Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Social Distancing Sewing

On Friday, March 6th, Minnesota confirmed it's first covid-19 case. On Friday the 13th, we were up to 14 and I decided I was working from home. On Tuesday, my company officially input a WFH plan and by Wednesday (3/18) we were up to 77 cases. I think we're nearly at 300 now. 

Many have commented how they aren't "worried" about getting sick. I am absolutely worried about getting sick. I understand statistics, I also see 30, 40, 50 somethings becoming critical or dying. I am risk averse, I don't want to chance getting sick because its likely I'll overcome it. I'd rather not find out! So I've been at home. 

Last weekend I got some groceries from Trader Joes (which they were only letting a couple people in the store at a time!) and went by my machine knitting instructor's house to pick up yarn (that she'd left in a bag on the portico!).  

Otherwise, I've been working -- My job is largely reactive so I've had a few days that were pretty quiet -- and snacking (haha!) and sewing!!!

I've been wanting to use up this navy ponte from Ginny's since I bought it and had that fail of a pattern from Burda. I decided to go for it with this Burda plus pattern from the 12/2016 issue. It's meant for stretch wovens (grr Burda and always requiring stretch for the plus pants!!) so I figured this mid-to-heavy ponte would work well.

I traced a size 44, removed 3/4" from the CF rise and added 1" to crotch extension in back. I ended up sewing the side seams at 3/4" vs. 5/8".

I don't normally add hem allowance to Burda except for pants. I'd added 1 1/4" to the pattern and ended up removing 2" and sewed a 1 1/4" hem. Love the finished length.

Not much detail to show on these - invisible side zipper, deep yoke that was understitched and ditch stitched. 
Then I made McCall's 7975 - the ever popular twist front top. It turned out very cute but I didn't like the construction. There's a u-shaped bit that you have to hem. That's INSANE. Then you hem the entire front, stitch it, then hem the back, then sew the side seams. Meh. I'm almost certain the fabric is from but it's been in the stash for awhile.

I used a size medium, standard for me, added 1" total to the back hip via a slash and spread, and did a 1.5" bicep adjustment. The finished sleeve was only 13"!  Geez! The neck binding went in well (often Big4 drafts them too long).
I  had a small gap of skin showing and ended up tacking the twist and hand sewing a bit of the seam leading into the twist. Hard to get close enough at the sewing machine.

The twist is nice!

hand tacking

Next up was a cardigan that is in timeout. I hope to finish it -- the band has to be topstitched down and is fine on the straight sections on lower front but I cannot get the angled areas stitched nicely on this ribbed super-stretchy knit. This fabric laughs at the walking foot.


Then Simplicity 2255 was up next with this 1 1/4 yd cut of swiss dot cotton I scored for $4 from SR Harris. I've made this pattern a few times before. The first time I made it I could NOT understand the mandarin collar and just did bias binding on the neckline! Ha!!
paired with the navy ponte pants and a RTW jacket
I couldn't get pics without the blinding sun. Shrug!

I sewed a size 14 and undid the (HORRIBLY EXECUTED AND INCORRECT) FBA.  I also added to the hip line via slash and spread - 3/8" in front and 3/4" in back (I could use a bit more hip room). I also did a 1/4" forward shoulder adjustment. 

I finished it with a narrow hem, bias binding on the armhole and a bunch of topstitching. I wanted some yellow buttons but...sewing from stash! I figured if I really wanted to, I could swap the buttons out later. But I love these buttons (I have a ton of em! LOL!)

I finished up the Burda dress that I'd muslined in my last post and it is AMAZING and I LOVE it! Hope to get pics soon!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Working through fitting challenges

I mentioned wanting to sew a sloper this year and that is still a plan. In the meantime, I am whining left and right about fitting myself now :)

After getting the zipper in the Burda 7/2019 dress that I was working on a couple weeks ago, I went to put it on and couldn't zip it. Well, couldn't zip it alone - my arms were locked at my sides! I'd added bicep room but this is a raglan sleeve and I ended with weird fabric pooches  (stiffness of this sateen doesn't help, I'm sure).

Then something dawned on me - I have never sewn a fitted, woven Burda dress with sleeves that works well. Lots of sleeveless dresses and several that I ended up removing the sleeves to save. Hmm. Interesting!

Not that I haven't sewn ANY woven dresses with sleeves successfully, but not a Burda. So I'm thinking it must be something with the shape of the armhole and/or height of the underarm. Looking at this recent make, that raglan seam doesn't seem like it's in the right place for me...or like it needs to be a different shape??

I ended up cutting the sleeve in hopes of saving it but IDK with the back fit...

I really like the added belt/decorative waist treatment but not that it's doubled fabric. I happen to like pleated skirts/pants regardless of whether or not they "flatter". As I always say, I'm 5'5" and 185 lbs. I don't have time to try to look "slim" or worry about "adding bulk" - I'm bulky! LOL!! Life's too short! I wear what I like!

So much extra at the back neckline!
But the back sleeve is atrocious. 
A ton of extra fabric and clinging through the back bodice and what.the.hell!? is happening with the back skirt?!

I think that my butt fullness is just MUCH lower than the pattern expects it to be. The back bodice is just too small overall and there's too much length. 

I ended up finishing the ends of the fabric belt because there was no way that the doubled bodice fabric plus doubled belt fabric would work well with an invisible zipper with this sateen. It doesn't work here. 

I just...IDK what the heck happened with the back fit. I've sewn a lot of Burda patterns and never had such poor fit in back. I'm now thinking I'll open up the front raglans and see what the fabric wants to do. And I plan to remake this in a lovely Rag & Bone crepe I recently purchased from Mood once I work it all out.

I've sewn a bunch of stuff in the last week! 2 tops and a pair of pants that are WONDERFUL! And a cardigan that is on time out!

I decided it would be a good time to sew the pinafore dress from the February 2020 issue of Burda. Figuring the tracing, muslining, adjusting, and sewing a fully-lined dress should slow down my stress-sewing (though I love the spring wardrobe I'm coming up with!).

I traced this in a straight size 42 since I was going to muslin the whole thing. I flat patterned measured an came up with a 43 1/4" finished hip (mine are 44.5") I ended up adding 3/4" to front and back (3" total) which was too much). I had a ton of excess fabric  - part of this though is Burda's generous hip curve. I never need all that curvature and my seams are always a lot more straight than Burda's draft.

I didn't make any other changes off bat.
Initial photo - I am rotated and the blue line is CF and is fine except for right at the bust. The front neckline was gaping, the shoulder was sitting above my shoulder, and there was bagginess at the hip and across CF.

After photo - I realized the entire shoulder needed shortening. I sewed that seam at 7/8" which corrected the too-long CF. This makes sense as I normally use a size 40 neckline and this is a straight 42.

I removed about 1/2" from the front side seam (of the 3/4" that I'd added) and about 3/8" from the back side seam (so this means I ended up removing a total of 1 3/4" of the 3"). More below.

I will add a little at the bust on the CF panel to bring that line to center and will remove a bit from the side front. It's baggy under the arm. I will only remove a little bit as this is a layering garment.

Initial photo - you can see bagginess in back on the bodice and skirt and even on the hip seamline.

After - I have a tucked pinned through center back (didn't carry it to the side back but I will of course on the pattern piece). I'm rotating my shoulder forward to show that I have the CB pinned at the neckline - it was gaping a bit and I took a 1/4" tuck.

I sewed the back dart here on the right about 1/8" deeper and 1 1/4" longer.

Love the oversized pockets but will lower them just a bit - really minimally like 3/8".

Initial photo - made me think, WHAT IS UP WITH THIS BACK FIT ON BURDA PATTERNS?! And I went to through old posts to make sure I wasn't imagining better fit before :-p

Back bagginess at the waist and below, bagginess at hip, and perhaps you notice a bit of tightness across the butt.

After: 1/2" pinned at in back bodice and neckline tuck made a huge difference IMO! The tuck will extend to the side back and that will look better then.

Also, I think there's a noticeable difference between the right (left here) back skirt where I took a deeper dart, but I still have some excess fabric and pulling due to my butt.

Solution? Add CB seams for both bodice and skirt. This way, I can add the exact shaping that I need and I can add a wedge for the butt.

I'm super excited about this one!! There are a handful of gorgeous versions on the Russian Burda site. Mine will be made with a black/grey suiting with metallic threads,  a charcoal grey lining and black buttons and EEK! I can't wait.

In other news...

I have a correction to my Vogue blazer (from the class last September!) to make that I've been putting off but I'm going to get that fixed this weekend then all that's left is the hand sewing of the lining. I am sure I can still finish that in March along with this Burda dress. I may push my other plans, including my husband's jacket. It's corduroy so works for fall through spring and seems like we're not going to be going out much during spring. Plus, I am, like many others, in full "therapeutic sewing" mode.

camel wool for M7982 if I have enough yardage
yellow denim for Claryville jeans
red and navy cotton/rayon voile for M7925 if I have enough fabric
rayon crepe for M7976
rayon challis for the hi-low shirt from Burda 2/2020
white cotton lawn and silk organza for a shirt based on a Threads magazine tutorial (perhaps B5526?)

Photo courtesy of

Threads magazine
 tutorial (must be an Insider or subscriber. It's in issue #204, Aug/Sep 2019).

Hopefully you and yours are staying healthy during this time. We are fortunate to be able to work from home and I am luckily, quite the homebody so that part isn't fazing me. I am terrified of the economic impact and sad for the number of families that'll be affected by illness.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Some TNTs

Wah, wah, so many unblogged projects! I'm going to be working from home a bit so hopefully I can get a bunch of photos done during the daytime.

Butterick 6183 was a favorite the first time I sewed it and I got ready to put it away after the black top and figured I'd keep it upstairs. Then I decided I needed a brighter skirt that could still work with our weather. I've had this 2 yd cut of cotton sateen in stash since summer of 2017.

I knew I'd be using my TNT B5760 skirt and thought the leftover yard wouldn't be great for much anything else besides another skirt. Then, lightbulb! I can make a '2-piece dress'!!

:snicker: TMI moment, I'm not wearing a bra! Bras are optional now! 
Well kinda, not at work. I always wear a bra to work.

The top is unchanged from last time. I forgot to do a swayback adjustment again. This is a size 14 A/B cup pattern piece. Slash and spread at the back hip, a 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment, and a 1.5" full bicep adjustment. I used a regular 7" nylon zipper.

I really like the facing on this pattern!

The Butterick 5760 skirt pattern remains unchanged. I cut a 16 front and 18 back, removing the easing from the front pattern piece. I used an invisible zipper (instead of centered) and decided to line it. I find that stretch cotton sateen can often bag out and the lining should help with that. I used a polyester pongee - I love this stuff! - in navy, and left out the back slit.

I'm sure it's widely spread info but I like to pleat out the darts of the lining vs sewing them and when using lining and an invisible zipper, I attach the lining to the zipper by machine. Especially with fabric as lightweight and press-able as this. 

I wore the skirt long before finishing the top! :)
Looking at this pic I realized my navy cardigan bled all over my top. Wah!

My March plans were so definitive and here I am, mid-month and I've managed to sew my daughter's outfit, some more baby stuff and a top:

McCall's 7975

The Burda raglan dress is SO. SO. cute but the cotton sateen is so stiff that I don't think it really works with the pattern :( I did just get a lovely Rag & Bone crepe and may revisit it. We'll see. 

This week I'm going to plan to finish. my. blazer!!!!! and trace off the dress from Burda 2/2020 (and muslin it??).  I think. LOL!!!!

Be well!

Monday, March 2, 2020

February Wrap-Up and March Plans

I did not do what I intended to do this past month. Are you surprised? :-p

I sewed 14 items and 18 yards. (I forgot about my Ogden until I was uploaded pics!)
  • Burda mag 1/2020 hooded top - 2 yards
    • lace from stash and remnant for cuffs
    • buttons, cording
  • Simplicity 2061 pants - 1 3/4 yards
    • faux leather "double knit" (NOT!) from Mood
    • elastic, cording
  • Vogue 1674 (x2) dress - 4 yards total
    • jersey and double knit from stash - WADDER
    • ITY from stash
    • elastic, zipper
  • Simplicity 1945 cardigan - 2 yards
    • sweater knit from Michael Levine
  • Ottobre 5/2019 dress - 2 yards WADDER
    • ponte knit from Metro Textiles
  • Burda mag 11/2019 top - 2 yards
    • ivory jersey from stash (Fabric Mart)
    • elastic in sleeves
  • True Bias Ogden - 7/8 yd
    • blue & white print rayon challis
  • Butterick 6183 top - 1 yard
    • cotton sateen from stash (
    • zipper
  • Butterick 5760 - 1 yard
    • cotton sateen from stash (matches the top above)
    • zipper
  • Ottobre 4/2010 - 1 3/8 yds
    • Various remnants (Ankara cotton, sateen, ponte) and cotton pique from stash
    • 2 tees - 1 in pique knit with snaps the other with no snaps and some Cricut HTV
    • 2 tops - 1 in pique knit and 1 in Ankara with sateen accents and ponte waistband and cuffs

Ogden no. 3 without bust darts! :-D

Don't you just love a lined skirt?!

Accomplishments: Executing the vision that was the lace hoodie! I had some challenges (review to come) but I made it happen and I LOVE IT!

FAILS: The Ottobre dress. I don't know what made me choose the size I did but I wasn't thinking and I wasted that fabric. I'm not going to take it apart (because I am me and know that just isn't going to happen). Sigh. Also, the first version of V1674 caused me serious grief. I was following their directions for lining and holy buckets... I lost my temper and literally ripped the thing apart. I like the red remake that resulted!

Favorites: I had a good month! I love that lace top and the Burda surplice top. And really love the simple but nice, well done, and much needed grey cardigan. The Butterick skirt is a TNT and it turned out just perfect.

Y'all. First of all, there's always a thread that pops up on PR about "sewing skill level". Like clockwork. Look, just sew. Sew the things you want to make. If you don't know how to make a thing, learn to make it then work on improving your skills. Because every category of sewing has an associated skill level (e.g., home dec vs quilting vs garments (menswear vs women's vs bridal) etc).

Baby. Clothes. Oy. So small. So fiddly. But SOOOOO cute.  I promise I'm going to get all of my reviews up to date so more later...all 4 garments are from the Ottobre Kids 4/2010 issue.

I made the LOVE on my Cricut using HTV. :)
(disclosure: I am a Cricut and Expressions Vinyl affiliate!) 

So I sewed the stuff for me that I intended :-p but didn't sew the garments for my daughter or husband. Hers is next!!

On a personal note, I was completing the monthly reflection in my planner and I swear I am really tough on myself and often think I'm not doing enough, being lazy, etc. This month, I made sure and took note of everything in my planner. SO eye opening!!

from my IG stories

March plans:

It's that time of year! Where I know that winter is nowhere near over, but I am tired of dark colors and bundling up. I will start to focus on transitional garments for sure come April.
  • My daughter's outfit! :-p
  • Finish my dang blasted blazer! I keep wanting to wear it and can't!
  • Start my husband's jacket
  • Burda 2/2020 dress in black/grey suiting
  • Black knit blazer
  • M7982 pants in camel suiting 
  • My next 2 knitting lessons will focus on making a (child's) sweater. Yay!

But first (durr), I am making up a dress from Burda 7/2019. More later...
WIP shot: