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.


Friday, October 11, 2019

New Look 6500 Shift dress, Hawaii vacation version

It's been kind of an odd week here in N. California. Or maybe just a bit out of the ordinary for me, as I returned from a two week vacation in Hawaii and fortunately got back just in time to meet a couple of my international sewing friends in San Francisco. Yoshimi and Carolyn made a trip to California and New York and it would have been so disappointing if I had missed them! But fortunately my schedule coincided with theirs and I had a very happy couple of meetings with them, more details in an upcoming blog post.
Then I had the usual chores of dealing with the pile of laundry, catching up on mail, trying to do some fall garden cleanup etc. but our power company decided to cut the electric power to large swaths of Northern California because of extreme winds and fire danger. Everyone can agree we don't want any chance of more devastating fires but it's so strange to have no power! and they said once it was stopped it could take 1-5 days to restore. Which was infuriating but fortunately ours came back on after 24 hours. We all said it was kind of a forced drill for our unavoidable future earthquake (which we Californians refer to as "the big one" to distinguish it from the fairly common small ones we have regularly) Anyway - I have more ideas for prep for the big one although none of them involve sewing, they are mostly about survival!

Let's move on to a more cheerful topic, sewing. In between all my other summer creations and some necessary projects such as making samples for the studio or checking out new patterns for a future class, I snuck in a couple of completely unnecessary summery things in anticipation of my Hawaiian vacation. I say unnecessary as I have enough summer dresses to last for a tropical vacation of any duration but I like to make new stuff, don't you?

So the front is a simple shift dress, with neck binding and a small cutout, but the back.....

blue dress2 front

blue dress back view2

It has a simple circle cutout with a tie that I've been wanting to do for ages and this dress was the perfect canvas for that.

Here's a closer look at the front and back neckline of the dress.

blue dress front back closeup

For the front I used an idea from several different top patterns that I've made, where the neck binding is a folded over piece, so it has no topstitching but is stitched on and wrapped around the seam allowance of the dress, then hand stitched to close. It may look continuous with the bow tie but actually it ends and then I sewed some straight grain ties on the dress, after all this was quick pre-vacation sewing and the less than lovely stitched-on ties don't show when the bow is tied :) Also another perfecto invisible zipper - I am on a roll! Watch, I will be making something special this winter and be struggling to get that perfect zipper finish at the top.

The pattern I used for a starting point is this New Look pattern which I've used several times before, my favorite version is this embroidered denim one.  Here's the pattern envelope.

New Look Shift dress pattern

I think when I made the previous versions I lowered the neckline some as it felt way too high for my comfort, so for this one I raised it back up a bit, maybe 1/2" but not as much as the original pattern. I did also reshape the armholes a bit, carving them in at the shoulder about 1/2" but not too much as the back cutout precludes wearing a racer-back bra which I often do with my cut-in armhole style tops and dresses.

blue dress close up on form

The fabric is something I added to an order this summer from Fabric Mart. I have had okay success with orders from that fabric store but nothing has really thrilled me. This fabric has a great color and nice weight but it a bit stiffer than I expected for a cotton of this type and also wrinkles more than I expected  - or at least more than other cotton lawns I've used. But the color is great and I think it worked perfectly for this style.

Pattern adjustments, here's a look at the cutouts I drew on the pattern pieces. I didn't cut them out with scissors, but instead traced the cutout line onto the lining which was white cotton voile. Then I used the cotton voile lining pieces as pattern pieces to cut the blue print fabric. Now my pattern is retained and I can use it for the plain shift dress again, or maybe even next summer just a simple top with the cutouts - note to self, remember to make that next spring - I love tops with some back interest! It would work well for another of my faux jumpsuits. 

Blue shift circle dress pattern

Another look and a peek at the variety of tan lines hinted at in that back cutout - all my swimsuits are different and I have a nice variety of tan lines. Which are even more pronounced after a couple of weeks there, although it doesn't matter as I'm home now wearing jeans and a long sleeve tee!

Blue dress back view1

This trip was extra special as it was family and friends on the island, a celebration for my Mom's birthday back in July. Here she is wearing a top I made for her, that fabric was from Stone Mountain and I am wild about that color as well. I have enough left to make a dress for myself but I am not yet ready to go full tourist with matching outfits! Although one evening I did see a youngish couple wearing a matching dress and Aloha shirt, they looked kind of hipster-ish and I wonder if they were wearing them ironically or sincerely, anyway they looked cute.

Blue dress and tunic top on mom

And yes, I know what I will look like at any age - just have to look at my mother Jackie to know. p.s should I tell you her age? No one believes it :)               ok I will tell you, she turned 90 this year!

Ok that's a wrap on this cotton shift dress, I have another dress to blog about that I made for vacation and then it's back to autumn sewing, catching up on sewing examples for Hello Stitch and hoping that our warm weather (minus any wildfires) hangs on for a few more weeks.

Happy Sewing, Beth

And a couple of moments of relaxation, if only of the virtual kind.  First is Kailua Beach, where we rent a house. Second is a Waikiki sunset.

Kailua 2019

Waikiki sunset