29 December 2015

BWOF Trench Skirt: Complete

 (Thanks for taking the photos Anne!)
BWOF 8-2009-107
Fabric & Notions:
  • 2 yards light-weight black denim (stash)
  • fusible weft interfacing (self-facing and belt)
  • 8 7/8-inch buttons
  • regular, serger, and topstitching thread
  • petersham for waist facing
  • 80/12 universal needle
  • 100/16 topstitching needle

Size/Alterations:  I traced and cut a straight size 42.  I shortened the skirt 1" and did not add a hem allowance.  I also added 2" to the front facing.  I read a comment about the front panel not being wide or structured enough to accommodate both rows of buttons. 

I didn't do my usual full seat adjustment and I don't know why.  Hmm.

The skirt is actually too small.  When I first attempted this pattern earlier in the year, I was a several pounds lighter.  Oops.  The buttons look off-center because the panel doesn't end where it's supposed to.

It's not too visible in this picture, but trust me, the side seams are not where they're supposed to be.  If I lose a few pounds, I'll re-sew the buttons so that the front panel is more centered.

The belt buckle came from the stash.  I think I bought it at the American Sewing Expo a few years ago.  It's black with a white frame and fits the skirt perfectly! 

Instructions:  The instructions aren't that bad. The pocket instructions are a little weird, but makes logical sense if you follow them carefully.  The only thing I didn't like is the placement of the pocket bag.  On the pattern, you're supposed to place the bag so that it meets a marked line on the pleat.

This means that the pocket bag would overlap the top of the pleat area.  When I first sewed the pocket this low, I couldn't get the pleat or pocket to press without showing an unsightly hump.  Yeah no.  Moving the pocket up an inch solved that problem.  

Construction Notes:  Sewing was time consuming but pretty straightforward.  I set up two sewing machines:  one for sewing the seams and the other for topstitching.  

The design called for diagonal topstitching on the front and back above the pleat.  If I were doing tone-on-tone topstitching, then this would have been okay.  But with contrasting thread, it looked weird... 

 ...especially on the back.

It's like my butt is in a frame or something and the skirt is saying, "butt is right here".  I removed the diagonal topstitching and settled for bar tacks instead.  Now the skirt is saying, "butt is in the general area."  I can live with that.

I really like the bar tacks on the front.

The instructions say to topstitch 3/8" from the edge.  Later, you're to edge stitch through all layers to keep the flap in place.  I found it impossible to do this with thick topstitching thread and settled for black regular thread.

I finished the waist with 1.5-inch black petersham, steam-shaped to fit the waist.  Since the front panel is self-faced, I ended the petersham just inside the fold to reduce bulk.

Conclusion:  Winner!  This is a pretty distinctive style, so I probably won't make it again any time soon.  I wore it today and felt very comfortable.


Up next:  I have all kinds of ideas running around my mind right now.  I really need to work on making more tops.  I have plenty of bottoms, but nothing to wear with them.  

I also want to make more dresses.  I make lots of separates, but rarely do I make dresses.  I see such cute stuff made by other folks and I want in!

I'll do my 2015 sewing in review soon.  I need to put the collage together and write the post. Until next time, peace!


11 December 2015

BWOF 4-2009-101 (skirt) & NL 6407 (top): Complete

Yaaay!  Notwithstanding the BWTF instructions, the skirt turned out nicely!  Sewing it wasn't as bad as I initially thought.  Plus it's super comfortable to wear.  Score!
Fabric & Notions
  • 1.125 yards of black and white wool tweed (stash)
  • 1.125 yards of black Bemberg Ambiance lining (stash)
  • strips of fusible interfacing for the zipper area
  • 7" invisible zipper
  • petersham for waist facing
  • two metal buttons
  • 80/12 needle for shell
  • 70/10 microtex needle for lining
  • regular sewing and serger thread
Size and Pattern Alterations:  I traced and cut size 44.  The only alteration I made was the standard 1.25" full seat adjustment.  The skirt back has two pieces:  center and side.  I added 1.25" in length across the entire center back and added the same length to the side back, tapering to zero at the side seam.

Here you can see that the back hangs lower than the front.  When worn, the view from the side shows a level hem.  If you have a badonkadonk, this alteration is a must!  Aside from this, I made no other changes.

Instructions:  For such a simple design, the instructions for attaching the yoke made zero sense.  I played around with the pieces for a bit and used Sharon's wonderful tutorial to attach it successfully.  

The buttons are not functional as I didn't see the need.  The skirt has a side seam zipper, so why make buttonholes?

I don't know how the inside was supposed to be finished.  The pattern has a back facing (cut on the fold) and two front facings.  Again, this makes absolutely no sense.  In the picture above, the back facing and one side facing would extend from the right front princess seam (left facing in the photo) around to the side seam zipper.  Fine.  But what about this other facing piece?  It's too big to fit in the space between the zipper and left front princess seam (right facing in the photo).  

Seriously.  What?

I didn't bother with the facings and just finished the waist with petersham.  It isn't as sturdy as I would like, but it's finished and holds well enough to wear.

 side seam:  back on left; front on right


  close up of side front

 invisible zipper

Sewing/Lining:  Sewing was pretty  straightforward.  I underlined the entire skirt because I wasn't sure how to attach the lining with the front yoke piece.  If I had devoted some time to thinking about it, I'm sure I would have figured it out. =)  I was so over the whole yoke thing that I just wanted to skirt done.  In the end, I like that the underlining gives the fabric some heft since the tweed was a little on the thin side.

Once the lining was basted in place, I serged the raw edges and stitched as normal.  All seams are pressed open.  

Conclusion:  This pattern is a nice take on an a-line skirt..  I don't have any immediate plans to make it again, but I can see one or two more in the rotation; maybe out of linen for summer.


As for the New Look top, there's nothing new to show here. =)  I started this top back in August and finally finished it a few days ago.  The fabric is stretch cotton poplin from the stash.

Man, stretch cotton poplin is right up there with rayon challis in its evilness.  I like the shirt, but it's as stiff as a board, loves to attract lint, and wrinkles like crazy.  I'll wear it, but I don't think it'll be in the regular rotation as much as my other versions.  The only thing that's saving this from being a wadder is the interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply.  That stuff is stiff too, but you get nice crisp collars and cuffs from using it.  Stretch cotton poplin, you have met your match.
Currently, I'm working on my second try at the Burda trench skirt.  Yes, there is a "trench skirt."  

This early-year wadder was due to fabric choice.  I had a lovely light grey twill that would have been perfect for a jacket.  As a skirt, it's just too heavy.  Here's a sneak peak of the next version:

I have to finish the waist, hem, and buttonholes.  More details soon!

Until next time, peace!



27 November 2015

In Progress: Burda Skirt, New Look Shirt

Super huge thanks to Sharon for passing along her notes on how to sew the yoke on the Burda skirt.  I gave up on trying to understand the instructions and fumbled around with the pieces instead.  When I read her tips, everything clicked and I was able to insert the yoke without any problems.

I am not adding buttonholes, so the yokes are pinned temporarily.  

This isn't an error in sewing.  The back side seams are higher than the front to allow for attaching the facings.  

I have a hate-but-I-get-it relationship with facings.  When sewing skirts, I never include them, opting to use peterhsam instead.  In this case, though I am not sure how the facings will work and I haven't played with the pieces yet.  

Since my fabric is bit flimsy and wool, I wanted to include a lining.  Again, with the weirdness that is the top, I wasn't sure how to attach it.  So, I underlined it instead.

I cut the lining pieces the same size as the shell and hand-basted them together.  I know there is another way to underline and add a Hong Kong seam finish at the same time.  If I sew this pattern or underline again, I'll adapt the lining pieces for this type of finish.  I think it will make the insides look much nicer.

As I type this, I am wondering if a petersham waist finish is actually possible.  Hmm.  I would have to cut it in two pieces.  One piece would wrap from the right (pictured) front around to the left side seam.  The second, much smaller piece would be sewn only to the left (pictured) front.  I'll play around with it and see what happens.


Back in August, I started another version of my TNT top pattern, New Look 6407.  I stopped working on it when I joined the PR sewing bee.  Still in need of tops, I resumed working on it and am almost finished.

The fabric is stretch cotton poplin and is most unforgiving with wrinkles.  Why oh why do I torture myself like this!  I thought I learned my lesson with my last foray into stretch cotton poplin tops:

The wrinkles are not nearly as hideous as this, but still.  Gaaah! 


Both garments are part of my Starting from Scratch wardrobe building plan.  I'm not really following the order presented on the Vivienne Files - which is probably not how this is supposed to work. =)  Instead, I am filling in holes in my closet and trying to make things that I need to wear now while keeping in mind the colors in my plan.

That's all for now.  I hope everyone had a peaceful holiday.


24 November 2015

BWOF 4-2009-101

I finally cut out my next, hopefully successful sewing project:  a simple skirt.  At least, the design looks simple.

photo credit:  Miss Celie's Pants

I read through the instructions and have not an effing clue as to what Burda is talking about with the front inset.  The instructions start out okay, then delve into WTF midway through. 

1.  Lay each interfaced front yoke piece on yoke piece with no interfacing RST. 

2.  Stitch along front and upper edges.  

3.  Begin stitching on left front yoke exactly on seam line of joining edge.  

Um...okay.  What joining edge?  The edge that will eventually join with the side front?

4.  Trim seam allowances.  

5.  Turn yokes right side out. 

This wasn't done already?

6.  Work buttonholes in right front yoke.   

7.  Baste right front yoke to left front yoke, matching centres and not catching left yoke piece with no interfacing.  

What are you talking about?

8.  Clip allowance at marking on right inside yoke piece.

9.  Stitch yoke right sides together with upper edge of center front skirt panel, not catching inside yoke pieces.

Again, what are you talking about?  So the inside yoke piece isn't attached to the center front panel at all?  How does that make this stable?  I am so confused!

The instructions for attaching the facing are equally confusing.  I normally don't include facings on skirts, but I couldn't think of a better way to clean-finish and stabilize the top edge.  Ugh!  Maybe I should have read the directions first before cutting out my fabric.  Waaaaah!

Oooooooh Shaaaron!  You've sewn this skirt, yes?  What in the holy hell is Burda talking about? =)

Anyone have any ideas?


15 November 2015

I Need a Reboot

Sewing has come to a near-complete stop.  With my weight all over the place, nothing fits and my sewjo is on leave.  Clothes I made as early as May don't fit now (too tight) and I'm sour about it.  Waaaaaah! 

Wadders are again ranking supreme this year.

Vogue frankenpattern pants
Yeah, I think they're headed back to wadderville.  I tried to take out some of the fullness in the lower leg, but now the grain is off and the leg is too tight.  I have zero desire to try and fix them.

BWOF 9-2006-114 (sans pockets)
Still on the hunt for a wrapped dress, I muslined this pattern.

The verdict?  I need an FBA.  I knew I needed it just looking at the pattern.  But I forged on anyway.  Even with the generous give in my knit, the bodice is still too small.

Butterick 5678
This is the very popular shoulder princess seam button front shirt.  I attempted this pattern three times and have concluded that it just doesn't work for me.  When I shortened the length, the shirt was too tight and wouldn't button.  When I restored to the original length and took smaller seam allowances, the shirt was big and unsightly.  Uncle!

Simplicity 1523
Simple knit top, right?  Wrooooong.  The bust pleats are an epic fail.  No amount of pressing flattens these things and it is not a good look on my bust.  If I try this pattern again, I have to move the pleats or something.

 (photo credit:  Judy Sumler)

McCall's 7254
This was a fail because of the fabric.  I used a medium-weight sweater knit with too much crosswise stretch.  As a result, the front droops horribly and looks unkempt.  The only photo that exists is on Instgram and, now that I think about it, I think I deleted it.  It's awful, really awful!

Starting from Scratch Challenge
While this isn't a wadder per se, my progress is stalled.  I made it as far as Step 7 but stopped because one of my garments from a previous step is a disaster and I lost motivation.

I made another version of my TNT New Look 6407, but with the collar stand only.   For some reason, the fit is terrible.  Terrible!  The collar stand is inches away from my neck and the neckline gapes horribly.  I have enough fabric left to cut a new stand and collar.  But the sewjo...

Sooooooooooooooooooo yeah.  I need a reboot.  I don't know what to sew and I need clothes.  Even my palate-cleaning jeans aren't motivating me right now.  I need to find something to sew that can accommodate weight changes and that won't frustrate me too much.

On the bright side, my pottery is on jam.  I finished this lamp several months ago and finally wired it up yesterday.

I have another completed lamp that needs wiring, but I ran out of parts.  I'm working on another set of dishes for myself and for a dear friend.  I also have some lidded jars and vases in the works. 

Until next time, peace!


26 October 2015

From Wadder to Wearable

About those Vogue pants...

I did something that I rarely, if ever, do.  I picked the entire garment apart, save for the zipper, pockets, and back princess seams.  Okay, so not the entire garment...but still.


Proof!  You can even see the picked serger threads.
I don't sew enough as it is.  To pick apart and re-sew something in which I have little interest is breaking new ground.  For real!  I have a huge bag full of 'meh' and UFOs ready to be donated to whoever wants to use the scraps.

Why did I do it this time?  I figured that with the wonderful suggestions left in the comments, I would have to cut another muslin and check the fit.  Why bother with that when I already have a 'meh' garment headed to the donation pile? 

So there I sat, picking every serger and sewing machine stitch whilst watching Project Runway's Edmund piss away his dreams on a red carpet hoochie dress.  Bruh!

I digress.

Before and after:

I still have some tweaking to do, but this is miles better than before. The after picture (on the right) has some whiskers on the front because the waistband isn't attached.

Vogue 9032 has waaaaay less fullness below the hip.  Below is a comparison of the pieces:

 center back; upper and lower halves
 9032 on top of 2921

I don't know why the pattern in the second piece looks crooked.  I didn't press the pattern pieces (bad sewer), so maybe that's contributing to the optical illusion.  I was surprised to see the depth of the crotch curve on 9032.

 side back; upper and lower halves
2921 on top of 9032

I placed 2921 on top of 9032 to see the difference in hip curve.  2921 is essentially a chunky rectangle with no regard for curvy hips.  This style may look good on other figures, just not on mine.  In the picture on the right, the lower half could stand to lose more width.

9032 on top of 2921
The difference in width is drastic and starts almost immediately below the crotch line.  I removed all of that nonsense.

I took off the pattern first, and then laid the pattern on top of the pants and trimmed away the excess.

I only made changes to the front to check the fit.  I'll unpick the back princess seams and trim away some more fullness.  I noticed that the back inseam swings to the front because the front hem length is shorter than the back - which means the back hem is too wide.

Going forward, I will use the front of 2921 and the back from 9032.  I suppose I could use either waistband, so I'll likely cut both and see which one gives the best fit.

I hereby dub this frankpattern Vogue 2932.  See what I did there? =)

Because I cannot seem to work on just one project at once, I am in the middle of another version of BWOF 8-2005-102 out of a navy blue wool.  I'll finish that first before resuming work on the pants.

Thank you everyone for offering suggestions.  I think this may be a TNT.

Until next time, peace!



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