Monday, November 25, 2013

Burda 9-2008-124 - Pleated ivory floral skirt in Chinese silk charmeuse

I've long been jealous of those bloggers who come home from exotic vacations with souvenirs of fabulous fabrics. Our vacations usually consist of hiking or beaches or visiting family members in small towns without fabric stores, so I never even go looking. I have asked a certain family member (who travels a great deal) to bring me home some fabric from her globe trotting but so far it hasn't happened. So, when my good friend Kelly went to China earlier this year, I asked her if she might bring me back some actual Chinese silk. When she got back from the trip, she called me up to tell me she had something for me. She said it was hard picking one she could see me in, and wasn't sure I'd like it, but I think it's just perfect!

Since the purple of the fabric matched my eggplant military jacket so well, I decided to make some sort of skirt. Picking the right pattern was hard. Silk charmeuse is relatively thin, so I knew I didn't want anything too fitted that might strain the seams. On the other hand, because of the linear layout of the "flowers", I couldn't do anything too draped or with a lot of seams. Most pleated skirt pattern require more fabric because the pleats run around the entire skirt, but I only had 2 meters of 44" fabric to work with. I finally settled on a design from the September 2008 issue of Burda because the pleats are only centered in the front and the back, and I could get each panel out of a crosscut of the fabric. I still have enough fabric left over to make a sleeveless top, which I just may do in the summer for a dress version.

What you can't see in these still shots is that when I move around, the pleats unfold and the print is really on display. I usually hate indoor shots in my house because of lighting issues, but it is stinking cold outside and raining. We tried to find the lightest spot to take these. For some reason they were uploading on blogger very muted, so I went back and saturated the photos with more color. The colors are kelly green and eggplant in real life, sorry if they appear bright and fluorescent on your monitor.

I made a straight size 38 and only had to play around a bit with the waistband, which is a usual occurrence for me and my square shape. I also added a full lining with some off-white ambiance I had in my stash. The lining took some thinking about because I wanted it to hang free from the skirt at the side seams but be sewn with the pleats of the outer fabric to cut down on bulk. To do this I first sewed both fabrics together when making the pleats, then separated them for the side seams and hems.

It is gray and dreary here at the moment, and all of my usual dress form pictures were blurry and dark. Only the lining shot above turned out.

We are off school this week for Thanksgiving, and will be out of town with family for most of that time. Happy Thanksgiving to all my USA readers, and I'll be back again soon with a sweet little dress for Miss Rachel.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jalie 2921 - Scarf-collar top in ivory silk jersey

I liked the fit of my last Jalie 2921 so much I decided to use a nice piece of ivory silk jersey from Mood Fabrics for another one. This time I made the view with 3/4 length sleeves and tied the scarf in a bow for the trendy pussy-bow look. Silk jersey is very lux feeling and has just a bit of sheen. It also has great insulating properties and makes me feel nice and warm on a cool autumn evening. I pre-treated my fabric by washing and drying it before I cut it out. I've found that silk jersey will shrink a bit after the initial wash but then washes and wears with great stability.

I made a straight size T without any alterations. This pattern always goes together quickly. I cut it out and stitched it up the same day. It is such a nice reprieve to not have to match any plaids or line up any linear prints!

I've paired my new top with my lace statement skirt made last March, but it mixes and matches with tons of stuff in my closet. Ivory is really a great and versatile fall and winter color.

I think this neckline is so flattering! There is a small opening in the center front seam through which one of the tie ends passes to make a nice and secure bow.

Dressform pictures:

This was a fun little top to whip together this weekend. I definitely see more silk jersey in my immediate future, as well as more ivory colored clothing!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jalie 2921 - Short sleeve yellow, taupe & black scarf-collar top

I needed a quick and easy project after my boucle jacket, so I picked a simple knit top. This pattern was all the rage several years ago, and was even awarded a "best pattern of 2010" award at However, I have a bit of an ornery streak in me, and I never like to do what everyone else is doing. It's a good and bad trait, depending on the situation. After hanging on to this pattern for multiple years, I have finally stitched it up.

This fabric is some sort of mystery knit I bought off ebay two or more years ago. I think it's a cotton/viscose blend. I liked the yellow background but was completely surprised when it arrived in such a large scale. Originally I'd wanted to tie the ends in a bow, but that completely disappears into the busy print, so I'll be wearing it straight down like a true scarf. I wore this outfit shoe shopping this afternoon and the scarf has great movement. It blew off to the sides while I walked and I felt tres chic!

I used my twin needle and black thread to finish all the hems. This top was so quick that I completed it in just one day of sporadic sewing. That's lightning speed for me! I cut a straight size T with no alterations.

This top was actually a test to gauge the fit. I've a nice ivory silk jersey that I want to use for the tied version, but didn't want to waste my fabric if it didn't turn out to my liking. It turns out I like this quite a bit, and I'll probably have the next version out before the end of the month!