Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lazy Summer

I just can't find the energy to do anything new. It is hot, hot, hot! So I've been puttering around, unpacking my fabirc to go into the sewing room closet. With every box I lug upstairs from the basement, I feel virtuous. With every box I unpack, I feel overwhelmed. There really is too much and most of it, I love. I'll see how that ends up.

Everything else is going backwards, but in good ways.

Skirt that didn't work into a couple of retro aprons:

Scarf that didn't work into 3 beautiful skeins of Rowan kidsilk haze:

And look at my 'care package' from London: Patrones and fresh Himalayan saffron. Heavenly:

And on a proud-yet-whiny note, how come he can grow a garden in his sandbox and I can't grow *$&^ ?

Burda June '06 - 120 Top

It's been a very long time since I made a Burda pattern in the same month that the magazine was issued. In fact I made two!

This is a pattern for a sleeveless bias (or not) top, with pleated neckline and long neckties.

I cut a size 44 and did an FBA on the front, slashing vertically through the bust point to add width - and - horizontally to add length. I rotated the darts to the three pleats, slashing and spreading them.

The fabric is a squirrelly, lovely tencel herringbone weave, that got even more squirrelly on the bias.

I used fusible interfacing on the front facings and the collar/ties. The armscye binding, the hem and the ties are all hand stitched, which was a lot faster than struggling to topstitch the fabric. To stabilise the buttonhole area before machining, I hand basted a rectangle, to help keep the bias face fabric anchored to its fused (stable) facing:

Hint - When I'm going to be machining over basting stitches, I'll use silk thread for basting. It's a lot easier to pull out and less likely to split and leave fibers in the stitches.

Mid sewing I tried this on and the weight of the fabric, on the bias, had pulled the bodice down, to the point where I was completely hanging out. So I took up the shoulders by 0.5" front and back. Otherwise, the fit is pretty good, although I had to take out 1.5" from the lower front side seams.

This is so comfortable to wear and very cool in the heat, but the three pleats along the neckline are too obvious for me. They just beg for attention, especially because of the qualities of the tencel. It looks to my eye like too much detail, what with the pleats, the ties, the collar.... So I won't be making it again.

I also made these pants - 126:

I made a muslin and had it fitted by my teacher. It needed very little attention, just some more crotch room at the inseam. The above pair is from a rough linen, which bags out really badly. My third (full length) pair are from a navy linen/rayon, so I think I'll line them to the knee. My plan is to get 2-3 pants from this pattern until I lose enough weight to cut out a new one.

Burda: Love!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Estes Wool Market

There were the mountains. There were furry, sofffft, goofy looking critters,

lots of them, in different sizes;

fun things to try: now my son knows how to weave, (I don't);

and a modest numbers of yarn stalls. This was my loot for about $140. Worsted wool/mohair/silk in black, kid mohair in red and alpaca in darkest walnut:

They're all soft and luscious and going straight into stash until I can figure out what to knit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


What can I say? I have a 4 year old.

Grrr face cloth from the latest knitty. I made mine with less than half a ball of Lily's Sugar'n Cream. I think it took all of an hour.

I did do mine quite differently. I used an easier loop stitch from (Find the video here under decorative stitches.) Also I just purled on the WS rows. I knit Eastern/Combination style and stocking stitch comes easier. It gave a nice nobbly texture on the back.

It's being test driven in a bubble bath right now.

Onto Sewing:

I've cut out Burda 6/07, bias top 120 and am half way through it. This is my fabric, a very drapey, squirrelly tencel rayon blend. Pretty stuff.

Because it's a little heavy, however, it's dragging down on the bias and has brought the center front V neck towards the bottom of my bra band. So I have take up the shoulder seams and re-sew the neckband seams. All of this is easy, but I'm finding knitted lions just a touch easier.

I wish I was more driven!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

How To: Finish the Neckline on a Sleeveless Lined Top

This method works just as well for sleeveless top with lining or with combination facing (neckline and armscye combined). The seams have to be cut accurately or you should be able to fudge creatively!

Sorry about the tiny writing, this is my first HOW TO. If you click on the picture, it opens up to full size.

1. The side seams are sewn separately in the fashion fabric and lining. They are placed RS facing, matching armscye and neckline seams.

2. Machine the armscye seam all the way around. Machine the neckline seam (front and back) to 2-3" shy of the shoulder seam line.

3. Trim the seams, understitch if preferred, press and turn right side out.

4. Opening up the shoulder, match front shoulder to back shoulder, right sides together. Make sure the armscye seam line lines up perfectly. Pin or baste. Machine the shoulder seam.

5. Trim the shoulder seam and press. Turn right side out. Turn in the neckline seam allowance and slip stitch the seam together.

It's a good idea to practice the slip stitch. It should be indistinguishable from a machined seam.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Patrones 02/2007 - Cacharel Top

This is the first piece I've actually made for the PR SWAP competition. It's from the February 2007 Patrones and is a Cacharel design. (I had no idea they made anything other than gorgeous lingerie.) The top has very narrow shoulders and a gathered neckline with a ruffle along the front neckline only.

Size: I cut a 48 with no adjustments - this seems to be the equivalent of size 44/46 in burda which I use these days.

Fabric: Burnout cotton voile from India. I originally made this into a maternity dress, which never got worn. This top is from the skirt (same lining) and the ruffle is from the waist ties on the dress. I didn't even have to hem it.

  1. None for size.
  2. The line drawings in Patrones seem like wishful thinking at times: the armscye is very low, but in the line drawing it looks high and tight. Always look at the pattern layout illustration - those pictures are much more representative of the pattern. Anyway, I made a quick muslin to confirm my suspicion. The shoulders on this are also really narrow - too narrow to cover my bra straps. So I added 1.5" all along the armscye, front and back. Almost perfect. Just over 1" would have been better.
  3. I don't read Spanish - heck I don't read instructions (must be my testosterone-y side busting out), so I gathered the neckline to look flattering and gathered the ruffle to look pretty (to me) and hand sewed it on. This way I can take if off if I change my mind.

It's perfect for summer and fall.

Original Design:

Fanciful line drawing:

Vogue 8249 - Top

Holding that dang grin until the self-timer goes off is not part of my skill set.

This is version A of Vogue 8249.

Fabric: green burnout cotton from my local independent fabric store.
Size: 14 with an FBA
  1. I added length and width in the front at the bust point, feeding the excess into the gathers at the yoke.
  2. Collar opening: to put in the yoke section, I sewed the right side yoke (interfaced with organza) to the front bodice, turned, trimmed and pressed. Then I basted the yoke facing to the yoke along the marked lines, sewed part way down the center front, stopping about 3" from the point of the V. I cut down between the machined lines only and tried on the top to see where the point of the V would be most flattering on me. (I wiggled a pin into the collar to make sure the center of my bra would be covered.) My low point is actually 1" higher than the design.
  3. I lengthened the top by 2".
  4. I hand finished the yoke facing, hems and armhole binding. The very fine fabric is worth the effort.
Full bust adjustment:

Raised point of V in the yoke:

Friday, June 01, 2007

Young Talent

Can you guess how happy and proud I am right now? He's only 4 1/2 years old.

I've been coming down in the mornings to my sewing room, with my machine is various stages of threading and with different feet on. When I found he'd changed the bobbin (successfully), I figured he needed his own machine.

It's a Janome Mini Sew, an honest-to-goodness real sewing machine, with zigzag and straight stitch, and reverse sewing. It has the cutest little foot pedal and weighs 5lbs. It makes very nice seams.

He loves it. Everyday, he has wanted to make something. So far, we've kept it to rectangular things. He's in charge of the presser foot, hand wheel and the foot pedal. I guide the fabric, because he doesn't want to get near the needle - which is a *good* thing. 4 year old fingers are tiny.

Just adorable.