Monday, August 22, 2011

Blouse Burda 7770

I made this blouse earlier this summer and have worn it quite a lot. When the weather is hot and humid,  I prefer a sleeveless over blouse. They tend not to show the rivulets of perspiration running down my body as readily as a  close fitting knit top.

Burda 7770 – princess seam blouse with  extended sleeve and an asymmetrical opening. This  Burda pattern has been around since 2007, so I was really surprised that there wasn’t already a review in blog land.  Burda envelope patterns are printed with seam allowances, and finished garment measurement for hip and bust on printed on the pattern pieces just like the big 4. The only thing I don’t like about the Burda envelope patterns is that the cutting layouts are printed on the pattern tissue, not on the instruction sheets. I often want to see the layout before I open up the pattern tissue. And from years of using big 4 pattern brands,  I am programmed to rough cut around the pattern pieces and throw away the pattern tissue scraps.

The fabric I used for this blouse is a cotton print remnant purchased at JoAnn Fabrics. The colors and floral motifs of the print reminds me of a piece of fabric my mother had in the early 70’s. The blouse on the pattern envelope front looks a bit small in the bust on the model. I checked the finished garment measurement of the bust printed on the pattern pieces and there was a 2 inch difference between it and mine (wearing ease). I thought that would be enough, but when I tried on the completed blouse it was tight in the bust area and I am not a busty gal. I reduced the seam allowance in the princess seam to 3/8 inch over the bust to give me a bit more room.
The asymmetrical front opening is faced, Easy peasy sewing.The only issue I had was, because I was using a remnant that was less than the recommended yardage, I had a difficult time finding a piece of the fabric with the right shape and size for the asymmetrical facing. Don’t tell, but it is slightly off grain. The blouse required 7 buttons and I had 8. I sewed the extra button to the inside side seam allowance, as is done on RTW men’s shirts, so it would be handy if I lost a button.

There is a very similar blouse in the Burda Style magazine 06-2007 issue, # 112 and 113, with the same asymmetrical front band/closure. However the magazine blouse has darts instead of princess seams, and either cap sleeves or long sleeves  instead of extended sleeves. The long sleeve version is featured in the detailed sewing course section. The magazine pattern would probably be easier to sew/alter and  give the same look.
I wear the blouse with several different bottoms; white RTW jeans, and culottes and capris which I made. More on the latter garments in the next post. This is a picture of me wearing the blouse  while giving a presentation at an ASG meeting. The  presentation topic was planning a SWAP (Sewing with a Plan) around a garment already in your wardrobe .

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Back from Vacation

I just returned from a wonderful vacation at the Delaware shore.
My vacation attitude was best summarized by this line from the Jimmy Buffett, Zak Brown song, Knee Deep,  ”only worry in the world, is the tide going to reach my chair” My beach chair was parked at the high tide line so I could keep an eye these two "sea urchins".
They had to be forced to take a breaks from playing in the waves and digging holes in the sand. I wish I had their energy. We were dreading a beach vacation in the hot humid weather the east coast is experiencing, but it was tempered by cool ocean breezes and we could actually were able to sit comfortably on the porch of the beach house in the evening. We returned home to a crunchy brown lawn and parched looking perennials. My fig trees are the only plants in the yard thriving in the hot weather and they will have a bumper crop, if I can just keep them watered until the fruit ripens.

Sewing related activities during the vacation included a trip to all the quilt shops in the area with DS, BFF and SIL, who are all quilters. My DS has a AccuQuilt,
a fabric cutting machine that uses dies to quickly and accurately cut the strips, triangles and other shapes used in quilts.  On the one rainy day of the week, we sent the guys off to the local nail salon to get pedicures and we used the Accuquilt to production cut quilt shapes. I have saved my good silk work blouses for years with the idea of making a quilts from them to “document” the fabrics and colors worn during my career 1979-20??. This is only a small sample of my old blouses.
Originally quilts were made from clothing scraps, and historians learned a lot about the fabrics and dyes of those times from studying the quilts. But nowadays, quilt shops have fabrics designed specifically for quilting, complete with  marketing and advertising campaigns, classes, and glossy books to encourage sales. I am a bit saddened by this trend. These fabrics are not anything like the natural fiber fabrics used currently for clothing.  I cut apart my blouses, preserving the large sleeve, front, and back pieces. So while SIL and BFF were cutting up the latest quilt fabrics, I was cutting triangles and strips from silk broadcloth and shirting. I recently read a post by Lauriana of petitmainsauvage  She buys circa 1980's silk blouses like mine from thrift stores and repurposes them. I thought “Honey, I wore those blouses, you ought to see my collection!" But she is right about the blouses being made of wonderful fabrics, and lots of it because of the blocky styles.

On my inspiration board for fall are these wonderful garments that combine traditional tailoring and knitting. I just love them.
They are from the Winter 2010 collection of VAWK, a Canadian based design team that includes Sunny Fong – winner of Project Runway Canada’s Season 2. The knitting is the work of 24 year old Jacqueline Schiller, who was discovered behind the counter of a yarn shop and commissioned to do the knitting side of things two weeks before the show.
The knitted pieces appear to be attached to some of the garments with needle felting. I wonder if I can justify the purchase of a needle felting machine for this project.

I have a coworker who is a fantastic knitter. She looked at my sketches and the pictures and suggested the yarn type and weight that would achieve the look I was after. Part of my confidence in pursuing this project is the knowing what a great resource she is. I found the perfect yarn, a wool thick and thin bulky roving, that matched my wool fabric, while on vacation.  I practiced my knitting during after dinner chats on the porch. I need the practice. The last time I knitted a garment, I was in high school.

The article Knit One, Sew Too by Susan Lazear, which appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Notions ( a publication of the American Sewing Guild) is a great source of information and inspiration on using a sewing pattern and incorporating knitting in the finished garment. I may use some of Susan's ideas with some of the sweater knits I bought in recent years from EOS and Denverfabrics, and thought there might be others of you with similar fabrics aging in your stashes.