Better late than never: The Reptile Arrives

Burda 09-2012-114 belted

I really wanted to participate in the jungle that was January.  I had a jungle Tiramisu in the mental planning stages to be done prior to my vacation, but it just never happened because, well, life happens regularly with three children at home during holidays.  I’m not whining, I’m just stating a fact that all moms understand:  Plans change, interruptions happen constantly, and, well, projects don’t materialize!

Burda 09-2012-114 front

But I am pleased to say, that despite the horrid cold (and y’all know reptiles go comatose in the cold) that I’ve managed to wake this one up and convince it to be sewn and photographed.  Hooray!!! I finished it last night.  I hate being late, but in this case, I’m happy with the very annoying adage that’s titling this post.  ‘Cuz I really like this loose trenchy take on a silk chiffon blouse from Burda 9/2010 #114.  I wasn’t sure this would work – the trench style as a chiffon blouse – and thought I’d experiment.  Then, of course, I realized that it just had to work.B 09-2010-114 I used shell buttons, and you can see the cuff tabs with working buttonholes.

tabs that button

There is virtually no shape to this blouse, but it floats about beautifully while being worn.  The back is very loose-fitting with a deep 8 inch pleat.

Burda 09-2012-114 back

I did my standard FBA and left it at that.  I debated about making it a bit more fitted, but it’s nice to have a different silhouette in my closet.

Burda 09-2012-114 2

And the sleeves gave me grief – Burda’s ALWAYS give me grief.  Vogue’s shoulders fit me perfectly, but Burda’s require a bit of alteration.  I always have to re-draft the armscye, adding 1 inch (2.5 cm) of width at the shoulder blades, and taking out the same amount on the front.  It’s like Burda’s sleeves are drafted for narrow backs and very broad pectorals.  In my mind, I think they have the shape of the armscye and sleeve head reversed:  the width that should be in the back is in the front in their set-in sleeves.

Burda 09-2012-114

Yes, that’s construction – my kitchen is about to be renovated, and DD1’s graffiti art is the only thing left on the art wall!  Anyways, after futzing with that fitting problem (because I didn’t do a toile, of course!!! *handforehead*) it’s done and ready to wear!

belted (2)

Happy Belated Birthday Giveaway

birthdayTuesday this past week was my birthday, and I don’t like to mention birthdays out of a wish they’d go away, but since the most wonderful birthday present every showed up in my e-inbox as I was blearily getting everyone ready for school, I thought I’d share my excitement at the news and pass it around in the form of my own birthday giveaway.

Tj, of The Perfect Nose, hosts monthly giveaways, a catalogue of which can be found here.  For the month of November she was offering a Knipmode winter supplement on one of my favourite items of clothing: coats. Now, never having ever beheld a Knipmode anything in the flesh, and dearly loving all things wintery and  coat-ish, I threw my hat into the draw.  And won!  What a perfect birthday present to wake up to on Tuesday!  Woo hoo!  I’ve never won anything in a giveaway before, so this was doubly exciting!


I’d also like to say thank you to the lovely and inspiring Carolyn, Zoe and CherryPix for passing along the One Lovely Blog badge to me.  I’m honoured! Since this blog is mostly about me and my sewing life, I shan’t bore you with more trivia than you’ve already come to know about myself, but I most definitely will pass along my appreciation of a host of blogs that I read and enjoy.  Do you find it difficult to nominate blogs for awards?  I do.  How do I choose? So I’ll mention several that I’ve just started reading over the last few weeks, as I need to update my blog roll and you won’t find the links there as of today… yet!

Tulle & Tweed

Karin from Sew Here we Go Again

Kay the Sewing Lawyer

Anne from Petty Grievances

Mrs. Mole from Fit for a Queen

The Overflowing Stash

Mad for Mod – in German, but worth the translation effort!

And since it’s my birthday, I’d like to pass around the giveaway cheer and offer up a choice of the following lengths of fabric (because I cannot choose what to give away).

First, 1.4 metres (150 cm wide) of a poly-lycra knit.  I’m sorry I don’t really know the difference between ITY and a plain poly knit, but the edges of this do not curl, it’s got a medium weight and it’s stable.  The background is an espresso shade of brown. IMG_5264

Second, 1.25 metres (100 cm wide) length of lace.  It’s black, white and gold.IMG_5265IMG_5266

Last, 2.5 metres (115 wide) of silk chiffon, which would look really pretty made up as a floaty dress for spring or blouse, perhaps? IMG_5260

The Belated Birthday Giveaway rules are:
  1. Leave a comment telling me a) what book you’re reading now and b) what fabric you’d like.  If you’d like a chance at more than one, please state that!
  2. I am quite happy to ship internationally, so please include yourself, wherever you may sew!
  3. I’ll make the draw one week from today on Saturday, December 15th.

Thank you all for playing along, and spread the word!

Vogue 8182: The party version

Thanks for all your encouraging comments about N2’s silk party dress.  I’m happy to report that she wore the dress and it fit very well considering I was sewing it only from measurements without the luxury of proper fittings and muslins. The sparkle tulle was a big hit.

And I took all of your lovely advice and made myself a party dress for the wedding this past weekend, too!  BTW, do any of you have DH’s that really take poopy pictures?  I had to pinch the life out of DH’s backside to get him to grimace for the picture above.  And it’s the best of about 17 shots.  *sigh*  But anyways…. back to my party dress.  It’s based on Vogue 8182, and you last saw it on me waaay back here. I fell in love with the design back then.  I was thrilled beyond words because I had managed to fit the bodice so well – the first time ever.  For this version I used Anna Sui silk chiffon from my stash purchased from Fabric Mart eons ago.  The outer layer of the skirt has a very fine dashed pinstripe in rust all over it and gives the chiffon a blush colour.  I used a plain ivory chiffon as the second layer in the skirt and lined it all with silk habotai in a slightly darker shade. Both the chiffons have little ovals in satin marching orderly throughout in perfect rows.   It’s really pretty fabric.  IMG_3715

Remember this Vogue pattern from a few years ago?  When I saw the silk for sale at Fabric Mart I recognized it as the silk used in this dress.  And it was the right price, so I bought yards of it.anna sui dress The most difficult part of Vogue 8182 is the midriff.  It’s got an overlay cut on the bias and the fabric droops all over the place.  Pulling it taut does NOT work.  I had forgotten that annoying part from my previous version.  On this dress I stitched rows of gathering stitches every 3 inches or so across the midriff pieces and pulled them up to fit the lining/underlining.  Then I pressed them into place.V 8182 midriffAnd hand tacked every single pleat so that they stay in place during wear, washing and hang drying.  I chose to interface the midriff with muslin.  Here’s my tacking stitches:V8182 midriff tackingI was in such a flurry to get this dress finished in time to wear that I forgot two things I meant to include:  bra strap keepers and a waist stay.  You can see from the photo below that the shoulders are slipping off slightly, and would have been kept in place properly with the keepers.  I’ll be adding them tomorrow before I put it away in my closet for the who-knows-when next airing.

IMG_3804I substituted the skirt pattern from Burda 06-2011-118, which is basically a full length six-gored skirt.  Hemming it was a bit of a chore:  each layer is about 4 m in diameter and doing baby hems on chiffon is paramount to a profound exercise in torture endurance.  The side zipper is hand picked.  I remember the mess I made of the invisible zip from the first version and decided I’d save my sanity and just do this one by hand.V8182 zip And now for the bad news.  Every garment has a mistake or flaw in it, and despite the prettiness of this dress, I’m annoyed about several things.  Although you can’t see it, the hem is completely AWOL, but there is no length to even it out so it’s perfect.  This is bugging my inner perfectionist no end.  All I see is an uneven hem every time I put this on.  Ugh.  And I’m very sorry I was rushed with the bodice.  After I had basted it all together I tried it on and was horrified at the fit.  The midriff was a full size too big and the bodice gaped a good 2 inches in the front AND the back.  What the heck?  The previous time I’d made this dress I had actually taken the time to make a proper muslin and kept it as a pattern in the envelope.   I assumed it would still fit, so I blithely went ahead and cut it out before fitting it.  Wrong.  I had no idea I’d change size/shape so much in such a short time?  Unless there was a lot of tweaking I did in the first dress that I don’t recall, because my notes don’t reflect any other changes.  Here’s a shot of the inside.V8182 interior I shortened the bodice by about 1.5″ at the shoulders, and I took out about 3/4″ too much which is really what is causing the  shoulders to pull downwards.  *sigh*  I should have re-fit the midriff prior to deciding what to do with the bodice, because the alterations would have been very different.  I had so wanted a perfectly perfect dress that I would be pleased to wear with sewers pride, but the truth is I just didn’t feel my best in this dress or that I’d done my best in this dress. V8182 It was a lot of fun to go swishing around in yards of chiffon, but I’m disappointed in the overall effect.  I’d love to take the bodice apart and do it over, but I doubt that will ever happen.  Never mind.  It was a fun fairytale wedding at a castle, complete with men in uniform, cannons and swords.  (They even used one to cut the cake!!)  An event like this happens once every couple of years, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of getting dolled up and dancing the night away!

E’s Prom Dress 1: The Skirt

I’m making a prom dress for a good friend’s daughter, and instead of posting all the information when it’s complete, I thought I’d break up my progress into a variety of posts.  This is six yards of silk chiffon in a border print for the skirt.

Pattern Review: Burda Blouse 10-2010-118

IMG_0810 This blouse has been finished for ages, but I’ve not had any interest in taking photos of it or writing about it.  But since today is Me-Made-May Day 6, and this is what I wore, I kinda sorta had to take pictures and so I may as well write about it, don’t ya think? I picked this Burda blouse in my desire to sew through some of the blouse fabrics that have been waiting for the light of day.  I originally thought I’d use this weird fabric…IMG_0852… but it has a definite mind and body of its own that does NOT look good in something as shapeless as this blouse.  It’s a rayon crinkle with another layer of the same rayon as a backing.  It’s cool, but it so did not work with this pattern.  So I disassembled it and will use it for something else someday.

But I really wanted to make up this blouse.  Don’t you just love the bow?  So I went a-hunting through the stash and came up with the remnants from this dress.  I don’t have the dress anymore.  Surprised?  I seem to give away as many garments as I sew.  But I love love loved this silk chiffon, and it worked nicely with the shapeless design of the pattern.IMG_0812

Shapeless garments don’t really work on my figure, but the chiffon is light enough and I cut this shirt one size smaller than I normally would, so it works well.  My only complaint is the sleeves:  the hem is supposed to be turned up twice, but it won’t stay there and I don’t want to stitch them into place.  I cut the ties on the bias, but used the narrow width suggested for the shorter tie on version A with the length of version B.  Well, I cut as much length as I could out of the remnant.  I didn’t bother finishing the edges of the tie, since it’s cut on the bias.  The seams are French seams; the hems on the bottom and the sleeves are narrow hems. 

This was the blouse that asked for a Ruby, and got one.


Working on a Ruby

I’m working on a camisole version of the Ruby slip.  As soon as I saw the Sew-A-Long, I downloaded the pattern, knowing that I wouldn’t get around to it until I got around to it.  I’ve always wanted a properly fitting slip, but could really never be bothered harnessing my intellect to wrestle through the bodice fitting issues.  When I saw Sherry’s version it was so pretty I just couldn’t resist giving it a try.  Then all sorts of Rubys started popping up in the sewing blog world and I really thought I’d give it a try.

B 10-2010-118

The final impetus was this blouse, however, which I made in a silk chiffon that definitely requires a camisole.  I could wear something nude coloured, but I personally find it annoying when I see curvy people like myself wearing something sheer with only a nude something else hiding their undergarments.  It’s visually distracting and I don’t like to see details, if you know what I mean.  So, after cutting out a Donna Karan top (yet to be sewn), I was pleased to see there was enough of this green silk charmeuse to cut the Ruby slip pattern to make myself a camisole.

I just want to say, regardless of all the stupid pattern adjustments that can (and do) make me tired of not being a B cup girl, Sherry did a wonderful job drafting this slip pattern.  The bodice cut is perfect, even though I’m not planning to use lace for this version.  And the required FBA was a LOT easier than any other slip adjustment I’ve attempted in the past.