed only to be matched at the side seams.

My hair should probably be worn in a bun with this top as I think the back of the neck a really fun design feature. Incidentally, getting this over my head is a bit of a squeeze. I do have a larger then normal sized head, though, but wish I had made the opening an inch or so bigger.

Because of fabric limitations, I had to cut the bow a lot smaller then the pattern piece provided. Can you believe I cut off 8 inches from the center back ends of both sides of the tie?! I also cut the width down by 1 inch! That was one ginormous bow!!! Closer inspection of the pattern envelope leads me to believe it must also have been reduced in size.

I usually do not go for these sorts of loose and flowy designs, and I especially don't like my neck being constricted with too much fabric. That fear of feeling choked, coupled with my fabric shortage, caused the need for some modifications to the collar. Here it is without the ties around it. This front part I cut on the bias as instructed, but cut the height down by the same inch as the ties.

For the inside of the collar, I cut a much narrower height - 3.5" including seam allowances - the same height you are instructed to gather your back collar to, and also cut it on the bias. Then I fused knit interfacing to the back to give it some stability but still enable it to stretch a bit. The outer collar was attached to the inner collar, and rows of gathering stitch were put in at the side seams. Then I sewed the outer collar to the gathered neckline of the blouse, stitched the backs of the collars together, and slip-stitched the inner collar to the inside of the blouse. Make sense?

After the collar was attached and finished on the inside, I gathered up my side gathering stitches and topstitched the outer collar to the inner collar at the sides. This was done to further restrict the fabric from bunching up under my neck. It turned out to be a very neat finish, and is completely hidden under the ties when being worn.

 This pattern provided for some nice finishing inside touches, including directions for french seams and a piece for bias bound armholes. Oh, I forgot to mention that I made the size 8 and I'm normally a 10-12 for tops. The underarms were a pretty tight fit, so I cut them down by 1 inch. The bias binding still worked, though, so I didn't have to recut larger pieces.

It's a fun little top with lots of outfit variations. And incidentally, I had a question from Veronica when I posted that Cynthia Rowley plaid skirt. Here is what she asked:

Cute skirt! So, I've been a lurker for sometime. I love your blog. Question...I see that you're a SAHM. Where do you wear most of these items? I ask because I want to sew more for myself but I work from home so I'm torn with wanting to make more clothes like what you make and just making lounge stuff over and over...know what I mean? I'm trying to "justify" making nicer clothes, I guess...if that makes any sense! :)

I find myself being asked ALOT why I am so dressed up on what appears to be an average day. I am a stay-at-home-mom after all, I should adhere to the jeans and a t-shirt dress code for my job, right? The problem is I like pretty clothes. I like to feel put together and that I look nice. What is the point of having a closet full of nice garments if you never plan to wear them? I recommend all of you stay-at-home types try it for at least a week. You'll feel better about yourself; find yourself eating better and taking care of your body. You'll get better service from salespeople at stores and more smiles from complete strangers.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

Here's what my boys went as this year:

Nathan was a magician. We bought the hat, wand, bowtie and gloves off, but the cape was made by me several years ago. I really need to make another one, they often fight over wearing it.

Daniel went as a viking. The helmet and battle ax (it's all about the weapon for boys, right?) were also purchased online. Those pants are a permanent fixture in our dress-up basket - don't tell but I got them in the girl's section of Walmart. The tunic and breastplate were made by me from Simplicity 5520.

Having used this pattern before for the knight costume and headpiece of Nathan's spider costume from last year, I knew the hood would need to be modified. I cut it longer and eliminated the front part that is suppose to close under the chin. A small area was left open at the back of the neck to stretch over the head. Then I stitched it to the tunic so it's an all-in-one hoody. This is a straight size 5.

The breastplate was actually really fun to make and was my first time using batting. I couldn't find the exact shade of pewter metallic fabric, so was forced to buy some really shiny silver. However, after visiting the cutting table I wandered over to the isle with the fabric dye and guess what else was there? Fabric paint! I bought some in black and distressed the breastplate after it was completely sewn. Pretty darn cute, right?

The fabric paint was actually really easy to use and I can see myself creating some custom painted or stenciled fabrics in the future.

My boys were thrilled with their costumes and already have ideas for next year. Of course I was finishing this up on Saturday with the fall festival to attend on Sunday. Why do I always wait until the last minute with costumes?!