Friday, July 31, 2009

New Patterns

I just bought a few of the new Vogues when the sale was on, and now I've bought 2 of the new Hot Patterns. Like there is a dearth of patterns in my studio! I couldn't resist this new top pattern. It's like the Rick Owens top we had a big thread about on PR a few months ago its also reminiscent of the new Donna Karan tops, though probably more like Rick. While I love draped v necks, this one may be a bit too cowl and too much drape for my bust, but I'll try it and see. I'm sure that I can find a knit in my stash, ahem, collection that will work.
The one on the upper right is the one that's like the Rick Owens.
I also bought this pair of pants. I don't like straight elastic waist pants because with a big difference between my waist and hips (though not as much as it used to be!) there is usually too much fabric at my hip. But this has a fly front and drawstring so I can control the amount of fabric and still get them on. It's an easy pant that I may use for an exercise pant.
While I'm talking patterns, these are the ones I bought from Vogue.
This is Vogue 1125.
Marcy Tilton V8598
I like the shoulder princess of this blouse. I have found an fba easier to do on the shoulder princess, and I can much more easily narrow my shoulders with this cut. I was practical in my choices. I am not going to make any of those wonderful sheath dresses; I just don't have enough places to wear them. Can you imagine me sitting at my drafting table or out in the field in these? Even going out to a nice restaurant is so casual around here. If I lived in a city I would love to make more serious clothing. Kind of boring, huh? I just don't have the body for trendy clothing, which I love. Oh, and I bought the August issue of Knipmode. I passed on Patrones. The July issue is full of bikinis and summer clothing.
I still haven't forgotten my motorcycle jacket. I have the Burda pattern I'm going to play with to get the right shape. I'll enjoy making that. Sewing on beautiful wools is just a pleasure. Even though I sew a lot of knits these days I love the complexity of sewing jackets and coats and the ability to manipulate and mold wool.
Next post will be my fall sewing plan. I've been making lists, lots of lists. Now I've got to firm up my plans and put it out there so that maybe I'll stay at least close to it!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vogue 1091

Pattern Description: Loose-fitting, above knee pullover dress has elasticized front and back neckline, short sleeves and top-stitched hems.

Pattern Sizing: 8-24

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Mostly. There wasn't as much gathering in the front band as on the model.

Were the instructions easy to follow?Yes, it's a simple dress. They have you make a thread chain to hold your bra straps in place, which is necessary, but they don't give you directions on how to make one, so you'll need instructions for that. They are typical of most of the pattern companies in that they don't use knit construction techniques and use 5/8" sas.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I wanted an easy, airy summer dress and this certainly fits the bill. No Spanx required. I also liked that even though it is A Very Easy Vogue, it has some nice construction detailing that is usually absent from their easy patterns.
Fabric Used:
A rayon lycra from Marcy Tilton. On her site she frequently suggests cutting knits on the cross grain (when they are 4 way stretch) to make stripes vertical and other patterns more flattering on the figure. I didn't have enough material to cut this on the straight grain, so I cut it on the cross and it worked out fine. There is a lot of stretch in both directions and this is a very loose dress.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I did a totally unnecessary fba. There would have been more than enough room for my DD bust considering I took it in about 4" in bust blending into the hip. I also lengthened it to mid knee.
I needed to remove about 1.5" from the back elastic and about the same from the front elastic to pull the neckline closer to my body. I could have taken in more in the front. I'd suggest trying this on with the elastic pinned in place to make sure that the back and front lay close to the body. I have a flat back, so this might make a difference.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, in a plain fabric after I remove the fba, and yes I highly recommend it.

Conclusion: This is an easy to make and wear summer dress and even chic especially with my gladiator sandals. After yesterdays heat and humidity it's just a terrific summer dress that is actually chic and not too young and last night while browsing blogs I saw this posting at
You Look Fab about losing the waist so I am right on target here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Burda, Formerly Known as Burda World of Fashion

August Burda arrived today and I am underwhelmed. The added crafts have been the topic of discussion on several blogs. 16 pages of crafts, most of them rather tacky at that. Some are embellishing rtw pieces some of them are home decor and one page is 'use up those scraps" in some not very creative, contrary to their caption, DIY Fabric Accessories and they have it on page 6. My least favorite 'fashion' crafting is on page 21, the 'Flutter Effect" Fake leather fringed and attached to a rtw tee shirt, a scarf and a pair of boots. If I wanted craft projects there are a lot of magazines out there that already offer them and do it a lot better than Burda. I won't even discuss their strange tea party crafts.
As for the clothes, well I am not particularly enamored of them either. It's even harder to see them and we can't even go on line and see a different view as they've discontinued that.
I hate that it's usually only one garment in an outfit that has a pattern and it usually isn't the piece I like! I have over 10 years of Burda magazines and I have never in all those years done any of the crafts. They've changed the magazine a lot, but strangely they have left the carnival costumes and next month the annual Alpine Folk Style! yet again. Does anyone make anything from either of these costuming sections? I certainly haven't. We also have 'DIY trendy DIY folklore accessories to look forward to next month. I am due for renewal and I think that I will only pay for 6 months and see what happens.
Feel free to express your opinion on the new Burda. Rant if you want to, and if you disagree with me that's ok too.

On the sewing front, I finished a dress before we went away and when I get photos of it I'll post a review. Yes. I made a dress. I really like the ease of it. Of course it's kind of hard to wear a dress when I am out working, but I also work at home without ac, so a cool easy dress is just the ticket.
I made this Vogue Tom and Linda Platt design.

Seth doesn't love it, but I do.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vogue 2948 Sandra Betzina pants

Pattern Description: Tapered pants have front and back princess seams, contour waistband and left side or back zipper closure with button tab. A: topstitch detail and front pockets. B: contrast strip trim, forming piping. I made view A

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Sandra's instructions are really excellent. Two things that I take a slight issue with are her instructions for the invisible zip, and attaching the facing at the zipper edge. SB has you insert the zipper when the seam is open, which makes matching a crossing seam nearly impossible. Unless I misunderstood the instructions, when you sew the facing to the zipper tape you should remove some of the end of the facing to make it lie right when you turn it back to the inside. The instructions tell you to sew it in an 1/8" seam, which leaves too much of the facing to have it lay flat when you turn it out. I ended cutting off about 1/2" to the end of the facing.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the slim style, and the cf and cb princess seams which makes it easier to fit, especially if like me you have a very flat rear end. The faced contour band was a really good shape for me and fit well.
Fabric Used:
I used a linen lycra blend from Manhattan fabrics that's been in my stash for ages. I wanted brown and had this, but honestly, I avoid fabrics with a lot of lycra these days. This fabric is so stretchy that it made fitting harder. I kept having to take it in and it is still too big. I will see what happens when I make these again in fabric with less stretch. The good thing about this fabric is that it wrinkles much less than plain linen.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I had a tnt pattern and between weight gain and my constant fiddling with the fit, I totally screwed it up, so I decided to start from scratch. This pattern had been in my stash since it came out a couple of years ago and since I didn't have to trace it, I decided to give it a try. I had just bought Patty Palmer's dvd on pant fitting using the Palmer Pletsch tissue fitting method and decided to follow it and the Pants for any Body book step by step. I am lucky to have a 3 way mirror set up that makes fitting myself easier. As they recommend, I used a larger size so that I could take a tuck in the back and still have the side seam in the correct place. However, I wore them the other day and they are too big. I also need to remember to sit down when I am fitting to make sure that the waist doesn't dip down too far. I had to take in the back inseam so much that the back crotch became too short, which I would have caught if I'd sat down while I fit them!
Alterations I made:
flat rear end
short front crotch
low rear end
lowered the side seams, lower on my straighter side
took in the back inseam quite a bit, but I think that this had a lot to do with the amount of stretch in my fabric.
I used a different method for installing the invisible zipper. Most methods for installing an invisible zipper tell you to sew it in before sewing the side seam. Well, it works, but try and get a crossing seam to match up! I prefer using Els' method that she has posted on the Sewing Divas.

It sounds like a lot, but I could find every wrinkle I had in the book and thus find a solution. I have made many pants muslins over the years, and this was more accurate and easier to do.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I definitely will sew this again, and I highly recommend this.

I don't remember the last time I made a Vogue pattern pair of pants, but these Sandra Betzina pants are wonderful. I think that they are flattering and they are comfortable to wear. Not just because of the stretch, but there is no pulling on the front leg when I move. But, as I said above, I'll take them in a bit more the next time I make them.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Burda 102 2/09 Jacket

Here it is with the belt, And here it is without the belt.

Pattern Description: The sand color, epaulets, bellows pockets and buttoned belt carriers are the safari-style details. Nevertheless, this jacket with voluminous raglan sleeves, notched collar and princess seams exudes lots of urban modernity. I concur: it does look modern and I even used the same color. It was in my stash.

Pattern Sizing: 36-44 I cut a 42 in the shoulders, did an fba, and added to the hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? A bit different, as I left of the buttoned belt carriers, but essentially the same.

Were the instructions easy to follow? This is Burda. I always read the instructions to see if there is something I need to really think about and they aren't bad, but if you don't have experience making jackets, I certainly wouldn't sew from these instructions; I'd use outside sources.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the lines of this and thought it would be flattering on my figure. I didn't like the small pockets. The buttons are on the jacket, under the pocket with a button hole in the pocket and the belt loop, essentially making the pockets purely decorative. I wanted to use the pockets and I didn't want to always have to wear a belt with the jacket. The pockets were also too small to use in the size drafted. The fit on this jacket and the drafting are very good. I know that I make a lot of fitting changes, but they were my typical alterations and it just went together very well. Other than the pockets, I didn't have to redraft this to make it work. The sleeves on this jacket make it a bit different and the raglan sleeve is easy to wear and comfortable.
Fabric Used:Linen from Michaels Fabrics at one of their half price sales. I used a silk charmeuse from the Fabric Club for the lining. I had originally cut out a gold colored silk jacquard for lining, but when I went to put it together I realized that I had neglected to cut out the back sleeves and there was no more. I had been so proud to squezze the pattern in. This is when having a decent stash pays off. I foraged around and came up with this coral colored silk charmeuse that is very luxurious, especially if I wear it without a blouse.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
As I mentioned earlier, I left off the belt loops. I enlarged the pockets in width, but I should have also made them a little higher too. I made my usual litany of fit changes:
Narrow shoulders
forward shoulders
lowered bust point
low shoulder
larger in the hips
added shoulder pads
Raised the center front.
Sigrid had mentioned that it was too low to wear alone as drafted. I added about an inch.
For both the narrow and forward shoulder I used a different method this time. I was unhappy with the raglan sleeve alterations shown in FFRP. I made a raglan sleeve coat a few years ago and was not thrilled with the shape of the shoulder after I altered it. This time I used Fitting & Pattern Alteration, A Multi-Method Approach. (Cidell just reviewed this on her blog). It's quite a different method, having you remove from the body of the pattern, instead of from the shoulder for the forward shoulder. The shoulder fit was good without any added fiddling.
I don't like the way Burda and a lot of the patterns have you sew in a lining so I do it differently. I prefer to sew the collar and facing to the jacket alone. I feel that I have more control of both the collar and the lapel than attaching the upper collar and facing to the lining and sewing them toghether as one unit.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I wouldn't sew it again; one is enough, but I'd certainly recommend it. I might make the dress version though.

Conclusion: It's a great summer jacket, which I may even wear before the summer is over. I never seem to sew things far enough in advance of the season, but hey, Burda has safari stuff every year, so it will probably be fine next year.

The pants are Vogue 2948 and the top is Hot Patterns Weekender Sunshine top. I'll get to those tomorrow.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do You Sew in Your Underwear?

My first sewing book was the Vogue Sewing book circa 1975 and one of the pictures in the section on sewing rooms was of a woman in a housecoat/dress. It's a whole lot easier and faster to fit when I don't have to get undressed every time I try on my garment. I usually sew in my underwear and either a t shirt or my robe, but the robe tend to get caught in the wheels of my chair. In the winter I'll wear tights to keep warm. Obviously, I wear clothes that I'd wear under jackets or coats when I am sewing those. Good underwear is imperative. I tried on my jacket with an old bra (forgetting it was old) and got briefly upset when I saw drag lines from the bust. I actually went and put on a good bra to prove to myself, that yes, I got the bust point in the right place! Being so anal about fit, I try on my garments a lot during the sewing process. It beats getting a surprised when it's finished. What about you? What's your fitting and sewing process like?

I should be posting photos of my jacket, top and pants this weekend. They are finished, but not photographed yet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Vogue Patterns

Some of them are new, others, well they are definitely familiar, read retread. There is yet another top with a bow front and center. Who looks good in this? There are some great patterns here, but unfortunately, the ones I like the best either don't fit my lifestyle, or they would look awful on my body and if I were to succumb to the lure of the $3.99 pattern sale at Joann, they would languish in my pattern stash never to meet fabric.
There are a few that I may purchase, if I manage to make the next sale.

This one is a real possibility. I even have the perfect fabric. They really should say that the wrong side of the fabric is going to show on this one. It has good lines for me, but a warm coat? Not this one.

I love this dress. It might even look good on me. Do I have any place to wear this dress? No.
I also think that I'd have trouble with an fba on this dress.

This one I may very well buy. I have plenty of blouses in my collection of BWOF, but I like the shoulder princess on this one. It is easy to alter for my DD cup bust and narrow shoulders.

This is another one I may buy. I am sewing V2948 pants that have front and back princess seams and the fit is fabulous. No, I can't sew it out of the envelope, but it was easy to alter for my body, which is what tempts me on this one even though I have several similar patterns from BWOF.
I love the coat, but again, I am attracted to something that really isn't the most flattering shape for my body. It has drop shoulders which accentuates my narrow shoulders and pools fabric at my bust line. The top? Haven't we seen this one before, and more than once.
Of course, if I were to make this one, I'd have to make long gloves to keep my arms warm.

The black ones with the quilted cuff are my favorites. But, lets face it, I'll never make a pair of gloves. But, they are pretty.

This is one of the few Marcy Tilton patterns that I like. Most of her stuff is just too shapeless for my taste, but this one has some really nice lines. I even like the trim on this one. Will I sew any of these? The blouse, vest and pants have the best chance of being sewn as they fit my lifestyle and body the best.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Behind the Seams The Shaeffer Collection Volume One CHANEL

It's gorgeous and worth the money and if you have any interest in couture sewing it's a must have in your library. The close up pictures from David Page Coffin are excellent and a pretty good substitute for seeing and handling the jackets in person. I have a few nit picking issues with the format, but maybe that's just me. When I first played the cd I didn't notice that at the bottom of the main picture are two buttons Show Text Hide Text. They are white on white and in some of the pictures the text is showing when you open that page, in others it isn't. One of my first complaints was that there wasn't enough text and then I discovered the buttons. I'd still like more text and information than she gives, but when I get my copy of her Couture book I think that this cd will be a great complement to it. I haven't taken in it out of the library in a while, but it seems that most of what I wanted to know when I saw the pictures, like how do I construct what I am seeing, is in the book. Since this is Volume One, I assume that a volume 2 is in the works. One nice part of the cd book experience is being able to zoom in on details and the resolution is good enough to get really close. The bad part of this is when you've zoomed in and want to get to another part of the page, you often get the next page instead and there is no zoom out function. In fact the Zoom button didn't work totally for me. You can zoom in with the percentage button on the tool bar, but that's cumbersome to some degree.
One of my favorite things in this book are the detailed construction pictures. There are some wonderful ideas on contruction, especially in the blouses and skirts that she shows. There are some pictures of skirts where the plaid is not symetrical at the waist, showing how they dealt with uneven hips. The blouses, which remember were meant to be tucked in, are all longer in the back. No pulling out when you sit down in these blouses!

$40 may seem like a lot, but if this were available in a coffee table book by one of the art presses it would easily be $75 or more. The minimal text is a negative, but it is still worth having and I know that I will go back to this many times.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Books and stuff

Karen was the great enabler for recent additions to my sewing library. Not that I need much of a push to buy books! She did introduce me to with it's great selection of sewing books.
I got 3 of them yesterday and I am waiting for Claire Shaeffer's Couture Sewing, which I have never owned, but have taken out of the library and paid enough overdue fines to have actually paid for it! I have seen some good reviews for The Zapp Method of Couture Sewing, it was cheap, so I clicked my mouse.

The Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts by Claire Shaeffer is from 1981, so not expensive, but I love the other books of hers I have and use a lot of her techniques when I sew. With patterns having such skimpy instructions these days it helps to have additional sources. I looked through it last night and there is a lot of great information here. There is a newer edition of this book with a dffierent cover than the one I received.

Kenneth King does some amazing embellishment on his clothing and while I am not big on heavily embellished clothing, or even lightly embellished being pretty much a minimalist, there are times when I'd love to know how to bead, even small bits, so I bought his Designer Bead Embroidery. It is well worth the price, with gorgeous photos and what seem like terrific directions.

The other book, or rather cd book that I bought is Behind the Seams The Shaeffer Collection
Volume One CHANEL. This was produced by David Page Coffin and I bought it online directly from him. It's really gorgeous and maybe worth the $45 with shipping that it cost. I started looking through it today and I think that in some ways it's a perfect addition to Shaeffer's Couture book.

I'll have a review of my jacket in a few days. I am working on the white Hot Patterns Sunshine top and a pair of brown linen and lycra pants. It may wait until I have full outfit to show you.
I am chucking my black linen pants that I finished but never reviewed. Ther are construction pictures posted, but the fit is awful in the front crotch and everything I did to try and make it fit better just made it worse. I decided to start from scratch and tissue fit step by step with Palner Pletsch's Pants for Real People. I always tissue fit tops and jackets, but I haven't fully used it for pants. I bought Patti Palmer's dvd on pants fitting and I decided to give it a try.
I am using Sandra Betzina's V2948
It takes more than the usual amount of fabric because of the princess seams. Especially since I added some extra to the hems and I increased all my sas to 1". I was short so I used a different, lighter fabric for the waistband facings. It's all cut out and ready to sew.
The princess seams made fitting for my flat butt much easier. I used a size larger so that I could do the recommended (from Patti Palmer) tuck in the back without having to add to the side seams. It keeps the side seam centered, which I have had issues with in the past.
I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

30 Dresses

I got an e mail this morning from my cousin's photo gallery, Alan Klotz Gallery about a current show, entitled Thirty Dresses by JoAnna Johnson. She sewed by hand (I assume a sewing machine here) thirty black or white dresses and then photographed them in various landscapes.
I love the pictures and thought I 'd share them with you. If you are in NYC you should take a look. He's in Chelsea, not all that far from our garment district favorites.

Have a great 4th of July everyone. We are doing our celebrating tonight, it's my birthday and anniversary (kind of poor planning on my part) and then I have a lunch date tomorrow with my bff for our annual birthday lunch. The rest of the weekend I plan on sewing. I have my jacket to finish: the cuffs are half sewn on, topstitching and buttons and I'll be done. Finally. Then I have at least 2 tops that I have cut out to sew.
Happy sewing.