Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finally! High Waist Jeans!

Can I just take a moment to sing a round of the Hallelujah Chorus for these?

These are BWOF 08-2009-106, High Waist Jeans, y'all! I am so excited. I can't wait to finish the projects I have stacked up on my ironing board so I can get to these. Aren't they cool? Here's what BWOF has to say about them: "These jeans are absolutely fabulous! A high waist-band shapes a slim waist and the wide legs à la Marlene Dietrich make your legs look sooo long!"

Um, yeah. I could use some help making my legs look longer. Or at least making them look more in proportion to my loooong body.

And how sweet was it of BWOF to offer these up to a size 44? Shoot, I'll only have to size up one (maybe two) sizes at the hip! I may not have to size up at all for the waist! Of course a muslin is a MUST! I have never made Burda pants, but I've heard really good things about them so I'm hopeful. I really want these to wear this fall! This view is made up in denim and features lots of jeans style top stitching (y'all know me and top stitching- I keep swearing it off, but I keep coming back to it!) I'll be leaving off those strange cuff thingies- I can't imagine that those would help out with the "long leg illusion."

The pattern is also offered in a dressier version shown in the magazine in wool tweed. I love those, too! I can imagine them paired with blouse 103 shown in crepe chiffon from the same issue:

From BWOF: "This blouse is sheer poetry, fulfilling four essential trend criteria: the fine floral print, the fitted shape, the long tie-collar with bow and the slight transparency."

If I can just get these two items made this magazine will have more than paid for itself. The good news is that there are a ton more things in this issue that I love. This one is going to keep me busy for quite some time.

And now I'm off to work on WIPs so I can get to these!

Friday, July 24, 2009


So I made a muslin of this, BWOF 01-2008-113: It turned out pretty well. Well enough to keep going and make the dress. I have it all cut out of a nice dark denim with green undertones. I'll be making a trip to the fabric store tomorrow for buttons and an invisible zipper. I hope to get a big portion of it done this weekend. (I'd love to be able to wear this next week.)

I also threw together a quick and dirty muslin of the shorts from this pattern, Simplicity 3846. I never would have given this one a second glance- the khaki outfit is drab and doesn't look like it fits the model very well- but I saw it in the pattern catalog with the long pants and the jacket made up in black and worn with a red blouse. It was gorgeous. I'm glad I picked it up because it really is a cute pattern.
I thought a pair of city shorts would look nice with the Dots and Stripes Tunic, so I gave these a test run. They fit surprisingly well right out of the envelope. I just had to take a small wedge out of the back yoke and I'll have to shorten them substantially for my itty bitty legs! But I hope to be showing these to you soon.

If I end up liking these as much as I think I will, I may go ahead and make the pants and the jacket for fall. They'd make a nice work outfit- maybe with a red blouse.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Needlework and a New Dress Project

Just thought I'd share with you one of my own needlework designs. I stitched this back in 2000 using Caron Wildflowers (multi-colored cotton thread) and DMC floss on 28ct ivory linen. It measures approximately 3.25" by 9.5".

Apparently a couple of years later, I came back to this one and decided I could have done it better, so I stitched it again.

I changed the colors a bit, using Caron Waterlilies silk instead of Wildflowers, and I added a bit more whitework in DMC perle cotton and a few extra bands. This one is also on 28ct ivory linen and measures 3.5" by 11". I think this one is much nicer- more elegant and mature than the first version. Here are some detail shots:

In sewing news, I'm working on a muslin of this:

BWOF 01-2008-113
I hope to have progress to report soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A New Twist

Remember this? BWOF 05-2008-115, the Twist Dress?

Well, I finally got mine done!

I used this cool black rayon challis with pink and green dotty swirls all over it.

When I traced this, I was fresh off of BWOF 02-2009-124, and I was really unhappy with the loose fit in the bodice of that one, so for this dress, I traced a 42 in the bodice and a 44 from the waist down. Then when I went to sew the muslin together, I came to my senses and realized a 42 wasn't going to work. So I sewed it with 1/2" seams instead of the 5/8" I had added to the pattern pieces (except for the center back seam where the invisible zip is- that one I left at 5/8"). There are 5 seams (2 side fronts, 2 side backs, and a center front) where I gained 1/4" at each seam, so that gave me 1.25" of extra circumference over all. So I guess this is really almost a 44/46. It fits just fine. Of course, I couldn't go any smaller at all, or I'd have a wardrobe malfunction!

I didn't have to make a FBA (Love you BWOF!) but I did add 1" of length at the waist- my standard long torso adjustment.

My favorite thing about this dress is the twist. It's a little different than other twist dresses because the twist is higher up on the chest, not at bustline level. That makes it safe for work or for church, and no cami or special bra needed!

The instructions were typical BWOF- confusing as all get out when read the first time, but once I started actually putting the dress together they made a lot more sense. The only unusual thing about the construction is that because of the twist, you have to attach the facings to the front of the dress and make the twist, and then attach the back facings to the back of the dress, and then you can sew front and back together, rather than putting the dress together and sewing the facings in as one piece.

But everything went together like a charm so it worked out well.
One other unique feature is that there are no "side" seams. The side back and side front are all one piece underneath the arms. But you still have four "princess" seams for shaping and the back pieces have darts as well, so you can adjust the fit pretty easily.

I doubt I'll make this one again, but I'm happy with this one and I plan to wear it a lot! And you may see this fabric again- I have just enough left to make a top!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Dots and Stripes

We interrupt our regularly scheduled sewing projects to bring you this- McCalls 5882, View B, the tunic, made out of 100% quilting cotton from stash.
I love this pattern! I love the boat neck, the narrow shoulders, the ties that cross in back and tie in the front, and all the nifty possibilities the pattern offers for mixing and matching pretty cotton prints.

"Oh no, here come the kitties!"

This is a simple empire waisted tunic, with narrow ties topstitched on over the underbust seam. this is a close-up of the center front:

This is what it looks like inside. The pattern calls for facings at neck and armholes, but I decided to line the bodice instead:

The ties are stitched down to within a few inches of center back (where the tunic closes with an invisible zipper):

This keeps the crossover up nice and high in the back and keeps the ties from sagging.

"Oh My! What are those kids doing over there?"
I started with a size 14 through the shoulders, and a size 16 from the underarm down. My waist and hip measurements actually indicated a size 20, but the pattern has enough ease that I was able to cut a 16 with no adjustments and it fits just fine. I did have to make a FBA. I added 1/2" of width and 5/8" of length which resulted in an underbust dart.

I also knew from my muslin that I needed to dart out about 1/2" on each side of the bodice under the bust (before the FBA) to snug the underbust seam up to my chest. Otherwise it was puffy and unattractive with the ties tied in front. I included this amount when I drew in the new dart.
Here is a shot of the new pattern piece (darts in pink) on top of the original (details added in blue.)

The FBA also resulted in a slightly lower bust point which worked out well for me. The original was a little bit high for me.

This is such a cute tunic. I'm not sure it's the most flattering thing on me, but I don't care. I'm going to wear it anyway! I can imagine all kinds of possibilities for mixing fabrics and adding embellishments to this. The pattern comes with detailed instructions for fitting the pattern using the multi size cutting lines, and even includes a template and detailed instructions for the embroidery on view A, the black and white tunic.
I highly recommend this pattern, which is a dead ringer for the Sabrina Tunic by the same designer, Kay Whitt, under her own pattern line, Serendipity Studio.
Stay tuned for a progress report on Summer Fields- I actually worked on it this weekend!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Lily Pond

Here is a little sampler that I stitched way back in 2001. This is Lily Pond by Just Nan.

I fell in love with this little sampler design the minute I saw it. It was the little backstitched frogs that did it for me.

The sampler is stitched in shades of pale pink and green and uses silk threads and tiny pink and green sead beads. The fabric is white linen- 28 count, I believe. The design area measures 3.75" by 7.5" including my "signature."

I always "sign and date" my needlework pieces. My hope is that they will be passed down in my family or in the families of the folks I give them to and that future generations will know where they came from, or at least wonder who STF was and what was going on in the world when the sampler was stitched. Even if they end up in a garage sale, perhaps someone will find and rescue them and wonder as well.

Here's another peek at the birth sampler.

It's quite large- approximately 6.5" by 22". As you can see I have removed all the threads in the hardanger border. (Sorry about the fuzzy photo, but you get the idea.) The tangled mess in the photo below is the removed threads on the arm of my chair.

I finally feel like I'm on the homestretch with this piece. I still need to finish the hardanger- wrapping the remaining threads, and I still need to stitch the silk ribbon portion at the top of the sampler and add beads all over. I always save that for last. Silk ribbon embroidery (and beads, too) can catch on things and get snagged and ruined very easily, so I always wait until last to do it.

Fortunately, today is the first day of a three day weekend, so hopefully I will get plenty done on this! (And a couple of other things, too!)