Monthly Archives: June 2010

The zebra print that never was

The next thing on my list to make was a skirt (using my TNT pattern, Simplicity 2452) using my newly purchased zebra print cotton pique from Elliott Berman Textiles.  Imagine my surprise when I pulled out said fabric and it wasn’t a zebra print, but was, in fact, a graphic plant print.  I think it’s bamboo leaves, but am not sure.  So here I was thinking I was being so on trend with a soon to be made zebra print skirt and it’s just a bamboo leaf print.  Oh well.  My memory ain’t what it used to be I guess.

At any rate, I love my new skirt!  Nothing much to report on the construction other than that I should have listened to my inner voice and underlined the cotton pique.  It’s a loose weave and quickly loses its shape.  Underlining would have helped with wrinkling as well.  Oh well, I still love the skirt and am wearing it to work.  It still took three days to make it though.  I don’t seem to be getting any faster here folks.  I am a little frustrated by that, but I am still managing to make wearable items.  So I guess I should just be thankful.  *big sigh* 

Oh one cool thing about this TNT skirt that I did differently with this iteration.  After I had finished the construction of both fashion fabric and lining, I tried it on.  And. It. Was. Too. Big!!!  I had to take in the side seams at the hips about 3/8 on both front and back for a total reduction of 1.5 inches.  I guess my workouts have been working.  *pats self on back*  The scale tells a different story (haven’t lost a pound), but at least my clothes are fitting differently.  I probably should change the facing as well, but I had already done all the work and wasn’t going to completely redo the whole skirt. 

But enough wordy stuff already.  Here’s the proof of the pudding (with Jack’s cousins as extra cute bits)…

Happy sewing everyone!

Did I scare you off?

Whoa! I think I might have scared some of you off with my last post detailing Thea’s Challenge. Thea had some great ideas as jumping off points for a patternless project and included them in the comment section of that post, but let me paste them here as well:

“I gave Elizabeth this challenge to free her from the confines of what we think sewing should be. To be silly, have fun and throw caution to the wind.
Be creative. No rules, be as free as you like.”

  • Give a garment a back closing instead of the front closing it’s supposed to have.
  • Sew big buttons all over a garment.
  • Look at obscure patterns and see how they’ve drafted the pattern pieces. A good one to look at is Issey Miyake’s Vogue pattern – V2952.
  • Gather up fabric here, there and everywhere, on a garment.
  • Turn a skirt pattern into a top — or a top pattern into a skirt.
  • Have uneven hems.
  • Put frills in places you wouldn’t expect to see them.
  • Cut the fabric on the garment in many places and then sew the slashes up in different colored threads — on the outside.
  • Take two garments — that you don’t especially like — and combine them into one.

 

Here’s the idea I had for my project.

image from maxstudio.com

I saw a shirred knit skirt last weekend and can’t get it out of my mind. The one I have posted above is cotton voile, but I would make mine in a knit. I think that’s the perfect weekend skirt for running after possessed 3 yr olds traipsing after wayward toddlers. I have tons of knits in my stash that I could use. I just have to pick one out that will go with a bunch of my solid t-shirts. As I recall, using elastic thread shirrs the fabric about 1/2 its original width, so I just need to figure out my measurements for this skirt and decide how wide (vertically speaking) the shirred section will be. I think I will do a serged rolled hem on the hem. Super easy. It’s not as creative or out of the box as Thea was suggesting, but it is patternless.

If I hadn’t already had this skirt in mind, I would make a skirt using Thea’s fourth suggestion of gathering up fabric here and there. I think that would look really cool. Who knows, maybe that’s next. One can never have too many toddler chasing skirts.

So I ask you again, who’s with me? 😉

Thea’s Challenge

 

image from purlbee.com

 

After Thea helped me “draft” Haley’s birthday dress and I posted the pictures of Haley wearing it, Thea emailed me with an idea.  She suggested that we should all do a small project without using a drafted pattern. 

Thea said, ” Just see a design in your mind, take the fabric, cut, sew, try on and tweak.  No sewing rules.  No perfect finishing.  A project where only the outward appearance matters — and it only has to please you.  It can look as wild as you like, with mixed fabrics if you like.  Something that you would wear if there were no rules, regulations and nothing mattered.  Total playtime!”

So what do you think?  Do you want to join me in taking on Thea’s challenge?  If so, I will set up a shutterfly album so that we can all post our pictures.  I already have an idea for my pattern-less design.  I think the point of this challenge is to be spontaneous with our sewing and to not overthink it.  There’s a lot of inherent self-doubt in sewing.   Well, at least there is for me.  And I think this challenge will prove to us that we can trust our instincts.

So who’s with me?

2010 Check Up

We’re nearing the end of June and I thought I would see how I am doing with my 2010 goals.  Not so good in some respects and right on target for others.  Here’s my list…

  • sheath dress – not yet attempted
  • blazer/jacket – not yet attempted
  • use sweater knits for a cardigan sweater set – not yet attempted
  • welt pockets – not yet attempted (sensing a trend here)
  • find some TNT’s like Carolyn – attempted and successful with the pencil skirt only so far
  • perfect my invisible zipper – I’ve done two or three and so far with dubious perfection
  • more lined skirts – I’m lining all my skirts, but have plans to make unlined skirts for the summer soon.
  • a tailored shirt – I made the camp shirt for Thor which had some tailoring, but have not yet attempted one for myself.
  • make a charmeuse or chiffon blouse – too scared to work with the fabric so far
  • participate in at least 1 Pattern Review contest – maybe the LBD contest???
  • make at least 25 garments (one of which should be a complex pattern like the trench coat) – I’ve made 13 garments so far this year.  Yippee!!!!

 

With my sister’s “lemonade” skirt to be completed this week,  I am on track for completing 25 garments by the end of the year.  I can’t believe it almost.   I really want to make a sheath dress for my cousin’s wedding this summer but am still dithering about which pattern to use.  The blazer/jacket will be taken care of in the Trench Sew Along II; I am making a fall coat out of some purple wool I bought last year.  I am dying to make cardigans, so hopefully that will get knocked off the list.  And as you all know, I am really trying to find some TNT patterns for my work wardrobe, so I hope to definitely accomplish that this year. 

So, all in all, I think I am doing ok with my plans for the rest of the year.  This list was a wish list.  If I don’t get to everything, so be it.  I’m not going to whine about it later.  Ok, maybe I will but it won’t last long I promise. 

Anyhoo, how are you doing with your goals for the year (if you had any)?  Tell me!

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Burda 5-2010-105

I have a fire lit under me of late.  All I want to do is sew.  Did I mention that I’m obsessed?  Tonight I’m taking a little break to write the review for the Burda 5-2010-105 dress.  Here’s what I just posted to Patternreview.com…

Pattern Description:  From Burda: “Ute obviously looks happy in her all-round jersey dress! It is so easy-care and uncomplicated that she can easily play with Willi while wearing it.  The cleverly cascading bodice is gathered by elastic at the waist and the cool shade of blue make it suitable for evening as well.”  From Elizabeth: “Drapey jersey dress with elasticized waist and fitted skirt.”

Pattern Sizing:  Burda sizes 36-44.  I made the size 38 with some modifications (see below).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  For the most part it did.  I think my bodice could have been longer and my neckline was definitely different.  Also, I shortened the skirt, and obviously my fabric choice was different as well.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, surprisingly for Burda.  But this was just a one dot difficulty, so I guess it would be hard to be inscrutable at this level. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I loved the simplicity of the pattern and the graceful folds in the bodice.   I did not like that the measurements for the skirt were for someone who has no hips or thighs whatsoever.   More on that later.

Fabric Used:  A gorgeous rayon-lycra knit in a blue ombre from Metro Textiles in NYC.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I changed the neckline a little as I don’t like a neckline that’s too high.  I feel as if I am being strangled if anything lies on my clavicles.  I just traced a curved line lower than the original neckline about an inch and half lower.   I could have made it a little bit lower, but like it at this level now too. 

I made the skirt per the measurements given in the instructions for sz 38 (20 inches, which includes SA’s) and it was so tight you could see the outlines of my internal organs.  The vision I created in this tight skirt brought new meaning to the term camel toe.  Who knew camel toes were even possible in skirts?!?!  (Sadly no pictures survived from this stage of construction – must have been a freak accident.)  So, I added 1.5 inches to each panel, front and back and all is now right with the world and also g rated.  Oh and I shortened the skirt to above the knee as I think it looks more current.

I did not finish the neckline with a facing as directed.  Just lazy I guess.  I just turned over the edges and stitched it down with a narrow zigzag stitch.  Am I happy with it?  Not really.  The unfinished SA’s keep flipping out.    Am I going to redo it?  No.  My perfectionism only goes so far.  Ok, now that I’ve said that, my OCD might kick in and I might unpick those stitches and finish it differently somehow.  But it’s a 50/50 chance at this point.

As I do not have access to Burda’s much beloved Vilene Bias Tape, I used a knit interfacing that I cut myself using the sleeve pattern as a guide.  If you do this as well, please make sure that you cut it slimmer than the sleeve hem allowance as I did not.  Why, you ask?  Well, because I didn’t do that, if one looks inside my sleeves, one can see said interfacing.  So, please don’t look inside my sleeves. 

Also, I did not twin needle anything.  My fabric did not like the twin needle I used.  Admittedly, it was not a stretch twin needle, but I could not purchase one on the fly and really wanted to finish my dress.

The most significant change I made was to add a lining to the skirt.  Per Trena’s advice in her review (she added a lining after the fact) so I added mine during construction.  All I did was baste the lining to the fashion fabric right sides together, graded the SA, sewed the skirt/lining to the bodice right sides together, pressed the SA up towards the bodice, and then finally sewing the SA to the bodice as a casing for the elastic.  This made for a very clean interior.  But adding the lining created a heavier skirt, so I highly recommend using a wider elastic than Burda recommends.  I used a 1/2 inch elastic.  It worked perfectly for the weight of the skirt.  Adding a lining to such a close fitting jersey skirt has a smoothing effect for lumps and bumps, not to mention your undergarments, so I would definitely not go without lining this skirt or wearing a slip.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  While I love my dress, I am not sure I will sew it again as it is such a distinctive silhouette.  Also, I am in a sewing for work phase and this dress is a little too MILF-like for a staid high finance office atmosphere.  I had hoped to be able to wear it to the office, but my arbiter of style (aka my sister) said it was too casual for the office (that’s code for, “the ASSets on your balance sheet are showing too much”). 

If I were to make this dress ever again, I would make only one more change to the pattern.  I would make the bodice about 1.5 to 2 inches longer as it appears that the Burda model has more drape over the elasticized waist than I do.  I am still finding my bearings regarding what kinds of alterations I need to make on a regular basis.  Obviously I am long waisted as is evidenced by the last few patterns I’ve made.  I wish I was also long legged, but, alas, that is not the case.

I would definitely recommend this pattern to any level of sewist.  I think the pattern is easy enough for beginners, but that the resulting dress will appeal to advanced sewists as well.  I definitely suggest adding a lining and checking that the measurements work for you and your body. 

And now for some pictures of the dress on me.  I actually think the dress is much more pretty and flattering in person.  The fabric and drapey-ness don’t come across well in these photos.

As a PS, I made lemonade out of the too tight skirt that I constructed originally following the Burda measurements (with a lining I might add indignantly).  I am making it into a skirt for my sister on whom it fits beautifully.  She and I have such different figures, i.e., she’s a lot thinner than I am.  I am so glad that this beautiful ombre fabric will not be wasted.  And I know she will love the skirt.

Conclusion:   Great pattern, easy to sew, very current but classic.  Make this dress!  You won’t be sorry.  Great date night dress.  I hope I get a chance to wear it on a date really soon.   😉

Birthday Dress Pattern Review

Since Haley had her birthday this weekend, received her presents, and opened them.  I can  now show you pictures of the finished dress.  However, I forgot to take interior construction pictures before I wrapped and sent it off, so my apologies for the dearth of those photos.

By all accounts, Haley loves her dress and she looks so pretty in pink.

Construction notes:  I used no pattern for this dress.  With the help of my teacher Thea and some measurements of a RTW dress that Haley already owned, we drafted a pattern for this dress.  The bodice of the RTW wear dress was 18 inches in circumference and the straps were 2 inches in from the sides.  Since elastic thread for shirring cuts the width down by 1/2 I started with 2 pieces of the floral fabric (front and back) 19 inches wide each (1 inch added for SA’s).  I pressed the top of the bodice under twice and used the elastic on top of the hem to secure and start the shirring at the same time.  I shirred for about 7-8 times around until it looked right in length from top to bottom.  I seamed and gathered the solid pink band using my gathering foot, remember my new boyfriend?  In retrospect, I realized that I had forgotten to tighten my stitch tension, so the gathers are not as gathered, but I still like it.  It’s subtle.  Then I added the lace at the bottom.  I bought the lace in Philly when I was there for PR Weekend.  Doesn’t it just take this simple dress to a whole new level?  It’s definitely “one more louder.”  I must give full credit to Thea for turning the straps for me.  I have been very frustrated with my turner, but she seemed to have no problem whatsoever with it.  Hmmm…  I attached the straps and this dress was done!  Very simple.  I constructed the entire dress (minus attaching the straps) in one evening.  I can see a sweatshop in my near future making little girl dresses.  😉  

And here’s little Haley in her dress.  Isn’t she super duper cute?

In other sewing news, I finished my Burda dress and love it.  Lots to tell about that little adventure, but I must save it for another post.  Not sure if it’s work wearable though.  It might be a little too sexy momma for the office.  I’ll have to ask my sister’s opinion.

Happy sewing everyone!

Obsession

Ok.  I think I need help. 

Hi, my name is Elizabeth and I am a sewing addict.  Seriously.  It’s all I think about ever.  Every minute of the day.  When I’m at work, I would rather be at home sewing.  Work is getting in the way of my sewing.  It’s really starting to bother me.  I’m almost beginning to wonder if I should make a career change.  But what would I do?  I’m not good enough at sewing to be paid for it and I’m really slow.  Hmmm….  Must think about this some more.

Anyway, I took a nap with Jack today and I dreamt about making a jersey skirt with a shirred waist.  I had seen one earlier in the day and loved it.  After the nap, I thought about the Burda dress that’s been on my mind off and on for the last two months.  It’s 105 from May, 2010. 

I’ve had this beautiful ombre knit from Metro Textiles in my stash for a few months that I have had no idea how to use.  It’s been killing me because I just adore this ombre thing that’s been around for awhile.  Wouldn’t this dress look beautiful in an ombre????

Now I just need to decide how to place the ombre.  Should I have it start with the lighter blue at the shoulders going to the darker blue at the waist?  And if I do that how should I do the skirt?  I want the darker blue to make me look slimmer, but wonder if having light blue at the knees would look funny. 

What if I have the change of color go from left to right instead for the bodice only and then have it change from top to bottom on the skirt?  But then I still have to decide about the light blue at the knees issue.

Thoughts anyone?