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Silhouette Project: Skirt Update

July 21, 2014

I realized after posting the dress pattern pieces, I should have shown you the projects that I fell in love with. I have taken those loveable pieces and tweaked them into TNT (Tried-n-True) patterns for my “go to” box. It took a few months, but I did have some method to my madness and worked in groups.

Favorite Skirts moving to TNT status:

black polka dot cropped   polka dot back

I am in love with pencils! This started as M6318, but I never wore it. So, I upcycled with a grosgrain ribbon waistband. I’ve now traced off the dress’ skirt for future use with woven fabrics like linen. The smooth back darts and front pleats really work for comfort and flatter my curves.

flower pencil croppedflower pencil outfit

Here’s another Burda 08/2012 #111C. I’m really liking it for stretch wovens like this Italian graphic print (as seen in my post in March. I’ve been sewing rather than blogging. Sorry!). I just cut out another one in green and gold pinstripe stretch denim.

grey skirt croppedgrey skirt back

Here’s Simplicity 5914, a best pattern of 2006 according to pattern review and dug up because of this post. This fit and flare is very flattering, though I think all future versions will be softer in crepes because I love the hem movement. I am searching for the perfect wool crepe to make this a couture project. Doesn’t it look like a good skirt to practice those techniques?

purple aline croppedpurple aline back

Finally, here is another rendition of Simplicity 2152 in purple stretch cotton sateen. I keep picking things with princess seams because they are easier to fit. This one is a little funky because of the faux pockets, i.e. pocket plackets top stitched on. Bleh. When I tried to seam rip, the sateen fabric was damaged, so I have to keep them. I am going to try it with the View C ruffle next.

Note on hems: Hems falling in the center of my knee or just below are my favorite. Too high and it makes my heavy thighs dominate and calf length also accents my large calves. Ankle length maxis also look beautiful. I want to try 7/8 vintage length skirts soon as that is a narrower spot on my leg, which should also work.

This pretty much wraps up common skirts in my opinion. So what is on my table now? A shift dress, a sheath dress, two blouses, a cardigan, a jacket, and a few remakes of these skirts. When I chose pieces for the Mini-Wardrobe Contest on pattern review this month, I focused on mix and match casual pieces that are comfortable and flattering in my “Deep Autumn” color palette and added a few romantic touches: gathering, ruffles, bows, etc. I was playing with “Signature Style” (as defined by Cardigan Empire). More of that soon!

The Perfect Princess Dress: Pattern Selection

July 17, 2014

While trying various styles as part of my Silhouette project, I have filled my closet with wearable muslins of multiple skirts, dresses, and blouses. I love some, hate a few, and found most are “okay” but don’t inspire a blog post. Now, I want to return to my first love: professional/advanced sewing techniques! These will invariably include technical explanations like my wool jacket project (which I finished! More about the final touches as soon as I get my new camera! Hurry up UPS!)

Basically, my goal for the rest of my summer break is to develop a few core patterns, so that when the next semester starts I will have a stash of “go to” patterns. These patterns would allow me to sew with less time pattern adjusting giving me more time to focus on sewing techniques. First up? The perfect, well-fitting dress! I love’s series of advanced sewing courses using one pattern multiple ways (i.e. The Couture Dress class or the new Tracy Reese Vogue Pattern class). With so many gorgeous dresses to choose from, it was hard to pick one! Here are my top three:

perfect princess the contenders

Vogue 8972 (left), Vogue 8667 (center), and Vogue 8849 (with peplum!)

I chose Vogue 8972 and here’s my logic:

V89721) princess seam through the shoulder seam for easy shoulder slope/body adjustments and it is pre-adjusted with “Custom Fit” A/B, C, & D cups

2) a classic style that avoids being overly trendy for perennial wear, and easy to change for multiple looks

3) includes a pencil and a full draped skirt that can accommodate numerous fabrics and numerous occasions (i.e. a tailored wool sheath or a crepe back satin party dress)

4) the pattern includes cap sleeves and a traditional 3/4 sleeve, so it can be modified for year-round style

5) it has the nipped in waist that really flatters my figure (hard-earned knowledge courtesy of the Silhouette project)

I am already imagining a tailored B&W houndstooth with a black waist yoke, a sleeveless batik day dress, and a full-skirted party dress. The trickiest part will be balancing the yoke size with my shorter height and keeping the yoke’s shape around my back adjustments.

Honestly, Vogue 8667 was a close second, but it didn’t have the sleeve pattern or the princess seam through the shoulder. I will probably make this one in the future. Vogue 8849 was just too trendy/sexy for it to really work with for this project. I do want to go back and make this one with a boned bodice and built-in bra.

Here are my modified pattern pieces (I apologize in advance for the blurry cell phone photos):

perfect princess bodice pattern

The “C” bodice pieces with a short back waist length adjustment. I am going to check that curved seam on the muslin very carefully. I’m not sure if I maintained the style line’s angle properly.

perfect princess waistband pattern

The Waistband pieces with “select-a-size” grading up one size at side seams.

perfect princess skirt pattern

The princess seam skirt with “select-a-size” grading up one more size to the hipline, a lengthening of the CB and side back seams to match the short back adjustment, and a newly drafted side front as the pattern had one piece for both side back and side front panels. As I only needed to adjust the side back, I had to make an extra piece.

Now comes the muslin. I left out the back width adjustment since that varies greatly from pattern to pattern. I also think I might need to adjust the skirt’s fullness in the front, but we shall see!


Wear One, Wad One

July 12, 2014

As part of my back to work wardrobe and Silhouette project, I decided to make another button up shirt, a perrenial tailored favorite.
black button upThis is Burda Style 07-2010-122  and I used a sheer silk blend, double layered for modesty. Underlining with the same fabric turned out to work for the concealment, but the result was rather stiff. I was imagining this as a cool, breezy work blouse that would drape more. It would also be easier to wear with the loose cut and easier to sew with the kimono sleeves. I only used the collar stand for a modern look. I love the button placement here with the seam detail as it doesn’t gape. GASP!!

black button up back
Here’s why I don’t love it: the back. I like the seam detail at CB, but it looks a little rumply even when pressed. I can’t decide if it is construction or fabric at fault. Maybe in a softer cotton? I did recieve compliments when I wore it with trousers, buttoned to my chin with a different necklace. I thought this was a great outfit, but decided not after seeing these pictures. The collar seemed to collapse a bit. I’ve also tried it with an A-line skirt and think its a little more proportional and matches the business casual feel. Does that every happen to you when you look at your photos?

Now for the wadder:

navy ponte knit skirt front 2

Recognize this pattern? It feels like a diaper strapped to my CF and the weight drags down the waistband. I think if you use anything heavier than a tissue, this bad boy just gets too heavy with all the pleats for the front draping. Nice idea, but with only one layer of tissue weight fabric on your behind, you will be showing the world more than you care to, at least in my opinion. If I made it in a light slinky jersey, I would have to use special undergarments to insure the panty line is concealed. Basically, after playing with this one, I conclude it is not for me or anyone who wears underwear. It also runs short. I like that the companies are getting trendier patterns, but this one is probably too junior/teenager for me.

Lace waist dress preview with poll

May 29, 2014

Pleated sheath dress Burda

Remember this gem that I loved in Burda 05/2013 (#126)? It runs short (in my opinion), but otherwise looks like the picture.


This black cotton blend is a very stretchy woven fabric, so it is super comfortable. And from the back:

pleated sheath dress back Burda

Overall, I hate the bodice pleats as it seems to add volume to my torso. The cinched waist is nice and the skirt pleats are lovely and flattering. I would make it a little longer next time as I feel this thing is constantly riding up. I think I need to narrow the shoulders and dip the CF neckline slightly to help with the pulling as well. As a huge plus, it is a nice pulled together look for work that is comfy when paired with black tights and mary janes.

Well, here are the zoom/brightened pleats. The skirt front pleats acts weird/poofy when I sit, but I think it is because this fabric is a little heavy. The recommended fabric is a poplin with a little stretch. This is very stretchy and thick, similar to a RTW stretch blazer I bought recently..

pleated sheath dress back detail Burda  pleated sheath dress front detail Burda

Now that question is: Should I make up the coral poplin with color matched stetch lace in this style/silhouette? HELP! Any fitting issues my untrained eye is missing?

Deer and Doe Bleuet

May 4, 2014

As promised! This is my “model mimic” pose:

bluet front

I really appreciate the model they use for their patterns. She’s so realistic. Anyway, I only made a short back waist adjustment and chopped off the length. They draft their patterns for C/D cups, which I’m a C. Happiness! While I was sewing it up, I let out the seams from just below the bust the hem on all the princess seams. This worked for my pear shape as they drafted it for an hourglass figure. The fabric is a cotton blend medium-heavy twill. A little heavy for buttons, but it worked fine for a wearable muslin. The back:

Bluet backI think the back looks is fine. I think the wrinkles are coming from all the waist circumference problems. Fun fact: I’ve gained almost 15 pounds since moving to the USA. Bleh! It is just so easy to make pre-packaged food or eat at restaurants after a long day at work. Not easy on the waistline! Also, the neckline stretched out on me because I forgot to staystitch. I added a small pleat at the CB when I attached the collar to fix it. BTW, the collar is extremely comfortable when buttoned all the way up! No choking here!

bluet sideThe skirt pattern is Burda 08/2012 #111C made up in black linen. I stitched up before moving here. Of course, I’m afraid to sit down in it now. This is my attempt to mimic Burda’s model with the bright yellow wool crepe peplum top from that issue. Not a true peplum, but close enough.

Pattern Review Conclusion: LOVE! Bleuet is well-drafted, needing minimal adjustments,  with a lovely number of buttons to reduce gaping. I was planning this for the Monthly Stitch Collective take 2, but I haven’t even started the second one yet. I might wait a bit as I only have 25 or so days left in the semester before summer break. I have spent so much time since last October working on professional attire that I really want to make a few summer frocks before creating more work looks. Oh, and lose these new pounds, so I don’t have to refit these pattern! While taking this photo shoot my poor buttons were straining!

All sorts of pictures were taken in this photo shoot; more projects are coming soon!


You probably already know…

April 28, 2014

…but Deer and Doe of France has posted a free downloadable pattern of a cute little t-shirt! I’m loving the elbow patches!


Plantain t-shirt

Fun Fact: These patterns run true hourglass and RTW aka minimal ease. I own 4 of their patterns now: the Airelle Blouse, the Belledone Dress, the Bleuet Dress, and the Chardon Skirt (which was the pattern I was so in love with that I was willing to learn French, remember?). I have finished my first wearable muslin of the  Bleuet dress. I don’t know why but when the patterns arrived, I thought that would be the best to test run their fit and construction. I must say, the pattern is pretty amazing for a first run! Pictures will be coming soon. In the mean time, try the tshirt pattern for free!

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.


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