Monday, June 30, 2008

Burda - 06-2008-125 Trousers

I got them finished and I like them in a casual-sandal kind of way. The next pair of BWOF pants I make, I'll really buckle down the fit in the back. But, since I had already cut off the SA of these I think this is good 'nuff. I'll definitely wear them as is. They are perfect with my Chaco sandals. Do you know I've had these sandals for over 10 years? I'm so buying another pair when these die.

I like all the buttons. I ended up sewing all the way down the leg. That's fun when the legs are already put together.

With my Jalie top from yesterday.

Yes, I know, some fitting issues. Next pair I'll work on it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jalie 2804 - Empire Cross Top

I made two of these today. It is a fast pattern even when you have to trace the pieces. Here is the review at

I know its hard to see the details. It was raining hard outside and there was no way I was going to put the camera out there. It is really long and I love that. I'm not even going to hem it; I'll just let it roll. The sleeves are long too. This is a heather grey from Gorgeous Fabrics. I love it.

The back of a knit top. I know, nothing to look at. I just felt like it would be bad form to show the front and not the back. You can also see the China Marker I use for tracing.

The first version. Word of wisdom: Jalie says 40% stretch and they really mean it. Can you tell it's tight? I can barely get it on. It is really long too but it ain't fitting over these hips.

I love tops like this because you play the cross up or down.

This is the pattern I received from Deepika for completing my Wardrobe Contest first.

Next up: Finish the Burda WOF pants . . .

Burda - 06-2008-105 Cap Sleeved Blouse

This is the same info as my review over at Can you tell my husband is gone and the kids are at the Grandparents' house? Thank goodness they live close to us! Having a break every once and a while is priceless.

Pattern Description: This little blouse boasts this season's trends: polka dots, a slim silhouette, cap sleeves and a thin, self-fabric belt. We have added an illustrated sewing course for sewing success!
Pattern Sizing:This one goes from 38-46. I graded it down to a 36 but perhaps should have gone to a 34?
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Well, it does look like the line drawing. Both fashion photos in the magazine make it hard to see the details. Were the instructions easy to follow?This is the sewing course for the month of June so it was nice to follow along with pictures for once. I followed these directions for the collar and I do think it is the best collar I have ever made. Make sure you follow the seam allowance directions because the SA on the side of the blouse are 3/4" while everything else is 5/8". You need that extra space for the fold-over hem at the sleeve openings.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really like the cut of this garment. It is longer than I thought it would be so that kind of suprised me. I would give it a 7 on the "Like-It" rating (10 would be high) because I do like it but I don't know if I'll make it again. Dislikes, the gathering at the side makes it kind of bulky there but you can't really cut it off because you need the extra seam allowance for the sleeve. I may end up serging part of it to reduce the bulk.
Fabric Used: This is the leftover fabric from this dress. It is a drapey, thin suiting fabric from JoAnn's. I had so little left over fron the dress that I had to get creative with pattern piece placement. The yoke was cut in two pieces (with SA added to CB) because I didn't have enough fabric to make it in one piece. I used buttons for the first time and they are fun, fun, fun! I used size 16 black pearl buttons.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Let's see, I didn't do my normal 1/2" tuck between bust and shoulders. I would like to tell you that I analyzed this style and realized I did not need it but in all actually, I forgot. But really, I'm not sure if I would have noticed any difference if I had done it. The only thing I changed was to cut my wrap around band piece at 1" wide. They have you cut it 1 5/8" but I cut it smaller so I could use my Clover bias tape maker. I love that little thing.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I do recommend it to others. It is very easy to sew. I like it but am not in love with it. I think it will get plenty of wear because it is a good color combination and a nice style.
Conclusion: It's cute and easy. It's a great warm weather top. We haven't had many warm-weather days this summer so I may have to wait until I'm working again to wear it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

So I Know These Are Duds . . .

. . . when no one comments (actually, two people did comment, thanks!). Come on people! They make my legs look huge and I look about 3 feet tall when wearing them. I can't say much because I do the same thing. When I see some serious fugly I rarely comment because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But seriously, that width, on me? No.

I drastically reduced the width of the pants (about 5" in each leg) from top to bottom and I think they are much better. I took off the old pockets and made new flaps. I interfaced a single layer of fabric and just stitched it on. It is no longer a loop. I figured if I stitched them directly to the pants, there would be less flaring. To combat the wide, wide legs, I continued the pleat all the way down to the hem. This gets rid of the hem and the poofy front thigh thing. I know that was a "design feature" but it didn't work with this fabric. Now I am debating whether to topstitch all the way to the hem or to do that abbreviated topstitching to upper thigh. What do you think? I put some lines in for reference. I may still take a bit of width out of the knee area.

Okay, now what do you think?? Really, comment even if you hate them. Especially if you hate them! The pleats are sewn with a basting stitch right now.

I am going to start working on 06/2008 #105 while I ponder the pants. After I topstitch I just have to hem them and add buttons (or snaps)!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Four Year Olds Talk a Lot . . .

And yesterday while my son was rambling to me I accidently cut the seam allowances off the back of my new Burda WOF pants!!!!! All is not lost however; I was making them in stretch twill. It seems the twill had barely enough stretch to accomodate for no seam allowances. Actually, I didn't cut the entire SA off, just the top 3-4 inches. You would be proud, I didn't even cuss.

I am currently working on Burda 06/125. It is the pants with the tab belt (?) and the pleat in the thigh. This is my first BWOF pant so I was very interested to see how it would fit. They fit really well but they would have fit better if I had a SA to work with. I knew I would have to do a small swayback adjustment, I just ended up making a big adjustment.

This is the picture that sold me on the pants. They look kind of slim through the knee area right? Yeah, not really, these must be pinned because these really have big ol' legs. I should have looked closer at the line drawing.

So here's the question: Do I take out inches of fabric between mid-thigh and calf?? I think the wide leg makes me look a bit squat. Of course, it could also be the 6" of extra fabric at the hem. I am wearing heels and I'm 5'5". I'm not that short. I have not understitched the facing so it is a bit lumpy.

You can see that it looks like I have large front thighs. It is just the pleat sticking out. You can tell the upper butt/lower back region is little snug.

Also, I need BIG TIME help with the inside. I realized as I was putting on the facing that I have never made pants with a fly without a waistband. How do you finish the inside nicely? Is there a tutorial or a post on that? I will add a fly facing to the inside but didn't want to deal with it yet. It might help me make a smooth transistion from the fly to the pants. I tried reading BWOF instructions but it was a bit like Greek.

Well, what do you guys think? Keep the width or remove it? I know that wide leg pants are coming in (or are they gone already?) but these seem excessive.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Why Do We Love Burda so Much?

Okay, so Rhonda go me thinking about Burda WOF. I can think of six reasons that I am a die-hard Burda WOF fan.

  1. Fit: They fit my smaller frame better than the Big 4. This is especially true in the shoulders. I have read that they draft their patterns for a 'C' cup but I never have to do an SBA on them even though I'm an 'A' cup. Figure that one out. I have heard that their pants rock. I am waiting until the June issue to try my first pair of BWOF pants (this pair). Some people say they are the best fitting pants they have ever made. Their patterns don't have a ton of ease like the Big 4. For a Big 4 pattern, I usually measure myself, ignore the envelope recommendations, and then make the smallest size offered, usually a 8 or 10. I usually have to grade the BWOF patterns down to a 36 or 34 but it is pretty easy to do since you have to trace them anyhow. Sigrid pointed out that their fit is consistent. For example, I make a size 36 almost every time and it fits the same each time. The Big 4 are not consistent like that.
  2. Challenge: I love a challenge. The directions are challenging and that is not something I always love. The thing that is challenging is all the tiny details on a BWOF. They usually add some details that give it that extra special somthing. Check out this top with tab, this simple cross-top with something extra, this dress with buttons, and this Jalie look-alike to see what I mean. As I sew, I realize that, for me, details are the thing that I love. They have quick, unadorned patterns too but I love the detailed ones.
  3. Style: I find the Big 4 patterns boring and repetitive. I think in their quest to make sewing easy they also made it boring and home-made. There are Vogue patterns that appeal to me and a few of the new-old-vintage re-issues but the rest, nah. They are the same thing over and over again. Even between companies, they are the same. It is like having a Chevy and a GMC; different names, same truck.
  4. Frequency: BWOF comes out every month. 50-70 patterns in each magazine. There are some BWOF duds, don't get me wrong, but out of 50 patterns, I can find a few I like.
  5. Anticipation: They post previews of the coming styles as a slideshow so you can get a sneaky peaky. Then a week or two later, they give you all the pictures. Then before the magazine comes out you can view all the line drawings. Part of this anticipation just makes me crave the new magazine even if I don't like a lot of the patterns. The grass is always greener, eh?
  6. Presentation: Think about KwikSew for a minute. Up until this year, their pattern covers have been a bit dorky. With Burda, you get hot, leggy (ok, sometimes scary) models wearing the clothing. I'm really glad that KwikSew has started using cute models on their covers because I really like their patterns. But it is all about selling the pattern. Legs and cleavage sell while dowdy drawings will not. I can see this being cute in a nice fabric but this drawing doesn't do it for me.
  7. Price (thank you Debbie Cook!): All of the patterns every month for a very reasonable price, even more reasonable if you have a subscription. A subscription is $80 and you get 12 magazines. That is $6.67 per issue. If you make two patterns per issue you are getting each pattern at the rock-bottom price of $3.34 per pattern.
  8. Convenience (thank you Debbie Cook!): With a subscription, they come right to your mailbox. No need to track down sales, fight messy pattern drawers, etc.

Did I miss anything? I know everyone has their own, "Why I love Burda" reasons but these are mine. I added Debbie Cook's comments to the list. Thank you Debbie!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pantone Colors for Fall

This has been up on the Pantone website for a while but I've been thinking about my fall wardrobe (and SWAP) and what colors to use. I think I've decided on a grey/purple wardrobe. I won a few BWOF on eBay and the purple/grey combo really caught me eye. I won 08/2006, 11/2006, and 06/2004. I am excited to increase my stash of Burdas. There is so much in each issue. Of the two issues I have (03/2008 and 05/2008), there are lots of possibilities for a fall wardrobe. Now with my new subscription and these older magazines I will be totally set. I am contemplating going through my stash of Big 4 patterns and getting rid of most of them. They just don't fit as well. Has anyone else gone totally (or almost totally) BWOF? I still really like Jalie and some of the KwikSews but McCalls, Butterick, and Simplicity just don't do it for me anymore.
These are both out of the 11/2006 magazine and I love the deep colors. I may even do grey, deep purple, and a blue. I think those would look nice. I'm trying to use more blue since you guys always comment on how blue looks nice with my eyes. It is a color I never really wear much of but if it looks nice, why not?
I especially love this skirt. There is a review on PR but the picture link is broken so I don't know what it looks like on a normal person. I like the higher waist and the back slit. There is a version of this skirt in the magazine with a front thigh slit. I like that one too but this is probably more appropriate for my 7th grade classroom.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Coat Sew-Along: Thread and Buttons

There is a bit of topstitching on this coat and I know that the look of the topstitching will really make or break the coat. I have used my sample to sew several lines of topstitching to see what I liked the most. I have narrowed it down to two but can't decide which is best. From left to right:

  • Gutterman topstitching thread in a medium brown (no spool shown). I like the thickness of this thread but it comes on little, tiny spools. Actually the spools aren't small but the thread is so thick there just isn't much thread on each spool. My local JoAnn's does not have a suitable purple in this style of thread. They have a grape jell-o color and that is it in the purple arena. Totally not suitable for a dark eggplant wool. My personal motto is: either match the color perfectly or make it very different. Otherwise it looks like you just don't know what you are doing.
  • Gutterman upholstery thread in grey. I wouldn't use the grey but I just wanted to see how it looked. This is thick thread and it comes in greater quantity. This type of thread comes in very limited colors. I use it for topstitching all the time.
  • Gutterman Heavy-Duty thread. I have never used this type of thread but it is the perfect color for my coat. It is 100% polyester. It is thicker than the regular, all-purpose sewing thread but not as thick as the topstiching or upholstery thread. It doesn't seem to be as shiny as the upholstery thread either. I made two rows of stitches to play with my tension.
  • Gutterman Upholstery thread again. This is the thread I used to topstitch my BWOF Alaska coat. It actually goes very nicely with the wool too. Now I just have to decide between the purple and the brown.

Here you can see the buttonsI plan to use and you can see the topstitchng in more detail. The flash makes everything much lighter than it actually is. The buttons are very dark brown, almost black. You can see in this picture how much thicker the real topstitching thread (brown on bottom) is.

BTW: Thanks for your comments on the BWOF Alaska coat. Yes, my husband was the photographer and yes he liked it. ;) And no, Dawn is not having more babies. We wanted two, got three. We're done. We've taken care of it; and I made him double and triple check at the doctor's office. Kristine, you go girl!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Burda - 03-2008-101 Jacket Alaska Style - Done!

Okay, it's done and I really like it. Full review coming at Pattern Review soon. Here are some of the detail shots and a funny bonus one (well, two really) at the end.

The white things that you see at the pockets are the faux-piping I used to highlight them. I left just a bit of the pocket lining showing around the zipper.

The back has a fun detail that you can't really pick up from the line drawing or the photos. There is a back overlay on the top half of the jacket. This would be a great place for a vent if your fabric is not breathable.

Here you can see it a little bit better. The belt goes through the bottom of the overlay. You can still see my chalk markings. It's not really crooked, it just looks like it.

Here it is open. I really like the length of the coat. I was going to add 2" to the sleeves but forgot. You can see on the original coat, the sleeves look a bit cropped and they really are. Go figure.

All zipped up. Thank you Lindsey T for offering to get me some cool zippers. I opted for the plain jane black from JoAnn's.

Here is some of the sleeve detail. I love all the topstitching on this coat. It did make it very time consuming though.

This is my favorite part. I lined it with sweathshirt fleece in camo print. This coat is so Alaskan. It is the same as the fleece on these shirts. I made the fleece-y, soft part on the inside and the sweathshirt side next to my skin so it would slide over clothing. I quite like the effect.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Holy crap-a-noli . . .

So my mother and sister came down to watch the kids so my husband and I could have some "us" time. We decided to go camping down south (Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, etc.). On the Kenai River at a nice fishing hole, a lovely young creature and cub came to chase us out of her fishing hole. It is the most scared I've been in a long time. The pictures are blurry because of the hand shaking. We are standing in the river and can't go much further back because the river is deep and fast. She is on the bank blocking our only escape route. She finally decided she didn't want to deal with us and took off into the bushes. We were stuck in the river for about 45 minutes hoping she would not find us offensive or scary. Mama bears can be quite scary (read: f'ing scary) if they think their young are being threatened. She only did a little threatening, aggressive behavior and that was when she got within 20 feet of us. For most of the encounter she was 25-35 feet away from us.

Yes, that's a gun. At one point, all four of us had drawn our weapons. Shots were fired but only into the air. She didn't really seem to mind much. She came right back.

She's a small sow really but much larger than any of us.

The cub was a cutie. He's in the back.

On another note, my son made these super cute bird houses for his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather for Father's Day. They are mostly orange because that is his favorite color.

I am almost done with the Burda WOF jacket. It just needs cuffs, belt, and lining.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Burda - 03-2008-101 Jacket Alaska Style

So you can obviously tell my husband is on his two off because I don't post often when he is home. Sewing gets put on the back burner (sort of) when he is around. We do lots of stuff with the kids and work things that need working on. I don't feel bad about it because I can sew my little heart out when he is gone.

I am currently working on this Burda jacket from the March 2008 issue. I have made six things out of that issue. It was my first one but it seems to have some jewels in it. My son started Spyder soccer so I have been standing out in the windy sunshine to watch him scamper around the soccer field and not play much soccer. He is having a ball even if he just reads books on the sidelines and holds entire conversations with other kids in the middle of the field while the ball is screaming past with 10 kids in tow. Maybe he's not a competitive kid? My husband and I are pretty competitive; to the point where we can't play each other at raquetball. Kind of embarrassing. Anyhoo, back from my tangent. Burda jacket in breathable XALT Burlington waterproof fabric. It is dark green. It is taking me a while because there is a lot of topstitching. I am making my typical 36. I should have an actual picture of the coat to show you today or tomorrow. We'll see. I plan on lining with a thin sweathshirt fleece. This coat will be very functional; very unlike Burda's silver one.

This is the version I am making. I meant to lengthen the sleves by an inch or two but forgot.

My husband really wants me to make the cropped one and then strut around the house with only it on. He said it would be good for my sewing skills. Yeah. Right.

I wish I could find cool zippers. My only choice is Joann's and the local fabric boutique. The boutique has good stuff but never in the right length and color.