Monday, November 29, 2010

BurdaStyle 6006 Anita Jeans – Completed

Here are a few photos of my daughter wearing her new Anita jeans.  The morning sunshine was very bright and I was granted but a brief minute to snap the button on the camera before she got in her car and drove away for the day.

She is pleased.  We both would have preferred a non-printed denim but really, that was the best choice for an impulse buy.  There is a very slight gap at the center back area of the waistband.  Not bad and she has this same gap in her RTW jeans, too.  The yoke is fine – it is just the upper edge of the waistband.  If I use this pattern again for her, I would alter the back waistband pattern a smidge by placing a tiny dart near the center back and then redraw the pattern.  Other than that, she likes the style and the fit.  I would also add more to the seam allowances of the yoke and center back seams to be able to sew flat felled seams.  Not only would it look more like RTW, it would also give strength to those seams.  It will be interesting to see how (and where) the non-stretch denim relaxes after wearing them all day.
I ruined several sets of the rivets by being overly aggressive with the hammer.  I had fun, but my rivets supply has needlessly dwindled.
The Anita pattern is well drafted and the fit is nearly identical to Gap’s “Sexy Boot” jeans.  In looking at some of my daughter’s jeans, I see that two or three different colors of topstitching thread are used on the same pair.  Also, the rivets and buttons will be different colors.  So, I think you take the basic pattern and just have fun with it. Well, first I need to find a bolt of dark denim….

Sunday, November 28, 2010

BudaStyle 6006 - Anita Jeans

Last week, I offered to sew my first born a pair of jeans. She has been content with her Gap “Sexy Boot” and True Religion jeans, so I was surprised when she accepted.

To start, we reviewed the jeans patterns in my Burda and Ottobre Woman magazines. She declared each of them to be “Mom” jeans due to their high waists.  My other patterns weren’t considered as the sizing is much too large for her.  Besides, she would not have liked the styling of those any better.  Also rejected was the popular Jalie 2908 jeans pattern.  We ended up on the BurdaStyle website and found the Anita jeans pattern.  She liked the design, and for only $4.00, I felt it was a good place to begin.
Based on the measurements of her Gap jeans, I made a size 40 (equivalent to US size 10) muslin, lengthened the legs by ½” and made the pattern slightly boot cut by adding 1” to each side of the leg and tapering to the knee markings.  She liked the two back pocket styles that came with the pattern, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time making a fancy pocket for an unproved pattern. After all, I don’t know if the jeans will fit or if she will even like them.  So, I drew a traditional back pocket pattern and used that instead.  I also made a fly shield pattern for the zipper.  It wasn’t included in the Anita pattern but I felt the jeans would have a higher chance of acceptance if they looked like “normal” jeans. 

The denim came from JoAnn’s. This particular denim wouldn’t have been my first choice but the stretch denim was way too stretchy and the rest was too thin, or had some other issue (like ugly embroidery). This was the only dark, and appropriate for jeans, denim that they had.

I cannot say how well written the Anita pattern instructions are.  I printed them out but the font was small and irritated me, so I set them aside.  I constructed the jeans front and the back; sewed them together and attached the waistband. Easy. This was a great project for the Thanksgiving weekend – nothing too complicated and lots of natural stopping points.

I finally had a chance to use a new-to-me technique for the jeans zipper.  Debbie Cook has a jeans fly/zipper tutorial on her blog, Stitches & Seams.  It is easy to understand and the results are wonderful!  Thank you, Debbie!

The Bernina 930 is handling the layers of denim with no problems.  I love that machine!  I still need to topstitch the waistband.  Also, the belt loops, rivets, and waist button need to be attached.

Maybe she will model the completed jeans for us….we’ll see…

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stretch & Sew 1568 - Oxford Blouse

As you know from prior posts, I had ordered some clearance denim from but didn’t end up with it. Yeah, I still bummed but it wasn’t a total loss as I had also ordered a few other fabrics to meet the free shipping minimum.

This white polyester was one of those other fabrics. It is nasty! I figured it would be, but at $1.95/yd. I also knew that the intimidation factor would disappear when trying out view C of this Stretch & Sew pattern from 1982.
Before I started, I compared my Bernina My Label shirt pattern to it.  Other than lengthening the body and shortening the sleeves, the patterns were similar in size.  However, there are no bust or waistline darts on the Stretch & Sew pattern; also, the collar stand and collar are shorter. I like the smaller collar though the narrow stand was more difficult to sew at the center fronts.  The box pleat at the back yoke and the traditional sleeve plackets are classic shirt details that the My Label shirt lacks. I followed the instructions for the plackets and they turned out fine considering I hadn’t sewn this type of placket before and the polyester would not press into crisp points.
The sleeve cuffs, like the collar, are not as wide as the ones on my Eddie Bauer or My Label shirts.  I can live with that.  And, if I decide I can’t, it would be easy to merge the two patterns.
For buttons, I pulled some from the stash.  I chose these as the white buttons I have were too big or else had a yellow or gray cast to them.  These, at least, were the right size.
Other than the icky fabric, the styling of this shirt rivals the ones in my closet.  However, I’m thinking I need to figure this buttonhole thing out.  Since this shirt was an experiment, I decided it was an excellent opportunity to make friends (finally) with the Bernina 930 buttonholes.  I very carefully marked the shirt, using a fine point Mark-B-Gone pen, and sewed the buttonholes. Yes, they were quite easy to create but after taking a ruler to them, I find I have a variety of sizes…..

I’m sorry, but we’re still not friends and I’m confident that it is all my fault.  I haven’t given up, though I must admit that I’ve paid a visit to eBay and purchased a vintage Singer Professional Buttonholer for my Singer 403A.  What can I say?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

HP Weekender Sunshine Top - The Frankenpattern Version

My plan was to take the leftover fabric from the purple Simplicity 2288 cardigan and make a sleeveless shell.  However, when I laid the fabric out on the cutting table, I saw that there was enough to make a top with sleeves.  I quickly switched gears and pulled the HP Weekender Sunshine Tops pattern from the file.
I really like the neckband on the Simplicity 2598 sleeveless top that I made last week – so much that I combined the neckbands from these two patterns.  I had made changes to the Sunshine neckband pieces when I had made it back in July.  Starting fresh, I traced new neckband pieces, matching them (CF/CB and shoulders) with the Simplicity neckband pieces and then traced my new pattern pieces.  This added close to an inch to the upper edge of the neckband – still feminine but with a more modest, and therefore more wearable, neckline than the original pattern.  By the way, I used a knit interfacing for the neckband and, of course, coverstitched the hems.

The Sunshine pattern offers two sleeve choices: none or a short cap sleeve.  Since I wanted a top appropriate for the season, I borrowed my Bernina My Label t-shirt sleeve pattern and merged it with the Sunshine cap sleeve to create the ¾-length sleeve pattern.

I am delighted with my Sunshine Frankenpattern.  Moreover, the new top is wonderful – it fits!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Another Simplicity 2474 Cardigan

I had a business meeting this afternoon. It wasn’t necessary to show up wearing a suit and high heels, but blue jeans were out. Assessing my dwindling wardrobe (recently, I’ve been tossing many of my clothes for one reason or another), I knew that a desperate visit to Chico’s, Dillard’s, etc. was going to be happening. However, I also knew that driving to Retail Land would be futile because nothing ever fits. Instead, I chose to give the serger and the newbie coverstitch an opportunity to impress. It was a good decision.
The quickest way to a new outfit was to make a cardigan to match the black and white top (Simplicity 2598) I had made on Sunday. I used the same cardigan pattern, Simplicity 2474, that I had for my Tammyriffic Twinset. It took me about two hours from taking the rotary cutter to the fabric (by the way – I love the pattern weights!) to placing the finished cardigan on the dress form. Black pants completed my outfit.

I am finally getting to where it is quicker and less frustrating to sew a TNT garment than to visit a retail store. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love to shop. The problem is finding something that will fit. I am not sewing for budget, political or creative reasons. I sew because I want clothing that fits and sewing is the easiest way to make that happen.

And, even though I need a challenge, it appears that I will be continuing on this path of instant gratification sewing. Mama needs clothes! There is a piece of the purple knit leftover from Sunday's Simplicity 2288 cardigan so I will  be making a coordinating top to go with it.

Sadly, my jean jacket project is going to be delayed. I received an email from saying that the denim (clearance @ $3.99/yard) I had ordered is sold out.  There is a mid-weight denim in the stash, but I really want a heavier denim.  I’ll choose something else; it just won’t be the bargain I had planned.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Summer is Over...

The temperatures here in Texas have finally dropped. Enough that there are serious gaps in what I have to wear and I hastily put three garments together. First, I made the Vogue 8634 cowl neck top. You may recognize the fabric as the same $1.95/yard Lycra knit that I had used back in August for the Lena Sommermode top. Granted, this is some odd fabric but it was ideal for testing the pattern.
I made view B, Xlg (20-22), borrowing the long sleeves from view C.  And, as usual, I added to the hem (2") and shortened the sleeves (2”). I also eliminated the front horizontal seam by pinning the upper and lower front pattern pieces together.  To secure the cowl, I edge-stitched along the neck seam using the coverstitch.  The top went together very quickly and I will be making it again using a more subdued fabric.  This style would be great to wear under a vest or jacket.
Next, I made a cardigan and a sleeveless top.  For the top, I used Simplicity 2598, view E. The cardi-wrap is the star of this pattern and the top, I suspect, is really an “oh, by the way” afterthought.  I just cannot bring myself to sew the cardi.  To me, those pointy cardi-wrap tails are begging to get caught in the car door, or worse - a public toilet!
The fabric is a stretch polyester knit that I purchased several months ago from Farbic Mart.  I cut a size 18W-20W with 22W-24W side seams and added 1” to the hem. 

Needing to wear the top in a few hours, I didn’t use the coverstitch binder to finish the armhole edges. This fabric curled as soon as it was cut and I simply didn’t have time to experiment. Instead, I sewed clear elastic in the armhole seam allowance, folded the seam allowance over and coverstitched.  It worked! The elastic will keep the armhole from stretching out of shape. I also sewed clear elastic into the shoulder seams.
For the cardigan, I used Simplicity 2288, view A.  This fabric also came from Fabric Mart. I made a size 20, using size 22 side seams and skipped the pleated ruffle trim.  I didn’t shorten the sleeves as they look a bit short on the envelope model.  It ended up being the correct sleeve length for me. 
The neatly stacked pieces of the 1952 dress are patiently waiting next to the Bernina. I am still working on the shoulder pads. There isn’t a pending occasion/looming deadline for the dress though I’m sure that locating the right belt buckle will improve my motivation.
I purchased some denim and a few knit pieces from a few days ago. I want to sew another jean jacket, this time actually using denim. And, after these easy projects, I could use something a bit more complicated. However, my goal is to complete the 1952 dress before I tackle the jean jacket.

Enjoy your week!