Friday, 11 April 2014

Burda Style 01-2014-127 (128) Man's shirt January Burda project

I have big ideas. Actually, other bloggers have big ideas, and I shamelessly copy them. Kristy of Lower Your Presser Foot sewed up something from every Burda issue last year, and is doing it again this year! I was very impressed, and put stickers all over my January issue with the full intention of making something every month in order to stretch my sewing with a side serving of getting real sewing value (rather than mere imaginary sewing value as I read it) from my subscription.
Wait, its April, how did that happen? Feel free to snigger in the privacy of your end of the internet. I might even catch up.

Here is my January Burda project, mostly shirt 128, but shirt 127 is not very different.
Images from

I have a standing request from my husband for a new shirt, so this was a perfect opportunity to have a little break from boxy Vogue shirts and try a new pattern for this somewhat dutiful task. I had been wanting to try a slimmer cut for him, and thought this pattern had possibilities, with the darts in the back . I also fancied trying a french cuff. Unfortunately, my husband does not participate in fitting, so I had to wing it by his measurements and my trust in the reliability of Burda's fitting matching their size chart. I made a size 48 according to his chest measurement. Burda oddly gives the neck measurement for this shirt, then says equivalent to... their regular sizing - why not just use regular sizing???
By the measurement chart for size 48, I had to do quite a bit of lengthening - 5cm in both the body and in the sleeves. My husband is not particularly tall , but the Burda mens' sizes increase in height, not just girth, and his chest measurement apparently goes with a height of 174 cm, which is not the case for this individual.
 The fit is a bit loose at the waist, which would be correct according to the Burda measurement chart, where my husband is one size smaller than the standard 48. I should have trusted the chart a bit better ;(. 
So far, in fitting, I was pretty happy with the pattern.
I fancied trying a few more of the features of the pattern, but was restrained by my client. He did not want french cuffs.


These are the bottom half of the Burda cuff, with nice rounded edges, but paired with a long placket from David Page Coffin's shirtmaking book, as I could not make head or tail of Burda's placket insertion instructions, and the placket piece looked skimpy to me. My husband wears his shirtsleeves rolled up, so I  used a contrast placket. I also used contrast fabric for the small piece joining the bottom of the side seams at the hems, which I failed to finish neatly or evenly. I did not fix this, as the shirt is worn tucked in, and I am very lazy.

As the side seam is slightly shaped, and there is this addition at the bottom, I did not flat fell the side seams. Instead the seam allowances are turned under twice, and topstitched from the outside. The sleeve seams are flat felled as usual - David Page Coffin again - Burda doesn't mention seam finishing.

I used contrast fabric for the inner yoke and inner collar stand. I shaped the collar according to David Page Coffin again - it is such a useful book, and also used his instructions for collar and stand construction. Burda's instructions included a lot of hand basting.
The Burda collar stand has one rounded, and one straight edge. I thought this was another detail that would be vetoed, but it was allowed to proceed, and is not particularly noticeable, with the added advantage of not having to fuss with perfectly matching the two curves as in a regular shirt.



The chesterfield front, with concealed buttons, sits perfectly on this shirt, unlike on the Vogue one I made a few months ago, and does not need to be stitched down between the buttons, demonstrating to me that this is a much better fit. I hope my husband agrees.


For my own interest, I have again used a two part yoke so that I can chevron the stripes at centre back. I am pleased by small things when making a shirt.


Fabrics and Stashbusting wagon jumping confession -  2.5 metres New, ie 2014, and allegedly 100% cotton Tom Ford shirting fabric that appears to have some lycra. Shame!, with the contrast fabric being allegedly 100% cotton shirting with no branding that appears to be as advertised. Vendor Michael's Fabrics. Shipping has gone up a lot, which possibly serves me right for buying more fabric when I am on a fabric diet (6m, 3 for him, 3 for me - he picked his that an excuse?)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Fehr Trade Duathalon shorts

I have long been an admirer of Melissa's wonderful sewing at Fehr Trade , but I was quite surprised (and pleased) to be asked to take part in her pattern testing. My rather cynical impression of blogger pattern testing is that it is primarily offered to blogs with high readership and most often, no doubt for wise marketing reasons, to those including a cute young model guaranteed to look terrific in a hessian sack. Melissa, let me tell you, is standing by her writings on diversity by including not only those with wonderful athletic shapes, but such mature and trouser resistant figures as myself. She is a very brave woman!
Duathalon Shorts .
To be fair to Melissa's excellent pattern, first let me show you these visually appealing and useful shorts on one of my very own cute young models.


These are the booty shorts, quickly made up for an initial trial in cotton/lycra with wicking poly for the side insert, with inbuilt pocket.
No adjustments were required for this version, other than a little tighter elastic for the slimmer waist of the model.

We did find that it is vital to use 50% stretch fabric as described in the pattern. The wicking polyester, at 20% stretch, does not have sufficient stretch to accept a smart phone in the perfectly placed side pocket.

 I have made a lot of athletic gear.  It is unusual to find a shorts pattern with so much thought to the details. This side pocket placement works beautifully for both running and cycling, whereas the sacral pockets seen in much cycling gear can cause problems whilst running (perspiration into the pocket and also upward push on the contents of the pocket) and the inner waistband shallow pockets that work well in running are quite uncomfortable when pressed against the waist in a forward cycling position.


The shorts are shown worn with one of Melissa's XYT tops (I will get around to writing about these when I have some better photos) to give you an idea of how these garments work so well as an exercise outfit - no front gaping!

Melissa has included an increased back rise in the shorts to allow for full back coverage whilst leaning forward on the bike. This early version does not include the increased back rise.

In the interests of truth in advertising. Here are the first version of the shorts I made for myself, (the official released pattern) which would unfortunately have to be described as stage one of a journey in fitting I do not feel quite up to at the moment. This is not the fault of the pattern. The pattern is excellent - well drafted, with very sensible and practical inclusions for athletic use and beautifully detailed instructions that the novice seamstresses in my house felt would be easy to follow.

I am quite keen to make these shorts work, as they will be very useful. Twice a week I ride to a friend's house on my mountain bike (shown), as she lives on a dirt road, and then we run. I've been wearing Ottobre exercise capris, but am not entirely happy with them on the bike, although they work well for running.
If you've read my blog very much you would know that I always have a lot of trouble with trousers until I work out the adjustments for any particular block.

Melissa and I are not the same shape, so I need to make a lot of adjustments to wear the shorts that fit her perfectly. I also used a different fabric from the cotton/lycra shown in my daughter's version - a poly compression fabric, which has a greater stretch.
I found that for this fabric, I should have decreased a size all over, in addition to making my usual myriad of adjustments for trousers.
Fitting so far
1. Shorten biker length by 6cm to fit my shorter legs (that means I chopped off the hem and did it again, there was nothing so accurate as measuring here).
2. Increase curve of front crotch as there was some weird wrinkling most unsuitable for sitting on a bike (again, note there was none of this wrinkling in my daughter's pair)
3. Take in waist
4. Take in side seams by 3cm at the front and 2 cm at the back - hence the narrowing side strip, and the shorts are still too big.
5. Decide I should make something else for the sake of my mojo and post the horrid-so far version to get the monkey off my back.
6. For the sake of my vanity assure all readers that the enormous stomach in the photo is actually my loose top swinging forward.
Here is an unauthorised photo of how I prefer to think I look on the bike. Note, that would be small and far away ;)


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Parfait for evening

I had not considered Parfait as an after 5 dress, but when daughter the second changed the time of her special occasion meal from lunch to dinner, she requested the same pattern as the trial dress, but in a fancier fabric than we had originally planned. Fortunately, the stash could cope with this request and we selected a beautiful thick silk satin from the often - admired - but - seldom - used section of the  fabric collection. (Fabric from The Remnant Warehouse 2012, last used for a formal gown). I thought this fabric might have too much body for the gathers, but it has turned out very well.


I piped the straps and upper bodice, and understitched the facing, to manage the bouncy fabric, and am pleased with the neat edge. It required leaving a gap in the piping of the bodice and facing for later strap insertion, and then basting these in place and attaching these sections of piping through 3 layers of fabric - very fiddly, but worth it for the effect.

Inside, I lined the bodice with cotton batiste, and the waist with the silk satin (no interfacing), and applied interfacing to the facings using this clean finish method demonstrated by SunnyGal. The facings were then hand stitched to the lining.

The main part of the dress is matt side out, but I used the shiny side out for the waist piece and the piping for a subtle contrast.

 I did suggest a little beading for decoration, but this was firmly rejected. Evening, but no bling was the stern reply. Remembering the white blouse saga, I obediently put away my beading needle and resigned myself to perfectly plain sewing. This was made much easier by the pleasure of sewing with silk. It feels so luxurious and behaves so nicely, I enjoyed every minute of the construction (except maybe the rolled hem that I finished about 15 minutes after I had planned to leave the house for a trip to Brisbane). The construction of this dress may or may not have had something to do with my choice not to make myself a new dress for the Brisbane meet up. I may be reconsidering my priority list... however,


My daughter admired the dress suitably, allowed pre dinner photos and even sent me a photo of the dress in action on SouthBank.

I think it was a success.


Stashbusting statistics 2.5m silk satin 2012 and a bit of cotton batiste

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Brisbane meetup report and what I did on the way home

 I can't believe how much fun it was! The official report is here with links to the blogs of the attendees.

I am so glad I went. I might have to join Facebook so that I can look at the photographs ;(. 

Everyone else wore gorgeous dresses.Mine was a rather mature Simplicity 3447, selected by the teenage fashion panel as the best candidate for a lunch time meeting of strangers and previously virtual acquaintances, because I was too lazy to make myself a new frock last week. As due punishment for this lack of application it did not strike me until entering the hotel that I had failed to consider that a room full of sewing experts can spot a not-very-good invisible zip insertion from half a block away. Fortunately they are also too polite to mention this.

 I talked so much I could only fit in a couple of treats and had absolutely no time to eat any sandwiches (at least that is my excuse for going straight to dessert).  I have not been able to talk about sewing for 3+ hours very often before without causing severe boredom in the victim. It was a very stimulating conversation.

Thank you to Busy Lizzie In Brizzy  and the other ladies who organized the delicious and extra long high tea followed by a pattern and fabric swap.

I felt so stashbusting on my way there - I took a mere 10 metres of fabric and about a dozen patterns, thinking I didn't want to look as if I have excessive sewing supplies at home , but some people had suitcases full to put on the table, so clearly acquiring sufficient goods, not all of which make the cut, is a crucial part of this hobby . My lips are sealed about how much was in the same suitcases after the acquisition phase.

I had intended to come home without any treasures, but guess what?

Just under 4 metres, so not too bad for the fabric and pattern diet. I have been wanting that Jasmine pattern for such a long time......I could only resist it when it wasn't in front of me.
I promise to make them up straight away (fingers crossed).

Having taken a day off work so that I didn't have to drive home after lolling about on a Sunday afternoon in Brisbane drinking champagne.(I have such a hard life), naturally I had to visit Packer tannery at Narangba on the way home on Monday, as it is not open on the weekends.
 Leather definitely does not count as fabric for fabric dieting purposes.

Honestly, that will be a HotPatterns Nomad Hobo bag by the weekend. I am not delusional at all.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Parfait for day

I greatly admire the Colette Parfait dress - I've been wearing my three versions for several summers now, and the two remaining versions are looking rather old and at-home-only.


You might think that getting this pattern out would result in a new dress for me, which was my intention at the time, but unfortunately, I think I will never be able to make  myself a dress from this excellent pattern again as I have used it unwisely.


It looks even better on my daughter.


This is size nothing(O) taken in at the waist and with a little shoulder strap reduction. (It also has a 1/4 circle skirt instead of Colette's A line but you probably noticed that).
Originally, this frock was a quick rough toile of the bodice, there being no calico to hand, but as there was plenty of this quilting cotton about, somehow it turned into a complete dress, with a lined bodice and no couture techniques at all. It was very quick to construct and very flattering to an hourglass figure.

I particularly admire the sufficiently wide straps and perfectly placed back bodice for bra coverage, something rather difficult to come by in most sundresses.


She likes it very much, but not enough for more photos. I will definitely be requiring more photographs of the next version. Hint, it's silk!, very exciting sewing.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Burda Style shirt 02-2010-106 : Desert Island sewing

It is fortunate that I gave myself a full year to sew my desert island patterns, as I've only just finished the second garment from my list, and my deadline is the end of August.
This one is almost ideal for a desert island garment, see me with my escape paddle?


The shirt is from Burda Style Feb 2010, where it is offered in several versions,with differing sleeve and hem lengths, one of them being a tunic length shirt worn in the photo shoot as a dress. My almost tunic version has rather a lot of added width (I must have been feeling plump when I cut it out) both at the side seams and in an added back pleat, as this shirt is intended to be worn as an overgarment, to keep me out of the sun, and a loose garment tends to be cooler to wear than something more fitted.
The fabric is a light voile from Spotlight (2010), trimmed with a shirting cotton from Michael's Fabrics/A Fabric Place.

I do like this shirt pattern, but on reflection, this is not as versatile pattern as I thought when I put it on my desert island list. My earlier version, in cotton seersucker, fits more closely due to the nature of the fabric, but this version is rather unflatteringly boxy - not really a problem for a beach cover up, but not what I want to wear in other circumstances. I plan to hunt out another Burda shirt pattern with more darts, and waist shaping that I do not have to add myself.

I have added a few details to keep myself happy in my camping clothes - contrast inner cuffs, with the plackets made to David Page Coffin specifications, and the contrast extending to form a hem trim on the outer side of the cuffs,


a contrast front placket and inner collar stand,

a contrast tab to reinforce the pleat, a contrast undercollar


I've worn this quite a bit over summer, so it wasn't such a bad selection after all. However, my pattern fickleness has struck, and I currently have no interest in sewing this very useful shirt again in the immediate future. I would like another shirt pattern, with a few different details, that I will have to fit all over again. Who said sewing had to be sensible and time efficient? ;)

Stashbusting statistics, around 2 m of 2010 cotton voile

Monday, 17 March 2014

Simplicity 1882, an out-to-lunch frock

I had been making this frock for quite a while, but just finished it last week for a lunch date with my mother and daughter.


It was a lovely day out.
I needed the prospect of such a day to finish this, as although I am content with the dress now, it was a bit of a wrestling match to get it to this point.


What attracted me to the pattern was the pleasing collar and interesting pocket flanges of the version photographed for the envelope. I am also a sucker for A_D cup sizing and deceptive blurbs such as "amazing fit", which in this case includes a curvy and slim/average fitting for the skirt and a lot of seaming in the dress which does lend itself to fitting changes. I really have to give Simplicity credit for trying hard to meet the exacting requirements of  the hobby seamstress here!


I really like all the details on this pattern - the curved midriff, the piping, the pleasing neckline and collar.


However, "amazing fit" does not mean "fits me". Cup sizing doesn't mean it fits me in the bust either. My adjustments for this dress were legion, just like they are for any new block. In this case I made one size smaller than my body chart measurements indicate, as the ease was considerable according to the finished pattern measurements, and I also shortened the dress in the bodice, midriff and skirt.

I added an extra dart to the back of the curvy skirt (I must be extra curvy) and also took the dress in by 8cm at the back waist tapering to 3 cm at the back neck,  and 1cm at each side waist seam (remember this is After going down a size).There was some tweaking of the bust fitting, which was not resolved to my satisfaction, and also my standard square shoulder adjustment.
I know why I love the beautifully standardized Burda sizing - at least I know my adjustments there.

In addition to the fitting issues, which are more my problem than Simplicity's - other than the non standard blocks they use, there was some trouble with the pocket flanges.
These did not lie flat, as drafted, and had to be shortened, and also reinforced with stay tape to minimize gaping.

They looked pretty smart with their piping, and I was very pleased with them until I tried the dress on and realised that the visual effect was unpleasingly widening. Sigh.
There was some very fiddly unpicking, and the pockets were refinished with discrete baby piping. Unfortunately, they still gape after you have been sitting down in the dress eating delicious lunch for a few hours. Skirt pockets and I do not make good company.

The collar was also pesky. It looks great at the front, but sticks out at the back. It did this before I took in the back bodice too, so I believe it is a drafting issue.
I might button it down here later if I can be bothered.

I lined the dress, and gave the lining a lace edging.


It feels luxurious.
I predict that this will be a  good wardrobe staple. My last beige linen dress has died an honourable death from fabric wear.

Stashbusting statistics 2009 embroidered linen from Gorgeous fabrics, 2.5m, + 2 m imperial batiste 2009 for lining.