Monday, July 28, 2014

I'm on Twitter!

I'm back on Twitter after about a five year hiatus from it.  I'm too obsessed with sewing and need to know every last thing you are sewing, all the time, constantly, 24 hours a day.  I even made a little button for my sidebar... fancy! I tweeted for quite some time a while back for a small business I had-- life got busy and I closed the account.  Now I'm back and ready for more.  Follow me and read my tweets. Or not. I'll be following you.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Burda 8/2014 #116: Hi-Lo Dress With A Back Cutout (Plus It's OonaPalooza Time?!)

I was speedy fast with getting this dress done in time for two reasons:
1) It's my super fun birthday dress for later this month!
2) Oonapalooza time is almost up and I wanted to join the fun!


This is the hi-lo dress #116 from the the August 2014 issue of Burda (also available as a download here.)  I'm not one for the mullet dress or a backless look on me but this one whispered my name and said "Hey, go get that bright tropical hibiscus floral print on that rayon challis you bought in the winter and make me now".  It came from Fabric Mart's Julie's Picks Club.  I cut a straight size 42 with zero alterations.  The skirt is so full I had no reason to grade out the hips to my usual 46.  I was too lazy to work up a muslin, and now I have several fit issues, but they aren't the end of the world.  I totally forgot to add a little extra length to the bodice, I generally add 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) and now the waist is sitting a little higher then I'd like.  But I must say, I'm really happy with the location of were the back cutout sits-- it covers everything that needs covering (i.e. bra band and butt.)  The shoulder seams are riding back a touch because the bodice is slightly too short.  But you'd never notice, so who cares.

The directions are classically terrible Burda magazine directions.  This dress is not complicated to sew but to try to follow their poorly translated steps... oh, man, what a headache.  But like a good seamstress, I read them over to see if I could comprehend them.  It appears all most of the info is there but it's bamboozled.  So if need to rely heavily on directions when you sew, don't bang your head against the wall with this one.  Otherwise, you'll be a-okay.  

The bodice is fully lined with the same fashion fabric.  I had 3 yards of material and it worked out just fine but I had to piece the front bodice lining together and sew a center seam because I couldn't get a perfect full piece out of my yardage.  Now what does Burda forget to include in their directions?  They don't mention to do any understitching along the neckline, sleeves or back opening.  I always understitch because I hate when the lining starts to fold outward every so slightly as the garment is being worn.  They forget to tell you to trim most of your seam allowances. They don't specify why you need or how to attach elastic the your drawstring... they give some convoluted explanation on the elastic but I couldn't decipher it.  So this is what I did-- I cut about a 2" (5 cm) length of my 1/4" elastic and sewed one end of the drawstring to one side, then the other drawstring to the other.  When it's have the drawstring in the casing in back, this little bit of elastic in the center of the string creates a nice ease in the otherwise non-stretch drawstring.

I also had to go rogue with sewing in the facing/casing on the back cutout.  Sewing it on was nothing new or mind blowing but the directions manage to blow my face off with confusion.  I simply sewed the ends of the two facing pieces together t make ta big circle.  I pinned it on the back opening, right sides together and sewed it on with my 5/8" seam allowance I use.  I then trimmed the seam allowance and understitched.  I flipped it inside, wrong sides facing now, and ironed it.  I ironed the 5/8" seam allowance on the other side in and under the facing and sewed it to the dress to form the casing, leaving about 3" (7.5 cm) open to allow me to string my drawstring through.  After getting the drawstring through, I sewed up that last little open bit.  Yeah, I know, I should have taken photos.

Rayon challis loves a good french seam so this is how I finished this relatively straight seamed skirt.  Plus with a mullet hem I didn't really want serged edges flipping around as I walked.   I made machine rolled hems.  I could have done an invisible hem, but dang... the other option is so fast and works beautifully.  I love how you can barely see any of that stuff when I flip the skirt up to see the inside in the photo below.  

Check out how full that back panel on the skirt is!  I needed a gust of wind to do a saucy Marylin Monroe skirt blowing up sort of photo.  But there wasn't any gusting, so I held it up and out so you can see how huge the back is.

I may already worn the dress today and my birthday isn't even here yet.  It's summer, it's a fun, colorful dress...  I couldn't help myself.

I had to take my pictures in quick shifts.  My yard has been invaded by these crazy HUGE bugs called cicada killers-- they are humongous, look like killer death wasps and chase me when I'm nearby.  Luckily they are basically harmless and could care less about people.  The last photo is of me looking back and realizing I had one of those bugs looking at me while it sat on a flower.  Inside I went.

Birthday Giveaway WINNERS!!!

I have the winners of my big Birthday Giveaway!!  There are several of you, so here we go:

-BurdaStyle: Sewing Vintage Modern Book: Linda of Danvillegirl Sewing Diary

-La Mia Boutique Magazines (Italian): Nadine in NC

-La Mia Boutique Magazines (Russian), Vogue 7119: Sarah

-M6512, M6282, S0350, S2184, Colette 1013: Diya of The Hobby Harbor

Congratulations everyone! I've emailed all the winners.  And thank you all so much for all the warm birthday wishes!!  I just finished a fun birthday dress last night from the new issue of Burda and will get it posted soon enough. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

True Bias Hudson Pant

I have a number of things I've sewn up in the past weeks that have not been blogged about.  I need closure on these garments, so I am going to start off with these really great new sweatpants.  This here pattern is the creation of Kelli from True Bias, it's her first.... the Hudson Pant.  I needed this pattern in my life.  I'm gonna sew up more when the weather cools down.  Kelli describes them to have an urban fit with space in the hip, tapering to a skinny leg.  I live in a city, need space in the hips and prefer a tapered leg these days... sign me up!  She actually put a call out for pattern testers on the higher end of her pattern sizing so I volunteered to test. 

I pulled my shirt up a tad so you can see where the waistline sits.  These pants are no low riders but don't sit up too high either.  I love the rise of these.  The back is cut a little higher and the front a little lower-- this accommodates your bum nicely.   There's not a weird low rise showing off the butt crack.  I cut a 12 waist and graded to between a 16 and 18 hip.  Her sizing chart is quite accurate, I went with the size that was closest to my own measurements.  did a full rear adjustment... I simply added about 1" to the back crotch length.  I got big buns, you know.  The pattern is sized for a 5'4" (1.63 m) body... I'm 5'8" (1.73 m), so I just added 4" (10 cm) to the inseam.   It's hard to tell, but the leg bags over the cuff some.  I will only add about 2" (5 cm) next time.  Plus I feel like I need to size down a little in the hip to a straight 16. FYI: Her sizing is 0-18, that's 34-46.5" (86-118 cm) hip.  I find her pattern draft to be comparable to RTW sizing. 

I used a really cool looking mottled black print fabric. It's a cotton knit with craptacular recovery (I wore these to sleep in while camping a few weeks ago and they stretched out like nuts.)  I used this fabric for a Vogue dress I made last year.  The white pocket edge is a scrap of ponte.  I lined the pockets with a blue mesh.  That  tie on the waist came from an old pair of too large running shorts. And a secret: the ties aren't threaded through the waist, just tied through the holes in front (I dropped the long string I needed behind my dresser and was too lazy to move it to retrieve it, so I used this smaller bit for decorative purposes.)  I will surely thread the tie in the waist next time, it would be helpful to tighten the waist if needed. 

I wish I took better photos of these before I ripped a whole in the seam.  These are the pics I sent Kelli after testing them, just to show her how they fit.  I was putting them on in the dark of the night in a tent in the woods when I realized  I was cold, then put them on but stepped on them funny and there was a tear. Ugh!  But I have to say, Kelli really did a top notch job with her first pattern.  I am impressed with the high quality of the directions and illustrations.  She just did a round up of (most) of her Hudson Pant testers... I was an idiot and forgot to let her know it was okay to use my version on her blog.  You can see on other folks how they are a closer fit on them and see how mine fit a little longer on the leg causing some extra fullness--- but I like the look!  I HAVE to sew more of these for fall and winter... I shiver and shake with coldness in my old age when the the cold weather arrives.

Talking about old age... it's my birthday this month and I'm doing a pretty nice little giveaway with patterns and a book and some international sewing pattern magazines.  Presents for everyone!  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My Image Fall/Winter 2014/2015 Review

I usually leave all the reviewing of new patterns and pattern magazines to other folks, but it's so rare to see any talk on sewing blogs about My Image.  I've made well over a dozen of their patterns and own every issue since their inaugural one back in 2010, plus a few of their envelope patterns.   Since I'd bore my family to absolute tears sharing the Fall/Winter 2014/15 issue I got in the mail this week, I thought I'd share my thoughts with you guys.

Here's a little info I know about My Image if you aren't familiar:

My Image is an independent pattern company in Holland who design and publish patterns in My Image Magazine two times per year. The patterns in this magazine are for women.  Sizing goes from 34-52 (4-22 U.S.) Not all the patterns are in all the sizes, but they are doing a nice job of overlapping plus and regular sizes the latest issue. The directions are in Dutch, German, French and English. Their websites are all available in these languages as well.   They have a couple handfuls of individual printed envelope patterns available under the name ImageWear (here you can see one of my ImageWear makes, and another one here).  The same group of folks also publish Young Image-- patterns for babies to teens-- and they also put out a new one called B-Inspired-- also patterns for babies to teens, both girls and boys as well. 

Now check out the technical drawings for the latest issue...

I have found their sizing to be comparable to Burda-- I am the same size with both companies, generally a 42 bust and 46 hip.  I like My Image because their designs are very wearable.  I don't think they are super trendy nor are they super edgy, say like La Mia Boutique can be (who I really like a lot, but often can't find a reason to sew then wear most of the designer and cotoure inspired stuff in my life since I'm not working in a professional environment these days.)

Let's see what I like in this issue, shall we?  M1458 has a super cute equestrian riding jacket vibe.  Sizing is from 36-46 (6-16 US)! I may not necessarily choose a floral splash of color like they suggest with the model.  I'd go for a more traditional look for high wearabilty this fall.  I can see doing it a classic tweed, adding some faux leather elbow patches and maybe some welt pockets in the waist seam, like the Smythe blazers below.  I'd wear this for years to come!

Inspiration for M1458: Smythe blazers

Let's check out these two patterns in the photo below.  I like how M1452, in sizes 36-46 (6-16 US), is a dropped waist knit dress but it's more form fitted and shaped in the waist... I initially thought it was a shift dress.  I can't really wear a drop waist say to the Flapper style extreme, but I can do this!

There are loads of different ways to sew M1452 up. The pocket flaps are actually one of my favorite things about the dress but I really like the idea of replacing them with exposed zippers like that red one by Joan Vass dress (below). 

Now check out M1457.  It's a sweet little dress with a Peter Pan collar... I personally am likely to skip the collar and add a little length to the hemline if I sew it.  It reminds me so much of the Libby Dress I saw in Boden's catalog.

Inspiration for M1457: The Boden Libby Dress

M1451 is a classic princess seamed dress.  The technical drawing makes it look shapeless, but the model doesn't look like she's wearing a boxy thing and the pattern pieces all look very shaped and feminine.  This pattern is total blank palette, I could see this in a million different fabrics and prints.

I fell for M1456 immediately...  but I wonder why?!  Oh... because it's so close to the pattern hack I did last year from a Salme pattern.  This was one of my most worn outfits last fall.    

Most of the patterns go up to size 46 (US 16) but this jacket and skirt below  (model on the right) are for sizes 42-52 (12-22).  I love that my size 42 is included in the plus patterns in this issue!!! 

Depending on what fabrics you choose, you can make this into a zippler-less, faux leather biker style jacket like this one below... or maybe you can belt it like the purple Oscar de la Renta one.  The jacket on the cover of the magazine is M1459, it has a zipper and collar.  I would put in the moto style category.  Hmmm... are moto jackets like these too passé? Are we over it?  I'm not sure how I feel this moment.

I'm not likely to make the pants here.  I just sewed up True Bias's Hudson Pant (not yet blogged yet-- but worn in the woods at night when I was camping!) and I feel like I don't need more modern sweatpants at the moment like M1460.  I've never worn button fly trousers like M1453 are, how does that work out?  I think I like the concept but do they pop open all the time?  

I will likely sew up several things in this issue.  What do you guys think?  I feel like I need to look past the bright, floral, busy fabrics to see what I really want.  If you want to look at a digital version of the magazine layout you can find it on their site here.  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

It's My Birthday-- It's Giveaway Time! *CLOSED*

--This giveaway is now done and closed--

July is my birthday month!!  So it's time for presents... for you guys!!!!  Yep, a good ole fashioned giveaway, no strings attached.  I'm allowing myself to get a few new sewing goodies in the coming weeks so I wanted to review my stash of patterns and purge a few things to make way.  There may be a trip to Fabric Mart, too... I think it will be officially an annual post-birthday event for me now in August (I went last year with some birthday cash in hand and got a boatload of stuff.)

The Giveaway Rules

** Okay, sewing friends, this will be open to anyone in the U.S. as shipping can be astronomical otherwise**

1) Browse the patterns, magazines and book below
2) Tell me in a comment what you want-- one thing or all the things-- plus an e-mail address so I can contact you if you're a winner.
3) I will randomly choose a comment and reward you all your choices.
4) I will keep choosing until all the stuff is claimed.
5) I will then contact the winner(s) and mail it all away.
6) I will then eat loads of cake and plan for my new sewing escapades. Happy Birthday to me!

The giveaway closes at the end of the day on Saturday, July 26, 2014 (EST). 
 I'll announce the winner(s) on Sunday, July 27, 2014.  

I won this BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern book last year from another blog giveaway.  I don't need it.  It's never been used beyond some light browsing.  It's in new condition.  Take it.

I got a wildly huge pile of pattern magazines from my lovely neighbor Renee a while back, these are just a just a few from that pile I'm gonna part with.  Here we have two La Mia Boutiques in Italian (above). The one on the left is the October 2007 edition, the other on the right is August 2008.  Both have never been used, just looked at.

Above are two more La Mia Boutique sewing pattern magazines... in Russian!  The left one is the 08/10 edition and the right one is the 11/10 edition.  It's all in Russian... I have absolutely zero knowledge of the language and it blows my mind trying to figure out the directions. Take them.

The above patterns: 
McCall's 6512 (sizes 12-16)
McCall's 6282 (sizes 8-14)
Simplicity 1876 (sizes 12-20)
Colette Patterns 1013 (sizes 0-18)

The pattern directly above here:
Simplicity 1806 (size 8-16) View B was cut in 14
Simplicity 0350 (size 4-18) View B was cut in 14
Simplicity 2184 (sizes 6-14) 
Burda 7117 (sizes 20 1/2-23 3/4" head circumference) View A was cut in 22 3/4"

And a couple vintage ones here:
McCall's 7148 (size 12)
Vogue 7119 (sizes 14-18)
I don't think either are cut.

So pick and choose or tell me you want it all. And then wish me a happy birthday and send me loads of gifts.  Any questions? Just ask.  

Remember: The giveaway closes at the end of the day on Saturday, July 26, 2014 (EST). 
 I'll announce the winner(s) on Sunday, July 27, 2014.  

Check out this pile of patterns I have for you!

P.S. Yes, there is another magazine with a blue letter M on the cover peaking out in the top photo... I made the mistake of tucking that in the's NOT in the giveaway (it's my only Modellina, you ain't getting that.)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Simplicity 2153: A Designer Inspired Sporty Red Anorak Raincoat

The Marc Jacobs inspiration jacket

I am so excited about my latest ridiculously functional sewn garment here... it's inspired by this $430 Marc Jacobs rain jacket, but not meant to be a complete knockoff.  I spotted this water repellent Marc Jacobs  flame red cotton nylon poplin on Fabric Mart's website a few months back, then found that ready-made jacket online using this same fabric, and finally bought three yards for my Mother's Day gift to myself in May.  I've had Simplicity 2153, an anorak coat, on my radar for a number of months, I made View C. I found this perfectly matching red nylon mesh from FM a couple weeks ago for the lining.

My last raincoat was a classic black, Burberry inspired trench... that one took some muslining and loads more work and ain't meant for hiking in the woods. (I was loving Nakisha's version of this anorak... AND she made her's with the same fabric as my Burberry knockoff...ALMOST twinsies... sorta...?!)  But this go round I really wanted a hooded and lined lightweight sporty raincoat/windbreaker sort of thing.  The pattern neither has a hood or a lining.  I had to draft my own hood.  I looked at my husband's LL Bean raincoat for some guidance on how to work up the right sized hood.  Mine ended up being a wee bit more snug then I intended but it's gonna keep the rain off my head nicely... I did want it to be fairly close fitting though to prevent rain from coming in or the hood blowing off in the wind. I simply measured his readymade jacket's hood, measured the collar on my jacket, then used these measurements to draw a head-shaped pattern piece.

I flipped the jacket inside out and put in on in the photo directly below on the left.  You can see how the red mesh lines the jacket perfectly.  It gives it a nice slippery, comfy feel inside.  I used the mesh for the hood plus front and back bodice pieces only-- the sleeves, upper back bodice and collar are lined with the poplin.  I excluded the facings because ONE I ran out of interfacing, and TWO, I was too lazy to sew them in even if I had the interfacing.  I also excluded the shoulder tabs/epaulets... I just wasn't in an epaulets sort of mood for this jacket... I do like them, but sometimes you just want no shoulder decorations.

The lining is basically an entire second jacket without the back loop and a variation of the pockets. 1) I sewed up the outer shell with the zipper already attached and sewed up the inner parts  2)  Before I hemmed anything, top stitched the zipper on the outside or attached the lined hood/collar, I sewed the lining in, right sides facing on the zippered edges, flipped out the jacket to the right sides, then top stitched the zipper  3) I basted the lining neckline to the main 4) I left the hemming of the sleeves last of all. 5) Then I attached the lined hood to the collar, sewed the collar as the directions explain and attached the collar/hood bit on the jacket as per the instructions.

After examining my hubby's readymade jacket, I saw he had some secret inside pockets, so of course I added one on my lower front bodice on the inside.  I made a simple square pocket using the same techniques from the outer pockets... then added some velcro to keep it shut.  The pocket is made of the cotton/nylon fabric, too.  I should have added the flaps over the outer pockets like the inspiration jacket to make them more functional,  but alas I have this super secret one inside.  And look close, you can seen how I not only sew my velcro around the perimeter to attach it, but also make an "X" with my stitching-- this reinforces the velcro.  Personal experience has taught me to sew the heck out of velcro to keep it attached over the lifetime of a garment.

The construction was quite easy, I didn't make any sort of muslin.  I cut my usual Simplicity size: a 14 neck/bust then graded to a 16 waist and 18 hip.  This is a lightweight jacket and is a roomy fit, if I were to make a heavier weight one I would surely go up a size.  And technically if I follow the Simplicity sizing guidelines I would be a 16-18-20 (bust-waist-hip)... the wearing/design ease is quite large.   I also added 1" (2.5 cm) length the the bodice and sleeve lengths.  The sleeves are very, very full and I cut off about  2" (5 cm) of the width of them right before sewing the lining into the shell.  I still used a 24" zipper as the pattern recommends because I didn't find a 25" one at my local big box fabric store.  The cording on the waist is a nylon paracord from the craft department at W@lm@rt I happened to come across (they have a bunch of colors.)  That store has a handful of useful very economical sewing notions, I can't lie.

I went camping this weekend (I took all my photos at my campsite).  During my packing I realized that two of my really old, cheap-o folding fabric camp chairs were disintegrating and had to be tossed out... so I snagged the black toggle cord stoppers on their storage bags and put them on the on the waist.  I used some regular, boring white velcro for the neckline, I wanted red but was too lazy to track any down.

I ended up not needing to wear the jacket at camp... there was rain earlier in the day before we got to the site.  But somehow the coat wreaks of campfire now!  Well, everything will smell like campfire for days no matter what.  Oh, and I am going to enter this into the Sporty Summer Sewathon hosted by Did You Make That?  This is actually some activewear I sewed that's not for running!!