Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Season's "Must Have" Wardrobe Item

I was thrilled to find out that one of the trends for Fall this year is the "military" look. It has always been a favorite of mine, whether it's currently popular or not, and I have been wanting to make a military jacket for, well, forever. I took it as a sign when I read about how it's going to be "in" this year that I should go ahead and do it now.

I have two candidates in mind. The first is Burda 8020, an envelope pattern I've had in my stash for several years now.
I have a suitable stash fabric in mind, and I've already purchased a large, brass, separating zipper for it.
The only "problem" I see with this pattern is that I'll have to find 24(!) matching buttons for it. My local stores almost never have that many of one style of buttons on hand, so I'm thinking I'll have to order.
The second candidate is Simplicity 2341, view D.

This one is super cool, too, and only requires 10 buttons. It appears to not require a zipper, either.

Actually, I'd like to make both of these jackets, and I probably will at some point. The final choice will come down to fabric requirements. If I have enough of the stash fabric, I will go with the Burda pattern. If not, I will make S2341 out of it and I'll purchase something else for the Burda pattern.
The August issue of Burda Style featured a little girl's military jacket.
Some folks mockingly referred to it as a "Michael Jackson 80's throwback," but I like it a lot and I'd love to make it for my daughter. She would be thrilled to have a jacket "like Mom's" and I'd love to try one of Burda Style's kids' patterns. Besides, I owe her another item to replace the tunic that turned out too small.
So. What is your "must have" piece this fall?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

MCall's 6156- Not Quite a Wadder

I spent the whole weekend working on M6156, hoping I could get it done in time for the Princess to wear it Monday morning.
Imagine my disgust when I got it all done and had her try it on, only to find out it's too small!

What happened? I don't know. I measured her right before I started. She measured right at a size 7 at the chest, a size 8 at the waist, and right between the 8 and the 10 at the hip. I chose the 8. I even checked the finished measurements on the tissue and everything seemed fine. For a brief moment I considered going up to a 10 just in case, but I decided not to, since the last McCalls size 10 I made turned out way too wide for her through the bodice.

The pattern itself is fine. It's drafted pretty well and goes together easily. I roll hemmed the front ruffle and the sleeve cuffs (rather than doing a 5/8" hem as the pattern instructed.) I also left off the waist ties (too narrow and fiddly for me) and just used elastic all the way around the waist seam.

The pattern called for elastic in the sleeves. I used the "zig zag over 1/8" elastic" method rather than making a casing and inserting the elastic. I thought the contrasting thread on the cuffs and front ruffle added a little pizzaz.

I love the trendy tunic style and I thought this would be cute with jeans or leggings. I guess I'll ask one of my daughter's smaller friends if they want it.
Now I have to decide if I want to bother with making it again. I cut the size 8 so all the larger sizes are gone- I'll have to buy another copy, and unfortunately, this was the very last copy my local fabric store had. Yeah, I can order one, or wait and see if the store re-stocks, but right now, honestly, I'm so irritated, I might just throw it away and forget about it.

I guess I'm going to have to start making muslins, or at least tissue fitting my daughter. It's a cute pattern, but if you're considering making it- double check the sizing before cutting!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Burda Style "Perfectly Sculpted" Skirt

I finished this skirt up last week ,but as usual, I had to wait for the perfect opportunity to take photos (available photographer and adequate light.)

This is the "Perfectly Sculpted" pencil skirt from the September issue of Burda Style (an issue that is quickly becoming one of my favorites.)

Here is what Burda had to say about it: "Instead of a waistband, three horizontal section seams curve around the top of this pencil skirt, giving it lovely shape and fit over the hips."

I love it shown here with the Ruffle Shoulder Blouse.

Here is the back. I can see that I have a few ripples, but that has to be due at least in part to the fact that my poly suiting fabric was almost impossible to press.

Here you can see the curved seams where they meet the side back seams- the only two vertical seams I might add. The pattern called for one vent below the zipper but I went ahead and added one on the left side, too. (Just ignore the chalk marks at the top of the vents- those will wash out.)

I really like the way this looks. The fit isn't perfect, but it'll do. The pattern only went up to a size 44 and I need a 46 to fit my hips. I graded the pattern up one size and hoped for the best. I really should have left the waist at the size 44, it's a tiny bit loose, but I didn't feel like trying to blend sizes with so many curved seams going on. I ended up taking the side back seams in about 1/2" on each side. If I make this again, and I might, I'll definitely go down to a 44 through the waist and high hip area.

I pretty much followed Burda's instructions. The only changes I made were to add some twill tape to the waist seam (the lining is sewn to the top of the skirt and understitched- there are no facings), and I added 1/4" elastic to the waist in the back between the vertical seams. It helps the skirt to stay in place since the waist is a little loose. If I had made the correct size, I wouldn't have had to do this.

Burda kindly included a separate lining pattern piece (I would never have made a lining with all those curved seams) and instead of sewing the darts that were marked, I converted them to pleats as was suggested in a recent Threads article about lining skirts. It worked out perfectly.

I would like to make this again in a more stable (and iron friendly) fabric. I think it might be fun to use a denim or twill and topstitch the unusual seams. I really like the look of the finished skirt, but I have to be honest, the side back seams are a tiny bit awkward to fit and to get into. I'm not used to zipping myself up behind my hip! And I have to use my mirror to make sure I've got my seams in the right place.
The curved seams are where all the shaping occurs. I found the top of my skirt to be very curvy, even in the belly area (lucky for me since I have a tummy!) I was actually quite surprised, because most of the Burda patterns I've made seem to have been drafted for someone with minimal curves. I definitely recommend making a muslin of this one.

I really like the similar dress pattern in the same issue. I'm toying with the idea of attempting to make it, but I'm not sure I want to go to all the trouble. I'll have to grade up 1 size on top and 2 on the bottom, and I'll have to convert from petite sizing to tall through the torso. That's a lot of work.

In other news, I got up this morning and found a cold wind blowing. Then I opened my email and found an ad for Bath and Bodyworks' new Christmas line. I guess it is definitely Fall now. So long summer. May we meet again...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Burda Ruffles

I'm on a little bit of a Burda kick right now. I made this little top over the Labor Day weekend, but I had to wait for an available teenager to be my photographer, and lots of direct sunlight since the top is solid black. Better late than never, though, right?
This is top #121 from the July issue of Burda Style.

I really liked this top when I first saw it, but I hesitated to make it, because a.) I haven't quite worked out my fitting issues in regard to Burda's sizing, b.) it has kimono sleeves which worried me, c.) that seam that runs right across the bust looks good in theory, but how would it work in real life, and d.) this top just looks so darn easy, and it's very often those easy patterns that give me the most trouble.

Well, I saw the top again in the current September issue with this awesome pencil skirt (which I am working on right now) and I decided to just go for it.
I am happy to report that the blouse turned out great. I used some black poly cotton broadcloth from stash (because everyone needs a cute black top) and I cut a size 44. (Yes, I made a muslin first.)
The only adjustments I made were to fold out 3/8" across the front and back above the bust (petite adjustment), which put the bust seam at just the right spot, and I made my armbands considerably bigger than the pattern to accomodate my large upper arms. I think the pattern calls for 13" plus seam allowances, and I cut mine 14.5" plus SAs.

Here you can see the kimono sleeves. They turned out just fine- I have plenty of room to move and the sleeves are comfortable.
Obviously the ruffles are the focal point of this design. Burda gave some vague instructions for finishing them with zig-zag stitches, but I just used my serger to roll hem the edges. I think it gives them a really nice, RTW look.

After finishing the edges of the ruffles, I used my sewing machine to run gathering stitches along the length. I marked the placement lines on the top with chalk, pinned along the lines, and sewed down the centers of the ruffles. Once the ruffles were attached, I removed the gathering stitches.

The ends of the ruffles are caught into the neck band and the sleeve bands.
Like I mentioned, this is a very easy project. The pattern is well drafted and goes together easily. I'm tempted to make it again in a lighter color since the details tend to get lost in black. If I do make it again, I'll lengthen it slightly at the waist. I plan to wear this tucked into a high waist skirt, however, so length isn't really an issue. I wore it to work this week untucked with jeans and I got lots of compliments, so it makes a nice casual top as well.

Stay tuned for an update on the pencil skirt from the September issue (BS 09-2010-116.)

Happy sewing!