Saturday, April 27, 2019

Vogue 1412 Rebecca Taylor top in silk crepe de chine from Britex

Sometimes I wonder if I can sew a pattern as is - meaning without changing the design in some detail, whether large or small. There is always some feature or detail that I modify, redesign, leave off, or just ever so slightly tweak to suit my personal taste. When I sew pattens that are going to be examples at Hello Stitch I do mostly sew the pattern as is, and find it is so quick! Not changing things means I can just sew like the wind, without pausing to contemplate the design and get bogged down in some tiny detail. However when I make things for Heather, it is a collaboration and often she shows me an item in ready-to-wear that she likes and wants to recreate in her specific fabric. Mostly it is a collection of details, a collar here, or a skirt there that add up to a particular feeling in a garment.
So lately we have been trying to work through the collection of blouse weight silks she bought at Britex last fall. They mostly coordinate with the 2 blazer jackets I made for her in the winter, using McCalls 6172 which you can see here and here.

This blouse is Vogue 1412 by designer Rebecca Taylor. Here it probably looks just like the version on the pattern envelope but I did make a substantial change, in that it now buttons down the center front. The pattern is designed as a popover, which goes over the head and has no opening at the center front.

silk blouse front on form

V1412 Vogue blouse pattern env

I sewed View B which has gathers at the shoulder and center back neckline. The front V-neck does have some buttons but it is all one piece across the front and then a fold creates the overlap which is buttoned. I can't even remember if it actually opens in the pattern instructions. OK I just looked at them and you do make a working buttonhole closure there but the front is cut on the fold so I think it is just a lot of work for not a real opening. In any case, Heather likes a top that actually opens at the front instead of pulling over the head, and she wanted a hidden buttonhole closure. Well as you might know I LOVE a hidden buttonhole front shirt so that was a challenge I was ready to accept.

Here it is in the finished version and then I'll show you how I got there.

Silk blouse hidden buttonhole

Here's the technical drawing for this pattern. It has two completely different tops in the pattern, which is one of the things I love about Vogue patterns (and this applies to Simplicity, McCalls and New Look as well). Often there are multiple garments in one pattern envelope, sometimes an outfit and sometimes just more than one garment. In any case, for this one I was making ViewB.

Vogue 1412 line drawing

Here's the image of the pattern piece from the instruction sheet. It's pattern piece 10 for the front, and it is cut on a single layer and then marked with the fold/pleat lines. However it did have the center front marked so I used that as a starting point to figure out how to change it up.

Vogue top pattern piece

First I cut the piece 10 in half keeping track of where the center front line was, as that would be where the buttonholes would be.
Then I added seam allowance from the garment edge. Lastly I adjusted the neckline facing (piece 12) which I made continue as a long facing for the center front edge. I changed the grainline on that as well, cutting it on the straight grain of the long section (ignoring the existing grain line).

Vogue silk top facing adjustment

For pattern size alterations, I did add a bit on the side seams and added length which would have been taken up with a dart, but in trying on a sample garment I determined that a dart was not needed, there was adequate fullness due to the shoulder gathers. (which pattern making-wise is really a bust dart manipulated into shoulder gathers, I just looked through my old posts and I thought I had done a post on this but I guess not, so that will go on the to-do list).
The bust dart was removed on the final version, but I did add 1/2' in extra width vertically that you can see above, just a tiny insurance policy for a full bust.

Here is the hidden buttonhole closure after I made the buttonholes. Actually I sewed them before I attached the facing, they go on the facing and then that facing is sewn to the shirt front, stopping and starting where the opening is to allow it to button. I've done a number of posts that show this and how to do it, the best one if you want to se  it step by step is this post where I changed the coat closure to have the hidden buttonholes.  I also wrote a post on the Craftsy sewing blog (now Bluprint) and all those articles and tutorials are still there. Here's the link to that post, complete with a color-coded example which makes it easier to follow.

silk blouse placket detail

The one thing that kind of stopped me in my tracks was the final line of stitching that closes up the buttonhole closure and attaches it securely to the shirt front.
While I was happy with the way the print aligned across the front (it's not really a stripe or a plaid but the print has something of a horizontal and vertical pattern), I noticed that where I needed to sew down the buttonhole placket was right in the middle of a row of black and cream segments. So using either black or white thread, or one of the other colors would have been noticeable in a way that I didn't like.
To solve that issue I changed the thread on each segment from black to cream, and then back again. It was about 8 changes and it was accomplished about 10 minutes, so not all that much trouble and worth it to get this look. If you examine closely you can see the cream color thread and the black thread. I pulled the tails through and knotted each one so it would stay stitched in place. Yeah, kind of fussy but I was happy with it.

silk blouse stitching colors

Back view of this top. I really like how the front neck section continues and you seam it in the center back to create the back of the collar.  With all this gathering the pattern really requires a very flowy and soft fabric, so silk crepe de chine is ideal and a lightweight rayon woven would be great as well.
And I notice - all my dress forms are so crooked! I think because I'm moving them all the time and am not particularly gentle so perhaps the insides get bent a bit.

Silk blouse back view

The way the top of the center front curves meant that I couldn't get the top button as close as I would like to the top so I put a tiny snap there to keep it shut.  Since the buttons are hidden I used some that matched well enough for the center closure.

Silk blouse snap

For the sleeve cuffs I found 4 other buttons in my stash that coordinated a bit better, and I used grey thread for the buttonholes to make it mostly neutral. I made the buttonholes on my Singer Quantum machine, and they are just OK. Nothing will make buttonholes as well as my old Singer 404 which I could have busted out for this but didn't.  On a soft silk blouse I like to use the continues bias binding in self fabric for the cuff opening.

silk blouse button cuff

Silk blouse front neckline

Silk blouse side view

So that's the latest on this Vogue pattern. I so appreciate the emails and comments I receive here and on Instagram saying that you like reading about things I sew for Heather so I will certainly continue. This summer might be about the pattern repeats for her as we have a few things in mind that will reuse patterns. After going to the trouble to fit a pattern I always want to reuse it and see how I can make it look differently by changing up the fabric or styling.

Up next at Hello Stitch, tomorrow will be my Lander pants class (again, I think this is the 5th session?) and we are doing some new classes this summer, including two others that use True Bias patterns (Ogden cami top on Sat. June 2 and Emerson Pants on Sat. June 29). With the Mother's day and Memorial day weekend in May we don't have as many classes scheduled that month. And then some new ones in June, July and August. Here's the link to the Garment Sewing Classes page where these are all listed. Most all of our classes are selling out so if you are interested sign up soon!

May 4:                          Copy a Garment Class, a few spots still available.
June 1 and June 8:        Make your own Jeans, Ash jeans pattern
June 2:                          Sew the Ogden Cami
June 9:                          Knit T-shirt class
June 22:                        Fit Lab: morning, pattern fitting basics, measuring, common adjustments
                                                   afternoon, fit your own pattern
June 29:                        True Bias Emerson pants class, a wide leg pant that works as culottes or shorts
July 14                          Deer and Doe Myosotis Dress, including learn to set in a sleeve
July 28:                         Zadie Jumpsuit from Paper Theory (I'm looking forward to trying this one)

Update:  Jacket weekend workshop will be the weekend of Sept 14-15 and we will be making the Jasika Blazer from Closet Case Patterns (however as usual if you have a different jacket blazer pattern you want to do that is OK with me).

What have I been sewing? I just finished another pair of Ash jeans from Megan Nielsen patterns, in a questionable sparkly denim which I will show you soon. Although I will confess I've been wearing them plenty. I want to sew up that ruffle hem dress from the Burda mag and then I just got some great striped cotton for a new T-shirt (Girl Charlee fabric, which I have had great luck with as long as I stick to the cotton/lycra jerseys).

Time to get outside now on this gorgeous spring Saturday. The tomatoes are planted, the roses are blooming and if I could just get the drip irrigation to work properly all would be right with my garden world (the perpetual spring problem!).

Happy Sewing, Beth

This yellow one wins the race for the first rose bloom in my garden. Since I took this picture there are plenty of other blooms as well. They do best this time of year, once the July heat arrives they get a bit tired, as well all do 😊.

yellow rose 2019

Friday, April 12, 2019

Think PINK: Burda Jacket 10/2018 # 108 in pink wool boucle

This spring I have repeated something that I've done a few times in recent memory, that being I've sewn up a wool coat or jacket that will not get any wear until next fall. I just finished this Burda jacket from their October 2018 issue, it's # 108.


I've been wanting to make this jacket since that issue arrived in my mailbox. Despite the fact that it has a belt. Coats or jackets with belts and I just don't get along. I often walk around with a jacket open, not buttoned up so what happens to the belt, it just hangs there. But despite those misgivings I loved the collar/lapel arrangement on this pattern. Perhaps also the photo in the magazine was shown in cherry red, so appealing to me.
I went on a hunt for some suitable fabric. And also to find a color that didn't already exist in my wardrobe. I wanted a solid color and so around Valentine's day there was a extra 10% on the Mood Fabrics website on all things pink. So this wool boucle jumped into my cart. My regret is that I didn't buy about 1/2 yard more, as I have about 5/8 yard remaining and if I had one yard remaining I could have made a cute 60's style sheath dress to wear with my jacket. Now that would be committing to this color, right? But I will work on finding something to pair with that remnant and come up with a use for it.

Pink Jacket on form 2

I have so many projects going on right now that I didn't do any photos during construction - but if you want jacket sewing details look at any of my previous posts, I've made 3 blazers in the last couple of months!

I did take this one during some late night sewing, and had to ask @geopri123 about the pocket construction as it wasn't quite apparent to me, and of course the Burda instructions are a bit cryptic. Actually the Burda instructions are generally OK, but where the fall down is that they give names to the pattern pieces or various components that don't quite make sense. Perhaps it's the translation. In any case she gave me some info and they came out fine.

Burda jacket pocket


I think the belt is a bit bulky, but I didn't get around to making an actual belt with a buckle. I found a nice buckle in my stash so when autumn arrives I will make that and be ready to wear this when the chilly weather returns.

Here are the images from Burda. I just can't with those big snaps, I think they ruin the look of the lapel.

Burda Pink jacket pattern

But that means the belt is definitely needed to keep it closed.
Sewing note - I added 2" in length to this jacket. My tendency is to have jacket stop well below my hipbone, perhaps because I have a long rise (despite being a short person) a lot of jacket pattern seem too short to me. So I add length which I can always remove if not needed.

Pink jacket belt carrier

I didn't use the pocket welt pieces for the pockets, just cut my own but after I did the first one I realized that they would have been a lot easier to sew if I had made them a bit wider, like 3/8" instead of my usual 1/4" wide. That boucle is a bit thicker than other wools.

pink jacket 5

Pink jacket on form1

See above, that tie belt is just too bulky and regretfully I tied it a bit sloppily when I took the outdoor pictures. On the plus side, the color of the jacket is pretty much exact in the outdoor photos so you can see how bright it is. I think it is more of a coral pink than a true pink. I started a top to go with this jacket in a white/pink print fabric and ended up not liking my super bold sleeves - so it will be revised into a sleeveless top. Which I will probably wear more anyway! I still have the a navy blue/pink rayon woven I bought at Stone Mountain for a top to go with this and I won't mess that up.

So that's the latest on my bold pink jacket. As I mentioned at the top of the post, I've sewn up a wool item just as our spring weather warms up twice before.
First with this blue wool coat from the Burda Style Book, and second with this Burda Shawl collar coat . Hmmm, perhaps a theme here, I find the Burda outerwear so nice that I covet these patterns and make them up whenever the mood strikes me. Note to self - sew fall things in the fall. The problem with sewing fall things here in N.Calif. is that it is quite hot in Sept. and often into October so I never want to be sewing warm fabrics then. Perhaps my clever plan to sew them in spring and then put away to be ready for fall is genius! ha ha.


In other news, lots of new classes coming on the calendar at Hello Stitch Studio.  Culottes, a jumpsuit, dresses, a cami top, jeans and more. We are focusing on specific patterns for the classes and choosing ones that come in a full range of sizes. Hope to see you in a class soon.

Jacket Weekend Workshop - definitely in the plans. Either in mid Sept. (9/13-15) or mid Oct. (10/18-20)  Email me if you are interested and want more details. We will decide on the date soon. I'm now leaning towards the September date plus that is a gorgeous time to visit the Bay Area! P.S. planning on using the new Closet Case Jasika blazer pattern although if you already have a jacket pattern picked out I'm fine with that.

Up next, I made a couple of Tamarack jackets so I will blog about those. Yes, me doing some quilting. Spoiler - I find it a bit tedious, but they look good. And then onto spring, and starting my cropped wide leg Ash jeans,

Happy Spring Sewing,

Of course it had to be a pink tulip for today's garden photo to go with my pink jacket. These striped tulips have been such a pleasant surprise after I forgot that I planted them. That's the thing about gardening, some delightful surprises can appear.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Spring sewing plans and some fabric pairings

In contrast to my usual style, this season I've actually made some specific sewing plans. Which knowing myself means that I will stick to maybe 50% of this plan. But for me sewing is fun, and I go where my mood takes me.

That being said, I have issued a challenge to myself to limit my summer dress sewing this year to five. And don't laugh, a few minutes ago I was all set to write three, but then I though, nah, that will never happen. So I added a couple more for fun. After all who can predict what prettiness will be in store, like last year when I was thumbing through a not quite vintage Burda and came up with this lovely dress.  The other day a friend of mine was saying that she didn't see me wearing my summer dresses last year very often - I replied yes I did wear them, but the fact of the matter is that I have SO many. And there are only so many days of summer.

Which brings me to my sort-of resolution for this year, Separates! Tops, skirts, knit tops, ankle length pants, shorts - anything but dresses.  Do you think I will stick to this plan?  I have doubts...

But let's turn to my sewing plans. And why not....start with the dresses?

When I saw the April Burda preview this one jumped out at me instantly. I've been seeing things with a flounce type ruffle all over and wanted to get in on the action. And I have two fabric candidates for this dress.

Burda april dress fabric options

Print or solid. My first inclination was solid - as I don't have all that many solid color dresses and it might be nice to have one. But then I bought this rayon print at a guild sale for $ 2. It has the perfect drape for this pattern. But the purple also came from a freebie pile at Hello Stitch. You know I am all about taking the bargain fabrics and trying to work magic with them!

I think there are more resources for bargain fabric around than people realize. If you check garage sale listings I filter by keyword: sewing, and then read through the description, if it says "sewing machine and any of the following words : tools, fabrics, patterns, supplies, yardage etc. then if I can make it I check it out. I've found some great stuff at garage sales. The important thing is that the listing has to have more than just "sewing machine" because lots of people get rid of stuff they never use including a sewing machine. I think people look at a sewing machine as a useful item that they have no use for! If they don't sew. But they realize it's not something to stick in the trash (thankfully).
So a garage sale that has only "sewing machine" is probably not going to yield any treasures.

The other way I find bargain fabrics is at the local American Sewing Guild twice-yearly sale. Check around if there is an American Sewing Guild (ASG) in your area. I don't belong as the programs don't really interest me but they have a twice yearly stash sale and I've found a lot of great stuff there. (I found this red plaid fabric which turned into my best holiday dress).

Meetup groups:  I belong to the Bay Area Sewists which was started by someone (Meg) who just wanted to get together with other people who sew - and look how big the group is now! We have great events, speakers, pattern and fabric swaps. People who sew are really friendly and always want to have opportunities to chat about sewing.

Lastly I belong to a local group which is probably a one-of-a-kind group, that meets monthly on a weekday morning and has speakers on various textile and fiber topics. To raise money for the speaker fees at each meeting they have a sale of donated stuff so every month I am there with my tote bag finding all kinds of goodies. At the very least I find fabrics for just a few dollars to make test garments or samples.

Here's what I found there last week, this blue mystery fabric which is some type of cotton. Possibly a lightweight upholstery fabric? or just a textured weave cotton. We are planning to have a culottes class at Hello Stitch this summer, probably in July, so I want to sew up some culottes for myself and I think this floral would be cute.  Extra bonus - the pattern was one I picked at the last Bay Area Sewists pattern swap so this will be a bargain project. I'm thinking a red knit top or maybe a red silk camisole to go with.

Culottes pattern

Back to dresses, as soon as this Vogue 9357 pattern came out it jumped into my shopping cart :) I really like the striped version although the plaid and gingham versions are beautiful too. I really love pattern matching puzzle projects, like this one, although when I'm in the midst of them I sort of hate them! Until they are all cut out.
Someone gave me those two black and white fabrics, they are very fine quality Italian cottons. Perhaps a bit too wrinkly for my taste, at least the one on the bottom. I will have to give this a bit of thought, but how sharp would that dress be in a black white combo?

Vogue check dress fabric

Now onto things that are not dresses. You know I don't sew all that many independent patterns, mostly Pauline Alice patterns which I love, and now I have the same feelings for the Megan Nielsen patterns. Long ago I sewed the Tania culottes and I thought that was a clever pattern. The Ash jeans fit me so well, with almost no adjustments which I realize is a miracle and guaranteed to make some readers annoyed at me...but try them? is the advice I can give.

So I bought this glimmer denim at Joann's a couple of weeks ago. Slightly impulse purchase (as are all fabric purchases at Joann's). It's a charcoal black with silver threads. It might look like white but trust me, it shimmers in the light. So I will be  making the wide leg version, since I want to see how they look. I fear this silhouette won't suit me but I will sew it up and see, then I can always narrow the legs to the straight version. Or make them cropped. Or both. Anyway I just want to try the wide leg version.

Denim metallic Ash jeans

And lastly on my personal sewing list is another Megan Nielsen pattern, the Dawn Jeans. I liked the Ash jeans so much I decided to try this pattern. I am really long in the rise despite being a short person - so a higher waist jean might be perfect. I think I will make the wide leg version of these as well. This mid-weight cotton mystery fabric, (canvas? twill?) is another of my bargain finds so it's worth a try to test this pattern. Actually I don't think either version looks very good on the pattern envelope but I've seen them in various IG posts and they look good. And I'm definitely subbing out the button fly for a zipper. I just don't get the appeal of a button fly. I think I've had on pair in my whole jeans wearing life and didn't like them. Team zipper!

Dawn jeans blue fabric

So that's the list of what I plan to sew for myself this spring. As well as a few other projects in the queue.

This silk blouse for Heather is about 30% completed. I'm making the V-neck version and OF COURSE changing up the pattern details. The blouse shown is a popover with a rather useless little button placket and center front pleat. I've changed it to a regular center front opening, which also is a hidden buttonhole placket.  This silk is from Britex and coordinates with the blazer I made for her in February.

Vogue pattern silk blouse for H

So that's the latest on my sewing plans. Now that I've looked this over, I think that black/white/pink rayon print shown above would make nice and wearable separates. In fact it would be ideal for the Pauline Alice Mirambel skirt  and then a sleeveless top. It would look like a dress but be separates! OK, that's going on the list.

April is a busy month at Hello Stitch Studio - tomorrow starts our Sewing Level I and Sewing Level II series classes. I'm pleasantly surprised that we have quickly sold out each time we've offered the Level I which tells us that a lot of people are interested in learning to sew!!
Also this weekend on Sunday is the Bondi Dress class which might have one spot available - it hasn't been sleeveless dress weather yet around here but time to get ready!
Sunday April 28 is the Lander Pants class - this one will sell out so if you are interested register soon.
For classes in May and beyond here's the Hello Stitch web page.

Jacket making workshop--> thinking far into the future but it will be here before you know it. We are thinking about the weekend of October 19-20 if you are interested. Email me if you are thinking about it as we are in the planning stage soon.

OK, time for me to get some sleep - busy weekend ahead. Next week will be back to my sewing projects as well as get my tomato plantings finished. And then wish for some sunshine!!

Happy Spring Sewing,

today's garden photo, the tulips are blooming. I have so many beautiful tulips this year, I kind of forgot that I bought a bag of tulips at Costco back in the fall, planted them and promptly forgot all about them until these striped beauties started appearing. I love the serendipity of bulbs - they appear and bloom just when you need them.