Saturday, October 24, 2015

Burdastyle 08-2015-124 A Study in Beige

I knew the moment I saw this sheath dress in the August issue of Burdastyle that I would be making it.  Dresses like this- knit sheaths with interesting seaming- make up a significant portion of my work wardrobe.  I've even had a coworker say that it's my "uniform."  I take that as a good thing.

I love the style lines on this garment.  They are different enough to be interesting, placed well enough to be flattering, and just complicated enough to make sewing this dress fun.  I also love that the neckline is modest and the whole package looks elegant and suitable for my lifestyle which consists of going to work and coming home.

The magazine photos didn't really do the design justice in my opinion.  Thank heavens for tech drawings because otherwise I might have missed all that gorgeous seaming.  Burda showed this dress in navy and in tan:

I felt that I needed a light color to show off the seaming and the intricate, inset corners of this pattern.  When I saw this beige ponte knit at I thought it would be perfect and I ordered it as a birthday present for myself.  I've been trying to add more varied colors to my wardrobe and the truth is, other than gray and black, I don't have a lot of neutrals in my closet.  I don't even own a pair of khakis.  I wanted to try something outside my color box and I pictured this paired with gold accessories maybe with pearls.

I'll admit when the fabric arrived I had second thoughts.  It seemed very close to my skin and hair color.  I was afraid I might end up looking like a big blob of beige.  But what the heck, I already had the fabric and I just forged ahead.  In the end I'm happy with how this turned out.

This pattern is offered in tall sizes 72-88.  I cut an 84 through the shoulders and an 88 from the bust down, which compares to my "regular" burda size of 42/44.  Because this is a tall pattern, I did not add any length to the waist, but I did remove 3/4" of length above the bust; 3/8" to "un-tall" the pattern, and another 3/8" as my standard petite adjustment.  I also removed 1" from the sleeve cap.

I assembled the front and the back and basted them together at the sides and then began the long process of fitting this just right which I did by trying on, basting new side seams, trying on again, basting again, and so on.  In the end, I took the side seams in 1/4 all the way down, and an additional 1/2" at the waist.  I also took the CB seam in at the waist about 1/4".  I also had to tweak the side front seams just below the corners.  I have a little bit of tummy and it causes a hollow area on either side right below my hip bones.  I had a little bit of fabric pooling there, but taking that seam in about 1/8" helped.

And oh yes, I shortened the sleeves by about 1" to accommodate my T-rex arms.

Burda rates this as a 2.5 dot pattern.  It really isn't difficult at all- the pieces are perfectly drafted and fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  In fact, I didn't even look at the written instructions.  There is some precision sewing involved with the inset corners, 4 in front and 4 in back, but they were very easy to do in the ponte knit.  It helps that they aren't right angles, but a little bit wider.

All my seams are serged inside for neatness.  I remembered to interface my facings, which really helps with pressing and keeping them tucked neatly to the inside.  They are tacked down at all the seam intersections for extra security.

I have already worn this to work and road tested it and I love it.  It's comfortable and looked nice all day.  Because of the neutral color, I think I can change up the shoes and jewelry and get several different looks with this.  I'm looking forward to trying, anyway.

I don't have plans to make this dress again, but who knows what the future will bring.  I could see myself making the top version.  I've seen a couple of really nice color-blocked versions of this and I might like to play around with that idea.

Up next will be this dress, I think:
Vogue 9050, but with sleeves.  Another sheath with interesting seams made up in ponte knit to add to my uniform collection.

Do you have a "uniform"?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Princess Sewing Update

If you judged by the activity on this blog, you would think there hasn't been much sewing going on around here this year.  The truth is that there has been plenty of sewing, it's just that taking pictures for the blog has become a chore.  The kids are older and have more activities going on and I work more and want to do other things when I come home.  But last weekend the Princess and I took time out to snap a few shots of this summer's projects.

We started the summer out with this, McCall's 6886, an insanely easy knit dress.

This was actually our muslin, made up in this awesome tribal print ponte knit from Hancock's.  The princess loves these kinds of prints and she was thrilled with this dress.

We actually bought this pattern to knock off a dress she had seen in a department store.  I liked the dress on her, but I felt it didn't fit well enough to buy it- it was way too short and the bottom was too snug while the top was too loose.

After the successful muslin we made this one- the knock off version.  It has a CF and CB seam and a waist seam which we added by cutting the pattern pieces at the waist and adding seam allowances there and to the center fold lines.

Like I said, this pattern is insanely easy.  There are just 2 pattern pieces for the sleeveless version- front and back- no facings or bindings!  I don't really like the "turn under and stitch" method of finishing necklines and armholes in knits, so we added a neckband and finished the armholes with a binding strip on the inside.

If you want a very quick and easy knit dress, I highly recommend M6886!

I made Burda Style 6-2015-121 for myself and was very pleased with it.  The Princess liked it, too, so I thought why not make one for her?

For her version, I used another tribal print, this time an ITY knit from Joann's.  I also hemmed hers much shorter than mine.  She likes to show her knees and her legs are long enough to make the shorter length work.

I think we cut a size 36...

It's so much fun for us to go through the Burda magazines together, although it's hard for me to believe I'm sewing adult patterns for her.  Seems like just yesterday it was smocked dresses and Children's Corner patterns.  Where does the time go?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Simplicity 3846 A Long Time in the Making

Just recently (a few weeks ago) I finished up these pants from Simplicity 3846:

These are a very simple, plain pair of pants from this now OOP sportswear pattern:

The pants have straight legs, a flat front, back darts, a contoured yoke and an invisible zip in the side seam.  The interesting thing about them isn't really the pants themselves, but how long it's taken me to finish them and finally wear them.

You see, I made these pants in 2009.  That's right, six years ago.  Right after I made the city shorts version.  I finished everything except the hems, and I must have laid them aside thinking I'll work on that later, let me sew something exciting right now.  And they got pushed aside, covered up with other projects and fabric, and next thing you know they were forgotten.

I know I pulled them out from time to time over the years, but most of the time, they were too snug to wear due to my fluctuating weight and so I didn't bother with those hems.  After all, how can you hem pants if you can't even get them on to mark the length?

Well, with my new, more active lifestyle I've noticed that I'm now able to wear a lot of things that had gotten too tight and had been pushed to the back of the closet, so I pulled these pants out and tried them on.  I mean, they were completely done except for those hems.  It seemed insane to let a perfectly good pair of pants go to waste!  And they fit!  So I immediately marked those hems and finished them.  And wore them!

(Please excuse the wrinkles in the photos, I took these pics after the pants had lain on a pile of laundry overnight.  I have to grab that photo opportunity when I can!)  I made the original city shorts in a size 20, tapering in at the waist and CB.  I felt at the time that they were too loose so I cut these pants in a size 18.  I know all this because I pulled the pattern out and cut another pair using whatever adjustments I had already marked on the pattern pieces.

The original dark grey pair is made of a poly suiting that I'm about 98% sure I picked up at Walmart.  This new version is also a poly suiting, this time from Joann's.

When I wore the dark grey pair to work, I felt that they were just a smidge too snug.  Not enough to tell by looking, but I thought I could feel it.  So for the light grey pair, I used 3/8" seams.  Well, I can't win for loosing because after a couple of weeks, the light grey pair feels too loose and the dark pair feels just right.  Ugh!  I'll probably go back and take the light ones in to 5/8" seams.

So, there's not too much to say about the pants themselves.  They are very simple and quick to make (as long as you don't set them aside and neglect the hems for 6 years!)  There are no fancy details to them, but if you want a simple pair of pants that will lie smooth under un-tucked sweaters and tops, these are perfect.  This pattern is now OOP, but it looks like it's still available here and there out on the internet.  Of course, Simplicity and New Look offer similar styles all the time in their sportswear patterns such as S1324, or NL6080.

So I have new pants and a UFO finished and out of my sewing room.  What is your oldest project that you've finally finished and worn?