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. 

Making a muslin DOES save the day


Another idea I like, but I don’t think I’ll do.  Thank goodness I’ve decided to do more muslins.  I’m starting to like the idea of the extra step of doing one.  Remember this lovely Burda 12/2011 #119 blouse?

B 12-2011-119charmeuse

Well, I’ll have to go looking for something else, because I don’t really fancy this.  I honestly would never wear this.  Even as a dress.  I’m not crazy about the front pleat or the under bust bow.  Such a cute blouse in the drawing, too, but not in my real life!  And that neckline has been raised by about 3 inches.  Maybe too much from this photo, but definitely necessary to avoid a wardrobe malfunction. >_<


Shoulders are too tight, the hem requires more width, and the side view is appalling.  Jeepers.  Sometimes muslin photos make me wonder what the heck I was thinking, or why I bother!  Maybe I should make up a croquis.  Although it wouldn’t have given me the full onslaught of the side view horror show.IMG_7994

Moving on…..

SWAP Wadder

So much for this idea.  A nice idea, but better left as an idea.B 05-2012-113


In all it’s unpressed glory.


But thought I’d like to try it on anyway.

front 2

Should be worn without a tucked-in sweater.


This is why I gravitate to the tailored, underlined and lined, long-and-involved skirt ideas.  Made of woven fabrics, peeps.


‘Nuff said.

More Trousers for SWAP: Vogue 7881

Vogue 7881

This is the latest of my SWAP 2012 instalments, and although what you notice is the blouse, this post is about the trousers!  Vogue 7881 is a classic Claire Schaeffer design with couture options, but I followed a more RTW approach because I wanted them done.  Well, actually, truth be told, I just didn’t feel like fussing over them and doing all the hand sewing that a couture version would require.  Sometimes I just want a project out of the sewing room and into rotation!  This is my second version of these pants.  You can see photos of my first version in linen from about 5 years ago here.

I like how this pattern is drafted.  It’s easy to fit and the full straight legs are chic and comfortable to wear.  It’s a very straight silhouette, and not curvy like my other favourite pattern, Vogue 2578.

Vogue 7881 back

I cut a straight size through the hips, and tapered down one through the waist – my usual adjustments, which you all know if you’ve been following along much.  The waistband is shaped and in two pieces, which makes tweaking the fit through the back a breeze.  Obviously I hadn’t finished tweaking prior to taking the picture above!  I need to take in the CB seam about 1/2 inch through the crotch curve.  I deliberately put the CF zipper in the opposite way to the illustration/instructions because I like my zippers to open to my right, as I’m right handed.  There is no fly shield in this pattern, and I didn’t bother adding one.  Vogue 2578 does have a fly shield, and after making up both patterns one right after the other, I think I prefer trousers with a fly shield.  But I’m not adding one now!

Vogue 7881 interior

I decided to go with a dark purple lining, and, yes, they are fully lined. I love a fully lined pair of wool trousers. I finished the hems with a Hong Kong style binding, which was slip stitched into place.  There are thread chains attaching the hem of the lining to the inseam to keep the lining in place during wear and washing.

Vogu 7881 lining and binding

The fabric was purchased in 1994, I think.  It’s a Dormeuil wool, one of several in my stash purchased during the years preceding children when a fabulous store was going out of business.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  A good friend of mine hated the colour, but I’m totally in love with the texture of this!

dormeuil wool

I’m well on my way through the SWAP program!  I just have the jacket, coat, skirt and blouse to sew up and I’ll be finished with my fall sewing program!  But first I have other interruptions to tell you about!  Stay tuned!

Vogue 7881 wool

PS.  Taking pictures in the winter months in the northern hemisphere is very discouraging!  I always end up taking 100’s and trashing most of them.  I’m sorry these aren’t the clearest!

Catching Up on SWAP: Vogue 2578

First of all, I just love WordPress’s little snowflakes in December.  I am a true northern girl, and languishing in a southern-ish urban centre can really have a negative effect on my psyche after a while.  I mean, c’mon!  It’s December!  It should be below zero with SNOW!!!  So thanks to WordPress for cheering up my snowless existence.

V 2578 front

I’ve got some catching up to do on posts.  I confess to not having done very much sewing lately, except for finishing up these trousers a couple of weeks ago, giving my Marfy wool plaid a good round through the washing machine and dryer – it felted up just an eensy weensy bit, which was what I was hoping it would do. V 2578 back

Anyways, back to these trousers.  This is my TNT trouser pattern.  I love the shape. I’m slightly pear shaped, and this design fits me with minimal adjustments.  I actually only do three with this pattern:

  1. taper down a size through the waist
  2. add 2 inches to the length
  3. deepen the crotch seams by 5/8″

I don’t really have much of anything interesting to say about these trousers that hasn’t been said already.  They’re fully lined wool crepe trousers, with a fly front zipper that the Vogue instructions make a complete breeze to insert.  They have a contoured waist and every time I make them up, I love them.

SWAP green trousers

Here’s some interior pictures for the fun of it.  I used a Hong Kong type finish for the hems and a thread chain loop to keep the lining in place.hems

The lower edge of the waistband is bias-bound, and machine stitched down.  I say this because I usually finish a attaching waistbands by hand, so stitching in the ditch is a bit of a “slap-dash” approach for me.  Not to bash the technique, though!  I love it when I manage to stitch in the actual ditch, instead of on the curbs.  Ha ha! waistband I used clamp-on hooks & eyes, and couldn’t be bothered to go the fashion district for an exact-match zipper, so made do with what my local Fabricland had in the closest shade.  I’m very pleased with the way the front fly zipper on this pattern turns out.  Every. Single. Time.  And that’s saying something for a TNT fly-zipper method!

In other sewing news, I’m completely ambivalent about the Marfy lab coat, so I’m putting the project on simmer while I get more of my SWAP projects completed.  I’m not in love with the design (although I love the collar), and I’m not in love with the idea of a plaid coat.  More mulling required!

Vogue 1324: The Blouse

Vogue 1324 top

A lovely Donna Karan top!  I made mine out of poly georgette, and it worked beautifully despite the pattern suggesting charmeuse, which is heavier and drapier.  Actually, I think it looks better on me in a flimsier fabric than the called-for charmeuse because I’m not a model with a small bust and long waist, and the georgette falls in softer less voluminous folds than a charmeuse would, imho.  This is a typical DK design – very interesting and fun to sew because it’s just such a fun riff on staples:  the pencil skirt and a full-sleeve cowl-necked blouse.  The blouse pattern front comes in 2 piece and requires taping together prior to cutting, and it’s huge.  The pattern dictates 60″ (150cm) wide fabric but this large piece easily fit on my 45″ (125cm) fabric on the cross grain.  Obviously this wouldn’t work if you wanted the effect of contrasting grains like the pattern photo.  But for my print, it didn’t matter, and I was determined to get this blouse out of 3 yards of 45″ fabric from my stash.v1324 outfit

The two-piece raglan sleeves are cut on the bias, and the seams twist around to the front of the forearm in a large 3-inch deep pleat.  The idea is wonderful, but I don’t think it really works unless your normal pattern adjustment for sleeve length is to add 4 inches.  This is the tunic untucked with the sleeves hanging where they’d like to on me.  Please note that I usually do not make any adjustments to sleeve length on patterns.

blouse cuffs

The cuffs are supposed to be single layers attached in a regular seam to the sleeve with a deep 1-inch hem, but because the georgette was transparent, I cut two cuffs per sleeve, shortened them by 1 inch, stitched them right sides together, turned them and attached them as per the instructions.  However, after putting it on to wear for the day, I realized they were waaaaay too long, and rolled up the cuffs for my morning engagements.  When I got home (and after taking all these pics) I turned them up to the inside and fell stitched them into place, as below.  Much better, no?  You can see the very deep pleat and the seam on the top of my wrist.  It’s an interesting sleeve.

blouse shortened cuff

The upper back is in two pieces, seamed down the CB with an opening about 3 inches long.  blouse CB opening

It’s hidden in a deep 2-inch pleat, and falls above the bra line. It’s rather unnoticeable, even if you go around with your arms reaching out in front of you. A neat little detail that probably only you will notice!

blouse CB pleat

The finishing of the CB of the collar is interesting, too.  The pleats are all basted, the cowl folded down and then the CB is sewn.  I don’t think I’d do it this way again if I were to make up another.  I’d baste all the collar pleats, stitch the CB seam and then turn the collar/cowl facing in and tack it down.  As per the pattern, though, the CB seam allowances are simply pressed open and finished hong kong style.  You’ll notice that the facings for the cowl are different on each side, too.  This isn’t a mistake, but a quirk of the cowl.  It doesn’t affect how the cowl drapes or wears.

blouse CB neck finishing

The top has a band around the bottom, which would be a cool way to wear this top, but not on my silhouette.  You can see some of the front pleating detail in the pic below.  I cut my usual size based on my upper chest measurement.  I did not to the requisite FBA, and it really doesn’t make a difference.  I usually grade up a size through the hips, and if I wanted to wear this top outside my skirt/trousers, it would be necessary to do so.  This photo was taken prior to shortening the sleeves.

blouse untucked

And here’s the back view untucked.  Yup.  I need a sway back/short waist adjustment with more width through the hips, but since I’m only likely to wear this tucked in, I don’t really care.  If I make this up again, I may make the necessary adjustments to be able to wear this as a tunic.

blouse untucked back

And now I’m hunkering down in the sewing corner to work on my coat.  It’s not quite cold enough to wear my usual interlined winter coat, so I need something in a “between” weight:  Marfy, you’re next!

Vogue 1324: The Skirt

Let’s talk about one of the new Donna Karan patterns from Vogue this fall, which I used for items 2 and 3 for my fall sewing plan.

Vogue 1324

A couple of people have made this up and reviewed it on PR – both the skirt and the top – but although there’s a couple of mentions of my issues, I couldn’t find any great pictures or discussions about them.  So this is my take on the skirt.  You’ve already read my musings about the fit of this skirt, and after wearing it for a day, I’d like to share some ideas to make your versions a little more successful than mine.

First, I love… love the seaming detail on this skirt.  It’s just brilliant, even if it does make fitting it a pain in the **s.  All the seams are edge and topstitched, including the darts.  Now, you can’t see it very well in this photo, but edge/topstitching the darts made them almost impossible to shape as perfectly as I would have liked.

v1324 skirt back

The fit through the back is really flattering.  I’m liking the silhouette.

v1324 back

And now we come to the front.  I made this skirt out of a mid-weight wool that slightly felted during the pre-shrinking process.  It’s heavier than a wool crepe, but I’m still wishing I did two things:

1.  underline it. I presumed on the weight (in comparison to the green wool) of the fabric, and I should not have.  Underlining this with silk organza would have made a big difference in how this wears and I think would have prevented the angled side seams from puckering as I move around in it.

v1324 front

Second, I wish I’d boned the front of the waistband.  It’s high – about 2 inches deep – and I’m short waisted, so giving it that extra bit of reinforcement would prevent it from folding over while I wear it.  v1324 skirt

Third, don’t topstitch the front darts as per the instructions.  I took out the edge/topstitching after wearing it because I couldn’t stand how it exaggerated the poochiness happening below the waist.  And finally, be smart like Kay the Sewing Lawyer and do a muslin of the skirt first.  The back pieces wrap around to the front across the top of the hips, and that little extra triangular shaping makes for a bit of fitting nightmare.  I usually grade down one size for my waist, but I didn’t think through how to do that for this, so just took up the extra at the CB.  There was a little extra to ease in to the waistband at the side fronts – unevenly, I might add – and I did my best to shrink it out, but it didn’t quite work.  If I had the patience, I’d unpick the entire thing and re-make it doing everything I’ve suggested you do to get your perfect version!v1324 front view

That all said, I like the skirt, although I’m mad at myself for not following my sewing instincts and taking all of my own advice.  It’s interesting and if you took the time to fit it properly through the hips – or perhaps made it in an RPL or double knit – you may have better luck through the waist.  Gotta love Donna Karan for making interesting clothes that are fun to sew.

Up next:  the blouse.

SWAP FO 1: Burda 08-2012-112

Burda 08-2012-112 1

I’ve been hunkering down in the sewing corner working on a few things, although not all have been related to the SWAP project.  This skirt has been finished for a while, but today was the first day I wore it, and so this post has waited until now.  I think I’d originally planned this pattern for the wine wool in the SWAP program but after cutting trousers from this pea-soup green fabric (lovely!), I realized that I had enough for this little number, and I wanted to try it out.  Here’s my exaggerated modelling-a-skirt pose.

Burda 08-2012-112 3

And the requisite back view. It’s basically a pencil silhouette with a godet inserted to the left front side of the skirt.

Burda 08-2012-112 back

Years ago as I was perusing the first edition of Claire Schaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques I was intrigued by a photo of a Balenciaga jacket that had cut-on facings which were eased and shrunk around the curved bottom edge. So I thought I’d give the technique a try on the godet because there’s a lot of ease needing to happen with the 2-inch hem allowance.  Here’s a photo of the godet after the first round of steaming, easing and shrinking.

Burda 08-2012-112 godet shrinkage

I was hoping to get zero wrinkles and gathers on the hem allowance of the little baby, but this is the best my limited patience would do.  Not too bad.  I did not underline the godet.  This may have been a mistake, but we’ll see how it wears over the next few years. I put the godet into the skirt completely finished, including the lining/stay, prior to adding the lining to the rest of the skirt.  This meant the hem allowance on the skirt was actually turned up and over the seam allowance of the completely finished godet.  It’s fell-stitched into place.

godet insertion

This is the interior of the front.  The godet lining is more of a stay:  it’s not as deep or wide as the godet itself.  Burda suggested only the godet be lined, but I wanted a completely lined skirt.  You can see from the picture below that the lining has been fell stitched to the godet seams, as mentioned previously.


I want this skirt to last a while, and so I underlined it completely (excluding the godet) with silk organza.  And I prettified the hem with acrylic lace from Mokuba.


This is how I wore it today.  I’m wearing my Vogue 1324 blouse, another SWAP item which I’ll post about later.

Burda 08-2012-112 4Burda 08-2012-112 5

SWAP 2012 Decisions

Well, so far these are my decisions.  For the wool boucle jacket, I’m leaning heavily to this new Marfy 2922 pattern.  I’m just waiting for it to arrive.  It’s very Chanel, and I really like the collar detail.  And I don’t have to draft my own, peeps!  Smile


Burda 5-2012-113 for the dark olive ponte knit B 05-2012-113denimand Ottobre jeans for the stretch denim.  I cannot believe I’m considering a pair of jeans, but the fabric is in my stash, and it would be perfect.Ottobre jeans

Burda 08-2012-112 for the wine wool.  wine woolB 08-2012-112This may change to the new Donna Karan skirt pattern Vogue 1324.  Maybe I can make both if I manage my yardage well…..V1324Burda 12-2011-119 for the silk charmeuse.charmeuseB 12-2011-119

Marfy 1251 for the chiffon.chiffon


Vintage Vogue 2354 for a LRD from wool crepe.  I don’t have a pic of the wool, but it’s very lovely red, and has been crying to be made into a dress for probably a decade or so.

V 2354

Claire Schaeffer’s Vogue 7881 for the sage and the caramel wools.  This may change to my favourite pants pattern, Vogue 2578, or I may do one of each.  I’ve made up both a few times.  All I know is that I want dressy straight or wide-leg trousers out of both wools.wools

V 7881

And Vogue 8626 for Harris Tweed.  V 8626harris tweedWhich kinda looks boring as I’m looking at this on my computer screen. Maybe I’ll do Marfy 1401 instead. https://mezzocouture.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/f1401.jpgI’m leaning towards the Marfy, but I prefer the back details of the Vogue – the Marfy is very A-line plain and I’d need to decided on velvet or leather or something for the trim.  Fur? Hmmmm…  And then I’d have to see if I’m up to making a muslin of 3 different Marfy patterns….  for one season.  Ulp.

And I’m planning to take Steph C’s advice:  Start with the easiest.  That will be the ponte knit skirt.  What do you think?  I hope I didn’t bite off more than I can sew.