Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Persistence Pays Off!! FO and Pattern Review - Burda Style 2014 01 - 108

What a difference a day makes!  After work yesterday, I decided to change into my comfies (mental note - gotta come up with something a little more "Olivia Pope-esque" for my down time), and head down to L'Atelier.

The first thing I saw was the WIP I had set aside in disgust and frustration on Sunday evening.  But instead of going with my initial reaction of just bagging it up and tossing it, I thought I would take another look at it.  I'm glad I did!  As a result, I can present you with this pattern review of Burda Style January 2014, #108 Top.

Burda Style 2014 01

Line Drawing of Burda Style 2014 01 #108
Pattern Description: According to the magazine, "...loose sleeved shirt which is quick to sew."  I will add that the loose sleeves are of a unique folded design, and there is a wide waistband and centre back seam.

Pattern Sizing:  Burda (European) sizing:  36 - 44.   I made the size 42.  Don't forget to add seam allowances to the pattern pieces when you're cutting the fabric.  Burda Style patterns do not include them.  I like this feature - it gives me more control over the fitting/altering process.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, I think it does.
photograph of Burda Style 2014 01 #108

Were the instructions easy to follow? HA.  I give this one a big NO.  I couldn't figure out what seam was the centre back seam (and to be honest with you, I'd have to give it some serious consideration to figure that out again!)  Burda directions are always a little vague for those of us who are visual learners, like me, and that makes it a bit more difficult on a good day.  I will concede some of the blame on this though, sewing when you're already frustrated and tired is never a good idea.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I LOVE the unique style of this pattern, especially the folded sleeves.  It is also a great pattern so show off a centrepiece fabric, or if made out of a "plain" fabric, it would be great to show off some fabulous jewelry.

Fabric Used: a brushed lightweight polyester woven with a plaid print

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I made this directly off the pattern sheet.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I might sew it again in a solid coloured fabric - or maybe a sparkly black for top for a casual night out?  I would recommend it to others with the caveat that you should play around a bit with which pieces go together before you actually stitch it together.

Conclusion:  Despite the frustrations I had with the lack of pattern markings, I am really glad I stuck with this top and love the result.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Weekend Sewing Wrap Up...

...Or An Exercise in Frustration


I had been SO VERY MUCH looking forward to sewing this weekend, and rushed through my chores on Sunday morning in order to get to L'Atelier.  I had high hopes of finishing a jacket and getting started on a top or two.  Well...I *did* finish the jacket but I have to admit I'm not impressed.  I have some significant fitting issues with this jacket - my fault completely for not doing a muslin/mock-up first.

In any event, here's my review:

McCalls 6171

Pattern Description:
MISSES' LINED JACKETS: Semi-fitted, lined jackets A, B have stand-up collar, yoke, princess seams, front zipper and topstitch trim; jacket A has three-quarter length sleeves with sleeve bands; jacket B has optional jewel stones; jackets A, B have A/B, C, D cup sizes.
According to the website, this pattern is now OOP.  I made view B.

Line Art

Pattern Sizing: Standard Misses sizing.  I made size 14 with the D cup fronts.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, despite my reservations with the fit (see below), it does.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  The instructions to put in the centre front zipper were a little lacking.  I would do it differently if I was ever going to do this again.  The recommended fabrics include synthetic leather, which is what I used, and the method they used requires basting etc. without any instructions on how to work with synthetic fabrics.  I also had a bit of an issue with how they wanted the lining inserted - it took me a few minutes to figure it out.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I had some fitting issues with this jacket overall.  In the yoke part of the pattern, the shoulder slope just isn't right for me, and I ended up with large drag lines from the top of the shoulder to the underarm in the front.  I also had problems easing the shoulder cap into the armhole - there was a fair amount of puckering.  The same problem occurred when I stitched the back onto the back yoke.  Maybe it was just my fabric, but it seemed to be more gathered than eased (see gathering in the yoke area in the photograph below).  There are also some weird drag lines from the area under the armhole in the back to the centre back.  This can even be seen on the dressform, not just when I'm wearing it.  This is despite the swayback adjustment that I did!

Fabric Used:  Lightweight synthetic snake skin.  Because this is a synthetic leather type fabric, I used a medium weight sew in interfacing instead of my standard iron-on interfacings.  I also used a Teflon foot on my sewing machine, and a longer stitch length (3.5 mm for regular seams and 4.5 mm for topstitching).

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I added 1" to the sleeve length, 1/2" sway back adjustment across the centre back and the side back pieces, and 1/2" to the side seams.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I don't think I will sew this again.  I'm not pleased with the way it fits, and there are a lot of other cute jacket patterns out there.

Conclusion:  What should have been a fairly straightforward project caused me a bit of frustration, and I'm not entirely happy with the end result.  Lesson learned - should have done a muslin first!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cold Induced Ramblings

Hello Friends!  I've been pondering my sewing for a few days, I'm still on the couch with a horrible cold/flu/virus-thing that has me down for the count (no work, no parties, no leaving the house, or barely leaving the couch for that matter!).  I thought I might be well enough for a little bit of sewing today, but cold meds are not my friend (they give me shakes, anxiety and otherwise general dopiness), though they did help with the symptoms.  In any event, I will not be taking them tomorrow!!

Regardless, I browsed the internet a lot over the past few days, and placed an order to Vogue Patterns (SALE ALERT!!) even though I REALLY don't NEED any other patterns...(shrugging).  I am INSPIRED!!!

I'm still searching for the "right" pattern to use for my tailored jacket project, though I think I will just pick on without any further ado.  I've made my shopping list for the things I will need in order to complete this project, and hope to get started this weekend.

I have decided that despite all of my prose on the subject of goals, I think I WILL make a few.

Goals for 2014
1. 1 pair of socks a month
2. Three sweaters (one for myself, and one for each of my daughters)
3. Sweater for my baby niece and nephew
4. Stash busting!  I have a YARN ROOM, people.  A whole room for my yarn.  It is starting to be a bit overwhelming, so I need to use some of the gorgeous colourful yarn I already have.

A.  Learn how to use the coverstitch capability on my serger (!!)  I think I'm a bit frightened of this.  I don't want to "wreck" any projects with it.  I just need to do a few projects to gain my bearings, maybe basic tees to wear hacking around the house.
B.  Tailored Jacket project - I'm researching this, have a shopping list, just have to pick the pattern and the fabric (from my stash - see letter G below)
C. French style jacket project
D. sew one garment a month from Burda magazines (I have a HUGE collection that has basically collected dust over the years)
E. perfect a trousers pattern (I'm enrolled in a pants drafting course, and a pants sewing course at our local college, so hopefully I'm well on my way to this one!!)
F.  Unofficially join the RTW fasters Link Here.  Any time I join anything officially, I don't seem to be able to remotely complete anything near my goal, so I will follow along unofficially.  I have more than enough fabric to work on this, and I'm working towards some really aggressive saving goals, and ready to wear just really isn't in the budget this year.  Which leads into...
G. Stash busting!  My stash is threatening to take over my basement.  I have SO MUCH untapped potential there!!!  Gorgeous fabrics that I can't wait to use!!!  I'm not saying I won't buy fabric, but I need to focus on what I already have.  I'm an emotional fabric buyer, and a sucker for a great deal; but I'm hoping to transfer my stress buying into actually working on projects.
H.  I also want to do a better job of documenting my projects.  I'm hoping to get a tripod early this year so I can take photographs of my projects to give you guys a better perspective of what I'm working on.

Those goals are pretty general, no real SMART qualifiers to them.  I'll have to work on that, because without timelines and the other qualifiers, they just become ramblings.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dreaming of Sewing

Blah.  I'm sick. I've spent the day on the couch today, dreaming about sewing rather than actually being able to sew.  Maybe it's been all the many many episodes of The Good Wife that I've been watching, but I'm craving sewing a great suit.  Not just sewing, but old fashioned tailoring.  I have never done a true traditional tailored jacket, and I think it might just be my next project.  I pulled out my Singer Tailoring book today and browsed it.  For hours (in between naps on the couch).

Maybe tomorrow I'll have enough energy to browse through my zillion jacket patterns.  ;)


Monday, January 13, 2014

Falling Down Isn't Hard to Do

Well...here we are, the second full week of January.  Outside of finding my Theme for the year (see my last post) I've not seriously set any resolutions or goals.  I briefly thought about not buying any more fabric, but that was just setting myself up to fail.  And I would have REALLY failed if I did.  I went to a Fabricland in London, ON last week when I was travelling for work (I was killing time, which means I kind of had a bulls' eye on my back when I walked into the store!), and I found a few things.  Ahem.   A FEW.  See what I mean??

My haul piled up on a bar stool

6 m of poly/rayon/cotton blend suiting
 The above fabric is on the stiffer side, think cotton twill.  It has a stripe on the right side with a completely different yet wearable stripey reverse side.  I will likely use this as a contrast on a garment - think pockets or yoke with the reverse side showing. I have plans to do a pair of wide-legged trousers out of this, with a jacket (I love my suits), and maybe a pencil skirt.

6 m of rayon/poly blend suiting 
I can't wait to play with the above fabric.  It is gorgeous, a drapey suiting menswear type fabric that just begs to be made into a dress and feminine jacket.  I will definitely play with the red accent stripes.

6 m rayon blend brushed suiting - soooo soft!!!
The above fabric is another soft soft soft fabric, but it has more weight than the previous one.  The photograph is actually sideways but I *can't* for the life of me turn it right side.  The pinstripes run the length of the fabric.  I can't wait to make this into a pair of trousers, for something to wear to work when I'm called to the jobsite or plants in the winter months.  I've got enough to do a skirt and jacket too.

3 m rayon knit with sparkles (I'm a sucker for anything that sparkles!!)
 I'm thinking of making this one into a "date night" top.  It's probably too lightweight for a dress, but I could underline it if I really want a dress.

3.5 m of rayon blend coating
This is a very dramatic coating/suiting that I *love*!!!!  The photograph is a little wonky, but the stripes/plaid is actually straight.  LOL.  I'm thinking it might be a car length coat, or a long cape, with some dramatic large white or red buttons.

6 m of a rayon poly blend heavyweight knit
 Another piece that I love!  I bought enough to do a complete capsule out of this - a top, cardigan/jacket, dress and maybe a skirt.  It's a heathered piece of heavyweight knit fabric that can do double duty as a suiting.  My thoughts right now are leaning towards incorporating some type of faux black leather accents on the cardigan/jacket and dress.

4 m of a loose woven fabric of undetermined fibres
 This one would make a fabulous cardigan-style or famous French-style jacket.  I'm thinking of making self trim out of strips of fringed self-fabric.

5 m of a rayon/poly tweed
Another glorious suiting fabric.  I'm thinking another menswear inspired skirt suit, and maybe a dress.  Again, maybe with black pleather accents.

6 m of menswear suiting, poly blend

This menswear inspired suiting has a lightweight but stiffer hand.  I love the subtle plaid.  So much so that I've already made a pair of trousers out of it (more on that next time).  It was easy to work with, even matching the even plaid.  I have enough left for a skirt and jacket.  I'm thinking something cute and feminine for the jacket to balance out the "harshness" of the menswear.

3 m of plaid flannelette
 For a surprise project.  I don't think the intended recipient reads my blog, but I'd rather be safe than sorry ;)

My fabulous haul

Can you believe that all this, plus four Burda patterns, an assortment of zippers and thread, cost less than $200!!  I KNOW!!!  That's where the PURPOSE part of this purchase fits in.  The way I see it, I can build my daughters' work wardrobes as well, inexpensively.

Don't ya just LOVE being able to sew??!