25 February 2014

Renfrew Mod of Me

When I go to work and I am not wearing a turtle neck and skirt people comment. You know you have a style when. And I am happy that I embody the turtle neck. I can rock a turtle neck. So I decided that I would rock my turtle neck in dress format in a bold print. It is winter after all and a bold print contrasts the dreary weather and makes me oh so delightfully happy.

I used my Renfrew pattern as a base. From making my last Renfrew I understood the alterations I required to make my turtleneck dress a reality. For the bodice, I cut a size 8, as my fabric has some good stretch and I needed it to withstand the weight of the skirt without pulling any excess fabric downwards. Cut an 8 and cut the waist at the lengthen/shorten line. Then to make it a turtle neck I raised the neckline 2 inches. Next I measured the neckline and cut a rectangle piece 1" shorter than this length. 

I made a circle skirt late at night. Never make a circle skirt late at night. I was clearly too tired to function as I cut my waist circle correctly, but then cut the skirt 18 inches from the corner, NOT 18 inches from my waist circle. Ooops. So this made my skirt length WAY too short. Damn. So I solved my problem by cutting two 4" stripes of fabric and adding them to the hem to length my skirt. It is like a pieced circle skirt now. No problem for me. The skirt is still very much on the short side as the bodice sits slightly higher than my natural waist. I didn't add length to the bodice when I cut a size 8. I didn't accommodate for the horizontal tautness of the bodice raising it by an inch. My bad. 
Otherwise, the dress went together quickly. Sent everything through the serger. Added clear elastic to the shoulder seams to stabilize them. Full length sleeves. Turn and stitches the hem and the sleeves. And done. 

The shape and the high waist make me feel like a figure skater or that I'm wearing a leotard. But I don't even mind, this dress makes me so happy. You can barely see my arms in many of the photos as I did the ENTIRE dress in the fabric. Why? because the fabric is a luscious Rayon knit with a very soft hand with a slightly fluffy feel to the outside of it. YUM. 

This is my Renfrew Mod of Me: Turtle Neck, Circle Skirt, Bright Print, and Needs Slight Modifications. 


Pattern: Sewaholic Renfrew - Modified

Size: 8
Fabric: Rayon Knit
Cost:  $7/metre - 2 Metres used
  • Raised the Neckline by 2"
  • Cut the bodice at the lengthen/shorten line
  • Added a circle Skirt + hem band
  • Added a Turtle neck
  • Made the sleeves full length

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10 February 2014

That Stripey Jersey Shirt

Look Closely  and you'll see soldiers in the Blue stripe on the Right!
I am in the middle of about 5 projects right now. But I was tired of the fiddly work that they involved. I needed instant sewing gratification. This jersey top looked like JUST what I needed.

Basically I bought this blue and white stripe jersey last summer. My intention was to make my mother a nice jersey dress. But I tried to make her a dress before I had a serger and before I knew how to properly fit anything. So I made the bodice and it was too large, the edges all curled, and frankly, I hated it. So I put it in the bin and moved on. And, I'm a selfish sewer so now the jersey is MINE alllllll MINE.

This is the cover pattern for the January 2014 issue of Burda. They used a tiny stripe and I figured, no big deal, I'll use a gigantic stripe. Now, overall I like it. BUT, It would have worked out substantially better with a smaller stripe. Their original design worked out better in the end. These gigantic stripes angle funky and at times make me look super pregnant. But I promise it is just the angle of the stripe. I'll get over it though, It is so incredible comfortable.

I managed to sew this shirt up in under 2 hours. I love speedy serging. I used knit stay tape along the shoulder seams and clear elastic to stabilize the gathers on both the shoulder and the side. A blue strip for the collar. I didn't do great at matching my stripes. Only on the sleeves and on one shoulder do my stripes match up. Along both sides of my shirt the stripes are fully opposite. My bad.

This shirt is crazy long. I can actually wear it as a dress if I so choose. I do have a short torso so many shirts are longer on me, but this one is really long, almost to my knees long. I keep it bunched up along the ruched side, but that doesn't make much of a difference, it still covers my butt up.


Pattern: #122 Burda January 2014
Size: 42
Fabric: Polyester Jersey
Alterations: None

Not Posing and Feed Me!

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09 February 2014

Review: Burda Plus January 2014

Russian Cover, English to come....later
And the first issue of Burda Plus in 2014 is out! Yay. I sit firmly at the top of the Burda style sizing and at the bottom of the Burda Plus. It depends on what I'm making. And what material I'm using. BUT, I love having more magazines and patterns to look at and have at my disposal. And this magazine has some very gorgeous patterns in it!

Within are 4 theme sets, two of which are simply reproductions from previous issues. But, once again, as I am new to sewing, I don't mind these reproductions because I don't own the previous issues.

My favourite aspect of this issue, although many patterns are exactly the same, the slight variations; sleeves, length, colour blocking; help you visualize how you can make such alterations for a whole new dress with patterns that you already own. It is like a visual lesson in frankenpattern-ing. Phew that's a long made-up word!

So lets take a look at some of the patterns:

Typically I don't like jackets, but this jacket is simply stunning. I could see making it in a heavy sweater material or a ponte for extreme comfort. And really, BOTH the yellow and the colour blocked version are incredible. I want them BOTh. Such a great pattern. The pants and top though I probably won't make.

Three different versions of the same dress. The only variations between the technical drawing for all three is that some have shading while others done. And two have princess seams to the hemline. (I should have used the other line drawing as its more accurate - oh well). A very nice dress and minus the added skirt on the first dress, a great dress to colour block and use up some of those scraps you have from previous patterns. I have a fair few of those and I'm thinking they'll end up as this dress.

Both of these dresses are beautiful. I don't often think so many Burda patterns are wearable from the same magazine, but there's something comfortable about all the designs. The yellow is a great staple pattern that could work for so many designs. Also, the raglan sleeves connecting in to a yoke in the back is very beautiful. I would love to colour block this dress! And that princess seamed dress with peek-a-boo skirt panels at the bottom add such drama and movement to the dress! I would t use the colours they did, but the pattern is wonderful and I look forward to making it!
This is a lovely side dart bodice dress. Simple and elegant. I'm thinking a simple linen version for summer would be splendid. 

A similar jacket style to the dress above. I like the drama the the circular flounce sleeves create in the photo but I would despise wearing them in real life. Too much drama for my lifestyle. 

This drop waist dress is very on trend. With the recent release of Republic du Chiffon's Viviane dress and Pauline Alice's Malvarosa, this pattern fits right in. But what I do love is that this drop waist dress has a back yoke and button down. I think the length on the model is frumpy, but take it up an inch or two and you have an adorable dress. Or alternatively you can make a sack version like #432.

Three takes on the same shirt: neck tie, collar, collar dress. How simple changes can make an entirely new dress. 

Totally average pencil skirt anybody?

There are a few patterns not included here. But I didn't like them enough to even say blah about them. 

Overall feelings about this Burda plus magazine? Great job Burda! You did a great thing providing non-bag plus sized patterns! Now to get my hands on the only copy that gets shipped to my small city!
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03 February 2014

The Ailakki Cross Front Dress

I started sewing because I wanted so many pretty dresses. All the pretty dresses in the world. But that isn't practical. What would I do with hundred's of party dresses. The occasions for such dress rarely occur in my life. The infrequency of event makes the sewing time-commitment not worth it. 

When an event DOES come along? I got so excited at the idea of making a fancy dress I immediately scoured the interwebs for inspiration. Conveniently I happened to read Jolies Bobines Ailakki Jumpsuit post and ADORED BOTH her renditions. I knew I needed to have Ailakki in my life and the dress version was EXACTLY what I was looking for.

I adore the Ailakki jumpsuit. I adore most jumpsuits. Just not on me. They make me look 6 months pregnant. But that bodice is so stunning that I ignored the jumpsuit and immediately knew I could pair it with a skirt pattern I love. And Voila I would have a dress I adore.

Now, I've never worn a dress with a keyhole in them. I always thought they were beautiful, but always felt that when I sit down, fat would gush through the whole, and that isn't flattering now is it. I never want to feel uncomfortable, especially in my me-mades. I sew so I can wear styles that don't fit me in RTW but that I've always loved. And this keyhole pattern exactly fits the bill. A style I've never found that fits well in any RTW outfits, but that I desperately wanted to work on me. 

The fabric is a Rayon/Tweed. It's like I have a sense when Rayon is in my presence. I saw this fabric; loved it. Touched it; loved it more. Checked the fabric content; knew it was the one for me. I'm just naturally drawn to Rayon fabrics apparently. The lining is a Rayon Bemberg in plain black. 

I finished the bodice in 2 hours to finish the bodice and attach the waist band. I spent a lot of time adjusting how the waistband would sit. When I initially tried the bodice on, I could tell the pattern is made for a significantly smaller bust than mine, and I'm not well endowed. At the top of both breasts the pattern flared out very obnoxiously showcasing my bra proudly. This is not a flatting look. To correct this obvious fit problem I decided to add a second dart to each side of the bodice pointing down towards the apex. There is about 1 inch between the points the two darts on each bodice piece. The hardest part about these additional darts was it made the boobs very pointy. 

The skirt is a pattern from La Mia Boutique's May 2013 issue. It was actually one of my first dresses I made here. It had the pockets that I wanted and I just added an extra inch to the centre front and back so I could enlarge the 4 inverted pleats. 

The only other adjustment I needed to made was to take the shoulders in by 1 inch after realizing I preferred the fit of the bodice with the shoulders up higher. This did cause the keyhole to be huge naturally, so to fit the patterns natural urge to gap open and showcase the ladies, I top stitched the bodice in place to prevent any potential wardrobe malfunctions at my event. 

I used a 9" black oxidized metal zipper for the back with a large pull tab. I like metal zippers. I screwed up my insertion slightly when trying to serge the raw edges along the zipper and accidentally sent the top stop under my serger needles. That snapped my needle rather fast. So The top of the zipper is very close and the pull tab doesn't QUITE make it to the very top teeth. And the dress didn't look good with hook and eye so I'll just deal with the zipper always being slightly undone. I danced the entire night away and the zipper didn't budge once. So I think it's acceptable in my eyes!
I danced the night away and learned some ballroom dance moves from my date for the night! Every girl loves a great dance.


Pattern: Named Clothing Ailakki Cross Front Jumpsuit
Size: 44
Fabric: Rayon/Tweed
Cost: $7/metre and 1.5 metres used.

  • Pleated skirt instead of pants
  • Top stitched bodice in place
  • Added darts to the upper bust to create contouring around chest
  • Shortened bodice at shoulder seams
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