Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New York trip - shopping, meeting, walking, eating

Many times I have written here that the very best part of writing a sewing blog has been the opportunity to meet other people who are as passionate about sewing as I am. Last week was certainly proof of that, as I spent 5 days in New York socializing, shopping, meeting friends in person who had previously been online pals, and just soaking up the New York atmosphere.

I've kind of had the bug to go to New York for a while, I've been there a few times to both visit friends and as a weekend stop added on to an east coast business trip. But now that I have been sewing since forever and blogging for 6 years I figured it was time to return. Plus I had a $ 100 gift card from Mood Fabrics burning a hole in my pocket for many months, since I won the Color-Blocking Contest on Pattern Review last December.

My friend and neighbor Alice was my partner in crime on this adventure and we had a blast. I definitely wanted to meet Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic, and once I got in touch with her she she coordinated one of their periodic "wine and cheese with Kashi" sale events on Thursday night. Lucky for me that my visit coincided with that as it was a great chance to meet lots of people and do some fabric shopping as well. Back in 2014 Carolyn did a post on her top sewing blogs where she listed my blog as one she loved and learned from. I know I have so many readers from that post so it was so nice to meet her and say thanks in person for that.

me andrea carolyn
                               with Andrea and Carolyn 

me and Sonja
                                             with Sonja

me and group
                           with Claire, Carol and Christine

me and rachel
and even Rachel from London - that was an unexpected and happy surprise!

I missed taking some other pics but after all we were there to shop as well! Carolyn has more pics on her blog post and if you are in the area she said she will be doing it again. It is such a great way to support a fabric merchant who supports people who sew. I haven't shopped the garment district before but it does seem like I read about well loved stores closing which is sad.

Alice bought more stuff there than I did - including this CASHMERE which is gorgeous! I will be sewing that up for her, making a sleeveless long coat (I guess technically a vest). And then we both bought a bunch of different fabrics for tops and shirts. Plus I got some beautiful red wool so I may just recreate the Vogue 1526 Paco jacket for myself.

Alice and fabric

And a big thank you to everyone who said such nice things about my blog and my sewing.  I appreciate it more than you can know!

Earlier in the day we went to Mood Fabrics. We are lucky to have some great fabric stores here in the SF bay area, but after all these years of watching Project Runway it was quite exciting to be there. I was actually impressed with the store - the selection of wools and silks is huge and the prices seemed reasonable to me.

Here I am in deep concentration, texting to my friend Heather a photo of a blue wool jersey that I thought would be perfect for a dress for her. 

Me at Mood

Of course Alice is a dog lover so she made a beeline to find Swatch. Who is exhibiting what I imagine is his typical behavior. The store was pretty empty on this Thursday morning so it was easy to wander through all the aisles and check everything out.

Alice and swatch

In the end I bought a lot of blue fabrics that coordinated, two different blue silks for blouses, a piece of blue leather, and the knit for Heather's dress.

Mood purchases

The wool plaid is actually different on either side, so I have to figure out what to use it for that will take advantage of that feature. The color in the picture above is more accurate, but this one below shows the two different sides of the wool.

two sided wool

And then late on Saturday afternoon I just felt that I needed to go back to Mood - in case I missed anything :)  A ponte knit stripe, and then two shirt weight cottons. Plus the design tape which I could not resist. (after seeing it so often on Project Runway).

Mood purchases 2

The rest of my trip involved walking, eating, walking, drinking, gelato eating, tapas eating, walking and some fun sightseeing thrown in for good measure.

NY food fest composit
If someone told me I had to move to NY tomorrow I would find an apartment near Eataly - the big Italian food market and collection of restaurants across from the Flatiron building. So great and the nearest to real Italian pizza I have had in a long time.  Also we checked out the Chelsea market, another great food destination.

I always keep tickets and cards from restaurants, a small souvenir and a good way to recall locations and place names.
couple of recommendations, Boqueria - a tapas restaurant in Soho, fantastic. Manzo, in the Eataly market, everything we ordered was great.
The Tenement museum  in the lower east side - super interesting, a museum in an old tenement apartment where they have recreated the historical living spaces of families who lived there in different eras.
And to make it a real NY trip we saw a Broadway show. We bought tickets at the half-price ticket booth in Times Square to see Holiday Inn, which was really fun and gets you in the holiday spirit. I bet it will be really popular in December.

ticket assortment

One other interesting thing we did was walk the High Line - which is an old industrial elevated railroad track that has been converted to a park and walking path. We did the docent led tour which I liked as I always want to hear about the history and the guide was able to tell the history of the neighborhood and how it evolved over the century. I don't take a lot of pictures - tend to just absorb what I'm doing. My pal Shams has recently been to NY and did a really great post including lots of pics of the High Line in the summertime so if you want to see more check out her post.

Yes, you can see the Statue of Liberty from the High Line - cool!

highline view

Times Square - here's a peek at my green jacket which I'm also wearing in some of the pics above - I posted this jacket on IG before I left on the trip. but a full post or two will be coming up here soon. Do you recognize the green fabric? It is the rest of the yardage left after I made my Tricolor coat last December. This fabric is warm! And I needed it on this evening as there was definitely an autumn chill in the air. But otherwise it was beautiful weather, so lucky on that score.

Me Times Sq

Goodbye New York - see you next year I hope. And all the sewing superstars that I met - it's so great to put a face to the name in the comments or meet someone who I have seen on Instagram. A few of you said you would love to take a hands-on jacket making class - I'll come back, let's do it!

In other sewing news, I have a number of things completed and ready to post here, such as that silk top I'm wearing in the first picture, and a couple of dresses that just need some finishing touches. And then I can start on some of this new fabric - woo hoo!

Happy sewing,

Empire state by moonlight

Monday, October 10, 2016

Burda 6782 jacket with boucle from Mood

Here is something that took me quite a while to finish, and yet once it was finally basted together for final stitching I did breathe a sigh of relief, and appreciate this lovely fabric. My pal Heather bought this fabric at Mood during her summer 2015 trip to NY, where she did some solo shopping and came back with quite a few goodies. Some of which are still in my stack of "to do". In this case, she was quite willing to wait until my inspiration developed, although this one did say jacket when I pulled it out of the box. It said jacket - but I screamed, "Stripes!"
OK - just between us sewing types, you know the feeling, when you are confronted with the fabric and kind of wish it was anything else. Like a nice, simple solid color! or random pattern that needs no special treatment! Of the various fabrics she bought on that trip (which includes some luscious silks waiting to be turned into a summer maxi) 3 of 6 were striped, or panels that need careful cutting.
Oh well - text and FaceTime long distance shopping only goes so far.

Enough about that. Like I said, she was in no hurry so slow and steady were the order of the day.

boucle suit jacket front

I have never sewn with a genuine Linton tweed but seen some samples that a friend ordered, and this very much reminded me of those. It is very loosely woven, actually a bit delicate, and the grayish stripes seem like satin ribbon or some kind of shimmery fiber. We had enough yardage to make a jacket and then a skirt but she is not really a skirt wearer - she prefers dresses so I suggested a jacket and then a dress with the boucle for the skirt and then a solid color on top.
I had very little hope of finding something suitable and figured that might be tricky, but I walked into Stone Mountain Fabrics in Berkeley with my boucle swatch and they had a shelf of wool double knits - so this coral pick color was an absolutely perfect match and weight. Lucky score - or lucky me to have such a great fabric store so nearby.

Here's the one and only pic I took of Heather when she came to pick up this outfit. It was one of our 100˚ + days in August and even with the AC on it was Hot! so just a quick barefoot pic :)

boucle suit on H

Here is the pattern I used for the jacket. I really liked this pattern as it combined some of the look of traditional jacket but has some nice features that make it work for a plus or full busted figure. Not sure if you can see it in the tech drawing but it has a princess seam down the front, and then a regular bust dart. I also like the open V neckline. The other version with the attached collar/lapel is also nice - might have to try that one now that I have all the fit changes worked out. And in a solid color!

Burda 6782 pattern image

Because whew - the fitting was a bit tricky - in a solid you can do a little cheating with fit adjustments with with a horizontal stripe like this any change needs to be very exact and then also be accommodated to keep the stripes level and matching.

boucle suit back view

Here's the dress, I only have this view on the dress form which is not really how it looks on, the fact that the top portion is a knit means that it fits very closely yet has plenty of ease. This wool double-knit is like a very thick ponte - I love this fabric and would use it again. Not that it is probably a lot warmer to wear than a rayon ponte - so keep that in mind if you try it.

boucle dress only
How about some sewing? Oh and by the way - this boucle is completely fused - every piece - with Pro-Weft Supreme lightweight woven fusible (this one). Why? because I started with the jacket front, and had the jacket front stabilized with silk organza, and the edges taped. Then I put it on the dress form and it was just so limp. And with this open weave I didn't think it would survive much wearing. So I did some testing and liked the texture and drape with the fusible. Particularly for the skirt pieces it seemed that they would need more than just lining, so fusible comes to the rescue.

Starting boucle jacket

After that little hiccup I moved on to more fitting. As usual, making the sleeve for a jacket where I have sliced and diced and adjusted the pattern a lot is then a bit tricky. I did use my trick of making a muslin test sleeve, fitting that into the real jacket, getting it to feel and fit just right and then cutting it out last. I even went so far as to mark the horizontal lines on the muslin so I could then place the pattern pieces on the boucle and have the sleeves match. Ok time to admit - this project was kind of agonizing.
See all those various colors of basting thread holding the sleeve in - those are my various tests on the armhole - which changed shape a bit as things went along. And on my desk I have a lot of scribbly notes such as " left sleeve use pink thread baste, move shoulder in 1/4", sew at 3/4" not 5/8" which I write down in the heat of the moment and then go back to later to try to decipher my own clues. And always resolve to be more methodical with my notes. And I never am! So far lucky...

sleeve fit testing

Check out that ravel-y fabric. Oh yes, this one wants to start disintegrating as soon as you touch it. But  once inside the lining it doesn't matter so no seam finishes, just healthy seam allowances, pressed down and sometimes catch-stitched so they stay in place.

This is a really good view of the fabric and how loosely it is woven, it actually seems like a collection of ribbons woven together. And more of my thread traces to mark the hem edge. I had to bring out the neon green after I used all my other colors on various sections.

boucle suit hem thread trace

Here is the result of all that persnickety matching - I was so satisfied if I do say so myself! This is one of those fabrics where it doesn't seem all that stripes - but if they weren't lined up it would be so jarring and look off kilter. So I'm glad I took my time on this one.

stripe matching

The dress is a pattern I have used for Heather previously, it is a Bootstrap Fashion pattern that I ordered using her specific measurements, here's the link to the specific one I used. I've used this pattern twice for her, changing out the sleeves and then omitting the peplum thing. In this version I also omitted the  waistband. With these patterns I've found the fit to definitely be in the ballpark. Depending on how much your figure is different from the standard on other sewing patterns (both in circumference and height) then these patterns are useful although not necessarily the answer to everything. I find they do have the right amount of ease (i.e. not too much) and the height measurements are amazingly good (length, where the bust and waist hit, etc) the fit in the bust can be problematic as you go up in size but the fit in the shoulders/neck is usually pretty good, so some more adjustment in the bust area seems like a reasonable thing to have to do for the rest of it to be more or less a good fit.

What else? We decided to omit the button for a variety of reasons. She said she never buttons a jacket closed, also I tested bound buttonholes on scraps and they were hideous - this fabric just didn't want to form into buttonholes. Machine buttonholes I know wouldn't work, this was too nubbly and thick to fit under my attachment. So whew - she didn't want them anyway :)

I made a three piece sleeve as I needed to do some fit adjustments and this was the best way to get the shaping needed. More stripe matching! Also in this view you can see the bust dart. I believe I added length to the front and enlarged the dart a bit, then adjusting the side panel and back to match. I like the way the dart is angled, it really gives nice shaping but isn't an intrusive dart. What is an intrusive dart? one that I notice, like an arrow. I guess this is a style choice - there are a few indie patterns that I look at and all I can see is the dart placement (which looks wrong and too horizontal to me). So Burda seems to get this right pretty often. In fact I will say it again, for plus sizes I think Burda is such a winner - and with the envelope patterns or the downloadable pdfs I can find just about any style that I am looking for. boucle suit side view

Last look, the lining. I decided on a pale grey lining instead of a cream color. You know how an item with a white or light lining looks around the neckline after a few wearings - not my fav so a grey lining is a bit more practical. The bodice portion is lined in a coral pink.

boucle suit lining

So that's the scoop on the epic boucle jacket project. I have sewn so many things since I finished this and need to get going on my blog backlog.

Life and travel keep getting in the way. Speaking of travel - did you see this Instagram post - read carefully :) and maybe I will see you there! Hope so!

And I have even found my fall sewing mojo -despite our lingering summer weather. Sneak peek- I finished this to add to my ever growing stockpile of coats that I don't need but sew anyway because I love to.  Blog post soon. And an interesting pattern journey that ended in a repeat.

green coat sneak peek

Happy "is it fall where you are?" sewing,

Today's garden photo - oh it is at a low ebb around here, just dry and nothing blooming and leaves piling up. But this vine is a winner - I wish I had bought 3 when I found this at Home Depot a few years ago. Just keeps climbing the fence and blooming throughout the summer. Not flashy but dependable. Every garden needs lots of those.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

How to change the neckline, summer top New Look 6374

When the end of the year arrives and I do a bit of sewing analysis, I think it might turn out that this is the year of tops. Based on finding a couple of really great tunic style top patterns as well as some t-shirt patterns that will reappear, I've added more tops to my wardrobe and found them really useful. Separates are always on my mental to-do list, so quick, so gratifying, such a small amount of fabric needed. But I get distracted by some clever new jacket pattern or a pretty dress.

Anyway - this is not a particularly noteworthy top other than the fact that I have worn it a lot since sewing it up.
Or should I say refashioning it up!

Pink top front NL6374

This top is New Look 6374, which I first made in a really nice silk that started life as a panel print and I did some fabric cutting geometry to get make it. Recently I did a big closet clean out and took a lot of stuff I no longer wear to the charity shop, and this dress was among the items. Not worn at all this summer and I figured it was time to move on, however I always liked the fabric which is just a plain woven cotton. So I retrieved it from the bags and decided to see if I could salvage a top or something out of it. The dress is New Look 6864 which is a dress pattern from about 6 years ago, with many bodice versions and I have used that pattern at least 8 times.


I removed the zipper, and detached the skirt so that provided the fabric for the shirt front and back. The back yoke needed to be seamed, and the center back seam of the skirt remained on the shirt.

pink top NL6374

The main thing I wanted to try with this version of the pattern is to change up the neckline. The pattern has a mandarin collar style, although it is on the narrow side. It worked OK for the silk version but I think in a long sleeve winter version I might make it a bit taller. But this is definitely a summer version so I wanted no collar and a slightly more open neckline. Here is a look at the two tops side by side so you can see the change in the neckline.

pink and green top comparison

To create the neckline and the facing edge, which is rounded, I created a band or facing piece by determining where to have the neckline finish, and then working backwards to reduce the shirt body and add a band. Then I added the seam allowanced (3/8" in this case). Note that in the center front of the neckband I have added the amount that will be there once the placket is sewn on to the center from of the top.

N6374 pattern adj

It seemed I was home free with this design but as it turned out I had to do a lot of fiddling to get the remaining parts cut out of the remaining fabric, even using some of the curved neckband of the original dress to make this new neckband.

pink top side NL6374

Bias tape for the armholes, and of course I moved in the top of the shoulder about 1.25" to create that cut-in shoulder look that I like.

Not very satisfying sewing room mirror shot is all I can manage to show off this top. Which I popped on for a photo only as I was getting ready to go out yesterday morning to meet a friend for coffee. It looks a lot better with white jeans and sandals then with dark jeans and my hiking sneakers. At least you can tell it was super sunny yesterday. Rumor has it we might get some rain on Sunday - we can only hope!

pink NL top on me

In other news, I have written a few more Craftsy posts that you might like to read.

While I lean towards facings, when it comes to certain types of garments or fabrics then a bias binding is the way to go. Here is the link if you want to read my take on this topic.

Binding vs facings image

This one is near and dear to my heart, pattern markings! Here's the link. On this topic I want to say to all pattern designers - traditional or indie - USE MORE! More is better! I think that more information that is printed on the pattern the better. Perhaps with the development of multi-size patterns the issues of adding a lot pattern markings becomes more challenging and I understand that. But when I look at some older patterns, they were a wealth of information. Including my personal pattern mania - the collar roll line on a coat or jacket. Which has sadly all but disappeared on any patterns. But I will write about that in an upcoming post as I am deep into a tailored jacket right now and taking lots of pics.

Decode pattern markings link image

Sneak peek of my latest project in process. Wool fabric, silk basting thread, bound buttonhole markings, it must be a fall jacket. Yep - sewing interest in autumnal projects is awake and I now have a good list of stuff to sew in the next couple of months.


I can't believe it is October already - although from the Halloween junk for sale in the stores I would believe you if you said that was tomorrow. I plan to stay away from the big fabric stores for the rest of the month - having no need to buy fleece of any sort (who buys that much fleece? that always amazes me the inventory of fleece).
Maybe even some deferred garden work tomorrow. Depends on the weather I guess :)

Happy weekend sewing, Beth

Here's a hydrangea from May. They are so faded and colorless now, but the colors were glorious this past spring.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sleeve variation on a tunic top, plus more sleeve talk

Why is it so satisfying to use a pattern multiple times? I know I'm not the only one that derives some extra sewing pleasure from pattern reuse. For my part, it mostly appeals to my thrifty side. By making another version that is perhaps one fewer new pattern purchased. Plus there is the saved time because I have already done the pattern fitting.
So what did I get my money's worth from this summer? It's the very simple but elegant New Look 6677. Which in fact cost me nothing as I found it in a grab bag of patterns that my friend Alice gave me some months ago. And used first to make her this blue eyelet top - a complete success. And then I made another version for myself.

I have neglected to share a few of the Craftsy sewing blog posts that I had published recently - I have been doing some how-to posts on sleeves and wanted to do a post on how to design a flutter sleeve. Which is not really my favorite but it is kind of useful, and looks really pretty when used on the right top or dress.

Flutter sleeve blouse example

I decided to use this New Look top pattern to make a version with the flutter sleeves. This fabric was from Joann fabrics, it is nice rayon woven, lightweight and just right for a bit of flutter in the sleeves. I loved the color and saw it there in the front on a few different visits to the store (where I go mostly to buy random stuff that I don't have, like buttons for a specific project or lining) So with a discount coupon it was around $ 8. For this fabric, using the border print was no problem, it wasn't an issue to turn the fabric sideways and cut on the cross grain. But do take note of that, sometimes there are border prints, with some stretch, but by cutting on the cross grain it has the stretch running the wrong way (which is up and down instead of around the body). I have also fallen into that trap with a solid - in this post the second jacket shown I cut with the stretch going the wrong way and it bugs me a lot!)

These woven rayons and rayon challis are really nice fabrics to sew, although they do wrinkle a bit too much for my taste. But for dresses and blouses they are vastly better than quilting cottons, the drape is perfect for a lot of styles.

A look at the flutter sleeve. Once finished I think this didn't really go with the rest of the garment. A flutter sleeve looks much better with an open neckline, so you can guess what I did later.

Here is the link to my Craftsy post on how to create the flutter sleeve. I do think it is a nice sleeve used in the right spot - some people just don't want their arms to show, or require a bit more coverage but a regular sleeve seems constricting or too casual. This is a good sleeve to try if you want to avoid doing a bicep adjustment. Basically everything in the design book that I use can look fantastic or goofy - it just depends on using each design element in the right spot. For some reason I think of these sleeves on a bias cut satin evening gown in a 1930's black and white movie with a glamorous vixen running around with a fur stole and gardenia in her hair.

Craftsy flutter sleeve post2

And here is a look at it on me. While I love the fabric I didn't like the look very much. Perhaps it is the proportion, the top might be kind of long but I was going for the tunic look. Also it would look good with white jeans but I think it was about 100˚F when we took this picture so shorts it was. It seems too covered up with that collar which works so well with the sleeveless version. As evidenced by a lot of my other posts, I am a proportion scrutinizer. I think that a part of sewing experience is being able to evaluate the shapes and proportions of a pattern or garment, not just as designed but as it looks on your own body.

flutter top on me front

You can guess what it did next. Actually since I had my doubts on the sleeves but needed to photograph for the Craftsy post, I just machine basted them on. Then I let this one marinate for a while, even putting it on one evening as I was going out to meet friends for a drink - but it just didn't feel right. So back on the dress form for some more contemplation. And finally this happened.

aqua top front v2aqua top back v2

For me so much more wearable.  And here is a terrible iPhone timer photo taken late in the day when the lighting wasn't cooperating, thus the color looks really off. I like it so much better and have already worn it a few times. Plus tomorrow it is supposed to be 100˚ here again so I am still wearing my sleeveless summer tops despite autumn being just around the corner. Proved by the number of leaves falling in my front yard and the bedraggled look of all the plants which are very tired and just waiting for some much needed rain!

blue top2

On the theme of sleeves I also did another recent post for Craftsy, on how to do the Tulip sleeve. Which is another variation that cleverly uses the existing sleeve pattern piece and is them modified. Which makes it easy to sew into the garment because you don't change the sleeve cap at all. Check it out!  And that grey dotted top pictured in the post was a test garment for a new to me New Look pattern, since I had such success with the one at the top of this post I checked out their pattern book for another and found this one, New Look 6374. Super cute pattern, hideous on the pattern envelope, and I have already made a couple of versions.

craftsy flutter sleev post2

If you are interested in sleeve fitting and sewing, I have done a number of posts on Craftsy on various sleeve-y topics. Here some of my previous ones if you want to take a look. And I have another one in progress, soon to be published, deconstructing sleeve patterns with explanations on all the various markings. Whew! sleeves are an endless supply of topics, who knew?

How to make a two-piece sleeve (very good for fitting a full bicep)

Pattern Adjustment: how to ensure your sleeve fits perfectly

How to sew sleeves in a coat or jacket

Thank you everyone for your nice comments on my previous post, on the striped and pieced Burda dress. I was looking at the BurdaStyle website and see a version that is color-blocked - that might be my favorite version by far. I am really happy with the fit of the dress so that pattern will go in the "perhaps to be sewn again next spring" category. It would a great one for color-blocking using up smallish pieces of solid color fabric. It interests me that a lot of readers often suggest adding a cardigan in a bright color. I appreciate the suggestion - but I never wear cardigans :) In fact I think I might have two? I'm just not a cardigan wearer - either it is a pullover sweater in the winter because it is chilly or I wear a sleeveless dress because it is very hot here - so cardigan weather doesn't really happen. Plus if I sewed up a nice dress then I don't want to cover it up with a cardigan! Yep we all have our wardrobe quirks.  Now jackets are another story.

Speaking of jackets - I am just starting on a wool jacket. Because I am bonkers. OK not that. I did a big closet clean out a few weeks ago, however I still have soooooo many nice wool coats and jackets. But sometimes you just get a bug in your head and have to sew something new, right?  Speaking of bugs, I have a annoying cold this weekend (when is having a cold not annoying?) so I am taking it easy, catching up on my Tivo recordings and maybe doing a bit of sewing. I went to Seattle last week to see friends and it seems like a 50-50 chance that if I fly anywhere I get a cold, usually after the return. Anyone else experience this? Oh well, enough whining...

Because it was so worth it - one of my best friends moved up to the great northwest (as I call it) about 18 years ago so I've had the opportunity to visit often. While I always prefer palm trees to pine trees it is beautiful and green, and their food/wine scene is great. My friends just bought a vacation house on San Juan Island - so we did the ferry trip over there and I got to see that, very fun. I have a feeling I will be back. They have dungeness crab almost all year round - lucky them. It's a winter treat here in NorCal and last year the season was delayed due to environmental reasons. Which is tough on the local SF fisherman and also not good for our Christmas table.

But I will always be partial to the Golden State. So I couldn't resist taking this picture out the airplane window - look at that sunshine over the Golden Gate Bridge. And you can even see the Farallon Islands, which is our benchmark for how clear the sky is over the bay area. That is tiny Alcatraz island in the middle, and then Angel island on the right, which is a state park, has ferry service and you can even camp. Although I have never been there!

the Golden Gate, September

Happy weekend sewing,


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fun with Stripes: Burda Asymmetric Sheath dress 04/2016 # 119B

Here's something I sewed a few weeks ago and I just can't warm up to it. Which I attribute entirely to the color. Or non-color, to be more accurate. As I have mentioned before, I just don't like to wear black very much. Or solid navy blue for that matter. Let's include brown in that category, and beige. Just not a fan of any of those colors. On the other hand if it is a bright color then I am happy. Actually that is the bottom line - I think I'm just one of those people who react to color a lot and particularly bright and saturated colors.

Which is a long way round of saying that while I really like this style and shape, and the actual fabric is quite nice, but the final result is just not giving me a thrill. Also it is really difficult to find vertically striped fabrics. Although when I found this at Stone Mountain the rational side of my brain told me "oh this will be really suitable for that pattern, and make a nice and interesting wardrobe basic".

Ok, enough yammering, here it is.  (note - drawing results on previous post's pattern giveaway at the end of this post)


I saw this pattern in the April issue and knew I wanted to sew it. But just needed to find the vertically striped fabric. I think I have seen other versions on line, particularly this version  which is in a color way that I love. Her stripes are all going the different way than mine, I think she used a horizontally striped fabric and rotated the pattern pieces. In any case I wanted to sew it like the pattern was designed, also I have something where I cut a knit with disregard for the direction of stretch and will never do that again! By the way, I don't buy the Burda magazines, I just purchase the PDF's of patterns I want, which is maybe one or two every few months.

When I look at these photos on my computer the stripes make the images look really messed up - hopefully they are showing up properly here.

Front and back on the dress form. I don't think the stripes are supposed to line up in the front at all. To tell the truth I studied the example on the Burda website for a good 10 minutes, then when I traced out all the pattern pieces I carefully added marks so I could make some of the stripes across the bodice seams connect - but really to no avail. I concluded that it was not possible and even not necessary.

diagonal stripe on form front2  diagonal stripe back on form

See what I mean, check out that seam under the bust. I figured it should match (i.e. stripes intersect) at the center front and then it would also do so elsewhere - but of course it doesn't because it is a slightly curved seam, and not a 90˚ angle, in fact all the edges are curved and slice at different angles to each other. So don't bother with any matching. I could have sewed this a lot faster if I had skipped this effort.  Although the center back is a different - better - story. In that the is two sides that are mirror images so it does match there which I think looks nice.

diagonal stripe close up front neckline on form

For what looks like a simply shaped sheath dress I did a fair amount of fitting. I moved that small strap in just a quarter inch where it hits the neckline, just to make it easier to wear. I took it up at the shoulders a bit, standard adjustment for me as I am short. Added a little bit of length to the top bodice piece. Graded out in the hips, after starting with a Burda 38 bodice. Since it is a knit I made it on the slim side, although there is probably about 2 inches of ease in the waist.


Sewing details, I think in the instructions - which I did look at - tell you to put fusible interfacing on the seam edges. Which seemed like a bit of work but I just cut a bunch of the strips and then added the fusible to every edge. I think this makes a huge difference in helping to keep the dress in its shape  All those asymmetric seams press nicely and hold the curve as designed. I think it might stretch out or just not lay flat without the fusible. One of my sewing mottoes is "always more interfacing" so this project was no exception.

black stripe construction

diagonal sripe8

I thought about doing a full knit lining but decided it didn't need it, the fabric is nicely opaque and it didn't really need it. The facings provided by the pattern actually worked really well. I use some solid black knit fabric for the facing, and did interface the edges of the facings.

inside views diagonal stripe

diagonalstripe back view

I like the back neckline, but not so crazy about how the stripe worked out along the center seam in the skirt portion. It's hard to tell, even in the close ups but the stripes are white and blue. Not that the tiny bit of blue adds much. I did post a dress form pic of this dress on Instagram a while ago and it got a lot positive comments, so I will be interesting to see the reaction here.

Do you ever have a pair of shoes that you like when you look down at your feet but when you see them in pictures or catch a glimpse in the mirror they look strange? These black wedge sandals always get a try-on but actually get worn kind of rarely. Too many straps maybe? You can see in a couple of these photos I have on a different pair of even older black sandals. Which perhaps look better? See it pays to just keep stuff until it comes back in style, ha ha.

diagonal stripe7

Sewing for fall seems upon us - and my response to that is yuck! Fall fashions, fall sewing, change of seasons - no thank you! Look at all those fallen apples in my yard, yellow leaves, dry grass. I tolerate fall/winter and plan for spring.

How about an action shot? It is a shame that this giant apple tree is so productive, because the apples are terrible. One day a couple of weeks ago I picked up at least 100 apples and that was just the beginning stage of the apple onslaught. The squirrels and the birds like them and the shade is nice, Plus the blossoms in the spring are gorgeous. So apple tree reprieve.

diagonal stripe6

Next up - some striped t-shirts, another silk top which is actually a transitional fall piece, and I have just completed the pattern work (flat pattern adjustment and then a quick test muslin) for a wool dress and an interesting jacket.

Happy early fall sewing, 

For my previous post - the drawing for two patterns from my stash, will these readers please email me with your mailing addresses.
Robin - for the leather top pattern
PoldaPop - for the Vogue ballgown dress pattern   

There is an email button up at the top of the blog under my profile. 
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