Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas to you all

Thank you to all of you that have read along with my adventures this year, especially those who took the time to comment whether it was to compliment my successes, laugh with me at my project failures or to offer some advice - it was all gratefully accepted and appreciated!

We've just finished a late night Christmas present wrapping session - I don't know why we leave it to the last minute every single year, maybe it's become our Christmas tradition?! At least we didn't run out of sticky tape or paper, and all is now done ready for the crack of dawn when small children like to wake, particularly on Christmas morning.

I've leave you with some vintage Christmas loveliness, mainly because I didn't want to leave that embarrassing last project as my last post for the next 2 weeks!

image from poshtottydesignz via pinterest

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Burda of the month 12/2014 #107 blouse: finishing the year on a hilarious note!

I was all primed to give myself a high five for finishing my December Burda of the month project but it turns out that instead I'm doing a public service by giving you all some probably much needed mirth in this crazy pre-Christmas period with all the associated stress, tiredness and general frantic running around trying to do everything and be everywhere.

So not much took my fancy in this issue, there is a lovely panelled peplum top that I considered but since I'm on holidays and not at work for a few weeks I instead decided to make another casual loose-fitting drapey top in a lightweight fabric, trying to duplicate the success with last month's Burda project. And I admit to being thoroughly swayed by the cool and insouciant model! So very unwisely I made the v-neck drawstring blouse 12/2014 #107:


I bought a colourful rayon from Spotlight (bought during a recent 30% off sale of course!) and made my version. I think the look on my face says it all, despite my best efforts at hiding beneath a hat and sunglasses:

Burda_12_2014_#107_v-necked_drawstring_blouse

So where to begin? It turns out the reason that the model in the Burda photo is standing with her hands in the pockets of her sequinned wide legged culottes is because the sleeves are set in so low and the top is so wide that if you move your arms in an upward direction the top does this:

Burda_12_2014_#107_v-necked_drawstring_blouse

Highly unpractical and very uncomfortable. Aren't those sleeves ridiculously big? I could probably make clothes for each of my children with those sleeves alone:

Burda_12_2014_#107_v-necked_drawstring_blouse

I thought the placement of the drawstring on the pattern drawing looked too low and would probably look better higher, but it turns out that it couldn't be any higher because of those sleeves. But it makes the back billow out hugely above the drawstring at the back, and the side view looks completely crooked.

Burda_12_2014_#107_v-necked_drawstring_blouse

Burda_12_2014_#107_v-necked_drawstring_blouse

My verdict: an easy pattern to sew, but save your time and your fabric. Oh, won't someone think of the fabric!

For my crime against this innocent and undeserving fabric, my punishment is to unpick those overlocked seams and make this into something better and wearable.

I did use the leftover fabric though to make a simple elastic waist skirt for Anna which she is very happy with so all is not lost. I sewed this skirt after I cut out the top but before I had made it, so now there is practically no fabric left so hopefully I can do a remake from the top along (there is a lot of fabric there to use!). But Anna is happy, and that's all that matters:


Thursday, 18 December 2014

The circuit breaker: Burda 01/2011 #112 pencil skirt

Isn't it funny how sometimes the simple projects can cause you just as much if not more grief than complicated ones? I've spent more time than I care to think about trying to make a simple unlined cropped jacket in a white stretch denim but it is causing me huge fitting issues and after unpicking it for the third time I had to step out of my sewing room for quite a few days. I was completely over sewing which is unlike me. I even had a sewing day and lunch with some friends from the ASG where I did little more than eat, chat and watch others sew!

As much as I don't want to create any new UFOs, I just had to put it aside and move on with something else, which I did:

purple_floral_pencil_skirt

Hence why I'm calling this skirt a circuit breaker - I just wanted to make something simple that I could wear straight away to get back some of that instant gratification of sewing and lose some of the frustration. And it worked, because since finishing this last week I've made three more things, including my last Burda of the month project (all yet to be photographed though).

So there's nothing terribly special or different about this skirt, but I've blogged it mainly as a note to my future self about the changes I made to the pattern in case I want to make it again. I used an old Burda, 1/2011 #112 which looks like this:


A few years ago I made a skirt using the alternate pattern (#113) with the little godet at the back hem in a grey glenplaid wool. It is one of the best fitting pencil skirts I've ever made, although I think the waistband yoke is too wide, the skirt was way too long for me and the godet sticks out in a funny way. So for this version I shortened both the lower skirt portion and the yoke, although of course in the floral fabric I've used you can hardly see the seam lines:

purple_floral_pencil_skirt

I also shortened the yoke at the back so that the seam lines matched at the side but I cut it down the centre back instead of on the fold so I could use a centre back zip instead of a side zip. Since I have curves and bumps at my sides in the hip area I prefer not to use a side zip as they tend to ripple or stick out a bit.  I also made a mitred vent at the hem instead of just a split, it just seems more finished to me but again you can barely make out this detail due to the fabric I used.

purple_floral_pencil_skirt

The fabric I used is a cotton sateen bought from Spotlight several years ago now. Because I know that sateen tends to bag out after a few hours of wear and wrinkles terribly, I underlined the skirt in a thin lilac cotton that was a long term stash resident, and handstitched the yoke to the lower skirt portion at the seam line. The insides of my garments are all about function - I never have enough patience to make it pretty with French seams and lace around the hem line some other more attentive sewists!

purple_floral_pencil_skirt

So I don't want to jinx myself, but this altered pattern could well become my TNT and holy grail of pencil skirts! I've already worn it twice in a week and a half and it is really comfortable. With my pear shape, I find that skirts are usually too tight across my hips and thighs so it rides up at the waistband, or I make them looser to skim over my hips but it means that the skirts twist around when I'm walking. This one stays just where it should and even thought it looks very fitted I could sit comfortably in it.

purple_floral_pencil_skirt

And even though I've worn it all wrong in this photo - I should wear darker colours on the bottom not the top - this skirt goes well with quite a few lighter coloured tops in my wardrobe so I can me wearing it quite frequently this summer. If only I could finish that white cropped jacket to wear with it though!