Saturday, April 19, 2014

The long road to my first Burda

The first thing I had to do was determine my size. According to Burda, I should be 38. I placed one of my tops against the pattern and realised it was going to be too big. I chose the size closest to my top, size 36. The hips was a similar size, but the bust was much wider. I decided to use stash fabric, a sheer blue paisley voile and a white voile for lining.

I had to cut the fabric twice, first the paisley voile and then the voile lining. I am not used to reading sewing instructions as the Japanese patterns that I sew from have pictorial instructions. The Burda sewing instructions was bedtime reading for many nights but I still could not visualise how to do the bias binding on the lower armhle edge and merge it neatly with the bias binding on the upper armhole edge. In the end I decided to think it through and do it my own way. 

I wrote down my modifications and sewing notes.Pattern: July 2012 Burda, Blouse 116
  1. Cut the back bodice in 2 pieces with a centre back seam.
  2. Stitch centre back seam for top and lining up sperately to the point of the back slit.Tthen stitch the back centre opening with top and lining together.
  3. Stitch side seams using french seams separately for top and lining.
  4. stitch sleeve front and back for top and lining separately. Baste top and lining of sleeve together at armhole edge. Sew bias binding from the inside, turning over to the front and top stitching..
  5. Sandwich sleeve in between front top and lining. Sew raglan sleeve seam from front neck edge down to just before side seam. Then sandwich sleeve in between back top and lining. Sew raglan sleeve seam from back neck edge down to armhole and back up to the front raglan sleeve seam.
  6. Gather the neckline to 17 inches, sew bias binding from the inside, turning over to the front and top stitching.
  7. Sew hook and eye at back neckline slit for closure.
  8. Hem bottom of top and lining separately.
  9. Mods: I took in a total of 1.25 inches each on front and back at the armhole, tapering dwon to meet the pattern at the waist. So a total of 2.5 inches width were taken in from each side.

The back neckline (see above) looks quite frumpy to me. It is not obvious, but I tried my best to match the paisleys on the 2 back pieces.

Close up of the armhole above and the insides below.

I'm not sure how I feel about this top. A riduculous amount of work went into sewing something that looks so simple. Burda was not kidding when they rated this pattern easy to sew but more time consuming. Sewing everything twice because of the top and lining was quite a waste of time. It would have been more time-saving to choose a non-sheer silky fabric to do away with the need for lining. You just need to make sure the fabric is soft enough to accomodate the voluminous gathers at the neck.

As for the pattern, be warned! If you cut out the pattern based on your measurements, you are definitely getting the loose version Blouse 117, not Blouse 116. Or maybe the photo of Blouse 116 is misleading because the model is reclining on the sand to hide the roominess behind. I chose one size smaller, and still had to remove inches (see my mods above) from the sides. After doing so, there's still ample ease.

What attracted me to this pattern in the first place was its simplicity. The end result retains that simplicity but I just wish it was more close fitting. After struggling with this pattern, I want to sew something easy and familiar next!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

matching fabric to pattern

Been thinking about what to sew with this huge floral print. The flowers are as big as my palm. I'm dreaming of what to make with it. I'm thinking maybe a kimono jacket? Or an oversized tunic? I am not good at visualising floral print clothing.

The blue gray print on the left is going to be a blouse for work. Something simple like this pullover top. I know that it is maternity wear. I am not pregnant but I like to wear loose tops. I like the overlapping pleat which is slanted to flare out. Or this blouse below, picture taken from one of my Japanese fashion magazines. I like how the tiny gathers are sewn onto the facing with no fuss. The skirt has such pretty pleats too.

There is also this grey poly. I am trying to buy fabrics that are more like what I usually wear for work.

Even though it is poly, it has a nice feel to it.

The sales lady told me that it is usually for skirts and pants but I was thinking of making either a blouse or a pair of city shorts. Somehow the idea of a pair of city shorts like these below (picture is also from one of my Japanese fashion magazines) seems very appealing the more I think about it.

But I'm in no hurry to sew them yet. First in the queue is my Burda top. I finally found the right stash fabric to sew it. A blue paisley voile and a white voile for lining.

Note to self:
Both floral fabrics above are Japanese cotton from Teng Joo 102 Arab Street 45 inches X 2m
Grey poly from Osman 104 Arab Street 1.2 m X 60 inches

Monday, April 07, 2014

Looking forward to May again

It's that time of the year again when we celebrate our hand-made wardrobe for an entire month.

'I, erin of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2014'

If you are interested in taking part in this, all the details are here: me made may 2014

This is my second Me Made May and the last one was such great fun that I have to take part again. I'm really looking forward to MMM2014! Below is a collage of some of my MMM2013 outifts.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Taking the plunge with Burda

I was looking for something to sew from my sewing magazines and remembered that I had bookmarked a number of possible makes from the July 2012 issue of Burda. One of them is this blouse 116 above, which looks like something I could wear to work. Sachi D made a lovely version of top 116 which you can see here.

However, there is another version of the same pattern (117) with the slit neck in front instead of the back and slightly longer raglan sleeves that looks kind of oversized and relaxed in a weekend wear kind of way. I want version 116 and I don't want to end up with 117. I think it all depends on the amount of ease, so I am going to have to be careful which size to choose. 

It took me so long to find the pattern pieces from this maze. I read through the pattern instructions, something which I don't do normally. But since I have not sewn from a Burda pattern before, I thought I'd better read it first. And I'm glad I did because I don't like the idea of slitting the fabric at the back neckline and binding the slit with bias tape, because it sounds like it will end in disaster for me, espcially if I am going to use fabric that frays easily. So I am going to cut the back bodice in 2 pieces instead. And in place of a bias binding tie, I think a button and loop or hook and eye closure would be a neater option. I also think I need to staystitch the sleeves after cutting the fabric. 

Anyway, I am bracing myself to sew this top up and hope that it will end well. Hmmm, just to play safe, I'm going to look for some leftover fabric and sew it as a wearable toile / muslin. I think this is the main reason I don't sew with my best fabrics, because I'm afraid to ruin them. Wish me luck, fingers crossed and all!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My First Shirt Collar

I wore my new blouse to work. You can't see the collar and neckline details in the photo above.

So here's a photo of the blouse on a hanger. It was not a good idea to photograph a white blouse against a white door.

I learned a couple of things sewing this blouse.
  1. To cut on the bias, I folded the fabric into right angled triangle and pinned the pattern to the fold (see below). Not sure if that's how to do it, but at least I got close to a 45 degree bias.
  2. I sewed my first shirt collar, the kind without a collar stand. The collar is not interfaced because I forgot to buy interfacing. Even though there were step by step pictorial instructions in the book for sewing the collar, some of the written instructions were in Japanese and I was not very sure about attaching the collar at the back neck, so I was glad to come across this video on how to attach a collar.
  3. If I shorten a long sleeve pattern into a short sleeve, I need to remember to narrow down the sleeve to the cuff. I didn't do this at first and ended up with short sleeves that were too wide (see above) and they stuck out, reminded me of my old school uniform sleeves. I wore the blouse to work, washed it and then decided that I really should alter the sleeves. So I unpicked the sleeve seam and made adjustments by narrowing the sleeve width down to the cuff. I prefer the way it fits now. The photos in this post are before sleeve adjustment.

The pattern is based on pattern i from Simple Style Dress by Machiko KayakiI traced out the pattern for size 13. It is too big at the shoulders and I should have gone down one size. Definitely something to keep in mind in the event that I sew another pattern from this book. 

My Mods:
  1. Made a full bodice adjustment below the bust on both front and back pieces
  2. Cut both bodice pieces on the bias
  3. Shortened the sleeve and added a fold-up cuff

The cotton fabric that I used is not soft enough for the blouse to really swing, but I was expecting that. If I find suitable fabric, I might sew this blouse again. In anticipation of that, I have already adjusted the cut out pattern to size 11 and adjusted the sleeve pattern as well. Overall, I am quite happy with the way this blouse turned out. I can wear it to work with a skirt or with pants. There is one thing though, about this blouse that is very glaring: the facing can be seen so clearly. Is there anything I should have done to avoid this? For example, should I have used a sheer voile for the facing instead? Or maybe used a less transparent fabric? Or have the facing on the right side as a design feature?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sewing up next

I like to wear simple tops with skirts or pants for work, and I've been collecting pictures of tops that I would like to sew. My next sewing project is inspired by this lovely creamy blouse. I love this blogger's style.

I am going to use this pattern below from one of my Japanese sewing books. This pattern is the closest match I could find out of all the patterns that I already have. To get the swingy shape, the plan is to make a full bodice adjustment below the bust and to get the flowy drape, and I plan to cut the front and back bodice on the bias. I love the drape of bias cut clothes. I was choosing among stash fabric from those below. From left to right: leftover IKEA cream cotton bedsheet fabric, beige linen and cream linen. In the end I settled for the leftover cotton bedsheet as the other 2 fabrics have more yardage than is needed and I don't want to waste good linen. I'm spending my weekend relaxing, cutting and sewing this up. Hope you will have time to rest and have fun over the weekend too!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Starting another lacey sweater

I started this Dolman sleeved sweater for my daughter. It's another lacey sweater in the kind of style that she likes. But I'm not knitting it in laceweight yarn this time.

I am using my Jaeger Siena 4 ply stash yarn and Japanese needle no 4. I have been saving this yarn for many years. My daughter likes pastel sweaters and this is one of the few pastel yarns that I have left in my stash, so it was time to knit it up.

My modifications:
See that itty bitty bit of knitting in the pic above? Well, that's my "swatch". My gauge is 25 sts and 30 rows, which is different from the pattern (25 sts and 35 rows). This pattern is knit from side to side which means the rows form the width of the sweater and the stitches form the length. Since my stitch gauge is the same, and the sweater is too long for my daugher, instead of casting on 50 stitches after the dolman sleeves, I will cast on 31 stitches (extra stitch for edge stitch). That would shorten the the length by 8 cm. I will also knit a shorter (5 cm?) ribbing instead of 8 cm as in the pattern. As for the width, 164 rows for the width of the body will give it a loose slouchy fit which is what my daughter likes. The sleeve length will end up longer but that's ok as my daughter wants long sleeves. I should also shorten the sleeve ribbing to match the sweater body ribbing and hopefully end up with a sleeve length that is just right. As my daugher is petite, the neckline should be shortened form 80 rows to 69 rows. I hope my math was done properly and that these mods will work.

The pattern is quite straightforward because the dolman increases are all charted out. In the pic below, the cast on edge is the vertical sleeve edge on the extreme right. At this stage, after knitting 74 rows, I am done with the dolman sleeve. After that, 31 stitches (instead of 50 as per the pattern) were increased at the end of the row (bottom of the knitting) for the body. 

There's a possible snag in these plans. I have only 8 balls of this yarn. Each ball is 140 m or 153 yds. What do you think? Do I have enough yarn to knit the sweater? This is fingering yarn but I'm knitting it at sportweight gauge. I'm hoping that it is enough. If I do run out, it should be pretty close and hopefully I can resolve the yarn shortage by knitting the ribbing in a contrasting yarn. Fingers crossed!!! Nothing like knitting on the edge.

When I was looking for yarn to start this sweater, I found something in a shoebox. What on earth was I starting to knit? It uses a cast on with green scrap yarn and I was obviously combining my linen yarn with some leftover Noro. Sigh, my memory is so bad these days, when I start something I really should immediately make notes in a draft post on my blog.

I also found lots of leftover yarn in my shoeboxes. This is just one box. They are in different colours, cotton, wool, mohair, and different gauge. They're too good to throw out but not enough for small projects either. What do you do with oddballs of leftover yarn?