Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Burda Style Skirt #108 7/2010

My July Burda Style magazine arrived this week and I love the dress on the front.  However, I am not brave enough to attempt that one just yet, and am not even sure it would work for me, but I do love skirt #108 and with only three pieces thought it might be a good place to start.   So without further delay here it is!

I made this out of a lightweight rayon/poly blend.  The fabric has a really nice drape to it.  It is a light heather gray.  I lined the inside with a good quality slippery knit made just for that purpose.  I was concerned that the fabric would catch on itself if I self-lined the skirt.  I think I see that happening in the picture on page 17 of the magazine.  I made the size 36 and added about 3/4" to the waistband width.  I read through the instructions one time to get an idea of how to do the twist bubble hem.  Then I proceeded to put the skirt together in my own way.  

It is interesting that this is a knit pattern, but you are to make it much like a woven.  There are darts in the top of the lining pieces; strange for a knit I think.  The first thing I did was to line all four of the waistband pieces with Pro-Sheer Elegance interfacing.  I also sewed a ribbon on the seam allowance at the top of the waistband. Both steps were done to prevent the waistband from stretching.

I did place an invisible zipper on the left side of the skirt as instructed.  Having never inserted a zipper in such a stretchy fabric, I also interfaced the edges of the skirt panel where it was placed to give it some stability.  It worked well and I did not have any puckers in my finished zipper.  The picture makes it seem that the waistband does not line up on the front and back, but it is within an 1/8".  There is a hook and eye at the top. There are some wrinkles, but I think that is related to twisting the hem. 

When I had the skirt all finished and tried it on, I was disappointed to see that some of the lining showed at the hem, even though it is a couple inches shorter than the skirt fabric when you cut it out.  So I unpicked my lining from my inside waistband facing and cut 1.5" off the top to shorten the lining even more.  If you use self-fabric for the lining and some of it shows at the hem, it wouldn't be very noticeable, but with my lining being quite a different color I had to fix it.  So I would guess that my skirt is about 3/4" shorter than what it would be if you eliminate this step.   

I am showing a picture of the inside of the skirt.  I hand sewed the lining to the zipper.  I was able to do everything else by machine.  I am pleased with this skirt.  It is comfortable and I could see it looking nice with a variety of tops.  You may like to give it a try too!

Technical Drawing:

Monday, June 28, 2010

PJ Pizzazz!

The time I spent sewing this weekend resulted in new pj's for me!  I have had these lightweight, cotton, jersey, knit, prints in my stash since last summer.  I had pj's in mind when I bought them, and I am glad I finally got around to making them.  The comfort level is amazing.  The fabric is so soft and the fit is perfect.  I used three different patterns:  Burda 7890, view C and D, Kwik Sew 3740, view B, and New Look 6922, view B.  You may recognize the Burda pattern as the same one I made for my mom, here.  The only thing I did different was to leave off the patch pockets.  I made buttonholes for the drawstring, since I don't have grommets in my stash.  I used my coverstitch machine to hem the legs, top, and armholes.      

Close-up of cover-stitched neckline and armholes:
Not only did I want to make pj's, but I also wanted a bed jacket for modesty while roaming around the house, or lounging on the couch, or getting the newspaper.  So I also made New Look 6922, view B in a size 10 out of a heavy weight 100% cotton interlock I have had in my stash for at least 10 years.  The jacket and pj combo really has some pizzazz.  I made no alterations in the jacket pattern and it went together without any difficulty.  The fabric did have some thick layers with the shawl collar, but my machine handled it just fine.

I am about ready to hop into a pair of these and commence relaxing....Good night all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Falling in Love and What to Do About It Part I

I like to cut pictures out of fashion magazines, tape them in a composition notebook, and use them as inspiration for future sewing projects.  I fell in love with this outfit from In-Style magazine.  I don't remember which issue this is from, but it is from this year, I believe. 

I was most attracted to the skirt.  But did you see the price on it?  $245!  I searched high and low at all the online fabric shops I visit for a reasonably-priced similar fabric.  I found a polyester, peach, floral, twill at FFC for $4.75/yard.  I was disappointed in how very lightweight it was when it arrived.  It's the consistency of a lining fabric. 

What to do...what to do...I liked the print even better than the Kate Spade print.  I happened to have an ivory-colored bamboo rayon-like fabric in my stash.  So I lined the floral print with the bamboo before I made the pleats and wouldn't you know this skirt feels couture.  It drapes beautifully and, for summer, the bamboo lining cannot be beat!  The knit top is made from a horizontally textured, ivory, matte jersey I bought from Gorgeous Fabrics, quite a while ago.  The "waterfall" pleat featured in Jalie 2806, was the perfect accompaniment to my new skirt.  Here is the completed outfit.  I can also see this with a black boyfriend jacket.  Yes, I'm writing it on my "to sew" list NOW.   


Here are the pattern covers for the Simplicity 2701, which I used for the skirt, and Jalie 2806, used for the top:

I made a size 10 in the skirt, but once again found the waist band to be too tight.  I guess having three children will do that to you!  Anyway, I added about 1.5" to the waistband.  The front and back piece are the same and there are a total of 4 pleats on each side.  I did not follow the instructions, since I wanted to insert an invisible zipper and I had to figure out how to add the bamboo lining in a way that would give the pleats some substance.  I attached the bamboo lining to the fashion fabric at the top and sides, letting the middle hang free.  That meant that I had to hem the lining before I attached it to the sides of the fashion fabric.  I did it this way so that the lining and fashion fabric could hang separately, otherwise I was worried I might have puckers on the fashion fabric from trying to hem them together.   When I hemmed the polyester fabric, it was not easy, due to how wiggly and lightweight it is, but perseverance paid off and I think the final look is fantastic.  Here is a pic of the underlining at the waistband (I handstitched the facing because I didn't even want "stitich in the ditch" stitches on the front):

Jalie 2806 looks tricky, but it went together very easily.  I made a size "S" and added about 3 inches to the hip width.  I also decided to bind the armholes with self-fabric.  The pattern would have you turn under and stitch the armholes.  The matte jersey is classy looking, and I thought the bound armholes would be a cleaner finish on this particular version.  DH gets home from a 4 day business trip tonight.  I can't wait to show him this and suggest a date night for this weekend.  I already have my outfit! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Playing the Game

I was tagged by the very talented Carolyn over at Handmade by Carolyn  (she sews, she designs, she knits, she repurposes) to join in the fun and play the Eight Question Game.  I think this is a great way to get to know each other a little better, and apart from our sewing interests. 

 1. What is the first thing you made? Do you still have it?

I'm not sure this is the first thing I made, but it is something I made while in junior high, I think.   She was built by me from scraps; her clothes (she even has bloomers), her jewelry, her painted face, the hair.  I'm sure there must have been a pattern for the body and clothes, but I really don't remember.  She has been stored in a footlocker for at least 20 years.  So she is in pretty good shape!
2. If you had a daemon (an animal companion that best fitted your personality), what would it be?
 A dolphin.  It's always smiling and is curious, smart and friendly.  It isn't soft and cuddly  but rather sleek and strong.
3. In which country, other than the one you actually do live in, would you like to live?
From a sewing perspective, Japan.  I love its fashion, fabric, and style.  Hopefully, I could learn the language successfully!
4. What colour do you think is your "best colour"?
The reddish purples like wine-colored.
5. A movie is made about your life; what would it be called?
Eyes Forward.  The past is behind me, best to keep reaching toward what is ahead. 
6. Who would you select to play you in this movie about yourself?
I enjoy watching Natalie Portman and I've been told I resemble Natalie Wood and/or Faith Ford at various times in my life.
7. If cost and/or cooking ability were no object; what would you most like to have for dinner?
Ono, purple sweet potatoes and local Kula greens.  For dessert, something with dark chocolate.  Yes, I would definitely need dessert too.
8. Has a song ever moved you to tears?
Yes, for different reasons.  There are some very sad country songs out there, like Martina McBride's Concrete Angel or John Michael Montgomery's The Little Girl.  Then there are some incredibly moving worship and praise songs like Revelation Song by Kari Jobe.

I would love to hear something about you!  Please tell me something you'd like to share about yourself or maybe answer any of the questions above for fun.  I look forward to getting to know all of you better too!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quite Possibly the Most Comfortable Capris Ever!

While pondering what to sew next I realized I needed a pair of slim-fitting, white, capris to wear with long tunics.  I have a pink retail tunic I picked up about a year ago, but haven't worn, and I have been wanting to make a sleeveless version of New Look 6849.  For the New Look tunic I chose an African fabric I have had in my stash for close to ten years.  I love the blues in it and the print reminds me of octopi and brittle starfish.  For the capris, I chose a mid-weight, white, cotton, pique with just a little bit of stretch.  I wasn't concerned about "show through" with the capris, because I will only be wearing them with long tops that cover my backside! 

Simplicity 3850
I chose Simplicity 3850 for the capris.  I made view B in a size 10 (size 4-20 available).  The fit on these is nearly perfect.  They are low waisted (advertised at 2" below natural waist), but do not feel like they are going to fall down.  There are several design details that give them a professional look.  The instructions were superb.  My zipper went in flawlessly, which was the part I was most apprehensive about after missing the zipper flap on my Burda capris. 

Front Close-Up:

These capris have a wide (2.25"), contoured, waistband, which is why I think they fit snug and don't feel like they will creep down, in addition to the fact that the back pant leg pieces are drafted higher than the front.  You may apply 5 belt loops if you choose; two on the front and 3 on the back, as I did.  I really didn't need the belt loops on this pair, but wanted to show you how it would look with them done.  The finished zipper length is very short (3.5").   

Side view:
The back pocket flaps are for design only.  There is no pocket underneath.  You can see there is some wrinkling on the backside which I could try to adjust in the next pair.  

Front Pocket Yoke and Lining:
 I really like how the front pockets are made with fashion fabric yokes and thinner fabric, which you don't see, for the actual pocket.

Bias Bound Hem with Button Loop: 
How cute is this?  I didn't have larger buttons in my stash, so I just sewed a smaller button on top of the loop.  My loops are not functional, but certainly could be in future versions, with the proper button size.   A great finish to a very wearable pair of capris!

African Print Tunic

I have already discussed the fit details of New Look 6849 here.  The only changes I made on this version was to make self-fabric bias tape to finish the armholes, add about 2.5" to the length, add a contrast band to the hem, and add an extra button loop and button to the front closure.  I love this pattern so much I may make yet another before summer is over!

Capris with Retail Pink Tunic:


Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Opportunity to Teach

I love borrowing girls when I can.  I have all boys, and all their playmates are boys.  It's a house full of boys most of the time! But I am blessed to have a friend who has two daughters.  With new opportunities for summer fun to keep the kids busy, it worked out that we would do a kid trade once a week for an hour or two.  Can you guess what the girls wanted to learn?  Yes, to sew!  While my friend coaches one of my sons, I work with her girls.

The first thing I taught them was the mechanics of how to use the machines.  Once we learned to thread the machine and wind the bobbin we practiced lots of straight lines of stitching.  I was in awe of how wobbly those first lines were!  You forget that sewing neatly really is a skill that must be practiced.  These girls were anxious to take it even further right away and really wanted to make skirts.  So to the fabric stash we went.  Both chose quilting cottons.  I didn't want to use patterns with them just yet so I measured their hip width and had them cut out rectangles with about 4 inches of ease, in a length they were happy with.  I reminded them, "See how those math skills you are learning in school are coming in handy!"  The girls and I finished the waist with a simple elastic band and each of them chose how they wanted to hem their skirt.  One added lace to the bottom and the other decided on the gathered twist ruffle.  See how different each style is.  Wouldn't our world be a boring place if we weren't all created to be so unique!!! 

In 3 sessions the girls completed these two skirts.

We had great fun with these first two simple projects and are on to the next, using patterns.  I will keep you posted on those.  Hope you all are enjoying a sunny Father's Day weekend, even if it is raining in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My First Burda Style Magazine Garment

Last month I decided to subscribe to Burda Style magazine.  I have really enjoyed seeing many of it's patterns made up by other sewing bloggers out there.  I've always felt I would not have the patience to trace and add seam allowances, but the Burda pattern line fits me so well that I thought I might be missing some great styles by not subscribing.

I really had no idea which pattern to try first, but when I saw Eugenia's fabulous skirt, I just had to have one too!  So here is another version of #112 from the 6/2010 issue.  I cut out the 38 and took the side seams in by a total of 1/2".  I used a pear-colored medium weight linen that I pre-washed and dried.  It has a fairly loose hand, so it was tricky to get all the seams even, but I am happy with how it turned out.  I am showing it with Simplicity 2364.

I'll be the first to admit that I had a difficult time understanding the directions with no photos.  Since I have recently made a couple of skirts, I put this together in my own order.  I inserted an invisible zipper in the back center seam.  I also liked Eugenia's idea of doubling the hem band and folding it up.  The bottom edge of the skirt is on the fold.  I didn't add any length to the main body of the skirt, but the band is one inch longer. 

Here is a close-up of the pocket with no flap. (The color is off) It's like the fold of an accordion.  I think I did this part right!
And here it is finished.
And this is a close-up of the pleats on the other side.
And here is a view of the back.  The on seam pockets do not lie perfectly flat.  I think this that is partly due to how I sewed them and partly due to the loose weave of the fabric.  There is no puckering at least and I can live with how they look. 

Overall, I'm pretty happy with this first project from the magazine and I do look forward to trying more in the future!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another Sweet Summer Combo

I just don't think you can wrong with Bali rayon and a sleeveless knit top for beating the summer heat.  I particularly like this combination; sweet and feminine. 

The skirt is Kwik Sew 3062.  I've had this pattern in my stash for a long time.  I was attracted to the top, but when I went through and reorganized my sewing room late last week, I stumbled upon this lovely Bali rayon that I purchased online from the Sewing Studio and felt it would be perfect for the double ruffle hem that this pattern features. 

The top of the skirt is cut on the bias.  It has 5/8" seam allowances.  It is super easy to put together.  Gathering the ruffles are what take the longest time.  I made a size small with no alterations. I did not make the casing at the top of the skirt but rather zigzagged my elastic to the top then turned to the wrong side and topstitched with a double needle.  I really don't mind elastic waistbands when I want something unfussy to wear.   

The knit top was made with New Look 6470.  It is just two pieces and couldn't be easier if you have experience with knits.  I made a size 10 and added 5/8" to the waist and hip, but trimmed about 1" off the length.  My fabric has a lot of stretch, but I didn't want the finished look to be too tight, and the pattern looked pretty small in the waist and hip areas. 

The knit is a rayon blend, I believe.  I did finish my back neck and armholes different than the pattern recommends.  For the back neck I trimmed off 1/4" then zigzagged a piece of 3/8" elastic to the edge on the wrong side.  I then turned and folded to the wrong side and topstitched with a single line.  Normally I'll use a double needle for this, but I knew this was not an area that would need a lot of stretch.  For the armholes I made a self fabric binding, then zigzagged it to the edge of the armholes right sides together.  I then turned the binding over the seam to the wrong side and stitched in the ditch with a very narrow zigzag stitch.  I think this method gives polished results.  I used my coverstitch machine to hem.      

Dress-up was fun this morning.  But alas, all good things must come to an end.  Out of my pretty new clothes and into my grubby garb to finish painting the living room.  Hey, at least my make-up is done! 

P.S.  Thanks to all who commented on the tunic.  I really appreciated your thoughts and opinions!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Still Feeling that Retro Vibe

A couple of weeks ago I made this mesh, (from Emma One Sock) long sleeve, T-shirt using Jalie 2805, and it's been hanging on an open wall ever since.  I know it will be great this winter under a leather jacket or ivory cardigan with blue jeans.  But I really wanted something else to wear with it to showcase the print.  After two weeks of thinking I settled on Kwik Sew 3530 made out of a chocolate colored linen from

Let me start with Jalie 2805.  It is a simple T-shirt pattern with short, 3/4, and long sleeve options as well as several neck options.  I made the size "s".  I really wanted my sleeves to be close fitting and long, so I took the underarm seam in an extra 5/8" and lengthened the arm 1".  This pattern company uses a 1/4" seam allowance.  I made no other changes.  You don't have to set the sleeves in, which saves time.  I also chose to hem my sleeves with my coverstitch machine before I sewed the underarm seam.  Otherwise, I don't think I could have done it because the wrist openings are so narrow.  It fits really nice and I am sure I will be using this pattern over and over again.

Kwik Sew 3530 is a pattern for a misses romper and jumper with bust darts, deep scoop neck, and a drawstring waist.  Although I made this with the mesh T-shirt in mind, I will also wear it with a white T-shirt for a more casual look.  I need to make one first!  The jumper does not have pockets so I drafted them from the romper pieces.  The romper pocket pieces didn't fit the a-line of the skirt pieces.  It was not hard to do and I'm glad I took the time to do it.  Pockets are so useful.
You might be able to see that the back is pretty wide and scooped.  On future versions I will take the back neckline in at least 1/2".  Even though it is a little wide, the straps do not fall off my shoulders with the mesh shirt.  The neckline and armholes are finished with bias cut fabric bindings.  I actually didn't have enough of my dress fabric to cut these out, but I had some left-over linen/cotton from this skirt that worked just fine because you cannot see it. 

The instructions were clear and the pictures were very helpful.  This pattern is not difficult, but it is time consuming with finishing the armholes and neckline and dealing with all the narrow bias cut pieces that go with doing that.  Kwik Sew also uses 1/4" seams for many of their patterns including this one.  I decided to use snaps on my front opening instead of buttons.  They are an antique bronze color. 

This jumper will see a lot of wear this summer.  I will show it again dressed down with a white T-shirt later.  It is designed to be loose fitting, but I like it.  I don't feel like I'm swimming in it and the drawstring can be cinched up as tight or as loose as you like. Here is a final close up of the front.  Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Horrible or Hip?

I am going to have to defer judgement to you dear readers.  I'm leaning toward horrible.  I am not referring to the pattern on this top, but to the fabric combination.  I have had this cotton lawn in my stash for well over a year.  I was always drawn to it, but in an obsessive kind of way.  I kept wondering to myself, "Is this pretty or ugly?"  I still haven't come to a conclusion.  I am just glad to have it off my fabric shelf!  But I do love this tunic pattern and will be making another one out of a fabric, that I have no doubts about!

This is New Look 6849.  It's a tunic and dress pattern with various sleeve options.  It's rated "easy", but I would have to disagree after all the fitting alterations I had to make, and because you must carefully pin and topstitch the front and back facing.  I made a size 10, View B with the length of View C.  When I finished up the muslin, the waist and hips were too tight, I had excessive fabric in the small of the back, the bust dart was too low, and I had wrinkling on my shoulders, which made me think I needed to move the shoulder seams to the front a little bit. 

My alterations included:
1. Add 1" to the back shoulder seam, decrease the front shoulder seam by the same amount.  I also needed to do this on the back and front facing.
2. I made a sway back adjustment of 1" in the waist area.  I added a center back seam so this could be done and I eliminated the two back darts.
3. I added about 4" total to the hip width so that it wouldn't cling when worn.
4. I added 5/8" to the sleeve length in the cuff.  I will add 1.25" next time and add it in the sleeve body, not the cuff.  I like my long sleeves past my wrists.  This version comes right to my wrist.
5. I inserted an invisible zipper instead of a standard one.
Invisible Zipper:

Topstitching Detail:

Once all these changes were made.  Sewing up the pattern was easy.  I noticed one omission in the instructions.  The pattern doesn't tell you to make a clip at the large dot on the front facing at step 11.  The picture shows it, but the instructions leave that step out.

I added the top stitching in a darker color, because once I was done, the chartreuse just looked to light and bold for the print.  I am hoping the dark topstitching toned that down.  However, now I'm wondering if it looks too homemade with the topstitching.  What do you think?  Is this a hit or miss?