Sunday, January 19, 2014

Burda. Burda, how can I count the ways that you are a pita.  Supposedly they have two English speakers who are actually American.  Really?  Kind of hard to believe.  Most of us who sew with Burda magazine patterns complain about the directions but 117 11/13 has got to be the worst I've seen in awhile.  For one thing they aren't just obtuse, they are wrong.  They have you put the zipper in wrong side up and on the wrong panel.  You cannot have the zipper pulls on the underneath panel.  I won't continue, just be forewarned if you are planning to sew this.

The pattern calls for a ponte, and from the look of it a fairly heavy weight one. But my wool (The fabric is from Emmaonesock, one of my favorite online fabric stores) sweater knit is probably  too heavy and it, unlike ponte, ravels.  Consequently I had to change the  order of construction and  some of the construction details.  This fabric is so  thick that multiple layers barely fit under the presser foot.To keep everything in place  I  hand basted all of my seams with cotton basting thread and then used a four thread serger stitch.
There was no way that I could face the peplum with self fabric. It is way too thick for that. Instead I  used a piece of the gray wool rayon jersey from the color blocked top to face the hem. I did not use it to line the peplum because after serging the waist seam there was no easy way to attach it.,  It's very light so I interfaced it with Pro-tricot deluxe from Fashion Sewing Supply.   After sewing it to the hem I hemmed it with my coverstitch machine. It seemed fine when I sewed it, and yes I tried it on. But, as I worked on it the knit has just grew. I took it in before I hemmed it, and thought that that was enough. I'd finished applying the leather and the jacket was still  too big. My next move was to remove the top stitched hem and take in the sides.  Believe it or not I needed to remove another 2" from each side and I had already taken in the sides and the bust before I ever coverstitched anything.  Also, it was too big all the way from underarm to hem, so it really wasn't just the coverstiching.  I  re-hemmed it by hand with a catch stitch. I made another sample from some leftover fabric of the coverstitch at it highest differential feed and measured the piece before and after.  8" grew to 8 1/2 so this definitely caused part of the problem.  I have a Janome cs1000. A question to those of you with other brands of covertstitch, have you experienced the same issue with sweater knits?  

The other problem I had is that the heavy zipper, my favorite Riri zipper of course, really pulls the jacket forward. I ended up ordering two weights of chain when the first piece seemed too light.  This one is from M&J Trim and it does seem to hold the jacket in place better than without it.  

Another issue  I have with this jacket is really more to do with my fba.  It added just too much length in the front panels. I  should have taken up the upper cf panels, but I didn't.  It's ok but as you can see the front is really longer than it should be. I am going to experiment with a Y fba. I've never used it because I thought it would add too much width to my cross front.  The other oddity I found is that even though I added about 3/4" to the length of the peplum it looks shorter than the picture on the magazine.  Maybe it's just the upper curve of my hip which the model certainly  does not have!

I like this jacket much less than I thought I would. Why? Because it's a jacket that has to be 'arranged' when you put it on for the collar to look anything like the picture in Burda. I feel like the jacket is wearing me rather than the other way around. The zipper has to be zipped up just to the right point for both sides of the collar to be even. Mehh.  The pattern calls for two large snaps to hold the under layer in place.  This is where having notions in my stash is lovely. I think that these large plastic snaps came from Botani buttons in NYC.  

I am wearing the jacket open as I type this because it is very warm with two layers across the front!  To wear this jacket comfortably inside the heat needs to be off and it needs to be a cold day!  It will certainly work as an outside jacket in warmer weather,  but I really like to have pockets in outer wear  and I couldn't face adding pockets to this unstable fabric. 

SWAP 2014
This is the first piece in a planned SWAP that's running at the Stitcher's Guild.  I hesitate to mention it because I am afraid of jinxing my  finishing it, which is generally the case with me and these types of things.  However I really like the format. It's very flexible and an easy way to plan a wardrobe.  There are the usual 11 garments required.  Two wild cards, which can be anything with a few restrictions.  Then there are 3-3 packs.  Everything doesn't have to go with everything else but they all have to look like they belong together. In other words, a collection.  I've found that it's a good format for planning.
Next up is a coat, which is one of my wild cards.
More about it next time.

Friday, January 10, 2014

What Are Your Favorite New Independent Pattern Companies?

When I look at reviews on Pattern Review there are  lots of new, or at least new to me, independent   pattern companies out there.  Years ago my mother in law was a small business counselor for Score.  She said that she got no end of prospective business owners wanting to set up pizza parlors in neighborhoods with established stores.  She would ask them what makes your  product different enough to get  people to change where they are currently buying their pizza?  That's the feeling I get when I look at a lot of these new companies.  There are an awful lot of t shirts out there and I can't help but think  what makes them worthy of my spending my hard earned dollars especially when I can pay $3.99 for Vogue on sale.  I mostly sew with Burda Style Magazine and Vogue. I have bought and sewn Hot Patterns to mixed results, but my tnt pants pattern is based on their Razer pant and my jeans pattern is from them as well. I've found the reviews on Style Arc and some of the designs worthy of paying  not only for  the pattern but the shipping from Australia.  I haven't made any of these patterns yet but they are in my sewing queue.   I've sewn a Pamela's Patterns cardigan, and one of Silhouette's knit tops but her sizing confounds me and prevents me from sewing anything else. That and the styles aren't well, stylish or current for the most part.  Not very stylish is my impression of most of the newer companies.  I don't need another t shirt or knit dress pattern that I've seen a million times.  I may be older but I like fashion and like to sew garments that are current, if not avant garde. Part of the problem for me is that a lot of the patterns are just too young for me.  But, if I was in my twenties I wouldn't be looking to sew them up either. I remember what I sewed in my twenties and thirties and it was a lot more detailed and interesting than what I see out there.  I was sewing a lot of Vogue designer patterns and there were a lot more of them back then too.  Issey Miyake when he was still doing the designs, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Geoffrey Beene.  Those were the days.  

Here's a list of pattern companies that I found on the Threads magazine site.  Wow, I had no idea there were so many!  I eliminated all of the historical and vintage patterns. I didn't eliminate children's patterns because I am not sure what some of these companies design.  I don't sew accessories but some of you probably do.  
Which ones have you used?  Which pattern companies are worth a second look or sew?  Which patterns companies are worth the money?

Lauren Marsh Sewing Patterns

Lauren Marsh Sewing Patterns

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Can This Pattern Be Saved?

When I signed up for Craftsy's class,  Sewing With Silks by Linda Lee, it came with a pattern for  The Sewing Workshop's Liberty Shirt.   I've gotten several patterns with classes and I  haven't used any of them.  This  isn't one I would have bought for myself either.  There are no darts or or other fitting seams which makes it not exactly the most flattering garment for someone with a DD cup bust. 

What looks like a princess seam is actually the stitching line for the facing.  I really hate the floppy standing collar and it would just make my short neck look shorter.  Why is it that most of her patterns are so buttoned up?  I get claustrophobic just looking at this one, never mind wearing it. But in some respects it's an interesting pattern. with an interesting shape.  The question is, can it be saved or should I just give it away to a reader who is better suited to this style?  How would you change this pattern to work for a curvy woman?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Two Tee Shirts

TNT (tried and true) patterns are a real time saver especially when you always have to make lots of  pattern alterations.  I've made this t shirt shorter, longer (these are on the longer side) with more ease, and less.  I've made it with short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves and long.  For the most part they are pretty basic, but they fit and I can cut them out and know that they will work.  I cut a 1" sas to accommodate knits with differing amounts of stretch.  I like them looser when the knit is very light weight like this gray wool rayon lycra jersey.  This silky,  high quality knit is from B&J.  Sigrid was looking for some special pieces of fabric when she was here so we headed to B&J for  our first stop. They have some exquisite and unique pieces; some priced  in the stratosphere,  but there is a lot that is well priced and gorgeous. We both found what we were looking for. 
Python prints are very big this year and when I found this one on I bought 4 yards, all that they had at the time. You've seen the dress and I had enough left over for a t shirt.  But I love the color blocked look of print fronts and solid backs and sleeves. I made this one in a V neck because they are always touted as 'slimming'.  Maybe, maybe not.  But I don't like them too deep in winter because it's cold to have so much exposed chest!

The pants are from the summer in my tnt pattern for pants,  made from a linen lycra blend from Marcy Tilton.  Certainly not for today's weather!  I need a pair of heavier gray pants to wear with this, which is actually next up on my sewing list after the sweater jacket I'm working on. The second top, or rather the third, if you count the black and white stripe Style Arc knock off, is also made with  fabric from Marcy Tilton.  It's another of those double layer textured knits that I like so much. I don't remember what the content is but it has lycra and at least some polyester.

I also made a pair of red linen pants just like these, so I won't bother to post them.

Now for a taste of my new sewing, Burda Style 117 11/13.

The pattern calls for ponte knit, leather sleeves and leather trim.  I'm using this beautiful double sided wool sweater knit from emmaonesock/ instead, with the striped side showing for the sleeves and the plain side for the body of the jacket.  The collar is a single layer and the inside or the striped side shows.  The trim will be black leather from a leftover skin I've had sitting for several years. More next time.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

La Mia Boutique #4 9/10 Review

Sometimes a picture isn't  worth a 1000 words. Particularly in some of the pattern magazines. Burda is certainly guilty of looking more like a fashion magazine than a pattern publication.  If there hadn't been a good technical drawing I'd never have known what this actually looked like! The picture is certainly telling me that this is more appropriate for Alex than for my curvy body. But I liked the lines of the technical drawing and I knew with some added length it could work for me.  I made a muslin for this with some really ugly rayon lycra knit. (yes, I actually bought it)  It was a softer, lighter fabric than the cotton lycra I ultimately used. Never having used La Mia Boutique I decided that making a muslin was a smart move.   I am enamored of animal prints, not a surprise huh?  I was seeing a lot python prints in ready to wear. and I scoured the internet for one in a knit.  This one came came from not one of my favorite sellers, but this is a nice quality with good weight.  The biggest issue I had with it, and I have found this to be common in cotton lycra knits, is rolling at the cut edges.  This can make it a pain to sew; lots of pins at the edges is the only way to sew it easily. 

Were the instructions good? I have no idea since I don't speak Italian. I never bother translating because I find the translation nearly as incomprehensible as the Italian.  It's really good way to become less dependent on written instructions. Even when they are in English, as with Burda Style they aren't very good.  I write a construction order to make sure that I do things in the most economical and intelligent way.  Of course this doesn't always work, but it gets me thinking on how I want to proceed.  This was really a very simple first pattern to make with La Mia Boutiqu

Does it look like the original?   As you can see in the photos, it's not really easy to tell what it looks like.  But, I like how it came out and that's all that matters. Actually, looking at the photos I would make it a little shorter and peg the bottom in a bit more. I still may do that.  I wore this bare legged and with gray wedge sandals which I think that it looked better styled that way.

Changes I made  Obviously I lengthened it.  I made a vertical fba, using my upper bust measurement for the neck and shoulders and the amount of negative ease I wanted at the bust.  This depends on how much stretch there is.  I also don't want to make the midriff area tight, so I adjust the bust accordingly and ease into increased width at waist and hips. I always add an in case seam allowance on the side seams so that I can adjust the fit. It allows for difference in stretch  among knits. The pattern magazines don't have a stretch guide like the big 4 do.   There were no markings for how much to gather the side. I made an educated guess. I used narrow elastic for the gathering because when I tried to use basting stitches, the curling was just too difficult to control even with wider seam allowances.

Would I make it again? Probably not since I've got a lot of dress patterns I want to make and I don't wear dresses all that often. 

This was made back in September to wear to a luncheon honoring my MIL.  She's 93 years old and the Asheville, NC. YWCA honored her, along with two other women as a Woman of Influence at their annual luncheon.  That she certainly is.  Her list of accomplishments is way to long to list here.  

La Mia Boutique is available from Around the World Fashion Magazines   in both single issues and by subscription.  I was in the store in September and they had a lot of older issues and I think they had this one if you are interested.  Give them a call and ask.