Ruffled Sweater

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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.

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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 🙂

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Floral Sundress

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Flouncy Blouse

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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?

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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!

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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…

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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!

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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…

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The original Nod to Mod dress

February shirt in April

IMG_6669Making that motorcycle jacket kind of threw off my monthly Burda project. I might catch up, or not. I haven’t been thrilled with this year’s March and April issues, but last year’s both have a number of designs I would love to make. At any rate, here’s a February design! I’ve been hankering to make a button down shirt, and decided on Burda 2/2016 #108, minus the pockets and sleeve tabs.

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I used a navy silk cotton voile that’s been in my stash for years. It’s absolutely dreamy to wear, like a cloud. I love this shirt and have worn it just about every week since making it. I hope the shirt is stylishly oversize, and not just frumpy. I feel great in it, but it’s hard to tell how it really looks when I’m so biased.

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Eeek, need to iron that collar! 

I did as instructed and made a covered button band, only I’m sure I did not do it right because it’s nearly impossible to button. Luckily, I can slip the shirt on and off without unbuttoning! I’m going to need to find real instructions before attempting this feature again. I hand rolled the hem, which is one of my very favorite techniques. I love the soft roll and wave, not to mention the perfectly narrow hem, especially on such a soft, floaty shirt.

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Green Suede Jacket!

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It’s finished! This jacket is one of my favorite projects of all time. Despite often sewing projects requiring more skills than I possessed since 2009, I never made a real jacket (not counting Grainline’s Morris). I was intimidated, and also thought I didn’t really like wearing jackets. Well, lately I’ve been gravitating to the jackets in my closet, and when nothing else called to me in the January 2017 Burda issue, I decided to give it a go.

 

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What really sold me on this design was the top stitched elbow patches and back panel. What almost stopped me was the thought of sourcing all those zippers. I ended up just buying the one zipper for the front and leaving the rest off. It’s made in a sage green faux suede that has been in my stash for some time. I’m glad to see it go!

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Part of the joy of this project was all the topstitching. Having an edgestitching foot makes all the difference! So easy and SO satisfying.

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The color is nearly impossible to photograph, and ugh, photography. I have finally figured out a good set up to take my own photos, but they turn out terrible. I’m not sure if my phone isn’t focusing right, or light is bad, or what it is. When I take the photos on my dress form they turn out okay. When I take them with a remote they are grainy and out of focus. Sigh.

Photos aside, I’m so pleased with this jacket and the process of making it! There will be more jackets in my future, I’m sure!

The perfect work dress

Well, I’m still working on that jacket, with just the hems to finish! I swear I’ll finish this weekend. In the meantime, I finally wore this dress, which has been almost finished since August and finished since December. I knew it would make its debut at a board meeting, and it finally had its chance in February.

 

I love this dress. The fabric is interesting but subtle, the fit is spot on, and it has stretch so it’s also quite comfortable. The pattern is Burda 9/15 #116. I caught my breath when I first saw it in the magazine, and knew I had to make it. Now I have to make it again in a fabric that actually shows the seaming! This fabric is by Halston, via Fabric Mart, a stretch poly suiting with an interesting pebbly texture.

 

Okay, after all that praise, there is one thing I don’t like, and one thing I acknowledge isn’t perfect but I don’t care about. I flat out dislike the flare in the skirt back. I had a RTW dress with this shaping years ago, and didn’t like it then either. Totally forgot about that! If/when I make this again, I will change the back to a plain straight silhouette with a vent. The other quibble is that the color isn’t the most flattering, but it’s not too terrible.

In the end, it doesn’t matter and I love the dress anyway. It’s sure to be a go-to for quite some time!