Saturday, June 30, 2007

Burda top

The advantage of preparing 3 garments to be sewn at a time, is that when you get to sewing, it really goes fast (most of the time). I find that a lot of time is in tracing the pattern, making adjustments, cutting and marking. And I did all those things for 3 patterns last weekend and Monday night.
(This does not work for me with jackets or coats btw, those are time consuming projects also in the sewing stage).

After the dress, the top is now almost finished. Black was on my sewing machine and serger, so I continued with the top, as this is also sewn with black.

This is not a pattern I would normally take for myself, but I find that with all the projects I see on Pattern Review and other blogs, that I become a little more experimental.

And with success, I tried it and my daughter immediately was very enthousiast: "you must wear this tomorrow". (having a birthday party to go to). And my husband likes it too. But unfortunately I can't finish it tonight, as I the shop I went to for notions did not have a black or invisible zipper that was long enough. The black band is cotton batist, no stretch: a zipper is needed.
I like it too, and want to finish it soon.

This time I sewed all seams on my sewing machine first, as I want to make the band match exactly in the side seams, which with serging sometimes is a bit difficult. Also used my walking foot on this combination of stretch knit and cotton batist.

AND: my 14 year old Bernina serger is giving problems again!. Arghh. It had a rather expensive repair this winter, so I think I must go back with it this week. And I hate to miss it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wrap dress finished.

The wrap dress is finished. I find it remarkable to see the difference in the way it looks with or without belt. A lot of time went into adding the tie, turning and topstitching it. Certainly if you compare the time that it took to the time that the rest of the dress took to make.

And in the end I like it better with a black belt! A full review I have added to Pattern Review.

Wrap dress

The wrap dress is almost finished. It is such an easy pattern to make. My first one only took part of an afternoon and evening to make, this one was sewn (after cutting and marking) in about 3 hours. Only thing left to do is double layering the tie.

I finished the neckline, armholes and skirt with folding elastic, which I first ironed double, a tip I read on PR, and which makes working with this easier. When pinning neckline and armhole, I stretched the elastic a little bit, to prevent gaping.

Because I didn't want any difficult overlaps with the elastic, I first sewed the shoulders and then attached the elastic to the armholes. Only after this the side seams are closed.

Elastic sewn to armhole, then stitched and serged.

Top of seam handsewn to lay flat, and finished underarm seam.

And this is how the top of the dress looked like after attaching the elastic. You can see that the normal length of the top is too short for me (I alway lengthen patterns 4-5 cm in the waist). I had made the original dress longer, but have added a tie in this dress, so the extra length will be in the tie.
The armhole needed no change, as the pattern is for knits already, the armhole was not wide at all.

Monday, June 25, 2007

All Burda patterns

My sewing baskets are full again, and all three are Burda patterns. Didn't do this on purpose, but I like the fit of Burda patterns, and you have quite a few patterns with one magazine, so a large pattern stash. And as I practically grew up using these patterns, I don't normally have much problems with their descriptions, nor with the fact that seam allowances are not included.

Thinking about my next projects I realised:
  1. Summer holidays are approaching fast (we're off to France, looking forward to that)
  2. I promised myself last year to throw away old shorts that I've worn for ages (only wear those on holidays)
  3. If I want to throw away shorts, I'll have to make (or buy) two new shorts. Buying is no option, would take long shopping hours to find something that fits, which is frustrating and usually very expensive for a garment that I seldom wear.
  4. I'd like one easy dress, that needs no ironing and can be worn to go to a restaurant for example. Not too fancy, but I don't like to go into a restaurant in shorts.
This weekend I cut out the shorts, the dress and a top. These are my current projects:

Burda 06-2004-111, shorts
These are shorts without waisband, I like the pleats in the front and cut them out of a brown kaki from my stash. The largest size was 42, so I cut 3cm seam allowances at the sides, because I'll probably need a bit more room at the hips.
And I made the length longer, added 20 cm to make them knee length (my legs are not so beautiful as the model in the magazine, plus I'm not 18 any more).

Burda 05-2006-115, wrap dress
I made this dress before, also from a Gorgeous Things fabric. This time I'll make it sleeveless and with a waistband that can be pulled through a hole on the right side, so that wrapping the dress is a bit easier.

Burda 03-2007-113, top
This has been on my "to make" list since a while, I liked the results of others who reviewed this pattern on Pattern Review. And when I received this Gorgeous Things fabric, thought it would suit this pattern. I'm making it with contrasting black cotton batiste.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Reaction on comment

Nancy just asked in a comment how I did start making lingerie and whether I have any books. Let me answer this question here.

First: how did I start?
I started with a course on sewing lingerie that was held in the town I live. The woman that minded my children two days a week when they were little was on this course and told me about it, knowing that I sewed too. It was a great course, that thought me all the basics. Then I started reading information on the internet, bought a few commercial patterns, took another workshop with someone else. All this together let to the bra's I make now for myself and my daughter. So, it's a combination of lessons and trying, my first bra's did not fit as well as they do now. From a technical point of view: you must be precise when sewing lingerie, a few millimeters make a big difference in a bra, where in a skirt you won't see the difference.

And on books: I do not have any book on lingerie making. I considered buying the book "the bra-makers manual" last year, but thought it too expensive for my needs, as I read this book is mainly for those who sew for others.
Someone wrote me a mail and told about an Australian book "Making beautiful bra's" that deals with copying an existing bra. But I don't know this book myself.

And if you have an old bra that fits you well, you could just pull it apart and make a pattern of this to start with.

As far as English patterns go, I'm very sorry but I have no experience with those, so I can not recommend.
But I would be glad to help with a translation from Dutch or German for those who would like that. Just mail me.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Empty sewing baskets!

This does not happen too often, all my sewing baskets are empty! I finished the Burda top for my daughter, see below and the review at Pattern Review if you want more info. The fit is fine, but I think the neckline is too low.

Further I finished my Sewy Linda bra and panty.

For the bra I will write a review on PR sometime this weekend, the panty pattern is drafted from instructions to my own measurements. Made this panty first in white lycra with white lace as a muslin. This muslin is very wearable, so now I made this one to go with the bra. I like the way the two fabrics fit together.

Further I finished the panties for my daughter, the dark blue capri for myself was finished more then a week ago, but I could not make a good picture of this as the fabric is so dark.

So, what's up next? I have so many ideas, too many fabrics and of course lacking time.
I think of making my DKNY dress in a plain fabric, and altering the skirt and make it wide with godets. Want to make shorts, t-shirts etc.
And want to make a dress (yes, another one!) of this fabric from the package I received from Gorgeous Fabrics. It will be a sleeveless version of the Burda wrap dress I made earlier this year.

And I took lessons again, this time I'm going to make a swimsuit! Very anxious to see how this will be.
This is the fabric I'll be using for the swimsuit. And I'm not going to count this one in my sewing baskets!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bra construction

One of the things I'm making at the moment is a Sewy pattern for myself. As I mentioned earlier, I usually make bra's from a pattern that is drafted to my own measurements. But I like exploring and trying, so that's why I bought a few commercial patterns in the past years. Plus, like most women I think, it's nice to have different models.

The Sewy pattern called "Linda" has very different cups. That's why I bought it about two years ago. I made it then as a wearable muslin from brown lycra and lace. But though the fit of the cups was right, the overall feeling was not good. On the underside the elastic flipped to the inside and the side cups in lace were not interfaced, which made it not strong enough for my D cup.
I left it at that but the pattern remained on my mind and I decided to make it again, altering the pattern.

The main change to the pattern for the cup so that the wire chanelling was not flipped towards the cups, but outward (as I'm used to do).
Here are three pictures of three different bra's to illustrate the problem.

The Linda pattern is a full band bra, and in that case you sew the chanelling over the elastic. But not in the description of Sewy (and two years ago I had not enough experience to know beforehand that I had to change it). In the picture of the brown bra you see the way the Linda patterns describes it. The wire is above the elastic

In this picture you can see the "normal" construction for a full band bra, this is the bra I'm working on.

And in this last picture you see the wire chanelling on a partial band bra. You sew the chanelling towards the cups, but that is no problem, because there is no elastic on ther underside of the cups (btw: this is the inside of the blue bra I posted early in May).

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sewing Saturday - 2

By now it is Sunday evening here, and I did finish my dress last night, but it was about 12 and I wanted to go to bed, as this morning I had to rise early too.
The finishing took quite some time, but I love the way it looks inside. It's a pity that no one will see this side of the dress, so let's post a picture here.

A full review of this dress I've written on PatternReview.
I like this dress, and think I should wear dresses more often. This summer is called "the summer of the dress" I think, so what's keeping me?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sewing Saturday!

Unbelievable, I have a Saturday for myself, and guess what I'm doing? Sewing of course. My daughter wanted to stay a weekend with my mother and she went there by train yesterday. Children grow up fast! She's 13 (this summer 14) and this was her first trip by train alone. I took her to to station, there was no change of trains, and my sister, who lives close to my mother, collected her from the station there. It's not a very long journey, a little over an hour, but I was glad to hear she arrived safely.
And today my son has a hockey tournament, and my husband went with him, so at 8 o'clock this morning I had the house alone.

After some cleaning I started sewing by the arithmetic of Nancy's comment on Cidell's blog: 15 minutes of cleaning is 1 hour sewing. I cleaned for an hour, so.....

I'm making the DKNY dress I posted on earlier and making it of a linen fabric. Earlier this week I made a muslin. I traced the pattern from a 14 at the top, to a 18 at the hip.

From this I learned:
  • some armhole gaposis at the front, very little at the back
  • armhole a tadd too low
  • neckline in the back a bit too wide
  • would like a walking slit at the back
  • the sewing order of the front can be easier than described.
I sincerely believe that the creases in the back are caused by the fact that I have my hand at my hip in the picture.
After correcting this yesterday evening I cut the fabric and lining.

From a review by Kay Y on Pattern Review this week (very timely indeed!), I thought I might try the method of underlining the dress, instead of sewing the lining as a separate dress. I took her method of sewing the underlining within the dart line first, before sewing the dart.
Never did this underlining before, so I searched and found some information on the Threads website. Further I decided to use a hongkong finish. All in al: a challenging project.

Some pictures of what I did till now (1 pm here).
1. Pinned the underlining to the fabric with a lot of pins.

2. Attached the underlining, using my walking foot to prevent movement of the two layers.

3. Sewed most darts

4. Attached the upper front part to the lower front part, carefully clipping. Then I added a hongkong finish with the lining fabric.

OK, I'm going to leave the project here for there are a few other things I want to do today, but hope this dress is finished this evening (no particular reason, just tomorrow no sewing time).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Yahoo photo's

Yesterday, before writing the Sewy bra review at Pattern Review I wanted to upload the photo's to the Yahoo photo service I use. Then I was informed by the system that this service is being discontinued and I have to move my photo's. Just now I have chosen to move them to Flickr. I guess this will mean that I have to edit all the links in my reviews on Pattern Review. Not looking forward to that time consuming task.

But the bra is finished! I'm very lucky to have a shop with lingerie notions in the town I live, so I could buy shoulderstraps at the same time as some daily shopping. The wires make the bra look a bit strange, but on my daughter it's fine.

And below are bra's from the fabrics and notions bought at Kantje Boord, on which I posted earlier. These are made with the Merckwaerdigh pattern I reviewed earlier. It's unbelievable what you can make out of 2 meters of lycra. Now I moved on to a bra for myself combining these fabrics, which I like, but my daugher didn't want that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some days...

everything just doesn't go the way you would like to.

I was at work (from home) and trying to get a job started that has been on my mind for too long. Today I would make a good start. Apparently this was not a good day for this, I had to get a few more stones for workmen changing our drive, dear daughter came home from school 2 hours earlier, a lot of phone calls (both private and work related, sometimes it's easier not to work from home).
Then tonight I tried to make a bra from a new pattern for my daughter. Difficult descriptions, in German too, so in the end I just tried it my own way. After ripping some seams and even cutting a few pieces again (no good day!) it went rather smoothly, but ended up with having no shoulder straps in white to finish. Arghhh. I always have white shoulderstraps somewhere (I thought).

This is a picture of the bra so far on my pressing ham.
It's a Sewy pattern. When it's finished I'll write a review.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Vintage /OOP patterns

Recently I bought 2 vintage patterns on E-bay. One is the Ralph Lauren top of 1986 that I just completed. The other the Anne Klein dress from the nineties above that will be one of my next projects (view A).

I never bought a vintage pattern before (and the 80’s don’t sound very vintage to me, when do you call a pattern vintage?), but this top appealed to me because it reminded me of the Burda top with similar shoulders that I made a few weeks ago.

The reason for searching on e-bay for a vintage/out of print pattern was that some time ago my mother found an envelope with an old pattern in it that was mine. I had lent it to her (must be over 20 years ago) and now I have it back. I had totally forgotten about this pattern and having it back brought back a lot of memories (not only those that I share below).

The pattern in the envelope was the pants part of Vogue 2854, a Claude Montana combination of blouse, jacket and pants. I was a great admirer of this designer in those days and I think this was the first Vogue pattern I ever bought. As a student then with no money to speak of a Vogue pattern was very, very expensive for me. It was the only foreign pattern label that could be bought in the Netherlands (no internet! How could we do without) . I think that I never heard of the other three of the “big four” then.

And I remember too that I was amazed by the detailed descriptions and step by step pictures of the construction. That I had never seen and I learned so much from it, used as I was to Burda or Knip instructions. I saved money to buy one or two other Vogue patterns (one of them another Claude Montana that I still have), and it brought my sewing to a higher, more ambitious plan.

Another memory is the light yellow fabric that I used for the pants, and a special shade of green fabric like silk (certainly not the real thing) for the blouse and the special button that closed the collar. I don’t remember making the jacket. Now I will remake the pants one day.

But the envelope contained only the pants pattern and both my mother and I don’t know where the remaining parts are. We both moved house several times since then, so maybe it got lost forever.

So I looked at e-bay for this specific Vogue pattern, as I would dearly like to make the blouse once more too. And there the pattern was, but alas, in a size
10. No good for me.

But searching, I found these other patterns. And I'm glad I did.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Arm hole adaption

The top is finished, this is the result, a review I posted on Patter Review.

It's e very explicit print, that I would not choose normally. I bought it from EmmaOneSock, and there are more swirls then assumed. But for this top it seemed fine, and for me it is. This print does not require a pattern with many design details.

First I completed the adaption of the pattern. The sewing books did not solve the problem how to correct the extra width on my front armhole. But with common sense I came to this method of working:

  1. Pinned a piece of fabric under my arm and marked the armhole line I wanted
  2. Cut the fabric at the line of the added dart
  3. Marked the pinned line on the muslin fabric
  4. Drafted the lines of the adapted armhole the back and front pattern
  5. Drafted the "dart" on the front part, and moved the extra width to the side dart
  6. As last point I redrafted the point of the dart a little higher, as the bust point on the pattern was lower than mine.
In the last picture above you can see the changes in the pattern: a rather big front dart after doing a fba and adding above change for the armhole. The armhole for the back is also higher.
The result in my finished top is good.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A vintage pattern

The muslin of the Burda top is thrown away. I'm not convinced that this will be a good top for me. This really is the last time I tried a top with a front with a twist or a knot. Pity, I like them so much.

Good, that meant 1 basket to fill, and this it is:
A Ralph Lauren pattern from 1986.

The pattern is a size 12, which is my size if I go by high bust measurement, but have to do an FBA (so glad I found the Pattern Review site last year, I did not know about taking high bust measurement before as starting point for a top).
I traced the pattern two weeks ago, and waited the arrival of the book Fitting Finesse from Nancy Zieman, that I bought on e-bay. I'd like to know more of adjusting pattern, and already have the book Fast Fit of Sandra Betzina. Then Nancy of Encue Creations showed Fitting Finesse on her blog, and I asked her if there was a different way of doing a FBA in this book. She kindly replied that there was a difference and that it was well worthwhile to have this book. Yesterday I received it, and she was right. Thanks Nancy.
So this is the result so far, after adding a dart to make more space in the front part. The pattern has no dart, so I added one.

Above are pictures of the further unadapted top.
Points that are OK:
  1. Enough space in front after adding dart
  2. Neckline is fine
  3. Back armhole is fine
  4. Length is good, this was with cut with seam allowance, so it will be a bit shorter if I don't increase the length of the pattern. No problem if it is a bit shorter.
Issues to solve:
  1. there is too much space on the front armhole
  2. the seam allowances of 5/8 inch are also added to this muslin, this will mean that you can see my bra too clearly after taking off 5/8 inch.
  3. I must cut off the seam allowance of the armhole, to know if I want a finished shoulder length as in my pictures, or if the line of the pattern is OK.
On the last picture I pinned away the width in the front armhole. Back to the book to see how I should