Sunday, November 24, 2019

Color block silk (?) shirt Burda 12-2017-105

November....the worst month. There's just something about November that I don't like. Perhaps it's the shorter days, or the chill in the air. And it's not even all that cold here, although I'm always freezing and wear sweaters and jackets when others are still wearing shorts and sandals. It makes me shiver just to look at them. A nice balmy 88℉ and I am so happy!

So what can I do to brighten up this time of year? Make a brightly colored shirt. A jewel tone is always my go-to when I can't decide what to sew, and this green fabric has been in my stash about a year, I think I found it at an ASG sale. It feels and sews like silk but I don't think it is, however it was only 2 yards of 45" wide so it needed a bit of help in the yardage department to squeeze out a button front shirt.

green shirt 4

That help came in the form of some contrasting fabric for the yoke, cuffs and the collar stand.

green shirt 3
Here's what I started with to make this shirt. I keep all reasonably large pieces of any silks I use, they come in handy as lining, or inside of shirt yokes, pocket linings or facings, or even bias bindings.

Green shirt fabrics

I had the green fabric (pink arrow pointing to it) and then I had two old silk short sleeve tops, and a large piece of dark blue silk crepe. Once I got started I ended up just using the yardage plus the bright blue silk top for the contrast pieces.

Here's the pattern used. I decided it was time to try a different shirt pattern, and this one had gathered sleeve caps. Turns out I don't really like the gathered sleeve caps but they don't show all that much so I don't mind. But won't repeat! Also this shirt had a ruffle but I put a collar on instead.

Burda 12-2018-105 blouse

green shirt cuff

I also just noticed that the shirt sleeve is gathered into the cuff and I put a couple of small pleats. Oh well!  They are a bit too long for me, I thought I checked the length but I think the extra height of the gathered sleeve cap threw me off. It would have looked better if they were gathered.  But it is staying the way it is!

Let's talk about buttons. It is so difficult to find nice and reasonably priced buttons lately. I used to find nice buttons at Joann's but they have reduced the quantity and color choice of their buttons to the point that they are next to useless. If I do happen to go in and they are having a sale I will buy 12 of any that I think are a useful color. I have buttons stored in small zip bags according to color family, white, black, blue, pink, purple, red, green, brown etc. and at least I can find some buttons in my stash  when I might need them. But for this shirt I didn't have enough of any one type of blue button that looked good.

green shirt buttons

Ebay to the rescue. I searched for buttons and found a seller that had the type of shirt buttons I use, they had kind of a random assortment of colors and sizes but the shipping was quite low so I bought 3 different colors of buttons. The blue shown here, plus a dark blue and a deep wine color. I think the packs were 25 buttons for $ 1.89 or something like that. Anyway my whole order including shipping was around $ 10 and they arrived in 3 days so I will give them a try again. You have to sift through a lot of craft (scrapbooking) buttons to find the type one would use on a garment but I found if you put the size button you want in the search that helps.

I thought they looked better flipped over with the flat side instead of the star showing. I used royal blue thread for all the sewing, it seemed to accent the contrast yoke and also I didn't have any green thread that was a good color match :)  The shirt color looks different in these two button pictures, I might have taken them at different times of day. The one below is more accurate.

green shirt buttonholes

green shirt sleeve and yoke

I kind of doubt I will wear it buttoned up like this but I wanted to see how it looks. Ok I guess and I like the fit of the shoulders so this shirt pattern might reappear with a few adjustments on the sleeves.

green shirt 6

green shirt back

green shirt 7

So that's the latest on this green color blocked shirt. Lately when I have a few minutes to waste I thumb through my Burda magazines. It kind of amazes me how many things I find that I didn't notice when the issue first arrived.
Up next, to finish a dress from a recent Burda which all visitors to my sewing room have loved but I'm not quite sure about. But it will make a good holiday outfit.

This picture makes me laugh - I think it needs a thought bubble that says "I have doubts about this shirt but I do like the color"  which might be the story of many of my sewing projects! And do not look at the sad lack of blooms and dry leaves behind me. That's the California garden in November, a dull place just waiting for rain. Please, Rain!!!

green shirt 5

We're winding down the year of classes at Hello Stitch in Berkeley, I just have two in December (the Zadie jumpsuit class still has a couple of spots open. And then I have a nice long rest until January - which will be really busy. We've had so many beginner and intermediate garment sewing classes these past 6 months and it makes me so happy to have people come back again and again. Also when they ask at the end of the day "What can I take next?"  😊 We're creating a new group of sewing enthusiasts and it's really fun and rewarding. So check the Hello Stitch website to see what's coming up in 2020 (and register if you are interested - things are filling up)

Other things to finish are a turquoise wool blazer (sneak peek here) with a wacky lining - a real stretch for me. And then have enough fabric to make some matching trousers so I plan to go full pantsuit with that one. Stay tuned!

Happy November sewing, and remember the winter solstice and longer days are just a month away!

Today's garden photo, this morning glory vine lives on the fence between houses and in late summer starts putting out a few blooms. I love this flower, it looks lit from within.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

End of summer sewing: Rayon top Burda 02/2018 # 120

A while ago when I made a pink wool jacket I wanted to make a top to wear with it, but it's kind of a tricky color. Difficult to coordinate, and I knew I wasn't likely to find the same shade of pink. I saw this rayon print at Stone Mountain and thought that it would look nice with the jacket. So even thought I don't ordinarily like novelty prints this features two of my favorite items, lipstick and nail polish - so why not?

I'll start with the back view on this top as this pattern is all about the back neckline and tie. The fabric has a really nice weight and drape which works with this pattern. I could also see it in a silk.

Burda blue top back closeup

Yes, it's a pattern repeat! I first made this top last spring, in a lightweight cotton. It was a surprise how often I wore it - I don't have very many short sleeve woven tops but that one pairs nicely with jeans or a denim skirt.

Blue top 1

Burda blue top front view on form

The neckband on this pattern which drapes gracefully in front is cut on the bias. Which means it uses a bit more fabric and needs to be all one piece. When I bought the fabric, since it was 60" wide I just bought 1 yard, which seemed like plenty for a summer top.

Blue top 3

So I played around with the layout, made sure I shortened the sleeves on the pattern, as they are originally elbow length but I knew I didn't want that. Finally I decided to create seams at the shoulder in the neck binding and in this fabric they don't even show.  If you look carefully you can see the seam, which lines up with the dart in the sleeve so I think it looks intentional :).

Note for sewing this pattern - it's important not to press the neckband, you want it to roll forward and just land where it wants for a soft fold.

Burda blue top seam on binding

It helps to have a friend when you take blog photos - can you tell I took these on the same day and location as the ones for the dress in my previous post?

My friend Halyna is wearing a New Look jumpsuit - I think it's # NL6446?  And I'm wearing my sparkly Ash jeans which turned into my summer staple.

Blue pink top with H

What's my next sewing project? I just finished a color-blocked silk blouse which despite the puffy sleeves I'm sure I'll wear it often as I like the colors (those sleeves not my favorite silhouette but decided to try). I have picked up a blazer I started in September as an example for my Jacket Tailoring class then, and probably will get that done tomorrow as I am stuck at home due to some lengthy home repairs.
The Blazer Jacket is on the schedule again at Hello Stitch Studio for Jan 31-Feb 1-Feb 2 so if you are interested in signing up here's the class listing.

In other news - still no rain here! Oh how I wish it would rain - the garden needs it, the ground needs it, our whole state needs it. I'm a little fearful we may be heading into another drought year.
And if you are somewhere in the frozen tundra - at least you'll have plenty of water. Probably small comfort I know.

Blue top2

Happy Sewing,

Today's garden photo, a scruffy little miniature rose that keeps on blooming despite living in a neglected corner of the garden.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Lots of ruffles: Burda 04/2019 # 120 in cotton poplin

The Burda April 2019 issue is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. This is the third item that I've sewn from that issue and I think there are one or two others that might catch my eye. First I sewed the denim skirt # 113, next was the purple flounce hem dress # 117  which is really fun to wear. All along this dress intrigued me and the opportunity came when I was invited to make something for the Minerva Blog network.

2_Cotton poplin Minerva dress Beth  copy

1_Cotton poplin Minerva dress Beth copy

This is my idea of wearing a dark color like navy blue or black - to make me happy it needs a dash of a bright colors. Or more than just a dash of bright but a nice scattering of pink roses. It was a warm day but this dress silhouette seemed to call for boots and I can see wearing this in the winter with tights and even a thin layer long sleeve tee.
Which brings me to the big question of this dress, what about those sleeve ruffles??? I am so tempted to remove them now. Even though I sewed the dress with them to see how it looked and to recreate the magazine version.

3_Cotton poplin Minerva dress Burda mag

Perhaps my fabric is a bit more stiff than their example as my sleeve ruffles seem to stick out more. I think I could have reduced the length of the piece and had a result of less gathers but for once I sewed the pattern as it was designed. Although the sleeve ruffles are dramatic and they might look interesting here, I can just see putting on any sweater, jacket or coat over this would be so annoying. So I'm going to think on this for a while :)

6_Cotton poplin dress Minerva Beth copy

Burda 04-2019-119 dress drawing
I made my usual Burda size 38 and it fit perfectly - which rarely happens. Considering there is no shaping to speak of so that might make this a magic dress!!  Thanks to Nakisha who sewed and blogged this already - I took this line drawing from her post as I don't see it on the BurdaStyle site right now. Side note - I am getting my magazines so Yay! and their site is creaking along with apparent updates so hope it will get back to all the info it had previously.
Also I just noticed that she made it in a small floral print and is wearing it with black suede boots - a great look 😉.

This dress is also shown in the magazine in a longer version, with no ruffles and chest pockets.

4_Cotton poplin Minerva Dress Beth copy

In addition to being a magic dress, fit-wise, it is super easy to sew. The button front is a fold over placket, so nothing to attach there, and there is just the small stand collar. No darts at all. Which is nice as I am contemplating making a jacket I saw that has 10 darts on the sleeves alone :)

Navy floral sleeve view

You can see when worn the sleeve ruffles are very full, and also with this cotton fabric the wrong side shows a bit. The fabric was a dream to sew and just the right weight for this style with the ruffle hem.

7_Cotton poplin Minerva dress Beth copy

5_Cotton poplin Minerva dress Beth copy

Ruffles seem to be everywhere right now, these deep hem ruffles are popular with designers like Erdem or The Vampires Wife and the recently released McCalls patterns, like this example. While they are fun to wear they are starting to give me memories of Little House on the Prairie or Jessica McClintock prom dresses. (actually I never had one of those ruffly prom dresses and thought they were a bit silly looking then. Granted this is from the girl who made a not really in style with the other 17 year olds Vogue designer pattern for her junior prom dress - I wish I could remember the designer and find a copy on eBay) Note - I found the image of that pattern so I've included it at the bottom of the post! And it's selling for around $45. Oh, how I wish I kept all those Vogue designer patterns I had in my teen and college years!! And the labels they used to include.

So a big thank you to Minerva for providing this fabric and giving me the chance to jump on the ruffle trend.

8_Cotton poplin Minerva dress Beth copy

The weather this week just went from shorts and sandals weather to actually chilly with some frost warnings, so wearing of wool coats is an option. Although it's kind of nice to have an autumn chill the wind has been fierce some days as you probably have seen on the news, and the fire danger and actual fires are so terrible. We had a power cut one day here  - they are doing this all around the bay area as a preventative safety measure to prevent fires. The second power cut, which was longer didn't hit my house although in some directions a mile or two it was out. And I know plenty of people who were without power for several days. It seems like a crazy way to solve a technology problem but for now we are all just happy to not have any more of these fires right in our neighborhoods. Plus we had a fairly large earthquake about a week ago where the epicenter was practically in my backyard. (ok not really but less than a mile away and it was quite a shaker - no damage anywhere though). This is just life in the Golden State! We are waiting for the rain - the answer to a lot of things in California.

Up next, another Burda short sleeve top which I wore a lot in October but might be put away for the winter, and then I'm finished a wool jacket I started as an example in my Jacket Tailoring class back in September. I'm doing that class again in late January at Hello Stitch, here's the info.  In fact all my Jan. and Feb. classes are already on the website so you can start planning your 2020 sewing!

Happy Sewing,

Here's the Vogue pattern that I made for my junior prom dress, the fabrics were a light and dark shade of jade green.

vogue Lanvin pattern 1970's

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Bondi Dress from Tessuti Patterns, batik version

Note to self - get moving on blogging my summer items. While it’s not a necessity I do like to blog most everything I sew for myself. As it turns out this frequently is the only place I make any sort of notes on the sewing or fitting details. Often I fit on the fly and consequently the only record of changes is here on the blog. Not helpful when I go to sew the pattern again, which is something I really like to do. 
So here’s a summer pattern that I’ve now used 4 times. This is the second dress version and I have two tops make from this pattern, one in silk and one in rayon.

It’s the Bondi Dress from Tessuti patterns, a simple shape that actually lends itself to a lot of creativity. Not that this version is all that creative, I just added a wide ruffle to the bottom edge. 

Batik dress by pool

There was a Vogue pattern our a couple of years ago that had this same look. Actually that pattern had the ruffle only across the back bottom edge of the dress. It was a quirky detail and the versions I saw looked interesting but I had plenty of fabric and wanted the ruffle all the way around on mine. While ruffles and flounces are back in fashion at the moment the've never left in Hawaii and you see lots of beautiful dresses here with deep hem ruffles, either floor length or shorter.

Here's a closer look at this fabric, which I've had in my stash maybe 10 years? I bought it in Honolulu when my sister lived there and she's been back in California for a good while. I bought it at Hawaii Fabric Mart which is the only large fabric store I've found over there, it has a several stores on Oahu and Maui. They sell mostly Hawaiian print fabrics, with some batiks, Japanese fabrics, quilting cotton and some dressmaking fabrics. If you are in need of denim or other fabric standards and you live in Hawaii I think online shopping is the only game in town.

Batik dress back neckline

One change I've made to the Bondi dress/top pattern is to add about an inch to the center back seam so that I can make it overlap, here it closes with some sewn on snaps. That way it's not open and I can wear a racer back bra underneath.

Batik fabrics are a bit stiff and not my usual choice for clothing but this fabric softened up enough after washing to be suitable for this dress style. It does wrinkle more than my liking but it's also not noticeable with that print.

Batik at HJ2

I also made a tie belt and wore it that way one evening. We went to a new to me restaurant, which is Haleiwa Joe's. Since we were staying in Kailua we were not far from the location in Kaneohe which overlooks Haiku Gardens, thus the very scenic pictures. It was absolutely beautiful despite raining buckets just as we arrived but then stopped and looked so lush and tranquil. The food there is good, it was packed with locals and the Mai Tai was one of the best I've had.

I wore this dress a couple of nights before and then when I was putting it on this night I realized that I hadn't really finished it! Pre-vacation rush sewing strikes again. I had put on the bias binding around the armholes and then basted up the side seams to double check the fit. I must have thought "fit is OK" and then set it down and later thought it was all done. So as I was putting it on I realized the side seam basting was coming undone at the top of both side seams. That would have been embarrassing to be sitting somewhere and have my dress slowly coming apart!


Rummaging in my makeup bag I found this sewing kit taking from some previous hotel stay. Those things are useful! So a quick hand stitch and all was secure. Note the needles are pre-threaded. I used the brown and blue threaded ones so now they are empty, I think I will refill it and be sure to have this handy for travel sewing emergencies :)

To complete the travelogue here's another look at the view from the restaurant. I think they rent that garden space out for weddings.


That's it for my summer sewing this year. I didn't actually add all that much to my summer wardrobe as I have SO many lightweight cotton dresses which are suitable for the hot summers in my part of California. The leaves are dropping here and while it was about 88℉ here yesterday I think fall may arrive soon. But until then it's short sleeves and no jackets for us, yay!

Batik dress at HJ

Up next, a couple of Burda items, and my pursuit for some new/interesting shirt patterns.

We have lots of classes coming up at Hello Stitch, I wrote about them in this post or you can always look at the Hello Stitch website to see what's available. Including my Jacket Tailoring class which we again offer in late January - oooh jackets - you know I'm excited about that!

Happy Sewing, Beth

not my garden, but some lovely Hawaiian orchids to admire.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Meeting up with international sewing friends and some upcoming class updates

All summer long I was looking forward to my relaxing vacation and one day I received a message from Yoshimi who is a long time sewing friend that I actually had never met in person. She said she and Carolyn were coming to San Francisco and New York so we could all meet up. For a split second I had the thought that they would be here when I was away, but fortunately they arrived the day I returned! Does that ever happen to you? A few weeks go by with nothing much happening and then everything at once and you have to make choices, which never fails to mean that you miss something fun. But this worked out and I was able to get together with them a couple of times while they were here.
Interestingly they were two of the first people whose blogs I started reading ages ago and I'm in awe of both their talents - they both are sewing wizards as well as fantastic knitters, a skill I admire all the more because I can't seem to learn it.
First up we met over at Stone Mountain in Berkeley for some shopping. They were staying in SF near Shams who had met Yoshimi previously when she traveled in Japan They arrived before me and it was so surreal to walk around a stack of fabric and see Carolyn looking at the linens.

intl sewing meetup

We're all wearing our handmade wardrobes - Yoshimi and Carolyn's are Vogue patterns and my dress is a old Butterick pattern that I always think I should make again, and the silk twill fabric I bought at Stone Mountain so it seemed fitting to wear it :)

C and Y at shop

They are both so delightful and it was a thrill to meet and talk. It was great to see Shams again as it's been quite a while since I've seen here also. As we were leaving the store I remembered the photo spot which they found very useful. And I will include this one to show that striking the right pose is not easy and Carolyn is doing the "gaze thoughtfully into the distance which showing your outfit to best advantage" while I am looking like I fear a bird may drop something on my dress 😉.

B and C at shop

That was Sunday, on Monday they had perfect weather in SF and saw a lot of the city, renting bikes (intrepid with all the hills!) riding across the Golden Gate Bridge and doing all the stuff that I never do unless I have out of town visitors.
On Tuesday evening I met them in the city for dinner and unfortunately Shams wasn't feeling well so she could make it, but Yoshimi, Carolyn and I had a lovely dinner together and as Carolyn said we never run out of things to talk about. I'm already thinking I need to get my 2020 travel plans organized and take a trip to someplace that's not a tropical beach.

One last thing - which is the cutest sewing item I've ever seen. Yoshimi gave me this present which looks like a lipstick but is a tiny pincushion. I think if I ever go to Japan I will need an empty suitcase!
Pincushion mini

Now for an entirely different topic - we have lots of great classes coming up at Hello Stitch. 

If you are interested in any classes I suggest you register as soon as you decide, since a lot of the classes are selling out very quickly. Particularly our Learn to Sew Series - I'm thrilled at the reception that class has received and also to see so many people from that class continue with others.

Here's what's coming up, not in calendar order but I've grouped them by type of garment.

The Jeans Jacket class starts this Sunday, it's a two session class so plenty of time to get it completed. And you can make any jeans jacket pattern you would like. I think there are 2 spots remaining.
The Wiksten Haori jacket class is really popular and such a good item to make after the Learn to Sew class. It might be sold out as I write this but you can check.

Jacket classes photo montage

And my favorite - I'm doing another Intro to Tailoring Weekend Workshop Class. This one is in January so you have plenty of time to find the perfect fabric. We just held this class in September and it was so much fun, plus the jackets everyone made are gorgeous.   Let's just say the weather wasn't exactly wool jacket or steam pressing weather but it was great fun anyway. Though I am looking forward to the January weather version. You are welcome to make any blazer jacket pattern.

Jacket class

Learn to Sew Class

learn to sew composite

The interest in this class has really surprised me in a good way - we're onto our fifth (?) session of this class in just the last 6 months and it's great to meet so many people who are interested in starting to sew. Note this is a 3 week class, and there are two sessions scheduled. Morning and afternoon.

Fitting Classes: in November we have pattern fitting, the workshop part of the class (morning) still has some spots open. In this class everyone works with half size templates and you learn to do the most common alterations, plus how to measure yourself and the pattern. In the spring we have an Adjust the Bust class, specifically for adjusting bust and other bodice fit questions.

Fitting classes compositie

More Garment sewing, of specific patterns.  Knit T-shirt,  the Zadie Jumpsuit (make a holiday party version!) and the Emerson pants (this pattern is ideal as a first pants project).

separates composite

And of course, Jeans! You can use any jeans pattern, but I must say I love this pattern, and am about to sew up my 4th pair.

jeans class pic

So that's the latest on classes for the rest of 2019 and a bit of 2020. I had better look carefully at my schedule so I can fit in some travel time, there are so many sewists to meet!

Up next, I have just finished a dress from the Burda April 2019 issue - the issue that keeps on giving! and the aforementioned jeans, plus I have some lovely silk and need to decide on a shirt pattern for that.

Happy Sewing and I hope to see you in a class at Hello Stitch or a sewing meet up someday!

Today's garden photo, a dahlia that forgot I planted in the front, which despite a poor location and not much water put out some lovely sunshiny blooms.


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