Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just under the deadline...

My Lined Jacket PR Contest Entry ~ McCall's 5477

"Misses Lined Jackets: Semi-fitted, lined jacket, hip length has notched or shawl collar, princess seams, bias side front and side back panels, shoulder pads and center back vent; jacket A has seven-eights length sleeves with upper and slightly flared lower section; jackets B and C have long sleeves; jacket B has bias cuffs."
In a nutshell, I **love** this jacket. It will go with my black sateen skirt and pants I made earlier this month, and the fit is awesome. Sorry you can't tell that from these pictures, but I had to make my dressform model, as no one else was available to play photographer!
Click here to see my review at PR.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mini-Wardrobe is Finished!!!

Here's the finished products of my Pattern Review Mini-Wardrobe Contest entry. Two tops and two bottoms that will work great at work! Being a high school math teacher means I need to be comfortable on my feet, moving around the room, and I do a lot of kneeling at students' desks. I needed to use fabrics that were easy to clean, as I use white board markers in the classroom and also have 2 small kids at home that inevitably have something dirty or sticky to touch me with. My other wish for this wardrobe was to make great wardrobe staples, things that were basic enough to work with lots of other pieces, but not too boring either!

Above are the original pictures of the outfits that I created. I'm still new at manipulating and creating jpegs (hence, my crappy storyboard and the first picture in this blog entry), so pardon me. I'll have to have some online friends give me some tutorials!

Here at the left is my final piece, Butterick 4230. It's out of print, so if you love it, too bad for you!

I used a creamy ivory cotton jersey from Joann's (actually, all my fabrics came from Joanns except the black cotton sateen from Gorgeous Fabrics) which is really soft and comfy.

I made a few pattern alterations. The reviews all said the pattern was very close-fitting, so I cut the XL, but after attaching the sleeves, realized it was too big. So, I sewed another line of stitching 1/2" in from the sleeve hem to the shirt hem, right around the armpit, and it's much better.

I attached the collar differently, so that the seam allowance would be hidden under the collar, and I left off the ribbon tie. I thought it screamed "HOMEMADE" or "Happy Hands at Home" as Michael Kors says, so I went shopping and found the perfect gold and pearl brooch to use instead.

In conclusion, I'm really happy with all of the pieces, and will continue to sew with a similar minded plan in the future!
Here is a skirt from the July issue of Burda World of Fashion. It's a wrap skirt with side box pleats that open to a slit. I did it up a a blue batik print as a muslin. The second version will be birthday gift for my mother in law.
It's got a nice fit, and doesn't open too much when you walk or sit, so I'm happy with it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

5 year olds and a muslin


I have absolutely no idea how they calculate this score, but the quiz was rather short and made me laugh out loud, so that's something...

I have a 5 year old... she always wins, especially in Wii Bowling, so I'm pretty sure this quiz isn't accurate and is for entertainment purposes only.

Jacket Muslins for McCalls 5477

The envelope says I need a 16 for the bust, and an 18 for the waist. Here are the muslin results after making the 18, and taking it in 1/2" under the armpit, and grading that nothing at the waist. Oh, I'm making View C with the shawl collar and regular sleeves.

My current plan is to make the jacket an 16 from the neck to the waist, then grade to an 18 there. I hate these numbers, I wear a 10/12 in RTW! When I look at Mimi's finished products, it makes me think I'm doing something wrong, as her stuff fits like a glove! While I do understand the concept of "ease", I want my garments to be fitted, not frumpy!

Can I just say, I never make muslins. I'd much rather dive into my pretty fabric! However, I have had some fitting issues lately, and want a better fit to show off for all my hours of hard work! I wondered if a FBA was in order, but I don't know. It's not tight there, but I maybe it will help the 16 fit properly... did I mention I started a diet today? Maybe that will help me take out more 5 year olds....

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Five for Five!

New Patterns!
I stopped at JoAnn's to pick up lining and notions, and as luck would have it, there was a pattern sale! Simplicity Patterns, 5 for $5, so here's what I got... (*Note to Dawn: Yes, I know my BWOF subscription is starting next month, and I probably don't NEED these, please don't be disappointed with me. I'm a Burdaphile-in-training...)

Simplicity 5284
Double Duty! This one is for both my son and daughter. It's got a lot to offer, and I liked the mini-backpacks!

I like the idea of embellishing the plain jumper with some embroidery or applique, but don't care for the pants, as they seem to scream "HOMEMADE".

Why I NEEDED this one: The plain knit pullover shirts that will go under lots and will be easy to embellish.

Simplicity 3668
This pattern also has quite a bit of variety, but my favorites here are the pleated shirt and the capelet. The side stripe pants are
cute too...

Why I NEEDED this one: The peasant blouse will be great in flannel this winter, and in cotton in the spring!

Simplicity 3511
These tunics are adorable, and she'll need some longer sleeved tops for the fall. I really like to find patterns that allow me to mix fabrics from our local quilt shop, the cottons there are so great.

Why I NEEDED this one: Pull-on shirts that aren't knit... need I say more? (Mother's of kindergartners feel free to join in the chorus...)

Simplicity 2876
I've never made her a coat, and I love the longer, dressier versions here. Actually, I love them all, especially the lower right corner picture with the leopard print!

Why I NEEDED this one: I have a little girl that likes to wear dresses all year long, and long dress coats for little girls are hard to find and expensive. This pattern should solve that problem!

Simplicity 2858
This one is obviously for me! I love the Project Runway patterns for all the options they include to change the designs. I hate the Project Runway patterns for the way the yardages are listed on the back. No big deal, I'll just cut the paper pattern and calculate the yardage myself, you really can't beat the length, collar, and sleeve options here...

Why I NEEDED this one: The jacket patterns in my stash are mostly classic blazer styles, and the options in this pattern are contemporary and sporty. Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Chloe Dao, the winner of Project Runway Season 2, and someone asked her what single type of garment she favored. She said she really liked jackets because they instantly added structure to an outfit, and I think this pattern has that potential.

Pattern Review Contest Update
Instead of attaching the sleeves and hemming the final piece, here I sit blogging! It will get done today, and photographed tomorrow (hopefully). I picked up some jewelry to add some flair, and complete the looks. I'm really happy with how everything turned out, so check back in a few days, all the "final looks" should be posted!

P.S. Sorry about all the empty space in this post, I'm apparently in need of a Blogging Tutorial! Any tips on easy ways to place numerous pictures and lining up the text to match?

Monday, August 11, 2008

2nd & 3rd Wardrobe Pieces

June BWOF #105

I've had this fabric in my stash for about 4 years, I picked it up from JoAnn's and have been waiting for the perfect shirt pattern. It's got a little stretch to it, so I should have cut a size smaller, but there's nothing saying I can't take in the sides.

I skipped the waist tie, as the loop looked weird, and I'll just use a belt instead, as shown here. Also, I used the shoulder pleat from view B, to give a more fitted sleeve appearance, and used buttons instead of snaps.

It may be hard to see in this photo, but the side seams have 5 inches of gathering on both the front and the back, so that part was a bit tricky, but the ruching is a nice touch. I absolutely love the way the stripes appear to change direction below the waist, and like to think this has a slimming effect. It does, doesn't it? Yes, definitely a slimming effect....

Here is view of the back, tucked in. Again, you can see the stripes angling below the waist.

I used the provided instructions, as it was the "Sewing Course" for the month, and the instructions were pretty clear, including the collar and collar band. If you've never worked with BWOF before, this is where I recommend you pay close attention to the small numbers in the corners of the pattern pieces, as it's kind of a "connect the dots" idea, and helps put the puzzle pieces together.

Overall, I'm happy with this blouse, it's comfortable and the colors of the fabric will allow me to wear this with khaki, black, and of course... jeans!

Here are pics of the shoulder pleat, collar, and front yoke seams.

July BWOF #113

This is my second skirt with this pattern, and probably not my last. This piece of my wardrobe plan was supposed to be black pants, using a cotton sateen from Gorgeous Fabrics that I bought last winter. But, when I saw that I could squeeze a pair of pants and this skirt from 2 yards of 60" wide, I couldn't resist! I switched the pants pattern to my TNT Eddie Bauer Bremerton Knock-off, and used a black broadcloth for the waist facings. I know cotton is boring, but honestly... my clothes (even my professional wardrobe) need to be comfortable and easy to clean. This sateen is a great weight, has such a polished sheen, and enough stretch to be easy to move around in.
This skirt sits a little below the waist, has 2 back darts, and 2 front pleats. Just enough to hide the little post-baby belly, but with the fitted waist to be slimming. I almost skipped the pockets this time around, but I like pockets at work, so I kept them. No lining necessary, and I'm getting faster and faster with the invisible zipper foot, so this skirt was an easy piece to complete.

The back is pretty boring, so no need to photograph that!

Just one more piece (knit top), and the wardrobe will be finished! Ahead of schedule? Unheard of!

Parting Shot:
JoAnn's Pattern Sale, McCall's were $1.99.
I reached in the drawer for this one:
But, when I looked down, was holding this one!
Of course, I couldn't resist... I left with them both!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Piece 1 of Mini-Wardrobe

New Look 6785
This has become one of my most favorite patterns to sew. The tops have turned out well, and the pants are exactly the same as the $40 Eddie Bauer pants I bought a few years ago for work. The fit is slimming, the fabric (cotton twill) is comfortable and easy to care for. I have another pair cut and ready to sew in black cotton sateen.

I used a 3/4" wide elastic instead of the waistband stay here. Another Eddie Bauer trick that keeps shirts tucked in and prevents waistbands from growing over time. Pretty straightforward and simple, helps the fit in the waist considerably.

Apologies for the blog mess, I'm hurrying, and it's showing! Anyhow, you can find the review at PR here.
Coming Soon: These pants in black cotton sateen, and my 2nd wardrobe piece, a skirt from the same fabric. 2 yards of black cotton sateen 60" wide is turning into another pair of Eddie Bauer knock-offs and another BWOF skirt... amazing!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My first BWOF!!!

Earlier this year, after realizing how many sewists exist in cyberspace, I was introduced to the Burda World of Fashion. I couldn't understand what was so great about patterns that required extra work (tracing the pattern, adding seam allowances) and added expense (hello, ebay!). But, after seeing so many wonderful garments posted at Pattern Review and other personal blogs, I decided that there had to be something to the craze. Within minutes of receiving the June 2008 issue, I understood. I was looking at a hip, trendy fashion magazine that contained at least 25 garments for all sizes and ages. I was hooked. Within days, I called Haberman Fabrics (about 45 minutes away), and requested the July issue. So, here is my first shot at BWOF.

July 2008, Skirt 113

Fabric from Joann's: Blue/Green woven, like a tweed, loves to unravel! I saw it earlier this summer, and loved it. Knew it would be a skirt, but wasn't sure of the style.
*Use the right tool for the job: I used an invisible zipper foot to put in the invisible zipper on the left side, and it is perfect. Why didn't I buy it before?

The only alteration I made was to line the skirt because the fabric was unraveling and I also want more structure for the fabric. I also used the lining fabric for the pocket to reduce bulkiness. Having never made a Burda before, I was nervous about the sizing, so I made the 44, but added a 1" seam allowance on the sides, just in case. As it turns out, it was actually a smidge big, and I'm considering taking the yoke in a little in the waist.
I've seen a lot of complaints about the BWOF instructions, so I wasn't surprised how confusing they could be. However, I've made enough skirts to know the process, so it wasn't an issue. I'm really, really happy with the final result, and am excited to do something else. As for this particular pattern, it's comfortable, I love pockets, and I will probably make it again.

Basic blouse pattern, with sleeve and neckline variations. All have a left side zipper closure, with front and back darts for shaping. I chose a turquoise polyester that was paired with the skirting fabric (yes, it was a no-brainer...), with a slight texture to it. I love the color, it's bright and shows off my tan, and more importantly will go with lots of bottoms.

*Another first: drafted my own sleeve pattern! Awhile back, I had seen a blurb in Threads about a petal sleeve, and how to draft one. I dug through the stack, and found the brief instructions, and ... voila! A great short sleeve option to give an otherwise plain garment a little sumthin, sumthin. I was toying with the idea of beading the sleeve edge to add more definition, but I think I'm going to hold off and check out the jewelry options first.
This blouse needs major renovations. Even though I cut the correct size (according to the finished garment measurements), the waist is huge, it's way too long, and the zipper produces a bulge under my arm. My plan is to pull out the zipper altogether, replace it with a center back vent and button, and take it all the darts. Another option I'm considering is to make 2 thin self-fabric ties, anchor them on the front darts, and tie them to pull the fabric tighter and add some decoration. I think I need to sleep on it, and some feedback would help!