Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pure Pride

I try not to use this blog to discuss anything other than sewing. When I stray away from patterns and notions, the topic is something very important to me. Please indulge a proud mother and I will pray to be forgiven of the sin of pride.

My daughter conceived and organized the first Employee Appreciation Week at the University of Virginia earlier this month. She told me about her plan last Fall and she worked hard for months to make it happen. According to her report and the article in the Cavalier Daily, the week was a great success and the employees appreciated being appreciated! Like most young adults, my daughter is still learning about herself and makes the requisite missteps, but when she is inspired, she really shines.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Quitting Cold Turkey

I have to quit sewing. A few days ago I was working on my white blouse (the one I need by the beginning of May) and my sewing machine worked perfectly. On Saturday morning, I packed it up to take to church for the biweekly sewing ministry. As I set it up, I noticed two small pieces of white plastic under the free arm. Uh-oh. I started sewing and heard a terrifying clunking noise. And if the clunking wasn't enough to worry me, as I sewed, the door to the bobbin compartment popped open every few minutes. Strange. The stitch looked fine, but I couldn't ignore the clunking. I went straight to the sewing machine dealer from the church. I won't have my machine for at least a week. I have to quit cold turkey. Well, at least I'll have time to get some housework done. Maybe.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Finished: BWOF 08-05-133 and BPF FW-07-405D

It's not hard to believe it's been over two weeks since my last post. Work has been horrible and I've been in a really bad mood and unable to finish anything. It's a good thing I live alone. No one should be around me when I get like this. Actual sewing and other sewing-related activities have kept me from throwing myself out the window. How do the poor souls who don't sew stay sane?

Blouse: BWOF 08-05-133
Pattern Description:
This long-sleeved blouse, from has faux French cuffs and Princess seaming on the front and back. The collar is constructed like a shawl collar rather than a collar on a stand.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I made this blouse three years ago, just when I was beginning to feel comfortable with BWOF instructions. Any Burdaphobes should know, Burdas do get easier with every completed project!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Fabric Used:
The top is a "featherweight wool blend" from Vogue Fabrics Swatch Club. Wool really is a versatile fabric! The top is a little meatier than a blouse, but not exactly a jacket. A blacket? A Jause? Whatever you call it, it's perfect for cool spring days. I can picture the top worn like a jacket with a tank top.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I like sewing Burda's because I can make them with very few alterations or design changes.

Pants: BPF FW-07-405

For the pants, I used Hot Patterns adaptation on Sandra Betzina's fly front zipper. I like the way the zipper shield was attached, but I didn't like the final position of the zipper. On the tutorial, Trudy said she hated the way zippers are sometimes visible under the flap at the center front. I've never had a problem with the zipper peeking out when I use the Betzina method. Other than that, these are the same pants I've made 24,817 times.

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Next up: BS 01-10-133

I needed a white blouse for the occasions when I serve as a volunteer usher at Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theater. I found some white tone-on-tone cotton when I was in Virginia - and it was on sale!!! I chose this design because it's a little, tiny step outside of the box for me. Most of my blouses button up the front and this one buttons only half-way up the front. I'm also excited about making the piping that goes around the insert and at the top of the collar. (Excited by piping!?! I'm such a sewing geek!)

As any Burdaphile knows, it is imperative to thoroughly read Burda Style directions before doing anything else. Here's how I knew I was getting better at reading and interpreting Burda Style directions.
BurdaSpeak: "Seam allowance on bottom end of left band extends."
Apparently, the translator didn't realize that speakers of Standard American English seldom use "seam" as a verb. After puzzling for only a minute or two, I concluded what was meant was "Sew allowance on bottom of left band extension." Not only have I learned to sew Burda, I can now speak Burda.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Must. Buy. Fabric.

I really didn't intend to go to G Street Fabrics on the way to visit my daughter in Virginia. If I had planned to go, I would have called someone from the area and tried to arrange a meet-up. When I left my house I had no intention of buying fabric at G Street. I swear. But I had too much time to think. As I was driving, I had almost two hours to come up with the following reasons to visit G Street.
  1. I had fabric for a top and no fabric for a coordinating bottom. It makes me uncomfortable to have "old maid" fabrics. I couldn't rest until I had a mate for a piece I bought last week.
  2. I wanted to see the new location. When I was at G Street last year, everyone was talking about the move to a new location. I prefer the new location. It's smaller and therefore it doesn't feel overwhelming.
  3. It's not like I'm in Rockville, MD everyday. If I didn't take this opportunity, who knew when I would have another chance?
  4. Traffic wasn't horrible and I was making good time on the road. Usually, the traffic nightmare in the Baltimore/D. C. area makes me agitated and tense. I timed my departure so I'd miss the morning rush hour. I needed to reward my terrific planning and judgment.
  5. I had Onstar GPS and presumably couldn't get lost. Since I didn't plan to visit G Street, I didn't print out Mapquest directions. But, thank goodness for GPS. I did get a little lost because of the construction in the area, but I made it with minimal headaches.
So I ended up buying fabric to be worn with the old maid blouse fabric. I didn't have a swatch with me at the time (because I never planned to buy fabric, remember?) so I had to guess at the match.
I think I did pretty good!

Once I got to Charlottesville, I visited Les Fabriques, my planned fabric stop. And, wonder of wonders, I didn't find one piece of fabric I wanted to buy! I liked a bolt of tone-on-tone white fabric on the sale table, but I didn't buy it. That is, I didn't buy it until I went back the next day because I remembered I needed a white blouse for the occasions I am a volunteer usher at the Walnut Street Theater.

Yes, I'm an unapologetic fabri-holic and I must buy fabric!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Touch of Pink

The challenge of using this fabric was to use the trim in a way that didn't look too 60's. When I tried the trim on the long sleeved tunic, (BWOF 06-09-135) all I could think of was how groovy it looked so I considered trimming the short sleeved blouse (BPF SS-06-402).

Burda Plus Fashion SS-06-402

My first inspiration was to use the trim only on the inside of the neckline where the instructions called for bias tape. Since it would not be visible to the public, I thought that would be a subtle way to use the trim – a "secret embellishment" since I would be the only person to see it. I would have been happy to leave well enough alone at that point, but the buttons had a touch of white and I wanted to use more trim so the buttons and trim could work together.

Pattern Description: Blouse with princess seaming in front and darts in the back.

Pattern Sizing: European plus sizing 44 - 52

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? I made this blouse before, so this time the instructions were easy. I first made this blouse back when I was totally confused by and critical of Burda instructions. Now, I'm used to the instructions and they don't bother me anymore.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I needed a short-sleeved blouse and this one worked.

Fabric Used: A crinkle cotton my daughter brought back from Morocco.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added an inch to the length. The trim on the neckline and sleeve could be considered a design change since it wasn't included in the original design.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? The next time a make this, I want to eliminate the collar add a conventional neck and front facing.

Conclusion: This cotton is very light and comfortable to wear. I have a perfect hot weather blouse.

Burda Style 06-09-135

Pattern Description:

Pattern Sizing: European plus size 44 - 52

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This fabric was purchased in Morocco and I wanted to use it for something that was reminiscent of that part of the world. This tunic was the closest thing.

Fabric Used: crinkle cotton

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: none, I made this as-is.

Conclusion: The fabric is lightweight, so I'll wear it when the weather is much warmer in spite of the long sleeves.