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Burda Kids T-shirt

March 10, 2014

First, I would like to thank Jaqui C. from Kiwi Land (aka New Zealand, near Hobbiton! Jealous!) for gifting me with a Spring and a Winter issue of Burda Kids patterns. Between the two issues, there are enough basic silhouettes and sizes for boys that I will not have to buy a pattern for him until he’s a teenager. You rock chica!

Burda A Tee eating

Second, I can not believe how little fabric it takes to make him a shirt! I found two remnants each around 1/2 yard, though they weren’t cut straight so once I put them on grain, they were less. I was able to make 2 raglan sleeve tees with embellishments from less than 1 yd.. Can you believe that?

Akylis tees complete

The smallest size for this shirt was 104 (the equivalent of 4T/USA). My son is just out of 2T and into 3T for height, but he’s really not fat, so his pants are always loose. To downsize this pattern, I just traced it off and did not add the seam allowances. Then I stitched it at 1/4″ and that worked it rather well. I just added one inch for hem, but I ended up not stitching it, as the shirt looked so short on him. I had to leave the edge raw.  Of course, I cut out both tops at the same time, so I will have to fix this for next time.

akylis tee stitch detail

The only part I didn’t like was the neckline. They didn’t include the usual binding strip so I just folded over and stitched as directed. It stretched and looks wonky. I think I’ll change that next time as well. The final embellishments on the front don’t lay smooth as I skipped the stabilizer. Alas, I didn’t think about it. Now I know there are products specifically for embroidering on t-shirts. I will have to get some of this. This time you can tell they stretched and the heavy stitching doesn’t allow it to bounce back.

burda mag kids pattern booksHere’s the magazine covers. Thanks again Jacqui! I plan to play with bermudas and button up shirts in the near future.

New Year, New Skills a little late

March 4, 2014

This is a little late, but I have been playing with my new machine’s finishing and special stitches. I was planning on posting this as part of the Monthly Stitch Collectives January Sew-A-Long. They motivated me to learn some cool new things about my sewing machine, even if I didn’t actually keep to the calendar!

new year new skill invisible zipper 2First, I bought the special invisible zipper foot that is fixed, aka no more foot shifting while sewing the zipper. The only change is that I have to switch to a standard zipper foot to finish the seam. It was definately worth the investment and makes these zippers a piece of cake.

new year new skill faux serge screenNext is the “J” foot or seam/edge finishing foot.

new year new skill faux serge seamIt really helps with lining up the edge of the raw fabric and has a thin strip of metal that hold the roll over stitch. As the fabric leaves the needle the stitches slide effortlessly off and knots are avoided.

new year new skill faux serge completeThis version of the stitch is my favorite and it really holds the fraying in check, even through machine washing. The machine has several presets for stretch, basic zig zag finish, etc. It is a great tool to have and is just as fast as neatly using pinking shears.

new year new skill blind hem screenLast but not least, the machine has a rather helpful explanation on how to use the special foot and stitches for machine blind hems.

new year new skill blind hem bumpThe foot has a raised side, so that the tension is stable even though one side is pressing on one layer of fabric and the other is pressing on three layers. This foot is an amazing way to easily finish non-couture projects with a sleek RTW feel.

new year new skill blind hem completeAnd when you open up the completed hem? It is practically invisible! All that’s left is the final press and voila! Quick sewing projects with professional finishing. I love couture techniques but having the ability to finish other projects so neatly and quickly is a blessing with my work schedule. I have several professional attire peices in process as we speak that will be getting these finishing treatments!

Muslins: always the best place to start!

January 15, 2014

I have been attempting to make a t-shirt. Stop laughing! It is harder than it looks.

Almost every fashion list or wardrobe recommendation book includes jersey tees for layering. Because of my love for cowls, almost all of my good jersey tops are not easy to layer. Therefore, I ran through my stash and grabbed some not so great knit fabrics to test some new styles and necklines as part of the wardrobe building basics of my silhouette project.

Muslin 1: Burda 02-2012-107B (shortened to top length)

burda tee 2

I guess I should have realized that with the pattern being for jersey and woven satin that I would get a fit like this:

burda tee 3It slides right down my shoulders for that 80s dancer vibe. Bleh. I think I would need to go down 2 sizes for this to work in jersey. I also don’t like the yoke line placement and the armholes are rather saggy, so I probably won’t take the time to retrace the pattern. I do wear this as a pajama top as the fabric is comfy.

Muslin 2: Vogue 7523 A (OOP, one long sleeve boat neck tee with loose heavily gathered split sleeves and 2 asymetrical knit blouses)

vogue tee front

Considering my recent success with the Vogue Wardrobe pattern, I didn’t measure the pattern tissue. I just cut the same size. I couldn’t believe the ease in this one. Look at all I had to pin out!

Vogue tee sideAnd that was in the back too! I used a heavier weight rib jersey for this one thinking that, if it worked, I’d have a sweater to wear, therefore I closed up the sleeve slits. Unfortunately, I also damaged the fabric with my straight pins. I’m not sure if its because of the unknown fiber content (a stash fabric that I have no memory of buying). I immediately went out and bought some knit ball point pins. I also happened to pick up a few other items, but that is a story for another time. Needless to say, I have to reduce this pattern quite a bit and make another muslin, but I’m not sure if its worth the effort. I love the sleeve heads. Somehow the gathering adds to my upper half, which balances out my hips. This color also looked amazing on me. Too bad all those pin holes damaged the center front and back so obviously. It might have been a great sweater with a CF and CB seam.

Muslin 3: Simplicity 2766 B

simplicity tee frontI picked this pattern up with the pins for $1! Can you believe that? They practically give sewing patterns away at Jo-Anns during sales. Holy Jeez-a-ma-cow! I’m looking forward to the Vogue sales. Anyway, I learned from my previous two to measure the pattern tissue and ended up cutting this one a size smaller than my “size” as recommended by the company and I belled out two sizes through the waist and hem. I also made a short back waist length adjustment.

It fits snuggly (aka the way I like it) through the shoulders, and the neckline doesn’t gape when I bend over. I think the gathering adds a nice touch to an otherwise basic scoop neck. You can also see here how it dips into my waist to define that area. I think I can take out a little more in this area through the hem for a closer fit, but otherwise this top is a winner. This fabric is not a soft jersey, so I think that would also drape closer to the body and make it a nice layering piece under jackets and cardigans. I am highly motivated to make another version of the Simplicity top, sleeveless, in lightweight jersey to check the new waistline tweaks.

The Wool Jacket is back!

January 10, 2014

jacket lining complete

Remember how my wool jacket had no lining in Brazil? Well, I finally chose one! I did some research because I didn’t want the slippery traditional lining when dealing with the L darts and whatnot. According to Vogue Sewing, cotton is also anti-static. I found this cute cream quilting cotton with a pretty pastel grey butterfly/floral print and bought the end of the bolt. Of course, it wasn’t enough, so I used unbleached cotton muslin for the upper sleeves where no one will really notice that the pretty print isn’t everywhere inside. I think it adds a nice touch. The dangle-y bits are the curved hem facings.

Here are some other tidbits I learned along the way:

Jacket with lining back pleat:

jacket research with pleatThis jacket had a 1/2″ deep CB pleat in the lining. This is a jacket I purchased a few years ago and the lining is holding up.

Jacket without lining back pleat:

research without pleatI have owned this jacket a few years as well. The CB lining seam is definitely not holding up. Clearly, for the longevity of the jacket, CB lining pleat is necessary. Here is mine, slightly deeper than the first jacket, but I wanted to make sure it would hold up for years! I put too much time and effort into this jacket for it to wear out!

CB pleat addedHere’s a detail shot of the lining facing inserted into the shoulder seam:

shoulder with facingAnother tip: when Burda’s directions indicate that you need to cut away the front portion of the pattern to make the front lining pattern, you must cut on the line and ADD the seam allowance. I just cut along the line and cut out the lining. Eek!

seam allowance fixHere’s how I fixed it so I didn’t have to recut (which I didn’t have enough lining fabric to do). I used 5/8 in. seam allowances, so I stitched the lapel facing to the front lining piece at 3/8 in. This adds 4/8 in. back into that area and just shifts the seam slightly. Then for the final 1/8 in., I staggered the side seams (where the seam allowances were already included as it was the jacket pattern piece too), so the front piece’s edge was 1/8 in. inside the raw edge of the back piece. If you just stitch the seam allowances narrower at the side seam too, you’d end up making the back lining pieces about 1/8 in. bigger each or 1/4 in. bigger than the outer shell.

Jacket shell doneThen, while I had everything out, I went ahead and stitched the sleeves to the jacket body. I had been procrastinating on this because I had such a hard time with the muslin sleeve insertion. Then, when I did the lining, I made a mistake early on, but caught it quickly. So while it was fresh in my head, I ran through the sleeves on the jacket. Other than trouble gathering up the stiff interlining, the sleeves went in easily. I am so happy about that, because I was imaging all sorts of trouble. Clearly, practicing on the muslin first, then the lining, then the jacket, was the correct course of action because the fashion fabric had no unpicking!

jacket shoulder with lapel stitchingSmooth as a baby’s behind! Next up is lining insertion, pad stitching the upper collar and back collar, then attaching the final collar pieces. Then it is time for hems, hem facing, and closures. I need some help deciding between these two snaps:

choosing a snap better colorI will probably wear it closed 90% of the time, because if it is cold enough for this jacket, it needs to be closed. However, I am having trouble deciding between shiny silver or black-brass snaps. Thoughts?

Pattern Review: Vogue Wardrobe 2989

January 6, 2014

haircut after

This pattern gets a mixed review. I love the jacket and asymmetrical pleated skirt, but the top turned out to be a wadder. I made the jacket (above with my New Year’s haircut) and skirt wearable muslin combo in a Black poly/spandex/blend knit that I had in my stash. It had the stretch as the pattern required and stitched up beautifully. I turned the shiny side out for the skirt and jacket shawl, and used the matte side for the jacket.

haircut before

I love that the jacket can be dressed up or down (tossed over jeans, ballet flats, and a tank top for a chilly casual day outfit, and this is also before the hair cut). The only draw back is that the intended closure, a jacket hook and eye, sits awkwardly around the shawl collar, so that when you sit and the spread/pulling occurs, the collar gaps funny.

vogue suit clasp

Also, the waist has no stretch because of the seaming and nature of the fabric grain on a 2-way stretch knit which gets uncomfortable. Therefore, I took out the closure and if I make it again I’ll probably add 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch to the waist. Luckily, because of the cut with the peplum, it sits close to the body and doesn’t look sloppy unhooked. I think I just need to take out a little more back-waist length (I took 1 inch out for this version) as it poofs a little above the CB peplum seam.

haircut after back

I love the way the skirt pleat creates motion in an otherwise basic tapered knit pencil skirt. When I walk, the fabric swishes beautifully. I receive compliments every time I wear this one and my husband adores it! It really does some positive things for my curves and backside. Doesn’t the shine add something too?

vogue pleated skirt front 2

As for the shirt, I made it using a lightweight purple jersey, just like my Burda tunic. Honestly, I felt so positive about this style of top until I put it on after attaching the neck facings. The neck facings kept flipping out, there was weird gap-age at the center front, and it pulled where the mock-wrap was attached at the side seam. I think part of the problem was that the pattern recommended a fabric with less stretch and it may have been too lightweight to hold that neckline up. I don’t really know for sure, and I left that wadder in Brazil, so no pictures. I am willing to try again, I just have to find something similar to the black fabric to make another version.

Vogue suit frontHere’s the “suit” on my Manniquin. Alas, she doesn’t fill out the clothes like I do even though she’s “adjustable.” I’ve worn the suit look with the cowl tee (purchased at Cato), black opaque tights, black ballet flats, and a long rhinestone pendent necklace in the shape of a turtle. It feels feminine, yet retains an element of professional power suit.

A huge thank you goes to Curls-n-Skirls for sending this pattern as part of our winter swap! I am ready to make it again if I find the right fabric. I am thinking a wool blend would make a nice warm structured cardigan. I swear I have felt cold almost every day since I moved to the US!

2 years and counting…

December 12, 2013

I was just notified by wordpress that my blog is having it’s second birthday today. I can’t believe two years ago today, I was sitting at my clunky laptop in Rio de Janeiro trying to figure out a creative name for my blog. After google-ing multiple cute/creative/witty titles only to discover them all taken, I settled on my simple title “Sewing for Me!” so I could move onto the fun parts: creating, writing, sewing, and proudly presenting my work/thoughts to the world.

As I am writing this post in my USA office, I realized I have not sewn a stitch since October! It is completely tragic! On the plus side, as a teacher, it is time for my Winter Break Sewing Spree! I am finishing up my grading, so I can submit my grades to the University registrar by Friday!

Twenty-Five essays and counting…

How did they miss that?

November 26, 2013

I think Burda should hire a proper tailor. Or buy some push-up bras and stuffing. Okay, pop quiz time!

Are these jackets from Burda’s December 2013 issue fitting this starving young lady well?

The answer is NO! The fabric on the Chanel-esque jacket is collapsing where her curves should be. The red jacket has entirely too much fabric coming off that shoulder to fit her non-bust. Why would they sacrifice fit to have a super skinny model? She is not selling these tailored patterns at all.

I understand they want the “fashion magazine” look, but when it isn’t selling their product, it seems stupid. Agreed? I spend so much time fitting a piece for myself, I would expect a sewing pattern company to make the same amount of effort when making samples. Look at the Indie companies like Colette or Victory. Other issues of Burda. Vogue and Butterick photograph their pieces well even though their patterns are weirdly drafted. If this was in Vogue Patterns, they would have her doing an odd or avant guarde pose to hide the poor fit. Burda chose to take these shots head on flaunting this improperly fitted bust. I just saw these posted on and I wanted to slap someone. Maybe they thought we would be so distracted by her digitally enhanced cheek bones, we would never notice.


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