Friday, July 27, 2018

Mesh Vogue Top and Catching Up (Let's Try Again...)

Try #4. When I originally posted this last Sunday (7/22), I had already replaced each of the 30 photos at least 3 times, but it was still no bueno, so I took the post down until I had time to deal with it. I managed to figure out how to post a single pic again, and it has changed since I last posted. The number of hoops I have to jump through to post a single pic makes it rather time consuming.

Here we go again!

Well, HELLO, Possums! (Yes, I have watched Dame Edna rather recently.)

I hope you know you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook, because I don't want anyone to accuse me of disappearing. I am blogging less—this is true—but it's also true that, in the last 6 months, I've sewn exactly one garment for myself.

At least I'm wearing the heck out of it.

This will be a long-ish, picture-heavy, post. :)

My new sewing machine

My beloved Bernina 930 (my mother's machine from 1985), suffered an extreme failure early last April as I was 1" from the end of the last seam on DD2's bathingsuit. My 930 had been getting cantankerous lately, so I bit the bullet and purchased a gorgeous new machine, a Bernina B740. (I bought it from The Sewing Machine Shop in Walnut Creek, and was very happy with the experience.)

I have never, in my life, paid that much for a machine (at least not unless it carried me around), but she's a beauty. I brought her home, set her in my entryway, and left her to gather dust until the retreat. I had no time or energy for sewing, or learning a new machine.

Girded for Sewing Machine Shopping

Yes, I'm even wearing my scissor socks


Welcome home! (Now sit and collect dust for awhile...)

I started learning how to use her on the retreat. Thank goodness that Ann Smith was there, because this is very similar to her machine, and she taught me a lot!

Ann, working on a Kantha cloth jacket, using Kantha cloth purchased off the bolt

P.S. I did have my Bernina 930 repaired, by the way. I just can't let it go!

Vogue 9305, a Knit Mesh Top

I first saw Vogue 9305 when it was released in early Spring 2018, I think, and I was smitten. I LOVED this top. LOVED. I ordered the pattern when it was on sale and then, of course, didn't sew it up right away. The one garment I have sewn (and completed) for myself in 2018—I started it at the retreat, and finished at home soon after. (There was quite a bit of hand sewing, of course, the way I like it.)

(P.S. I lie. On the retreat I also sewed a pair of pants. All but the waistband. They are still awaiting the waistband and I know I'll love them, and wear the heck out of them, so there's no excuse.)
Vogue 9305

I used a crinkled knit mesh. I can't remember where I bought it (oh, do I miss my steel-trap memory!), but I think it was from Satin Moon (on Clement Street), just before they closed. Of course, I made a few changes to the pattern:

  • This top is designed for a woven, but I used a knit.
  • The neckline was too high. I asked Ann to draw in a better neckline, so I omitted the back slit.
  • I added width at the bust (but no FBA), that I later removed, and then I removed more.
  • I made the armhole a bit smaller.
  • Of course, I envisioned this as a floaty top, so I left the shoulder seam unsewn from the tip of the shoulder to the bottom edge. I also left the side seams unsewn from the waist to the hem. (Some of my retreat pals thought I was nuts, by the way.)
  • On the side of the front with the drape, where the slit begins, the fabric poked out from my bust, so I made some gathers just under the bust to tame it.
  • When finished, the top was still a bit big, so I took gathers on the sides, right at bust level. I liked the resulting look much better.
  • I hand sewed all outside edges which, of course, I made much longer by not fully sewing all the seams.
  • I recollect that the neckline was supposed to be turned under and stitched. This is a heinous finish. I made a tiny hem with a 1"-wide length of fabric cut on the cross grain.

When I wore this top to the next gathering of my retreat pals, it received many enthusiastic compliments, so maybe I wasn't so crazy, after all. ;) I've worn this a lot. When it's cool, I wear a black tee underneath. Otherwise, I just wear a black tank.

It's a chilly morning, in the low 50s, so I'm wearing a black turtleneck underneath

Warmer weather, so no turtleneck

(P.S. More pics of this top in the next section.)

Mother's Day (but really more pics of the top)

I wore this top to celebrate Mother's Day with my eldest. My youngest is meditating on a mountain top for 6 months, so that celebration is delayed.

DD1 and I got our favorite sub sandwiches, and then we headed off to Lands End, where I took pics of her and visa versa, and we talked and talked and talked.

Lands End, overlooking the Pacific Ocean

I love this "Where's Waldo" pic she took of me

Climbing a tree on Mother's Day is a perfect activity

Though a gazebo is more my speed

I wear this top with baggy pants (shown here) and slim leggings and I like it both ways

Closeup of my Sally Bass necklace


What else have I been up to in the last 7 months? Here's a quick summary.

  • Had some very unpleasant work stress early in the year.
  • That stress is over, but I'm still dealing with regular work stress—there's so much to do! (When my boss suggests that maybe I do less, I hiss at him. I'm feeling challenged and having fun.)
  • I'm leading the writing team for my project, all two of us.
  • I'm driving a website re-design.
  • I'm managing the content schedule, another writer's work, and driving a bunch of other stuff.
  • I'm working on creating more swag. I looove working on team and product swag!
  • I'm planning some trips for late 2018 and 2019.
  • I've been toying with some fabric designs.
  • I started a second version of this same Vogue top, but haven't finished it.
  • I started a new sewing project and I have no idea how it is going to turn out, but I'm excited by it.
  • I've been meeting up with sewing buddies. In fact, today I met up with Ann, Diane, and Patti F.
    me, Diane, Ann, and Patti F

    Ann wearing her Tremont Jacket (a Sewing Workshop pattern), made from an ikat fabric
  • One of my sewing groups, the one I joined back before I was married, is compiling a book of our collective sewing stories. I wrote two stories for the book, then I helped others get theirs written and/or edited. It's a huge project, but it's going to be great when finished.
  • I've been dealing with health-related issues (some rather unpleasant), as well as some depression/anxiety, and the final healing of my damaged finger.
  • My 20-year-old cat disappeared and presumably died.
  • I took two amazing classes on paper and fabric marbling. I am looking forward to doing more of that. One day.
  • I traveled to London, Seattle, and two spring sewing retreats.
  • Gave up my DirecTv satellite service, and binge watched a lot of shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime. (I really enjoy the savings!)
  • Spent a lot of time sleeping.
  • Spent a lot of time thinking. Just thinking.
Enjoying my (two) stacked Juinhui London bracelets and my Sally Bass jet black glass ring

Hopefully you'll see a bit more of me over here. I'm really itching to sew, but my time is even more limited these days. Now that my energy is returning somewhat, it's more feasible.

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Burda Anorak Jacket

Hey, there! I hope 2018 has been kind to you, so far! 2018 has had its rough edges, at least for me, but let's not dwell on that.

Today I have a spring jacket to share. Elliott Berman Textiles gave me this beautiful reversible jacquard last November. It arrived just before I left for Japan and I loved it, but then I fell and rolled, backwards, down an escalator in Tokyo within an hour of landing. The resulting injury to my dominant (left) hand has slowed my sewing output.

After deliberating, I decided I wanted to use a Burda anorak pattern. I downloaded it from the Burda site, but I gather it's from the September 2014 issue of their magazine, if you have that.

Unfortunately, Elliott Berman has sold out of this fabric, but they have other brocades and jacquards.

I've made a lot of changes to the pattern, but it's been awhile, so let me see if I can remember all of them...

  • The pattern is from their collegiate collection and is sized in "tall" sizes. I'm not used to their tall sizing, but went with it anyway. I ended up using the original length for my size. I could have shortened the armhole, which is long, but I didn't. I really like the large, 3-piece sleeve that reminds me of the 80s.
  • I didn't need to add width to the pattern, so I did a vertical-only FBA.
  • I eliminated the elastic sleeve hem. I left the sleeve long so I could fold it back and show off the Petersham ribbon hem.
  • I hemmed the entire jacket with Petersham ribbon, in two colors. I originally bought 5 yards in a plum shade, but ran out. I went back and bought another 1-2 yards (I can't remember exactly) but I neglected to bring a sample of the original ribbon, so this time I got a more purple color. I decided to use it anyway, as I liked using both colors. I hand sewed the ribbon, which means I sewed 12-14 yards by hand, since I hand sewed each edge.
  • I omitted the drawstring at the hem.
  • The pattern calls for 4 yards of fabric, and I had 2.5, so I had to be judicious. I omitted the back shield.
  • Instead of the 3 pockets from the original pattern, I made two front patch pockets finished with Petersham ribbon.
  • The hood was supposed to be finished with a narrow trim from the same fabric, but this curved shape takes a lot of fabric, so I replaced with a plum-colors cotton stretch velveteen.
  • I harvested the beautiful selvedge from the fabric and inserted it into the upper sleeve seam.
  • I lined the (unlined) hood. By the way, I like this hood as a collar, but not so much as a hood.
  • I added shoulder pads, covered with the lining.
  • I replaced the zipper with 3 buttons. I sewed the very last bit of Petersham ribbon on each side of the buttonholes.
  • This pattern is quite boxy. I narrowed the side seam, at the waist, by 1/2", for a total removal of 2". I also added two 3/8" tucks in the back at the waist, removing another 1-1/2". I left it boxy, but not too boxy.

And now, for some pics!

Harvesting selvedge. When a selvedge is nice, I harvest it even if I'm not sure that I'll use it.

Sewing the selvedge into the sleeve

The selvedge is a bit uneven, but I let it be.

Spring has been glorious here in San Francisco

I used the last bit of Petersham by sewing it on either side of the 3 buttonholes.

I usually don't bother covering shoulder pads, but I've been in a slow-sewing mode!

Once I finished covering the shoulder pads, I had to cut some of them off, or they would have peeked outside the neckline. I guess my shoulders are narrow. Patterns certainly seem to indicate that I have narrow shoulders, as I'm always narrowing them, though I didn't in this pattern. I decided to go with the wider shoulder, as part of the boxy look.)

The 3-piece hood. I trimmed with some stretch velveteen and lined with Ambiance.

I enjoy finding backdrops with different textures

Hand sewing

Covering the hood seam

And more hand sewing. Lots more.

Fabulous earrings by Pam Neri.
(I buy from her right off Instagram. See something you like on her feed? Message her!)

I bought this fringed leather purse for DD1 in Florence last spring, but she didn't want it.

Taking in the side seams at the waist.

Thanks, Elliott Berman, for the fabric!
I paid for all other supplies.


These days I want to blog projects, but not travel or other activities. You can follow me on Instagram to see my current hijinks. You don't have to join Instagram, unless you want to leave comments.

Here are a few miscellaneous pics, and one video.

I was recently in Venice Beach, CA for DartConf 2018, a Dart language conference that I helped organize. Actually, my primary contribution was producing swag for the event. I had so much fun getting a plushie made. I gave a brief talk, introducing him at the conference. Meet Dash! (If you want to hear my voice, it's a 2-minute video...)

Loving Dash!

I'm proudest of the first ribbon, "Chief Plushie Officer"!

Since I never posted about Christmas, here are a few pics. I took my daughters to the Claremont Hotel and Spa in the Berkeley Hills. We were upgraded to the presidential suite. It was pretty sweet!

Christmas morning

Love these munchkins!

Visiting Twin Peaks on Christmas afternoon

Taking a selfie

Too bright to see the screen. LOL

Christmas view from the Presidential suite

Christmas morning

Visiting Britex a couple days after Christmas

A recently purchased outfit that I'm enjoying. The vest is from Simply Bella (she may have more in stock - if interested, give her a call). I purchased the pants in Venice Beach, when I visited in January.

People often ask about my fingers, so I took this pic this morning, exactly 104 days after the accident. I am using them, though the nail on the pointer finger is growing in with a split down the middle. I really miss my fingernails! Without them, it's almost impossible to pick up pins and needles.

What's next for me? I have an upcoming sewing retreat, a trip to London, and lots of deadlines at work! It will be pretty busy between now and Google I/O, in May.