Bronze Jeans: Burda 1/2010 #136

Warning: there’s a lot of pictures in this post, and, well, no amount of tweaking can make my 40-something mother-multiple-times exercise-free butt look younger, childless or hawter. Don’t say you weren’t warned. 😉

Burda 1-2010-136 frontI did it.  I crossed into the world of the unknown and I did it!  I cracked the jean mystery, peeps, and I am so EXCITED!  I have long scoffed at the idea of making my own jeans.  Whatever for?  What a hassle.  That’s just sewing geekiness.  Not interested.  bronze jeansBut the idea of making jeans has a way of getting under one’s skin and wandering through one’s sewing plans, and more than once I was coerced by Linda at EmmaOneSock to buy stretch denim.  For no reason except that it’s nice to have stretch denim in your stash, right?  No plans for jeans here.  Stretch denim can be used for a LOT of other clothing items besides jeans.  So you see it’s really not my fault that I made a pair of jeans.  The entire sewing universe has been conspiring to convert me.I’m so glad I did!  I feel like I’ve taken one major sewing step forward.  As I sewed this up, Burda 1-2010 #136cracking the big jean mystery one seam at a time, it was amazing to learn how simple jean construction is.  I used this model from Burda 1/2010 #136.I did not make a muslin specifically for this pair.  After sewing up my one and only pair of skinnies from the Burda block, I had a pretty good idea of what needed to be altered, so I measured myself from various angles very carefully, and then measured the pattern very carefully.  And re-measured.

I didn’t make any adjustments to the to the front, except to leave off that weird front patch between the front thighs.  Why it is there?  It looks…. well, uncomfortably embarrassing. Maybe their designers thought it would be interesting, but I didn’t like it.  Besides, can you just picture it in this bronze denim with dark purple topstitching?  *shudder*  Wrong visual.  BTW, the front crotch depth is good, but I’m not sure if the little extra fabric at the front crotch should be left or adjusted.  I need to think about that more.  It’s not uncomfortable and I don’t think it looks bad, but I still need to think about it from a “perfect fit” perspective.  Any opinions on this would be lovely!frontI lengthened the back by one full inch by extending the crotch curve.  This was a mistake because the inseam of this pair is 1 inch forward of where it should be. forward inseamThis is a good lesson to learn!  I should have left the crotch alone and slashed and spread the length of the CB seam instead to get the length I needed.  This would have left the inseam in its proper place. I did need to taper both the CB seam, the yoke and the waistband to fit the curve of my lower back.  backThis was no big surprise, and since I was anticipating this adjustment as a last little fitting tweak, I constructed the back in such a way that the CB seam was the last to be stitched.  I attached the waistband to the jeans and fit the CB seam, taking in about 3/4″ at the waist and tapering it to the hip level.  Burda’s instructions suggested stitched the CB seam and topstitching it prior to attaching the waistband.  Well, I knew that was going to be an un-picking nightmare, so I went down a different construction street quite happily.

left sideright sideMy side seams are almost perfectly perpendicular to the floor, which is a good thing, and I don’t need to tell you fellow sewistas that I’m very happy about that.  After taking these pics, however, it’s obvious the back thighs need to be shortened – probably a good 4cm – so the wrinkling under my butt goes away. I have some thoughts on this and will share them next post.

The pockets have a decorative self-fabric binding, which I wasn’t sure about.  That could mean too many layers of denim to sew through, but after a couple of test runs on scraps I went ahead with it.  It’s a unique detail that I’ve never seen on jeans before.  Not that I’ve seen a lot of jeans in my life.  But anyways… Burda 1-2010-136 pocket binding I used a denim needle for this project, and it stitched through all 5 layers of denim at the turned-under ends of the pocket binding with no complaints.Burda 1-2010-136 pocketsThe topstitching pattern for the back pockets is all Burda’s.  I claim no credit for creativity.  But I like these pockets.Burda 1-2010-136 belt loopsThe belt loops were the other area I discarded Burda’s instructions.  I was supposed to stitch a long tube and turn it.  Uh.  Right.  I hate turning tubes of fabric on the best of slippery fabrics, so why would I want to do that on thick stretch denim?  So I serged both long edges of the belt loop piece and turned the edges in on themselves in thirds, exactly like all the RTW jeans I inspected.  It turned out to be a little wider in width than typical belt loops, so I took the opportunity to use one of the decorative stitches on my machine instead of just straight topstitching.bronze denimI didn’t use studs to reinforce any pocket corners on this pair, although I studied every single pair of DH’s and DD1’s jeans to see where the studs were used.  I wanted to keep this project simple without a lot of extraneous detail or embellishment.  The only new-to-me hardware issues were the stud button and shortening the metal zipper by hand, neither of which was difficult or stress-inducing.And I added 2 inches of length.  I may be vain, but IMHO, the added 2 inches give the illusion of longer legs than I really own.  😉 After finishing this pair and wearing them for a day, I can tell you I have more in the queue.  Thanks to all of you sewing bloggers who have documented the process of making your own jeans.  Without all your posts and pics and details and FO’s I would not have crossed the hurdle of jeans.  You know who you are.  😉 Burda 1-2010-136 back

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Burda 05/2012 #141: Digital Print

Burda 05-2012-141 fronThis dress was an experiment in sizing.  I am right in the middle of Burda regular and plus sizing, and I was interested in how a plus pattern for wovens would stack up against a regular size.  I chose this dress from the May 2012 issue.  I really liked the line drawing, and draping and V-necks are two of my favourite design elements.  My fabric is a digital printed cotton voile, and I’m happy that everything for this dress was from stash!I cut the size indicated by my full bust measurement.  I wanted to see how this compared to cutting my upper chest measurement and doing an FBA.  I shortened the waist by 2 inches, which is a standard short-waist adjustment for me, and cut the fronts with 2 inch seam allowances.

Burda 05-2012-141 side frontVerdict:  the smaller size with the FBA would have been a better fit across the chest and through the armscyes.  As it was, I needed to ease in 2 inches along the length of each neckline to get the neckline to lie snug and avoid wardrobe malfunction, and it was a good thing I cut a 2″ seam allowance through the armscyes.  I needed that much to get enough coverage and avoid gaping armholes.

The one odd thing about this pattern was the right front.  In order to get the fit and drape  through the waist and hips (surprise on the hips) I had to trim 1 1/2″ off the entire right side seam.  Not the left, just the right.  A drafting issue?  Anyways, I wore the dress today, and it was super comfortable and cool.Burda 05-2012-141 back The back fits well after tweaking the fit through the waist, and I really like the silhouette of the a-line skirt.  The dress is fully lined, but I drafted facings to give the edges a nicer finish.  Well, two summer dresses down and one to go!  I’m almost at the end of my late summer projects.

Burda 05-2012-141

One Year Later: Vogue or Burda trouser block?

Since I can’t actually sew while my house is upside down and backwards, I thought I’d finally blog some things I’ve finished but never talked about.  Thanks for all your commiserating with me and the good wishes, too.  I cannot believe the withdrawal I am suffering through not being able to actually SIT DOWN AND SEW A SEAM.  However, the basement is dry and sanitized, so now I just need to wait for installers so everything can be put back into order and we’ll never know anything happened!

It’s almost exactly one year to the month since my first go at the skinnies from Vogue 1039.   After the saga of capris this past spring and the trouble and hassle and “it’s-better-than-it-was-but-I’m-still-not-satisfied” fitting journey, I thought I’d try my hand at these Donna Karan skinnines again with a stretch denim.

V1039.jpgNo particular reason except that in a fit of pique I thrifted all my RTW jeans and capris this spring and really really needed a pair of something to wear that wasn’t dressy, but that would keep me warmer than capris would through the coolish spring weather we’ve had this year.  And since I really truly do like that pleaty-pleat top but lack a pair of skinnies in a complementary colour, I thought I’d try another go and see if I couldn’t tweak the fit a little.  Ok.  A lot. And this is how I cheated – I mean tweaked.Burda 04-2013-114I traced off Burda 4/2013 #114 in my size (well, actually one size smaller because it’s a stretch fabric and my experience dictates going down a size with stretch fabrics) and laid each piece over the corresponding Vogue ones.  I should have taken a picture, but didn’t, of course. *handforehead* Let me just say that the difference was s.i.g.n.i.f.c.a.n.t. and similar to what you see between pattern pieces in this comparison post.  This was a good place to begin for tweaking or perfecting the fit on trousers for me.  Here is the front view.  I forgot to stand up straight (being so darned uncomfortable with the truthfulness of proper mug shots that I unconsciously avoid head-on poses), so you’ll have to believe me when I say the horizontal lines are not there when I’m standing straight.Vogue 1039 I have no intention of ever wearing these with my shirt tucked in, but as this is a sewing blog I know you’ll all appreciate the photos. ha ha (shudder)  The length of these skinnies is the Vogue length, which I’m very much on the meh side of the fence about.  Whatever.  This is a wearable muslin until the next pair. My favourite details:  the pocketses!Vogue 1039 pocketsMy thoughts after making these up without any adjustments to the Burda block:  Burda wins.  I need to add about 1 inch in length to the centre back and scoop out the back through the crotch a bit, but I just want to say that this is a much better place to begin fitting than any casual Vogue pant or capri pattern I have ever sewn (barring classic trousers). There’s been a lot of griping about the Big 4’s pattern blocks in sewing webland lately, and although I generally disagree for an entire blog post of reasons*, I can really see the point when it comes to trousers.  I cannot wait to trace off other Burda trouser patterns and see what happens.  Dare I say I’m a bit excited about this?Vogue 1039 pantsAfter reading a lot of blog posts about making jeans, fitting jeans, and wanting a few pairs that I liked in Burda mags over the last couple of years, I’ve acquired a very small stash of stretch denim to try this myself.  This is the first almost-successful go at it.  BTW, these photos were taken at the end of the day, and I’m really pleased with how the fabric held its shape.  It’s another stretch woven from EmmaOneSock.  I love the quality of her fabrics.

Oh, and I did take pics of my backside, but I’ll spare y’all that information.  Let’s just say that I really do need to scoop out the back.  I promise I’ll post pictures after I find an invisible zipper that won’t separate on me every single time I put these on.  Or maybe I’ll put in a fly zip.  But that would “ruin” the look of these.  This is the second zipper that’s unhinged itself on these.  stupid zipperThe first invisible zip was replaced by a regular zipper, but the side seams pulled away from it whilst zipped, which I thought was incredibly messy and ugly.  So I went hunting for another invisible zip, and it split on the second wearing.  I still haven’t decided what to do with this PITA conundrum.   A metal zipper like this (click for source)?  Any brilliant ideas?

Jackie Seamed Side Zip Skinny Trubador 2*Which will remain unwritten.  Suffice it to say that the more I sew the more I think muslins are in order more often than not – even for a t-shirt – and I really don’t see the point of trying to imitate casual RTW quality clothes at home.  It’s entertaining and amusing, but one-of-a-kind frosting makes my sewing heart sing, not copies of a basic t-shirt.  Just sayin’.

Vogue 8094 in Chocolate!

This is my third pair of capris currently in circulation from Vogue 8094, and I promise I’ll make up something new and exciting from a different pattern for my next post!  But I love chocolate brown – it’s the black in my wardrobe – and I wanted a pair of capris in this staple colour for my summer days!   Vogue 8094 brownThere is nothing new that I have to say about these except that I put a crease in the legs for something different (not being super creative like some of you, I couldn’t come up with dyeing, embroidery or applique that would have suited my rather conservative tastes) and left the zip at the CB. I think I’ve almost got the fit nailed on these, too, compared to the previous two pairs, which I shall alter to mimic the fit on these.  This is the mandatory front mug shot.  I still have to figure out how to get rid of the extra fabric across the front of the crotch. I must say it’s more horridly noticeable while standing stock straight for fitting purposes than it appears to be in the rest of my “living” pictures.  *sigh*

IMG_0581And the back mug shot.  This pair’s fit is much improved from my previous pair.  Not perfect, but we’re getting there.  I cannot believe how much adjustment to the crotch is necessary on these casual pants.  I have never had to do this much tweaking and adjusting and crying and leaving-them-alone with dress pants.Vogue 8094 backIt’s been a learning process, like all of my sewing, and I’m was rather encouraged this morning after scooping out MORE of the backside.  I’ll be scooping more on the green ones I made yesterday, too.  And the original rust-coloured ones.Vogue 8094 dark

True me up, please!

I’m working on the first of my SWAP pieces, Vogue 1324, out of a lovely suit-weight wine coloured wool.  I’ll review it properly later with decent pics, but I just wanted to post about something that’s been bothering the back of my mind for a couple of years now.IMG_4386

I am not symmetrical.  I mean, no one is, and I know that in my head, but it’s never been at the forefront of my thinking, particularly as it relates to sewing.  I have recently become aware that my jeans and trousers shift left throughout the day as I’m wearing them.  If you were to take a rear photo at any given moment, you’d see that the CB seams were pulling left.  The first time I became aware of this I thought to myself, “I bet I measure more on the left side, CB to CF, than I do on the right side.  Perhaps I should find out and adjust patterns accordingly.”  And I’ve left it at that until now.  But it’s bothering me, mostly because I saw my physiotherapist last week and she mentioned that I have a bit of scoliosis in my lower back. *!?!?!*  Light bulb moment.  And, of course, now that I’ve cut a couple of SWAP garments, I’m obsessing about it and dissatisfied with my otherwise just-fine-thank-you sewing results.

This picture below looks like I’m bending slightly at the knees, getting ready to sit down.  IMG_4387I assure you that I am standing up as straight as I normally do on a daily basis.  This is just another issue I’ve become aware of lately:  my front waistbands want to sit about 1 inch lower than my back waistbands.  They fall forward, although they are sitting at my waist level properly.  Which means my waist does not sit level in a carpenter’s level sense of the word.  See?

IMG_4389

These photos were taken while my camera was sitting, hip level, on my ironing board, so the angle is dead straight.  And the hem is longer in the front, too.  It’s worse on the left side.IMG_4388

In a nutshell, what needs to happen?  This is BOTHERING ME because a garment should hang straight, damn it, and this skirt is not hanging straight.  Don’t worry – I love this skirt, I have no plans to unpick rows and rows of edge stitching and topstitching, and I’ll be happy to wear it because I’m sure it’s not going to be noticeable to anyone who sees it walking around on me.  But I’m just thinking about future projects and my type A perfectionist streak is throwing tantrums looking at these pictures, demanding that my sewing meet something close to the custom-fit-couture “level & straight” standards, y’know?

My first thoughts:  I need to take a wedge about 1″ deep from the CF, tapering to nothing at the sides.  Not fun on a multi-pieced skirt like this one.  That would eliminate the excess fabric at the crotch level that makes it look like I’m just going to sit down, and straighten up the grain which would straighten up the hemline by default.

The other thing I think I need to do is make a high-hip adjustment on the left side of my patterns by adding about 1/2″ to the side seam depth.  Or, conversely, to fold that amount out through the hip line on the right side and taper it out to the CF and CB.

What do you think?  Do picky little things like this bother you, too?  And let’s not get started thinking about proportion, because that would send me over the edge at this point.

Unusual. Definitely unusual.

IMG_1046 Well, it’s done!  Donna Karan’s unusual top courtesy Vogue 1039 and the accompanying pants, unveiled yesterday.  I’m not wearing this outfit today, but since I was futzing with the pants yesterday, I thought I’d throw on the top (which has been hanging in my closet for a couple of weeks) and take pictures of it.IMG_1095

Let me just say there is nothing like me-made challenges to make you understand what you should and shouldn’t wear for your body’s shape.  Take this top for instance.  I love this top.  I love everything about it:  the pleats, the fabric choice (same green silk as my Ruby camisole), the ruching down the side seams and the general weirdness of it all.  But I don’t think this top really likes me.  I made this up in my chest size – not my bust size – to get the fit through the shoulders.  This is my general rule of thumb, and then I usually proceed with an FBA.  The pattern describes this tunic as a loose-fitting.  Sure. It’s very loose fitting, but it is not loose fitting through the bust.  There is supposedly two inches of wearing ease through the bust point.  Unfortunately for me, the chest:bust ratio that I own negated that wearing ease.  I should have cut my bust size.  I just need to find an undergarment that FLATTENS instead of supports.  Then the darn thing will hang closer to my body.  But whatever! This top is so weird that I’ll probably wear it anyways just for the strange looks I’ll get! And there are a LOT pleats in the back.  Isn’t this cool?  What’s not to love about the 30 odd mini-pleats and the ruching?IMG_1037 And if it’s windy, or I turn suddenly, it billows out and adds about 100cm to my circumference.IMG_1099Well, there’s no one else in my social circle that owns such a top.  And that’s why I sew!IMG_1096

Skinny pants: Vogue 1039

OK.  Pretty pictures first.  Just keep in mind how slim, elegant and long-legged the pants on the model are in the picture above.   First, I’d love to say that I really had fun making up these pants.  Of course, mine look nothing at all like hers because I’m not elongated like she is, but the details are all the same!  First up, lookee here at the pocketses!

IMG_0855 IMG_0856And the detail at the centre back yoke.  Crappy topstitching job, but honestly, no one will notice or care once I’m wearing them.  And the little tab is truly sewn in straight – you just can’t tell from the angle at which the pants are laying!IMG_0853The inside.  I used gingham remnants for the binding and pocket liningIMG_0854 Let me just say that this pair of pants is designed a little on the large side.  I cut one full size smaller than what I usually cut for a Vogue, and this is what I ended up with.IMG_0897Not so skimming, huh?  The waist fits perfectly, after tapering down one size as per my usual adjustment.  But I had to take in a 2 full inches from the inseam and crotch.  And then I noticed that I could have should have taken in two inches at the centre front.  Too bad for this pair, because I’m not going to adjust them any more!IMG_0908Obviously I can still take in more across the back, but I’m settling for this particular pair.  The picture above was taken after wearing them for a few hours post adjustments and the fabric bagged.  I guess it’s missing the Lycra.  There’s still too much fabric in the back leg, too, which I shall fix for the next pair.

What’s that you say?  Yup.  I’ve decided these were so much fun (thank you, pockets!) that I’m going to make up a second pair and see if I can make them skinnier.  I may regret this yet….