Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Independant Pattern Makes

Independant pattern companies are everywhere, in addition to the well-known sites on the internet, I like to browse at the clothing patterns offered by the shops on Etsy. There are hundreds.  Many are same old, same old...how many ways can you draft a basic T shirt? but you can find some unique ones, and if you are willing to take a chance on the quality of the pattern drafting, instructions, etc., it can be a fun adventure.  Here are my recent makes.

1.  1920's Irish Flat cap from Etsy shop   ElseWhenMillinery  I made it as an example of using "underlining" to strengthen delicate fabrics for a presentation to a local ASG group on Linings and Underlinings .  It is made from silk jacquard tie scraps, which wiggle and ravel, until they are underlined with cotton flannel. Then they behave beautifully.  The pattern was well drafted, and the written instruction were detailed and clear. I especially like that this pattern came in different head sizes.  

2, Tallinn Blouse from Etsy Shop  Fabrico Patterns

Cotton Sateen fabric from Fabric Mart Fabrics

Tallinn Blouse

I chose the pattern because I wanted to sew a blouse without a front placket. I wasn't in the mood for buttons and buttonholes.  The pattern was well drafted.  The written instructions had lots of pictures. The blouse has a very low, open neck.  Okay for me, but something to consider for yourself. I had to make some adjustments to the shoulder area to keep it from pulling to the back as shown in the site picture above. It still does a bit.

3. Turtleneck Jumper Diana from Etsy store This Is Katchi

I was intrigued by the swirly, pieced design and up for the challenge.  I had no coordinating fabrics suitable for this top. My solution was to overdye a yard of some green rib knit with blue dye to create a slightly darker, coordinating color to the original fabric. I used the dyed fabric as the contrast in this design.  I did not use the actual turtleneck pattern. It appeared to be drafted oddly, based on my experience and figure shape.  The triangular shaped sleeve heads and short blocky torso pieces did not bode well for a garment that would fit my body. Perhaps the recommended 50% stretch fabric was supposed to cover all the wearer's bumps and lumps.

 Instead, I used BurdaStyle  turtleneck Style 121 from Sept 2010 issue and used the swirl design from the Diana pattern.  

 There are written instructions, and a YouTube video for this pattern.  The 2nd half of the video explains how to create the swirly design on the basic pattern and how to sew it together. Sewing was a challenge, as my table buddy, at the sewing retreat where I made this, can attest. But I am happy with the results.

Diana Swirl Turtleneck

4. (not from Etsy) Fitzroy Blouse from Liesl Gibson at Oliver and S. It has a subtly raised shawl collar creating a flattering high V neckline. I chose to make the softly pleated tucks on the sleeve for View A.  Fabric is a "vintage" (looked like deadstock from the 90's) wool crepe print of blue morning glories on a purple background from Gala Fabrics in Canada. This particular fabric is no longer available. Liesl patterns and instructions are always great. 

Fitzroy Blouse

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Cu Metallic Jacket


Sewing friends, that have gone fabric shopping with me know that I am attracted to unusual, unique fabrics.  When  I say, “Look at this  great fabric”.  They graciously reply “That is interesting.  or  laugh and say, “That is so you!”  

The first time I saw the fabric below on the DenverFabric.com site,  I drooled, but didn't buy it.  A couple weeks later, when there was a site wide sale,  I gave in and  bought 1.5 yards.

This is a soft,  coarsely woven fabric  that is coated with a copper-colored metallic plastic on one side.  Because the weave is so coarse, not all the fibers are covered, making the metallic coating  look like it is weathered and  flaking.   The non glazed side of the fabric, looks like a woven black coating.

 I chose the pattern below because the fabric requirements were close to my yardage, and the solid side of the fabric could be used for the center lapel section to break up the expanse of shiny fabric.  The black strapping trim on the sleeves added additional contrast and vertical lines.

 There are lots of makes and comments on this jacket on the Burda.ru  site.  The Burda Russian site is where I go to see Burda patterns on real people. I use the Chrome browser Google Translate extension  to automatically translate all kinds of foreign language sites to English.  On the Burda.ru site  you can look at specific  patterns and any makes by selecting  "Magazines" in the top ribbon. select the year of the magazine and the issue.  Select "Look inside" eye icon  on the issue picture and scroll to the pattern model. Click on model picture to open. Scroll to bottom of page to see pictures and comments of people who have sewn the garment.

The fabric was easy to sew, on either side.  Pressing seams was a No No as it melted the copper coating and caused it to lose shine.  So, seams were topstitched if possible,  or tacked in place with hand stitching.  Hem edges were controlled or flattened a bit  by using a pick stitch sewn on the inside near the edge with no see through on the outside.   This is a technique used by couture sewist  Susan Kalje.  Threads Mag - Pick Stitch Video

  While I was sewing this jacket  I realized it has been  4 or 5 years since I had  sewn a tailored jacket with linings and lapels, collar stands, etc.   I thoroughly enjoyed the process of sewing this jacket. 

Burda 12 2019 111

It is a unique, memorable garment and would probably look really stunning on someone with auburn or brown hair. But  I like it a lot.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

My current life in Blouses

 I have always worn separates; blouses, pants, sweaters and jackets.  When I was working in the corporate world,  I sewed a lot of silk blouses. This summer  I sewed three shirts/blouses , and thinking about them,  I had to smile at how they reflect the clothing needs and activities of my current lifestyle.

All three blouses are sewn from  BurdaStyle magazine patterns.  The first one is an old pattern that I traced many years ago  but never made. From the  April  2004 issue , shirt 121.  The unique feature of this blouse is that  it has detachable sleeves.

Burda 04 2004 121 blouse with detachable sleeves

 Why did I make a detachable sleeve blouse?  So, I would have a versatile garment to pack for vacation trips. I  wear it with sleeves as an over blouse.  An extra layer in cool weather,  or as protection  from the sun or biting bugs.  And without the  sleeves in hot weather.  

Any  blouse pattern or jacket can be adapted for removable sleeves using the  method of this pattern .  Add a facing to the bodice sleeve opening for a clean  finish and support. In this model it is sewn to the outside. Add a flange, in same shape as the bodice sleeve facing,  to the sleeve armhole edge. Sew buttons on the flange and matching buttonholes  around the faced bodice armhole opening. And voila a detachable sleeve. 

Detachable Sleeve

These show up occasionally in fashion and  in recent BurdaStyle magazine     Jacket 111 | 04/18

This blouse pattern, from  2004, was oversized by today’s fit styles.  I removed about 1 inch  in shoulder width and several inches in circumference  and it is still big. The fabric was a cotton plaid shirting from my stash.  It served its purpose well on a weeklong fishing vacation to Lake Murray in South Carolina.  We didn’t catch much from the dock ( probably cause Sis and I were making too much noise) but pulled in enough perch for several nights’ dinner while out on the  boat. 

Burda 4 2004 121


Blouse  number 2 is Burda 9 2023  125  A fitted style with bust darts and vertical darts in the back. 

Burda 9 2023 shirt 125

 I recently gave a presentation to my ASG group on the “common fabrics recommended on the back of patterns”. When I was creating the sample packs containing all the fabric types, I could not find any cotton sateen in my stash.  A perfect excuse for some fabric shopping.  I found a cotton sateen printed with  pink hearts, wine bottles and glasses at FabricMartFabrics.com.  I loved the print, and it made the  perfect shirt to wear to a recent Wine and Oyster festival.  We live relatively close to Chesapeake Bay and several tidal rivers where oysters are raised.  It is fun to sample the wines from local vineyards and eat oysters in many forms;  raw, grilled, fried, or stewed.  The blouse looked perfect accessorized by my “wine bra” (what the men in my family call a wine glass holder lanyard, sigh! I am surrounded by males). 

roasted oysters with peppers and cheese

Third blouse  was  Dress 110 | Burda Style 05/23.  The dress top ends at the hip and has a flounce skirt.  I liked the fitted style of the  top, all the darts and a back yoke and  shaped back seam.  It was the same style as two RTW shirts I still wear frequently.  I added a shirttail hem and  made it as a blouse.

Burda 05 23 110 dress as shirt

The fabric is a shirting cotton  print of cocktails on a black background. also from FabricMartFabrics.  I love a black based print. So easy to wear with black trousers or jeans,  and a brightly colored sweater or accessories.  A close look at the print revealed it is holiday themed.  The drinks are accented with fir branches, candy cane stir sticks and the straws are topped with elf hats. So fun! I added a  contrast stripe fabric for the inner collar band and yoke lining and  red, flat piping at the yoke seams.  It will be perfect to wear to my sister’s retirement party that will be held at her local VFW (Veterans for Foreign Wars) Post, so um.. super casual, and end of year holiday parties with my sewing buddies or the retiree social group.

Based on the  themed print fabrics I am attracted to now, I am so afraid that when I get grandkids,  I will be the one wearing  a T shirt embroidered with "Bubba's Memaw" Guess I will wait and see.

Friday, July 21, 2023

July - TSW Instagram Challenge Sewing

 My July sewing was motivated by the  The Sewing Workshop Instagram challenge! #tswxmunuochallenge

 We were to take inspiration from the  colors and patterns in the works of artist Naomi Munuo, and using TSW  patterns, sew a garment (or a whole outfit) and post it on Instagram with our inspiration story.

I chose the painting The Fashion Project.  

I was attracted by the garment sewing related subject and the red and yellow print fabric. 

I get a visceral uplift  just  looking at red and yellow prints. It probably goes back to the emotions attached to a favorite childhood top sewn by my mother in a similar print.  And a red and yellow print quilt I made years ago. That I love so much I want to be wrapped in it in my casket.

Mood Board

My yellow and red fabric was a  cotton/lycra knit print from Nick of Time Fabric,  I loved the name printed in the selvedge of the fabric.  "Tijuana Tattoo”  It made me imagine a scenario of getting a bad tattoo in a Mexican town after a bit too much tequila.  To get back on track... The pattern for the T shirt is the E  Tee. The neckline is  trimmed in a red and white striped knit (stash).   

Tijuana Tattoo print

 I used the  Helix pant pattern. This pattern is designed for knits. So in addition to my normal fitting adjustments (low flat butt, add length, etc.)  I had to make some changes for the woven fabric. I added additional ease (circumference) in many areas and  an invisible zip in the center back seam.  As a decorative detail I added transparent silk organza  fabric strips (a nod to the transparent pattern pieces laying on the fabric in the painting) in  a center front seam of one pant leg.  The effect of the transparent fabric strips with their darker hemmed edges,  laid over adjacent strips, creates interesting stripes. 

Strips before sewing

The idea came from the Japanese sewing magazine ミセスのスタイルブッMrs Stylebook, Issue #197 2019. I have wanted to try this idea for a long time. I was reminded of it, while planning for the challenge, by the piles of silk organza in the sewing room, supplies for a class in Bojagi ( Korean Patchwork) I was taking on  Domestika 

Idea for pant inset stripes

E Tee and Helix Pant

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Free Pattern Makes

 When I am having trouble deciding what to sew next, online sewing contests and challenges  can provide inspiration. It is usually the  item to be sewn and the completion date that attracts me.  Prizes, which are typically patterns and fabric, are not motivators as I have more patterns and fabrics than I will ever use in my lifetime.  

In March, it was the Instagram  #SewFrugal23 Challenge. The  objective was to sew something using a free pattern  and  fabric from your stash.  I spent many  hours scouring the internet for free PDF patterns.  I have a Google Translate extension on my internet browser that automatically translates foreign language sites to English.   I found some  Russian, Japanese, Brazilian (Portuguese) and German sites (that were almost like pattern databases) with many free patterns. The vast majority of free patterns are for  basic t shirts, tanks, gathered skirts and  baggy pants.  While I understand the appeal of these garment to beginning sewists,  I look for a  garment pattern that is  interesting or different.  

Here are the patterns I made in March.

The Patchwork Pullover   from the Bernette website.   It is a raglan sleeve top with a front yoke area that can be used for patchwork.  I made the top in a black wool knit and the patchwork in silk jacquard tie remnants that I bought as a bundle many years ago.  I love the fit of the top in the shoulder and sleeve area.  The instructions are brief. Do pay attention to the cutting and assembly of the patchwork area. All the pieces are different shapes. Not the standard right triangles as I originally  assumed.

Bernette Patchwork Pullover

Bernette Patchwork Pullover

Next item was the Carmen Blouse Amber  a free E Book (PDF pattern) from Scnittmuster Berlin    It is a  raglan style blouse with a gathered neckline that can be worn off the shoulder.  I compared my sloper to the pattern and added 1 “ to the top of the sleeves and neckline so it rode higher on my shoulders, I can pull it off my shoulders and wear it that way too.  The fabric I used  a pale green eyelet fabric from the ASG giveaway table.  I thought the finished blouse was a bit boring, so I hand sewed  flower shaped sequins and beads around the neck to give it some sparkle.  

Schnittmuster-Berlin Carmen Blouse

Carmen Blouse Amber

Garment 3 was the    frau-maerz-dress-sewing-pattern/ from Hemmers Itex, a German fabric manufacturer.  The dress pattern is modeled by and features fabric designed by,  Andrea Maerz, a well known content creator in the German-speaking world for sewing, DIY and fashion.  I follow her on Instagram.  She is near in age, though a bit younger, than me. I love her style and she makes many garments using Burda patterns. 

Frau Maerz Dress

While I like the neckline and front packet of the dress, it was too voluminous for me and my figure.  I will straighten the side seams and cut it shorter to make a tunic.  The fabric is a silk print from Fabric Mart Fabrics from the stash.
Frau Maerz Dress

Garment 4 is a denim jacket from German designer Mathias Ackerman. Is is a free download associated with  the 3/2020 issue of  Bernina Inspirations Magazine Mathias Ackermann Denim Jacket   There are no sewing instructions available either online or in the magazine.  Based on comments on the German  Bernina website,  the pattern was offered in preparation for jacket sewing class with Ackerman  at the Bernina  Creative Center, but the class was canceled because of Covid.    It has exaggerated pocket flaps,  a oval yoke  and large fold back cuffs on the sleeves.  I made it in a soft 7 oz. garment weight denim  from JoAnn Fabrics. Finding buttons for this jacket took a while and is why this post is in May. 

Matthias Ackerman Denim Jacket
Mathias Ackerman Denim Jacket

Ackerman Denim Jacket  smelling the jasmine

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Shirt Jacket Duo

 Earlier in the year I sewed  two versions of Burda  12 2020 117. The Burda description is "The casual lumberjack top in a new look, a classical  glen plaid pattern in black and white instead of bold checks Sophisticated: the yoke with drop shoulders."

I am not quite sure how check  wool shirts came to be associated with lumberjacks because if you look at old historical photos,  there is not a plaid or check in sight.  But what this style did remind me of was the  plaid wool shirts my dad wore in the cooler months on the weekend. 

 We called them ‘Pendleton shirts’ after one of the brands that manufactured them.

 A sure to please Christmas gift for Dad was always a new Pendleton shirt. I collected some beautiful wool plaids to sew him a Pendleton shirt. He passed in 2015. I still think of him when I come across those unsewn wool plaids in my stash.

Back to sewing.  I liked the idea of a simple shirt like jacket  as an alternative to a sweater or a blazer as a third layer.  This style had a lot of  wearing ease - 6",  but a bit of shaping with bust darts.  The first one was sewn from a thickish wool from the Give Away table at retreat.  It was coarsely woven, but a wonderful rich blue/green interspersed with gold-colored threads .  It is lined in silk print of teddy bears, also a find on the Give Away table. 

The fabric was so thick, the thought of making buttonholes scared me. So I chose  Anorak snaps for the closures.  The design used a faced to the edge section for the cuff opening, rather than a slit.  A design feature I have noted in my  "dealing with thick fabrics " tips and tricks.

Cuff  opening

 Another technique for heavy fabrics with sleeve cuffs  is a slit  faced  with the lining, similar to this one on a heavy wool Pendleton jacket I own.

  There is a  good YouTube video on   4 ways to Sew Slits

Burda 12 2020 117

The second version of this jacket was made from, what I think, was a silk suiting from the deep stash.  Final thoughts on this version is the fabric was too lightweight, and the plaid too light colored for the look I was going for. No problem, I have lots of black and white wools in my stash.

Burda 12 2020 117

Sunday, January 1, 2023

End of 2022 Catchup

 The last half of 2022 was very busy for me. I  am doing a quick end of year catchup so that the blog is up to date for the annual export process. 

 Sewing for Others

DS #1  is in law school in a very hot climate.  He likes to wear fitted shirts untucked ( see Untuckit for the look),  but has trouble finding them in the tall sizes he needs.   I sewed him a couple of shirts, adding several inches in length to the torso and sleeves. One long sleeve shirt from Vogue 8759 in a slate blue cotton.  This is a nice pattern, I  love the 2 piece sleeves which eliminates the need for a sleeve placket.

Vogue 8759

And two short sleeve print shirts from Burda 6814. The fabrics were prints. Lobsters on a black background and cross stitch fisses in blues. They were light weight, high thread count Lori Richards cotton fabrics  purchased at the Fabric Place Basement.

BUrda 6814

Continuing Education  

  • Common Armhole Fitting Issues and Developing Magic 2-Piece Sleeve Classes with Sarah Veblen on Pattern Review. Sarah has many years of fitting experiance and explains concepts clearly with examples. 

  • Skirt Skills  (prerequisite) and Smarty Pants online classes from  BrooksAnn Camper. Brooks Ann is an independent designer and couture dressmaker of bridal wear that I discovered while googling "sewing a Mother of the Groom dress". Her classes teaches you to create custom pants and skirts by "mapping" your own body.  No standard formulas or drafting methods. It is a unique approach. The class videos are clear and concise. She is availble for questions and assistance,  The work required for the class does take time, but it is well worth the effort.    

The major sewing project was my Mother of the Groom dress.  I spent so much time collecting pattern/fabrics for potential dresses, and  sewing three  muslins of different patterns that were ultimately rejected.  In the end I went with a top and skirt using  Butterick 3843, a 2003 pattern for special occasion separates. 

Separates are easier to fit on my body. I wear a lot of them in real life.  And  my "dress"  had to be up for the energetic mother/son dance we had planned. Fabric used for the top was  a beautiful poly/cotton butterfly burnout in Kentucky blue  from JoAnn's.

The  burnout butterfly fabric was underlined with the same fabric used for the skirt,  a blue grey crepe georgette polyester from Fashion Fabrics Club.com. The lining  for both the top and skirt was dusty blue bemberg rayon from The Sewing Place.   It was amazing that three different fabrics from three different vendors coordinated so well. I took it as a sign from the sewing gods.  I accented the neckline of the top with blue crystal beads to add a bit of sparkle, and hold the lining in place at the neckline.

Here is a video of the dress in action at the wedding. Warning, it is my first effort using a video editor to trim  and splice segments of the official wedding video. 

I was a bit stressed  before the wedding, but it ended up being a beautiful, joyous occasion. And I now have two wonderful daughter in laws ( DS#1 got married in June).