Friday, June 28, 2019

Girl Charlee knits: a Vogue dress and a new Burda pattern

Recently I've had a string of good luck at finding some great fabrics at garage and guild sales. I was just looking admiringly at the pile yesterday, a bright pink eyelet is calling out to be sewn up into something summery. But when it comes to knit fabrics I almost never find anything good at these kinds of sales, perhaps because people are delving into their "sort of vintage" stashes in order to donate/sell, and mostly that means wovens.

So when I am in the mood for some bright knit prints I can always find something at Girl Charlee. I know some people have had mixed results when ordering from them but I think about 90% of the fabrics I've ordered have been great. I stick to the cotton/lycra blend or the cotton jersey, and haven't tried any of the other fabrics. Looking through my old blog posts I've sewn quite a few things with their fabrics, this one might be my favorite  - and possibly get worn next week for 4th of July!

First up was a new to me knit t-shirt pattern that will surely become a pattern repeat. Burda 6329 envelope pattern.

Pink tile top 4

I love this color combo. You can't really see the details of the knit top in this photo but here is a better look.

Burda 6239 pleats close up

It has 4 pleats at the front neckline, the back neck is smooth. Plus raglan sleeves. I chose the flutter sleeve and cut it out as shown on the pattern envelope, but lopped off about 3 inches as I just prefer shorter short sleeves. I'm sure I'll make it again, particularly the long sleeved version in the fall. It would be so nice in silk jersey. The pattern envelope not very inspiring but the line drawings sold me.

Burda 6329 pattern env knit pleat top     Burda pattern env B6329

For this one I tried a smaller size at the neckline and shoulders, so I cut a 10 there, then a 12 at the bust and a 14 at the hip. I think this might be my new way of doing Burda knits, as I often feel the necklines are too wide for me but this one felt great.

And now for a knit dress. Navy blue and green is a combo that Heather really likes so I happened to see this fabric and ordered it on a whim. Turned out to be just her color combo so we decided to use it for another version of Vogue 8787 which I first made for her in 2015. I think this one is the 4th version, it's a great pattern.
With a soft jersey the neckline drapes really well. The front is self lined and I do line the rest of the dress with a knit lining, look at the post linked above to see details.


This fabric has a distinctly vertical print so having a pattern that changes due to the bias in the top could have been wonky but I think adds more visual interest to the front. It's not yet hemmed in this picture below but I like the way the print changes due to the bias cut. The skirt is cut on the fold on the straight grain. In a stripe this dress would also be interesting. I guess this fabric really is a stripe hiding among the dotty print.


Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the dress on Heather.  This pattern was a bit tricky to fit but also had the advantage of being a knit, so there are no bust darts or seaming to deal with. Often you can find the right size for the circumference but the problem with pattern fit is needing more length over the bust. Here's a rough diagram of the changes I made to the pattern.

V8787 pattern adjustments

A couple of things to note, I often raise the armhole, while leaving the bodice length as is, or even adding length. Since patterns are made for a person 5'5" to 5'6", the full busted figure might take up some of the height differential over the bust, but the armhole depth is too much. And in a sleeveless dress that doesn't look good! I did add more length in the bodice front, and then since it is a knit I gathered just that section to make the side seam length match the back. It works well and I often add this bust shaping on knit items. The back length is reduced a good amount also, due to being shorter than the standard back waist length and very straight posture (admirable!).
Anyway - with some knit patterns you can get away with small tweaks that won't show in the final result.
Here's the pattern envelope.

Vogue 8787

And here's my latest sewing room tool. I can't believe I didn't have one of these already. Found it at the thrift store, there were 2 of them and they were $ 5 each. Now why didn't I buy the other one for a friend? who knows? Maybe I'll go back and see if it's still there.


So that's the latest on my knit sewing. Up next, I'm making a version of the Zadie jumpsuit so I can wear that when I teach that class in late July. Which is sold out so we've scheduled another one on Sept.22. In fact most all my classes in July and August are full - which is great. So much sewing enthusiasm!! There are a few spots still open in the Myosotis Dress class, and then in September we have the How to Copy a Garment. After that we are planning a jeans jacket class, plus a few other new ones.

But I have a few unselfish sewing projects to do in the meanwhile, including a new tunic top for my mom to wear to her birthday party. Plus there are a few dresses calling my name in the recent issues of Burda magazine (what else is new).

pink tile top 2

So onward with seasonal sewing, a bit of gardening and a lot of relaxing and enjoying the summer.

Happy Sewing, Beth

A perfect penstemon to match my pink top. I just had great success with making new plants from cuttings from my existing penstemon so my garden will be full of them. A lot of these are California natives that do really well in dry conditions. so my ideal plant, low water requirements and lots of pink flowers.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Deer and Doe Myosotis dress and True Bias Emerson Crop Pants: sewing examples for classes

When we create sewing classes at Hello Stitch Studio where I teach, we've found that choosing a specific pattern and designing a class around that works out better than general sewing classes. I think because people who are new to sewing can visualize the finished item (plus probably have seen many nice versions on line). Those who are more experienced might decide to try a new style, and every one gets the encouragement and camaraderie of sewing together.

In so many classes I ask people how they know one another and come to find out they just met there in the class - while I thought they were already friends! Some even decide to take another class together which is really nice. I think everyone bonds over sewing successes and failures and there just aren't that many opportunities in everyday life to talk sewing. I mean really, do your office mates want to hear about your latest pattern haul? Well maybe - I don't know what your office is like :) but if anything like my previous corporate life there were always a few comments about stuff I made but nobody wanted to hear about fabric shopping bargains.

The latest two patterns that we've selected for summer classes are ones that fit into a summer wardrobe but I think can be useful all year round. I always sew at least one version of the pattern prior to my classes, just to compare to the instructions and check for any tricky bits.

By the way - be sure to scroll down to the 2nd outfit as it is a bit of departure for me, style-wise and I think I love it!

Myosotis dress 3

The Deer and Doe Myosotis Dress is the first Deer and Doe pattern that I've made, although around here I've seen plenty of great versions of the Magnolia dress and if I were a maxi dress wear I might consider it (but I'm not!)
The class at Hello Stitch is on Sunday July 14 and I think there are 3 spots still available.

The reason I chose this pattern is that I think it is IDEAL for pattern hacking. A nice basic pattern that you can change up and use in a lot of different ways. As you can see from my summertime version below.

My changes: Sleeveless, slightly cut-in armhole, no neckband, in fact I opened the neckline about 1 inch all around. Oh yeah, and pleats in the skirt instead of gathers. Also a tie at the back waist for more shaping. Facing for neckline and button front, bias binding for armholes.

What else could I do with this pattern? Here are some more ideas:
-Make it long sleeved, with perhaps a ruffle at the sleeve hem or a standard button placket and cuff.
-Add a shirt collar to the collar stand
-Drop the seam to the true waist by adding length in the bodice front and back.
-Continue the button placket down the front of the skirt to make it a true shirtdress
-Use a contrast fabric for the upper and lower half.
-Play with stripes by adding trim or a hem band
-Reduce the width of the skirt for a different silhouette


Closer look at the pattern and the adjusted neckline.


Closer look at the fabric and the skirt pleats.  This might be the oldest fabric in my stash that I can recall buying, at Stone Mountain of course:) and it was in the 50% off cotton section, which is mostly quilting cottons. This happens to be a Robert Kaufman fabric, with a slightly brushed/sateen surface but not stiff. I think I've had it for maybe 10 years and not sure what possessed me to use it for this but now I think it will be my summer beach cover up dress.

The only slight sewing detail is this - hairpins are perfect for turning smallish tube of fabric.


Up next: the Emerson Crop Pants from True Bias. Or in my case the not cropped pants, i.e. the full length pants and a matching top to fool you into thinking it's a jumpsuit.

Emerson outfit3

Do these qualify as wacky pants? Somehow I think so. I was given this fabric with a few other pieces by the owners of Hello Stitch as they were remainders from a fabric swap day they had last month. OK, it's a little wild but it does have pink in it and also is a very lovely weight of rayon that is perfect for both these pants and the top. Plus I have enough remaining to make a skirt so versatile, right?

I lightened this photo a bit but it's still hard to see the details on the pants, which are probably well known by now, they have deep slant pockets, a flat front, two small pleats in front and then a wide elastic gathered back.

Emerson outfit on form

Black print bondi top front and back on form

The top is my favorite Bondi dress pattern as a top. Here's my first version of the dress, and here's the version in silk crepe I made as a top.  Gosh I wear that top a lot, so it was an easy choice to use it again for this outfit.

Sewing details, I don't like how the Bondi top has a loop and button closure in the back, as sewing a loop is a pain (although I have used tiny elastic which works a treat) but I decided to add a small ? placket, where I could sew a couple of snaps for closing. Also if wearing a racer back bra it keeps the center back from opening.

Bondi print top inside view

I finished the edges with bias binding I made from some black cotton voile in my stash. I can't stand to use purchased bias tape, I think it's way too stiff for most garments, and bias in self fabric or a lightweight voile, ambiance lining or silk works really well.

Emerson print pants inside pockets

Since I was being stingy with the fabric so I could make a skirt, I used a remnant of ambiance lining for the pockets, and sewed on the outer fabric over that where it would show on the slant pocket.

Emerson outfit back view

I chose the Emerson pattern size by my hip measurements and they fit perfectly. I made the high rise version ( or the regular rise, perhaps the other option is called the mid-rise). And I lengthened by about 5 inches and then had about 2 inches of hem to play with.

So that's the latest on my sewing for upcoming Hello Stitch classes. Soon I'm going to make a Zadie jumpsuit for myself, the class on August 3 is sold out, so we've added another one on Sept 22.

You can read more details and register for the classes here at Hello Stitch Studio which is in Berkeley.
Next up I will be starting on a Closet Case Files Jasika Blazer jacket - the class is in Sept and I think there are just 2 spots remaining in that one. (Note if you have some other jacket pattern you prefer to make that is OK with me).

And then some sewing for my Mom as she has a birthday party coming up and I found a great fabric to make her a new top, plus the June Burda arrived (Yay!!!) so I'm sure I will find something in that.

Emerson outfit4

Happy Summer sewing, Beth

Today's garden photo - the same hydrangea that is shown above in the white pot. It looked a little scraggly all winter and I never dreamed it would come out with all these blooms. Another Trader Joe's plant that I couldn't resist. Plus it's kept its color and is blooming in the same pink color as when I first brought it home. A winner!


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Vogue 7975 jacket in metallic boucle for a friend

A few months ago I was in Stone Mountain Fabrics in Berkeley with my friend Halyna and we were, as always, thoroughly checking out the upstairs bargain area. We came across this metallic boucle fabric, I think it is some designer remnant (which is a lot of what they have there).  We both wanted it but I showed great restraint and did not purchase, however she couldn't resist so I gave her my advice on how much is needed to make a jacket. By the time we left the store I had said I would cut it out for her since the cutting out on this type of fabric is the trickiest part. You can guess the rest and I actually sewed it, since she was busy with other pre-vacation sewing. She's just started sewing last spring (!) and is quite amazing, and is now on her way to a fully handmade wardrobe.

H wearing plaid jacket 1

Halyna in her hometown of Lviv, Ukraine. Her instagram is @zigzagsewing

We debated about putting trim, or fringe, or even buttons but in the end decided on only simple patch pockets and no closures at all. After all with this type of jacket that fits like a cardigan I find you rarely button it up. So in this picture it is pinned closed (to show the plaid matching across the front) but in the end it had no snaps or buttons.

H plaid jacket on form front

For the pattern I used this tried and true Vogue jacket pattern. It's the same pattern I used for my own jacket a few years ago,  eek those pictures are goofy looking. And actually I rarely wear that jacket. I never seem to have quite the right shirt to wear with it.  I'm sure this pattern is still available. Recently on IG I suggested that Vogue patterns reprint some of these older (excellent) patterns that they haven't discontinued with new cover art - they would probably attract attention again.

V7975 pattern envelope

This fabric wants to unravel the minute you touch it with the scissors. I cut each piece single layer, just cut one out, mark the wrong side with a piece of blue painter's tape, then flip and cut the 2nd of the pair. Then lay it on the fabric, aligning the plaids, and cut the next adjoining piece. Until I go all around the jacket. With luck they should all match up 😉. I do start with the center front.

Cutting out plaid

Fabric closeup

I do regret not block fusing the whole thing with lightweight interfacing before cutting out. That would have helped with the unraveling and just given this slightly delicate fabric some more strength. It wasn't intended to be a full-on hand stitched style French jacket - just the look of that style but a quicker version. This image above gives you the best view of the color, it's actually very much shades of dark blue and then that one gold weave.

H wearing plaid jacket 4

I really like it with the white shirt - will have to try that with my jacket.

A couple of views of the sleeve. This pattern is really amazing, if you follow the notches and horizontal markings when you cut out it really matches perfectly just about everywhere, including the sleeve.

H plaid jacket side view on form

H plaid jacket side view sleeve closeup

I think we took the sleeve in to be more narrow, have a more fitted look.

H plaid jacket back on form

I also took it in a bit at the waist area in the back, which I think threw off my plaid there a tiny bit but I can live with it.

In fabric like this there is no point is cutting notches or triangles, they just disappear in the developing edge fringe - so I mark all notches and dots with a high-contrast thread tailor's tack.

Plaid matching

In the upper part of the photo above you can see the jacket front is interfaced, I think I used the lightweight weft interfacing, but I do wish I had fused all pieces with something. In any event, it was a bit too floppy at the center front, so I went back and put another layer of interfacing there, plus some black silk organza to give it more body. That was enough.
The lining is a navy blue bemberg rayon - my favorite interfacing that I use on most everything.
I machine sewed the lining up to the edge, no facings, and then turned, trimmed and pressed.  I also understitched all around however the edged still wanted to curl a bit, I think all those various fibers that make up the boucle have a mind of their own, (not like a nice wool that presses when you want it to).

H plaid jacket inside neckline

H plaid jacket inside stitching

To counteract that problem I hand stitched inside with a running stitch that attached the lining to the seam allowances inside, about 1/4" from the edge and that was enough to keep everything flat.

H wearing plaid jacket3

H wearing plaid jacket 2

So that's the latest on my unselfish sewing, which is not over! I am just about to make a new tunic top for my mom as she has a big birthday coming up and requested a new outfit for the party. Which is not until July so I have plenty of time.

I have sewed up all my various samples and examples for upcoming classes at Hello Stitch Studio and will start soon on the Jasika Blazer. There are just 2 spots left in that class which is Sept. 13-15. Although you can sew any jacket pattern that suits you - I'm going to show all kinds of sewing tips that apply to jacket sewing generally. Yesterday I finished a version of the Myosotis dress, that pattern is ideal for all kinds of hacks and can be really versatile (class is on July 14). All the classes can be found here.

Otherwise I've just finished a real pattern puzzle of a dress from the Burda April issue - that one had a LOT of stuff I want to make - just add them to my ever-growing list of summer wishes.

But now it's time to go for an evening swim - third day in a row that we are having triple-digit weather in my corner of the bay area.

Happy Sewing, Beth

This time of year there are so many flower photos to choose from, although things are looking a bit limp by around 7pm. Lots and lots of extra hand watering required. So stand there with the hose and daydream about all the patterns I want to make :)

And we have dahlias already! A benefit of living in a mile climate I guess, this one is already about 3 feet tall. Actually I usually take up the dahlia tubers in the fall, not because of the cold but because they tend to rot in the soil with the rain. Then I replant when see small sprouts growing on the tubers. But this one escaped me and actually started growing in late February so it had a head start on everything.


Monday, June 3, 2019

BurdaStyle 04-2019-113: Another contender the for best ever skirt pattern

Many of us have sewn multiple versions of what I have always called the best ever skirt pattern, which was Vogue 1247 that I recently sewed in faux suede.  I think that was my fifth version of that pattern, but now I think there is a new contender for champion. Jumping right to my conclusion, I love this skirt!

This is from the April 2019 Burda Magazine, #113 which is called Skirt with Belt Bag, as you will see below. Although mine doesn't have a belt bag.

Denim skirt 5

While I might like to have made the belt bag - I was down to small scraps since I found this nice denim remnant in my stash and it was JUST enough to make this skirt. I started with Burda size 42 which matches my hip measurement with a little extra wiggle room, but it turned out to be a lot of extra room, so I took in the skirt after stitching it up.

denim skirt front view on form

And let's take a minute to appreciate that clever detail, which has the belt going through the seaming of the front panel instead of belt loops, just on the one side. I think it add something interesting to an otherwise simple skirt.

Denim skirt close up belt view

It has a facing around the waist edge, and the belt loops are sewn into that seam. I used white topstitching (regular thread, not topstitch thread) and navy blue in the bobbin, which I think sometimes gives the white thread a chance to really show. I had the D-rings in my stash, as well as a navy blue invisible zipper so all in all this was such a rewarding project - you know the feeling when it all comes together so nicely!

Denim skirt 3

Even the length was just right, I turned up the hem 1.5" and stitched it in blue.

Better look at the right side where the seam openings take the place of 2 belt loops. This fabric is a slightly stretch denim, it may be a leftover piece from these Ash jeans.

Denim skirt side view pocket

Denim skirt back view2

So once I sewed it up, including topstitching everywhere, but before I put on the waistband I tried it on and decided it was way too big, so I took out about 3 inches total from the two seams either side of the zipper. Which meant I had to remove the topstitching. That only took a quick minute as I had used 4.0 stitch length and it was worthwhile to get the fit right. Plus now I have adjusted the paper pattern pieces so hopefully next version will be even quicker.

Note the white t-shirt - I never wear white tops :) I know they are popular but I always feel so blah in a white t-shirt, however when going through my closet for something to pair with this I realized it looked nice with the white - so I might even wear this outfit as is, a surprise to me!

I brightened this photo so you can see the details better.

Denim skirt close up

And oh yeah, a requisite for any good skirt pattern, pockets, right? This is where paying attention to the Burda instructions did pay off, as it's necessary to sew in a particular order to get the pockets topstitched and not sewed shut.

Burda magazine pic denim skirt

Here's the magazine view, including the belt bag. I have some almost matching but not quite the same denim and I might give it a go just for fun. It won't matter if it doesn't match exactly, probably I'm the only one that could even distinguish the fabric difference.

Burda Denim Skirt drawing

Denim skirt 4

This skirt could be worn with a different belt. I made the belt according to the specs in the pattern and its a bit long for me, I might go back and shorten it about 4 inches.

That white t-shirt is something I bought maybe 5 years ago, I needed a white t-shirt for something. It has cotton eyelet over knit in the front and then the rest is knit. An idea I might have to copy as I have eyelet in turquoise and bright pink in my stash right now.

denim skirt1

This might just be my new summer outfit! Now I want one in other colors.

Denim skirt backyard view

Up next, I'm deciding between two different dress patterns. I will make both but not sure which will be first. One is Vogue 9357 . I just got some nice gingham so that might get made in that as shown on the pattern envelope. The other dress is a Burda with a ruffle hem, as I have to join in with the ruffle trend.

Sewing classes at Hello Stitch Studio : most of my summer classes are filling up. Some just have 1 or 2 spots available so sign up if you are interested. I think there is 1 spot left in the Zadie jumpsuit class - I knew that would be popular :) and I plan to make one for myself soon.

Tomorrow it's supposed to be beautiful and sunny, so it's an outside day (not a sewing room day). The garden needs something this time of year.

Happy Sewing, Beth

This yellow snapdragon survived the winter and it loved all that rain. It's now done with it's first bloom but I've trimmed it and hope for a few more flowers in the next month.

yellow snapdragon 2019