Friday, October 28, 2011

Another Knit Combo

Aloha!  I think a simple knit top and skirt is one of my favorite combinations to wear here in Maui, and this look is so easy and satisfying to make.  This time I combined skirt B, without the pockets, from New Look 6875 with the knit top from New Look 6981.
For the top I used a medium-weight rayon-lycra knit in magenta from FFC.  I cut the size 10 and did not need to make any alterations.  The top has a pleat in the neckline on the front shoulder to add a little bit more drape to the cowl.  I like the cap sleeves.  The neckline and armholes are finished with self-fabric binding that has been turned to the inside and top-stitched down.  I used my coverstitch machine for the hem.   
The skirt is made from an ITY knit from  This ITY knit is the last one I have out of several prints that I ordered earlier in the year.  Because I eliminated the pockets, this skirt has only two pieces, the front and the back.  I added one inch to the height of the waistband to give the skirt more length.  The waistband is finished with 1" wide elastic that was attached with a zigzag stitch then turned down and topstitched with my coverstitch machine.  So easy!
I look forward to more sewing this weekend.  Hope you are able to get in the sewing room too!  Aloha!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Destined for the Rubbish?

Or destined for Rebirth?  This post is for those of you who love the idea of transformation.  I have a friend who diligently keeps her eyes out for vintage treasures.  I can just see her, finger on chin, pondering..."Could there be something special in this shabby torn pile of rubbish?"  
Imagine her delight when she took a close look at the selvage, "Hand Printed in California".  This indeed was a unique find. 
 Let it go to the landfill?  Heaven forbid!  
Give it New Life? Absolutely!

And that is what we did!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Simply Cheerful

Aloha dear readers!  I have a new outfit to show you.  I think working with gray the past 3-4 weeks caused me to gravitate to some of the most cheerful fabric in my stash for this next project.  The complexity of the jacket also relegated me to a Burda Start 3 pattern for the top.  I have made this t-shirt pattern before and I love the fit.  The two patterns I used are Kwik Sew 3152 and Burda 3197.  The skirt is made from a cotton lawn from FFC and has a swiss dot lining from  When I purchased the cotton lawn earlier this year, I had tried to find a perfect shade of blue for a matching top.  No luck.  However, I did find the perfect shade of blue at my local Old Navy where I purchased two XXL, men's, $5.00 t-shirts to cull the fabric from. 
The Burda t-shirt pattern is super easy, but must be pretty old.  It has facing pieces to finish the neckline.  I did not use them, but finished my neckline with self-fabric binding after I trimmed it by 3/8" all the way around.  In the future I will probably trim it another 1/4".  The pattern also instructs you to set in the sleeves.  I attached mine flat, then sewed up the side seam and sleeve seam together. 
The Kwik Sew skirt pattern is also extremely easy.  However, instead of inserting a center zipper at the side seam, I put mine in as a lapped zipper.  I happened to have an old blue zipper in my stash, otherwise I would have put in an invisible zipper.  I also lined the lower portion of the skirt since the cotton lawn was so light weight. 
 Here is the super comfy, cheerful, busy mom of three outfit!

I've finished this post with 15 minutes left to spare before the start of Project Runway.  I can't believe they are down to the final four.  I am off to get my appetizers together for the show :)  Thank you all for visiting and for your lovely comments on my Burda jacket!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Burda 7421 - Three Ways to Style It

As promised, I am back.  My oldest DS and his team played an outstanding game this morning.  This weekend they are in a tournament and they have won all of their games.  The last game is today at 2:00 p.m., for the championship.  I played lots of sports in school, but never soccer competitively.  I need to read up on the rules, because I don't understand what contributes to being "offsides".  Anyway, this post is really about Burda 7421, a fitted jacket pattern with some very cool design details like welt pockets, princess seams, two-piece sleeves, and four button cuffs.  Click here to see the original inspiration for this jacket.  Sherry's RTW Sew-A-Long is what launched this project.  However, I quickly got behind.  It's only taken me 6 months to finish :)  But hey, I finished.   
Technical Drawing
This is the first jacket I have made since high school.  My fabric is inexpensive, cotton, gray pincord and the lining is Bemberg rayon.  I didn't have real wadding for the shoulders so I used batting.  I also didn't have professional shoulder pads, so I used the only ones I could find at one of my local fabric shops.  They are half-inch foam pads.  I used Pro-Weft fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  I didn't block fuse my fabric, but applied interfacing according to the pattern directions.  My buttons came from an Etsy seller (JunkyardGenes) who had a great price on several cards of old black and gray buttons.  I really like how these look on my jacket.   

From the beginning, I didn't want to invest a lot of money into this jacket, since I hadn't made a muslin. I figured if it turned out okay, I would wear it in a casual way.  The beautiful thing is, I am excited to make nicer jackets in the future.  The discipline of completing this and the knowledge gained through Sherry's tutorial gave me the necessary tools to feel confident working with quality materials next time.  Besides the near miss with my cuffs, I did make one other error at step 21, in the Burda instructions, which resulted in a raw edge on my front facing.  I plan to seal it with Fray Check.   Thankfully, it is barely noticeable and is hidden on the inside.  Sherry tells how to bag a hem for the lining, but I ended up hand-sewing mine because I wasn't sure how to accommodate the back vent using this method.  However I did finish my sleeve lining the way she recommended and that saved a lot of hand sewing. 

I cut and sewed the size 36 (10) with no alterations.  For the most part, it fits pretty good, but I do feel like I could use a little more room in the back of the shoulders in future versions.  I also think this jacket could use a good professional pressing.  Maybe that would help with some of the wrinkling in the princess seams on the front and at the armholes.  I had to do quite a bit of easing in these areas.   

Here is the completed jacket styled three casual ways:
The t-shirt and shorts were made by me earlier in the year.
RTW skirt and camisole.

RTW top and jeans.

Back View

Side View
Well, thanks again for sticking with me through this project.  And to answer your question Sheila, I plan to make a tailored vest, (I can't believe I'm saying this!) with the black imitation leather fabric.  Hope you all are having a splendid weekend.  Aloha!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Sigh of Relief!

Big News!!!!   I finished my Burda jacket tonight at 9:00 p.m.  It's too late to take pictures, but I will be doing a post tomorrow in the daylight.  I can't even tell you the sense of relief I feel to have this finished.  It was so hard to stay focused on just this project.  For everyone who chimed in with an encouraging word along the way, "THANK YOU!"  It helped me so much to push through, and I am pleased with the end result.  Here are a couple more detail shots:
Front button closure.
Hand stitched lined back vent. 
Time to do a Happy Dance, because I get to have a wondering eye for new patterns:
Perhaps a vest/skirt combo?  Or a simple knit dress?  Anything that doesn't have 16 pattern pieces please!
And new fabrics:

"Pure bliss I tell you!"  I'll be back with you tomorrow after an early morning soccer game :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Burda 7421 Progress Report 2

Hello everyone!  I'm just checking in to let you all know that I am still making progress on my Burda jacket.  As much as I desperately want to move on to something new, I am disciplining myself to stay focused only on this fashion sewing project.  I really love the jacket's design and want to see it through to completion.  The fit is off a little bit in the shoulders, but I think it will still be wearable.  This is my trial run of making the pattern, so I will need to make an adjustment in this area on future versions, once I've recovered from making this one ;) Here are the completed cuffs:
Aren't they cool?  I have also set in the sleeves.  This was not an easy task!  There was so much ease to squeeze into the armhole.  Even though I do not have any puckers, there is some wrinkling.  Argggh.  I've sewn and re-sewn them, and I am calling it good at this point.  Maybe with a wool the wrinkling would be less noticeable.  My fabric is mostly cotton.   

I am learning so much as I read Sherry's posts for each step listed in her RTW Tailoring Sew-A-Long.  All I have left to do is insert the shoulder pads and the grey Bemberg lining.  Then make the front buttonhole.  The next time you see this jacket I will be wearing it!

I had one, nearly fatal, mistake with the jacket this past week.  Without realizing it, I sewed my first cuff upside down.  Then I made all the buttonholes and CUT them.  When I discovered I had done this step wrong I nearly panicked.  I have long since thrown away any scraps I had of this fabric.  Thank goodness I only made one cuff and caught the mistake.  So instead of the cuffs being lined with the fashion fabric like the pattern recommends, I separated the two remaining cuff pieces and lined them with my rayon lining. 

Disaster averted...this time. 


Monday, October 3, 2011

Burda 7421 Progress

I am glad you all enjoyed the little sewing break in my last post.  I did too, but ever since, it's been back to the sewing machine with every spare minute I've managed to scrape up.  Wow, that sounds dramatic :)  Hehe.  Okay, joking aside, I have made progress on Burda 7421, the jacket I started for Sherry's RTW Tailoring Sew-A-Long back in March, I think.  Here is a reminder of the pattern:
I am really glad I didn't give up on this project, because I like how it is turning out, and I do appreciate that it is stretching my sewing skills and requiring me to exercise patience.  Now that the momentum is going, I don't want to stop.  I plan on seeing it through to the finish before I allow myself to start a new fashion sewing project.  I hope you will bear with me.

I have just finished the collar and side seams this evening.  My collar/lapel is not perfect, but overall I'm happy with it.  I have a little bit of puckering on one side where the collar joins the lapel.  I realize what I did wrong after reading Sherry's excellent instructions on this portion of the jacket construction.  Uhmm...I should have read them before I began construction!  I needed to leave a little gap where the upper collar joins with the lapel.  You can read more about that here at Sherry's blog.  (I have used Pro-Weft fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply throughout this jacket, and I am really happy with how it is looking.)  It's funny, my first welt pocket turned out really nice, but I struggled with the second.  I have to admit, I am kind of glad that the fabric wasn't too expensive ($5.00/yd.), because there will definitely be some imperfections.  Okay, here is the current state of the jacket.  I have the hem, sleeves, lining and buttonholes left to construct.  I feel like I've made it through the toughest parts, so I am hoping the rest is all downhill. 
In other sewing news, I have been taking short breaks on the jacket to work on new bags for my shop.  The holiday season is just around the corner and I am trying to keep my inventory well stocked!  Here are some fun and eye-catching new prints. 
In non-sewing news,the Maui County Fair was this past weekend.  The boys always love going.  I giggle at how small it is, having been to large state fairs and commercial theme parks.  But my boys don't have anything to compare it to...yet, so they are always thrilled.  Aloha!
Maui County Fair 2011