Sunday, March 30, 2008

Burda - 03-2008-113 Flouncy Wrap Top

So, first off, I have to say that Burda is not dead to me. I wanted to give it another shot. I love the skirt I made earlier and this one isn't too bad.

So this one is a wadder but that's okay. It was my muslin to see if this top worked for me. I thought I looked too skinny in it but there are several people from the review who think it looks nice. So perhaps, I'll try it again. It did seem to have some Burda WOF weirdness but hopefully I'll work that out next time.

I like the sleeve split.

This overhang should not exist. I think if I remove the SA from the flounce, it woun't be a problem.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tailor's Ham and Other Pressing Tools

I just found this great .pdf tutorial on how to make your own pressing equipment. Not that it is hard to make a tailor's ham but this shows you dimensions which is what I was really after. Just though ya'll might find it interesting. I know how you think . . .

Off to make a ham so I can press the front of my new jacket.

Simplicity 4081

Here is my latest project. I talked a bit about it on this post. The facing/hem/lining part did not turn out as slick as my mock-ups and I can't really figure out why. I will ponder and get back to you. Here are some pictures. I love the buttons. I think I'll sew them on as soon as I get some decent-colored thread. I have light green but that will not do. Comments are under the picture. All pictures are larger if you click on them.

The inside back of the coat. It is a 1" hem on the bottom. I think I like them longer than that. I'll have to change that next time.

Here is the back pleat I made to help out with shoulder rip out. I got the decorative stitch idea from Couture et Tricot. I've seen her do this several times on her jackets.

Here is the hem. I had to gather it because the outer fabric flairs quite a bit over the hips and you have to fold it up. I couldn't think of any other way to do this. Ideas?

Here is the hole where I turned it inside out. Once I am satisfies with how it hangs, I'll sew this up. I want to keep it open until I press everything.

The front. When they say fitted, they mean it.

The back. I think the wrinkle will go when I attach buttons.

I love these buttons.

Approximate placement of the buttons.

Inside lining of the coat. After I sew the buttons on and give it a good pressing, I'll see how it goes with my Burda skirt. They are both the same color green. I bought that fabric together because I thought it went so well together.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Me!

So I started garment sewing a year ago. My first skirt was a denim a-line skirt with a back zipper. It was a very simple McCall's pattern. I didn't really believe in that whole "finishing seams" thing back then.
Believe it or not, the facing piece is finished with a decorative stitch. You just can't see it very well and it still frayed like crazy. That zipper is waaaaay bad. Look at how "off" it is.
To do the hem, I folded twice and sewed on a decorative stitch to the bottom. This is stretch denim and the hem ended up wavy and puckered.
Yikes. This is the zipper from the outside. I like this skirt and wear it sometimes but only under a very long top.
Overall, I am just delighted that my skills have come so far in a short period of time. Just thought I would share my first garment sewing project. I am glad that my current skirts look nothing like this and are much more professional-looking.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Simplicity 4081 - 1940's Jacket

Thank you Kathleen Fasanella of Fashion Incubator. She has some really great tutorials about jacket finishing on her website Before I start my jacket I wanted to make sure that I could professionally finish the bottom. It is the part that I always struggle with. I hate handsewing. This tutorial gives you clean, professional results. I did a mock-up of a square-edge and a curved-edge.

This is the jacket I am making in a olive-y green velvet. It is a re-issued retro pattern. I am making version C (the blue-grey one) inspired by this review at

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hunter Men


So I have made some shirts for my husband and "hunter man." Are they cute or what? And this is my son's typical "muscle" pose. He thinks of himself as a tough guy. These are both Kwik Sew patterns. One is a kid's pajama pattern and one is the raglan t-shirt for men. Here are the full reviews on Raglan Men's Top, Kid's Pajamas. I love this fabric. It is wicking polyester Seclusion 3D. My men will be invisible to deer.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Burda - You are dead to me . . .

So, I'm a slim gal, average height. I'm not that small. I think I weigh in at about 112lb and I'm 5'5". I wear a size four or six in RTW, sometimes larger, sometimes smaller. I just tried making Jacket #121; way too big. I made it thinking that with Burda's lesser ease, it might fit. Yeah, no. Their smallest size is a 38 which translates to a size 8 in US women's sizes. Then I started looking at the page with all the line drawings. Out of the 21 adult patterns, only six of them are in my size! I would wear the size 34. Well there aren't too many of them in the magazine. What do truly small women do? Ugh. Unless I want to do lots of alterations, I think Burda is out the window for me. Too bad too, because they have lots of cute stuff.


Random Things About Me

I've been tagged by Keely.
The rules: Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

  1. I love Chicken Pot Pies. You know, the gross ones by Marie Callendar? Oh yeeeeeah.
  2. I have three kids. An almost-4YO and a set of identical girl twins that are 19 months old. No, they don't look identical and no it doesn't run in our family. (Side note: While fraternal twinning does usually run in families, there is no scientific data to support identical twinning being passed down in families. It is just a genetic fluke and happens randomly.)
  3. I was an aquatic entomological taxonomist before I became a 7th grade teacher. Teaching 7th graders is like sticking a hot needle in your eye some days. I still like the bugs better.
  4. I dislike being on the water. It is a visceral fear that sometimes makes me want to throw up. My husband bought a larger-sized ocean boat so we can take the kids and go out of Whittier. Yea. So. Excited.
  5. I have been garment sewing for exactly a year now. I started last year on the Equinox. I'll never stop.
  6. I have a collection of Demestid Beetles in my classroom. There is also a decomposing lynx head in with them. "Science Stinks" is my current mantra at school.
  7. My husband and I didn't have a TV for years. We finally broke down and got one so my son could watch Sesame Street and other fun cartoons.

Here are my tagees: Kat, Kasizzle, Paula, Karen, Reethi, Dana, and Laura.

Small type: I don't normally participate in chain-mail type things but this one is fun I think. If nothing else, it let me think about seven weird facts about myself. I guess I really am a weirdo like my students say. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Other Burda Tips

I wanted to use this title, but it would have been too long: "Things I forgot in the last post that would help beginning Burda users".

  • There are no finished garment measurements so pull out patterns that already fit you and flat measure. Remember that Burda may have no SA depending on how you trace.
  • There are no bust points, hip, or waist marked on the pattern. ETA: There are waist markings on some of the patterns! I am working on a jacket that has them.
  • In each issue there is a "Sewing Class" section where they go step-by-step (like one of the big 4) through a certain pattern. This time it is Top 109. Those patterns are shaded pink to help the beginner find the pattern on the sheets. It is probably the best way to tackle your first Burda pattern.
  • This last time when I traced the pattern out I used two pens taped together. Even though it doesn't look it it, they are 5/8" apart at the tips. When you trace, it ends up looking like this. Next time I'll use two different colors and one will be the seam allowance and one will be the edge of the pattern. Fewer puzzles next time. These pictures enlarge if you click on them.

  • Before you take that giant Burda paper off the window (or however you trace) double check each pattern piece with the Burda sketch. It shows all the important notches and markings. If you forgot a marking it is easy to re-trace something. But it is a pain in the tookus to hang everything back up to mark a single notch or the center front or button placement.

I'll keep adding to this list as I think of things to help others. Hope it helps.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Burda - 03-2008-114 The Pencil Skirt

It's cute! It's done! It was easy! Really guys! It was easy. Of course, it was a super easy pattern. Here it is on.

Sorry the pictures are so loooong but I hate headless pictures.

I'm happy the plaid mostly lines up.

The pleats are cute and really very easy. The Burda instructions did help me a bit here.

The back with invisible zipper.

The green lines are the actual things that I copied from the pattern. I added the seam allowances with my sewing machine. I read a tip from Debbie Cook where she talked about just sewing around the pattern lines using her sewing feet and the seam allowance lines on here sewing machine. Duh! Why didn't I think of that? I can sew faster than I can trace with a pencil and ruler. The extra white paper is for the kick pleat and the bottom hem. The white paper should go all the way to the right but I didn't have any more paper.

Here is the front pattern piece. I traced the pocket piece but, in the end, decided not to have pockets in it. The Burda directions say to flair the bottom hem and I could figure out what they meant. But then I started looking at my pattern. You have to flair the bottom piece so that when you fold it up, it fits next to the skirt.

I used an extra long zipper and cut it off. I finished the end with this extra fabric. I may end up taking it off because it is bulkier than I want. It adds a weird bump at a place where you don't want a weird bump.

A few questions to answer:
  • Paula- Don't be scared. But I would start with something easy first. Once you get the hang of finding the damn things on the packed piece of paper, it is easy. I didn't realize but the sheet of paper is color-coded. So my skirt was on section D and it was blue. Once you know you are looking for a certain color it just seems to pop out at you.
  • Kasizzle- I have a large, South-facing window that I use to trace. I hang up the Burda sheet with masking tape and then tape a sheet of newspaper over it. I get roll-ends from the local newspaper here. I just use a pen to trace out all the peices. Next time I will make sure I leave more space between the pieces to add seam allowances later. I added the seam allowances with my sewing machine but there are numerous ways to do it. There are lots of tips on And interesting one I may try is using two pencils taped together. You just make sure they are 3/8" or 5/8" (or whatever) away from each other.
  • Lindsey T- Do it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Burda - Holy Hannah!

So I got my first Burda magazine after listening to so many people on say how wonderful the patterns fit. How well they are drafted. How the patterns are trendy and stylish. I had to try. I knew that there would be some tracing involved but holy cow!!! Now I know how they pack all of the patterns into four large (large!!) pieces of paper. They overlap them like crazy. Here is a picture of what it looks like when I hang one of the pattern sheets up on my window. The paper is printed on both sides and I can see both when I put it up on the window to trace. Yikes.

Here is a close-up. Even though I am scared, I am attempting to make an easy skirt. I want to try out the directions and tracing thing first on an easy pattern before diving into a jacket that I really want to make. Here's the skirt I am making. I have a muslin made. I just need to cut out and sew together the fashion fabric.

Here are the two jackets that I really want to make:

I won't make it in silver.

I love this classy jacket with the ties. I certainly won't make it white and I'm pretty sure I'll wear a shirt under it.

I like this a lot too. I have a cocoa colored stretch poplin. It says fabric with body so it might work.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Revamping Blog

So I made a few changes to the blog. Hope you guys like it. My inspiration was Lindsey T and her blog. (Thank you Lindsey!!) I wanted to make mine look less "template-y" and more me. I will probably change the banner again but wanted to make sure I knew how to upload a picture. It is a picture of Burda 03/2008. It is my first Burda WOF. It scares the pants off of me. More on that topic later. The banner is a grouping of patterns I have tried or want to try. For the blog, I changed the template from 'Rounders' to 'Washed Denim'. I wanted to use the 'Rounders' template because I like the round edges but it didn't work so well with the pictures and changing the width meant changing the corners and it became a nightmare. I really like this one for the simple edges and lines. I will probably be changing the width a little more. I really want the sidebar things to be in a smaller font but I will have to go in and change the XHTML in order to do that. The only options that Blogger gives you are to change all the font at the same time.

Anyhoo, thanks to everyone who has been stopping by. I am planning on updating my links to include all of you. :)

I am just happy as peach-pie to be done with my SWAP. And to tell you the truth, I thought the contest was over at the end of March. I'm such a dork.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Done with SWAP!!

I'm done with the SWAP! I'm so happy that I could do a little dance. I got done with all the things on my list and posted the 32 combination picture this morning. Here it is for those who didn't see it on This is a little picture but you can click for the full-blown version. Here is a link to all the SWAP posts on this blog.

Here are a few of my favorite versions of this wardrobe.

I really like this cropped brown jacket (as you can see) even though I was unsure at first. It is super-light and adds a bit of dress-up to any outfit. It is this Kwik Sew pattern.

I also really like the shape of this a-line skirt. I drafted it myself using my Jalie 2000 pants.

I have already worn this combination to work a few times. I love, love, love the criss-cross Jalie top I made.

I have worn this several times as well. I love these pants.

I wasn't sure if the shape of this skirt would be flattering but I really like it. I think I'll draft one of my my Jalie 2000 pants so it is not so high on my waist.

More about SWAP later. I've got some things that need a'sewin'.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jalie 2000 - For Kids

I used the smallest size to make Jalie 2000 pants for my girls.

You can see they are a little long but the kids grow and the pants shrink.

The DBA (diaper-butt adjustment) adds more room for the diaper and a higher back.

My embellishment after the wash. I may cut off some of the fray so you can see the fun thread. It is the first time I have used the Maxiock with multi-colored thread but I really like it.

The embellished pair before the wash.

Before the fray.

I finished the elastic band with my serger. I included one of my labels.

To hem, I used my three-thread coverstitch option on my Viking 936. I went around and around and around the hem so there was more color.

Awwwwww . . .