Thursday, July 26, 2012

Finished: McCall's 4097 & BWOF 03-2006-131C

Top:  McCall's 4097

Click here or see sidebar for Pattern Review
Pattern Description:
Very simple top with cut-on sleeves.  The sleeves have a slit.  The pattern includes shorts, capris and two other tops.

Pattern Sizing:
18W to 32W

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This design does not conflict with huge checks in the fabric.  I had another pattern in mind for this fabric, but I didn't have enough fabric to accommodate the layout needed for the big checks.

Fabric Used:
Cotton blend

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't actually make any changes, but there is a design change I wish I'd made!  Louise Cutting recommends changing the shape of the  back neck facing so that it is about 6 - 7 inches deep at the center and gradually tapers to the shoulder.  According to Cutting, this change helps the facing stay in place and looks nicer on the hanger.  I wish I'd made that change on the top.  If I make the top again, I will include the altered back neck facing.

Would you sew it again?
In a solid color, this simple pattern is an excellent palate for embellishment  – I'm thinking silk screening.  I only wish I had the skill and talent to do some type of embellishment.

Originally, the fabric was paired with a more complex BurdaStyle Magazine pattern. The big checks required additional fabric and I didn't have enough.  I found this pattern online and immediately ran out to buy it.  I didn't trace off the pieces, so I was able to cut and sew it in one day.  I like patterns like that!

Capris BWOF 03-2006-131C

Click here or see sidebar for
Pattern Review.
Pattern Description:
Fly front capri length pants.  The pattern also includes long pants with back patch pockets.

Pattern Sizing:
European plus size 46 - 52

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The front pocket instructions were a bit of a challenge.  As usual the problem could have been solved with a diagram.  The pocket included a piping strip inserted into a dart.  The sewer is instructed to slash the dart, sew the piping to the top of the pocket opening and sew it into the dart as the dart is sewn.  Trying to write clear directions here is a challenge for me, but imagine how easy it would be to understand if I included a diagram.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
In spite of the challenging instructions, I liked the front pocket.  I made these pants a long time ago and forgot how I did the front pocket, so it was a challenge to me again.  This time, I made notes on the instruction sheet and pattern piece so it will be easier next time.

Fabric Used:
Cotton twill.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I made none this time, but  I'd like to add a few design elements by cutting the legs into pieces for topstitched faux fell seams and adding a few decorative tabs.  I like it when a project inspires me to another project!

This is not the outfit I visualized when I bought the fabric, but it still suits the purpose.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

HotPattern Giveaway!

So far, it been a hot summer in my part of the world.  I want to celebrate the hot weather with a Hot Pattern Giveaway.

Here are the patterns:

HP: 1052:  Classix Nouveau Great White Shirt

HP 1033:  Plain & Simple Fitted T Redux

HP 1120:  Classix Nouveau Primavera Dress
Here are the facts:

HP1052 Classix Nouveau Great White Shirt:  I picked this up from the pattern exchange table at PR Weekend 2011.  It's one of the first HotPatterns – back when there were three size ranges:  Slinky Girl, Glamour Girls and Curvy Girl.  This pattern is Glamour Girl (sizes 12 - 20). I've never used it, and I don't know if the former owner used it.
HP 1033 Plain & Simple Fitted T-Shirt Redux: This is only pattern of the three I actually used.  I cut away the instructions from the rest of the pattern sheet.  The instruction sheet, of course, is included. Otherwise the sheets are intact.  All sizes (6 - 26) are included.
HP1120 Classix Nouveau Primavera Dress:  This pattern has had only one owner - me.  I've never used it.  All sizes (6 - 26) are included.

Here are the rules:
  1. Indicate your interest in owning these patterns by leaving a comment on this post before August 1, 2012. Being a follower isn't required, but I invite you to become one if you haven't already done so.
  2. The winner gets all three patterns.
  3. The winner will be chosen by random number generator.  I'll announce the winner here on the blog and ask the winner to email their mailing address to me.
  4. No shipping outside the USA

The winner will be announced on Thursday, August 2, 2012.  Good luck!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Finished: BSM 05-12-135 & BPF FW-06-402

Seems like a long time since I've sewn an actual "outfit" the way I used to.  I got sidetracked and started buying fabrics differently.  I bought single pieces.  But, I'm back into the outfit mode again.

See sidebar or click here for pattern review.

Blouse  BSM 05-2012 #135

Pattern Description: 
Just when I  was looking for a camp shirt pattern, BurdaStyle Magazine gives me this pattern.  It's a short sleeved blouse with a sleeve band.  Sometimes BurdaStyle gives me just the right pattern – just not always when I want or need it.  In church we often say, "He may not come when you want him, but He's always right on time." I don't mean to be blasphemous, but the same can be said about BurdaStyle.

Pattern Sizing:
European plus size - 44 - 52

Were the instructions easy to follow?
I see a BurdaStyle Magazine pattern and I think I know how to complete a particular technique, in this case, the sleeve band.  Then I read the poorly translated instructions and think, "Huh???"  I  parse out the translation and discover my technique and BurdaStyle's technique are the same.  The problem is the language.  Diagrams would have saved the time I spent scratching my head.   BurdaStyle doesn't do diagrams.  I accept that.   I still want pictures sometimes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like camp shirts and the sleeve band adds a little "something different" to an otherwise typical camp shirt.  I didn't even know I wanted "something different" until I saw the pattern.  My first thought was to omit the band, but then I thought I should really get freaky and keep the sleeve band.  The band is purely decorative in that it doesn't open, but it's a nice design element.

Fabric Used:
I bought this cotton-poly blend at G-Street Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The buttons on the sleeve band were not included in the original design.  The instructions called for a hand-stitched X on band.  I think on a solid color lightweight denim type fabric, that would look okay, but I really couldn't picture it on this blouse.

I can see this blouse made slightly more dressy by using a solid silk fabric.  As much as I like camp shirts, I'm sure I'll make this again.

Pants BPF FW-2006 #402

These pants are from my Docker Knock-Off collection.  They are typical fly front side pocket pants to which I added welt pockets.

Pattern Sizing:
European 44 - 52

Were the instructions easy to follow? 
If I had a nickel for every pair of fly front side pocket pants I made, I could probably go on an long vacation.  I didn't need or use the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 
I like this pattern because, with a few simple changes, it transforms into Docker-style pants.

Fabric Used: 
Cotton-poly blend twill

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
To get that authentic Docker look, I added single welt pockets to the back.  I was worried about putting a buttonhole directly on top of a dart, so I made a sample first.  There didn't seam to be any problems wit it.  I can't say enough about the welt pocket instructions in Pants for Real People.  I no longer fear the welt!

I extended the front yoke to the zipper extension.  This eliminates the unattached, flappy front pockets.  I don't remember a BurdaStyle pattern that included this extension.  I just have to remember to make the simple adjustment on every pair of pants.

This pattern has definitely moved into the TNT category.  Now, I'm always on the lookout for twills in interesting or neutral colors to make more Docker Knock-offs.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Evolution of a Sewing Room (cont.)

Chapter 2

A New Place to Sew

More room to sew
The sewing room move is done!  I patched holes with tape and spackle and did some touch-up painting.  The Salvation Army took away my daughter's bedroom furniture. I vacuumed corners that had not seen the sun in years. Yuck.  The room needs a major cosmetic re-do, including painting and carpet removal.  But in the meantime, I have a new place to sew!

At first, the curmudgeon in me wanted a "no-one-is-allowed-in-here-but-me" sewing room.  I considered getting rid of the bed, but that wasn't practical.   I still have relatives who like to visit and they need a place to sleep.   Besides, I designed and built the cutting table expressly so it would fit over a bed.  It would be a shame to deny the table its destiny.

I considered the major drawbacks of my former sewing room and addressed them. In the small sewing room, my cutting table was in a corner and only accessible from two sides.  Now I can access it from three sides.  As I'm fighting with laying out knits, the last thing I want to do is rotate the fabric or stretch over the table in order to pin or cut out a piece.  Now, everything is within reach because I can walk around to the other side of the table.  Funny how simple things like that can make such a difference.

Second, I have more storage space in a bigger closet.  As my collection of Burda magazines grew, I trembled every time I thought of getting rid of them.  Now,  I've got room for another five years worth!  And I have another bookcase in which to store fabric.  I may even acquire a stash!!!

As small and cramped as my former sewing room was, it was a functional space in which I was very comfortable. Now, my sewing space is functional AND roomy!  What more does a sewer need? 

For a guided tour, click New & Improved Sewing Space link under Pages in the sidebar or click the link in the caption above.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Finished: BPF FW-2006-402B

My change in employment status necessitates a change in my work wardrobe.  I've always worn pants to work, but I tried to wear less casual career pants – at least once in a while.  Now, since I'll be crawling on the floor with toddlers and preschoolers, my uniform will be strictly casual.  With a few changes, #402 from the Fall/Winter 2006 issue of Burda Plus Fashion made up into Dockers-style pants I was looking for.

Burda Plus Fashion FW-06-402
See sidebar or click for
Pattern Description:
Fly front, side pocket pants.

Pattern Sizing:
European plus size range;  44 - 52

Were the instructions easy to follow?
These are very basic fly front, side pocket pants.  I really didn't need the instructions.  It is a Burda magazine pattern so problem instructions are a given.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
My intention was to knock-off Dockers.  Other people knock-off expensive designer fashions.  I knock-off Dockers.  How pathetic is that?  I like this pattern because it had the basic bones of a pair of Dockers.  All I needed to add were pockets.

Fabric Used:
Cotton twill, perfect for the type of pants I wanted.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I added double welt pockets to the back so the pants would look more like Dockers.  I used the instructions for double welt pockets from Pants for Real People.  I get good results when I follow those directions carefully.

Would you sew it again? 
I do plan to sew these pants again. They will be my new "uniform".   The next pair might have single welt pockets in the back, also using the instructions from Pants for Real People.  There is a welt pocket treatment in the August/September 2012 of Threads that I might try the next time I use this pattern.

I plan to make a one or two more pairs of Docker knock-offs using this pattern.   And that will be the extent of my work wardrobe.  Semi-retirement is fantastic!