it’s still a jungle in here

jungle januaryA construction jungle, that is.  STILL.  And since I’m being slowly eroded with the endlessness of this project, I sewed up a little bit of animal print to help me feel at home in the mess. This lovely little ensemble accomplishes three things:

  1. let’s me in for a play date at the Jungle January playground;
  2. brings me one step closer to completing my Burda Challenge 2013; and
  3. Burda 11-2013-130checks off two of a 3PAC for the Stitcher’s Guild Algebra SWAP 2014.

My ensemble is the designer pattern from Jo No Fui (Burda 11/2013 #130).  I made it up in a black stretch wool suiting for the skirt and an animal print silk charmeuse with an all-over fleur-de-lis burnout pattern for the blouse.  Let’s talk about the skirt first.

I was a bit skeptical about the extra yardage that drapes at the CF, but I like it. It doesn’t add bulk to the silhouette – it’s very clearly a pretty drape.  Burda 11-2013-130 frontThe wool I chose is perfect for this – it’s about the weight of a heavy silk crepe – and sewed up like a dream.  There is a small hip yoke piece instead of darts in the front.  The CF seam is sewn wrong sides together with the drape finished beforehand.  Burda 11-2013-130 jo no fui

The back of the skirt is simple.  It’s short – only about 19 inches in length – and cut straight.  I added a waistband instead of the facing, pegged the bottom by a total of 4 inches and added a full lining.  I likey this skirt.

Burda 11-2013-130 blouseAnd now the blouse.  Of course the star feature is the sleeves with the deep 4 inch pleat to keep the excess fabric at a decent length.  As it was, I decided to shorten the sleeves by 3 inches in total just to avoid the potential of dragging through dinner or what have you.sleeve pleatI added small squares of organza on either side of the pleat for stability and strength. I don’t want those tacking stitches tearing a hole in the middle of my sleeve, thank you very much.  The bottom of the sleeves are gathered into a narrow binding that just barely fits over my hands.  I’m not complaining – I actually like the smallness of the opening.  I think it will help keep the sleeves at my wrists.organza sleeve interiorThe instructions for binding the CF and CB slits were just asking for punishment, as far as I was concerned.  The binding strips were cut on the bias, and I should have known better and just cut them on the straight grain like one would finish a placket.  But what the hey!  I finished the neckline entirely by hand because of the finicky quality of the bias, but mostly because the charmeuse handled differently than the burnout chiffon sections in the fabric and it was just simpler to do it by hand instead of swearing at my machine.Burda 11-2013-130 bindingThe back binding extends into a loop for a button while the top of the CF slit is completely bound by the bias.  It’s a low opening, too, despite the high crew neck. Burda 11-2013-130 blouse neckline I had initially thought I’d make up a Ruby camisole in the same fabric for modesty (chiffon sections of the silk) and to prevent wardrobe malfunctions with that CF slit but the crossover of the cami doesn’t quite do the trick at this point.  Some adjustments are required before I actually wear this ensemble out in public, and I will probably also sew the bottom inch of the slit closed.leopard ruby As you all know I was a little sewn out after (almost) completing the Burda Challenge 2013, and although I want to finish it (yes, I’m that stubborn), I have a long queue that I’d like to catch up on from the last couple of years that has been pushed aside to make way for other projects.  And a lot of fabric that I would love to wear.  These are the more immediate items that come to mind:

  • Pavlova skirt & top
  • Marfy 2922 jacket in a lurex wool/silk tweed
  • Harris Tweed coat (originally part of my SWAP 2012)
  • finish the Burda Challenge
  • do something for Jungle January
  • participate in PR’s Little White Dress event
  • SEW A RED DRESS

So after sifting through all these nebulous ideas wafting around my sewing room, and reading through Ruth’s post on the SG’s Algebra SWAP 2014 rules, I realized I could fit everything in my year(s)-old queue into a lovely little plan. The more I thought about this little SWAP, the more it gave me the impetus to start sewing after the December rush and holidays.Burda 11-2013-130 backAnd this little ensemble has started me off beautifully.  But more on the SWAP in my next post.

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The Verdict: Burda Challenge 2013

This is my take on The Top 5, since it was honestly my focus for the last year. However, not meeting goals is an unhappy occurrence in my typically driven mind, and I have had to temper my desire to throw tantrums whenever thwarted in pursuit of this 2013 goal.  Mostly because growing emotionally healthy and responsible citizens for the next generation means that modelling desired behaviour is priority.  🙂  I’m just being selfishly honest!

So I’m going to vent here, where probably – most likely – almost 100% – no one will be adversely affected by my pouting because I didn’t meet my ONE BIG GOAL for 2013:  sew at least one garment from each issue of BurdaStyle.  I missed the mark by two issues:  May and November.  In my mind this equals a failure (and DH has already raked me over the coals for calling it a failure considering how many other projects I finished). But to jog everyone’s memory, back in March, I wrote this:

Maria over at La Inglesita posted back in December about her goal to sew at least one garment from each issue of Burda for 2013 since those issues often sit on our shelves and don’t get traced and sewn up into wearable 3D items.  I don’t know about you, but often I’ll read and re-read a Burda issue, earmark one or several things and mentally sew them up in that particular fabric from my stash.  Heck, I’ll even mentally wear them, but it gets left behind in ISL (Imaginary Sewing Land) for some weird reason. Melissa at Fehr Trade set herself a similar challenge last year. It’s a nice idea and perhaps the impetus that I need to sew up the things that catch my eye in my Burda subscription, so I thought I’d casually join along.

Re-reading this, I was surprised at the last sentence, because, quite frankly, finishing this challenge has turned into an obsession over the last 6 weeks.  But let’s see how close I came, OK?  You can click on the images to take you to the original blog post, if one exists.

January: Polka-dot Top and a Leia costume for DD2 (unblogged) and the Sequin UFOBurda-1-2013-123A-top.jpgLeia costume with belt

February: Op Art Tee and DD2’s Christmas dress and Miss V’s upcycled sari jacket

Burda-2-2013-126.jpgBurda 2-2013-148 greenB 2-2013-116

March: This was the most-used issue this year by far:  six garments in total, and two of my most-worn and favourite garments came from this issue.  Two are unblogged (one was a wadder due to a bad fabric choice (trousers #127) and the other is finished, but not yet dyed.  Yup.  I made a shirt (#124) as a fitting and dyeing experiment.  But the dyeing hasn’t happened yet).

Burda 3-2013-123 skirtBurda 03-2013-119 back 3

Two garments for others came from the March issue, too:  a dress for DD1 and Miss V’s lace shirt.

Burda 03-2013-113 frontBurda 03-2013-116 front

April: DD1’s pretty sundress and my Burda trousers block test.

Burda 04-2013-121 side

May: Well, I’ve traced off a couple of dresses, but that’s as far as I got on those.  Hopefully in the spring, if nothing new and exciting comes along before I get around to making them.

June:  A pair of shorts.

Burda 6-2013-111A

July:  A top.  I actually made this top twice.  The first version was a recycled version of this dress but I didn’t like it, so I sent it to the garbage.  So much for recycling.  But DD1’s turquoise top is very pretty.

Burda 7-2013-110

August: Nada.  Well, nothing that I kept.  This is a wadder.  I love the idea of the integrated wrap scarf, but my fabric choice of lightweight rayon jersey was not good.  I wore it for the day I took this picture, and haven’t worn it since. If I ever find a T-shirt type of jersey, I may make this up again.  There was also a skirt and a jacket from this issue that I wanted to make, but I just ran out of time!

Burda 8-2013-131

September:  One skirt, unblogged.  It’s model #130, designed by John Richmond.  And I must say that I love it.  It’s pegged and perfect.  My version is made of a heavy washed 100% ramie fabric that caught my eye back in the spring.  The pattern is like a Vogue designer pattern, with instructions for lining and facing and finishing it perfectly.  The back (below) is princess seamed with small kick pleats at the bottom of each princess seam.  It’s a gorgeous pattern.

Burda 9-2013-130

October:  Three garments from this issue:  DD1’s camo dress and her NYE sequin skirt; and a pair of trousers for moi (not quite finished at point of writing, but will be, because I have to wear them tonight!).

Burda 10-2013-107 frontBurda 10-2013-120

November:  Nothing – Fail!  I would love to make up a skirt and two dresses from this issue, but guess what?  I ran out of time!!

December:  One garment, unblogged:  a long-sleeved metallic jersey top.  And I would love to replace my old Lagerfeld black wool trousers with the wide-legged pair from this issue.  There were a couple of dresses that I would love to have in my closet from this issue, too.

Burda 12-2013-119

I did make a couple of other garments from other years of Burda, but this challenge was about using the patterns that come each month with my subscription.  I made up a total of 23 garments, including the wadders.  It was a good challenge, and I am happy that I mulled over each Burda issue, trying to find things that looked interesting to make and that would suit my lifestyle.

I don’t think I’ll be doing a Burda Challenge 2014, however.  I set aside several Vogue patterns, my Little French Jacket and a winter coat in order to keep on top of this challenge, and I would like to go back through the stash and marry the patterns with fabulous fabric for these projects.  Y’know, bring them up to the front burner.  And I would like to do SWAP again.  I am so happy with all the garments from my first SWAP in 2012 that I’d like to repeat the challenge again.  But that’s thought for next week, at the earliest!

And that’s the end of my 2013 posts!  A very happy happy New Year to each and every one of you.  May the year be full of excellent fabric, good fitting, and endless hours to create to your heart’s content!

More Camo à la Burda

Burda 10-2013-107 frontAnother project completed in my Burda Challenge for 2013. And another dose of camouflage à la Burda’s October issue this year.  No weirdness here except the very commodious 80’s style batwings.

Burda 10-2013-107 mugBurda 10-2013-107 backBurda 10-2013-107 side

When DD1 first put this on her comment was, “It looks like a nightgown”.  Yup.  It hangs like a sack without the help of a belt.  But that’s a good thing, right?  Because a belt means you can make the skirt as short as you wish (since I wisely added a good 4 inches to the pattern).  HA!

The pattern is simple enough.  I made it up in a ponte knit so it’s warm for fall and winter.  The neck has a bias strip as a facing, which is turned to the inside and topstitched in place.  The placket was a bit fussy, but I stitched in the ditch and it’s as clean and neat a finish as one could wish for.  I was a bit concerned about the buttonholes, but they worked quite well on the interfaced ponte.  I must say I’ve never attempted buttonholes on a ponte knit before.Burda 10-2013-107 side backShe’s happy and has worn it several times although she keeps stealing my shoes.  But hey!  It suits her style and she’s pleased as punch, as is her seamstress.

And that’s my October 2013 Burda Challenge. Wish me luck to finish the challenge before December 31st!

Burda Challenges

Burda 03-2013-113 frontWhen Miss V brought me her collection of fabrics, she was not crazy about this black polyester crepe with the tiny pink roses.  But a dress needed to be made up from it, since it was a special gift from a shop owner “back home”.  I originally thought, since she had no intention of wearing the garment, of making up Vogue 1351 by DKNY.  I’ve been  wanting to make the dress for myself, but that would have required an FBA to the lining and I was too lazy over the summer to try, and Miss V doesn’t require any FBA.  Perfect opportunity to make the dress, thought I.

But as I was working on the various pieces of Miss V’s wardrobe, fabric spread out everywhere, DD3 saw the black with pink and immediately latched onto it.  She loved it.  So, with permission, I changed direction and made up this number that caught my eye back in Burda’s March 2013 issue (model #113).Burda 03-2013-113DD3 thought it would be perfect, so I started sewing.  The dress is completely unlined.  I wasn’t motivated to put in a lot of work for this garment. What can I say?  Some fabrics kill all motivation for excellence just by existing.  All the seams are straight-stitched with a serged finish, and I actually did a rolled hem with my overlocker.  It’s about as RTW a garment as I’ve ever made.Burda 03-2013-113 necklineI shorted the bodice – “petited” it, if you will – by folding out 2cm of length at the high bust and waist levels.  And I raised the CF slit by about 3 inches because it was ridiculously low – like let’s-show-everything low.  The bodice front is almost cut on the true bias – not quite –  which is great for skimming over the body, and wasn’t too much of a pain to sew in this poly crepe.  The CF gathers pull the CF into an inverted V, which poufs a bit over the lower abdomen, as seen above.  But in this dark fabric, it’s not noticeable while being worn. Burda 03-2013-113The skirt is cut almost like a full circle skirt. Took me a bit of looking at the pattern pieces to figure that out because of the odd way Burda suggests cutting them: on the folded bias.  When tracing the pieces the grain lines run parallel to the side seams, which is confusing until you see the layout diagram.  *lightbulb*piecesThe skirt has been shortened by about 4 inches to keep it looking youthful and modern on DD3. She wore it yesterday and loved it.  It’s a pretty pattern, and I hope to give it another incarnation soon.

The other Burda piece in Miss V’s wardrobe was this lace shirt from the same issuBurda 03-2013-116 fronte Burda 03-2013-116 back(March 2013 # 116). It’s a plain basic boxy shapeless shirt, but the poly lace I found is heavy enough that it drapes nicely.  And just so you know, the front is on the left, back is on the right in the photos above.  Yup.  Lots of shape and definition here!  The purpose of this garment:  a covering in cooler (freezing) air-conditioned buildings.  Apparently if you’ve got A/C, then you crank it up so it feels like an Arctic experience!Burda 03-2013-116 bound seamsAll the seams are bound in poly satin. The lace was lovely and soft to work with, but that poly stretch satin fabric was a a PITA for making bias strips.  I don’t think I’ve sewn so much polyester anything in years as I’ve done for these two projects.  If I don’t sew any again for another decade, I’ll not miss it.  BTW, the March 2013 issue of Burda is winning the Burda Challenge so far this year.  It’s amazing how one or two issues will be full of gems that get made and others languish for years untouched.

Still sewing like a fiend!  I’ve got some Kmher batik and a sari to turn into garments before the end of the week before Miss V leaves!

Burda Challenge: Burda 3/2013 #119 – The Cape

Burda 03-2013-119 tiedI got distracted from another pair of jeans by this cape from Burda’s March 2013 issue.  I just fell in love with it the first time I saw it, and Burda had the goodness to publish it in three colours:  mustard yellow, red and a dark khaki – the colour in which  I’ve made up my version.Burda 3-2013-119This was a super fun project for me.  I don’t own anything remotely similar to this, and I like odd pieces that could potentially get a lot of wear.  I had some 100% ramie in my stash, and I laundered it several times in hot water and in a hot dryer in order to minimize shrinkage and hopefully get that “washed linen” look.  The washed linen look never occurred, and the fabric gave off a tremendous amount of lint in my dryer, but I am confident that this garment will never shrink.

Burda 03-2013-119 hoodSee how short the sleeves are when ones arms are raised? Impractical from a warmth/protection from the elements point of view. It has a hood which, in my opinion, is completely useless. But it looks nice from the back.Burda 03-2013-119 back 3I enjoyed putting this garment together because it required several things with which I don’t usually work:  cord, grommets, velcro, D-rings and a brass-toothed separating zipper.  I learned that shortening a zipper with brass teeth does require a pair of nips in order to not wreak havoc on the zipper’s tape by pulling the teeth out one by one before plying them open.  Anyways, I also learned that I’m better at handling a metal zipper than my DH, who gamely offered to help me use his pliers.  😉  Burda 03-2013-119 detailsFabric used:  100% ramie shell, washed silk charmeuse lining

Pattern alterations:  Well, first of all, I lined this.  Burda suggests canvas for the fabric, and the ramie, although it’s a fall weight, would be a bit warmer with the silk lining  and it would make the inside of the garment pretty.

I left off the mock breast pocket on the left front.  It was a strip of twill tape with grommets stitched to the outer shell.  Frankly, I couldn’t be bothered.Burda 03-2013-119 frontI did not cut two 114 cm long strips of bias for the cord casing.  The ramie frayed like crazy and it was a lot like linen to press except that it was a lot more stubborn to shape.  I just used grosgrain ribbon.  To my mind it would be a lot stronger without the risk of fraying or falling apart.  cape interiorI treated the silk as a separate lining and once the shell was constructed and the cord attached, I attached the lining to the garment along the “sleeve” seams at the front and back to keep it in place with short basting stitches through the seam allowances from the wrong side. Then I faced the hem and sleeves, and attached the hood, catching the silk inside the facings.  I also double interfaced the visor.  I didn’t use buckram – too stiff – but I wanted something that came close.Burda 03-2013-119From a practical point of view, this garment is pretty ridiculous.  The sleeves – if you can call them that – fall at the wrist when you’re standing doing nothing but mostly sit at the 3/4 length and when it’s tied, you can’t raise your arms.   I have to be careful about making sure my arms are not restricted when I’m driving, and the cape shape is attractive to odds and ends that grab it while I’m out shopping or whatever.  It’s not particularly warm and the velcro fastening of the hood is quite annoying when it’s closed, yet the neck is too wide and low to look good with a scarf.

*shrug*  But what can I say?  It’s one of those “out there” pieces that I really like.  Would I sew it again?  Probably.  It would be fantastic in red linen.  Would I recommend it to others?  Not necessarily, because it’s really not a functioning cape/outerwear piece.  It’s more like an oversized ridiculous poncho without the freedom of movement for arms that a poncho provides, and a whole lot of details that are rather pointless.

But I’ve worn it almost every day since I finished it, and it was super fun to make!Burda 03-2013-119 pockets

Cuffed Shorts

Burda 6-2013-111A

DD1 wanted more shorts, and chose this lovely cuffed pair from Burda’s June issue to make from this spectacular stretch cotton (Burda 06/2013 #111A).  Burda 06-2013-111 drawing The fabric is so vibrant that I really wanted her to choose a skirt or a dress to showcase it better, but she’s “not that into skirts and dresses, really, mom”.  OK.  So shorts it is.  Although I did manage to cut a skirt, too, that’s currently resting in my magic sewing closet. But back to these shorts.Burda 6-2013-111A back

It’s a super simple pattern with only one welt pocket on the back right.  There’s a side zip, but the star of the show is the cuffs!  All two inches of them.  Lots of playing around room in these. Burda 6-2013-111A cuffs

I didn’t make a muslin, and I’ve noticed that she is going to need a little length added to the back of future trousers/shorts.  The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!Burda 6-2013-111A action

Or maybe I should say the cherries don’t fall too far from the tree.  Better luck next time!Burda 6-2013-111A action 2

Embroidered Sundress

Burda 04-2013-121 frontSo, as part of my Burda Challenge 2013, I’ve sewn up DD1 a pretty little sundress from the April issue.Burda 04-2013-121It’s petite-sized (17-21), which seems to work well with DD1 as she is short-waisted.  I cut a straight size, although I did change up a few things.  First, I raised the CF neckline by about 2 inches.  Actually, I started out with a 4 inch adjustment, but it was too high.  The bodice provides perfect coverage.  I was surprised, actually, because the model in the Burda issue seams to be falling out of it.  I was expecting to have to do a small FBA, but the coverage is high and wide as drafted, which is great. And instead of the recommended lace, I cut bias strips 1 cm wide and gathered them for the bodice trim.  Lace isn’t DD1’s thing, but the small ruffles are a nice touch.Burda 04-2013-121 rufflesI underlined the entire dress.  The skirt is underlined with a poly-cotton broadcloth, and the midriff and bodice to the shoulders are underlined and lined with a handkerchief linen and cotton voile. And I don’t know what happened with the pleats.  They have moved to the side considerably once I snugged up the back. Funny, but I never noticed until looking at the picture how out of place they are!  Oh, and I added bra cups at her request.

Burda 04-2013-121 back viewThe other significant change that I made to the pattern was the back.  I put in a lapped zipper instead of the invisible zip because I’ve had two invisible zips break on me recently, and I hate replacing invisible zips.  So lapped it was.  Besides, it’s a clean vintage-inspired way of putting in a zipper!  And then I added 10 rows of 1/4 inch elastic so that it would feel snug and secure when worn.Burda 04-2013-121 back detailsIt’s a little on the “very” side of snug because I cut the elastics short, and I’ll be adding a hook and eye to the top of the zip, but the looped buttons are pretty and keep everything close.  There’s not much else to say about this dress.  I really like the skirt pattern.  It’s one piece, cut on the fold of the bias (the CB seam is on the straight grain), and it drapes beautifully.  My more detailed review of this pattern is on PatternReview.Burda 04-2013-121 3So now all we need are a few of those hot humid and hazy days of summer…