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Sewing is therapy for me. I hoard fabric, patterns, notions, and spend more time shopping for fabric than I care to admit...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Burda--a wadder of epic proportions!

Let's clear something up, I am a big fan of Burda patterns.  They are edgy, fun, creative and some regular bloggers I read have made some amazing garments!  I have quite a few Burda Style magazines and hardly ever made anything...why?  Not sure but I do think tracing off the pattern pieces has a lot to do with it.  However, when I think about the cost, it is a little silly of me to have these sit around gathering dust so, when I saw the Burda challenge, I was on board!  This is my first of the 12 I will make. I jumped on this bandwagon a little late, but I'll get there!

I immediately fell in love with the design of this tunic.  The overall shape is great fun and I am a sucker for striped fabric.

This tunic is from the winter 2015 magazine.  The collection is High Contrast and all are black and white.  The top is called the optical illusion and is shirt 122-112014-US, just in case you are wondering!

I still really love the lines but I do believe my fabric, a striped ponte, is just too heavy to pull this off in a way that it floats on your body, just as it does on the model shown.  This pattern is also one featured in the back of the magazine and there are detailed instructions.  You HAVE to see the shape of the pattern pieces!  They are crazy but necessary for the overall shape to work out.  At first, I thought I really messed this top up with how mine turned out, especially the back.  See the stripes?  I just couldn't imagine how I cut so poorly and then I looked again at the shape and there is no way to get these stripes to run horizontally, but it's okay!  They don't have to!

I based my sizing on my measurements and cut a 42.  This ended up being HUGE on me!  I won't even show you what it looks like as I just can't hardly stand to look at it!  Through the shoulders and waist it's large but snugger through the hips.  I took it in quite a bit but still can't get a workable fit.  I'll either give up on it and wad it or see if I can make it into something else I like better for myself or my 19 month old grandson.

The description is pretty accurate: Asymmetrical gathers along the raglan sleeve and side seam give this top a unique and compelling edge, especially when sewn in a striped fabric.  Wear it with any basic pant or legging for stylish flair.  This isn't included in the directions, but the sleeves are four inches longer than your typical sleeve length to give them a little gathering look at the bottom.

Since there are step-by-step directions, they are very good and complete with visuals.  The side seams are gathered and then elastic is sewn to the gathers to keep them nice and tidy.  The neckband is an easy way to finish the whole thing off!

If I find the right fabric, I may try this again but I am a little turned off by it.  I do hope I have better luck with my other 11 Burdas I am going to create this year!

Thanks for reading....any suggestions for this top?


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Another Lillian jacket

Yes, I am a pattern repeater...there, I said it!  I don't even feel badly about it as I feel like repeats are the way you perfect a pattern, play with different fabric weights and types and just have fun experimenting!  

Both of the jackets from this pattern are made from Fabric Mart beauties.  My first was a lacey, wavy, striped knit that I am just so pleased with!  I've worn it and received many compliments on it!  That is a winner in my book!  This lace behaved so beautifully as it didn't stretch out of shape, washed and dried like a champ and also was perfect for the little details of this jacket such as the more fitted sleeves and armhole areas.  

I HAD to make another and so I choose this fun and funky floral that is off white with shades of brown, coffee, and black.  Neutrals are my friend!  I love sewing with colors such as these but also knew my wardrobe needs some color too!  I decided to use contrasting fabric for the facings along the neckline and the sleeve cuffs.  This pretty and punchy red was  the perfect compliment--not only color wise but also weight and fabric type.  It is slinkier than the floral and feels so nice on my skin! Isn't that always a bonus?  

This is a StyleArc pattern that I purchased from Etsy called the Lillian Knit Jacket.  This came as a PDF.  Ever wonder what PDF means?  It is Portable Document Format and that is exactly what a pattern is that comes as a download.  No more waiting for the mail service from half way around the world to deliver a pattern from Australia!

There are a few things you need to know if you've never used a PDF.  First, your printer MUST be set to the correct format or your pattern will end up the wrong size!  Always print out a test page and get your ruler out to measure.  It needs to be exact!  It's one thing to take a garment in, but letting out is another story, especially when the seam allowances are only 1/4" as in the case of Style Arc.  

This is too big.  The test square should be 10 cm or 3 15/16".  I had to change the setting on my printer before printing again.  See the difference?  

After printing, check the legend of the layout of your pieces.  This gives you great information on how you need to piece the pattern pieces so to speak!  

Note also the pattern tips!  

And, here is a beginning of a layout.  You need a big space for this!  

So back to the pattern and fabric.  What gives you a slim fit is the styling of the sleeves and how you fit the underarms.  You have to pivot at the points on the fabric.  You can see how I did that below.  

Look at what a great result you get!  

This is an easy to put together and was easier the second time!  You can really see the pop of red at the center front and slightly at the cuffs.  

The length of this pattern is great--it covers all the body parts you want covered without feeling like you need to tug it down all the time. 

See how nice this fabric hangs in the back?  It doesn't cling at all!  

 Here you can see the red contrast.  The facing is stitched down.  I also like to serge the edges of facings, which I know isn't necessary with a knit but it helps 'clean up' my edges and also gives the knit a little weight as some tend to roll a bit at the cut edge.

 I love my jacket!  I hope that if you've never tried a PDF, you'll give it a whirl.  I also hope that you'll consider using a fun and colorful contrast to an otherwise neutral color pallet.

Thanks for reading!  


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pamela's Pattern Muslin

This is my first Pamela's Pattern...I've seen cute things created with her patterns but never ventured into those uncharted territories until now.  I purchased the pattern, which is pretty darn cute, and set to putting it together.  Pamela is a fit expert and there are lots of fitting tips included!

I took my measurements just to be sure of sizing and was AMAZED that my high bust fit into the small category!  What?  I double checked and yes, indeed that was the case.

 I like this sizing method!  I haven't worn a small top for at least 2 decades!  

 Next, you compare your high bust and full bust.  If there is more than a three inch difference, you use a darted bodice.  I only had 2.5" difference, so I used the undarted bodice.  Undarted, is that a word?

Some of the other fitting details have you baste the skirt or peplum pieces and also the side seams.  Raising the waistline up or down and taking in the side seams makes a world of difference in how this top fits and looks.

This is my muslin.  I still feel like I need to play with the placement of the skirt.  I like the print of this fabric, but since it is large and rather spread out over the surface of the fabric, it wasn't the wisest choice:however, I am trying to use pieces from my stash, even as a muslin before I purchase more!
To glam it up a bit, I adhered Swarovski crystals to the center of the flowers on the upper right bodice.

This is a fun and fast project!  Fabric choice is paramount with this one and so is the fit!  I hope to make more of these and vary the neckline, peplum length, and sleeves.

Hope you try this one out!  I do think I'll try this with the darted bodice.  I just feel like there may be some pulling.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another StyleArc, could this be love?

So I sewed up the third of a recent purchase from StyleArc and couldn't be happier!  This pattern is for the Lillian jacket and it is so on-trend right now!

This knit jacket has a fabulous new engineered sleeve
See what I mean?

Here is a description from the StyleArc site: 
The engineered sleeve gives this gorgeous knit jacket a slim and interesting look.  The collar hugs the neck and falls softly to the front.  Try making it with contrast facings or contrast side panels.  This will become a go to jacket, right for all occasions.

I was snoop shopping at a local department store and came across a very similarly styled jacket made of lace and a mesh-type fabric and thought--B-i-n-g-o!  Now, I know what to do with the pretty lace I recently acquired from Fabric Mart! 

I don't have a lot of experience sewing with lace fabrics but decided to go for it anyway.  The styling is simple and I figured the lace could handle the silhouette.  I think it did, what do you say?  

StyleArc's directions are pretty minimal, and I had one head scratching moment based on the wording and decided to email the ladies and guess what, they got back to me just about immediately and included a photo of the instruction clarification!  Talk about service!  That was nice--also, did I mention I live on the other side of the planet from Australia?  Impressive!  

There is no interfacing or anything notion-wise that would cause a trip to purchase fabric other than perhaps you don't have fabric to use for this!  

I love the slightly longer back--it is slight but doesn't look mulletish at all!  My only deviation was to eliminate the pockets--it isn't that I didn't want them, I just didn't want to put them in a lace top and have show through!

The sleeves are unique in that they are two-pieces but the under-sleeve is sewn to the side panel and gives a unique shape to the garment.  This tested my wavy-stripe matching ability and I did okay!

I enjoyed whipping this up and wore it to work today with denim-looking leggings and received so many compliments!  I love how long this jacket is--perfect to cover all my backsides without needing to pull it down or rearrange it at all and I am 5'7"!  If you are significantly shorter than this, check the measurements before cutting out.  

I hope to make this in some additional heavier and lighter-weight knits!  A winner of a pattern!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, February 16, 2015

A Laura Knit Dress from StyleArc

I found out, late, but I did find out, that Etsy has StyleArc patterns for download!  Where have I been?  Once I found out, I of course went shopping and printed three off and put together immediately.  This is the second of the batch and I couldn't be more pleased!

Here is the description from the StyleArc site: A simple pull on knit dress pattern. Must be made in a stretch knit fabric.

It's no secret I love sewing with knits and making tunics or dresses.  To me, it feels like you are wearing ultra comfortable pajamas all day but you look cute (that's the goal anyway) and stylish (another goal).

Here is my review of the Laura dress.  Isn't it just ripe for color blocking?  Duh, I know it was designed that way but s-t-i-l-l!  The lines are fabulous and that is what drew me to the pattern in the first place.  This is an instant gratification project.  Start to finish-cutting out to final pressing was about 2 hours. That's it and I am not fast!

The gray was from my stash and a lovely to work with ponte from Emma One Sock.  I so love this fabric!  It behaved beautifully, washed amazingly, held its shape and feels so wonderful on your skin! The stripe is from another project and I had just enough left over to create the color blocking portion.

There aren't many directions but what is there is adequate.  I will note however that I was confused on the back center seam and since it wasn't obvious from the line drawing there was a seam, I didn't cut one but, it turned out to be just fine!  I cut and sewed a straight size 12 with a slight FBA which seemed to work out just fine!

I didn't have enough of the stripe to create the full sleeves but saw a RTW dress that had a similar treatment and decided to go for it.  It worked!

I had about 1.75 yards of the ponte and it was just enough for the body of the dress and the upper sleeves.
I used clear 1/4" elastic to stabilize the shoulders and a double needle treatment on the hem.  I topstitched the edges of the yokes as well as the sleeve treatments.

Easy-peasy and I love the fit.  There is just enough waistline definition so you know it doesn't look sack like--another bonus!

This is a fun and fast pattern and I can see it as a top, tunic, and of course dress.  I'll be making it again!

Thanks for reading!

Coco 3!

I had to make another Coco dress from Tilly and the Buttons.  Such a great little pattern and wow, I love my new dress!  Here is Tilly and her adorable pattern!


This fabric is from FabricMart and I recently was gifted a membership to Julie's picks....dangerous!  My stash has multiplied like a whole slew of rabbits and I am challenging myself to sew 15 pieces from my stash before even looking at or considering any other fabric purchases.  Do you have any idea how difficult this is for a junkie like me?

Anyway back onto what's important....

 This was an instant gratification project, a perfect pattern for a new to knits seamstress as it the directions are all photographs of the work in progress and the written directions are easy to follow as well!

I made a straight up size 5 (Tilly's sizing is different than other patterns).  Since this is my third go around, my modifications are the same:
1.  1/2" swayback adjustment
2.  Elasticize the shoulder seams with clear elastic

I am hoping this dress will lend itself to the spring-like weather that should arrive in the next few weeks!  I wanted 3 quarter length sleeves and love them!  I debated on the funnel neck and this is such a fun little detail that I included it.  I'm super happy with how my stripes match up on the side seams!

All in all, a great pattern, an easy gratification project, and these comfortable dresses are ME!  I'm not done with this pattern yet....

Thanks for reading and I love hearing your remarks!