Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Finished: BSM 08-13-137

New Rule:  When looking for Burda Style Magazine patterns to sew, I should focus on current issues. 

What's the point of subscribing to a monthly, fashion forward pattern magazine if I'm sewing patterns from years ago?  I wanted a classic long sleeved blouse and I almost used a pattern from 2008. I looked through my index, refusing to look at anything before 2012 and found three or four suitable options, including 08-13-137.

Pattern Sizing: European plus size 44 - 52

Construction:  The most interesting aspect of this blouse was the sleeve construction.  The sleeve appears as set-in, but it is attached as if it were a raglan sleeve.  I didn't make that connection when I first read the instructions. I realized the similarity when I was well into the process of attaching the sleeve.   

First, the side seams, but not the shoulder seams, were sewn.    

Then the sleeve was attached to the armhole. 

Finally, the shoulder and upper sleeve seams were sewn in a continuous seam.

(The diagrams above are from  a different blouse in the September 2013 issue of BSM, not my blouse from the August issue. Just imagine the result being a set-in sleeve.)

I used to be so intimidated and annoyed by Burda instructions. But I was able to attach the sleeves without the benefit of the illustrated instructions. Sewers might be put off by Burda magazine's instructions, but one really does get used the them as you sew them more.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the dart placement on this blouse.  I also like the way the sleeves are finished.  Most of my long sleeved blouses have cuffs.  

Fabric Used:
I really don't know what this fabric is.  I don't even remember when and where I bought it, although I think I may have bought it in San Fransciso during PR weekend.  This fabric behaves like challis.  It's soft and drapey and wrinkles a lot.

I can't imagine making a muslin for every garment I sew, but I see the advantages.  If I think of this blouse as a muslin, there are some changes I would make if I make this blouse again.  The sleeves are a little too long and the blouse is a little looser than I expected.  For my casual, semi-retired life life, this blouse is just fine.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Managing a Thread Stash

Some solutions are so obviously simple, I wonder if I'm the only person on earth who hasn't figured it out.  My problem of neatly storing my growing stash of Wawak thread is a perfect example.

I have accumulated a lot of thread.  I use up to six spools of matching thread on each garment:  five for the serger and one for the conventional sewing machine.  The conventional spools of thread I buy from JoAnn have a slot to control the thread tails. No problem there.  But the spools I buy from Wawak are different.  They have no slot.  My compartmentalized thread storage drawers were turning into a mass of tangled thread.  The simple solution was  Hugo's Amazing Tape.  It's a vinyl tape that sticks to itself without adhesive.  I cut a length of tape about five inches long and wrap it tightly around the  spools.  No adhesive residue on the thread and no more loose ends making a tangled mess!  And it's reusable!  I wasn't able to find it locally in any brick and mortar store,  but it's available online at Nancysnotions.com, Amazon.com and CreateForLess.com.  It comes in 1/2", 1" and 2" widths.

Now, about those hundreds of thread spools – I always shop my thread stash before buying more thread.  Usually, I have the color I need so it's not necessary to buy more thread.  But … take a look at the picture above. There is still room for one more cube and hundreds of spools!

Don't hate me because I'm organized!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Finished: BSM 07-13-143

It happens every summer.  The weather begins to cool long before I finish the hot weather garments in my queue.   I fell in love with this top as soon as I saw it at the end of June.  Now it's August and I hope there are a few more days hot enough to wear it.
BSM 07-13-134

Pattern Description: 
Sleeveless top with two different front darts.

Pattern Sizing:
European Plus size range: 44 - 52

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the quirky mismatched darts.  For the gathered dart, I used clear elastic to control the gathers.  The gathered area had to be a specific length to fit within the dart.  I marked the distance on the elastic.  Then I matched the marks on the elastic with the marks on the garment by stretching the elastic as I sewed it onto the garment.  Nice smooth gathers resulted.

stretched elastic over area to be gathered (sample is pictured)
smoothly gathered dart

Fabric Used:
Rayon Batik.  I bought this fabric when I visited Les Fabriques, my favorite fabric store in Charlottesville, VA.  (The store is in it's third location since I first went there in 2008.  I'm worried that the next move will be out of business.)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The changes I made were minor.  The instructions called for a hand sewn hem.  I sewed mine by machine.  I also sewed down the neckline facing by machine.

I like this top.  It's as comfortable as a t-shirt but much cooler. It would have been perfect for the heat wave we had in July.  I'm not wishing for another heat wave, though.  Just a day or two with temperatures in the upper 80s.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Finished: BPF SS-08-403B and 406B

Technical drawings
It's been quite a long time since I've made one of my matchy-matchy-bought-to-go-together outfits.  I made this outfit with fabric I bought at Britex during PR Weekend in San Francisco.  The patterns are from the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of Burda Plus Style.

Blouse SS-08-406B
Pattern Sizing:
This patten is from Burda's Plus Size collection.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Burda's instructions are what they are.  They are no longer and issue for me.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the way the darts were part of the design details.  The bust darts started in the armscye.  There are also front darts and darts in the back.  I see the darts as a design detail and not just a feature to define the shape of the blouse.

Fabric Used:
I used a batik.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I never liked the collar on this blouse.  The collar and the v-neck were not a good combination for me, so I left it off.  I liked the purely decorative draw string, but I didn't include it.

This pattern could very easily become a TNT - even though it is already five years old.

Pants SS-08-403B
Pattern Sizing:
From Burda's plus size collection.  These pants and the above blouse are featured together.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I really liked the design details in these pants.  I wanted something casual and sporty like cargo pants – with decorative seams and lots of pockets. This pattern was the closest I had to what I wanted.  I especially wanted pants I could roll up into capris, but that is not what I got.  The length is more cropped than capri.  I should have chosen another seam finish if I planned to wear these rolled up.  But since the length is a little strange I may not wear them rolled up.

Fabric Used:
I used a lightweight twill.  Perfect weight for summer.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I seldom make pattern alterations to my Burdastyle patterns.  I'm not as fit-picky as I should be.

I like these pants as pants.  I suppose I could adjust the pants so they rolled up to a shorter length.  But they are finished now and I'm ready to move on to another creation.