Saturday, December 29, 2012

Burda Style 10-2012-118A

This will most likely be my last finished project for 2012.  (It's taken me long enough to finish!)  It's the "Well Draped dress with cowl neckline" from the October issue of Burda Style.  

Please excuse the windblown skirt and hair.  I had to seize the photo opportunity when I could.

Here's the model photo:

  And the tech drawing:

This dress was the illustrated sewing course for this issue, but really Burda should have used one of the more complicated projects to illustrate.  This dress was super easy to put together.  In fact, there are only four pattern pieces including the back facings.  And speaking of patterns, Burda made a little mistake.  The instructions say that the pattern is sheet A, when in fact it is on sheet B.

The back features an invisible zipper and two vertical darts.  The front is cut all in one piece with the cowl facing folding neatly to the inside.  I think the finished dress turned out ever so slightly more A-line than the tech drawing suggests.

I used a black and white "micro houndstooth" suiting from stash that reads charcoal grey.  It's almost too substantial for this design- if I made it again I'd use a slightly lighter weight fabric.

The dress is unlined (I always wear a slip) and all the seams are serged.

The pattern was offered in sizes 34 through 42.  I cut a 42 through the shoulders and graded out to a 44 at the bust and then out to a 46 at the hip.  I also added 1.5 inches of length at the waist and made a petite adjustment above the bust by folding out 3/8"horizontally.  I removed some ease from the sleeve cap by folding out an additional 3/8".  The sleeves went in perfectly.  Although now that I look at the photos, I probably should have shortened the sleeves a bit more for my little T-rex arms.

I also rotated the front pattern piece when cutting it out so that the cowl neckline was on the bias and the skirt was on the straight grain.  I was worried about the front hemline stretching out if it was on the bias.  In the end it worked out well since my fabric was rather heavy and without the bias at the neckline it may have been too stiff.

I love the side gathers.  I think they are a very nice detail.  I'm not so sure about the so called "cowl" which really seems more like an origami-ish fold.  I fussed and folded it several ways and never could seem to get it just so.  I finally just gave up and let it flop the way it wanted to.  Also, I can't decide if the dress looks pleasantly "draped" or more like a wrinkled mess.  The windy conditions and the dog trying to get into the picture didn't help, either.  I suppose I will have to wear it to work for a road test and see how it does before making my final decision.

And that's it for 2012.  The next item on the sewing drawing board- actually it's already cut out and construction has already begun- is a pair of wide leg pants.  But they won't be finished until some time next year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

January Burda- What Might Get Made

The January issue of Burda Style arrived a couple of days ago, right in time for Christmas vacation sewing.  I wasn't overwhelmed by the issue, but there are a couple of things in it that I can see myself making. 
The first thing that caught my eye was dress #106, a simple, short sleeved shift dress with some surprising horizontal seaming: 
It's nearly impossible to see the seaming in the photo, but the technical drawing tells the full story.  In the right fabric, I think this dress would be fabulous.  Notice the little neck darts on the back view.  What a great detail that makes me think the fit on this would be perfect.


 The dress is also shown with lace sleeves.  I like this option, too, although once again, the seaming is impossible to see on the black fabric.
Surprisingly, the next thing that caught my eye was this tunic:

I was thinking just yesterday, as I was getting dressed, that it would be nice to have a couple of comfortable, "tunic-y" tops that would look nice with jeans on casual Friday or to run errands in.  And there you go.  I'm already searching my stash for something suitable.

Finally, there is this "Wrap Coat."  Burda has offered several of these over the last couple of years and I've held off making one because some of the designs seemed kind of weak and insubstantial.

But this one is shown in wool fleece and it looks like it would be warm and stylish.  The tech drawing also shows some interesting seaming in the back that makes it seem a little bit more structured than some other patterns I've seen.  It sure looks like it would be a better option for my cold office than wrapping myself in a blanket...


And that's about it.  Now that I'm off work until after the New Year, maybe I can get some sewing done.  Maybe.  I'm still working on a dress from the October Burda!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Christmas Stitching Begins

Pumpkin Sampler (by Jeanette Douglas, Just Cross Stitch Sept/Oct 2012) is done.  Thank goodness.  This little piece gave me fits!  Here it is, pressed, but not stretched yet.

It's really a simple little sampler, but it just seemed like everything that could go wrong, did, with this piece.

It turned out well, all things considered.  And I did enjoy the fibers and a lot of the stitches.

The pumpkins in the center were what caused all the headache.  They weren't charted out completely.  A stitch diagram was given and an outline of the pumpkins and the instructions were to "fill in."  Hmmm.  The pumpkins are somewhat round and the stitch is a series of triangles.  Let's just say it was challenging.

They turned out okay in the end, but I'm sure that they are just a little bit off and that made it a challenge to get the next section of stitching lined up correctly.  I did a lot of ripping on this one.

No alphabet was given for this design.  The instructions were to use a "favorite alphabet" to personalize.  So off I went to my stash.  I used an alphabet by Linda Reeves of La Broderie for my initials.  I added the date in two parts in the vines at the bottom.

I used most of the fibers that were called for in the design.  I discovered that I either misplaced or forgot to order one of the orange threads, so I just substituted a different one.  And I also substituted a green Sampler Thread for the Belle Soie (vines.)

This was also the first time I used wool fibers.  The taupe/brown in the stems, the dark green in the leaves, and the white design on the bottom pumpkin are all Gentle Art Simply Wool.  It was easy to work with, stitched up nicely with good coverage, and blended well with the other cotton fibers.
I wish I could tell you what fabric I used, but I don't know what it is.  It's a 28ct warm ivory with a "tea-stained" look to it.  It was just the right size and looked good with the threads, so I pulled it out of the stash and stitched it up. 
I still need to add a few seed beads to the back stitched vines above the two pumpkins, but I haven't found anything suitable in my stash and I don't want to place an order for one pack of beads.  (Yes, I know.  I'd end up ordering a lot more stuff to justify the one little package of beads!)  I'll wait until I get a chance to run by Hobby Lobby or my LNS and pick something up then.
In the meantime, I started a Christmas stitching project, Heirloom Christmas Sampler from Victoria Sampler:

This was released in 2003 and I believe I've had it in my stash along with the fabric, 28ct Platinum Cashel, and the accessory pack (mauve and teal colorway) for almost that long!  It is long overdue!
I began stitching this week and this is what I have so far.

A portion of the back stitched verse, a gorgeous row of Rhodes hearts with back stitched leaves and vines, a row of pulled thread work, and part of a row of cross stitching and satin stitching.

I absolutely love the Rhodes hearts.  They are stitched in Caron Waterlilies silk in a colorway called Rose Quartz.  There will be a tiny seed bead added to the top of each heart once stitching is complete.

The pulled thread rows are really easy to do.  You have to cut certain fabric threads and pull them out of your fabric,  Then you weave some of them back in so that you end up with a "window" in your fabric and the border appears undisturbed.  It sounds a lot harder than it is.

This is going to be my Christmas relaxation piece.  I plan to work on it in the evenings while I enjoy the Christmas tree and the build-up to Christmas.  If it gets finished this year, great!  If not, I will probably pack it away after Christmas and get it out again next year.  We'll just see how it goes.

In sewing news... I haven't done any since getting back from my trip.  I did trace a pattern last weekend, though.  I pulled out the October issue of Burda Style and traced the cowl neck sheath dress.  I graded it up one size on top and two sizes on the bottom, added my customary inch+ of length at the waist and did my petite adjustment above the bust.  Then I added seam allowances.  It was a lot of work.  I'm ready to cut out a muslin and whip it together to check the fit, but with all the Christmas cleaning and decorating this week, I haven't had a chance (or the room) to drag out my cutting board and lay it out.  Maybe today...

So is anyone else doing any Christmas sewing or crafting?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm Back... And With Something to Show

So it's been quite some time since I've blogged.  Well, I have a good excuse.  I've been out of the country.

I spent the last month in Guatemala on business.  What an incredible place to visit.  This is the view from my hotel room, and yes, that is a volcano.  And it is huge.

Here it is again... above the clouds.

I was there during the earthquake on November 7th.  Luckily the area where I was in Guatemala city didn't sustain much damage.  We did, however, have to evacuate the 14 story building where I was working. 

Here we are waiting for the okay to go back inside.

Needless to say, there hasn't been any sewing going on around here.  I did finish up this little cross stitch piece right before I left for my trip:

This is called Secret Pumpkin Patch by The Trilogy.  It's a small design- 4" X 4" stitched in Gentle Art and Weeks Dye Works on 32ct natural Belfast linen.  

 It came with the tiny polymer clay bird...

 And the small, round black button that is stitched on with long stitches to resemble a fat spider.  I love the little broom and the black cat.

I began this little stitch right before my trip and finished it up in Guatemala:

This is Spooky Tree from Elizabeth's Designs and was featured in the Just Cross Stitch Halloween Collection book from last year.  The design is supposed to have two bat buttons on either side of the tree, but I don't have any.  I thought about adding backstitched bats, but I kind of like it the way it is- more autumn than "Halloween."  It's stitched on natural linen from stash using various overdyed threads also from stash.  I think the only thing that actually matches the called for materials is the gold floss used for the leaves.  Everything else is a substitute.

 This is Gather a Harvest from Lizzie Kate.  I used the recommended Sampler Threads, but substituted a "tea-dyed" linen from stash.

 I started this one and finished it while in Guatemala, so I added it to my "signature."

Now that I'm back, I figured I would start this one:

I'm hoping this will be a quick stitch.  The fibers are gorgeous and I found a pretty piece of linen in my stash.  I'm taking most of next week off from work so I plan to have a nice little "Thanksgiving stitch."

And once it's finished, I can think about starting something nice for Christmas.

I do have sewing plans, too.  There is a sheath dress from a recent issue of Burda calling my name.  I may throw a muslin together next week also.

How about you?  What are your holiday sewing plans?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Finished Object and New Projects

 The weather has finally cooled down, we've had some rain, and fall is in the air.  As usual, I've gotten the urge to stitch.  But before I settled down with some pretty autumn themed projects, I decided to finish up a UFO- Nan's Garden from Just Nan.

This design came out in 2000, and I've had it since shortly after it was released.  I bought it because of the frog charm that came with it.  See him in the garden?

I stitched it on 32 count Antique Lace linen instead of the recommended 28 ct so my sampler turned out a little bit smaller than the model- 3.25" X 8" or 8.25" if you count the initials and date at the bottom. 
It was a pretty good stitch.  I love the little back-stitched animals/figures that are so often a part of Just Nan designs.  This one has turtles and butterflies.  However, sometimes the designs tend to get a little tedious as they are heavy on the cross stitch, with lots of color changes and one or two stitches of a particular color here and there, and not enough specialty stitches to keep my attention.  I think that's part of the reason this took me so long to complete. (I started this in February 2011!)
But like I said, it is fall, and I'm yearning to stitch something up in some gorgeous fall colors.  So I went through my stash and picked out a few possible projects and then I ordered some delicious hand dyed fibers to get started:

My "local" needlework store was kind enough to include a free pattern using some of the colors I'd ordered.

What a coincidence, I thought, until I realized that the cute little pumpkin chart by Jeanette Douglas matches the pumpkin at the bottom of the sampler (also by Jeanette Douglas) that I put on my to-stitch list.

This is Pumpkin Sampler from the September/October issue of Just Cross Stitch.  It looks like a quick stitch with lots of specialty stitches, beads, and of course, gorgeous colors!  And pumpkins!  I love pumpkins- I even have a collection of them!

How about you?  Does the change in seasons prompt you to want to stitch or sew something special?  Does it make you turn to a different craft or hobby?  What are your creative outlets for fall?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Burda Style 05-2008-125

I finished this dress last Sunday, and it's taken me all week to find the right opportunity to take a photo.  Lucky for me, the sun came out today after a nice rain shower.  Not so lucky for me is the finished dress.

The dress itself turned out fine.  The linen/rayon/lurex blend fabric is perfect for this pattern.  I lined it edge to edge with black poly and it turned out very nice inside also.
 No, I just have a feeling that this is "not my dress."  The tech drawing is very nice.  But the finished dress is just not working for me as well as I had hoped.  The color is wrong for me- too light against my pale skin.  I might be able to fix that, though, once the weather cools and I can add some black hose and a cardigan. 

I love the high neckline, the sleevelessness (is that a word?) and the upper bodice which offers a great canvas for showcasing a statement necklace.

The waist seam on this is slightly dropped, and that, combined with the horizontal gathers across the front, makes my shape appear more rectangular than it really is, which is not the effect I was going for.

The front skirt overlay droops ever so slightly.  I worked very hard to get the gathers sewn into the dart just so, ripping out and re-doing it at least three times.  Here is a picture of what the dart looks like on the inside:

No matter what I did, though, I could not get the hem of the overlay to match up with the underskirt.  I finally gave up and decided to live with the slight droop.  It's not too bad. 

Here is a photo of the front princess seam.  I clipped the seam allowance right above the gathers so I could press the upper, curved part of the seam toward the center, and the lower part toward the side so the gathers would lay nice and smooth.

All seams were serged on both the fashion fabirc and the lining since both fabrics frayed like crazy.

I'm happy to have this dress finished so I can move on to something else.  I'll wear it, I just don't think it will be one of my favorites.

Friday, August 10, 2012

In Progress

So what is on the sewing table here in Frogland?  This lovely little sheath dress from the May 2008 issue of Burda World of Fashion:

The fashion photo isn't great.  It's always hard to tell what a garment looks like when it's shown made up in black .  You have to take a look at the tech drawing to really see the great details in this dress.
This is a princess seamed sheath (one of my favorite styles) with some really nice gathering on the skirt and bodice.  The gathered part of the skirt is actually an overlay.  The underskirt is plain with two darts.  The overskirt is caught into the right side seam and the gathers are caught into the dart on the left side.  I haven't gotten to that part in the construction process, so I will have to let you know how it goes.  I imagine precision marking and sewing will be required.

The back of the dress is all one piece with vertical darts and a center back zipper.  It's also fully lined.  I plan to use the "edge to edge" lining technique to finish the neck and armholes.

I'm using the grey linen/rayon/silver lurex blend fabric that I picked up from Hancock's back in May.  I originally thought to make a pair of wide leg pants out of it, but I decided a sheath would be more suitable.   The dress is interesting, but conservative, so I thought the extra little sparkle of the lurex would give it a little pop.  So far the fabric is behaving. It was easy to cut and it's easy to sew.  I was worried about pressing it, but so far I've had no problems. 

I'd really like to get this dress finished this weekend.  The August issue of Burda Style arrived last week and I really want to make a couple of things in there.  If only there were a couple more hours in the day.

How is your sewing going?  Are you still sewing for summer, or have you begun sewing for fall?