How long does it take to make a Shirtdress?

Before I go any further may I just say how moved I was to receive so many supportive comments. This sort of response is probably why I even thought of continuing blogging. You are all officially amazing ūüėė.

Anyway, the shirtdress. It’s¬† been in bits and under construction for ever – or it feels like it. It had been cut out and started when the lovely Sue, the Fadanista, came to visit at the end of May. I was a bit fed up with not having a set of buttons I liked in my multitude of tins which worked so I let it fester. It began to have the smell of a UFO about it so I decided last week that it had to be done!

IMG_20190702_155856

The details. The pattern was from Burda 5/2010 (yes, it’s been on the mental list for quit a while) and the fabric was a Barry’s bargain table delight. At first sight it looks like any old chambray but it has an undercurrent of orange. The back and front of the fabric are very similar but not the same. That led to some fruity language during construction. I added shaping to the waist, back darts, and side seam pockets.

I’m reasonably happy with the final result, although it is a little bit big. The Management says it doesn’t have the drag lines on the back generally “you must have been standing funny”. What can I say? I have lost a little bulk and changed shape a bit with the work in the gym and the running I do to try to keep my bones strong so none of my old patterns for any more. Now that this pattern has been adjusted I think I may make another quite soon – but I need to let the memory of this one fade a little first!

Check this out – I even marked the pattern pieces and put them away properly before I move on! I’m hoping not to find too many more orphan pattern pieces where I have no idea where they belong. Let’s see how long that lasts…..

I already have plans for another project. Let’s hope it doesn’t take as long to make as this dress ūüėā.


Burda wrap tank clone – but nothing for me. Again.

There has been lots going on here – just no sewing for me. The garden is in overdrive at the moment, and my clients are all making sure I don’t get into/cause any trouble. It is nice to know that I am valued as a dressmaker but just occasionally it would be nice to actually get to the bottom of the ‘to-do for clients’ pile. Or even my own ‘to-do’ pile.

I have great plans to sew, and I am still checking out my Burda magazines that arrive monthly. There are even things in there that I would love to make. For me. For example, I really liked the pattern for a slightly odd but fabulous looking waistcoat/vest, Model 132¬†¬†in the ¬†May 2014 issue of Burda. It went on the wish list – where it is still lurking. Just incase you hadn’t seen it here is a picture.

132_0514_b_large

¬†When I went to stay with my wonderful daughter I managed to bring away a pile of Stylist magazines (which I am still reading late at night) and came across this….

Love it - can't wear it!

Love it – can’t wear it!

….made by Carven at ¬£220. I love it but I could never expose my stomach in this way (too much of it!). However, if you were a young, toned thing I would imagine that it would look great. And very similar don’t you think? It should be¬†very easy to adapt the Burda pattern to get a great looking similar top for a fraction of the cost.

When I eventually get some time to sew for me I might even get to make it.

I hope all you out there in blogland are having more success sewing for yourself than I am at present. Bye for now ūüôā


Burda 11/13 and Patrones 329 Review

WARNING – This post is picture heavy!

After a weekend catching up on odd jobs (you know, the sort you really try to avoid by doing anything else), and collecting hedgerow fruit for jelly, I felt I deserved time on the sofa to do a proper review of these two magazines.

Patrones 329 Cover

Patrones 329 Contents Right

Patrones 329 Contents Right

Patrones 329 Contents Left

Patrones 329 Contents Left

Patrones is given to me by my wonderful friends on their return from Spain – but I don’t get every copy so it feels like a treat every time. This issue has a number of garments I would love to make though i suspect I will have to be selective.

I really likes the top and jeans that are on the cover – but why is the detail on the front hidden by the models hair. So frustrating! I turned the page and discovered that the blue top (Model 9) was also really nice, I probably prefer this one, but the trousers wouldn’t be so good for me.

Great top, not so sure about the trousers

Great top, not so sure about the trousers

 

Easy to change the balance on this skirt

Easy to change the balance on this skirt

There are a number of really nice garments, all pretty current, that would be good to make but I really liked the skirt shown with the pink top. I wouldn’t make it exactly as it is but since this is just a full circle skirt with the waist hole offset it will be easy to move the balance so that it is longer in the front. The top is nice too, but I think I would prefer to wear this with something that was a little more fitted. Since this is so simple I will almost certainly be making this sometime soon. I think it could be made in something ‘casual’ and work really well with boots for the winter.

Great plus-size dress

Great plus-size dress

The last garment in the magazine is a great (subtle) colour blocked dress. It is in the section marked ‘Tallas Grandes’ so I will have to grade the pattern down a little if I make this. It is a really useful shape, and all of the seaming (though curved) gives lots of opportunities to alter to fit. I don’t speak, or read, Spanish so I have no idea what their model was made in but I could see this in a wool crepe or even a ponte jersey. Fabulously flattering, and probably likely to stay in your wardrobe for years. This may also be a make – but it has competition in the Burda magazine.

 

Burda 11.2013  Contents leftBurda 11.2013 Contents Right

 

I haven’t included the cover picture – there are going to be lots here – but the contents pictures are here for you to enjoy.

Great top with shoulder wrap

Great top with shoulder wrap

By the time you get to this t-shirt/top you have already passed a number of very wearable garments – but I was just picking out the ones I hoped to make at some point. This top appealed as it has princess seams which make it very easy to adjust for people with non-standard pattern sized busts. It is shown made in stretch crepe satin but I reckon it would work just fine in any jersey. The shoulder wrap is made separately so you could wear this with or without to give a different appearance. Nice!

Lots of seams on this one!

Lots of seams on this one!

Only one page further on was this dress. Made in a stretch wool twill, it has about a gazillion seams. Seriously, take a look at the tech drawing on the page. Again, this is great if you have to adjust the dress anywhere (have you ever tried to fit a dress from the ‘fast and easy’ department that has few seams and probably no darts? What are we – paper dolls?). I am slightly doubtful that the seam down the centre front of the skirt is necessary and will check to see if it is cut on the straight grain before making a decision, but if it isn’t contributing to the shaping I will probably cut without a seam. This is a strong contender for this winter. However.

Great dress in the plus size section.

Great dress in the plus size section.

This dress is available in the plus size section and starts in my size. It is also shown (in black) with a cute collar but the photograph was ‘faded’ over a section which made me wonder what it was hiding. The model is striding out in the picture I chose – but is that a bit of pooling over the stomach? The darts all point to the mid point on the waist and I wonder if that may be a problem for someone (like me) who has a tum. I really like this so I may just have to try it in something not too expensive to see how it works. Sadly, time is always at a premium and there are two other possibles here.

Slim jersey trousers

Slim jersey trousers

Something that is almost certain is that I will be trying these slim trousers which are made up in jersey. I already have the jersey in my stash (with a reasonable amount of lycra included so I shouldn’t get a soggy butt) so I will trace this pattern very soon. And probably pair them with the Patrones top.

I have missed loads of other great garments from these magazines – both were really good and had loads of extremely wearable (and wantable!) garments this time which is not always the case. All I need now is the time to make them up!

I have decided that I am going to try to be more organised¬†but also kinder to myself. If I don’t get todays ¬†‘to do’ list finished that isn’t a reason to beat myself up (as so many of us do). It is a reason to celebrate how many of the things on the list we did manage.

Bye for now, and be kind to yourself too ūüôā

 

 


Burda top made on the Janome Coverstitch machine

I am so happy. Make that so very happy. I have spent most of today playing with my new coverstitch machine in the way I like best Рactually making something.

I started by cutting out the Burda top from the Februrary issue ¬†yesterday afternoon. Actually I started by spilling all my pins on the floor and having to enlist The Management to clear them up as I can’t crouch/kneel down at the moment. In fairness he made a much better job of getting them all up than I would have done! Because of my current knee problem this was cut out on the kitchen table, which I am finding a great height to work on (it is 90cm off the floor) so I now know I would like ¬†new cutting table at this height – I really couldn’t consider using the kitchen table as a permanent work space. The fabric is a single knit, viscose jersey which I had left from the stock I had for sale. I¬†am no longer selling fabric mail order so will be clearing some fabric on e-bay or Etsy at some point in the future.

Janome & Juki - a wonderful pair

Janome & Juki – a wonderful pair

My plan was to use only my overlocker and coverstitch machines – but I did cheat a little and did a quick line of stitches to gather the sleeves on my sewing machine. Has anyone else had doubts over how accurate the stitching guides on the overlocker are compared with sewing machines? I decided to check.

Doubting Kim had to check the seams actually are 1.5cm

Doubting Kim had to check the seams actually are 1.5cm

I used some scrap and the pattern cutting square to mark a 1.5cm line on the fabric with a marker pen (purple – you can just see it). I watched the fabric edge at the marker on the overlocker as I sewed – not the marked line – and was amazed to see how close the inside stitching line is to the marked line. I had more faith that this would actually fit after this test and will be much happier to use the overlocker for making whole garments in future.

Clipping at hem turn to reduce bulk.

Clipping at hem turn to reduce bulk.

 

I think I used all the features!

I think I used all the features!

I sewed the sleeve seams first, and then attached the neck binding using the chain stitch feature from the coverstitch machine. ¬†I still felt I needed to stretch the neckline a little to prevent the thread breaking, but I suspect that wasn’t really necessary and I will stop when I have confidence in the machine. I re-threaded to use the narrow coverstitch feature around the neck to hold the binding down. Ideally I would have liked to have been closer to the edge of the binding but as the foot on the machine is metal I couldn’t really see well enough. Note to self – buy a transparent foot.

I continued to use the narrow coverstitch on the sleeve hems, but adjusted again to use the wide version around the bottom hem. I really didn’t need to change but wanted to try everything I could.

The whole garment didn’t take very long to make, despite spending a fair time making samples before going into the garment with every change of function. I also spent a while trying to work out why it had stopped sewing properly before finding that I had somehow ‘unthreaded’ the looper. All good experience. I was very pleased with how things were going during my sampling, and was feeling very smug – until I pulled a ‘loose thread’ and completely undid my work. Ooops! Now I understood the importance of tying those ends off – I am very glad I paid attention to my Craftsy course with Angela Wolf!

I tried the top on so that I could get The Management to take a picture (Bailey he isn’t – I must get someone to teach me how to get good pictures of myself) and found it so comfortable I have kept it on. A success – and I am really looking forward to doing more on the new Coverstitch machine.

A success!

A success!


A(nother) new addition! A Janome Coverstitcher

Bev¬†made me do it. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!

My little sanctuary

My little sanctuary

Having left my own little sanctuary in Penzance last Saturday I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. I had admired these coverstitch machines from afar and swapped  comments with Bev who was using her own Janome to very good effect. There was a little surplus in the coffers after all the work done recently so I decided to treat myself to it! Hurrah!

Janome 1000 CPX Coverstitch machine

Janome 1000 CPX Coverstitch machine

The machine arrived this afternoon and I have spent about half an hour after finishing client work testing it out. Well, fiddling to be precise. I think this may take a bit more getting used to than I had hoped but with the benefit of the overlocker course on the Craftsy site, which includes a little about coverstitch machines, I think I will get to grips with it. (Look out for desperate e-mails Bev!)

Repeat this now I can coverstitch?

Too good not to have more than one

I have some client work that I must finish during tomorrow and Friday but I think this weekend may turn into a ‘busmans ¬†holiday’ and I will repeat the wonderful Burda top from February 2013. I loved the original version I made in black and will shop the stash to find another fabric to try it using just the overlocker and coverstitcher.

Hopefully I will have something to show you by Sunday!


If you are in a hurry….SLOW DOWN!

Great advise given to me by one of my old tutors. That has served me well over the past couple of weeks clearing my client work – not quite so well personally. Remember my relaxing knitting? It got to this size…

Perfectly knitted ....

Perfectly knitted ….

..before I started to have doubts about the yarn quantities needed. I checked the pattern, checked again, and the e-mailed the lovely people at Kim Hargreaves. It was at that point it was clear I was knitting in the wrong yarn. Wool cotton – check. Wool cotton 4 ply – Doh! See what I mean about slow down? All of this will now be pulled out and stored until I can bear to find another garment to knit it as. It seems that the devil truly is in the detail.

On a nicer note my friends G & H have been to Spain again and returned with another Patrones – this time Issue 325.

Patrones 325

Patrones 325

There are a number of pretty things in this issue – I think the cover dress would be suitable for a ‘prom’ dress for some of the young girls I have seen recently. The complete selection is below.

Patrones 325Patrones 325

I particularly like this top – I will add it to my already massive wish list. I love the front cowl – but adore the racer back that goes with it. Really sweet.Patrones 325Hard on the heels of this issue I received the new Burda Style magazine. In general I would say I preferred the syles in Patrones but this issue of Burda has some really nice things (can you see the wish list growing?).

Burda 6/2013Burda 6/2013

¬†I picked two dresses I really liked – and both are also shown as tops too – so if you didn’t want to commit to a dress that would be fine. The one on the left is very like a top I saw in ‘Phase Eight’ yesterday – delightfully described by the Management as a ‘crumpled t-shirt’. I’m not sure he ¬†will be impressed if this goes on the list …. but on it goes. The grey maxi is just so easy to wear that I wish I was off on a sunshine holiday. Sadly I will just have to hope that the weather in the UK perks up enough to even contemplate wearing this – if I ever get that far down the wish list. I feel the need for some severe editing coming on.

Crumpled t-shirt or lovely dress?

Crumpled t-shirt or lovely dress?

Easy to wear maxi dress

Easy to wear maxi dress

I am still wading through lots of work for clients so even if the weather is wonderful I wont be wearing any of these in the near future. The other problem is that today I really just dont feel like working so I am clearing all sorts of odd jobs – including tidying my work area up so I can at least see what I am meant to be doing.

I hope everyone out there is feeling more productive than me.

Bye for now.

 


Another Made from Burda 2/13

In my last post I gave a little teaser picture of something I had been working on as a gift.

Boyfriend shirt 101

Boyfriend shirt 101

It was a shirt my ¬†daughter asked for – and although that was a while ago I thought it would be nice to sneak it in with her birthday gift. I used the pattern number 101 from¬†February’s¬†Burda magazine. I found this one to be a very easy make. ¬†I ¬†worked a placket on the sleeve opening rather than just binding a split , and shortened the body and sleeves as my daughter is very petite, but made everything else as is. I’m afraid I can’t comment on the method that Burda give as I didn’t use it – I have made so many ¬†shirts/blouses over the years I have stopped looking. The fabric is a wonderful soft¬†baby-cord¬†from stock (still some left!) in a gorgeous chocolate brown.

Front view on Bessie

Front view on Bessie

Back view on Bessie

Back view on Bessie

I was desperate to get this¬†wrapped¬†and into the post so the pictures aren’t very good – and Bessie is a little too large to be modeling this really. I hope to get a photograph from J when she gets a chance so I will update the post then.

If this fits her reasonably well there is an adaption in the magazine to make this into a jacket which I rather like. If my daughter agrees I may make that for her too.


Method – or just madness?

I have been intending to make the pattern for the lovely twisted top in the Pattern Magic book for about two weeks. I have read and understood the instructions (I think) and keep coming back to the ‘simple’ version which looks like a piece of cake to do but wouldn’t fit me in the size given. Not even close.

So…. to help with working out what the numbers should look like I have made a top from Februarys Burda magazine. I have seen many versions of this top and loved them all. So what took me so long? It needed to be graded up a size and I was feeling lazy.

Popular top - with good reason!

Popular top – with good reason!

The very simple styling means that I will be able to use the measurements from this pattern to check the pattern from the Pattern Magic book before I get anywhere near fabric  which should reduce the risks of it ending up a wadder.

I found some jersey in my stash and set to on this with great gusto. It really was an easy project – the pattern (even with my grading) fitted together very easily and fitted first time. The only alterations I made ¬†to the design were to shorten the body which even at the shorter length was about 2″ too long despite my liking my t-shirts long – and to alter the way the neckline was finished. The magazine suggests binding the edge with a strip (ooh sorry – I also tightened the neckline a little with a slightly shorter than advised strip) folded over the neck edge. I find it much easier to leave the seam allowance (only 1cm) in place and stitch the band which has been folded in half in place, press the seam allowance toward the body, and topstitch close to the strip to hold it in place. Much quicker and easier than trying to bind.

Neck finish detail.

Neck finish detail.

Bessie modeling the finished garment.

Bessie modeling the finished garment.

I am sorry that I can only show Bessie wearing the top at present – the Management wasn’t home in time to catch the light. However, I can say that this is only the first of what may be many of these tops to be made. I love it! I will also be using the long sleeve adaption as I have bought some lovely brown merino wool jersey which would look wonderful in this style. I can’t say I am certain about the dress version with the flounce…

Now that I know that this fits well I will get back to the Pattern Magic book and make the pattern. I intend to use the jersey knit from the Rag Market as a first try so even if it all goes pear shaped it wont be a great loss. Although I do like the fabric so I really hope it works!

I have also been working on some gift sewing (in addition to the customer work which is pretty busy at the moment) which I will be able to show you after the weekend – but for now a little teaser!

Gift sewing. But what - and for whom?

Gift sewing. But what – and for whom?


Patrones 324 and more

My dear friends G & H have brought me another Patrones magazine back from their travels – this time 324. I have had a quick scan through the magazine and feel that this issue is perhaps filled with things that are a bit ‘young’ for me.

Patrones 324

Patrones 324

And there are a lot of ‘onesies’. I really don’t think I am ‘onesie’ material. I might try the purple shorts in the hope that the sun will grace the UK this summer enough to wear them. I like the short trousers, excitingly described as Piratas, which may be a good warm weather compromise between ordinary trousers and shocking the public in shorts with my gleaming white skin.

Contents pages

Contents pages

 

Contents pages

Contents pages

I might spot something that I feel is more ‘me’ when I have more time to sit and study this magazine, but I suspect this will not be one of my favourite issues.

I have also started having the Burda Style magazine delivered so that I am not scouring the local news stands to find the issue with the ‘perfect pattern’ seen on someone else’s blog that I just must have! I used to get this magazine delivered regularly but eventually felt it had become a bit predictable so cancelled the order. Since then I have seen lots of things I liked, and had to track copies down before they vanished altogether. Anyway, I was very happy to find the first copy on the doormat and settled down with my breakfast cuppa to scour the pages. I regret to being a little underwhelmed. I like the cover dress, and there are a couple of details on other garments that are nice – but my favourite item in the magazine?

Not the dress - the dog!

Not the dress – the dog!

Maybe next month.


Happy Mothering Sunday!

I have had a wonderful Mothers Day. I woke up rather than being woken up. I had a jog along the river in Bewdley in a freezing cold wind with snow flurries and survived (I actually enjoyed it!).  And then I came home to find a lovely floral arrangement from my wonderful daughter which I am happy to share with you all Рpretty things should be shared.

Mothers Day flowers!

Mothers Day flowers!

After lunch I was able to spend some time finishing off the Burda trousers I have been making. They are model 143 from 2/2013, made up in a straight size 44. From my measurements I would have chosen a larger size but I always seem to end up fiddling with the fit to make them smaller so this time I cut the 44, but hedged my bets with large seam allowances! As I have already mentioned I did my best to foul these up, tracing the wrong line on the pockets so they had to be tweaked into place using that large seam allowance. I used a polyester/viscose mix from stock which has 6% elastane and I love the fit this pattern has given. I have taped the upper edge of the waistband to prevent it stretching in wear (I used the selvedge from some lining as I had run out of seam tape – I find this works very well and is a very thrifty option!). I did take the¬†center¬†back seam in about 1cm at the waist, which I was fairly amazed about, and the trousers sit really nicely into my back now without gapping. The only thing I am not 100% happy with is the pocket opening, but I should have known that I am ‘iffy’ about that pocket shape and changed it before I cut the fabric. It isn’t something I feel strongly enough about to be unhappy with this pair, but I will change it in future pairs. Yes, there will be more!

Burda trousers - front view

Burda trousers – front view

Burda trouser. Not a bad fit.

Burda trouser. Not a bad fit.

When you consider that these almost ended up in the bin last week they aren’t bad! I am happy with the fit, although I will ‘tweak’ it a little next time. I am planning to make these up again very soon without the side hip pocket shape I am unsure of. I know that I will have to use fabric with an elastane content, or allow a bit of extra ease.

This will double check that I am happy with the pattern before I pack it into a new file marked ‘Kim’s¬†TNT Patterns’!