Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pattern Organization

I've been working away at organizing all of my Burda patterns. Tracing patterns out of the magazine is time consuming enough that I knew I needed to organize them properly. It has only taken me five years to decide how to do this properly. Firstly, I saved the line drawings of all my patterns from the burdafashion.com archives. Next, I uploaded these images to flickr. Then I printed them out on brown paper from grocery bags. Once I had the images printed out, I tore them apart using a straight edge. Finally, I glued them onto envelopes that I found on sale at Papersource. They have some great porfolio envelopes that easily fit my larger patterns, like those I have printed out on letter paper from burdastyle. I also purchased some medium sized envelopes that work fine for smaller patterns like skirts and tops.

Here are photos of each of the steps are below:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Update: Burda

As I suspected, the vintage dress I was ogling in Burda's August edition preview does not come with the magazine. It is a premium download. I might buy it after all, except that seam allowances are not included in these "premium" patterns. Please explain to me why I would want to pay 3,99 for a pattern, only to have to print it on my own paper, with my own ink, and then cut the pieces out, tape them together, and THEN retrace them, adding the requisite 5/8 inch to all the seams. That said, this is how I went about my spring jacket. I am that dedicated to the craft. Sometimes.

ETA: I just looked at Burda's download page again, and it seems that the pattern is free with subscription. In Germany. I subscribe in the U.S. It appears that this makes me ineligible for the extra pattern. I feel some letter writing coming on.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

30s Blouse Progress

I've finally made some progress on my 30s inspired blouse! The good news: I have the initial muslin completed. The bad news: I think I should make another. Or at least modify this one substantially. You can see in the last photo that the back of the blouse dips lower than the front, and I'm not comfortable with that.

Quick notes: As you can see below, the fabric is a horrendous mother-of-the bride powder blue. Never fear! The muslin is, of course, just a test garment. Also, I added the center band mainly for the purpose of lengthening the bodice--it will not appear in the final blouse. I will work on tweaking this muslin over the next couple days, and then plunge into the final version. Hopefully the final blouse will look a bit more like this one that I shared in an earlier post.

Meanwhile, I have been tinkering with some other, more basic projects (read: ones that actually follow patterns), as well as a major sewing space organization project. More about that later, though. Here are the promised pictures:

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

August Burda Preview

Exciting News! I just checked Burda's German homepage, and they have a full preview of August's magazine up! I've noticed lately that the German page has newer content than the English version, so I make sure to check it out when I get restless for sewing news. The most intriguing feature in next month's edition is this vintage dress:

Could Burda be receiving my telepathic requests for vintage pattern goodness? As a pattern company with a long history, surely Burda has pretty awesome archive of vintage patterns. I don't want to get my hopes too high for this pattern, as I've seen some features offered specifically in the German edition of the mag. Fingers crossed until my copy arrives in the mail!

Other lovelies that are definitely arriving in the August edition:

This adorable cape

And...this gorgeous blouse!

My only gripe about this issue is that Paris is used as one of the main fashion stories. I believe that Burda used Paris as inspiration for a story just last November, so this isn't exactly the freshest idea. There are other fashionable cities in Europe (and the world, for that matter!) How about featuring a different one for a change?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Flutter Sleeve Cardi

Another beautiful weekend in DC! Thanks to the fact that it did not rain (or hail) yesterday as predicted, I was able to make time for a photo shoot. I have been meaning to take some photos of this cardi for a long time. Not only is it cute, but it’s super easy to make. I made the pattern by expanding upon a basic raglan-sleeved top, enlarging the sleeves and adding a front placket, pockets, and wide band at the hem. The pockets are no trouble at all, as they are integrated into the side and placket seams. The garment is finished with a final pressing rather than topstitching, to neaten the seams.

This is a very versatile cardi, and I have worn it more frequently than I originally expected. I really like the way it looks belted, though it can also be worn open--next time I will finish the inside seams better so that this is an option! My plan is to post the pattern on Burda Style soon, although I’m tempted to just sketch up some instructions. The best part? It’s not nearly as complicated as it might look. I even left the sleeves un-hemmed.

See below for more details:

I am still working on muslins for the 1930s blouses, never fear. More about that project later...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pattern frustration, Vintage inspiration

Laundry was calling me, the iron needed to be fixed, and there was much cleaning to do after RJ and I spent last weekend away. After these chores, I took advantage of the holiday weekend for relaxation purposes rather than sewing. I did start in on a Burda top this weekend, 118B from 2/2009, with some bamboo jersey in peach. After about the third step of the pattern I remembered why I shouldn't follow directions so blindly. While I love Burda's patterns, their directions often seem to include unnecessary steps. The use of the neckline binding, in this case, really stumped me, and left me too frustrated to go on. Why does this neck binding have to peek out 1/8" out from the neckline? Could they not have made this binding fold completely underneath? I don't know the answers to these questions. But I promised myself that the next time I start a pattern, I will examine all the pieces first, and decide how I want to put them together.

If I remember correctly, this type of creative frustration has always been with me. I began taking sewing lessons when I was ten, my mother driving me to the instructor's house each Saturday. Sessions were prepared for by carefully choosing a pattern of the appropriate skill-level, and subsequently hunting for the proper fabric and notions. The fact that it sometimes took 2-3 Saturdays to finish a single pattern was ok, because I was "still learning". This drawn-out time frame put such effort on the process that by the time I completed a project I was often too bored with the garment to wear it. To top it off, my mother insisted that each project was to be finished before we could purchase supplies for the next. Needless to say, this had the effect of turning project frustration into long sewing hiatuses. These days I try to manage project frustration by diverting my attention to another project. I'm not sure how effective a strategy this is, but I do know that I complete an awful lot more projects these days. And I spend a lot less time frustrated.

This weekend I allowed myself to relax, and shifted gears from worrying about the Burda pattern to craving a new 1930s inspired blouse. While browsing flickr for inspiration, I happened upon these lovely images from Allison Marchant's (Carbonated) photostream. It was really awesome to find these images, as patterns from this period seem difficult to come by (and pricey!) online. I'm hoping to sketch a couple of these up tonight, and then start drafting patterns tomorrow night. There are two pieces of silk I'm planning to use--one I've already posted here, and another is a brilliant yellow floral silk crepe that I purchased at the L.A. fashion district this Spring. I meant to make a top out of it sooner, but it is too lovely to cut into without first making a muslin. Enjoy the photos, and I'll keep you posted on my progress!

McCalls 1930s blouse pattern
View B has pretty nifty sleeves-two pieces (!) with pleated back seams
Image courtesy of carbonated

Another McCalls 1930s blouse pattern
Note the straight lines, and subtle shaping via side-seam darts
View C is best bet for a modern interpretation, too many ruffles are distracting
Image courtesy of carbonated

Elegant McCalls 1930s blouse pattern
I like that the wrapping bits tie in the back,
rather than leaving awkward dangles at the side
This somehow reminds me at once of a ballet sweater and a kimono
Image courtesy of carbonated

Dubarry 1930s tunic pattern
Loves: drapey raglan sleeves, center seam ruching, draped neckline, peplum
So many details! I will definitely be trying this one.
Image courtesy of carbonated

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Last Minute Burda Top

I spent this past weekend in the Poconos with my boyfriend's extended family, and I must say that family reunions are much better when you are not related to the other guests.  Some of the highlights of my weekend included singing with Irish folk songs, watching my boyfriend's family drink plenty of Jameson, and exploring an abandoned resort.  It was nice to get away for a few days, but it has really taken me awhile to get back up to speed with life this week--as evidenced by my lack of posts!  I'm excited to finally have the chance to share the story of my new Burda top.

Before we departed for the scenic Eastern Pennsylvanian countryside on Friday, I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of nice outfits to wear.  In addition to the H&M tankdress, I decided to make this strapless top, #113 from the 6/2009 Burda magazine.  I owe a big thank you to Marita for posting a super helpful tutorial on her blog!  I did attempt to read Burda's directions briefly, but found Marita's guidance a bit simpler and intuitive.  This was definitely a quick project--I started and finished it last Thursday, the night before we left on our trip.  My biggest trip-up was that I originally put the pleats in going the wrong direction.  No big.  I just ripped them out and flipped them the other way!  

I highly recommend this pattern for summer sewing, as it is a very quick and rewarding project.  It also fits quite well, and this is coming from someone who does not usually "do" strapless.  The top does naturally slip down a bit over time, however.  As a fix I'm thinking of adding some corset boning in the side seams of the bodice, and maybe even some silicone-backed elastic at the top.  One additional note is that the fabric I used was 1 yd of bamboo/cotton jersey purchased from fabric.com.  While making the top, I wished that I had picked a slightly denser rayon knit with better recovery.  While I'm sure this jersey will be fine for a single season garment, the grain is also not completely straight, making the pleats hang a bit wonky.

Has anyone else made this top?  Please send me links if you have--I would love to see your results!  

Ok, I'm off to work on more projects!  I cut a pair of linen pants out three weeks ago that I should really finish before summer is over!  Happy sewing :)