frankenpattern top

I love fall. I love all the colours as they change, and the different shades that the changing light provides on the same tree throughout the day. They make me happy!

My top is a mix of Vogue 1412‘s front bodice, the back bodice from Burdastyle 09/2019 #111, and the sleeves from Burdastyle 09/2010 #136. I didn’t know what to do with this fabric, so I draped it around my sewing area on and off for what seems like a good 12 months, trying different ideas, laying out different patterns (not enough fabric), trying to work around a pattern repeat that I ended up completely ignoring, and generally second-guessing myself until I was struck by lightening (or courage), and laid out the pattern for the front bodice and started cutting. I would have preferred to use Vogue 1412’s back bodice, too, but I didn’t have enough fabric and wanted a more fitted back.

Burda 10-2013-140 back

This is the third version of Vogue 1412 that I’ve made. I really like the front neckline, although this iteration, due to the slightly dropped shoulders of the back, and because I didn’t stabilize the shoulder seams, required a shoulder pleat, extending from a dart in the upper back through to a pleat in the front. It’s quite hidden with the busy pattern, but if you look closely, you can see it.

Vogue 1412 frankenpattern top

The fabric is a treat. It has a very fine herringbone weave, which just makes this that much more luxurious.

modal-wool-cashmere challis detail
a modal-wool-cashmere challis

And it goes with so many different items in my wardrobe, just because of all the wonderful colours.

Burdastyle 01-2016-135 jeans
these are not the shoes to wear with jeans

This is probably my fifth pair of Burda 01/2016 #135, the skinny jeans with the interesting seaming details. I have worn this brown pair to the point of the colour fading, so I over-dyed it with Rit in my front loading washing machine and couldn’t be happier with the result. They don’t look faded and yucky! 🙂

Have you ever re-dyed a garment?

vogue 2923 tops

Vogue 2923 woven top

My youngest, DD3, loves tank tops of all kinds and varieties, which makes for fun use of shorter lengths of fabric. Enter the gathered top from OOP Vogue 2923, a DKNY design.

The first version is in a polyester pebble crepe, which I purchased from Fabricland. Every now and then there is a winner of a fabric to be purchased from my local store. I also made a second version of this top with this fabric. Arctic icy blue is DD3’s favourite colour.

Vogue 2923 top woven back

And another version in red rayon jersey from EOS, which is worn very often, even now that the weather has changed.

Vogue 2923 Burda 10-2013-140

And here’s the back. The pattern directions call for jersey, but there is so much ease that it works just as well with a woven fabric. Confession: I salvaged a wadder cardigan project to make the red top, and had to piece it together down the CF and the left back. Funnily enough, the piecing isn’t noticeable when DD3 is wearing it, unless one looks hard for it.

Vogue 2923 top back

One caveat for this pattern: when made up in jersey, the straps, which are supposed to be cut on the bias (I cut them on the straight grain) stretch out like crazy. For the red version I ran a length of piping cord through in order to keep it at the correct length.

And that is the last of the summery tops for this year. On to garments suited to the cooler weather.

Tell me, do you have a favourite go-to tank or tee or top pattern for 1m lengths of fabric?

vogue 1247 summer tops

I’ve used two lengths of silk from my stash for a couple of new tops for late summer wear. The first is a silk chiffon, but it’s a bit more opaque than chiffon. The lack of weight to the fabric makes this floatier than the second version, if there is such a thing. (Spell check says no, there is no such thing.)

Vogue 1247 top pink silk
It was so nice to wear these wedges today!

The second is a lovely silk crepe – exactly what the pattern calls for – and the drape of it justifies the fabric suggestion on the back of the envelope.

Vogue 1247 top green
The top is supposed to have a CB seam, as per the pattern, although I prefer to cut it on the fold.

This pattern has been sewn, reviewed and posted about hundreds of times in SewingBlogLand, so I have nothing really new to say about it except for the following:

This top can be squeezed out of as little as 1.2m of 140cm wide fabric, which is less than what the envelope recommends. Speaking of which, when I learned to sew using Vogue patterns, I was taught to always purchase a little less than what the pattern envelope recommended in order to avoid having small almost-useless leftover lengths of 10 or 15 cm (instead of cutting scraps). I don’t follow that advice anymore, for some reason, but I can manage to finagle garments out of shorter lengths than what the patterns call for, pattern matching excepted, of course. Do you do this, too? I must admit it sometimes make a project more work, more involved, more mentally challenging (exhausting?) that it need be. Sometimes I wish I just had enough fabric to lay out the pattern pieces without trying to make it a perfectly-fitted puzzle, eking it out of whatever I have decided should work. On the other hand, it is very satisfying to use up an entire length of goods.

Vogue 1247 top back
I thought this top would be rather twee, but it’s so pretty. And I didn’t need to seam the centre back on this version, thank goodness. I like it better without the designer’s CB seam.

Anyway, these two tops have several adjustments:

  • Centre front has been raised 4 cm
  • Each of the seam allowances under the arms have been taken in by 1.5cm.
  • The front has been shortened by 2.5cm in length, along the hem, grading to nothing at the side seams.

Also, for reference, the lower centre front panels (triangles, really) of the green top have not been cut on the correct bias grain, in order to maintain as much of the horizontal dashy design of the fabric.  I had cut it out as instructed, but the bias grain looked completely absurd with the fabric’s design. I’ll spare you the photos. Here’s the amended, altered version. Truth be told, I was quite displeased when I took photos of this top the other day, so I dismantled the centre bottom panels, turned them around and put it back together so the fabric’s green dashes were more or less running horizontally.

Vogue 1247 green
much more pleasing to the eye, trust me….

Each of the necklines has been finished by hand because I feel like I have more control over the outcome than with a machine, as carefully as I know I am capable of stitching. Besides, it’s good practice. 🙂

The pink top’s understitching along the neckline was also done by hand because I just felt like sitting at my sewing table quietly stitching by hand.

Both hems have been hand rolled. 

Left: hand rolled hem. Right: pick stitched neckline.

Honestly, every time I try to do a narrow hem on a silk top with the machine I hate how stiff it feels, so I just do them by hand now and don’t bother with machine stitching.

hand rolled hem shown step by step, counterclockwise from top left

Both these tops have seen a lot of wear over the last few weeks.  They’re comfortable and a nice alternative to a T-shirt. And I love how they’ve been made from roll ends I’ve collected over the years.

Are you making up anything from little ‘ends’ in your fabric collection?

a simple sew

It’s been an entire four months since my last post. Who would have guessed the world would turn upside down since then? I haven’t been sewing very much. I haven’t had the strength or inclination. I haven’t even been thinking about sewing lately. And this is a problem, because I need to start sewing my stash. I asked DD1 and DD3 to pore over my box of silks, choose a few lengths for kimonos or robes (dressing gowns) and once they had, the fabric sat on my sewing table for weeks before I washed it (yes, they will wash the garments, so I pre-washed – and in two cases, dried – lengths of silk charmeuse for their robes).

I’ve set small goals for myself: trace or cut out a pattern one day. Make adjustments to it another day. Lay it out on the fabric and, if it’s a good day, cut it out. Sew a few seams another day. I have found that limiting my sewing time to around an hour is best, as I feel energized and happy with work well done. So that’s my modus operandi these days.

But in the meantime, I thought I’d share this quickly-made tee from Simplicity 4076. The fabric is a rayon jersey from EOS which was purchased a few years ago. There’s not much to say. The pattern is a quick make, and I made up my usual size without any alterations.

One little successful sew under my belt is the ticket to more stitching, I think.

back view

Lavender Tops

Back in the spring DD3 expressed frustration with the lack of choices in her wardrobe, specifically in the tops department. I must confess, after the last few unsuccessful projects that I made for her, I wasn’t very keen on risking more failures. They have seriously affected my sewjo.  BTW, this post was originally drafted in May……

I sent her shopping for RTW a few weeks ago,and told her to try on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. she saw, even if it looked silly on the hangers, just to get her ideas flowing, and to take a lot of pictures so I could we what she liked. She came home with a $100 top from Wilfred, made of beautiful Japanese polyester, but the fit was off, and I didn’t care for the cost:product ratio. So she returned it, and went off to see what she could find that tickled her fancy in the Burda magazine collection housed in my sewing nook.

And I, browsing through my local Fabricland while purchasing thread for several new jeans projects for myself (I may not be trendy and stylish, but I love my me-made Jalie jeans and made three new pairs recently) stumbled upon a pretty lavender polyester satin crepe with a hammered finish. I purchased a 1.5m length, as it was the right shade of lavender i.e. not very pink, washed it, and set it on one of the sewing tables.

And she noticed it. And liked the colour. So I cut out two of the designs she had ear-marked, and suggested one that I had made for myself a while back, which she liked after she’d tried on mine.Burda 4-2016-114The first one is BurdaStyle 04/2016 #114, a very simple top with cut-on sleeves and a deep V neckline in the back. There is a band across the back shoulders which helps keep the wide neckline in place. There’s not much to say about this top. It’s very simple to make,  the most difficult part being the adjustment of the back band to a length that sits properly. In retrospect, it would fit her better if I’d done a square shoulder adjustment for her swimmers shoulders.Burda 4-2016-114 backThe second top is a repeat of Burda 04/2015 #103, which I’d made for me in 2017.  I had her try it on and she liked the style. Burda 4-2015-103It’s another simple sew, although getting the centre front V to sit properly took some very careful cutting. I have plans for at least two of these tops for myself. Burda 4-2015-103 frontThe last of the lavender tops used up some stash silk: lavender chiffon and a darker habotai for the longer layer.Burda 5-2014-128 silk It’s BurdaStyle 05/2014 #128, and DD3 wasn’t very sure of the design, but I loved the longer gathered back, and thought I’d take a risk while sewing up the stash fabric. I was prepared to thrift it if she didn’t like it in the end. Burda 5-2014-128 backThis top is short: I added a full 10 cm to the length.  Burda’s instructions are good and easy to follow, for once! I followed them to the ‘T’.

Burda 5-2014-128

I hand rolled the hems.

Burda 5-2014-128

And there we are: three new tops for her to wear. Funnily enough, the one she reaches for the most is gathered-back top. She’s going to wear it out first, mostly because the chiffon is rather fragile.

Ta da!

The lace tunic is finished.

The lace is quite substantial and the tunic has some weight to it. The silk charmeuse lining is wondrously comfortable, and makes this such a pleasure to wear.

The centre back pleat was a bit of a pain to manipulate so that it lays flat but adding a small flower appliqué helped tack it all down into place. There is a facing which I interfaced with silk organza, under stitched, and then ‘topstitched’ invisibly 5mm away from the neckline in order to keep it in place. I also discreetly secured the edges of the facing through all layers so that it wold behave as one layer.

My solution for the side seams was to use a true Hong Kong finish, using the silk underlining, and then stitching an appliqué on the interior of the hem to hide the bottom 4 cm of seam allowance.

Another close up of the hem and side seam finishing.

I’m pleased with how this turned out.

Named Clothing Tavlikki Sweater

Tavlikki front

After seeing all of Anne’s wonderful sweatshirt posts the last few weeks, I thought I needed one.  I really liked her version of the Tavlikki sweater, and, although I don’t really do pattern downloads as a rule, I did download this one!  It was worth all the printing and taping, and I am in love with the neckline.

Tavlikki back

I took note of Anne’s comments about widening the neckline, but I must have a smallish brain, because I didn’t need to add anything to get this over my noggin.

For the first time in my entire sewing life, I successfully overlocked clear elastic into the shoulder seams.

Tavlikki elastic

Catch me while I faint, I told myself.  I cannot believe this worked so perfectly!

perfect elastic

The fabric is from EOS – a “luxury sweatshirt fabric” that is soft, cozy and sooooo nice to wear.  It was my first time sewing sweatshirt fabric, and it was a dream to work with.  The sweater itself came together within a couple of hours.  The hardest part was ensuring the starburst darts were perfect.  I stitched them with my regular machine using a stretch stitch.

I cut straight size, no FBA, but I did grade up a size through the hips.  The first time I wore this, DD’s 1 and 3 remarked on how they loved the starburst darts and split hemline.  Those are the selling points of the pattern, right?

pic collage

I must say, though, it’s a bit drafty through the waistline with those hemline slits, so I usually wear it with a cashmere camisole, especially in such blustery weather as we’re having today!

Tavlikki sweater

Broderie anglaise: failure & success

I’ve had a beautiful silk/cotton broderie anglaise for a couple of years, and couldn’t decide what to do with it.  I had two pieces, for a total of about 2.5 metres or so.  What to do?  I can’t see myself wearing a dress made of this pretty fabric, although I really do like it.  But I needed some tops to wear for the summer, so I opted for two, the first of which was Vogue 8392.Image result for vogue 8392

And since it’s the Year of the Sleeve, I thought maybe I’d try that little trend, too. I underlined the top in a cotton voile, and bound the neck edges and opening with it.  Then I thought I’d get fancy with the sleeves. I purchased a 5cm wide trim to add to the bottom of the sleeve, and cut one flounce to make it, well, flouncy. It was so pretty!

Vogue 8392 sleeve

And it looked like a box on me. Ugh.  I dont’ know what it is about flounces, but I love the idea, and hate the reality of it on me. Maybe these aren’t just dramatic enough. Perhaps more flounces would have been better. But I don’t think it’s the sleeves that I dislike about this top.  I’m sorry I don’t have photos of it.  It was too horrible to photograph; I put it on, and took it off.

I think it was the neckline. This is the second garment I’ve made with neckline pleats, and I just don’t like them. The first one is this dress, and I haven’t worn it at all this year because I just hate how the neckline pleats add more bulk and volume above my chest than I’m comfortable with.  I was rather disappointed. I had hoped this would be a pretty top that I would like to wear. I’ve taken the flounces off the sleeves and put it aside for the thrift shop.  Perhaps someone else will think it’s perfect.

So, on to the next blouse, which I’ve made before out of silk chiffon, and quite liked.

Burda 10-2010-118 drawing

I did not bother underlining this.  I also cut the tie a bit in between the suggested lengths and considerably narrower than either version. This is with my previously-blogged pleated trousers.

Burda 10-2010-118, rolled trousers

I used French seams throughout the construction.

broderie interior

And, just to see if it’s really possible to tell the difference between a pair of brown capris (unblogged) and a skin-tone camisole, I took this picture. I was pleasantly surprised that slight differences in under layers won’t be too noticeable.

broderie underneath

This is another winner of a pattern, in my books. I’ve made this top three times, and never regretted any version of it. 🙂

Burda 4-2010-143 front

Another Vogue 1412

V1412 flowers back

This is my second version of the Rebecca Taylor top from Vogue 1412, this time in crepe de chine.  The trousers are Burda 12/2011 #133 in a polyester crepe from very deep stash, and fully lined in bemberg.133_1211_b_largeThis is the inside of the blouse front once the buttonholes and buttons have been finished.  This shows the true colours of the silk.

Vogue 1412 front interior

It’s a rather spring-coloured outfit, but I thought I’d share the makes even if it’s autumn.

V1412 flowers

I really like this top pattern, having made it twice. (The trousers are comfy, too. I made another pair in linen, which I’ll share later.)

Burda 08/2011 #136: Pleated Trousers

After the success of the last three slim fitting trousers, I wanted to continue experimenting with styles and silhouettes.  My bottom half is quite firmly in the Burda Plus range, unless I want to adjust patterns excessively (which I cannot be bothered to do unless severely pressed), so I thought I would trace off this little gem from Burda 8-2011-136 and see how it went.  I don’t always like the way Burda styles curvy women – the proportions are all wrong and the fit is always 1,000,000,000 miles off of anything a self-respecting woman with curves would want to wear, in my not-so-humble opinion.  But I was curious to see what some of the styles they put out in the plus range looked like on someone like me i.e. not young and statuesque.

Burda 8-2011-136 drawing

I chose to make this pair out of tencel denim from EOS. I had some misgivings about making trousers from the fabric, as it’s quite drapey, and my previous experience of anything tencel or rayon includes horrible wrinkling and pilling. But this is a medium-weight poly-rayon-elastene blend, tightly woven, and although I’ve been wearing the trousers all morning, you can see the fabric doesn’t really hold onto the wrinkles, thanks to the polyester, I’m sure.

I’m not completely comfortable with the style of these trousers on me. They are a rather loose fit, and I sometimes feel like they are too loose while I’m wearing them, but they look as though they fit well enough in the photos.  Opinions?

My tops change in these photos – I was trying to see what would look OK with the trousers, as I really like the fabric and I’m totally in love with the colour.  I find mirrors don’t often offer an accurate perspective on ratio or proportion. This is with Vogue 1093, a Donna Karan pattern that I made up in 2010, I think, and almost never wear because it’s just such a statement, and I don’t always like people staring at me as I walk through parking lots or whatever…

Burda 8-2011-136 Vogue 1093

You can see the top of a tank top made from silk jersey at the neckline.  I’m planning a post on that top shortly.

And me rolling up the hems for the next set of pictures….

Burda 8-2011-136 tabs

And what they look like with the tabs doing their job.  The top is Vogue 1245.

Burda 8-2011-136 rolled

I have to say, the inseam tends to roll down to my ankles after wearing them for a bit…

Burda 10-2010-118, rolled trousers

The front crotch depth is very long – I even shortened it as per my usual pattern adjustments – but check out this action shot. I noticed in the Burda magazine photo there doesn’t seem to be so much length on the model, so I really don’t know what happened.

Burda 8-2011-136

I love the details on the back. I left of the superfluous centre back waistband button tab. I just couldn’t see the point.  The pockets are faux, as I didn’t want the bulk of the pocket bags on my backside.

Burda 8-2011-136 details

And a close up of the hemline tabs.

Burda 8-2011-136 hem tabs

Well, whatever the fashion police verdict on these trousers is, they’re in my wardrobe, and I’ve been wearing them quite happily. I’m pleasantly surprised at how many random pieces in my closet actually work quite nicely with them.

How about you? Taken a style risk lately?