Thursday, September 23, 2010


Recently I came across  A Sewn Wardrobe, the blog of a  beginning sewer.  She had set a goal for herself almost a year ago to sew everything she wears.  It's an admirable goal and as she found out, not that easy to accomplish because it takes time to make clothing. A lot of time.  She did end up buying  some sweaters and a coat during the year but otherwise, she wore what she sewed. ( I assume she wore things that she already owned that were rtw, but I haven't been following her blog long enough to know for sure).  For a beginner coats are probably fairly daunting and definitely time consuming.  I haven't done it as a formal goal per se,  but recently  I realized  that I do actually sew all my clothing now. If you want to only wear what you  make yourself,  the one thing that has to change is the size  of your wardrobe. You just can't make as many things as you can buy.  For me that isn't a problem.  I am not interested in having a huge wardrobe.  The only things I buy are underwear and sweaters, and I sew some of those too with sweater knits or wool knits. As A Sewn Wardrobe found out it doesn't save you money to sew everything you  wear, especially not if you are  buying your clothing at places like H & M or other stores of that ilk.  I don't sew to save money, I sew because I love to sew and because I am picky about fit and off the rack clothing just doesn't fit me all that well.  The clothing I love and use as inspiration are high end rtw that I could never afford to buy anyway.  So do I save money?   Not on t shirts for sure,  but there are some things that do save you money if you sew it yourself.  Even if I were to add in the cost of my time. Coats are expensive to buy and  using  high quality fabrics and silk for linings I do spend less than something made with  equivalent materials would cost.  But, lets face it, saving money means putting it in the bank and I certainly can't say that sewing has made my bank account grow!  There is a current thread on Pattern Review on whether sewing saves you money and honestly, I never ask this question because it isn't the reason I sew and it never has been.

A question, or several for you.  How much of your wardrobe do you sew?   Would you like to sew everything you wear or is it even within the realm of possibility for you?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

October Burda

It must be a record; the October Burda Style was waiting in my post office box yesterday.   So far the only site where you can see the full issue is  the Russian site.  The German has limited previews and the French site doesn't even have the cover up.  No matter, at least I can link to the patterns there.
I know, this sounds like a bitchy rant against Burda yet again, but no, I love this issue.  In fact the last couple have been great.  There are fewer weird crafts and the home dec is even interesting and if you are into home dec, which you'd have to drag me kicking and screaming to sew,  you might even like and want to make some of this.    Of course the hiking badge thing is bizarre.  Any German readers, do people really wear things like this when they go hiking? My dd hikes and I can't imagine her wearing something like this.  It also seems that it would get caught in the straps of her back pack.
I liked the lace overlay piece but the necklaces were kind of lame and amateurish .  Has anyone made any of the necklaces they've featured in the last year?
This is minor, the reason I buy Burda and keep renewing my subscription is  of course for the patterns and there are lots here that I like and several that would fit both my lifestyle and my body.
I found the trenchcoat I was looking for in La Mia Boutique, but I've been looking for a transitional jacket  for fall.  Last month's jacket that I liked wasn't flattering, so  that's out.  But this one looks like it might be a winner.  It has shoulder princess seams, good for my DD cup bust.  It has a wide shawl collar, but not too wide so that I can actually carry a shoulder bag without it falling off my narrow shoulders, and shoulder pads, both good to widen my narrow shoulders and best, I like it.

This leather jacket is  in the plus sizes, #138.  I love it. 

I love this dress too, though whether I'd make and wear it is questionable.  It's not a sit at my drafting table kind of dress and sadly we don't go out much these days.  I love the leather inserts.  It's in the tall section, and  that raised neckline isn't for my short neck, but that can be changed.  I love the leather inserts and the exposed zippers.  Re exposed zippers, you know I love Riri zippers, and I think I mentioned that Pacific Trimmings had expanded their display and their inventory.  They took up a whole wall and more with them.  Instead of being stuck in bins in basically a dark cave like area in the back they are now  front and center.  They are not the only ones who've expanded their luxury zipper stock.  Lindsay T emailed me with the information that Bottani Buttons has added an Italian brand of fancy zippers,  Lampo zippers,  When I googled them it turns out that Balenciaga uses these in their handbags. Cool.  I need buttons for my trench coat and since I'll be in the city next week on a weekday when all of the notions stores are open, I'll pay them a visit.

On the bizarre front are these pants.  They are stretch pants with leather or faux leather legs. 

They do show the top of them  hidden, so I suppose it's to make these comfortable?  The top is a pattern too, but I don't love this one or even like it.  It's basically a rectangle with holes for neck and arms.
They've  brought back designer patterns with a big name, Karl Lagerfeld.  They are too young for me, but I can see the skirt on my dd only longer.  Like old times they've got an interview with him.  Not a particularly good one but still, it's a start. 
 There is also  the Sewing Academy, with  a well illustrated  lesson on sewing a tailored collar and lapels.  

The other thing they've started, they did it in September too, but I didn't notice it until now, is that instead of that one pattern 4 looks they've started showing current patterns combined with older patterns, all of which are available for download on the German site.   I don't know if these are also going to be available on the English,   

Do you think that all our complaints have actually been heard?   Now if only they'd bring back a real English website. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pants, Hopefully the Last Installment

This is a pile of my fitting books, including the binder on top of old Threads articles.  Not even all of them because I stopped clipping them years ago when I realized I often wanted the article on the other side.  

It seems that pants fitting has consumed my life for years. Of course I made other garments, but what I thought about most was fitting pants, looking at pants, obsessing about pants.   Now, hopefully I can move on to other, more interesting projects.  Not that I won't make pants, but I won't be blogging about them.   Unless I make some other pattern, but this one has had it's day.  I can endlessly tweak it, but that isn't interesting enough to talk about.  Jeans are actually in my future, but that's for another day.

Readers thought that the gray pants were my altered pair. They are not.  They aren't bad, but they had annoying issues.  Because they are from a drapey fabric it just isn't as obvious.  Soft fabric softens all the wrinkles while a stiffer fabric is much more unforgiving and shows everything
With Claire's help I dealt with the last of the annoying little issues and they really weren't all that big, but I got really obsessive here!

The first pair is a brown tweed with no stretch and the second pair is black twill, also no stretch, both from sales at Michael's.  These are much less forgiving fabrics than my light gray linen and lycra.  The first pair is  pretty perfect.  In the second I decided to narrow the knee another 1/2", which is a total of 2".  Too much for my tilted pelvis.  I could remove more room above back crotch, but I'd also like to sit down.  So, while I like how these look in front, if I want to make narrower knees I either need to accept the wrinkles in back or make them wider.  It's a trade off.  I finished a pair of gray cotton with lycra pants yesterday. I have to say that I am beginning to prefer pants without lycra.  They don't stretch out and bag in the rear end.  They don't have to be sewn so tight that they show lumps and bumps before they stretch out.  I wore the pants.  I let out the side seams to get rid of the bumps.  They were perfect.  I wore them and by the time I went to bed they were too big.  We're not talking a whole day here.  I finished them at 5 pm and put them on.  Again, if they were a soft, drapey pair of pants they would still look good, but not in their stiffer, cottony drape. Sure I could only make pants out of drapey material, but I  need sturdy pants for work.  I guess I'll take them in and just let them be tight until they stretch out.  See what I mean about being obsessed?

Moving on:

I'll be sewing at least 4 tops to go with my new pants.  That will be my transitional wardrobe.  The new Aphrodite top from Hot Patterns and Burda's double top are in the mix.  As well as a cardigan and tank top from my tnt t shirt.  Another top, yet to be determined will also be in there. 
Here are the fabrics that are up for consideration.

 This is an open novelty knit, from Emmaonessock,  for the outer layer of the Burda top and the plain white cotton knit is for the inner.  I am going to reverse the necklines so that the openwork shows at the neck, and like several people I am not going to sew them together at the bottom.  Not a good look for wide hips.

This combination if for the tank and cardigan. The right piece is a cotton sweater knit from Emmaonesock for the cardigan and the gray is a piece of double knit also from EOS which was in a double knit bundle.

The right hand piece is a light weight rayon knit from Metro bought on  PR day,  and it will be for a maybe wearable muslin for the Aphrodite top.  The left rayon knit is from Emmaonesock and is up for contention for the fourth top.
 The bottom two are also from Emmaonesock and they are in contention for tops too.  Both  are in my favorite print, animal.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Bad Bloggger

Why haven't I been blogging you ask?  When I got home from the PR day I couldn't put any weight on my foot.  I'd been having some issues but after a day of walking and then sitting on the train for over an hour I  was pretty much incapacitated from a raging case of plantar faciitis    I have been to the podiatrist, gotten two cortisone injections so far, done the exercises and rested.  I am still unable to walk around Costco without coming home to ice.  It is getting better.  I am not limping today.

I have been sewing.  What you ask?  Pants. I am on my third pair and they fit!  If you'll remember  I have written a lot about my frustration with pants fitting.  I can tinker endlessly fine tuning the fit, but basically I really, finally have a tnt pattern that I can lay down, cut out and sew up.  How did I get here?  Not on my own.  After seeing a comment that Claire Kennedy had left on PR on yet another query of why don't these pants fit, I  contacted her and asked her to look at the pants I had recently posted here.  What I got in return from her was a long wonderful e mail with lots of information on what to do.  She teaches pants fitting classes and she has a wonderful eye and knows how to fix what she sees.  I sent her photos of these pants and  she sent me more information, including a video on how to figure out how  your pants are hanging on your body.  This was very informative because  I realized that somehow my side seam was no longer hanging plumb.  When I  fixed it, that nagging weird pleat at my center front disappeared. 

My side seam was hanging to the back by about 1 1/2" at the hem.  I used a plumb line held at the side seam at the waist  (after choosing to move the seam to the front by about  3/8" and letting it hang to the hem.  My dh marked where it hit the hem. (these are pinned up so that they didn't hit the floor.)  I transferred this to my pattern and adjusted it.
The black lines are how I moved the seams.  I folded the leg in half lining up the inseam and out and marked the new grainline.   You'll notice the change.   This balancing the leg is very important to getting your pants to hang correctly as well.  Thank you Claire! 
I'll post some photos of my new pants next time.

Enough on pants!   It must be two years ago now that I bought some  real Burberry raincoat fabric and the lining from Michael's Fabric. I even bought some gorgeous red cashmere blend for a button out lining.  But I couldn't find a pattern that I wanted to make.  There are plenty of double breasted trenchcoat patterns out  there but I couldn't find a single breasted one with a lapel.  Until this morning!   The September issue of La Mia Boutique had exactly what I was looking for so you can bet I ordered it from Around the World  pdq before they sold out.  They've even have  a special on shipping for $3, so a bargain.  Hepi Press has a preview of the issue. Couldn't get a direct photo link, but it's #5 if you click through page by page.  Actually a cool preview with a good zoom feature.

I also traced out the new Hot Patterns Aphrodite draped t and couldn't figure out how the draping lines up.  I emailed Trudy and got a phone cal from Jeremy and a diagram of how to do it.    The first, single notch is match to the first of the next double notch and so on.  Not hard, but I couldn't figure it out.