Sunday, July 24, 2011

Burda #7834 - A Semi-Fitted Saggy Blob.

Hey All,

A new blog for you here,  feeling a little lazy this Sunday afternoon, so the bulk of this blog is formatted from the Pattern Review template.

I found Burda 7834 while browsing the pattern blogs at my local Joann's a few months ago, but they didn't have it in the store.  It was rated as easy, required a woven fabric which was good, because knits have been giving this newbie a lot of trouble.  The construction went together fairly easy, I even did a nice job on the zipper the first time around.  I haven't hemmed it yet, because I'm not entirely satisfied with the fit.   It seems a little blobby on the bust area, not exactly the relaxed, draped style I was going for.

Pattern Description:
A Semi-fitted blouse with Kimono sleeves

Pattern Sizing:
Burda 32-42 or US 6-16

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Kind of, perhaps the fabric I uses was too bulky. It doesn't seem as flowy as the pattern photo.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, the instructions are easy. This is a good beginner learning pattern. Very straight forward with no complex procedures.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the shape, but in my own construction I find the upper bodice rather saggy. Maybe a second set of side darts would make it fit in a more flattering way.

Fabric Used:
100% White cotton gauze from Joann's. Easy to work with, but a little on the sheer side, not really a surprise. If I do wear this I'll have a cami underneath for some modesty.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Shortened the upper bodice front & back by 1" as I am petite and didn't want the neckline down to my waist. Neckline hits perfectly.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I may sew it again, but I think I would use a fabric with much more drape, maybe even a knit. I know, I know, I did just say they've been giving me trouble.

I might fiddle with it later on.  Any opinions on the fit are welcome. Maybe that's just how it's supposed to look?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Stripey, Fuzzy Vogue 1020 Cardigan

I finished another project, hooray!!!  Have a look-see:

It's blue. It's Ivory. It's Blue & Ivory stripey-ness!  I am pretty pleased with how this wrap turned out.  There were, of course a few challenges:

Not so bad over on this side...
  1. I was using stripes.  This pattern advises against "obvious diagonals, plaids or stripes."  I'm not sure I've ever met some non-obvious stripes.  Have you?  So besides going against Vogue's perfectly sound advice I did have to pay extra attention to make sure the stripes matched up.
  2. My fabric of choice was a wool/modal (rayon) knit which was as annoyingly rolly.  I had to remember to stop down every few steps to remember to press out the edge rolls.  I'm finding that I need to press more in my work.  It really does make things easier.  Who knew?
  3. My greatest nemesis when working with knits seems to be my own fear.  I tend to panic when I'm hemming and that's what makes things go wobbly. So the bottom hem is a little wavy.  On the next project I'll have to remember to breathe deeply and relax.  I must become one with my sewing machine.
  4. Lastly, not so much of a challenge, but adding an extra step for myself by doing French Seams as usual.  I think think that is becoming my favorite finishing technique.

Nice & tidy.

As I said, I'm pretty happy with this one.  It's not quite ready for prime-time, or rather it's not making the cut for office wear.  I still think the wavy hems keep it a little rustic and home-made.  However the wool & modal is both oh-so-soft and oh-so-warm so this will be perfect for reading in bed at night. 
I have a lot of books, so it will definitely get good use as a reading wrap.  Until next time, happy sewing!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hello Reader(s?)!

It's been a while I know, but I have not one, but two finished products for you!  First up, using  McCall's pattern #5248 I made myself a pair of cozy flannel PJs. My beloved favorite pair of flannel PJs had met its end and it was time for a replacement.  Mr. Spock-Bear finds them to be the logical choice for those chilly nights in the San Fernando Valley.  Observe:
A most soothing shade of pink.
This was a great beginner level pattern and a real self confidence booster due to its simplicity.  The set went together lickety-split, though I did cheat on the instructions by skipping the decorative lace trim for the top and the reccomended draw string on the pants by shoving some elastic in the waist band instead. What can I say, I never like draw strings on PJs.

For the tank top, the upper bodice is cut along grain, or straight up and down on the fabric.  The lower bodice is cut on the bias, or at a 45 degree angle to provide a little more stretch and all the drapiness some flannel will allow.
Note the differences in pattern from upper & lower bodice.
 Now, I know, it looks like I did it wrong, but my fabric had a diagonal plaid pattern to begin with. So diagaonal cutting looks straight and straight cutting looks diagonal.  But it really is right. I promise.

I couldn't quite get the hang of the "spaghetti" straps so I simply folded the ends in and made more of a tape.  But they get the job done.  As it turns out, they make nifty devices, like these that make strap turning a lot more managable.  I'm always learning after the fact...

#M5248 makes more than a cozy top and pant set.  It is a set of pattens that also include a bathrobe, shorts (just cut the pant pattern down) and a night gown (extend the tank top.)

For nights when you, like the manatee, are in the mood for something a little comfortable to slip into after a long day of grazing on seaweed and avoiding overzealous boaters you can make yourself up one of these.

Manatees love 2-way stretch knits.
For the night gown, I added lace trim, like I'm supposed to in the instructions. I lucked out and got the last remnant of this hot pink lace that was allegedly imported from France, ooh la la! Keeping with the theme I used French Seams on the inside.  Well, really it had nothing to do with a theme, I just like to keep things nice and neat. 

So there you have it.   Two new additions to my sleepwear wardrobe. Now, well, it's time for bed.  Sweet dreams fellow sewer(s?)!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I have made a complete. finished, wearable-in-public shirt!  Behold:

Butterick#  5327!  It is a loose fitting, sleeveless shirt in a very comfy black rayon/poly knit.  This went together pretty well.  However the most time-consuming portion was the neckline, which has a bunch of triple pleats every inch.

I brightened this up in photo shop a bit to show you the detail.  Each little bunch is hand sewn. PETITES BE WARNED:  This neckline is extremely low, once all the bunches are put in I still had to take my shirt up by about 3 inches just to make it decent.  Also, the slinky nature of the rayon/poly probably didn't help the droopiness.

It's late at night, and my face is in the middle of a break out, so I'm not going to model this for you.  But my pillow does a pretty decent job.

Hmmm... maybe next time my pillow should also be wearing a bra to give you the right amount of shape. But, both pillow & I feel very comfy wearing the new shirt.

I feel proud.  I can make stuff.  On to the next one! Maximum Warp...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Okay… so I made it two blog entries in before dropping off  for a while.  Maybe my plan to finish one project a week AND blog about it was a little too ambitious.  Oh well.  I have however, been busy. Sewing and un-sewing and sewing yet again. 

First things first:
R.I.P. Vouge #8668.  
I am sad to let you go, but the fabric was too delicate for my clumsy fingers, and the last straw was seeing the horrible bubbling effects of putting woven seam binding on a loose knit jersey.  Knowing that my fabric rips every time I unstitch my work.  I have decided to move on to the next project.

However, I am not so discouraged by this loss to give up on sewing.  There are a lot of projects I still want to try. Like all these for example:

I know, I know.  That's a whole lotta patterns.  The Vogue/Butterick/McCall's sales are sometimes  hard to resist.  Also,  I recently purchased a pattern & sewing book called. Twinkle Sews by Wenlan Chia, designer of the fashion line Twinkle.    

This book is filled with really great and unique items.  Check it out on, or at your local book store.  The patterns are stored on a Disc and you print them out at home.

Now I'm not going to jump on all of these at once.  I'm not even going to buy the fabric for all of these at once.  I've been reading through sewing blogs and it seems that many of those who sew tend to stockpile up the fabrics and patterns, sometimes not getting to projects for years.  That is not quite the hobby I dreamed of. It's not about hoarding for me. It's about creating nice, unique and petite-sized things for me to wear.  With that in mind I have set a few ground rules for myself to keep this all under control.

1. I can have fabric on hand for a maximum of 4 projects at a time, no more.  That is the amount of space in my cabinet that I can allow.

2. Have a target date for starting projects.  This will help keep me on pace. Granted, some projects may take longer than others. But an estimated schedule will help keep me grounded, and ensure that I don't get lazy as well.  Sometimes it's healthy to set due dates for ones self.

3. If it's not something I would wear regularly, or even occasionally, don't buy the pattern.   There are sooooooo many pretty little dress patterns out there.  The problem?  I'm not really a dress gal.  Sure, I like a nice frock now and then, but dresses & skirts are just not a part of my daily wardrobe. So if it doesn't suit my lifestyle, it doesn't get made. 

Those are the sewing hobby management rules I have for now.  They should be easy enough to stick too. I have already  gone ahead and chosen my sewing projects for the rest of October. 

They are:

#5327 is in progress and I hope to take it soon from it's present condition:

 perhaps to something like this:

...with cooler looking beads.

That's all for now.  Happy sewing!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I think I can... I think I can...

Almost done.  Vogue 8668 is certianly giving me a run for my money.  However I don't think it's the pattern's fault so much as the fabric.  My rayon/poly burn out jersey is perhaps too flimsy for a beginner sewer like myself.  This is where my creative hobby gets to be a frustrating as all the day to day stuff I'm trying to forget by distracting myself with sewing.  This fabric rips easily, espcially in the burn out areas where it is more of a mesh material, which has brought me close to tears at times. 

However, I just need to finish the bias tape along the neckline, add the waist band and hem the sleeves so they are all nice and neat.  My goal, to have this floaty peachy blouse suitable enough to wear in public. Albiet, with a cami underneath of course since it is so sheer.

Next up, another knit shirt, but in a much sturdier cotton jersey.   Oh, and I think I need a new camera soon,  it doesn't seem to like the light in my apartment. Had to photoshop the picture a bit to bring out the color. So maybe I'll put off some of the fabric & pattern buying for a shiny new gadget. :D

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Newbie Sewing With Troublesome Fabric.

So here it is. The first post on my actual sewing progress, and well, it’s a bumpy start but I might just make it out alive. My project of the moment is Vogue #V8668. It is part of their fall 2010 line up of patterns. This is “very easy” on their ratings scale. Perfect for a beginner like me, right? Sure, if I didn’t pick out a fragile rayon/poly burn out knit to work with. This oh-so-pretty-it-simply-commands-the-attention-of-my-girly-girl-side fabric came from and was in their clearance section. There’s none left, from what I can see, so no turning back if I screw up. Oh wait, I already did. But that story is for another time…

Today’s post focuses on how I plan to work with the fabric. It’s a soft peach colored burn out jersey fabric. Due to the sheerness of the fabric I am trying my hand at French Seams on the inside to keep everything neat.
French Seam Demo:

However, because it is a knit, I have to be careful when feeding it to my sewing machine. Too loose, and the fabric will bunch up. Too tight and the seams will be too warped. From what I’ve read in my sewing books and on the web, the common solution for knit fabrics is a zigzag stitch to allow the stretchy-ness of the fabric to do its thing without looking too weird. But I want my fancy looking French Seams. What’s a gal to do?

Solution: The initial seam (fabric pieces with WRONG sides together) is sewn with a zigzag stitch.

The Second half of the French seam (RIGHT sides together) is sewn as a straight stitch. And as my (extremely) distant French kin might say: Voila!

Le Pretty French Seam!

Now mind you, I don’t claim to be the first to try this technique, I’m just trying to put the pieces together (quite literally) as best I can while I embark on this new sewing expedition. I found that the zigzag did a really great job of stabilizing the fabric for me as I finished up the seams. So hopefully the rest of the project will go fairly smoothly and I will have a finished result for you soon.

Stay Tuned!