Sunday, November 19, 2017

Unselfish Sewing: Ottobre 5/2017

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the kind comments on my coat! I love it and with the exception of 2 days, I've worn it every day since I finished it! I get not just compliments but stares - I know they're wondering why I am wearing SUCH a bright coat! LOL!

I had to take a break after finishing the coat. I think working with the wool did a bit of a number on my hand. Last week my daughter sent me a text, "Can you make this for me?". I said sure!  It's a (basic) sweatshirt with large eyelets and wide ribbon through the eyelets. It retails for $79 at Urban Outfitters:

I'd just gotten a cut of cream/off white ponte from Fabric Mart and had her wash it up. I got home and pulled it out of the dryer and OMG! It is AMAZING. It's a viscose/nylon/lycra blend and it's thick with awesome stretch and recovery. I quietly folded THAT up and put it back in stash and pulled out this knit that I was previously hoarding. Hahahaha!

I spent a long time thinking of a pattern to use. I buy raglan patterns for her for tees/sweatshirts because of her broad shoulders. I knew it would be fine but I WANTED to use a crew neck with slightly dropped shoulder.

I was doing laundry and brought my Ottobre sweatshirt up to dry flat (it's wool double knit...yummy). Eureka! This is a crew neck with bands as finishing and has a slightly oversized fit and dropped shoulder!

I traced off a size 40 for her (with Big 4 she wears a size 10). I meant to shorten it an inch but forgot. She's tall with long limbs and a short torso.  I added 1" to the sleeves and should have added 2. I left off the front pockets by tracing the top and bottom front as one piece.

College students are hard to pin down so you get dress form pics - boo! And, on Lily who is a tad bit (haha) bigger than my daughter.

I have a large ribbon stash and she picked this one. I want to find something closer to the inspiration. If not a very narrow stripe then perhaps a gingham. I'm going to look on my next SR Harris visit.

Nothing to see in back :)  The stitching on the back is from the tag I sewed in. I used a very narrow zigzag.

I had a HECK of a time with the grommets/eyelets (what IS the difference, anyway?!)! I had 6 this size in my stash and thought - yay! Luckily, I am smart :-p I went and bought a pack of 10. I did the first 3 just fine, ruined 2, set the 4th, ruined another one, set the 5th, ruined another one and set the 6th.

That's how it goes, right!?

The aftermath! LOL!!!!

I am certain that it took more time to set the grommets than it did to trace, cut and sew (serge) the entire sweatshirt! 

I have to add, again, that this neckband piece is *perfectly* drafted. I almost always ignore neck bindings. This one works. 

If I nail the girl down, I'll get a pic! :)

Saturday night I traced off the Burda 11/2017 skirt and decided I'd go ahead and cut out the front panels. Then, what the heck, I may as well sew them... :) Today I pressed everything, tested a couple of colors for topstitching and got that done too.

The rest will have to wait until next weekend. I'm excited to get this finished!!

Lastly, I have partnered with Circuit and have a shiny new Cricut Maker!! I will have to learn it, I've never used one before, and will be sharing at least a couple of projects here. But I think I'll use it a lot! I'm looking forward to it. As a result, I am back on Instagram. Find me as dressmakingdebacles!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Burda Challenge: 08/2017 #107

Red is hard to photograph
The sun goes down at like noon
The trail wasn't actually the best place for photos because there was lots of glaring sun

I FINISHED IT!!!! I was tired of wrangling fabric and sweating over the ironing board...and then I got the one side completely done, did the belt, and this propelled me forward.

(excuse my messy room)

I was so fixated on the red version from the mag but in the end, the other version is my jam! 

My fabric is a deep red-orange color, not a true red. I love, love, love it! I picked up just over 3 yards of this wool fleece from SR Harris for $10/yard. It is VERY thick, warm, and snuggly...but a mess to cut and wrangle around on the machine.

I used my normal Burda sizing; a size 40 neckline/shoulder and the rest is a 42. I went with the shorter length. You may have noticed the the red version is knee-length on the model but the shorter version is knee length on me! There is a 4" difference between the two; the shorter one has a 37.5" back length and the longer is 41.5".

Often times I don't add hem allowance to Burda patterns. I added a 1 1/4" allowance here - I really like the finished length! I did not add hem allowance to the sleeve.

Sewing the inset corners was tough the first time and the second half was infinitely easier!

I posted the photo on the left on Facebook as I was so proud!

I ordered a spool of Gutermann Mara 100 from Wawak and it was the perfect color - just a bit darker than the fabric. 

I used a size 14 stretch needle  and wound 3 bobbins to prep. I did all of my topstitching with the thread doubled. I finished the topstitching on the sleeve, noticed my bobbin thread was out. There was a 2" piece of thread left! Whew!! 

I'd added a 5/8" allowance but ended up sewing the back with 3/8" so that when I topstitched, there wouldn't be much excess. I serged almost all of the edges prior to sewing because of the thickness of the fabric.

I got the second side ready to topstitch and kept turning and turning...I'd twisted the front pattern piece. I had to under the side seam and when I redid it with the side panel already in place, I couldn't finish it cleanly. Boooo.

As mentioned, I really prefer it without the belt...
Can you see my belt carriers on the side??

I also do not like the scarf I made WITH the coat:

I love the scarf and will wear it...but it feels too...rustic?? with the style of the coat. This Robert Kaufmann flannel is VERY nice though! 

I figure this way, I can choose to use the belt when I need to wear it closed.

(I promise the top is even!)

I think my fabric is just a bit bulky for the belt. I feel like I need to arrange it when I cinch it in so that it doesn't look messy.

Love the sleeve length!

It's so me. I'm excited to add this to my (expansive!) outerwear collection.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November Plans and SG 2018 SWAP

I really should stop writing these posts so early when I know how fickle and easily distracted I am! This list is SO outdated! :-p

November plans:

Okay so 3 of the 5 are still planned! And of course, I've already sewn my first project of November, V9022. (fickle!)

-Burda 8/2017 coat in red wool fleece (WIP)

The Burda coat is slow going. But that's okay. The first half (there are no side seams, there's a side panel) took FOREVER and caused me to break into an actual sweat with those pivot points! The second half is making more sense now that I see the completed section. It is blindingly bright and I LOVE IT.

Once I got to this point I was DONE for the day and didn't even bother to press it at all! LOL!

Because of the neckline, I decided I needed a scarf to match. I ordered this Kaufman flannel from Hancock's of Paducah via Amazon.

Most of my scarves are handmade (made from flannel, crocheted or knitted). MOST of them are printed! haha! I think I have a black one somewhere :) So I'm looking forward to whipping this one up in that awesome plaid!

It was 21 degrees when I left for work on Monday
I am wearing a handmade scarf...
...and a men's hat because I already told y'all my head is big!

-Burda 8/2017 wrap dress in black & white print jersey
I haven't tried it on again :( It is finished though! Hemming was quick work on the cover stitch.

-Burda 11/2017 skirt in camel heathered suiting
I really wanted to do the accent stitching by hand but that is not an option right now.

-New Look 6524 dress in pale grey crepe suiting
I love this dress so much! I may sew this after the coat. I already cut it out and I am temporarily burned out on tracing Burdas (and that November skirt has a lot of pieces) so it may jump ahead.

-Butterick 5760 skirt in black wool blend suiting with Bemberg lining
Next month...

-Burda 10/2017 top (unsure what fabric I'm going to use)
I didn't want this Burda top until I saw Chris' version!

I just have to search the stash for the right fabric!

I'm traveling for Thanksgiving but have a quiet month otherwise. I think those 5 4 items are plenty ambitious.


I came across the Stitcher's Guild SWAP 2018 on Ruthie K Sews blog. I liked the color-based rules and since I'd already planned to beef up my work-appropriate-neutrals wardrobe, I decided I should join in. Now, it is intended to run December 26 - April (with some leeway for a garment or two completed prior to the December start date), but I hope to get A LOT of it done during my long break from work -- I was already planning a blazer, dress and pants for that time -- so mine will be completed long before April. By April we'll be at the tail end of winter,  I'll be #sooverit and will be trading out dark clothing for brights, hoping that spring shows up. :)

I will move the Butterick skirt to December and that will be my item that I complete prior to the official start.

L-to-R: Burda 11/2007, Vogue 9201, Burda 6853, Butterick 6331
Butterick 5760, Burda 8/2017, New Look 6261, Burda 7/2017, Style Arc Emily
Burda 6/2017, Burda 4/2014
Most of these patterns are representative of what I want while some are actual patterns I plan to use. Shhhh, mine isn't necessarily intended to be a stand-alone collection as it is designed to fill wardrobe holes. But, most everything will actually work together.
My neutrals will be black and tan.
Black: blazer, straight skirt, black dress with simple shape but interesting lines (e.g. the seamed Burda dress) and an 'interesting' black knit top.

Tan: pants with tie waist (suiting) and trench skirt (cotton twill). I plan to modify it to copy a RTW trench skirt.

For a print I'll be using the black & white glen plaid that FM sent me by accident. That will be for the sleeveless sheath and the other pant.

The other print will be the tie-neck dress. I really love the lines of this Vogue; I'm just unsure if I have enough fabric for tie neck, long sleeves and pleated skirt. I may have to find an alternate pattern.

My accent color will be magenta/fuchsia (which I never spell correctly btw). I want a more casual jacket in the pink and a soft, flowy button-front blouse.

From reading on Artisan Square, there are rules but there is also your interpretation of the rules. So the accent items may be in the same color family but not "match".

The only thing I've added to my existing plan are the blouse and casual jacket. All of the other things were on The Big List of plans.

Are you SWAPing? Do you have concrete plans for the upcoming season?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Palette Cleanser: Vogue 9022

I needed to make something easy and straightforward and my first thought was of course a TNT. But then, I wanted to sew a tunic from the 10/2017 Burda...and pulled out an animal print sweater knit.

 When I bought it, way back in February 2015, I loved the print but it was too much for an every day garment working at the engineering firm.  When I pulled the fabric out, I fell for it all over again. I was holding it up and realized, hey! I can TOTALLY wear this print at my current job! YAY!

I was going to make this pattern for the reversible garment challenge of the Bee. So I'd already read all the reviews and was ready to go. I am SO happy with it and it was just what I needed to keep the mojo going!
My daughter is such a great photog!!! <3

I was going to shorten it about 1/2" at the waist but honestly got lazy about altering the 3 pattern pieces (I know...). I had the larger envelope sizing and cut a Large, grading the neckline and shoulder down to a Medium. (I think after I did that I couldn't be bothered to shorten it! haha!) I also did a 5/8" swayback adjustment.

This pattern has a ton of reviews so I'm sure you know by now that the pockets are made by attaching the upper front and lower front, and folding up the bottom to create the pocket. Be sure to carefully mark the pocket placement and compare your left and right pieces to ensure they're even! Once I got it all marked, I hand-basted the pockets in place. I then serged all of the pattern pieces (except for the shoulder seams) because I figured it would be too bulky otherwise.

I pressed the seams open but cut the seam allowance at a 45 degree angle at the pockets so they could remain flat.

The pockets are really nice. They are a usable size and I like the soft fold on the top.

I left off the walking slit because 1) it wasn't needed in the knit and 2) I knew I'd be shortening it, I just didn't know how much. I did NOT leave off the back opening. Like with the cute little tie front top from Burda, lots of people mentioned not needing the opening.

I have a big head. Like, I was so excited to learn to crochet and then knit so I could have cute hats. I have had to buy hats in the mens section for forever. Luckily I made a ton of hats before I had to quit the fiber arts. So, big headed people unite...I needed it. Totally needed it. So beware. If you have a normal head, you may be okay. If you have a giant dome, do the slit or a zipper or something. :-p

I had this zipper in stash. I bought a handful of them awhile ago for $.50 from SR Harris.

I decided to bind the neckline instead of doing the facings. I stretched the back opening out a little :( but it doesn't look TOO bad.  And of course, my sleeves are a little too snug. Sheesh. I was going to go back and let out the sleeve seam but this sweater knit + black thread and I was just full of nopes.

After trying it on, I really liked it and decided it needed to be shorter. I cut off 2 1/2" from the hemline and hemmed it at 3/4". The original hem allowance was 1 1/4" so I effectively removed 2". A couple other reviewers removed 2" in length as well.

I think this length works with tights and boots and with leggings as more of a tunic.

And of course, it's a black & white print. Shrug. I've stopped fighting it!

b/w dresses! :-p

My daughter and I had lunch together and the trees were just gorgeous so I wanted to snap my photos there. But boy-oh-boy is it COLD in Minneapolis right now!

This after I took my coat off and the wind was whipping around me!

I am extra happy with this dress. I feel like it is so "me" and it was a fun garment to sew! It got me in the frame of mind to start on the Burda coat.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October Wrap-up and the Downslide

This month I sewed:

A 2 year old UFO! Okay, fine...that doesn't really "count' toward this month's fabric usage (which was the original reason for wrap-ups) :)
  • Ottobre 5/2017 sweatshirt in black wool knit
  • Vogue 1522 top in black & white print georgette
  • Simplicity 1366 top in black & white print georgette
  • Burda 3/2017 jacket in textured suiting
  • Lekala skirt in plaid suiting - wadder
  • Burda 8/2017 dress in black & white print jersey (WIP)
Favorite: Hands down V1522. It isn't perfect but I just love it so much!!!

FAILS: The  Lekala pattern and possibly the Burda dress :( (more below!)

Accomplishments: After complaining about the not-quite-right fit of the bust dart on the blouse from 9/2017, someone suggested making the FBA, even if I get a big honkin' dart. And, I read some old review (I don't remember which one now) where I got a BHD and it worked fine. THIS time, in this stiff suiting, it was horrible (mentioned in the blog post) and *this* girl converted that BHD to princess seams!!! I was so excited when IT WORKED!!!


Sigh...I knew I was about to hit a block. Too many YAY! projects back-to back! :)

The Lekala skirt is a bust. Wah. I cannot figure out the front pleat at the waist AND this fabric is too thick and heavy for the pleat to drape properly AND the fabric does not take a press...too much drama, so many other things to sew.

Moving on.

I really did like the 'weirdness' of those front pleats/tucks with the plaid!

I'd gotten 2.5 yards of this fabric so I could have enough to match the large plaid. There's a decent amount left. I saw a cute jacket with plaid body and black sleeves...could be an option on a pattern without too many seam lines. We'll see.

I spent time this weekend tracing both the wrap dress and the coat from the 8/2017 Burda. I got super excited to sew the dress, said to heck with it, and went for it!

So far, I don't like it. WAH!

I will finish it and write a full post...but let's just say I had the right front cut out (bodice and skirt), cut out the back bodice, put it on the dress form and said, "Oh wow. This is a stripe."


I swear it was a "splatter print". Like, random. I then attempted whatever stripe matching I could on the remaining pieces. Fine with the left bodice piece and the sleeves are okay.

I LOVE THIS FABRIC. I do not love THIS DRESS.  I do like it slightly more on the dress form than on me...

...and chopping the sleeves helped a ton. So I think there may be hope.

I wear horizontal stripes all the time; that isn't the problem. I love black & white prints; that isn't the problem. Too busy perhaps?? With the horizontal stripes on the bodice, diagonal on the skirt, vertical on the belt (at the waist)...I don't know. Bleh.

It only needs hems and the coverstitch has black thread in it (WIN!) so it'll be finished soon. I may let it marinate for a bit before reviewing/taking photos. (eta: it is going in the time-out bin for is, ahem, that time and it could just be me feeling blahhhhh)

I need a palette cleanser. I will sew up a piece or two of the Simplicity 8424 loungewear that I wanted to make for fall before I hurt my hand. Most days I come home and change into a tank top and leggings. So I think I'll start with the tank and the leggings with tie waist.

Happy November!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Burda 3/2017 #101

(Sorry for the accidental post and subsequent deletion!!)

It turned out. Whew. But boy oh boy! It was a bit of a winding road. 

I don't recall now what made me decided I neeeeeeded a cropped jacket (you know how it is). And I knew it had to be a neutral and *my* neutrals are blue and black and grey (this was written before my color post btw!). Well, I'd just made 3 new grey items so I went with this navy suiting with black and metallic yarns/threads woven through. I don't know about myself sometimes.

The shell by itself? I almost quit the project mid construction! The sleeve looked very bulky and ugly! Thankfully, the Bemberg lining (we'll come back to THAT) supports the stiff fabric well enough. After all my trauma (haha!), I cut out my lining sleeves and added the sleeve pattern piece to the existing pile of pattern pieces. And then I almost threw the entire pattern away! LOL!!! (People tell me I'm SO dramatic)

Why don't we just start at the beginning??

You all know how I feel about muslins in general. But pants? Fitted jackets? I will usually do it. I always need a full bicep adjustment. I usually insert one sleeve, make the adjustments and then insert the other sleeve. My other standard Burda adjustments are: FBA, shorten the shoulder & swayback adjustment. My swayback adj is almost always 5/8" and the FBA 1". For the shoulder adjustment I measure and then shave it from the edge on the muslin (grading to nothing at the notches), but on the paper pattern, I do it "right".

MORE bust room!! MORE room at the waist! :)

Here, the L sleeve is before adjustment and the R sleeve is after:

TIGHT sleeve and long shoulder

unaltered sleeve
swayback wrinkling
bust wrinkling

shoulder narrowed, sleeve adjusted

The jacket was a little snug all around. In my mind, I was adding a CB seam for the swayback adjustment...but I forgot to add seam allowance when cutting out the muslin. DOH! I did remember on the final garment and also added to the back side seam, 3/4" total.

The Basics
  • I used a size 40 neckline and shoulder with a 42 for the rest.
  • I did a 1" FBA which I ended up converting to princess seams
  • I added a CB seam and did a 5/8" swayback adjustmnet
  • I did a 1" other FBA (bicep)
  • I shortened the shoulder 1/2'
  • I drafted facings because I don't care for lined-to-edge  jackets
I ended up with a Big Honkin Dart.

You can see that the legs are over 3" apart. That resulted in an unsightly dart once sewn.

I tried to fix it but it was bad. I went searching and decided a princess seam conversion was the best 'fix'.  I always read a handful of tutorials and then go with what makes sense based on what they're instructing.

Excuse my chopped up pattern. It's all taped up from the FBA and then I misread the slashing part (it's not through the dart it's along the lower dart leg).  Ahhhhh. THAT works! However, you can see that my side front flares out at the bottom. This comes across in the final jacket. Darn it!

I also made notches before cutting the two apart so I could ensure I matched up. I added 3/8" seam allowances.

Here, you can see my work on shaping the facing:

And then, I didn't have enough fabric to recut my fronts. DOH.  But, NEVER FEAR! LOL! I'd originally purchased this 1.5 yard piece for a sleeveless sheath. But it showed up and I thought it was amazing and the next time it went on sale, I got 3 more yards. YAY!! (drama)

While figuring out my dart/princess seam dilemma, my enthusiasm waned, of course. Then I inserted a sleeve and liked it again. Yay!

Because I hate inserting shifty lining sleeves, I went ahead and did that BEFORE inserting the other jacket sleeve. I attached the two at the fronts and necklines and tried it on over a blouse and REALLY LIKED IT!! I was excited again! I went to hang it on my dress form for the night.
:what the heck: 
I had several tucks along the front. Ughhhhh. Fixed those.

Went home for lunch the next day and decided to understitch the facings "really quickly". Sighhhhhh. Have I learned nothing!?!?

So, this happened:
Why yes, yes my sleeve is sewn to my underlining

I ripped that out, fixed it, and sewed the sleeve to sleeve lining by machine. I sewed the lining to the jacket by hand. I haven't been happy with the hems on my last couple of items with bagged linings. Maybe I'm doing something wrong since I've been now relying on memory vs checking instructions??

It feels amazing on!! And it's so pretty!

So...Bemberg.  OMG! I didn't know!!!

I had a Fabric dot com order and decided to add a couple yards of this blue to get free shipping. Holy buckets! This stuff feels amazing!!! So silky and cool to the touch. Swoon.

Some time ago, Fabric Mart had polyester pongee in a TON of colors. I used it once for a lining and really liked it (it is much better than run of the mill poly linings) and bought A TON OF IT. And then Hancock started carrying it in a few colors and I stocked up there when FM no longer had it.

However, for basics / things I expect to have some longevity, like my upcoming basic black skirt, I'll definitely be using the Bemberg! :-D


Well, that felt like an epic post...but somehow, this simple little jacket turned into an epic undertaking. I wish I'd been able to keep the darted bodice; the princess bodice looks much better closed. But I really do like it and am excited to add it to the "fall"* rotation!

more photobombing! LOL!

* This is my life at the moment: