Wool & Tencel Jersey Tops

I love winter.

I freeze in the winter.

But the cold air is so much easy to breathe and the sunlight is crisper than in summer, somehow.

So I love winter.

Crave winter.

I usually wear cashmere turtlenecks with down vests in my house during the winter.  We keep the house deliberately cool – around 19C – which means that it feels cold in my double-brick constructed insulation-free 1950s build of a house.  So imagine my pleasant surprise when my local Fabricland, of all places, had bolts of wool/tencel jersey.  IN SHADES OF CHOCOLATE BROWN!!!  I bought enough for three tops, but ended up with enough to make four. I’m so in love with this fabric I’ll probably buy more when it goes back on sale….  😀

First up, the Sewaholic Renfrew.  I must be the last person in the sewing world to make up this pattern. As it turns out, I really like it. I didn’t at first try-on.  I thought it was shapeless and completely unflattering.  But it has grown on me.  It’s comfortable and has a lot of room in its rather straight cut, and that is just perfect for me these days.  This is a beautiful rusty orange.

Oh! Before I forget, remember those made-a-few-years-ago-worn-almost-every-day brown jeans I mentioned in my Jalie jeans post? Well, they feature in all these photos despite their front fitting issues.

Renfrew front

I made no changes to the pattern other than making the back in a double layer of the jersey, as it is rather lightweight. It washes and dries beautifully, too, although the Tencel in it tends to make it a bit prone to wrinkling.

Renfrew back

The next pattern was Burda 6838 I love draped tops.  This replaces an old RTW version that got worn and washed so much it started to look ratty.

B 6838 front

I made no changes whatsoever to this pattern.  WYSIWYG straight out of the envelope. Surprising.

B 6838 back

Next up: Burda 11/2014 #114 in a lighter brown. I love the back yoke with the integrated draped front.

Burda 11-2011-114 back

I made two changes: shortened the sleeve and, instead of doing an FBA, I lowered the attachment points of the drape at the side seams by 8cm so they fell under my bust instead of above it. And I left all the edges raw. The sleeves on this needed to be shortened by a whopping 8cm. Seriously.  I’m not 100% in love with this.  The dropped shoulders aren’t particularly flattering, and it could be taken in a little through the waist/hips, but I’m shying away from snug-fitting clothing these days.  And I think shortening it about 2cm would be a good plan.

So!  Make, wear, photograph and learn.  It’s cozy for living in my house in the winter, and that was the point!  And it’s also getting a lot of wear these days…

Burda 11-2011-114 front

And lastly, this bi-coloured two-layer top from Burda 7/2010 #137.Пуловер It’s a plus-sized pattern (44-52), which I can use because I make up size 44 in Burda.   Lucky me – I can choose regular or plus size patterns in their issues.  😉

Burda 7-2010-137 front

This is my second BurdaPlus knit top pattern, and as flattering as they are in pictures, they are not fun or easy to wear.  It’s a very flattering look through the shoulders – which is probably the point in a plus-sized garment… drawing the eyes up and away from the goods… but keeping those shoulders in place is a nightmare.

Burda 7-2010-137 back

I ended up running elastic through the neckline to the CB and CF points to snug it up a bit and stitching layers together the below the centre points to keep the shoulders from sliding off, and the CF and CB settling into a lower meeting place.  Of course this is just lazy non-fitting, but after seeing this in photos, I’m not crazy about the use of the different browns, anyways. And it’s not very warm, which was the point of the wool jersey, precisely because the neckline is so wide and open.  So, like this earlier BurdaPlus make, it’s been donated.

Miss V’s Wardrobe 2016

I was looking through my blog posts and realized I had made a collection of new clothes for Miss V only just last year!  Amazing how time flies and yet seems so far away at the same time.

Miss V was here visiting home from Cambodia for the last 6 weeks, and she wanted new clothes.  So, for a change, we went fabric shopping together at the Fabricland closest to her and bought fabric for 3 tops, 2 trousers, 4 dresses and a cardigan.  I was all ready to start sewing two weeks ago, and then everyone under the age of 18 in my household got sick.  I still don’t know what they were ill with, but it was miserable for a while.  Needless to say, there was no sewing when there should have been sewing.  But I managed to get everything done, and reasonably well enough (considering how little fitting opportunities there were), and off on the plane in Miss V’s bags earlier this week.  This is more of a catalogue for my (future) self, but I thought you’d like to see what she chose this time.

Variations on Vogue 9595 (OOP). The pink is a stretch polyester brocade with a self-lined bodice. The cotton has a mock sarong overlay. Both of them have in-seam pockets (which I hate). She prefers gathers in the bodice to pleats.

Vogue 9595 variations

Vogue 1415.  I’ve actually made the trousers from this pattern twice for another client this summer.  It’s a gorgeous pattern, and there is so little fitting to be done. Of course they look dreadful pinned to the dress form.  They’re made of a polyester linen-look, lined with poly-cotton broadcloth (her choice).  Considering how hard it is to keep white white in Cambodia, these should be easy to clean.Vogue 1415 trousers

Vogue 2064 trousers in a woven, not the called-for knit.  It fits so well as a woven for Miss V. This is the same pattern that I used for her upcycled sari and purple trousers.  You’ll see the front needs some alterations, but, in my defense, Miss V requested that I make things a ‘bit small’ because she was going back into the sauna of Cambodia and would shed the extra that made these fit poorly through the waist/high hip.  They’ll sit at her natural waist soon enough!  🙂

Vogue 2064 trousers

I copied a Vera Wang jersey top that she had worn to shreds.  I was, thankfully, allowed to cut it all up so I could use it as a pattern.  I traced the pieces and trued them up.  It’s an interesting mock crossed drape front.  Miss V was so funny when I cut the pink striped one out for her to try as a muslin (unhemmed in the pictures below).  She danced around singing, ‘My top!  My favourite top!’  I made three iterations of this, and, unfortunately, didn’t have time to tweak the fit to make it perfect. But she was sooooo happy with them that I’m not going to sweat all the things that irritate me about these.  I’ll just make notes/adjustments on the pattern for next time.Miss V draped top

Marfy 1913.  This is such a gorgeous pattern.  Why haven’t I made this for myself yet?  Even DD3 wanted one for herself after seeing the pink paisley version on my dress form.

Marfy 1913 dresses

I also managed to get a cotton/silk top out of it for her wardrobe.

Marfy 1913 top

And I copied a cardigan that she loves.  It’s a waterfall  cardigan – well, a large rectangle (2 x .70m) with sleeves added at equidistant points from the CB fold, with enough fabric in the front to throw over one shoulder as a wrap.  I cut the sleeves on the bias, using the Vogue 2064 pattern. The fabric is a mystery jersey of some sort that(surprisingly) washed well.Miss V Cardigan

I sewed all long weekend to get this done, which I never do.  I always hold weekends sacrosanct for family time.  But it was so lovely having all my DDs and my DH around cooking, cleaning and planning while I just sewed.  I need to make an excuse to have that kind of sewing weekend without interruptions again.  😀

A tank top I just might keep

I have a love-hate relationship with tank tops.  I like the fact that they’re cool on a hot summer’s day, or great for layering under jackets, but generally speaking I just don’t like them very much.  As a trial (and to use up remnants I didn’t much care about), enter Burda Plus SS-2011-421.I just say I was pleasantly surprised by the time I tried this on.  I had enough remnants of dotty jersey from the Claire McCardell dress that I could get this top out of it.  And I’m liking it.  I may use this pattern as a TNT for jersey remnants of approximately one metre.  I was initially drawn to the pattern because it just looked so nice on the model, who wears is in about 5 different versions throughout the magazine spread.  I liked the gathered CF, and, quite frankly, thought I’d use this little project to see if such a design would look half decent.

The armholes and neckline are finished with a strip of self-fabric cut on the straight grain like most knit garments.  The edges are finished prior to sewing up the sides or CF seams.  It’s fast and it looks nice.  I don’t own a cover stitch machine, and probably never will, so I simply turned up the hem allowance and stitched two lines of very long stitches while stretching the bejeebers out of the fabric.  I used a straight stretch stitch – or triple stitch – for all the seams.  I’m really liking that stitch for knits.  It’s very secure, so I can safely trim the allowances down to as little as 3/16”,  and I don’t have to bother serging the seams if I don’t want to.

I still haven’t figured out Burda’s sizing for knits. I’ve made up a couple of garments from BurdaStyle, and they all seem to be drafted on the big side. If I cut the pattern according to my measurements and Burda’s recommendation, it invariably ends up huge. Not so this pattern. Odd, but welcome. I cut the smallest size without any seam allowances, and although it does work for me, I’d prefer a little more fabric in the width for the next garment. I wasn’t too sure about the depth of the neckline, so I adjusted it up about 2 inches. I think I’ll leave it as drafted for the next go ‘round. Ditto the armscyes – I re-drafted them a little on the high side. Comfortable, but a little high for my liking. This means, dear readers, that I can actually sew up this dear little top without any adjustments.

You could knock me over with the proverbial feather. It also makes me wonder, “Do all the Burda Plus patterns fit like this?” If they do, and I don’t have to make 30 different adjustments to each pattern, I’m in cut-and-sew-without-thinking-fitting heaven!

A luxury silk Lagerfeld blouse

1861 3/4 view

Well, I’ve added another ivory silk blouse to my closet.  This pattern is from the 1980’s – a lovely Karl Lagerfeld gem that I have looked at longingly in my pattern stash over the years.  I’m on a roll for ivory blouses this month, mostly due to the HepburnHepburn project, otherwise these projects would still be languishing in my stashes.

Anyways, I love this blouse.  I love the silk crepe.  It was an excellent choice for this pattern.

the design drawing

I did not do any alterations for this.  It’s an ’80’s design and not as fitted as most blouse designs these days.  It’s funny.   I did most of my learning during the 1980’s, and never had to do any pattern alterations.  In retrospect, this probably contributed to my disillusionment with sewing during the last 15 years of my life.  I think I most likely should have done FBA’s from the get go, but never needed to due to the designs of that era.  Hence my increasing frustration as designs became more fitted over the decades.  It’s only recently that I’ve mastered the adjustments that I need to make things fit my figure.

Anyways, I was really stressed for the first bit working with this silk crepe.  It handles very differently from tweed!!!!!! 🙂  And this blouse has a lot of detail… silk crepe does not easily forgive stitching errors… and this fabric just felt so fragile.  So I went very slowly and meticulously.  I have to say, once this was complete, I was overwhelmed by the sheer luxury of a beautiful silk blouse with incredible design details.

~ Vogue 1861 blouse front ~

The big collar is what really attracted me to this blouse.  (I love big collars – I think they frame my face nicely and draw attention away from the rest me!)  Then the dickie was very interesting, and the button detailing on the front intrigued me.  I wasn’t sure I’d actually put the buttons on the front, but I’m glad I did – they just add that little something!  But then the back….

~ vogue 1861 blouse back ~

What attention to detail!  The two buttons on the collar hide two snaps on the bottom half of the collar that hold it in place securely.  Doesn’t it look so nice?  And the facings on the back were done the way I remembered doing endless blouses in my teens:  turn facing in along first foldline and stitch in place invisibly; turn in facing along foldline again and baste along top and bottom.  That’s it!  No interfacing – just three layers of fabric.

I did make one critical error in the construction of this blouse.  When putting the stitching the collar pieces together, I inadvertently turned and trimmed the seam allowance on the top collar – with no interfacing.  The interfaced piece should have been the side that shows.  So I decided to use a trick I learned from a Montana shirt I put together a few years ago.  I put the collar on upside down. I stitched the top piece to the inside of the neckline so the seamline would be clean should it show around the neckline.

~ inside collar stitched cleanly ~

Then I slipstitched the under collar on the right side of the garment so that you can’t see it along the neckline.  The collar folds down over the handstitching and hides it from view.

~ under collar on the right side of blouse ~

I was actually glad that I did the collar backwards.  I think it finishes the inside edge against my face in a uniform way (which doesn’t always happen with handstitches, unless you work for a haute couture aetelier in France somewhere.

I must say, every garment of mine has mistakes in it.  I guess that’s what makes them unique!  Have you ever salvaged some error that made you sick when you realized what you’d done?  I’d love to hear about your mistakes-turned-good!

a winter white diversion

1940's dress form and me!

Well, after the labour involved in the coat for DD1, I thought I’d do something simple.  I had planned to make a knee-length bias skirt of the very dark chocolate brown (darker than the picture) fabric on my dress form, but Burda 09-2010-109 had been sticking in my proverbial creative mind, and I kept coming back to it.  I invaded my stash, and pulled out all the ivory silk that I own, purchased from who knows when.  It included about 1.3m of bridal charmeuse, two pieces of a mid-weight silk crepe, and yards and yards of a blush-ivory crepe that I thought was silk until I did a burn test:  polyester.

Burda 09-2010-109 back view

I originally wanted to do all of this blouse in the silk crepe, but I cut a 90’s Karl Lagerfeld short-sleeved blouse (still working on it, but I’ll review it next!), and there wasn’t quite enough left to put this Burda tunic together.  So I opted for the tuxedo look, using the charmeuse on the cuffs, plastron and collar.  (Btw, the word “plastron” was new to my vocabulary!)

crepe and charmeuse contrast

I didn’t really want the “tuxedo” look, but that’s all there was left to work with.  The poly crepe was not a colour match to the silk crepe, so I couldn’t use that, and I couldn’t cut the entire thing out of the poly crepe, because I have other designs for that – a second 1980’s Karl Lagerfeld blouse that will fit in with the HepburnHepburn project nicely.

~ the tux look ~

I will state that the opening of the blouse is a bit of an issue.  I did notice that the model’s bra is visible in the BurdaStyle picture….. Oh well, I’ll just work with it.  Like my DD1 suggested, “Why does your bra have to be skin-toned?  Make it contrasting so it’s pretty to look at!”   Uh….. right.