Thursday, February 27, 2014

Burda 7625..."Uhh, interesting"

Hello everyone!

I finally finished  Burda 7625!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cut a size 36 (US 10) out of some beautiful brown sweater knit purchased from Denver Fabrics.  The fabric itself has a nice drape, and is soft to the touch.  It has a moderate amount of stretch, and was easy to sew.

I must say that this top fits me quite well.  I made no adjustments to the fit, since the size 10 measurements were spot on for me.  Going forward I may look into adding a little more ease in the sleeves, but it is not bothersome that they fit snug.  Also, there is still a lot of movement that I can't really capture with a photo. Compared to the pattern photo, my version looks similar, but I am definitely missing a lot of the gathering that the model's shirt has.

For the record, I would like to state that gathering is not my favorite thing to do.  I am not bad at it, I just don't get excited when I see a garment has gathers.  I always wonder "am I gathering too much" or "am I gathering too little" or even "do those gathers look evenly spaced?"   And then when I get my gathers set perfectly, I stress because I just know they will move when I sew them!!!!  Can't gathers just stay where you want them to??

Anyhow, some of the techniques you will use for this shirt include: darts, facings, and gathering.  The Raglan sleeves made the construction even easier, and the bat wings are a fun feature.  My only design change was to leave the front tab off.  It just didn't look right to me.

Overall, I will give Burda credit, because this pattern was a pleasure to sew.  The instructions were easy to follow, and the fit surprised me.  I will definitely sew a Burda pattern again!! Now whether or not this shirt is wearable, that remains to be seen.  It is starting to grow on me each time I put it on, yet I do think this kind of style is more "out of the box" for me.  

Stay sew-filled!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

RTW fast journey

Hello everyone!

Today I had a dear sweet friend/running buddy tell me that she liked reading my blog, and she has been looking for updates on Burda 7625 (my current project) every 2 to 3 days, but still has not seen anything. Her comment got me thinking that there may be other readers out there who are wondering the same thing. So, let me explain...

Since starting this journey to sew all of my own clothing, I have been a lot more discriminating about the end result.  After all, I will be wearing this, and my optimistic goal is that I don't walk around looking homemade. In fact, when I first started sewing four years ago, I used to think it was not possible for fashion sewing to be just that...fashionable.  But then I discovered a lot of amazing bloggers in the sewing community, (and some on who sewed clothing that looked like they bought it from the store.  So why not stretch myself to dig a little deeper, dream a little higher, and unlock my own potential?  Why not me?

Well, I am discovering that "Why not me" takes a lot of hard work and dedication--and that is precisely where I am at.  I am working hard, and dedicating myself to this passion of sewing.  The mistakes make me laugh, or whine, yet the successes make me rejoice and keep me hopeful for the future.

After taking almost a year off from sewing, I have found my skills to be quite rusty.  For me, it has not been like "riding a bicycle" again.  Yet the one thing that has remained constant is my love of the whir of my machines!  My sewing closet is where I am put at ease, as my daily tasks and responsibilities disappear, and time rolls by in the blink of an eye.

So as far as Burda 7625 goes, it is coming along.  I tried it on last night, showed my hubby, and got the response "It's...interesting."  Uhhhh, interesting?  That is not at all what I was going for, but I think he has a point that this shirt just may not be my style.  You win some, you lose some right?  Well, I still have the tab to put on, and some minor issues to work out before I show you how "interesting" it looks.

I also picked up a boatload of books from my library in order to help with sewing construction and FIT!!  Actually, I already had some fitting books, I just added some more to my collection.  I probably have most of all the ones my library carries!!  Here are the ones I got:

I think this is a great reference because I am a VISUAL learner!!  I often need to see it to get it.  We'll see how useful it ends up being.

This is easily becoming one of my favorite fitting books.  Why?  It even has a section on fitting knits, something I have not seen in a lot of fit books.  Since I have been sewing mostly knits, I am quite aware that the fitting challenges are different because of the stretch of the fabric.  Some of the tips in here have been invaluable to me in learning to fit my figure.

I have used this resource before, and you really can't go wrong with Nancy Zieman.  Her fitting adjustments are basic and easy to understand, while producing great results.  She does a lot of the pivot and slide method, and has a unique way of figuring out what pattern size to sew.

Lastly, I checked this one out.  It is my absolute, most favorite, most comprehensive guide I have ever used!!  It is so helpful for providing clear, concise explanations to basic techniques, and it takes you from pattern/fabric selection all the way to the finished garment!   There is an excellent troubleshooting fit guide in here, and there are also various Simplicity projects included.  You buy the Simplicity pattern, and it gives you more of a breakdown for how to sew it up!  I will DEFINITELY be adding this one to my sewing book library!!

I am open to any other fitting resources, if you know of any.  I remember Vogue Sewing being another good one, but my library no longer carries that one.  I like having options--it allows for different perspectives.  

Stay sew-filled!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Spring 2014 Simplicity & New Look pattern faves

Hello everyone!

I am still hangin' in there with my plan to sew all of my wardrobe for this year.  I am working on Burda 7625 right now. It really should be done by now, but I am still working on it.  I ran into a snag with the binding on the back part of the top, but I should have that fixed soon.  I know that eventually I will have to speed up my productivity to meet the demand for my spring wardrobe, but for now I am still slow-poke sewing.

The best thing about today, though, is that I noticed that there are some more Spring choices for Simplicity and New Look patterns!!  Yippee!!  I just love browsing through patterns!

Let's start with Simplicity:

This jacket is awesome!!  There is something about each version that I like, but my favorites are the navy one, and the pink one shown in the background to the right.  This will be a good pattern to keep in mind when I begin my quest into jacket sewing.

Peplums!  Now I have a confession to make: I really don't know if I like peplums.  I know they are "all the rage" right now, but I'm not sure if they flatter my body type.  I have seen them on other people, and thought they look amazing, but me...that remains to be seen!  This is a cute top pattern, though.

I liked this pattern as soon as I saw it!!  First, I love all the length variations for the button front shirt (from a long View A to cropped View B).  Second, I like the panels of lace on View D.  I have been seeing lace everywhere this year, and though I have never sewn with it, this is another thing I would like to try.  I also like the extended back piece for that hind coverage!

And my New Look faves:

I am really liking this sheath dress!  The waist crossover bands adds some interest to an otherwise basic pattern, and once again, more of the lace motif. 

This top has a nice oversized shaped.  It looks comfy, yet chic.  It also looks like it would have a nice "flow." The tunic style of View C is a fave, but I'm not sure how Views A and B (the two right center tops) are to be worn. 

How about this jacket?  It stood out to me, though I think it would look better styled with slim-fit pants.  I am always looking for cute ways to accessorize my look, and this jacket would do that.

These button front shirts are also nice.  My favorite is View D (on the bottom model).  I have been seeing similar styles with pin tucks on the front.  I like the pop that the trim gives the shirt, and once again, more hind coverage!!  Since I would like to sew a few button down shirts, this could be a nice one to try!

Overall I am pleased with the spring additions and can't wait to start looking for these picks in the next Simplicity sale.  As much as I like the styled photos, though, I am learning to look intently at the technical drawings too.  It can help uncover some of those "sleeper" patterns that have horrible styling, but turn out to be a gem!!

I hope you enjoyed my picks, and found a few of your own  New Look also had some great kids patterns that I did not include here.  If you would like to see either collection, you can view them here.

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, February 7, 2014

So many tops, so little time

Hello everyone!!

Since my last post, I have been in a state of confusion as to what to attempt next.

I originally wanted to sew a couple more tops before I begin what I really need ( makes me nervous just thinking about it), but there were so many tops that were popping into my mind...

I loved this beautiful top in the US Burda magazine:

Wrap Top #119

But when I went online to download it, and saw that I had 21 pages to print, trace, and add seam allowances to, I thought I would save this for a little later.

Then I thought about a nice cardigan to coordinate with my tops.  I like this one, and a lot of people have had success with the versions they sewed up (I like successes):

Mccalls 6844

But on second thought, I didn't know if I would be wearing it anytime soon with the kind of cold weather we are having here in Georgia.  I will definitely try this for spring, though.

Then, while perusing my sewing references/books that I owned, I came across this book that I purchased years ago for $7 at Barnes and Noble:

I remembered that I had such high hopes with a lot of these patterns, and never attempted any of them.  I got all excited, thinking I could use my serger to finish most of whatever top I chose:

But I just didn't want to do another basic top right now.  I wanted to head in a different direction.


Here it is:

Let me just say that this Burda pattern has been in my stash for a LONG time!!  A LONG time! Over 2 years, I am sure of it!  And it is finally time for it to move to the head of the class!  I hope I am not disappointed with my decision!

Don't forget that Simplicity patterns are only 99 cents at Hobby Lobby this week until Saturday Feb. 8th.  I plan on stopping by there today in hopes of picking up these two...
Simplicity 1463

Simplicity 1699

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Vogue 8536 Leopard print

Hello everyone!

I hope this Superbowl Sunday finds you relaxing and enjoying your day.  I am enjoying mine because I finally finished my Vogue 8536 wadder re-do!!

Apparently, the THIRD TIME is the charm for me!!  I worked on another version of this top in a beautiful striped sweater knit, but I just could not get past the sleeves.  I followed Jenna's advice from my last post by removing the excess ease (there was 1/2 inch more than needed) from the sleeve cap, but it was still giving me problems.  After I finally got the sleeve set in perfectly by sewing it in flat, I ruined my shirt completely when I ran the raw edges through my serger.

By this time I was beginning to think this pattern was a curse!!  Everytime I would make some progress, I would cause another setback.

The good thing is...I never give up easily!!

I thought of the saying that no matter how much you fail, you are only a failure if you quit. I knew I was one step away from a good result if I stayed determined.  So, I went to Hobby Lobby, bought a pretty leopard print cotton knit, and started all over.

Since I was having trouble with sleeves, I started to research what I could be doing wrong with my technique.  I remembered a book I purchased from Amazon when I first started sewing, authored by Nancy Zieman, called 10,20,30 Minutes To Sew.  I found an excellent reference on the easiest way to sew in sleeves, using the stretch of the bias to your advantage.

Ms. Zieman insists that you can ease in your sleeves quickly and accurately, without the use of traditional basting--and resulting in no puckers!  I tried using the two pencil erasers as shown, but decided I liked using my fingers instead.  The erasers do give you more grip, but the gently outward motioning is what really does the trick!

Long story short, I tried it, and it worked!

My sleeves set in perfectly!  I also think that my fabric choice had a lot to do with my sleeve success on this pattern, though.  The cotton knit has a much smaller amount of stretch than the rayon knit I used the first go round. It was much more stable and easier to work with.

I sewed a size 10 with no changes.  It is a bit snug, but it works for me.  I am realizing that the outcome of the final garment when sewing with knits hinges on really thinking about the characteristics of the fabric you are working with, such as stretchiness.  A size 10 worked perfect with the super stretch of the rayon knit, yet was much more snug with this stable cotton knit.  I ended up compensating by sewing my shirt with 1/2 inch seam allowances.

Other than my sleeve challenges from earlier attempts, this pattern was relatively easy to sew.  The V-neckline went through without a hitch, and looks amazing.  I left out the vented hem, and just sewed my side seams together.  For finishing, I used my serger, and a twin needle for topstitching the neckline, hem, and sleeves.


 I am wearing my shirt tonight while watching the Superbowl with my family!!

I would definitely recommend this pattern for someone of all skill levels.  It is a nice basic that will fit perfectly in any wardrobe.  Believe it or not, I plan to sew this again.  I don't believe it is a TNT for me yet, but I would like to make some minor tweaks to it now that I feel a lot more confident sewing it together.

Here are some design changes I would like to make for my next version:

It is true, fit is everything!  I noticed some drag lines near the seam where my arm and shoulder meet.  I consulted a fit reference I have, and discovered that most likely an adjustment for sloping shoulders is necessary.  This adjustment lowers the armhole some, and creates a slight slope in the shoulder seam so that this extra fold is not evident.  I don't know if it will work, but if it does, I'm sure it may be an adjustment I might need to make on other garments I sew.  Also, I would love to see how a swayback adjustment changes the way garments fit me in the back.  I have a prominent butt, so that might not be the only adjustment I need to make, but I would like to start there.

So I spent most of my January on Vogue 8536!!!!  Thanks for hanging in there with me! I will make this one again, but for now I am going to change directions and try a different top.  I will reveal it soon...

In closing, I just wanted to give a "shout out" to my awesome photographer--my husband.  He has been so patient with me, and worked to give me good quality photos so I can accurately display what I have created.

I'll check in again soon!

Stay sew-filled!