Thursday, March 27, 2014

Easy Burda Style Magazine Spring/Summer 2014

Hello everyone!

I wanted to have finished sloper photos to show you, but life has been throwing me a few curveballs--mainly with my health.  It's nothing I want to go into at the moment, but my energy level has been zapped.  To add to that, I have been working a few hours at a preschool, and the end of the night has me wanting nothing but my bed!!

Yesterday I lounged on the couch and checked out my first issue of Easy BurdaStyle Magazine for Spring/Summer 2014.  I am pleased!!  The magazine has a lot of nice looks, and the overall feel is a bit more youthful, but I found a lot of things I would like to sew!

This is a cute skirt!!  The row of buttonholes unnerves me (I have only done buttonholes a handful of times), but the A-line, high-waisted, knee-skimming design intrigues me.

This top screams "summer!"  I like it paired with the flowy skirt, but I could also see it with a nice pair of skinny jeans.  The skirt was pictured a few more times throughout the magazine as well:

And the dress pictured below is my ULTIMATE FAVORITE:

I really like the double spaghetti straps, pleats, and pocket!  I think the style is beautiful, fresh, and chic.

And speaking of dresses, here is another vintage-inspired one:

This dress has some of the same elements as the last one, except it has cap sleeves with lace.  It is so pretty!

These casual jackets with pocket variations are also nice.  The Raglan sleeves make them easy to sew, and I could see this in a lot of various prints.  

Those were the looks that I liked, but I also liked a lot of other features of this magazine.  Let me start with the instructions. There are MUCH MORE visual diagrams!! Yay! There is also a lot more information on general sewing knowledge, such as a section discussing the straight grain, working with plaids/prints/stripes, and laying out your pattern.  I think a beginner sewing will find this helpful.  In fact, I find this helpful!!  I like that this magazine has a bit more "hand-holding" than BurdaStyle (which I still love).  I am definitely interested in sewing something up from here once I finish my sloper.

Also, the patterns included in the magazine are printed on tissue paper (similar to the individual Burda patterns you buy at the store).  While not sturdy, I plan to trace off any patterns I may use from here anyhow.

Another thing I liked about this magazine is the variations of the different styled garments.  There was a skirt and pair of shorts done three ways, as well as a casual jacket.  I don't think you see much of that in Burdastyle, and I liked that it gave fresh ways to wear a single item, or even a fresh way of seeing the same item when it was made in two different fabrics.  

Overall, I am really pleased!!  

If you are interested in seeing more styles from this magazine, visit here.

Obviously, I have not been able to accomplish all that I wanted to in the month of March.  I have come to the conclusion that I am making my sloper a top priority.  It has been too difficult to sew that and another simple top at the same time.  I am hoping my hubby will give me some extended time to sew (and help) this weekend, so that I can finish it and move on to spring sewing.

Stay sew-filled!!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Original Sewing & Quilting Expo

Hello everyone!

Today I will be sharing about my experience at the Original Sewing & Quilting Expo in Atlanta.

This expo comes every year, and I usually hear about people going, BUT this was my first year to check it out.  It was here Thursday, March 13-15th.  I headed there on Friday, March 14th, and attended two classes.  The overall atmosphere was pleasant.  There were ladies that greeted you as you came in, and pointed you to a board where you could look up the room number of the class you were registered for. Then, they assisted you to the location of the class if you needed help.
Giveaways on Display

My class started at 9 AM so it was pretty quiet when I got there.  Things started to pick up when I got out of class at 1000.  I started to see more and more ladies arriving for the expo, and lining up to go in the room where all the booths were set up.  I had another class at 1030 so I decided I would go to the booths after the class was over.

Here is my take on the classes I took:

Sewing Great Garments by Lorraine Henry

This class was my favorite!! Ms. Henry was awesome.  The class had about 30 people in it, and most of were ladies except for 1 man.  I came in right before class started, so I ended up 3/4 of the way toward the back of the class.  Ms. Henry used a dry eraser board to draw illustrations for what she talked about, as well as some demonstrative aids.  She has a pattern line called the Cutting Line Designs, which is filled with timeless classic clothing for the "older" woman.  Here are some great tips she gave in the class:
  • Always use finished garment measurements to achieve the best possible fit
  • If you find your skirt is boxy (the same length measurement at the hipline and the hem) reduce the hem length by 1/2" total.
  • Need help matching stripes?  Draw the stripes on your tissue paper to aid in you being able to match them up properly.
  • Staystitching is important, do not skip this step.  It will help the fabric fold correctly.
  • If you need to fix a really large sleeve, try multiple pin tucks aligned at the end of the sleeve.  It will make the sleeve fit more snug.
What comes First in Fit? by Lorraine Henry

This class was only ok, in my opinion.  The instructor was great, and there were not as many people in the class (maybe 15-20). She was very knowledgeable, and she went over different adjustments for different figure types.  My only issue with this class is that there was not enough information in it to walk away with any kind of fitting expertise.  For example, if you were struggling to fit a top, this class would not equip you to do so, bought the $100 book that Ms. Henry referenced many times called Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach by Liechty, Rasband, and Pottburg.

What I did like about the class:
  • Ms. Henry gave extensive information about taking your own measurements and comparing them to the pattern envelope measurements
  • She spoke about the importance of getting the side seam length correct.  In the Big 4 patterns, the standard side seam length is 8", which makes a big difference if your measurement is much longer or shorter
  • Her order of fit was as follows: 1)side seams 2)full bodice 3)center back 4)shoulder slope. This is vastly different to what I've seen or read.  What I have read focuses more on getting the fit right in the shoulders FIRST, even if you choose a smaller size and adjust up.  
  • She also spoke about the Seam Method of adjusting patterns so that there is no distortion at the center front/back. (see here)
Overall, taking this class made me realize I am on the right track by creating a sloper.  Whatever method of alteration you use for creating garments, Ms. Henry strongly recommended that each individual make one.
Inside the event

I entered the event to find table upon table of sewing/quilting related paraphenalia.  I took a moment to walk the floor, and quickly found the Vogue Fabrics section.  They had an area with multiple rolls of 2 yd. cuts of fabric rolled up and ready for purchase.  I browsed, but I DID NOT BUY!  I found some cute rayon challis, SO cute, but I DID NOT BUY!!  I know, crazy right?

As I was glancing through the fabrics, I look over, and who do I see?

Yep!  Victoria from 10,000 Hours of Sewing.  I ended up going up to her table and saying hello.  I have read her blog for over 2 years now, and love what a great seamstress she is.  She is super nice in person, and down to earth.  She was with Mr. Jim, a tailor who she is doing an apprenticeship with.  It was definitely a highlight for me to meet them both!

The Runway Show

I must say, when I heard there would be a runway show at the expo (via an email I received), I was elated. I imagined it would be Simplicity or Vogue designs, since the advertising said fashion runway show.  Well, there was no Simplicity, and there was no Vogue.  Instead there was Cynthia Guffey, an independent pattern designer for the mature woman.  I was a little disappointed, but, let me tell you...Cynthia Guffey was a gem!! Her show was called Visual Magic: Clothes Re-make the Woman, and it focused on using clothing to balance and fit your figure, while taking into consideration proportion!

Cynthia Guffey on right
Ms. Guffey was very "tell it like it is," and her biggest complaint was creating oversized clothing to hide figure flaws.  Instead, she prescribed to adding fullness where necessary in order to balance your figure and make you appear slender.  Smart!!

In order to demonstrate this "visual magic"  her runway show consisted of women wearing both properly or ill-fitting clothing.  She then went through each individual one by one, explaining why what she wore either worked, or did not worked.  I found this information invaluable!

Giving advice on correct jacket lengths/features for your frame

According to Ms. Guffey: seams, princess seams, and darts are all "fitting opportunities."  The more elements of these included in the pattern, the more opportunities for you to get the fit right.

I definitely walked away from the show satisfied with my experience.

Overall, I enjoyed myself, and my visit to the expo.  Would I go again next year?  Maybe.  I enjoyed my classes more than anything, yet I did long to see more people in my age range.  After all, who will be sewing for the next generation?  I don't believe sewing is a lost art as some people say, yet there has to be something that bridges the gap between the old, young, and in-between.

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Burda 6910 Muslin #1

Hello everyone!

Last week was a busy one for me!  I got some sewing time in, but not as much as I wanted to.  I did manage to finish the muslin for Burda 6910, though:

Let me prep by saying I basted all my seams together, and the only change I made was to enlarge the waist by 1/2 inch.  The only thing I did not do was put in the elastic for the side ruching.  Also, I used a cheap cotton jersey I got from Fabric Mart a few weeks ago.  This will not be a wearable muslin, but an informational piece, and boy have I gotten a lot of "fit" information from it!!

I'll start with what I like:
  • the Raglan sleeves were easy to sew, and I love the way they look
  • I think the side ruching will look great once I add it later
  • it seems like a nice overall basic tee
 Here is what I did not like:
  • it's too tight for my liking (I need about another 1/2 inch total of wiggle room)
  • I have some neckline gaping (what the what?)

I will be working on some changes to this top and trying it again.  It really is such as easy sew for me to work on getting the fit right.  What I am running into over and over again is.....fitting my shoulders!!  I suspect that my shoulders slope some, but they are also a little broad.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this is causing the neckline to gape.  What happens is, my top starts to ride up on my shoulders, and it drives me nuts.  I got some good information about this when I went to the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo this past Friday (more on that soon), so I am going to try a few methods and see if I can fix this issue.  I know I didn't stretch out the neckline, either, so I am thinking the gaping is coming from this shoulder tension.  I dare not cut into my beautiful orchid-y purple fabric without coming up with a solution!  So right now I am keeping this top as a work in progress.

I'll post again soon with my recap of the Original Sewing and Quiliting Expo in Atlanta (not to be confused with the ASE as I did).  It was really nice, and I have a lot I want to share with all of you!

Stay sew-filled!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Unexpected PJ pants surprise

Hello everyone!

I hope your weekend went well.  Mine was a blast!

Last Thursday I got a call from my best friend.  She invited me to a woman's get-together with a "pajama" theme. The only problem was, I did not have any pajamas to wear!!  So, I did some last minute shopping, and picked up Mccall's 5248 at Hobby Lobby for $1.99

I knew I would have family in town for the weekend, and sewing time would be tight, so I decided to only sew a pair of pants instead of the whole ensemble.  I knew it would be easier to throw a shirt over pants than to try to squeak out a pants and top.

On Sunday I proceeded to finish the pants in about 2 1/2 hours.  I sewed a size Medium, with plenty of room to spare.  I almost chose a small, but knew by the finished measurements that I would not have enough leg or hip width.

Overall, this pattern was very easy to sew, and came together without a hitch.  I love the drawstring waist, and the comfy, comfy feel.  I wore my pants to the PJ party, then came home, showered, and wore them to bed.  I want to live in these things they are so comfy and cute!!!!!!!!

And the ladies' event was AMAZING!! 

I will be attending another event in June with a "white party" theme---you come dressed in white.  I am thinking a white dress would be perfect to sew.  I won't be starting it soon, but somewhere in the middle of May.  So stay tuned...Also, if you have any suggestions for a great white dress pattern, let me know.  I want something classy, chic, and stylish.

Here's to hoping for a week of muslins...

Stay sew-filled!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Weekly wrap-up

Hello everyone!

I hope you are having a fabulous week!

I just thought I would share a wrap-up of my week.  I have been working hard on Burda 6910 and Vogue 1004 since Monday.  In fact, I was so exhausted last night that I decided to take a break and have a night off.  Now I am feeling more refreshed and recharged, so I am back at it again.  Here's the progress:

This is where the majority of my time has been spent.  I started by getting accurate measurements of my body, along with my husband's help, and plotting them into a chart.  For every difference between my measurement and the Vogue "standard" for a size 10 I indicated an increase or decrease in length or width.

After adjusting my traced out pattern pieces, I went to work truing the pattern, making sure the side seams matched up.  By then I had something like this:

And that is only the BODICE!!  I still have a few adjustments to make to the skirt piece before I can move ahead to cutting out/sewing my muslin/assessing the fit.

However, I must say that I am learning so much about my body!  I never realized I have a long torso, and I need additional length in my back waist.  Who would have thought it?  Also, this pattern is nice because it has adjustable cup sizes!  I ended up with the B cup, and after all my adjustments, I did a practice tissue fitting, and it looks like everything is lining up spot on!  Now I am still curious about how the fit will be in my shoulders (with my shoulder slope) and my back (swayback), but I am hopeful I won't need a bunch of adjustments.  Even if I do, though, I am enjoying this process more than I thought I would.  I can't believe it has taken me this long to journey into getting my garments to fit properly.  Stay tuned to my first muslin soon...

Burda 6910
I did get my top traced off to make a muslin.  In all honesty, it is 3 pattern pieces, and I am GLAD!  That means there are less pieces to have to worry about fitting correctly.  Also, there are less added variables (like ruffles, tabs, collars, etc)  It's just a nice, easy, simple design.  That works immensely for where I am right now.  Since I will be sewing a muslin for this top as well (I'm gonna do muslins until I more confident with fitting, even on simple garments), I only decided to enlarge the waist by 1/2". I am hoping the small amount of ease (0) lends to a fit that is not too tight, nor too loose.

Stay tuned to a muslin for this one as well...  Who knows?  It might just be a week of muslins next week!!!

By the way, THANK YOU for all of your helpful comments about slopers!!  Though it is proving to be hard work, I know I am on the right track!  Mrs. Toad Sews has the same Vogue sloper, and she has pulled it out and started working on it as well.  Please feel free to check out her progress!  She hopes to adjust her sloper using a fitting book, and possibly draft a blouse for Patternreview's Fitted Blouse Contest.

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Next in March

Hello everyone!!

Welcome to March!

This is going to be a great month, I can feel it!  I plan to pick up my sewing pace, and try a few new things. The first of which, is to sew a sloper. Yes, a sloper.  I have been studying a lot of my fit books, and reading about the usefulness of a sloper, and I am convinced to give one a try.  I figure if there is anything that can decrease my chances of having to sew multiple muslins in the future, I would give it a chance.

What is a sloper? "A basic pattern developed on paper by drafting or in cloth by draping, but with seam allowances omitted, used as a tool to create other patterns." (

Here are my reasons for wanting to sew one:

1. For use as a fit guide to patterns I sew

2. As a foundation for eventually drafting my own patterns

3. To get a better understanding of my fit issues/and figure out how to troubleshoot them

Last Friday I took advantage of the sale going on at Hancock Fabrics, and picked up Vogue 1004, a pattern block specifically for slopers.

I originally wanted to get Mccalls 2718 by Palmer/Pletsch (on sale 5 for $7), but the store I was at did not carry it.  I almost leaped for joy to find the Vogue pattern because you have to purchase only one size.  I got size 12 since my bust measurement put me closer to this size.

When I opened the envelope I was surprised to see the amount of detailing in the pattern envelope!  It looks very thorough, and takes you through the process step by step, from building a profile of your body via your measurements, understanding wearing ease vs. design ease, constructing the shell, and altering it.  I'll also use a lot of the instruction from my Craftsy "Sew the Perfect fit" class to aid with the alterations/fit. 

For some reason, I don't see slopers mentioned much in the sewing community.  I know there are local classes I can take to develop a bodice or skirt sloper, but I have never heard of anyone who has found them invaluable.  If you use/have used/tried to make a sloper, please let me know, and share your experience with me.  The possibilities from having a sloper intrigue me, yet I wonder how practical it will be in the end.

For my next project, I will be sewing Burda 6910, View A (though I also love View B):

Even though this shirt looks "easy as pie," (or SUPER EASY, as it states) I am not going to take a chance.  I will make a muslin just to be 100% sure I will like the end result.  I am also going with short sleeves because the weather has started to show glimmers of sunshine and warmth. 

Stay sew-filled!