Thursday, September 14, 2017

I’m sewing (occassionally)

A bit of a catch up post on things I’m working on. Summer is definitely over here. We never had a lot of it and I’m now sewing garments for fall/winter.

This first project is a blouse from a Burda pattern (I’ll check on the number in a future post about the finished garment). A fabric that feels as as silk and behaved like it too. Very slippery and difficult to work with. I used loads of starch to control it. It’s finished and washed to remove the starch. Just waiting for an iron before I can take proper pictures.


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This week I started a Burda dress from the January 2017 issue. The fabric is very dark navy and black. The picture on me shows the colour best, the other is made lighter to show the print better. I love the neckline. A bit too deep (Burda!) but will fix that. I won’t make the skirt as it is designed (pleats on the hips are a big NO for me).

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Another project for my daughter. A dress from an Ottobre magazine. Almost as easy as a t-shirt.

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And for fun: a picture of my daughter and me on a little trip we took together to Stockholm. Lovely days!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The pair of pants saved

As mentioned in the post about the horrible mistake of sewing the pockets in the back of a pair of pants I did want to finish them after all, because of the promise I made my daughter. She needs a couple of new pants and this was the first pair, more or less a trial version.

I have no photos of her wearing them, she took them home with her and I will hear from her whether they are comfortable in wearing so that I can make more.

This is how the back bacame. The pattern has no seams, I made a more sporty version of it, correcting the mistake. I had no fabric left to cut new back parts.

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The front is as basic is the front of trousers can be. Here I changed the difficult pocket flaps to regular inseam pockets. I had no interest any more to do the pockets as in the pattern and if there’s a next version it will probably be inseam pockets again.

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The pockets are the most difficult part of this pattern. Apart from my own mistake in sewing them in the wrong pattern piece I think a “normal” single welt pocket or the “pocket window” construction that I tried would be better. Other then that this is a very straightforward pattern that is easy to sew.

Friday, August 11, 2017

This was an easy sew

Reading the comments to my previous post was making me feel better: I’m not the only one making such a mistake. Thank you for taking the time to tell your mistake. Some of you said that reading my post made them feel better too and I can fully understand. In the online world we usually tend to show the successes and less the failures that are an inevitable part of sewing too. It’s something I do as well and I was in doubt about posting about the mistake and glad I did in the end. I was able to save the pants and will finish them this weekend, when my daughter is home again she can try it on to determine the length of elastic in the waist.

In the meantime I needed something to cleanse the palate, so I made a bra from one of the sets of material I bought when I met up with Jane. I’ve used this lace before (in 2013, can’t believe it’s that long ago), but with black lycra. Now a full embroidered lace was available too and lace trim for the shoulderstraps. Makes it quite different. It’s a bit more transparant in real life, the photos were made with a black preformed cup underneath.

Really no surprises in sewing this time.It went smoothly.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The biggest mistake ever

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This doesn’t look too bad. It’s my take on the pocket of the StyleArc Talia pants. The instructions are minimal, there are instructions on their website but I was not sure it would look good. So I decided to make a “window pane” construction. After I had done all the work I was wondering why the pocket bags didn’t meet the center front, they did in the paper pattern…..

Turned out I’ve sewn the pocket in the back pattern pieces. The BACK!!
In the many years that I sew I’ve made every mistake you can think of. But this one made me think I’ve gone mad. Bet you never did this!

How did this happen? A week ago I cut this pair of pants to quickly sew it up without the pocket to have my daughter try it on. So I did not cut the front with the ‘indent’ for the pocket but just cut a straight line. Both for ease of sewing and for the fact that I was not sure about the construction in the instructions. After my daughter had tried it on and I marked the few adjustment necessary,  I just opened part of the seams to construct the pocket, thinking I would serge the seams later on. I must have been too tired and didn’t notice I was working in the back pattern pieces.

After the initial disappointment (and being very angy with myself, also doubting my ability to sew) I’ve cut the pocket part off and changed the back to have a shaped yoke. The pocket will be a traditional inseam pocket probably. I promised my daughter to make her these pants, if it would have been for myself I’d probably tossed it in the bin yesterday evening.

Tell me about your worst mistake, let me know I’m not alone in doing something stupid!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Burda dress 119, changes to pattern and construction

There were a few changes I made to the pattern prior to and during construction. For those of you interested in the details, this is what I did.

As indicated in the first post on this dress last week, I lengthened the upper body by 1.5 inch. This isn’t hard to do: fold the pleat on the right pattern piece, match it with the placement line on the left pattern piece and you have a full front in which it’s easy to draw a line to lengthen (or shorten) it. I did this just below the armhole. After that the seamlines, diagonal fold and placement lineslines are trued again. Of course this change of length is to be done on the back pattern piece too.
This is not an error in the pattern piece. I know my upper body is longer than average and it’s a change I always do in Burda patterns.

The other change was cutting off the extra triangle pieces that are on the right side pattern pieces for the top, skirt and waist part.

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Initially I cut them and understood what the intention was, an extra pleat above and below the waist inset. In the magazine picture this part is invisible and the line drawing isn’t clear either. I decided that this would probably not make things nicer on me and cut them off. After construction I found this picture on the German Burda site and have magnified this part. For me it was a good decision to take them off, the remaining pleats give enough accent as it is.

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If you do want to remove these pleats you also have to change the small triangle (piece 26) which has no lines. Or perhaps I just missed them.

I used a chalk marker to do this:

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I marked all lines with carbon paper on the wrong side of the fabric, but used basting stitches too on a lot of pieces to have the lines on the right side of the fabric too.

The order of construction for the waist inset is done in the following steps, that are self explanatory if you are using the pattern. (It was at the moment of inserting the inset in the main body/skirt part that I decided not to use those extra pleats, so in these pictures these are still there).

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I used a fabric with a bit of stretch, cutting a smaller size for the torso than I would have done with a woven fabric. It  was very snug and I gave the side seam a bit more space.


Another thing I did was making a couple of horizontal stitches in the back of the pleat in the body. It tended to gape and with these invisible stitches the pleat is kept in place better.

Hope these details are helping some of you.

It’s not August yet…

and I finished my first dress from the August issue of Burda.

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I’m quite happy with how this dress fits and how it looks on me. The most visible change to the pattern is the neckline. The original neckline was very high and it felt like it was choking me. I didn’t want to disturb the pleat and widened it just a bit but went 4-5 cm down in center front.

I did a few pattern and construction alterations and will write a separate post on that later this week.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Starting to sew from August Burda

I didn’t keep to my pledge of sewing something from a (new) Burda magazine each month. There were two skirts I forgot to blog about, but even if I count these, there are no 6 or 7 garments from Burda magazines sewn by me this year . The August issue could change the numbers. It’s a great issue with quite a few patterns I’d like to make. After seeing previews and especially after seeing some pictures shared by a friend with a subscription, I stalked the newsagent for this issue. It started with a little disappointment that the jacket I like so much is in the petite size range. Perhaps I will draft the details in my jacket pattern at some point, but not now. I have a nice event to go to next week and thought it might be nice to sew a new dress for the occasion.

This is the pattern I’m using, number 119:

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Not a very straightforward dress to sew. After tracing the pattern pieces the first thing I did was trying to “assemble” the paper pieces, based on the instructions and common sewing sense. That is necessary with Burda, their instructions are not always clear. Something is lost in translation probably (I have the Dutch issue, the original is German).


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There were two things I changed to the pattern:

  • the length of the bodice (common alteration for me) which was less difficult than it may seem from the line drawing
  • the waist piece. That has a seam at the bottom that is showing easily. In the magazine picture the serged seam is peeking out. I moved the seam to the center back of the waist piece. Easy change and I think it looks better the upper ander under side of that piece both have a folded edge.
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I think I got how this is intended to be sewn and am ready to cut it.

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The pattern calls for 1.95 meter of fabric, the length of my fabric is only 1.80 and it works, It’s probably a bit wider than the fabric Burda used.

Hope this dress works well, I’ve been in doubt of posting this already, but it’s a sewing journey and sometimes it works, sometimes not.