Showing posts with label Burda WOF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Burda WOF. Show all posts

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Sewing

I don't usually sew Christmas gifts. I often will knit Christmas gifts, but that didn't happen this year, for a variety of reasons. Several days ago I was evaluating the gifts I'd purchased for my daughters for Christmas and I realized it was scant offerings this year, especially considering that I didn't knit any hats, scarves, or wrist warmers.

So, at the last minute, I decided to sew something. I rarely sew for my daughters. Probably the biggest reason is to avoid frustration. They are both very choosy about style, fit, pattern, and color. Particularly about fit. It's just easier to buy them clothing or, better yet, let them buy their own.

But I decided to bite the bullet and hope for the best. I spent a lot of time anxiously considering various options. I wanted to use stash and/or remnants for everything. I measured each of them when they visited on separate occasions. (I know they are expecting jammies this year, so I hope they won't be disappointed.)

I was very surprised that the girls (at 20 and almost-18 years old) have virtually identical measurements, though the oldest is 2 inches taller. Yay! That was very considerate of them.

I poured through my small pile of Burda pattern magazines. I scoured my stash for multi-sized patterns that might accommodate them, but still be youthful and current. (Even if my girls shared my aesthetic, which they don't, most of my patterns are in a range that is too large for them.)

I wanted the outfits to believably mimic RTW and be coordinated - no point in sewing fashion orphans. I poured through various RTW websites intended for the young, such as Delias, Urban Outfitters, and Zara, to make sure I wasn't off base in my ideas.

In the end, I decided on a wrap skirt (#128) from the Sept 1994 issue of Burda (size 38) and a Jalie Sweetheart Top (size S). For the two skirts, I had some stretch denim remnants from my recent spate of skinny pants sewing, though I really had to work it to get the skirt out of the tiny piece of blue flocked fabric and ended up piecing the waistband. In my stash, I had some nice viscose/lycra (in black) and rayon/lycra (in eggplant) - each fabric coordinates with one of the skirts.

I made the skirts on Thursday and Friday evenings, after work. I made the two tops on Saturday. What quick, satisfying sewing! (So this is what it's like to just sew right from the envelope!) From my stash I had snaps (I love to use my SnapSetter tool) and closures for the skirts. I had tried sewing the black denim skirt with contrast gold top-stitching, but didn't like the result and spent an hour ripping it out.

Amusing aside: I had one small spool of eggplant thread in my stash. I'm sure this old style Dual Duty spool was from my mother's cache. I neglected to notice as I was winding the bobbin that it used up almost the entire spool. Not wanting to head to the fabric store two days before Christmas for a spool of thread, I sewed most of the top using a "close enough" brown thread in the needle and saved the eggplant thread for where it would show, such as the hems, top-stitching, and attaching the bust elastic. I have more of the eggplant fabric, so I'd better buy more of this color!

We celebrate our Christmas on the 24th, so I am crossing my fingers that these outfits will fit and they will like them! (Though, in full disclosure, I only attached the snaps and skirt closures to the right side of the skirts. This way I can have them put them on, mark the correct positions, and quickly attach the other halves.)

I was happy with both patterns and think that the Jalie top is especially cute. It's a bit fussier to sew, with it's 1/4" seam allowances and small pattern pieces, than a normal tee, especially with these flimsy non-stable knits, but is not too bad.

The only change I made on the Jalie pattern was to the little band on the front. Because of the vertical elastic, the band on top flopped a bit, so I sewed out a small wedge of fabric so it would lie flat. The photos show what it looks like:

For the skirt, I omitted the pocket and contrast top-stitching.

I hope you have a nice Christmas, if you celebrate. For me, I have the week off between Christmas and New Years. My sewcation begins on Dec 25th as the kids spend the day with the other side of the family.

Ready, set, SEW!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Self Drafted -- T-shirt with Chains

A few weeks before Christmas, a project leapt into my mind, fully formed. It just appeared out of nowhere. This must be what it was like for J.K. Rowling when Harry Potter jumped into her mind while riding the commuter train that fateful day. Except my idea wasn't nearly as original, take 10 years to execute, or make me the richest woman in Britain. ;)

Back in September, I had been shopping in Bloomingdales with DD1, when I saw a top in the expensive, boutique department on the top floor. It was black and was printed, or silk screened, with long necklaces. Then, over the necklace print a few actual chains were attached. DD1 loved it, but with a very high price tag (approx. $100 for a t-shirt) neither one of us wanted to pay for it. I forgot about it (or so I thought).

Fast forward to early November, when I was shopping at the discount fabric store and my favorite sales lady had on a black t-shirt with chains on it. The chains (if I recall correctly) were attached in a bandoleer style, so some went from the left shoulder to the right hip and others started from the right shoulder and crossed to the left hip. It was very edgy and very cute and I realized that she had sewn it because I recognized some of the chains from their discount wall. I confirmed she made it, and complimented it, but forgot about it (or so I thought).

Fast forward to three weeks before Christmas, when an idea popped into my head to make a top along these lines for DD1. Don't know why I didn't think of it before, except that I don't generally think of sewing for anyone but me. :)

I went to the fabric store and bought a handful of jewelry off their discount wall. These were really cheap necklaces and bracelets, and I selected only very lightweight pieces (heavy chains would pull too much on the garment). Most of these peices featured flowers, or butterflies, or similar "uncool" charms, but I knew I could cannibalize them. I was mostly after the chains, after all. Some were $.25 each, some were $.50 and a couple were $1.99. So, for a few dollars, I bought a nice assortment.

The raw materials. A pile of jewelry from the discount fabric store.

I had the t-shirt fabric at home – a wonderful, buttery cotton jersey with lycra and a 4-way stretch. I used the Burda twist knot top pattern in a size 34, except I cut the front in one piece, omitting the front knot detailing. (I did this because I am cheap, lazy, and it was a pattern that I knew would fit DD1.) I had to cut it on the cross grain because this pattern is cut as a single piece from wrist to wrist and, even in a 60" wide fabric, it was not wide enough. I quickly sewed it up. (Being a dolman pattern, there are only four seams to deal with.)

Then the fun began. I dug my jewelry tools out from the garage (from the days that I made wire-wrapped jewelry) and I started to cannibalize the pieces I had purchased. I removed rhinestones, and loud flower charms. I pieced together chains, and added a few of the less cutesy charms back. I liked the back of one charm better than the front, so I turned it around. I wanted a variety of chains, some with little adornments – I wanted it to look like she had thrown on several necklaces. This was so much fun and reminded me how much I enjoy making jewelry. :)

I auditioned it on the top and lived with it awhile...

Auditioning the chains

After living with it for 24 hours, I decided it was good to go. I sewed the necklaces onto a small square of the fabric and created a sandwich with a second rectangle. I tried to snug the ends of the chains to be fairly close to each other.

At first I was going to leave the top with raw edges (and told myself it was edgier that way), but in the end I did hem the sleeves, and the bottom, and I finished the neck with a strip of the fabric. I figured the top would last longer that way.

I sewed the ends of the necklaces to a scrap of fabric and then created a "sandwich" with another scrap. I let it pucker as I stitched the sandwich together – I liked the effect. I opened the shoulder seam and inserted the scrap in and hand stitched it together.

The end result:

I figured if DD1 doesn't want long sleeves, we can lop them to whatever length she wants, all the way to sleeveless.

After I finished the top, I wandered over to the Bloomingdales website. They had given me the idea, after all. If the link doesn't work, go to and then go to Womens and Tees, I was surprised out how many t-shirt styles they had featuring chains. If you page through the 10 pages of tees, you will see a variety. In fact, seeing those tops reminded me that the top DD1 liked originally was a BCBGMaxAzria design. (For me, I like that fringed necklace top on page 5!)

I then went to the Urban Outfitters website and found more tops with chains. I guess this top is right on-point, fashion-wise.

And if you are wondering why I am posting it now, before Christmas, it's because DD1 never, ever looks at my blog. DD2 looks at it now and again, but DD1 never. :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Burda World of Fashion -- Knot Front Top (#111 from 5/2004)

Years ago I compulsively bought Burda sewing magazines and never once made a pattern from one. Those magazines are long gone, along with my entire fabric and pattern stash from back then, but last August I saw this post on Ruthie K's blog and I loved that Burda top with the twist. So many twist tops position the twist at the fullest part of the bust which creates a plunging neckline. Even with a cami underneath, this is not a good look for me.

So when I saw her blog entry, I asked Ruthie which issue contained this pattern. After learning it was Burda World of Fashion (WOF) May 2004, I was on the hunt. Ebay had no copies, but I managed to get a copy when Patty B, on Stitcher's Guild, was clearing out her back issues. Thanks so much, Patty!

Even though this pattern comes only in sizes 34 - 40, I was not daunted. I figured if I could see how it's made, I could draft it in my size. So, when DD2 needed a black outfit for her winter concert, I decided to make this top for her. I traced it off in a size 34 (my first time tracing a Burda multi-line pattern!) and made up a sample. You can see on the photo that the top has a front slit under the knot and, yes, it went well below the bra, so I sewed it up higher. Other than that, it was perfect so I made it up for her in a wool jersey. (This pattern requires a thin knit with good drape.)

Note that the back and the upper front of this top have no seams. I believe that is why Burda only offers it in small-ish sizes. Even in a wide fabric, I had trouble cutting out the back and upper front pieces because the fabric has to be wide enough to span the body, from wrist to wrist. Luckily my daughter has short arms or the sleeves might have ended up as three-quarter length, and the dress code for the concert required long sleeves. I list some possible ways to overcome this limitation below.

With that one caveat, it is very easy to draft this top in any size. I was planning to do just that, when I noticed a pattern released from Butterick last week: Butterick 5429. This top is the same design as the Burda top, except that it is sleeveless. Again, this makes sense given the fabric width limitation. Butterick can offer this pattern for all sizes because they have avoided that issue. However, if you want to add long sleeves to the Butterick pattern, you could do one of the following:
  • Attach the sleeves separately (so they would be dropped sleeves).
  • Extend the armholes to create a dolman sleeve (like the Burda pattern) and convert the back pattern piece to use a CB seam and the upper front piece to use a CF seam. (Although adding a seam on the upper top piece would add undesirable bulk to the knot and the wrong side of the seam might show, so be aware of this.)
  • Cut out the back and upper front piece on the cross grain of the fabric. This only works if the knit has 4-way stretch.

Pattern Review has some very helpful reviews of this pattern, though I didn't think to look them up until I had finished the top. Some sewists refer to this design as a raglan sleeve, but it is actually a dolman sleeve.) I still may draft this in my size (rather than buying the Butterick pattern), because I have a dolman top I drafted for myself that fits well. I definitely wouldn't want it as tightly fitted as the original Burda design. :)

Anyway, here's the finished outfit:

I'm sorry it's so hard to see the top, but that's black for you. She is wearing the skirt I made for her from the same pattern I made for myself: the pencil skirt with flounce I blogged about a couple days ago.

The performance was great. My daughter plays the vibraphone in the orchestra, but we also heard the chorus, the guitar class, the drumming class, the world music class, and the jazz ensemble. They performed in a church near the high school where the acoustics were amazing!