Sunday, March 29, 2009

Burda 04-2009 #122 Dolman Sleeve Top

Again with the Out-Of-Comfort-Zone sewing. This one I like better than the purple top. Some (most?) of you will like the purple top more I bet. I always seem to be in the minority. This is made out of one of the fabrics my husband bought for me when he was in Houston. It's a poplin-type fabric but it's also a gauze. It's almost like they wove the poplin and then shrank some of the threads in it to make it puckery. I realized I didn't have to be very precise with my cutting or stitching because this is so spongy. I mean, I was as precise as possible but I probably didn't have to be.

It's a simple dolman sleeve top (that's the right kind of sleeve right?) with a drawstring at the empire level. I didn't do my normal 1/2" shoulder to bust shortening because it is loose.

There's no a lot to add to the pictures. I'll do the full-fledged review later today.

Wow. That's Amazing

Redoubt Eruption March 27 2009 from Bretwood Higman on Vimeo.

Check out this awesome video. He's much closer to the volcano than I am. It's a time lapse video.

Things are okay here. The ash has stopped falling at my house. I need to go brush off the cars and steps but haven't found the masks yet. We use the same kind of masks that you use when you are removing insulation. Just the white ones to block the ash. Hopefully there won't be any more explosions because my husband is supposed to fly in tonight. Flights have been cancelled on and off for a couple of days now.

Burda 04-2009 #110 Gathered Knit Top

Usually I don't go for low cut tops. But, I find that I always gravitate to higher-necked boat tops. I like to step out of my comfort zone every once and a while so that I don't have the same thing in my closet every day. This is not the best top for me. It's cute but it probably won't get much wear. I will always wear this with a cami underneath but I wanted to show you the depth with out a cami on. It's plunging, that's for sure. Where I'm standing, I can see glimpses of my bra peeking over the edge of the top. You can't see it in this photo. I'll link to the full review once I get it done.
This isn't the right cami for it. I have a plain white one that would look better. You can also see that it's pretty loose in the bodice. That is probably half my micro-boob-ed fault but the pattern is also loose. Below, I'll show you what I should have done.
I get a bit of the pregnant look from the side. I may try handstitched the SA up. That seems to take care of most of the puffiness. There are darts in the back of this pattern. I did not do any swayback adjustment and it's okay in the back.

Here's the inside as I was putting it together. They have you bind the back and then attach the front. When you sew the shoulder seams, you also fold in the front facings so they stay put. As you can see in this picture, I did not include the front facings in the seam. That's because I plum forgot.

Later, I went back and hand sewed the facings back.

Here's the front with the tab. You can see that I didn't gather the front bodice enough because when I folded over the tab, it didn't fit. I would need to gather the front a bit more and have a smaller "knot" on the front.

Here it is on my double.

Here's a close-up of the knot.

I won't be making this again but if I was going to make it, here's what I would do instead:
  1. Cut off the damn front facings and just add seam allowances to the front bodice pieces.
  2. Gather the shoulder sections.
  3. Attach the front to the back at the shoulder seams.
  4. Bind the front and back in one swoop. I would make sure that you stretch the binding as you attach it. You can see mine needs a little tightening up. I would do this by cutting a stretchy strip of self-fabric binding. I would sew it RST to the shirt front and back. I would flip it to the inside and topstitch from the front side to secure it to the inside. This would do two things: ensure a snugger fit across the bust and get rid of the sloppy facings.
  5. Gather the bodice fronts the recommended amount and carry on with your top.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thar She Blows

ETA: All pretty good today (Sunday). The air smells like sulphur and your eyes and nose still burn but at least it's not actively falling from the sky. I'll go to work tomorrow but they recommend staying inside today.

There are some pretty impressive photos that have been taken in the last couple of days. Most of you probably know that Mount Redoubt has been gearing up for a couple of months now. Here's a previous post on the topic showing the proximity of the volcano to Anchorage. The last couple of days, she has really been belching and exploding. This is from yesterday, March 27th.

Photo courtesy of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

This is a lightning storm from last night above the volcano.

Photo courtesy of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

This is what it looks like today near the volcano.

Photo courtesy of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

This is my Kid-mobile. That is not snow. The ash has been coming down for a few hours. It's windy so it's accumulating like snow drifts.

This is a foot print in my yard. All the gray particles are ash.

Here's the Kid-mobile from inside the house. I was on strict orders not to go outside. Just getting the two pictures above caused severe eye-watering and nose-running. Ash is nasty stuff.

I believe we'll be staying inside tomorrow.

Wearable Wadder?

This is, quite possibly, the ugliest thing I have ever made. However, the Son looooooves it so I guess we'll be keeping it out of the wadder pile. These are all designs that came with my embroidery machine.

He's excited to wear his Ocean Hat. "Mom, I thought I told you I wanted a million dolphins. There are only five! What happened to the others?"

The coverage is good and he won't be getting cold. It's Polartec 200 so it's gonna be ugly and warm. I guess that's better than just plain ugly. See? He loves it.

I'm currently working on a skirt from purple wool crepe and a new knit April BWOF (can I keep using those initials even though it's just Burda now? How will you know if I'm talking about an envelope pattern or the magazine??) top.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Burda 09-2008-120 Pencil Skirt Part II

So, after looking at these photos I think it's okay. What do you guys think though?

I've been doing quite a bit of lifting lately. Hence the ponytail.

I have quite a bit of business sewing to do but after that it's on to the April Burda. There are a couple of things in there that I need to make.

Burda 09-2008-120 Pencil Skirt

A while back, Kristine and I decided to do a little fabric swap. She made a skirt out of the this wool and sent me the rest of it. It's about a yard. I sent her some black bottom weight stretch twill in return. I decided to make a simple pencil skirt out of the fabric. I love pencil skirt and they don't require that much fabric. This actually started out as BWOF 09-2008 #119 but when I put the pleated back piece on, it just looked stupid. So, I picked it apart and it's just a pencil skirt now.

Here you can see the inside. I used Whisper Weft on the edges and the facings. I used small scraps of bias material to back the darts.

Here's the inside. I love using some totally odd color on the inside.

I used hem tape to get a nice finish on the inside. I'm not sure how to really use this stuff. I sewed one edge onto the unfinished wool and hemmed the other end by hand. You can barely see my black hemming stitches on the top of the tape. You can see I made the hem pretty deep. But, that brings me to my next picture.

I think I may have hemmed it too short. I know you can't tell when it's photographed like this. But the last thing I want is to walk into school and have people think I'm dressing too young, trying to hard or that I'm prowling the school for potential mates. This is the back.

Here's the front. Tonight I'll snap some photos of it on so you can actually see how it fits. I love the overall hip and waist fit. I'll let you guys be the judge. I can easily let out the hem. Do I want to do it again? No. Do I like this fabric and want to wear it all the time? Yes. It's above my knees but not much. And I know some of you will say if it makes me question myself or if it makes me uncomfortable, change it. But, I lend to be "too safe" if you know what I mean. I want to look good at the same time.

Tonight, then!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Burda 11-2006-111 Tank Top

I didn't manage much sewing this weekend but I did a lot of re-organization. My husband got a hair and bought me halogen overhead lights I can swivel and two panels of LED lights for under the bunk bed. A while ago my husband lofted the guest bed so I could put fabric under it. This weekend he helped me moved everything around so that I could fit in my four machines. While moving everything around I kept moving this little piece of wool from Gorgeous Fabrics. I didn't want to toss it because it is so nice. Instead I made an undershirt. It's BWOF 11-2006 #111. It's so cozy.

This is the inside shoulder seam. I used bias tape in the seam to stabilize it and then I coverstitched the edges. This fabric was picky so I fused all the edges first before I coverstitched. You could make this top is one or two hours but it took me a bit longer because of the fusing.

Here's the inside. It's a two-layer fabric. One side is rayon and the other is wool.

Beware: this top is low. I moved the top up by 3" and did my shoulder to bust shortening of 1/2" and it okay now.

Functional but kind of blahhhhh. But, it will be a nice undershirt. Here's the full review if you want to read about it.
ETA: I forgot to mention that Seams Like Home, our local fabric boutique, now carries Jalie patterns. I wish they would have told me a while ago because I already bought those new patterns through I would rather buy local and support them. They emailed me because they know I needed wanted them. Tamara, here's your chance to use that new fabric!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Questions and Answers

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another KwikSew Vest": Where are you getting Polartec? Since the mill in Massachusetts closed, my supply has dried up! We have fond memories of the annual remnant sale, where my niece would climb into the massive bins and toss fabric out to my sister.
Since I'm a business owner I can buy Malden Mills products at cost but I have to buy it by the bolt. I went a little gung ho the last time so I am trying to sell some off. If you want some nice fabric for wholesale prices, see my Etsy shop. I am trying to get a bit more room in here and right now I have 11 bolts of fleece. Sheesh. It takes up a little space.

Mommymita has left a new comment on your post "Jeans Sew Along": i just ordered the pattern and I have the denim already in my stash Any word on the rivets? That would make them great!
Mommymita, I hope you are part of the Sew Along thread. There is a ton of information there, including rivets. I think most people are buying them from Junior.

My Fabrication has left a new comment on your post "Jeans Sew Along": Count me in. I'll be working my own pattern from existing pants. Love the Jalie pattern but don't think they are available in Australia. I've never done a sew along before. How do we communicate?Also I'm very jealous of your drawstring neckline blouse. I can't wait for the pattern to arrive downunder!
I started a thread on On there we have been discussing where to get materials and how much to get, pre-treating, patterns, etc.

Imaan has left a new comment on your post "Burda 03-2009-106 Top with Gathered Neck": Hi Dawn, Completely aside, I am a beginning sewer (depending on your definition), and am about to go on maternity leave in 3 months with my third child, and really looking forward to having time to sew. I took it up, after years and years of wanting to, during maternity leave with my second child, 2 years ago, but never managed to find the time regularly. Throw in exams for post grad education, two kids under 3 etc etc, and I am almost back to square one, and feeling very disappointed and disillusioned. I need someone to tell me there is hope at the end of the tunnel...that if you keep persisting, and are patient, especially if you are learning on the "job", that it does fall into place, in time...or I am being unrealistic? I am in a frump, and need some encouragement, especially since you seem to have done it on your own...
Imaan, I'm sorry I can't reply to you privately. I don't get emails with the comments. I think that is why some people change from this kind of commenting. Kids, job, school, etc makes it hard to maintain any sort of "regular" sewing time. With me, the more stressed out I got, the more I needed that Crafty Therapy. I think in the early phases of parenthood you are merely trying to survive. Anything productive that comes out of those years is a miracle. After about two years old it is sooo much easier. They can get dressed, play by themselves, etc. and it frees you up to be productive again. I would try not to get discouraged because there is light at the end of the tunnel. But sometimes the tunnel seems like it's never ending. Trust me, I know. My son was barely two when I had two five pound twins. Yikes. You can email me too, info 'at' cabinbaby 'dot' com. Keep your chin up!

Mommymita has left a new comment on your post "Did you see these?": you've got me tempted and a sew along may be just what I need to attempt it.Do you do your children's jeans also? Honestly how labor intensive is it?
Mommymita, It's all just details. The more topstitching and detail you put on it, the longer it's going to take. I can do kid pants in a couple days if I do all the topstitching and pockets and embellishing. For kids pants, it seems not worth the effort. They only wear things a few times before they are too big. Well, my four year old will wear things out but the two, two years olds just grow too darn fast.

Myra has left a new comment on your post "Did you see these?": Beautiful! But I cannot wear low waisted pants, it is very uncomfortable to me. I would want to find some that are higher. The top is great for kids.
Myra, Did you see that the jeans pattern includes a low waisted and high waisted version? The kid version is a higher rise b/c they didn't think low rise would be appropriate for little girls. I love that they think of details like that.

Julia has left a new comment on your post "More of #105": Love the boots with it. Really! What do you teach?
7th grade, Science. Fire, chemicals, and hormones.

Shannon V. has left a new comment on your post "Burda 01-2009 #123 Wrap Blouse": Love this shirt. After reading your blog for a bit I think I've decided to dive into the world of BWOF. I have a question though, what do you use to trace out your patterns? Do you buy special pattern paper or something else?
Shannon, I use lots of things to trace patterns. Most recently I discovered Blick Art Materials and their 36" wide tracing paper. I buy the 50 yard roll.

And, a long, long time ago, Dana, Karen, Kristine, Rachel, Mimi, Amy, and Claire S. nominated me for the Sisterhood award. I was neglectful of passing it on. I'm a loser, baby. Thank you for the award though. It makes me smile to know people read this drivel.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More Fabric From Houston

My husband went to Houston again. That means more fabric for me!!!!!

A red and tan houndstooth. It's not pure wool. I think it might be a blend.

More silk dupionni. This is a green/blue silk. It's bea-uuuuuu-tiful.

This is another crinkle gauze fabric. It's very similar to this red and cream top.

This is a crinkle poplin. It's orange-y. I love it.

This is another polyester moleskin. I think another skirt is in my future.
And then, there are these two pieces. They are both silk. I think they are silk crepe. This lilac one has hand painted flowers on it.

This green one has, what looks like, bamboo painted on it. Both fabrics are very pretty but I don't know what to do with them. I'll be making a very nice dress I think. Maybe a party dress. I guess we'll see.

Is my husband the best or what?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another KwikSew Vest

Last year around this time I made a fleece vest out of Polartec 300. That one didn't turn out that nice. I tried to be tricky and make it longer in the back and use lycra binding to make it snug. Well, of course, the lycra binding did make it snug but the vest would rise over my butt and then the lycra binding would keep it up, not down. I still wear it when I run but it's not perfect. This time I made a S instead of an XS because this Polartec 300 is not as stretchy. And, of course, it has embroidery on it. I tried to make all the pictures a little washed out so you could see details.

I added pockets to this one and I really like it.

I love the shoulder topstitching and the side seam shaping.

This fabric is awesome. It's Polartec Waterproof/Windproof. It's super thin and comfortable and keeps out the chilly Alaskan weather.

I downloaded this free pattern from Embroidery Emotions. I obviously changed the colors.

I don't really know what I'm doing with embroidery still but I basted this to the hoop because I couldn't exactly put it in the hoop with the zipper and all.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Loot for the Necchi

Remember way back when when I got that note in my mailbox? One of my teacher friends gave me his wife's old Necchi. It works like a charm and it was very stout. I was planning on setting it up as my topstitching machine. But then I realized that it had no feet. Right now, it is under the stairs because I bought another machine last weekend and didn't have room for four machines. Well yesterday another two boxes showed up in front of my door. One was wool fabric (yes!) and the other was all the original stuff for the Necchi. Included in the box was the original manual.

It also contained the plastic discs for the AZA Attachment which "offers the possibility for completing automatic embroidering any ornamental design by simply running your machine!" I love the text of old manuals.

His wife also had a buttonholer with all the fixin's. The original instructions are under the buttonholer.

From left to right: buttonhole presser foot, quilting guide with clamp, zigzag hemming presser foot, and straight stitch hemming foot.

L-r: looks like a zipper foot (it's not in the manual), cording and zipper foot, darning presser foot, blindstitching foot, plastic invisible zipper foot, rolling foot (??this isn't in the manual -- is it for leather?)

L-r: needle foot plate for embroidery and darning, needle plate for straight stitching, straight guide, levers for the wonder wheel, don't know, assorted screws.

I'm super excited about the feet and the buttonholer. I'm hoping to use the buttonholer with my jeans for the sew-along. It does keyhole buttons too. I've never seen one used and know nothing about it but I'll see if I can get it working. Speaking of the Jeans Sew Along. Want to join?? I set up a thread over at All the information on rivets, fabric, pre-treating, etc. is being discussed over there! Join us!