I changed jobs recently, and one of the negatives is my new office is C-O-L-D! Not only am I adapting my work wardrobe to be more casual, I've discovered I need multiple layers to be semi-comfortable in my office. That's why I choose this pattern for my December BurdaStyle project.
It's described as a short jacket, although I think of it as a vest. I made two versions. One from faux leather (on left) and the other from a medium-weight wool. I have a third version cut out from a sheer fabric, however I haven't sewn it yet.
The wool fabric is black with small taupe flowers. It's actually reversible but I wear more black than taupe so I went with that as the "right" side. The fabric was purchased locally at SR Harris - of course :-) And there was still some left on the bolt when I was there last weekend...just saying.
Oh my goodness! This fabric is so beautiful in person, but yikes, what a challenge it was to sew. It raveled like crazy. And of course my serger started acting up just when I needed it to finish those unruly seams. Grrrr....I was able to serge some of the exposed edges so they looked halfway decent, but ended up using some Seams Great to finish the shoulder and side seams.
This short jacket only consists of two pattern pieces. I sewed my normal size without any adjustments. I found the design to run generous and I probably could have gone down a size. Although I didn't do an FBA, I did add 1-1/2 " to the center front tapering to zero at the side seam to prevent the front pulling up at the hemline due to my full bust.
The only tricky part about sewing this was stitching the self-facing and cut-on collar. There's a dart at the top that needs to be clipped carefully so the facing and collar fit nicely. I had to be extra careful due to the fraying of this fabric.
The pattern called for snap fasteners, but I choose to add two buttons and buttonholes. I used two beautiful black vintage buttons that I had found in a thrift store a few years ago.
Here's a pic of the pattern as shown in the magazine and on the BurdaStyle website. It is 09/2018 #109.
I wanted to sew a version using mohair (as shown in the pattern pic), or a lightweight faux fur, but just could not find anything locally that caught my eye. Seriously, how could I not find something at my beloved SR Harris?!?
The second version, the red faux leather, was not one I planned on sewing. Over the past few months, hubby and I have been on a major "clear out the excess" kick, donating and giving away things we no longer need or want.
As I was going through my fabric stash looking for pieces I no longer wanted, I came across this red faux leather and decided to sew myself another short jacket. I'm glad I did as I really like this one. (Although now that I'm looking at the pics I can see I'll need to be careful with my styling so it doesn't look like part of a costume.)
This time I didn't have to worry about fraying fabric, and topstitched the shoulder and side seams just for decoration.
On this red one you can see the neck dart detail more clearly.
I didn't want to attempt to stitch buttonholes in this faux leather so I added an unusual metal closure I had in my button stash.
The closure was one of two I had purchased from Hancock Fabrics about a decade ago. (See why I need to go through my "stuff" and clear it out?) I am not positive if I sewed it on correctly, but it stays closed so I guess it doesn't matter does it?
As I took photos for this blog post, the temps were hovering around 10℉, (but sunny!) and I was trying to get done as quickly as possible. However the cold temps certainly didn't bother my two girls, who both were curious as to what I was doing and kept photobombing my pics.
This short jacket is the perfect layering piece for the cold weather, but I can also see it working in warmer temps out of lightweight fabric layered over a tee.
This PDF pattern was provided to me at no charge as my December BurdaStyle Influencer project.
I think a touch of velvet is always stylish, especially during the winter months. My latest floral velvet dress could be worn at the office with tights and booties or be dressed up with fancier accessories and strappy heels for a dinner date with hubby.
The pattern is BurdaStyle 11/2018 #103, a panel seam dress designed for knits. The fabric for my dress is a stretch velvet purchased within the last year or so, although I don't recall where.
I choose the dress pattern for a number of reasons: the ability to easily do an FBA, the hi-low hemline, the comfort of knit, and the fact that this was a "tall" BurdaStyle pattern, which meant the waistline would likely hit my waist without an adjustment. Spoiler alert: it didn't.
BurdaStyle 11/2018 #103 Photo www.burdastyle.com
As you can see from the line drawing, there are a number of great design details. The Dior dart (that short dart from the side panel), the darted elbow, and a small pleat at the center front of the skirt with adds to the fullness of the skirt without a lot of bulk, and the waistband defining the waistline.
BurdaStyle 11/2018 #103 Photo www.burdastyle.com
I wasn't sure how to do the FBA on this type of dart, so I approached it like a princess seam. This is what my full bust adjustment pattern alteration looked like.
It might not be the correct way, but it worked!
I debated about using a contrast fabric or the same fabric for the band at the waist, and you can see I went with the contrast. I thought since my waist has completely disappeared this year (sigh...) the contrast might give the illusion of a waist. Alas, I don't think it does the trick.
Also, since I didn't add length to the bodice (except what was added with my FBA), the band hits my almost 2" above my actual waistline. Now that I see photos I think the same fabric might have helped camouflage my lack of waistline better.
Oh, a note if you sew this dress. The waist band is interfaced and lined so there is a lot of bulk at the waistline when stitching the side seams and the adding the invisible zipper.
Speaking of invisible zippers...
I think I did a pretty good job of matching that waist band at the center back!
As I mentioned earlier, this is one of BurdaStyle's "tall" patterns, designed for 69-1/2" instead of their usual 66-1/4". Instead of checking the pattern, I made an assumption that the bodice would be long enough that I wouldn't need to lengthen it to hit my natural waistline. Well, I should have remembered what my mother always said about making assumptions, LOL!
I also discovered the sleeves were too short, which I found odd as I typically have to shorten sleeves. I simply added a small contrast band. I did, however, shorten the skirt by 3".
All in all, I'm pleased with the dress. The more I sew BurdaStyle patterns, the more I appreciate the designs and the drafting. While the instructions are limited, the pattern pieces always seem to go together perfectly.
One final shot on this cold,winter day as I'm loving how the blue velvet pops against the backdrop of fresh snow.
Note: This is my November BurdaStyle Influencer project and I was provided the PDF pattern at no charge. You can purchase the pattern here: https://www.burdastyle.com/pattern_store/patterns/panel-seam-dress-112018
I love me some sequins. Although I usually wear them in small doses, like a sequin tee peeking out from under a blazer. No more! I'm going bold with my sequin maxi skirt!
I love how the light shimmers off of the skirt.
The skirt is a faux wrap, which is only apparent when I walk.
The fabric is a beautiful rose-gold baby sequin knit I ordered from Fabric Mart Fabrics. I originally planned to sew myself a pair of wide-leg pants. However, after placing the order Fabric Mart emailed me to let me know the fabric was flawed (and the price would be reduced, yay!) Because of the flaw, I scrapped the idea of pants and decided to try this maxi skirt instead. And I'm so happy I did!
It's hard to tell from the photo, but the skirt has a yoke, waistband, and back zip.
Because my fabric is so sheer I decided to add a half lining. I even had the perfect color of silk charmeuse in my stash. I was able to treat the sequin fabric like a knit. I had no problems sewing it on my sewing machine, and ended up finishing the seams with my serger. I only had enough silk to line it to just above my knee.
Each of the two front skirt pieces fold back to form a facing. The two pieces then overlap one another to create the faux wrap. It overlaps enough that I don't need to be concerned about the skirt opening up and exposing more than I'd like!
The waistband is 2" wide Petersham ribbon folded in half. I only had off-white and black ribbon in my stash and without time to order matching ribbon I choose the off-white.
An invisible zipper is in the back of the skirt.
By the time I was done sewing this skirt I had tiny sequins scattered all over my house! The floor in my sewing room was especially sparkly as so many had landed there while I was cutting and sewing the fabric.
As soon as my skirt was complete, I modeled it for my husband. Oh, if you could have seen the look on his face! I was laughing inside as I watched him trying to find the right thing to say.
So maybe my husband isn't as crazy about my new sequin skirt as I am. But it sure does look fabulous!
This is my October Burda Influencer project, and I received the PDF pattern at no cost.
The moment I saw the illustration for this oversized pullover I knew I wanted to sew myself one...or two...or a dozen.
I know it doesn't look like anything special. And it might not be, but I LIVE in big, comfy pullovers paired with yoga pants all winter long. Well, at least at home I do. I still have to dress professionally in the office :-) This top is perfect for my at-home winter attire.
I picked up this lightweight terry knit (with a hint of sparkle!) at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago with the intent of trying out this pattern. It's soft, so the shape of the collar and sleeves are not apparent. And the metallic thread makes it a wee bit scratchy at the collar, but I don't care.
I have to tell you - this top is soooooo big! I know, I know. The signs were all there. The pattern description says “very loose-fitting” and I could have paid attention to the measurements printed on the pattern pieces. But I didn't. Instead I cut my usual size, ignoring the amount of design ease. There is a silver lining though as I didn't have to do a FBA!
The sleeves are quite wide, especially around the wrist area. There are darts to draw in some of the fullness, and after I tried the top on I went back and made those darts even deeper. Bur I still think the sleeves are too loose. I will also remove some of the width in the body of the top. In the middle of winter (when we hit our series of below zero temps outside, and our temps inside the house remain pretty chilly) a top that is loose at the wrists and lower body like this will just let the cool air flow around my body. I'm getting chilled just thinking about it! (Ha, ha - I'm not real sure what I was doing when my hubby captured this pic, maybe we were talking about the football game?!?)
The collar! It’s my favorite part. It’s cut with the grain, which meant the stretch of the fabric does not go width wise on the collar.
I thought it might be a mistake as I was placing the pattern pieces on the fabric, but I think that might be how the collar stands up so nicely!
Another cool design feature is the side panel that is sewn to the front and back of both the body and the sleeve. I was curious why the pattern description said “sleeve in three pieces” and now I understand. I think that panel could make for interesting colorblocking. For example, I was thinking of sewing the top out of a Ponte Knit and using a faux stretch leather for the contrast panel.
This one was my test top. Now that I know what I'll do differently, I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the perfect fabric for my new (dozen) stay-at-home pullover top(s).
I live in Minnesota, and September signals the unofficial end of summer...sigh. The weather will fluctuate between hot and muggy and cool (cold) and windy. Of course, that can happen here in the middle of July too, LOL.
Since I’m out quite ready to say goodbye to summer, I’m quickly stitching up some of my colorful fabrics that I will use to slowly transition into the fall/winter season.Such as this bold blue and white abstract animal print!
This is is a new pattern release, Vogue 9329. The Marci Tilton pullover dress design features a handkerchief hemline, cut-on sleeves (two lengths), and pockets.
It's not obvious from the pattern envelope, but the dress is designed to have a partial contrast back. You can see it in the line drawings. I eliminated the contrast. Instead I took the back pattern piece, folded it in half, and cut one back piece on the fabric fold.
I like that the pockets are single layer and stitched in place to the front of the dress. I finished the edge of the pocket, pinned it in place, and used a contrasting thread color to baste it in place.
I then stitched on the right side of the dress just to the side of the basting.The contrasting color made it easy to remove the basting after the pocket was stitched in place.
The dress is described as close fitting through the bust. I checked the finished bust measurement printed on the pattern and decided to add two inches. I used a pivot and slide method so there is no dart. It provided enough extra room so that the knit doesn't pull across my bustline.
The sleeves are cut-in-one with the bodice. I choose to sew the shorter sleeves, which hit just at my elbow. The sleeves are finished with a band (meant to be contrasting fabric). The neckline is finished with an interfaced facing that is topstitched in place one inch from the neckline. The pattern provides good instructions for mitered corners on the hem. I'm not sure exactly what I did wrong, but my miters are not as nice as I would like them to be.
The ITY knit fabric was one I picked up about three years ago from SR Harris Fabric . I'm glad I decided to not sew what I had originally planned (knit top and wide leg pants) as I really like the fabric in this dress!
If you follow Carlos Vogue Pattern designer on Instagram, he shared a black stretch velvet version of this dress as one of his "closer look of this pattern" posts. It was lovely and I plan to sew myself one to wear this winter with tights and boots.
That was my immediate reaction when I saw these. Look at the details! The length, the slight flare, the pocket detail, the side zip, the narrow waistband. All of these spell winner in my book. Here's the line drawing.
I was especially intrigued by the idea of using the bottom portion of the pants as a design feature. Because it is stitched to the pants separately it was easy to come up with a variety of ideas. Here's some of my sketches.
On my first pair I used a sheer embellished fabric for the bottom. I debated whether or not to use it as a sheer or as an overlay on the black fabric. After consulting my incredibly fashion-savvy friend (hey Jude! I'm talking about you!) I left it sheer. I really love it! I think wearing it with flats helps tone down the "fancy".
Next I started working on a denim pair. I inserted floating rick-rack in the seam between the leg and bottom portion. But before I could take pics and post here and on IG, a floating rick-rack tutorial from the Bernina We All Sew blog popped up in my blog feed. Grrrr...I decided to wait and share the denim pair later as I didn't want to appear as if I was copying that post. Isn't it funny how some ideas in the sewing world all come out at the same time?!?
I quickly changed gears and decided to sew a pair of black pants with beaded ribbon trim inserted into the seam. I LOVE them! And I'll probably wear them more often than my denim with the rick-rack trim.
The black trim on black pants is subdued enough that I can wear these to the office. If you're following me on Instagram (@sharonmads) you may have seen a sneak peek of the trim in one of my IG stories.
The fabric on this pair is a fabulous Donna Karan stretch woven purchased locally at SR Harris Fabrics. Note the price of the fabric is always 50 percent off of the marked prices on the bolt. I didn't do a burn test, but I'm guessing it's a linen blend. I can tell you it was a dream to sew!
The fabric on my sheer band pants is also from SR Harris. The black is a lightweight stretch wool blend that I purchased years ago, but the sheer I purchased specifically for these pants.
Here's a closeup of the bottom of the pants. The two side seams on the bottom band are finished with French seams and I used the scalloped edge of the fabric for the hemline.
Here's the back view and closer look at the bottom of the black linen with ribbon trim pants.
I left the pleated fabric pocket detail off of both of the black pants as I think the lower edge deserves all the attention! Plus I rarely tuck in my shirts so that pocket detail would be lost.
However, I did add it to my muslin. I wouldn't normally take time to add a design detail like this to a fitting muslin, but it was so cute I had to see what it looked like!
Speaking of muslins...I rarely do them, but I've gained some weight and am still trying to figure out what size I should be using when I sew. For my muslin I used a stretch linen blend that's been in my stash for years and quickly stitched them up with no zipper, no bottom band,and no waistband. I'm glad I did as I ended up identifying where I needed to make adjustments before sewing my "real" ones. I just might take these apart, make the adjustments and sew them, although I still haven't decided whether or not I like the stripe changing direction at the bottom.
The waist band is narrow - about 1" - which I really like. The pants close with an invisible zipper and a hook and eye at the waistband.
First things first. Why did I wait so long to sew this dress?!?
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I must be the only one in the sewing world who had not sewn this pattern! Vogue 9253 was an almost immediate hit when it was released last year, with dozens of beautiful versions filling my blog feed.
I shied away from sewing it because of that REALLY deep V! Having been quite - ahem - blessed since my teen years, I don't always like to draw attention to that part of my body. And let's be honest. I KNEW it would require a full bust adjustment (FBA) and I wasn't sure I knew how to alter this bodice correctly.
So I continued to admire every version I saw, telling myself over and over that my large chest combined with all the weight I've gained would make this a very unflattering look on me.
I finally stopped telling myself how horrible it would look on me, and gave myself permission to sew and wear something OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE that would make me HAPPY! So I did :-)
I was able to add more room in the bust by doing an FBA. It may or may not be "correct" but it worked.
The fabric I used is a polyester print purchased at SR Harris. I was looking for solid colored silks (for another project), but fell in love with the colors and floral print on this fabric.
Construction was so simple! I think trying to figure out how to do the FBA was the most time-consuming part of sewing this dress. With my serger in for repair work I finished all of the seams by wrapping them with Seams Great and stitching it in place.
I missed the step of sewing the tie ends to the center back before inserting the zipper. Instead I created thread loops at the side of the dress to help keep the tie in place.
Look at the seam matching for the invisible zipper. Looks pretty good if I do say so myself!
The pattern pieces are so large that I went to the floor to cut this dress out. Fabric and patterns, especially on the floor, are a new experience for my sewing buddy Tandy. She made my task a bit challenging as she really enjoyed flipping the fabric around. I cut her some slack as she's only eight months old. She's our latest rescue. We adopted her in February, a few months after we had to put my beloved Sophia down.
I've worn my maxi a few times already, and each time received compliments such as "I love your dress! Where did you get it?" I smile sweetly and say "Thanks! I made it!"
Oh, did I mention that the V on this dress is REALLY DEEP!!! I could just carry Tandy with me every time I wear this dress...
On second thought, I think I'll just wear a cami instead.
I showed you the Burda Off-The-Shoulder Blouse, 05/2018 #110 while I was in the process of sewing it up, and here is the final version!
I used a tropical print rayon challis that I found locally at SR Harris. I went back to purchase more fabric as I wanted to make matching pants to wear with this top (for a faux jumpsuit look). However there was less than two yards left on the bolt so I scrapped that idea!
Per my usual pattern alterations, I did a full bust adjustment (FBA) to this pattern before cutting it out. I also went up one size due to the close-fit of the blouse.
This is a wrap blouse that closes with snaps. I was hesitant about that, but decided to follow the pattern as designed.
You'll see that even with me going up one size and adding the FBA, the snaps pull. I'm going to replace the snaps with buttons and see if that helps, as right now I'm afraid a snap will unsnap when I'm wearing the blouse.
I think if I would have used a woven with some lycra, or made a larger FBA, this wouldn't be an issue. Here's the photo of the model wearing the top and you don't see the pulling.
Other than that, I think this is a great top!
When I agreed to be a Burda Influencer, I decided to use the opportunity to push myself to sew garments out of my comfort zone. After all, I already subscribe to the monthly BurdaStyle magazine. The magazine includes all of the patterns that are available as PDF downloads on the BurdaStyle website.
Every month I am choosing a pattern I would not normally wear. Such as this blouse! With it's defined waist, deep V front, and off the shoulder neckline, I might have passed on this one as "not being practical" (those darn Midwestern values, LOL). I'm really glad I choose this blouse as I find it fun to wear and it makes me look as if I have a waistline!
My July Burda Influencer project is also behind schedule due to those unexpected life circumstances. You know what? As much as I love sewing, family always comes first. Always. I did post muslin pics on my Instagram account if you want a sneak peek of the project (It's the 07-2017 #102 drawstring romper). I'm making a few changes and sewing it out of a pink silk.
As a Burda Influencer I received both of these PDF patterns at no cost. Come back to see my finished silk jumpsuit soon!
Can it really be the middle of June already? I feel as if I've barely begun sewing the items I have planned for the summer, including the multiple designs I've marked in my BurdaStyle magazines. I've subscribed to Burda Style magazine for nearly ten years, and every month I mark the ones I want to sew, but find that I don't always take time to trace, alter, and sew the designs I've chosen. Until now. One of the 2018 goals I set for myself is to sew at least one item from every magazine issue.
I found the fabric at my favorite local fabric store, SR Harris. It was only $6/yard (because all fabric at SR Harris is 50% off the price marked on the bolt).
I knew I wanted a floral print for the top, but was originally envisioning a fabric with less drape than this rayon challis. However, as I near completion of this blouse, I really like the softness of the fabric with this design.
The only negative about using this fabric is the need to iron it after laundering. I knew that before I purchased the fabric, but the design of the Burda blouse is simple enough that I'll be able to iron it easily. Plus I really like ironing :-)
As I was preparing to lay out my pattern pieces, I noticed "Jams World" written on the selvage. I didn't know if it was a designer or manufacturer, but a quick Google search provided my answer. Apparently Jams World has been making and selling clothing in Hawaii since 1964.
The only alteration I made to the pattern was to do full bust adjustment (FBA), which is one of my usual alterations.
I like the shoulder ties as it covers my bra straps (or will once I'm done). I ended up bringing the shoulder ties in closer to the center front and back of the top than what was marked on the pattern. If you sew this I would try the blouse on and adjust the placement of the ties before permanently stitching them in place.
Here's a pic of the *almost* finished blouse - I just need to do a little hand stitching and add the snap closures.
I'm really liking it! In fact, if I can find more of this fabric at SR Harris, I plan on sewing a pair of wide leg pants and wear the two pieces together.
BurdaStyle Influencer As I mentioned above, one of my 2018 goals is to sew at least one garment from my BurdaStyle magazines. That's why when I was contacted by BurdaStyle to see if I was interested in being one of their Influencers, I didn't hesitate to say yes! You can read more about it, and meet the other Influencers, on this BurdaStyle blog post. As an Influencer, I do receive one downloadable pattern per month at no cost, and this was the pattern I choose for June.
Stay tuned as I hope to finish the top, and sew matching pants yet this week!
One hour + knit fabric + Mermaid Maxi pattern = A fabulous maxi skirt!
Last weekend I found myself with an extra hour on hand. (What a blessing that was! Does anyone else find their life over scheduled at times?!?) Of course I filled that time with sewing, and was able to cut out and sew this maxi skirt in just over an hour.
The pattern is the Mermaid Maxi and it includes a slim, straight view (the one I sewed) as well as a "Mermaid" flared view, with options of gathered pockets, flat pockets, or no pockets at all. The pattern comes in 14 sizes to fit 34" to 55" hips.
I especially like that this skirt has front and side panels as I think it makes for a very flattering skirt. I choose to sew the straight maxi with the side front walking slit and gathered pockets.
I love this fabric! It's a double brushed knit I purchased from Sly Fox Fabrics. It feels wonderful, drapes beautifully, and was a dream to sew. Unfortunately I forgot how difficult black fabric is to photograph.
It fits nicely in the back (where I carry much of my excess weight, especially in my high hip area).
Here's a better shot of the gathered pocket. And yes that is my puppy pictured on my iPhone peeking out of the pocket :-)
It's important to make sure you mark all of the pattern markings on your fabric! The first time I sewed this skirt I stitched the pockets on wrong because I hadn't been careful enough with my markings. You can be sure I double checked this time around that the pockets were sewn on correctly.
The skirt can be sewn in about an hour. Of course that will depend on your own sewing ability. I found the instructions to be well written, and the elastic application results in a nice clean edge with no casing.
My serger is out of commission at the moment, so I stitched all of my seams on my regular machine using a very narrow zigzag stitch. I ran out of Coats and Clark Eloflex thread or I would have used that.
The skirt can easily be worn dressed up or down depending on top, shoes and accessories. I can see myself sewing another half dozen of these (including the "swishy" Mermaid version!) as they'll be perfect for wearing with a tee and sandals when running errands this summer.