Steely Seamstress

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#OWOP19 – Capsule wardrobe with Grainline Driftless Cardigans

This week was like a Me-Made-May rerun….except it was November and all the problems with taking photos are just multiplied in the cold, wet and dark. So, I was very glad that a week is only seven days!

I wore my Driftless cardigans all week and pulled together seven different outfits from my capsule wardrobe.

OWOP Composite

The Obvious

Just like in Me-Made-May, this week was good for finding out where my wardrobe is lacking key items. Obviously, I enjoyed wearing my cardigans and definitely feel that another Driftless cardigan would be useful. I think that either a plain black cardigan or a forest green one would work well with my wardrobe. I’m not sure what fabric I would use though; a light-weight cotton/elastane jersey like the light blue cardigan, or perhaps something more heavy-weight, would a sherpa or a fleece work? Has anyone made a Driftless cardigan in these fabrics?

I immediately noticed that I don’t have many me-made plain long-sleeved t-shirts. Looks like I’ve made too many striped t-shirts. The cream and grey t-shirts in this capsule wardrobe are very old, possibly over ten years old and the cream one has a hole in it and looks nasty in the underarm area. Plain t-shirts aren’t that interesting to make, but I really do need to look into that.

OWOP Outfits Composite

The Surprises

I was pleasantly surprised with this combination. I was expecting that the khaki trousers wouldn’t work with the blue cardigan, but actually they’re good together

Less pleasant was how I felt about my capsule wardrobe. What can I say, by the end of the week it felt dull, dull, dull. Sure, it was great to wake up and not have to think at all about what to wear, but after a few days I was suffering from boredom. Was it that I wanted to add some more colour to my outfits? Or am I just not enthused by capsule wardrobes? But then I’ve seen some great ones from other bloggers I admire. Alex of Sewrendipity has done quite a few 10x 10 capsule wardrobes like this green one and so has Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn. Here’s one of her winter 10 x 10 capsule wardrobes. I think I should try this experiment again, as part of Me-Made-May, I’m sure I could feel differently about this when the weather is better.

 


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#OWOP19 – Grainline Driftless Cardigans all week

#OWOP19

This is the first time I’ve entered #OWOP, the photo challenge where sewing bloggers wear garments made from ONE pattern for ONE week. I’ve not entered before because I don’t make many repeats. I just like trying new things, I can’t help myself! In fact, looking through my wardrobe I can only find three patterns that I’ve made more than once (discounting another where only one of the garments is still in my wardrobe). I deliberated over which pattern I should choose, nonetheless:

I’ve made three attempts at Kwik Sew K4028, but one of those is short-sleeved – sorry not for November!

I’ve made two Grainline Moss skirts, but that forces me to wear skirts all week – not my thing really.

That left the Grainline Driftless cardigan as my chosen pattern for the week. I only have two of them, but I think I can combine them with lots of different items to make a capsule wardrobe.

Below is my wardrobe for the week with a link back to its original post:

Top row: Light blue Grainline Driftless cardigan, Burda top with shirred sleeves, Grey Grainline Moss skirt

Middle row: Cream and black Grainline Driftless cardigan, Black Burda surplice top, Slim-fitting Khaki trousers (RTW)

Bottom row: Cream long-sleeved t-shirt (RTW), Constellations Merchant and Mills Fielder top, Grey long-sleeved t-shirt (RTW)

OWOP Composite

I think that the nine garments are a fair representation of where my wardrobe is at the moment; there are three old RTW items in the selection. I suppose it has made me realise that most of my new t-shirts have stripes – I could have used two other striped t-shirts in the wardrobe. As this week is dedicated to the Grainline Driftless pattern, I’m going to have a think about my next Driftless cardigan; what colour will it be, what fabric should I use? I’ll post each day on Instagram with the day’s combination.


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Brushed Cotton Long-sleeved Tee – Burda 08/2019 #108

There have been some great Burda issues this year and one of my favourite collections is the “Lady in Red” from the August 2019. All the Burda samples in this collection have been modelled in red, which is immediately striking, but there the designs themselves hold just as much interest.

The blazer is stunning as a piece of work-wear and I’m particularly smitten with these trousers which have faux flap pockets and a belt at the waist with D-rings. I can imagine myself making quite a few garments using these patterns.

Burda Blazer 08/2019 #113

Burda Blazer 08/2019 #113

Trousers 08/2019 #120B

Trousers 08/2019 #120B

The pattern

Anyway, enough about the rest of the collection! The pattern that I did use this time around is Shirt #108 B. It’s not the most interesting item in the collection, looking just like a simple t-shirt with a bateau neckline. It does have some interesting shirred sleeves though and I do think it looks rather good sewn in the burnout fabric or in the leopard print (as Shirt 108A).

Burda 08/2019 #108

Burda 08/2019 #108 using burnout fabric

Burda 08/2019 #108A

Burda 08/2019 #108A

 

The fabric

I chose some brushed cotton jersey that I purchased from Fabric Land. It’s very soft to the touch and quite a “floppy fabric”, but I think it will have that glorious brushed cotton cosiness, which I need at the moment in this cold weather! I can’t see the exact fabric on the website anymore (I bought it a while ago), but this camoflage fabric is similar.

Burda #108 08/2019

Shirred Sleeve Tee

The construction

I made absolutely no alterations to this pattern. This is a total relief for me and something that infrequently happens. I’m not even sure why, as generally speaking at the very least I have to lop off several inches on the length of most Burda patterns. Sounds like a moan? Absolutely not, I couldn’t be happier…..just surprised!

This was a very easy pattern to sew. The only thing that took a little time was sewing in the shirring elastic. The technique that Burda use is to place the elastic along the sleeve, where the pattern markings show you, and then use a wide zig-zag stitch to secure the elastic to the sleeve. After two rows have been inserted on each sleeve, the idea is to pull the elastic until it is a certain length and then tie the ends. The technique works fine, however, I think there must be a misprint in the instructions as the finished length of the elastic line is too long, in fact it seemed to be the length that the elastic had before pulling it tight (49 cm). Nevertheless this wasn’t a problem, I just pulled the elastic till I thought it looked right.

Shirred Sleeve Detail

Shirred Sleeve Detail

Also, to note Burda suggested 1.5 cm seam allowances, which I added, thinking it would be useful to have such a wide seam allowance when sewing a pattern that is new to me. However, I think I’ll just cut that down to 1cm if I use the pattern again as it was just irritating to use the overlocker with such a large seam allowance.

Burda #108 08/2019 back view

Burda #108 08/2019 back view

 

Shirred Sleeve Tee Burda #108 08/2019

Shirred Sleeve Tee

Summary

I think this t-shirt will fit in well with lots of things in my wardrobe. Greys, blues and black are common colours for me to wear so there will be many garments I can pair this with. I really like the fancy sleeves; they add interest to an otherwise basic t-shirt, and extra bunched-up fabric has my vote to combat the cold!

I actually really like the idea of using burnout fabric, but I think this may depend on whether I can find some suitable fabric. It would make a good party top, not that I get invited to much (sob, sob….)

By the way, is anyone else annoyed by the way it takes ages to find anything on the burdastyle.com website? The patterns aren’t in release order, plus I used to like that feature where you could look at a whole collection, which doesn’t seem to be an option anymore.


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#MakeNine2019 – Making a bodice block for a sleeveless top using Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich Part 1

One of my #MakeNine2019 projects was to make a bodice block. The reasons for this are simple; I have an unusually shaped upper body. All my life it has been tricky to find tops that look good on me; I never wore RTW fitted shirts or blouses because they simply didn’t fit at all. But even since I started sewing my own clothing, I have struggled to create sleeveless tops, in particular, that are well fitted with the more usual fitting adjustments. I end up with gaping arm-scyes in particular.

For this reason, I thought I’d stop the tinkering-round-the-edges approach I have until now adopted for fitting my tops and try creating a bodice block from scratch using a pattern cutting book as a reference. I found Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich in a charity shop, and immediately snapped it up. It’s old, but a classic.

Step 1

According to the book, the first step is to take all the measurements I need. The book has a handy section on which measurements to take and how to take them. For example, the sleeve length is measured by placing your hand on your hip so tat your arm is bent and then measuring from the shoulder bone over the elbow to the wrist bone above the little finger.

Body measurements

Body measurements

Before I started, I made some predictions about how my body might vary from the standard measurements and it was no surprise to find that I have a very much shorter waist to hip measurement, larger waist and wider back.

Here’s a table of my measurements. The dart and armhole depth (in red) are standard measurements and I didn’t include the measurements that would be needed for a dress / skirt, like the waist to floor measurement, because I won’t be needing that for making a top.

Bodice block measurements

Bodice block measurements

Step 2

The next step takes you through drafting the block. I used some squared paper and followed the instructions for the “close fitting bodice block”. To make everything clear, I marked my final lines in green felt-tip pen.

Close fitting Bodice Block

Close fitting Bodice Block

Step 3

For a sleeveless block there are some additional instructions to transform the bodice block from step 2 above so that it will work for sleeveless tops. These involve drawing new side seams and armhole depths. I’ve marked these onto my block in orange felt-tip pen.

Sleeveless Bodice Block

Sleeveless Bodice Block

So far so good. My next step involves transferring my front dart from the shoulder to the underarm and then making a toile. I think this is where the fun will start. I have some more predictions for this step; there will be some further adjustments to make as there will be some gaping at the armhole, which means I’ll need to make a full bust adjustment….just a prediction….

I can see why I’ve put off doing this process before. It does seem easier to just go with the rough size on a pattern, make some small adjustments and live with the fit I get on the finished garment. I would say that the fit isn’t too bad (nothing anyone else would notice), but I’m getting fussier as time goes by. I can see though some more benefits for getting this right. I’ll have a block that I can use to make my own designs and I’ll really be able to dive into the Pattern Magic books with more confidence.


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Grunge Party Outfit

I don’t normally create costumes enthusiastically for work events, but this year I thought I would, for a change, hand-make a contribution to this year’s “Ready to Rock” theme. I thought an easy costume would be a grunge-style outfit. In my wardrobe, I had a checked flannel shirt, and a leather jacket, already. So, I decided to sew a 90s style slip dress to accompany these.

90s inspiration

The fabric

At the rag market in Birmingham there is a stall that sells a variety of viscose wovens at only £2 a metre. I had snapped some of this up while attending Sew Brum. The fabric has a regular small floral repeat and I thought it would work well with this style of dress.

Burda Slip Dress

Burda Slip Dress

The pattern

I now have quite a few sewing magazines and this project has made me realise just how useful it is to buy collections of patterns like this. I certainly wouldn’t have been drawn to make a slip dress, but here I have a pattern to draw upon for my costume.  This slip dress can be found in the 11/2016 edition. It is a very simple design and even with the modifications I made I managed to knock out this dress in a few days (that’s quick for me).

Burda_112016_113

BurdaStyle #113 from November 2016

I changed the bust pieces quite radically on this pattern. I suppose you could call it a full bust adjustment (FBA), but I have a camisole top that I used as a basis for my modification.

The side seams on the pattern are completely straight, but I added a bit of shaping into the waist. I made the dress much shorter that the version in the magazine, to keep it in keeping with the 90s styles and I omitted the flounce at the back.

Burda slip dress (Back view)

Burda slip dress (Back view)

The construction

I used French seams for the side seams and the below-bust seams are hidden with the inner bust pieces during the construction. I was so pushed for time before the event that I didn’t finish all the hand-sewing on the insides and I didn’t finish the hem by hand either. However, to be honest I think the overlock finish I used on the hem looked fine for the dishevelled, slapdash style I was trying to create (actually I could say recreate, since I wore fairly similar things in the 90s anyway).

Summary

This isn’t the best item of clothing I have ever made. The fabric is very thin and it had a tendency to cling to my tights. I had been quite careful to try and cut the fabric on the bias, but despite my measurements the pattern doesn’t line up correctly at the hem. The reason for this may have been that my struggles with the slippery nature of the fabric resulted in the fabric not being on the true bias or, it could be that the print isn’t completely straight on the fabric. It’s a small thing, that most people wouldn’t notice, but it bugs me! Somehow I managed to twist one of the straps during the construction, but that one is easy to fix.

Burda Slip Dress

Burda Slip Dress

Overall, the dress was comfortable to wear and looked like an authentic 90s style. I boogied away to Bon Jovi, Queen, Guns and Roses and Nirvana for hours!

I had thought that I would cut the dress down to a camisole, as I would get more use out of a top. However, there are enough remnants from this project to make another camisole top anyway, so I could leave the dress as it is. I’m not ecstatic with my construction skills as I was rushing, but let’s call it a wearable toile. I do like the way this dress is styled in Burda magazine, perhaps I could make something similar as a Christmas party outfit. I think the fabric used in the magazine, has more body to it and makes the dress into something much more elegant than my dress in cheap viscose.

Burda Slip Dress

Burda Slip Dress

By the way, did anyone notice this article during the week? Apparently, that unwashed, moth-eaten-looking cardigan that Kurt Cobain wore for the MTV unplugged session went at auction for $334,000!


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Clearly I haven’t had enough of this pattern yet? K4028 the fourth

I definitely need more basic t-shirts in my wardrobe. I don’t have many me-made ones (particularly long-sleeved ones) and all the shop-bought ones are now ancient (most at least ten years old!)

The pattern

I have a love – hate relationship with this pattern, Kwik Sew K4028. I feel convinced that this t-shirt pattern is the good basic that I need in my wardrobe, but I haven’t always been satisfied with the results.

K4028

My first attempt was awful. The neckline was huge, revealing and threatened enlargement. The fabric bobbled almost immediately. On my second attempt, I did away with the cowl. I actually like this very oversized slobby t-shirt, but I found that in this floppy viscose I’m convinced that the neckline is growing. For my third attempt, I still didn’t have the courage to add that cowl back in, and I made this very successful short-sleeved version, which I adore. Actually I really like this my second attempt too and I will try to rescue the neckline before it gets too big.

I’m beginning to wonder why I’m still persevering with this pattern, especially as I’ve modified it to exclude the cowl, surely its main feature. But, despite the challenges I’ve had, I’m pleased with the fit this pattern gives and I feel the problems are fabric / construction related, rather than with the pattern itself. So, enter attempt number four!

The fabric

I decided that I would stick with cotton jersey for this pattern as it seems to have less weight and keeps shape better. I was at the Sew Brum event a couple of weeks ago, and was on the look-out for some jersey fabric for my long-sleeved t-shirt. By the time I arrived at Guthrie and Ghani I seemed to have a bag full of blue. I suspect that my next fabric choice was just an impulse decision; I went mad and bought this red and white striped fabric. Am I happy with this choice? After sobre reflection, I’m not sure. I don’t wear red often, but if I hadn’t chosen this, I would have ended up with more blue fabric! Anyway I figured that this was probably going to be worn as a layer under my denim jumpsuit or pinafore dress, which would tone the red down. For reference I bought just 1.2 metres, which is all that is needed for a sans cowl version of this top.

The Construction

I spent a huge amount of time making sure all those stripes lined up correctly. I tacked and left pins every few stripes to get those stripes lined up. I managed the sleeves well, but sadly, one side is out by about one stripe in places. At least though the botton hem and sleeve hems are all lined up. I don’t think anyone, but me will notice. I added an elastic strip to each shoulder. I purchased a reel of the Gutterman recycled polyester thread for this. Like Sew Amazing are doing this at the same price as the non-recycled thread. I have to say that I didn’t see any difference at all in how it behaved, although the thread has a bit more “sheen” to it. I loaded my bobbin thread with woolly nylon; this provided a little more stretch at those hems. I finished the neckline with a band, with the striped fabric cut in the opposite direction.

I did make a small adjustment to the fit. I found that when I tried it on there was too much fabric around the shoulders. Obviously, this was the case in the previous versions, but I had used fabric with more drape before, even the cotton used in the short-sleeved version had had more drape. Therefore, I pinched in about a centimetre on each side of the t-shirt and shaved this amount off the body, until it reached the sleeve pieces.

K4028 red t-shirt

K4028 red t-shirt

Summary

I enjoyed wearing this t-shirt at the weekend. The weather is turning colder and it was a welcome addition to the wardrobe. I think the red stripy-ness is a bit overwhelming on its own, but I think this pop of colour looks great under my jumpsuit.

 

 


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Burdastyle.com Quick actions required by the end of the weekend

Burdastyle.com

I was doing some rather directionless browsing this evening. You know the type; dreaming up outfits you’ll never have the time to sew. Luckily, I looked at the www.burdastyle.com site during my on-line travels. Like quite a few UK people, I use the American site and have an account on there. There was a post announcing the launch of their brand-new site. Good news, I thought, the site could definitely do with a refresh, but there is a big snag, all the content on the customer accounts is going to disappear and the message urges you to

“Connect as soon as possible to your customer account on www.burdastyle.com to download your content, especially:

– Your purchased downloadable patterns in your pattern library
– The photos of your community projects (if you uploaded some)
– Everything you currently see on the website that you would like to save

Warning: you only have until Sunday October 20th at 1pm EST to do this”

I am so glad I spotted this, as I have quite a few patterns in my library. Admittedly, those I’ve used, I’ve downloaded, but there were a few good free ones that I’m glad I now won’t lose.

Judging by the comments, there are missed feelings about the new sites; a similar migration has been carried out on the French, German and UK sites. I’m not sure how many of the older patterns they will keep on the site. We’ll have to see what when get when the site is launched.

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Dear customers,⠀ ⠀ As you may know, we the current operator behind burdastyle.com (formerly F+W Media) are stopping our activity with the site. Nevertheless, the adventure continues and we are pleased to announce to you that “Burda Style Inc” the official producer of Burda Style magazine will now take over the website and social networks of your beloved sewing magazine and brand! Please read below for more information to save your projects and patterns as well as contact information for questions and concerns…⠀ ⠀ With the new editor comes a brand new website, but unfortunately the development of this new website will result in some data loss due to technical incompatibilities between the previous and upcoming website.⠀ ⠀ Therefore, we invite you to connect as soon as possible to your customer account on burdastyle.com to download your content, especially:⠀ – Your purchased downloadable patterns in your pattern library⠀ – The photos of your community projects (if you uploaded some)⠀ – Everything you currently see on the website that you would like to save on the side⠀ ⠀ Warning: you only have 7 days from now to do it.⠀ We thank you in advance for your understanding concerning this situation.⠀ ⠀ THE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU!⠀ ⠀ Within 7 days, you will discover a brand new website! It will be updated regularly and will provide you with enriched content dedicated to our passion for sewing.⠀ ⠀ A NOTE FROM BURDA STYLE⠀ ⠀ “Our mission is to provide you with content that meets your every wish and to share with you the entire Burda Style world each month! We sincerely hope that you will like the new version of the website and we apologize for the inconvenience caused by this change of manager.”⠀ ⠀ ANY QUESTIONS?⠀ ⠀ Please feel free to contact Burda Style Inc. at the following email address: hello@burda.fr

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