29 January 2015

BurdaStyle 1-2015-109 (skirt) & New Look 6407 (blouse): Complete

One of my sewing intentions for 2015 is to keep up with the Burda-a-month sew along started by Dawn at Two On, Two Off.  I figured that since I have a lot of magazines, it shouldn't be too hard to find and sew one pattern each month.

So far, January is off to a good start with this skirt.

Obviously I need to work on my tripod-camera-taking skills.  I never seem to get the top of my head in the photo.

Fabric & Notions:
  • 1.5 yards of medium-weight stretch wool twill
  • 1.5 yards ambiance lining
  • 7" invisible zipper
  • petersham as waist facing
  • 80/12 universal needle
  • serger and sewing machine

The pattern:  There are only three pieces:  center front/back, side front/back, and upper side front/back.  There is also a rectangular waistband, but I didn't use it because I didn't have enough fabric. 

Size:  The largest size available for this pattern is 42.  I wasn't sure if this was going to fit, so I compared the waist/hip area to another BWOF pattern that I made in size 44.  I knew the 44 was too big, so I figured the 42 would be just right.  Due to the stretch of my fabric, I ended up having to take larger seam allowances to make the skirt fit at the waist. I did not make a muslin!

Alterations:  I always have to do a 1.25-inch full seat adjustment on skirts.  Since the center front/back and side panels are all the same pieces, I made separate pieces for the back to make the adjustment.

 1.25 inches added straight across to center back

1.25-inch wedge added to long side panel piece
1.25-inch wedge added to short side panel piece

I made no changes to the front pieces.

Construction:   Sewing was pretty easy.  Beware that the side seams (where the two flared panels meet) are sewn before the front/back seams.  I thought about sewing in a different order so that I could fit along the way, but decided to just follow the instructions and make any in-progress adjustments on the front/back seams.

Also, the zipper is installed in the side back seam, and not in the side.   I questioned this at first, but realized that this is a good idea because the side seams have four layers of fabric and that probably would have been a PITA to deal with.

I used my serger to finish the edges of the fabric first, then sewed them together with my machine.  To reduce bulk (and there's a lot of it with all these layers), I pressed the seams open.

I finished the hem with a rolled hem.  I didn't add any hem allowance when I cut out the pieces and the length is perfect for me.

I wore this outfit to work on Wednesday and got a few compliments.  The skirt is very flirty and I loved how it "swished" when I walked.


The top is my fourth version of New Look 6407.   

The wrinkles are from wearing the outfit all day.

Remember these?

Yeah, I got rid of that foolishness.  I am MUCH happier with the latest version. 

I didn't use french seams in sewing this version; instead, I serged the seams to one side and pressed.  Better finish in less time.  Score!

Many people rave about Pam's interfacing at Fashion Sewing Supply.  Well +1 me to that bandwagon.  I hesitated for a long time because this stuff is expensive, but it is SO worth it.

Look at that awesome crispness!  I don't think I will ever use a different interfacing in my shirts again.  You can tell that the facing is interfaced because the fabric's natural wrinkles don't even show up!  That is some serious product.

The sewing instructions weren't too clear on which side of the collar and stand should be interfaced:  upper vs. under collar and inner vs. outer stand.  So I emailed Pam and she said that any piece that faces the body receives lightweight or NO interfacing.  So the under collar, inside collar stand, and inside cuffs (if I had any) are not interfaced.  Following her suggestions made such a huge difference in how the collar lays on my neck.

Now if only I can get those damn collar points to be...um...pointy.

Anyway.  I am totally stoked about my first two finished garments of 2015.  Woot.

I've started working on Simplicity 4077.

I tried sewing this about 8 years ago when I was still learning about FBAs and fit.  Now that I have a good fitting blouse with shoulder princess seams, I'm going to try to alter this one to fit.  

I love me some New Look 6407, but that V-neck is quite scandalous.  I had to wear a tank top underneath the teal one for work because there was all kinds of flashing going on.  I'm eager to try this Simplicity pattern.  

I saw a review where someone made the one with ruffles in a black eyelet.  It was so cute!  I have some black eyelet in the stash too!  Details (good or bad) coming soon.  Eventually.  Hopefully. =)

Until next time, peace!


17 January 2015

2014 Sewing Year in Review

Despite making 35 garments this year, I don't feel as if I sewed that much.  

(not pictured:  Simplicity 2365, Jalie 2908 skinified, and New Look 6274 ikat print)

The Stats (includes wadders)

By garment:
  • 18 tops
  • 5 jackets
  • 6 skirts
  • 3 pairs of pants (2 are wadders)
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 coat
By company:
  • 2 McCall's
  • 5 Kwik Sew
  • 5 Simplicity
  • 9 New Look
  • 1 BWOF
  • 1 Indygo Junction
  • 8 from RTW
  • 4 Jalie

Indygo Junction 740: This pattern is at the top of the list for the second year in a row.  I made it back in June because (a) I really liked the fabric and (b) it was my entry to the outerwear contest on PR.  Not only do I truly love wearing this coat, I won second place in the contest.  Squee! 

Kwik Sew 2895: This is a surprise second favorite.  After meeting Valerie in Australia last year, I knew I had to have a denim jacket like hers.  Even though I bought the same pattern (Butterick 5616), I sewed the Kwik Sew instead.  I can't tell you how much I adore this thing!  It's my go-to topper and can be paired with a dress, skirt, jeans, or trousers.  I've worn it so much, I'm afraid it might start falling apart.

McCall's 6654:  Everything about this pattern is awesome sauce.  There are only three pieces and can be made from cut to hem in under two hours.  You can probably make it in less time, but I give myself room for error.  Lots of error. 

BWOF 11-2009-125: I can't leve off the funky bells.  Bell-bottoms may be oh-so-70s, but I'm rockin' 'em anyway. 

Jalie 2559: This will always be my blazer staple; I made it three times in 2014!  I will branch off and try other jacket patterns, but I know that if I get frustrated I can always return to this TNT.  

I'm getting much better at picking patterns that suit my body, but fabric selection still needs some work.  I learned that I don't like stretch cotton poplin that much and not all rayon-poly-lycras are created equal.  I don't have many photos because I was bad at documenting the failures.  I think it's helpful to talk about wins and losses and will get better at it this year.

UFOs carried into 2015
McCall's 5525 (trench coat) and New Look 6407 (button-front blouse) will be finished this year.  I don't remember what stopped me on the trench coat, but I am so close to being done it would be criminal to not finish!  The New Look blouse just needs the collar, buttonholes, and hem. 

2014 Sewing Intention Results
  • Continue to shop the stash:  Done and done.  Fabric is still everywhere, but I used considerably more stash this year than in previous years.
  • Work on a full-length winter coat:  Nerp.  Gotta add this to the 2015 list.
  • Make a trench coat:  See section titled "UFOs carried into 2015."
  • Go fabric light:  Let's call this one a tie.
  • Sew a woven button-front blouse:  Win!  Not only did I make and wear New Look 6407, I learned how to convert a two-darted bodice to shoulder princess seams.  I see many more versions of this one in the future.  

Stashbusting Challenge 2014
Last January, I made a pledge to use at least 30 pieces of stash fabric and 10 patterns.  I used 34 pieces of stash totaling 48.5 yards and 7 patterns.  Another win!  The pledge is definitely on for 2015. This time, I am committing to using 50 pieces of stash and 10 patterns.

2015 Sewing Intentions
  • Sew exclusively from the stash and not buy fabric:  This will be a challenge!
  • Make a full-length super warm and tailored winter coat:  I have the supplies and traced the pattern.  I need to get my mind in coat mode and make the muslin.
  • Make a bra:  I keep putting this off every year.  Shopping for bras is worse than shopping for shoes and I really have to get on this!
  • Start from Scratch:  The Vivienne Files has a whole series on how to build a wardrobe using a selected color palette.  I watched Sharon (Petite and Sewing) build hers from beginning to end and love how she was able to create such a diverse wardrobe.  I really want to update my "look" and think this is a good place to start.  To see the evolution of Sharon's wonderful wardrobe, click on "Starting from Scratch" in her blog labels area.
  • Sew one BWOF magazine pattern per month:  This will also be a challenge since "oooo shiny" seems to dominate my sewing interest.  
So that's it for the 2014 year in review.  I would like to thank everyone who reads my ramblings.  Again I am very grateful to be a part of this community of people who like to share their passion for sewing. 

I wish everyone a wonderful new year!  


14 January 2015

Good Reason for Bad Blogging - ¡Hola! (Part 2)

Our next five days were spent in the beautiful city of Barcelona.  Though we flew into Paris, we decided to take the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse or high-speed train) to Barcelona.  I remember learning about this train in my high school French class and was excited to be able to experience it.  Including several stops, the trip took a total of six hours.

My simple point-and-click takes terrible night photos.  But its motion shots are crisp and clear.  Weird right?  These photos of the French countryside were taken on a train that was traveling at around 200mph!

In the background is the beautiful Pyrenees mountain range.

We stayed at Hotel Nouvel in the Gothic Quarter - an historic part of the old city.  The hotel is a less than 5-minute walk to the Plaça de Catalunya and is situated on a small street between two major streets:  La Rambla and Via Laietana.  The location was perfect with lots of shops and food options.  We walked everywhere and only took the subway when needed.

Day 1: After checking in at the hotel, food was a must!  We walked around the area and found an organic market a short distance away.  The food was so good, we went back three more times.  If you ever visit Barcelona, add this place to your list.  I don't know the street name, but it's near the Plaça de Catalunya a few doors down from KFC and called Woki Organic Market.

After dinner, we walked around some more to get a feel for the neighborhood.  We stumbled upon the University of Barcelona where an outdoor market was going on.  We met this baker who was into making really big bread.  Do you see that thing?  It was pretty tasty, but would not leave any room in my checked bag for fabric.

Day 2: On Sundays, most museums are free after 3p.  So this was our day to hit up as many museums as possible.  Not wanting to wait until 3 to begin the day, we set out to see Barcelona's Arc de Triomf.

I was interested in seeing the Textile Museum, however it was closed until February.  So we went to a couple of famous churches in the Gothic Quarter:  The Santa Maria del Mar and the Cathedral of Barcelona.  
Inside Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar.
Outside the Catedral de Barcelona
The international bird.
Before going to the Picasso Museum, we stopped at a local eatery and had some good paella.

Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside the museum.  The exhibits showed Picasso's range of works from the time he was is in school up to his death in the 70s.  It was very interesting to learn how his style changed upon visiting Paris and meeting various individuals.
Day 3:  While walking around the city on the second day, we ran into a bike tour (Fat Tire Bike Tours) and asked about their schedule and tours.  We were basically told to show up at 11a at their office and wait for the guide.  So for our third day, that's exactly what we did!  We took a 2.5-hour bike tour around the city.  Most of the sites we had already visited by walking the first couple of days, but it was still nice to do a mini slow roll and see some new things.

Unnamed "Fountain at the Park" (near the Barcelona Zoo)
The beach!  Oh to be here during summer...

The meeting location for the bike tour was at a public square between the President's and Mayor's office buildings.  In the center of the square was a very large nativity scene.  It was beautifully crafted with a lot of thought put into the detail.

Alas, no nativity scene is complete without...wait for it...waaaaait for it...

...a man taking a dump!  Thank you Barcelona. Seriously.

(I did a little Googling and found that "El Caganer" (the shitter) is a Catalan Christmas tradition and is supposed to bring good luck.  Awesome.)

After the tour and lunch, we headed out for some fabric shopping.  My new intention is to only buy fabric during travel since the stash has far exceeded epic levels.  I exercised some restraint by visiting only one fabric store in Barcelona:  Ribes & Casals.  Granted I went there twice, but at least it was only one store.  That has to count for something, right?

All fabrics are very reasonably priced and comparable to what we pay in the States.  I could have easily spent a couple of hours here just browsing.  In total, I walked away with four pieces.

 left: navy blue quilted nylon outerwear fabric
right:  dark purple polyester knit

 grey herringbone suiting with black velour design

 army green quilted lining fabric 
I thought this was coating fabric.  Oops.

Day 4: We started bright and early with a tour of Antoni Gaudi's most famous design:  Basilica de la Sagrada Familia or the Sacred Family Church.  Started in 1882, the church is still under construction and isn't scheduled to be finished until 2026.  I'll just let the pictures describe its majestic beauty!


I loved this church so much not only because it was beautiful, but because of all of the mathematics Gaudi used in its design.  So many parabolas, ellipses, and hyperboloids...be still my nerdy heart!
La Sagrada Familia is definitely worth a visit.  Inside the church is a museum and active workshop of the current construction and design.  If you're ever in the area, definitely check it out!

Next, we went to Montjuic or Jewish Mountain.  On this mountain is a castle that was part of an old military installation as well as the 1992 Olympic Stadium.  This was a fantastic place to get a great panoramic view of the city.

This is definitely not a statue!  When I asked if he was ticklish, he started smiling.  Hah!

Next we went to Park Güell where some of Gaudi's mosaic monuments and designs reside.  The "monument zone" is accessible by fee, but the rest of the park is free.  This is truly a beautiful and peaceful space.


Day 5:  Our last day in the city was spent visiting the Historic Museum of Barcelona, walking the waterfront, and taking in the sites on La Rambla (street known for outdoor markets and vendors).  Barcelona began as a Roman settlement named Barcino; the ruins of the settlement are preserved 5 meters under the square known as the Plaça del Rei.  This, and surrounding areas, is a part of the historical museum.

 It was very interesting to read about the history of the city and to see some of the actual ruins.  Since flash photography wasn't allowed, some of my photos aren't very clear.


Finally we headed back to the hotel by walking along La Rambla.  In addition to shopping and food tents, there were quite a few performance artists.  These were my favorites:
John Lennon Music Box
The Predator
The Mad Hatter
In all I had a wonderful time.  My friend and I travel well together and enjoyed all of the sites.  It was certainly nice to get away after a stressful summer/fall.

It's time to get back to sewing and talking about sewing. I hope to post my long-overdue sewing 2014 year in review next.

Until next time, peace and blessings.


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