Tag Archives: Burda

Shirt-tales

A long-awaited shirt

A long-awaited shirt (Also, GRASS! NO SNOW!!!!)

A long time ago, I made Tyo a shirt. And she loved it very much, but since I had made it in a pattern a couple of sizes too small, it was outgrown pretty much instantly. A replacement was mandated, but despite my best intentions, I allowed myself to be distracted with frilly dresses and fleece pants and other frivolities for, well, nearly two years at this point. I think it was Gertie’s pattern that put Tyo over the edge, though. Anyway, she marched down to the savage pit of despair that is my basement “sewing area,” dug through the chaotic array of teetering, half-unpacked boxes*, and emerged, victorious, with this fabric, which she had picked out, long ago, for a replacement shirt.

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Burda 04/13, pattern #120

The next question was, of course, the pattern. What she REALLY wanted was an enlarged version of the original pattern. It being a Lekala, this is theoretically not that hard, but I wasn’t quite prepared mentally to figure it out. She’s also been wanting a tie-front shirt, too, which seemed like a more seasonal option, anyway. So I decided I’d use this tie-front pattern from the April Burda, which I picked up a few weeks back, thinking particularly of this pattern for Tyo. Of course, while Tyo (who is nearly thirteen) is now overlapping into the lower end of women’s sizes (when did THAT happen?), this particular pattern only goes down to a 36, and really she needs a 34. And even then, about five cm less of body length. Fortunately, in the foggy recesses of my brain I remembered something about the Selfish Seamstress’s long-ago tutorial on grading down nested sizes. Actually, this wasn’t nearly as difficult as I had thought it would be. I suspect taking the time to highlight my closest line on the pattern sheet helped. Then I added seam allowances, which was basically adding back the width I had just removed, by the way. OK, I know there’s more to it, but just sayin’. For my final trick (such a good mother I am), I removed the five cm in extra length, half from the armscye area and half from the torso above the waist. I even walked my seamlines afterwards to check that they were good. I NEVER do that.

Then, I spent a slightly ridiculous amount of time pinning the major match-points on this wiggly, gauzy plaid. Seriously, I think cutting separate layers would have taken less time. It would’ve been worth it, though… except that I then proceeded to cut out both front and back with absolutely no regard for matching the sideseams. So all was basically for naught. DURRRRRR. This is why we don’t sew (cut out) late at night. *headdesk*

Sleeve

Sleeve

I opted to at least try to match the sleeve in the front armscye.  /sigh.

Closeup, with funny look. Funny looks are mandatory, it appears, these days.

Closeup, with funny look. Funny looks are mandatory, it appears, these days.

I actually think this is a ridiculously cute little shirt. I love the simple collar (even if I couldn’t make heads or tails of Burda’s instructions for sewing it, and consequently winged it and made a bit of a hash.) I love the one button above the tie, and the gathered elastic on the sleeves (even though Tyo has warned me she will probably just roll them up.) The fit is pretty decent. The shoulders are a wee bit wide (and I did measure her shoulder width!) but perhaps that’s how it’s meant to be. I can’t quite tell if the waist length ended up right since the tie kinda scrunches everything up, but I guess that means it doesn’t matter, anyway. Despite being spongy and shifty, this is a really lovely fabric to work with. Also, yes, I was too impatient to wait until I had a real button on, so she has it pinned with her Mockingjay pin.

She's a cool kid.

She’s a cool kid.

The one thing that could’ve been a bit disastrous was the long, diagonal front edge of the ties, which is a hot ripply mess just waiting to happen. Fortunately for me, this fabric was fairly amenable to being steamed back into shape, and fortunately for anyone else who tries this pattern, once they’re tied I think it doesn’t matter too much. I mentioned I made a hash of the collar (well, mostly the finish on the inside.) I also managed to snip through the outer fabric when finishing this seam, so there’s an interesting little “detail patch” in one shoulder that I forgot to photograph for you. It’s totally cute and intentional-looking. Right? Right. We’ll go with that. In an attempt to neaten up my nasty collar-innards, I stitched a white flat-fold bias tape along the shoulder/back neck seam, which worked out reasonably well, and makes for some nice stabilization in that area for this spongy fabric. My seam-finishes are nothing to write home about, serged with a bit of topstitching… except that they are, because I haven’t been able to serge anything this lightweight in aeons without wanting to tear my hair out. I came up with a stop-gap solution for my serger’s overly aggressive needle thread tension—I wrapped some sturdy buttonhole thread in between the tension discs and cut it off short. The extra thread holds the discs open just enough that they have something resembling a normal tension for the actual serger thread. Hooray! Yes, I know this is not an Approved Solution (TM), and it will probably explode without warning into a Tangle of Overlock DOOOOOOM without warning. But it’s working and I really don’t have the money to get my serger serviced AGAIN (especially since the last servicing totally failed to correct this problem and may actually have exacerbated it.)

One final face

One final face

And I think that’s all I have to say, except that this is actually only the second Burda magazine pattern I’ve sewn, ever. And I’d be totally tempted to make myself one, except that there’s no way it would look as good on me as it does on her. I would like to figure out that collar, though.

Oh, and she wants another—in red. That’s my girl. :)

*I have a high tolerance for functioning around mess. This is particularly unfortunate for my neat-freak husband.

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Attack of the Vogues

Latest pattern binge

Value Village (Your Thrift Department Store!)’s pattern section was absolutely stuffed this week (double the size it was last week) and what it was stuffed with was Vogue patterns.

Unfortunately, it was stuffed with 80s Professional Woman Power Dressing Office And Evening Chic Vogue patterns. Even for $0.49/apiece, I couldn’t justify more than a couple. And, some more kids’ patterns. It’s an addiction, I tell you, because I know that my kids won’t wear most of these.

Because I’ve been trying to clean up my basement (rather than sewing) in the evenings this week, and thus have nothing to write about, I’m going to witter on about the patterns a bit more. They’re not really deserving of it, but I fee like it.

 (Not to mention Tyo’s stomach bug hi-jacked me and I was up every hour last night and let’s just say that was the single most disgusting night of my life so far, including childbirth and the one involving dead dogs and formaldehyde. AND the Centipede Incident. So today I’m just drinking electrolytes and trying not to wish I were dead and wondering if I dare inflict ibuprofen on my stomach.)

Mccall’s 6159

I’m developing a soft-spot for these McCall’s “Carefree” patterns almost as big as my 70s Simplicity weakness. Although I think in this case it’s mostly for the charming illustration. I like versions A and B, though I never actually wear vests so it’s probably not a really smart purchase.

McCall’s6521

Speaking of McCall’s Carefree. This one is a Young Junior/Teen pattern, size 7-8, which is for someone with a 29″ bust and 32″ hips. Another pattern smack in between Tyo’s size and mine. What is it about those 70s athletic shorts with the contrast binding that absolutely undoes me?

70s athletic shorts

Oh, yeah. This probably explains it. The photo is from about 1983, but the clothes were probably pure 70s hand-me-downs. Obviously my love for short shorts, kneehigh socks, and the colour red was established early.

Vogue 7214

I don’t know that I like any of the individual elements in this pattern especially, but something about the whole look just evokes early 20s to me—skirt length, boxy jacket, cloche hat. 80s style is so hideously distinctive, it’s often easy to overlook how much it drew on past eras…

Vogue 7605

Yuck on the jacket and the pleated skirt (although note the boxy 20s silhouette again), but I really love the tucked cami. Of ocurse, it’s basically some lightly-shaped rectangles, but y’know. Fifty cents. Vogue.

Vogue 7829

This is probably the crowning glory of the “score”—great full-skirted, princess seamed coat. Wait, where have we seen that before?

Yeah, yeah, bite me.

On the upside, the Burda Magazine issue I won on Alexandra Mason’s blog a few weeks back finally arrived! It’s the October 2010 issue, which has at least two patterns that jabbed me in the eye saying “make me make me makeme” when they showed up on Burdastyle.

This cool swing-jacket type thing

and this fitted-bodice, gathered skirted dress.

Oh, and Tasia just released the new Sewaholic Pattern, Cambie, a gorgeous, sweetheart-neckline, fitted-bodice, full-skirted dress.

Which brings the tally of patterns in this style I want to make up to, like, five. Or is it seven? And you can read up here on my difficulties with pulling off this style in the first place…

Usually I’m pretty good about sewing up cake rather than frosting, but right now the frosting part of my brain seems to be jonesing hard. Ah, well, I guess that’s what Fantasy Sewing is for…

I’m trying to read blogs  but even that is almost too much work, never mind commenting. Argh.

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Next big thing

I feel a little floaty with having the coat done. Not sure what to tackle next. Now that I have my whole wardrobe back, it seems like I’ve got jillions of clothes. Make something for the kids? It’s Tyo’s turn, I guess, but she just got two whole big black garbage bags full of hand-me-down clothes from a friend. I could work more on my Lady Grey coat. I’m distinctly behind, but since I can’t buy my fashion fabric yet (and probably not util the very end of October) it’s hard to get too pumped up about that. Not to mention I’m heading off to a conference on the weekend that I need to get ready for (myself, but the family also, house clean, childcare figured out).

So what do you think I should do next? Something frivolous like the 50s petticoat? Be good and work on the Lady Grey (make my muslin wearable? I have a few ideas floating around for knit tops but I haven’t got the fabric at the moment. I want to try knocking off some of the drape-drape ideas I’ve seen, since the odds of me actually getting my hands on one of those actual books are vanishingly small.

August Burda jacket---finished

Anyway, I did manage to motivate myself to stitch up the last of the lining hem on this jacket (first mentioned here), which has been hovering between wadder and UFO status for the last month and a half. It’s my first (and so far only) stab at a Burda magazine pattern; I guess I need to make at least one more thing from this issue to justify buying the magazine, otherwise I might as well have bought the pattern off the website ;). The biggest problem with it is that for some reason I cannot fathom, the shoulder seam is wonky. It sits in the right place at my neck, but angles backwards from there. Which means that when matching the shoulder seam to the top of the sleeve, it hung and pulled very strangely. Basically I had to pretend that the apex of the sleeve-cap matched up with a point about and inch and a half in front of the

August Burda Jacket---Back

actual shoulder seam. And they’re still a bit wonky. A more minor problem is that it’s a petite. I made the 18, which is allegedly the petite equivalent of my regular 36, but somehow when I got the lining in it became really snug. Maybe I should’ve gone up a size… or done an FBA? Seriously, if I need an FBA, it’s pretty silly, folks.

These are, of course, all the reasons why you do a muslin, but when your thick wool fashion fabric came from the thrift store for three bucks… well, I rush in.

Being a petite, it is quite short, but we’ve already discussed the disproportions between my limb-length and body length ad nauseum :). I could’ve added half an inch above the waist, perhaps, but it works. Most importantly, it conceivably gives me something to wear right now when my awesome winter coat is still a wee bit too warm.

Also, I lengthened the sleeves by one inch. Incidentally, this is the sleeve pattern I swapped in to the winter coat—the problem with the armscye/shoulder seam is why I didn’t want to try and use the armscye from this pattern, too (because that, y’know, would’ve saved me about fifty headaches.)

Anyway, here it is.

Open

Another cute back view

Seriously, though, people, what do you think should be my Next Big Thing? :)

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How to take cute pictures of a sucky coat

Burda Jacket... almost finished

Ok, the pictures aren’t even that cute. It’s not totally finished… not sure at this point that it will be, except for bloodymindedness and so I have something to wear during Self-Stitched September if (when) it gets too cold for my jean jacket. Note the hands on the hips in the first photo, creating the illusion of fit. Note how it’s pulled around to improve the rear fit in the second photo; this makes the front look super-doofy.

So, what are my issues?

Well, partly it’s fit. I never did get the shoulders *really* figured out. If I take them in, it’s too narrow in the

Burda jacket, back(ish) view

shoulders. If I let them out, there’s that bump that you see in the photo. And somehow when I put in the lining, the whole thing shrank (go figure :P) so that it doesn’t even overlap nicely in the front (without pulling at the shoulders). Instead of the lone visible button at the top and two hidden ones lower, I might just put in a low button, since that’s the only part that closes nicely.

And partly it’s my fabric. The jacket was designed for faux-leather, and my wool is MUCH thicker than that. I think this thickness is the main problem with the collar, which is sort of heavy and ugly without anything being obviously wrong with it.  I think someone with perfect tailoring skillz could have made a nice fitted jacket out of this wool, but I suspect that someone of my calibre should’ve stuck with something a little more basic. D’you think a sleeve-head or a shoulderpad would help?

On the up-side, the sleeve length is dead-on. And it’s super, duper warm.

Kasia skirt pattern

And, just to show that I’m truly a sucker for punishment, I printed out and assembled the Kasia skirt pattern for my next project! I’m going to grade it out from a size 36 at the hip to a size 38 at the waist and hope that gives me enough ease… I measured the pieces and according my calculations the finished size of the 36″ waistband should be 28″, which is technically the size of my waist but wouldn’t be comfortable at all. But one size up should be adequate.

Just for the record, I haven’t worn an item of clothing with a waistband at my waist, except for one Christmas skirt that fits like a dream, since I was a teenager.

Oh, and here’s a picture of the jacket before I put the sleeves on, inside-out to show all the

Interfacing

interfacing. This was all as directed by the pattern, but maybe it wasn’t such a good idea on my thick, thick wool. You can also see very clearly that rogue shoulder-seam.

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Jacket Suckitude

The sleeves on this jacket are driving me nuts! Is it me? Is it the pattern? Is it my punishment from the fickle Sewing Gods for daring to try to make a—ulp—petite pattern?

Part of the problem comes from the shoulder seam, which runs well to the rear of my actual shoulder. Actually, the neck-side of it is perfect. But for some reason it angles backward at the outside. (I had noticed this in the muslin but thought it was due to me distributing the fullness of the sleeve cap poorly. Now I suspect that this is WHY the fullness was all concentrated to the back. Also the shoulder seemed a bit too wide, especially at the front, and I’ve now tightened the curve of the front princess seam a bit. I am dangerously close to the kind of billiard-ball alterations that turned my Lydia Disaster from a well-constructed top that didn’t happen to fit me into something suitable only for my 10-year-old’s scissors. But wool is considerably more forgiving of stitch-ripping than a cotton knit (I’ve now had sleeves basted in at least five separate times, by machine and by hand… I like by hand, it only takes about 2 snips to rip it all out). I’m hoping if I give up on the shoulder seam as a reference and mark my actual shoulder point, I’ll have some better luck. I hope so. I sure love this fabric.

Seriously, though, this is a pain. I have pretty easy-to-fit shoulders. They’re a little broad (not for this pattern though!) and square, but they’re straight and even. No forward-shoulder alterations here. And I’ve set in plenty of sleeves before, even in jackets, with none of these problems.

Man, I wish I had a dress-form.

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