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

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.


Well, I haven’t felt much like sewing these days, so I’ve been fabric shopping, and thought maybe you’d like to see some of the new treasures that came to live in my imaginary all-sewn-up-and-ready-to-wear world. First up, a remnant of cotton stretch twill.  There’s just enough to get a shift out of it, and this will be my first spring garment.  Can’t wait!

cotton stretch twill

Then there’s a collection of knits, most of which will be either a series of Tiramisus or Vogue  8379, which is the DVF style wrap dress that’s been so popular for years.

goldchevron knitknitpolka dotspurple graphic knitAnd more coatings, because, well, I don’t have enough.

brushed woolpurple

And some beautiful silks for who knows what project.  The first is a silk taffeta with a blurry print from Oscar de la Renta, I believe.  The second is a Milly silk twill – so pretty!blurry silk tafetta




And a lovely silk/wool blend for trousers.  I have always for as long as I remember, wanted trousers in a houndstooth pattern.  Can’t wait to add these to my closet!silk woolAnd a small selection of completely unnecessary prettiness.  The first is a black wool boucle with a lot of gold lurex.  The second is a lovely piece of sequined silk crepe.  The sequins are 1cm in diameter.  I’ve plans, but I don’t know where or when to wear these lovely examples of frosting!lurex closeup


And wool doubleknit for something Ralph Rucci via Vogue Patterns in a lovely red. red wool doubleknitAnd last, but not least, a piece of Missoni knit that will be a spring/summer tunic.  It’s draped over the stretch denim that belongs with my SWAP 2012 program.  It’ll make a nice outfit.missoniTell, me, do you like to avoid sewing by fabric shopping, too?

SWAP Jester Blouse

I decided on a raglan-sleeved tie-front blouse from Burda November 2012 for my jester’s silks.  The silk is really luxurious and I wish I had bought more of it.  It’s just gorgeous.  And I don’t think this blouse is the best idea for it, but it’s what it is.  There’s no more, so I’ll have to live with this until I decide to change it up somehow.  We’ll see!


The sleeves are gathered at the neckline instead of being cut to fit smoothly over the shoulders and into the collar.  I’m not sure I like the extra puffing at the base of the neck.  I’ll have to wear it a bit more and think about it.

Burda 11-2012-109

The blouse has two very deep princess darts.  When doing my FBA, I changed them up a bit so that they were shallower – only about 1.5 inches instead of 4 at the hemline.  And the hidden buttonholes are a nice touch.


The fronts are supposed to be bound by a bias strip and the long tie collar is only attached beginning at the sleeve-front shoulder seams.  I didn’t do this.  Burda suggested trimming off the seam allowance for the front neckline and then binding it with 1/4″ bias.  I trimmed the neckline seam allowance and attached the tie to the neck edge from front edge to front edge.


It doesn’t quite work because I didn’t think through the change.  If you zoom in closely to the picture above, you’ll see that my amendments to the tie application prevent the top CF of the blouse from laying flat when the ties are knotted.  I also cut the tie on the straight grain – I didn’t have enough to cut it on the bias.  This makes it less drapey, but also more stable through the length of it.  The ties pressed beautifully in this silk and hold their shape perfectly on the straight grain.


The pattern is a simple one to put together.  The instructions for the hidden button closure were relatively good, although I mocked it up first, just to ensure accuracy in the actual construction of the silk.  I have to say, though, I really hate Burda’s lack of construction markings where I’m used to having some guidance.  I really noticed it in the plackets and cuffs of the sleeves.  In a Vogue pattern (my teacher over the years) the placement of the underarm seam and notches for evenly distributing the gathers are clearly indicated on the cuff patterns.  Of course, Burda just has the measurements of a rectangular block of fabric for the cuffs without any indication of where exactly the underarm seam should go to ensure straight draping or even gathering of the sleeve.  So I took out the cuffs pattern from Vogue 8747 and used that for mine.  Such small details in the markings on a pattern matter to me!  I like more information than less.  Or maybe less-thinking-on-my-own-required sewing.  Ha!


And yes, I wanted a change!  Spring always makes my feet itch:  it’s time to move houses, cities, countries!  But of course, I can’t just up and do that.  So I asked my hairdresser for something different and she gave me bangs.  After two weeks of them, I’m tired of them and will be growing them out.

I’m amazed at how ridiculously unmotivated I am to finish up my SWAP.  I only have the jacket to do, but I just don’t seem to care to have it in my closet, and the tweed coat seems redundant at this stage of the seasons.  I find myself looking at summer fabrics and patterns instead of cutting and working on the muslin and fitting of the jacket.