A new tee plus a lot of thoughts

img_3034

I made something! I actually had to force myself to do it; this sewing block/loss of mojo is intense. I did enjoy it, though, and I really like the top! It’s an October Burda pattern–101 from 2016, minus long sleeves because I didn’t have enough fabric. The fabric is a super light ITY that was not easy to deal with. Finishing is not perfect, particularly the neckline. I may redo it but it’s just invisible enough to not be noticeable.

It’s also the first sewn item toward my newly defined style goal of athleisure. I know that term bothers some, it used to bother me too but I’m used to it now, but it’s what’s happening.

I’ve been having some trouble dressing after starting my new job a little over a year ago, more than I expected. It didn’t seem that different, just a little chillier and more casual than my last office, but I that particular combination seems to have essentially eliminated a significant percentage of my clothes from my daily life. I think that’s why sewing has been a challenge too. My fabric and pattern stash, and more importantly, my dream to-sew list and even styles I favor, supports my former life, not my current reality, which, by the way, is amazing. On good-clothes days I feel so whole and cohesive, not just with clothes and style, but with my job, my location, everything.

I love clothes that can do anything I want to do. I can go hiking or to yoga after work with minimal outfit changes, weekend wear is the same as weekday wear, everyday pieces can be dressed up if needed but aren’t entirely different. My biggest source of inspiration has been Athleta. I had a meeting in the city and took the opportunity to try a few things on in person and look around, and it works. After realizing these types of clothes are what I’m missing, I did order a few pieces off Poshmark and am not disappointed.

There are boxes of envelope patterns to look at, but to start I went through all my burdas and took photos of promising designs, and I’m going through my closet, pulling items that aren’t working. It’s tough because I do like these pieces, they do fit well and are a match with my style, but they simply don’t work anymore. I need to do the same with my fabric stash. I don’t know if I’m going to donate immediately, may just store the clothes and fabric out of my sight so I can better focus on the here and now, and hopefully have some inspiration again.

So here are my current alterations lists and sewing/knitting guidelines.

  • Knits in natural fibers plus rayon/tencel are the focus, except for activewear fabric. We recently got a Class Pass package at work, and taking a yoga class in one of my beloved 100% organic cotton tees was awful! The only other class I’ve taken in recent months is in a drafty NPS building facing the ocean at work, and I totally forgot that you do sweat in the average studio!
  • Unless the fabric is really special, no purchasing of wovens for a while.
  • Whether purchased or sewn, clothes need to have more than one function (work, yoga, hike/run).
  • If an item is not warm enough to wear alone, it must be easily layered. No more long sleeved button downs, as much as I like them!
  • Sleeves on already made woven shirts are coming off. It’s almost never warm enough to go without a sweater and it’s often too warm and bunchy worn under a sweater (seriously, on the Bay Area coastline a difference of 5 degrees can take you from freezing to sweltering, I don’t know why).
  • Sundresses may become something else. I have a couple that I really like that I’ve worn maybe once in the last year. I think they’re destined to be chopped into separates or harvested for fabric.

We’ll see how this all plays out, but I have hope my inspiration drought might end…

Burda of the month… for February

Despite endless planning, this is the first Burda I’ve managed to make this year! I think I’ll get a top sewn for June, but who knows. I have just not been sewing at all, in fact, I even doubt I remember how to sew. I definitely felt that way before making this top (in April…) and then was surprised that I totally did.

acs_0003

This is 2/2018 #120, a very pretty blouse. I think it looks better on me than on the dress form. I hope so, anyway! I feel elegant and put together in it, and the fabric is too comfortable to be polyester. I’m not sure what it is, but I suspect rayon. I had enough left to cut a bralette, waiting in the wings to be sewn.

ACS_0001.jpg

None of the bands are interfaced, and I did get some minor twisting. I think it’s okay given the softness of the blouse overall. I had some trouble deciphering the directions for the low v-neck in the back, but whether I got them right or not, the slit for the tie is tidy.

IMG_1001

So for June, I am thinking about this pleated shirt:

acs_0065

I also think my husband could use a new shirt, and 6/2016 happens to have a mens shirt pattern that goes small enough for him. Considering we’re almost halfway through the year and I have one project down, two shirts is probably too ambitious, but we’ll see!

Ruffled Sweater

IMG_9971

Happy New Year! I’m so glad 2017 is behind me. Even setting aside the appalling political state of the US, this has been a year of change, uncertainty, and adaptation for me, and it shows in my creative output. Since my last post about UFOs in September, I made a couple easy christmas gifts, and I’ve cast on two more knitting project to add to the UFO list. Seriously, it’s out of control.

However, on christmas day I felt that long-lost burst of inspiration and energy to make something, and so revisited my December Burdas and chose a raglan sweater with shoulder flounces from the 2017 issue to whip up before heading to the in-law’s for dinner.

IMG_9968

The pattern also features sleeve flounces, but that is a step too far for me! I used a spongy wool blend sweater knit purchased from Mood several years ago, which the cat immediately attacked when my back was turned. Placement was tricky, but there was just enough fabric without bite holes to proceed. The flounces are unfinished, and I sewed seams on the regular machine with a zig zag before finishing with the serger. Hems are done with a zig zag. No fuss here.

I love it. Wore it to christmas dinner and then to work the next day. It’s slouchy and comfy, but the texture and flounces keep it a little interesting. The only problem is that it collects pet hair like crazy, and does not release it without a struggle. I did some aggressive lint rolling before taking these photos, and it barely made a dent! Oh well, this is my life now.

I’m hoping this is the beginning of a fun, productive year of sewing. I’m excited to plan out January, the 1/2018 issue is pretty fantastic! I’m continuing my loose challenge of one Burda from the month’s issue (or earlier years), plus one paper pattern, plus one piece of lingerie. We’ll see 🙂

IMG_9967

 

Floral Sundress

IMG_7882

For my June Burda project, I went back to this little sundress with inset panels from 2016. I just love inset panels, and even enjoy sewing those angled seams. As a beginner sewing them felt impossible, so now I’m always a little proud of myself when it works!

IMG_7891
Burda 6/2016 #108

I used a cotton shirting I’ve had in the stash for years. I bought it online with a shirt in mind, but in person the print felt too wild. I’m glad I waited, because it paired nicely with this pattern, particularly with the black piping highlighting seam lines.

IMG_7885IMG_7884

I eliminated the back zipper and seam, which was perfectly fine. There is plenty of room in this dress! So much, actually, that if I make it again I will probably take in the sides and add back shaping. It’s not totally unflattering, though, and it’s quite comfortable! The fit of the bodice is good, with close cut armholes, dior darts, and back neckline darts.

It’s actually warm out today in SF, and this dress is going to be perfect for afternoon knitting in the garden!

IMG_7883

Flouncy Blouse

IMG_7506

I completed a May Burda project, and almost even finished within the correct month (even though it’s now July)! This May I chose a pattern from the 5/2017 issue–the petite raglan blouse with flounces and ties. It’s a little overtly feminine for my usual taste, but there’s something about this pattern that called to me every time I saw it in the issue!

Burda 5/17 #109

I used navy silk/cotton voile leftover from my button-down shirt, and had barely enough. The fabric is perfect for this top, but I’m a little disgusted at my finishing. You can see the wrinkling down the front seam… that’s because I’ve been too lazy to really figure out settings on my serger, and it does not do well with single layers of fine fabric. The wrinkling in real life isn’t that noticeable, but this project has made me vow to either learn the serger or use different finishing techniques on fine fabric. There’s no excuse!

Speaking of wrinkling, though, I cannot get the washing and storage wrinkles out of this fabric. It is pressed flat, but the wrinkles remain. Again, in real life it’s not so noticeable, but I don’t like it. Any suggestions?

IMG_7504

The flounces are cut on, leading to interesting construction. You finish the edges first, and then sew the lower part of the front seam right sides together, and the upper part wrong sides together. The flounces fall open so that the wrong side shows the most, and I actually switched right side for wrong as my hem looked better on the original right side. It is not easy to get both sides of the hem and the point where the seams switch to look absolutely perfect. I felt a little bad about it, until I saw that Burda’s example doesn’t feature perfect stitching either! If I make this again, there will definitely be significant hand stitching!

IMG_7505

I said “if” I make it again, because it’s too big. Significantly so. What’s baffling, is that this top is the petite offering for the month! I’m 5’4″, the tallest height listed for Burda’s petite sizing, and have had to add a touch of length for previous petite tops. Here, though, the armholes gape so that my bra shows and the hem nearly reaches my fingertips. Was this really a tall pattern mislabeled as petite??

That said, I do like the finished top quite a bit, especially when the bow is tied up snugly. It looks great tucked into a skirt with a cardigan for work, and I’m not all that concerned with a black bra peeking out under the arm with my casual weekend lifestyle. Let’s just hope truly petite ladies notice that the pattern pieces look too big before proceeding!

Questionable April Burda…

IMG_7499

For April, I decided to revisit the 60s dress from the 4/16 issue. I made this pattern for an event last year out of a pretty icky poly suiting, but really liked the pattern. This time, though, I’m not sure. I had a batik cotton caftan to repurpose and thought the different border patterns could make for an interesting design, but I find the dress so unflattering! The lower half just seems to balloon, and the fabric is both stiff and clingy. A shorter length might help, but that would sacrifice the border… I made this for my mom for Mothers’ Day, but I just can’t quite give it to her!

IMG_7501

The print placement on the front really doesn’t help, that rectangle zooming in on the chest! The dark to light also enhances the ballooning effect. I do like the print placement on the back, though. This was the first time I really played with placement, and have definitely learned a few things for next time…

Screenshot 2017-06-10 at 10.55.21 AM
The original Nod to Mod dress

Ogdens 2 and 3

IMG_6673

My dream camisole collection is growing! I did a small FBA on the True Bias Ogden and the fit is much better. I’m still seeing a little pulling in the upper chest, though it feels fine to wear. For the next one I may just try going up a size without the FBA.

IMG_6671

This top is made from remnants of another silk-cotton voile. I made a long sleeved top out of this fabric in October, but I messed up in construction and took an inch out of the bodice, making it unwearable. I really kicked myself. Burda patterns have fit me so consistently that I got complacent with using small seam allowances, and there was no room for adjustment. Luckily, the Ogden takes so little fabric, I was able to get a top out of the leftovers and salvaged sleeves! I love the fabric, and have worn this top almost weekly since finishing it a month ago.

IMG_6672

Next up is my first 100% silk camisole. I’ve dreamed of having a collection of silk camisoles form the base of my wardrobe for many years, and it’s finally happening! I feel so elegant and put together wearing it under cardigans and jackets, even when I know I don’t quite look it. It sounds so shallow, but feeling good or bad in clothes can really impact my mood. This is a step in the right direction!

IMG_6678

IMG_6679

I intended for the matte side of this rosy charmeuse to be shown, but I couldn’t help it. The fabric has more of a luster than a shine, and it’s just so pretty. I pre-washed and dried the fabric in the machine, and serged every raw edge. The silk probably deserves more caring techniques, but this cami will be worn a ton and I want it to hold up, even when inevitably thrown into the dryer by accident. I did hand roll the hem, though, at least there’s that! I go back and forth about pressing the rolled hem flat. I left it for now. I kind of like the soft waviness in person, but it is bothering me in these photos!

I have a few more single yards of silk waiting. I can’t wait to make the next one!

IMG_6676