Friday, November 30, 2007

Back to ballroom




josiedressskirt.jpgSo Dancing With The Stars started up again, and with that came new inspiration to make a ballroom dress. That...and I just bought 500 bucks worth of fabric from Denver Fabrics inventory liquidation. Okay, seriously, what could I do - the discounts were just STARING at me! Good deals on dancewear fabric are hard to pass up. I hope that the new owners keep selling the dance fabric. Although it looks like the site has been bought by Fashion Fabrics Club and there is no dancewear in site.


I haven't decided what my first project will be but stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Something's burning!

Gah! I have been struggling for a week with Burda World of Fashion August 2007 - 115 . I loved the shirt so much that I bought the issue off of Ebay. However, I was having such trouble with the collar band that I burned it slightly from ironing it so much! I wasn't going to post this sad state, but it just goes to show that shit happens occasionally. In 15 years of sewing I don't think I have made one collared shirt! I doubt very much I would have gotten very far if previous reviewers of this pattern had not posted pictures! Burda WOF magazine, I love ya. But I hate ya, too.

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I'm working with a white stretch cotton that I bought over a year ago from Joann's. I am pretty disappointed in the quality. It washed like a rag and it wrinkles very easily. This is going to be my muslin. If anyone has a line on poly/cotton stretch shirting, let me know!

I had a choice to keep the collar band in - but knowing myself, my gaze would continually fall to the burn area! So I ripped out the collar band and cut a new one and it has sewn in perfectly this time. Still have the top stitching and the arms to do, then I will post the finished product.

 I've ordered a stretch silk charmeuse for this pattern. Guess I am a glutton for punishment!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Burda World of Fashion 11-2007-122 - Yoga Pants

Pattern Description:
Slightly flared casual trousers/pants look great, are easy to sew and ready for anything.

pants_front_full.jpg



Pattern Sizing:
34-44.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Very much so. It's an easy well drafted pattern.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
For Burda WOF, they were surprisingly easy

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I didn't like the ginormous waistband so I changed it (see below).

Fabric Used:
Tricot knit from Denver Fabrics in mulberry. Really like it.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:

  • As stated, wasn't keen on the waistband. I like a smooth line around the waistline, not something scrunched up so I shortened it by half.

  • I can't stand activewear pants without elastic around the waist and there is nothing worse than sitting down at Starbucks and displaying plumber butt. Or having to constantly pull up your pants when you are working out.  For these reasons, I felt the waist needed to be a little more secure. Most of my other yoga pants have a thin elastic sewn into the top of the waistband so that is exactly what I did. And by serging it in place, it stays secure. I serged it onto one of the waistband pieces, then stitched both pieces together and turned right side out. The only mistake I made was top stitching the waistband, which my sewing machine did not like, and the line is a little wavy. But no one will see it anyway as I will have a top over it!

    yogapants_elastic.jpg



    The waistband was serged to the pants then top stitched with a cover stitch so the seam allowance would be flattened.

    pants_front4.jpg





Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
This is a very easy pattern and I highly recommend it.

Conclusion
Another winner from this months magazine!

Burda World of Fashion November 2007 - Pattern 123

Pattern Description:
This will get double use - for your yoga exercise or for everyday wear!

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Pattern Sizing:
34-42  I did smaller at the top and wider at the bottom due to big arse syndrome
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Very much so - right down to the 'sexy back view'!

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Were the instructions easy to follow?
Not too bad. Except that I didn't notice until I was finished that it mentioned inserting bias tape along the neckline and armholes. It didn't make much of a difference in my case.

Fabric Used:
A matte tricot knit from Denver Fabrics when they liquidated their fabric. It's quite soft and stretchy.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:




  • It doesn't have you insert the elastic until the end and it is only inserted, not sewn in. Personally I like to stitch or serge elastic into place so it doesn't slip and I did this after sewing the inside bra pieces together (see photos).

    inside_elastic2.jpg






    You then fold it over and top stitch (I used a cover stitch)

    inside_elastic.jpg



  • I didn't have enough material for the inside bra so I used a fleshtone color in the same fabric. It shows a little at the edges but I think it adds a nice contrast.

  • I omitted top stitching the neckline edge and back.  


The bottom hem was finished with a cover stitch on my serger.
The only thing that bothered me was the handstitching of the front strap to the back. I wish there had been a better way to finish it. With a stretch fabric it looks a bit 'pulled'. I may go over it with a zigzag.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Absolutely! This turned out great and the built in bra is a definite plus. I will be sewing this again and again.
Conclusion
This top gets high marks from me. Next is the wrap top to go over it!

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Simplicity 3790 Pattern Review



Pattern Description:
6 made easy pattern with various necklines and sleeves. simplicity_patternfront.jpgI noticed this pattern has not gotten great reviews but they were for other variations. I tried View E
Pattern Sizing:simp_3790_front2.jpg
6-14
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, except for the sleeves and hem.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Very.Simplicity 3790
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I didn't like the sleeves , I thought they were rather boring - so I changed them!
Fabric Used:
A lovely drapey knit in periwinkle blue. I bought 10 yards of it about 3 years ago, god knows why I bought so much!.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I 'trendy'd' this pattern up a bit by:simp_3790_back.jpg



  • I changed the sleeves to more drapey flutter sleeves which are like a half moon shape. They give the top a more romantic look.




  • I used a lettuce edge on my serger for the sleeves and bottom hem.




Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will sew it again - this version and the sleeveless version.
Conclusion
Great wardrobe builder, gives a nice romantic look to a pair of jeans. I just wish I had finished this DURING the summer not after!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Burda World of Fashion Magazine and How I Avoid Tracing AT ALL COSTS!

*****UPDATE MARCH 2011*****
I now have an updated version of this post which is here


Ever since I subscribed to Burda World of Fashion Magazine about 6 months ago, I've been receiving each issue with anticipation and each month have glossed over some of the fantastic patterns. Of course, not all of them are great, but there is always one or two items in each magazine that I like/love, making the high price of subscription worth it. The major downer is tracing the damn patterns. I loathe doing it! And no matter how accurate I try to be, I suck at tracing. I'm also lazy and this just cuts into my free/sewing time way too much. For those who are not familiar, the magazine comes with all the patterns on newsprint type paper on approx. 4 sheets.  Each sheet is labelled with a letter. They are double sided - so Sheet B would be on the underside of Sheet A for example. There are several patterns printed on each sheet, they are distinguishable by color. So say pattern 117 would be on Sheet A in green.




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If you were to cut your pattern out, you would not only ruin other patterns on that sheet, you would destroy the other patterns on the underside as well. The only solution is to trace them. Or is there another solution?

I cut them up. Yep, you heard me right.

Initially, I checked if Kinkos had a large size scanner. Hubby had mentioned he saw people scanning architectural drawings. Well, they charge 8 dollars a square foot. Yikes! There goes that idea. So, being the uber geek that I am, I came up with a plan. Careful, this is not for the faint of heart or for those who want to sell their back issues in future. You will need a flatbed scanner, a color printer - either inkjet or preferably laser and transparent tape.. and a photo software program such as Photoshop:

1. I cut the pattern sheet into pieces a little smaller than 81/2 x 11 letter size. This is to leave room on all sides for margins on most printers. I also NUMBER each piece with a highlighter so as not to get mixed up later on.


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2. I scan them on my flatbed scanner.


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3. Scan them into Photoshop, save each sheet as a .psd file (do not save as .jpg or attempt to reduce the file, it will mess up the print size and you will end up with a Barbie sized pattern!)

scannedsheet.jpg


4. Send them to the color printer and I now have approximately 16 printed sheets of the pattern


printedsheets.jpg


5. This part is a little fiddly. You need transparent tape and a good eye to piece all of the pattern pieces together and make sure all the pattern lines line up correctly. And voila, you have a copy of the pattern sheet which is now on thicker paper AND you can cut out your desired pattern. Also, you now have the sheet on computer - if you want to make another pattern from the same sheet, all you need to do is print it off again. All told, it takes about an hour to scan one sheet. So this may be for you, it may not. I guess it depends on how geeky you are. For me, this saves me hours of tracing and I can scan while I'm watching the tube.

I am lucky that hubby and I both have home offices and the equipment to make this possible.




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The Burda company seems to be more technologically advanced than most of the pattern companies out there, considering you can buy patterns on their website for download. Wouldn't it be nice if you had the option to get the magazine patterns in paper or electronic format? That way I wouldn't have to bother doing this and they would save some money on paper!