Sunday, February 27, 2011

Butterick 4985- Sewing for Spring

This week I finished up my first official spring project, Butterick 4985, view C (the plain white version shown below.) I used a watercolor pansy print cotton that I purchased 6 or 7 years ago at Hobby Lobby. I had just two yards of fabric, and I was able to just barely squeeze this pattern out of it. There were hardly any scraps left at all.

I made this blouse once before and I wasn't very happy with it. I was just learning how to do an FBA and I made the top portion too big, and the bottom of the blouse not quite big enough. I wore it one time and then tossed it into the back of the closet. But over the years, I've thought about this pattern from time to time and I've always wanted to give it another go and make it work.
I think I got pretty close this time.

The first time I made this, I used a straight size 16 with a standard 1" FBA which added width as well as length to the bust. I really don't need width, though. The finished pattern has plenty of circumference. I just need extra length. So this time I did an FBA which added length only. I slashed a horizontal line from the side seam line to the center front, right through the bust point. The I slashed straight up from the lower edge to the bust point, leaving a hinge. I spread the pattern 1" (red lines) and let the lower slash open up (blue lines.) The extra width at the lower edge was easily absorbed into the underbust gathers.

I got a nice fit in the upper bodice without the blousiness that I got through the bust in the first version.
I also added 1" of length at the waist this time. The first time I made this it was too short. This version is much better. Of course I had to add 2" of length to the front facing- 1" at the bust line and 1" at the waist, to compensate for my pattern adjustments. I also tapered in to a 14 at the shoulder/neckline. The 16 is usually too wide for me at the shoulder and the first version of this blouse was literally falling off of my shoulders. Not a good look. And to give myself a little breathing room, I tapered out to an 18 from waist to hip.
The back could probably use a sway back adjustment, but it's really not bad and no one would ever notice but me.

To compensate for my large upper arms, I added 1.25" of width to the armbands, and to make sure the gathered sleeve didn't turn out too skimpy, I added 2" of width to the bottom of the sleeve:

The sleeves turned out just right.
Overall, I think the blouse turned out fine, but I'm still just not in love with it like I thought I would be. I think the neckband is too skimpy (narrow.) Maybe adding the collar to it would help, but I didn't have enough fabric to cut the collar on this version. I'm also having problems getting the neckband/ front edge to lay nicely. No matter how much I press it or tug it into place, one side always seems to droop, giving the impression that I sewed it crooked or something. In the photo below, you can see how the right side seems to collapse against my chest:

I'm not sure what's causing that- I used a nice beefy cotton and interfaced the front facings. It bothers me, though.
I don't think I'll make this version again, however, I might give the flutter sleeve tie-neck version a go. I'd use a softer fabric with lots of drape to allow those sleeves to really flutter. And maybe the neck ties would help alleviate that droopy neckband issue.

In the meantime, I'm about to embark on a new knit dress project, and the Princess needs some new things for spring, too.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's Goin' On

Good morning y'all. Here is a crummy indoor photo of Butterick 4985, View C, just to prove I haven't been a total slacker lately:
I'll have a better photo later and a complete review. It's storming outside right now and I figured wet photos wouldn't be too cool.

I have temporarily changed my schedule at work and I haven't been home in the evenings this week, so my stitching time has suffered. I doubt I'll have Nan's garden finished by the end of the month. I've reached the "big cross stitch" section of the design which features a fountain and some flowers:

I still think those turtles are just too stinkin' cute! I'll be putting a few stitches in here and there when time permits.

My March Burda Style arrived this week. Unfortunately, I'm not too impressed. I was all excited about sewing something from every issue this year, but I guess I can forget about that. On the other hand, I do have a couple of things in the pipeline from previous issues that should keep me busy. For every "dud" issue, there's another one that is just chock full of stuff that I want.

I hope your sewing/stitching week has been more productive than mine. And for all you folks out there who are in the path of these thunderstorms- stay safe and dry!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another HSM Shirt

There hasn't been a lot of sewing going on around here this week, but I did manage to finish up a UFO that's been taking up valuable space on the end of my ironing board. This is Simplicity 2836, AKA the High School Musical Shirt:
This is version 3 (version 5 if you count the two boy's shirts I made from the same pattern.) The first version was view D. For the second version, the princess made some customization requests. And for this version, she requested basically the same shirt, but with the trim applied in a "rounded square." Her wish is my command.

It's taken me months to finish this. Not because it's hard, but because it took that long to find a suitable trim to cover the lace header with. Unfortunately, when you put a project on the back burner, it tends to get forgotten about.

At this point, I'm just so happy to have it done. I ended up using lime green baby rick rack to cover the header. I was in a hurry to finish it so I didn't bother piping the front bands, I just used a decorative stitch on my machine and contrasting thread to jazz it up. I'm not thrilled with it.

It's not even all that noticable. Oh well. The fabric is a super nice quilting cotton I got at Hobby Lobby ages ago, and was actually left over from another project. This little top finished it up and now my stash is that much closer to being under control.
I'm tired of this pattern, but I probably will make it again. It's perfect for using up fabric when you only have about a yard and a half of it, and it really does lend itself to customization so you can use leftover bits of lace, rick rack, piping, what have you. Plus, it's adorable when it's all made up and quite wearable for school, church, etc. And I have some aqua blue cherry print fabric left over that would look so awesome with red rick rack...

In other news, I finally got my vintage dress cut out and I started putting it together:

Stay tuned for an update soon. In the meantime, Happy Sewing!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Burda Style 01-2011-102 and 02-2011-103 Final Review

The thaw has begun, so here are some outdoor photos as promised.
First up is Burda Style 01-2011-102. Here is the technical drawing to refresh your memory:
And here is the finished blouse:

As you can see, one major change that I made was to use regular buttonholes rather than the loops in the drawing. I also trimmed 3/8" off of the center front edge of both sides. As drafted, the blouse would have had a 2" overlap in front, and I thought that was just too much.

I think the front of the blouse looks a little bit sloppy. The gathered waist darts look awkward and cause the front to hang funny. Also, the tech drawing is a little bit misleading. It shows the gathers at the yoke going right up to the front edge, when in reality they stop about an inch and a half away. The result is that most of the fullness is way out toward the sides, which isn't all that flattering.

And this pattern runs big. I cut a 42 from shoulder to waist, and a 44 for the peplum. This was after starting with a 44/46 for my muslin. Even with the smaller size, I can pull this baby on over my head without unbuttoning it! Of course the fullness meant no FBA, so that's good. I made a 3/8" petite adjustment above the bust, which just saved the V-neck from being obscenely low. Another fraction of an inch and I'd need a cami under this.

I decided to try tucking the blouse in and I have to say I like it a lot better:

Here it is with one of my favorite skirts, M5590.

The top is still very blousy, but the high waisted skirt helps control the fullness. I'll be wearing it like this.

Here's a close-up of the fabric, a jaquard from stash. My mom bought this fabric back in the early 80's- does that qualify it as vintage? You can also see the inset corner where the sleeve is set into the bodice. There are four of these corners.
If I were going to make this again (and I'm not) I would omit the front darts. Instead I'd cut the front into two pieces and gather the bodice onto a separate peplum piece. I'd also distribute the gathers better in the front and in the back, bringing some of the fullness toward the center. And I'd maybe go down one more size. But there are other blouse patterns to try, so I think I'm going to file this one away.

The next project is Burda Style 02-2011-103, the high waisted pencil skirt with godet:
I knew upon first sight that I had to make this skirt. I used a mystery fabric from stash, a rose and black textured piece with some stretch to it, and black "no cling" lining from Hancock's. I cut a 44 waist and graded out to a 46 at the hip. Here it is worn with Burda Style 07-2010-121:

I ended up taking the waist in 1/2" on each side. If the fabric had less stretch, I might not have needed to take it in so much.

I used an invisible zipper in the back. I love the funky back darts and the flippy little godet. They are what makes this skirt unique. You can just barely see the darts in this photo. Hmmm. The V formed by my darts seems somewhat wider than the tech drawing.

The darts were easy to sew, though quite large. And the godet was easy to construct as well. You just need to mark them well so that the tip of the godet and the darts all meet at one point. I didn't really read the instructions, it's Burda after all, and it's just a simple skirt, but I would recommend hemming the godet with a narrow hem before sewing it to the skirt, and then hemming the rest of the skirt at the end, tacking the edges of the main skirt hem to the godet seams. I sewed my godet in and then tried to make a 1" hem all the way around. The godet is small and very curved and I couldn't ease the hem in and make it invisible on the outside. I ended up using bias tape to hem. It worked okay, but it makes the hem a little bit stiff.

I do plan to make this again, maybe out of a pinstripe like in the magazine photo, to show off the dart lines. I'm not 100% pleased with this version because of the fabric. It's a little bit too thick and spongey for this pattern. I had a heck of a time making sure the bottom of the zipper tape didn't show- the first time I tried it on, the tape stuck out and made a little lump. I looked like I had a tail! A good pressing and adding the lining seemed to help. And speaking of lining, the pattern uses the exact same pieces for both the skirt and the lining, so you have to sew the darts and godet twice. I imagine if you didn't want to go to all that trouble you could just make it unlined and wear a pretty slip- who would ever know the difference? Although I have to admit, I really like wearing a lined skirt.

And there you have it, two finished projects. Now I'm going out to enjoy the "warm" weather!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Nan's Garden is stitching up nicely. I'm about at the half-way point now.
I finished the knot gardens and made it to the back stitched turtles. Aren't they adorable?

When I gathered the supplies for this piece, I realized I didn't have all of the required DMC floss. So when I went to Hancock's last week, I thought I'd pick up the remainder of what I needed. Unfortunately, it seems Hancock's no longer stocks DMC! (At least not the store I went to.) They instead carry a brand called Sullivans. They had a conversion chart handy, so I decided to just pick out the substitute colors and give it a try. So far, so good. The Sullivans floss looks and feels very much like DMC. The plies separate easily and it stitches smoothly. So far, I really can't tell a difference. And the skeins even have the DMC comparison numbers on the label.
Have any of you used this brand before? Any opinions on it, good or bad?

In sewing news, I have been half heartedly meaning to cut out my Vintage Sewalong dress all week, but I couldn't seem to find my fabric. Of course I haven't really been searching for it as hard as I could, so I just assumed I'd find it this weekend under some other fabric. Well, I found it last night. Apparently, when I prewashed it, it got tossed into the pile of clean laundry on the couch. My teenage boys folded the laundry and put it away. I guess they thought that fabric was a really long tablecloth, or a really big bedspread, because I found it nicely folded... in my linen cabinet.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sneak Peek

Just so you don't think I've been fibbing about sewing, here is a sneak peek at the two projects I finished yesterday on my snow day.

First up is Burda Style 01-2011-102:
It is completely finished. When I get a good photo of it on me, I'll give a detailed review. For now, let's just say I give it a C+.

Also finished is Burda Style 02-2011-103:

Once again, I'll have a detailed review as soon as I can get good photos. In the meantime, the pattern gets an A, while the fabric gets a C+. I'll be making this one again...

I apologize for the crappy indoor photos. It's impossible to get good lighting in my house, even with a flash, so that's why I always take outdoor shots. Unfortunately, there's a foot of snow on the ground and the temperature never got above freezing today. The forecast says, however, that we are going to get highs in the 50's and 60's this weekend, so I should be able to get photos and give the complete story on both these patterns this weekend.

What are you sewing?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snow Day

Just when we were finally getting thawed out a little bit, we got another foot of snow dumped on us. So today is a snow day. Hopefully I can take advantage and wrap up a couple of WIPs and maybe get my Vintage Sewalong dress cut out.

Meanwhile, I've made some progress on Nan's Garden:
I've completed the top section with the fences and flowered vine, added the cross stitched roses and the Rhodes variation right below them, and begun the "knot gardens." Those are the three medallion shaped areas at the bottom. Check out those cute little backstitched butterflies. That's one of my favorite things about Nan's designs- the little dainty backstitched motifs.

This sampler is stitching up pretty fast. If I can keep going at this rate, I may have it finished by the end of the month. And maybe by then things will be melted off and thawed out!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Run to the Fabric Store...

The ice and snow finally melted off of the roads enough for me to make a run to the fabric store yesterday. I was able to pick up some buttons for the Flutter Sleeve Top:
I think I'm going to go with the clear pink beads at the bottom of the photo. They go with the fabric the best and they look more like what I was imagining in my head when I started the project. I hope to have a finished photo to share soon.

While I was out I also stocked up on lace hem tape and bias tape, so I should have a finished pencil skirt to show soon, too.

And what would a trip to the fabric store be without new patterns? I snagged this one, Vogue 8685:

I have been wanting this one for a while, and I finally found it on sale, in stock, and in my size! You will be seeing it soon made up in a purple ponte knit that I also picked up on sale.

Then there was this one, Butterick 5558:

There's just something about this little dress. Maybe it's the pintucks, or the cute V-neck and wide collar- I don't know. But I think this will be so cute for spring made up in a crisp linen, or maybe even a cotton print.

And I couldn't resist McCall's 6278:
We'll see if I actually make this one. It says "easy" on the envelope, but it has four inset corners, and I'm not 100% sure how I'd do an FBA on this one. But I really like it! I'd add about 3 to 4 inches to the hem, though...

And I found this little dress, McCall's 6273 for the princess:
It's pretty basic, but it goes up to size 14, so I snatched it up. I'm sure we can jazz it up and make it special.

The roads are pretty much clear here, so it's back to work tomorrow. But we're expecting more snow in the middle of the week, so maybe I'll get another snow day and have some extra time to work on finishing up my blouse and skirt and starting a new knit dress. Of course, then I'll need some nice weather to actually wear all these new garments. It's been nothing but jeans, sweatshirts, and snow boots all week. Ugh! I don't know about you, but I can't wait for spring!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hello, New Project!

I started something new last night.

This is going to be Nan's Garden, from Just Nan. It's an oldie, but a goodie from 2000, and it's been in my stash for that long. I figured that I had the chart, and the embellishment pack and most of the required DMC threads, so I might as well make it. Here is the model:

I made a fabric substitution. Instead of the 28ct platinum the pattern calls for, I'm using 32ct Antique Lace (same fabric I used for Nature's Alphabet.) I'm liking the colors on it, and since it's a higher count, of course the design will be a little bit smaller than the model. That's fine with me. I like small and dainty.

In sewing news, there's not much going on. I have the flutter sleeve top all done except for buttons, and the pencil skirt all done except for the hem. I need to get to the fabric store for buttons and bias tape for the hem, but there's over a foot of snow on the ground, and more on the way! But I promise, I'll have garments to show soon.
If you're having snow days, take advantage and get lots of sewing and stitching done!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Early Valentine's Day

I finished up the Valentine's Day Sampler the other night. The cool thing about designing your own sampler is that you can just up and decide when it's done and... stop stitching.
As you can see, it's just a simple band sampler using various specialty stitches. There are no cross stitches in this one.

Sorry about the blurry photo. I used DMC floss, Kreinik #4 braid, Waterlilies silk, and Mill Hill glass beads.

I'm not in love with this little sampler. I don't particularly like the fabric. It's linen that I bought back in 2001 (according to my notes on this sampler.) It's too "rustic" for this project with it's white warp and pink weft threads. I think a smoother, more evenly colored fabric in a slightly darker color would work better.
I also remembered while stitching this, that I don't really like working with metallic braid. I'm not in love with the way it looks, either. I really need to visit my LNS to see what kind of new fibers are out there. I imagine that many new things have become available since 2001!

I will probably mount this on foam core board, back it with a cute cotton fabric and put some cording around the edges. Then I can display it on a little easel for Valentine's Day and then put it away.
So now I'm excited because I can start a new project! I'm trying to decide between a "big" band sampler by my favorite designer, Thea Dueck, or a small sampler by Sweetheart Tree, or a medium sampler (an oldie but a goodie) by Just Nan. I got an unexpected snow day today (the snow was completely expected, staying home was not!) so I plan to make a decision and get busy today.