Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shorts - Burda Style 03-2011-131B (Kinda)

I really like the Burda Style shorts I had made about amonth ago. I wear them every chance I get and have realized I should have another pair. I started with a blank canvas, using Burda Style 03-2011-131B, for the new ones.

Burda Style 03-2011-131B

It took three evenings, from tracing the pattern to pressing the last rivet in place, to complete them. I didn’t have a game plan, other than knowing I wanted to end up with wearable shorts. I made whatever changes I wanted and topstitched however/wherever I wished. I was amused and entertained. Still, it took three evenings.

Changes to the pattern:
  • Incorporated front pockets (from OOP Simplicity 7581)
  • Coverted back darts to a yoke (this pattern has fairly long back waist darts; I didn’t revise the length but simply placed the yoke seam at the end point of the darts - yeah, call it lazy...)
  • Added back patch pockets, belt loops and rivets to complete the jeans styling 
I enjoyed taking the basic pattern and modifying it. For instance, the back pocket topstitching was selected because I wanted an excuse to play with the Bernina bartack/buttonhole stitch. Like the front pockets, the pattern for the back pockets also came from Simplicity 7581. I eliminated the bottom point by folding it up to create a horizontal edge.
The fabric for the pocket lining is a 100% cotton Timeless Treasures offering named April in Paris. It came from

Sewing the same type of fabric repeatedly (this is project #9 from the roll) has its advantages, namely a chance to deal with some of my sewing issues. I’m finally figuring out the best way to bartack belt loops (ordinary clear tape, away from the stitching path, holds them in place until they can be stitched down) and exactly where to place the bottom of the zipper so there is enough room to topstitch the fly. And, I’m comfortable experimenting with welt pockets knowing there is plenty of matching fabric available if I make a fatal error.

The rivet press has worked perfectly. I think I’ll be making most of my jeans from now on and this a wonderful tool to have.

So far, each garment from the roll has been different and I think that will continue. The most distinctive garment has to be the Snowflake skirt. I hope to get some other photos soon.

Last week, I needed a new top to wear to a casual Easter brunch. There was just enough of this silk and cotton stretch twill leftover from a blouse I had made a year ago. The pattern is Stretch & Sew 1582 which is the same pattern that I had used for my purple Austin top.

Truly, it took longer adjusting the tension on the Bernina than it did to sew it up. Nothing fancy, but it was quick and I had something new to wear.

Next up? More welt pockets.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kitchen Table Cropped Jeans – Burda 12-2009-116

I love these jeans! Starting with Burda 12-2009-116, I made several changes to the pattern. First, the horizontal seam below the front waist was eliminated. Next, I changed the front pockets. The flaps just looked like too many needless layers. Arguable, but huge, hip-level pocket flap lumps riding under a top isn’t a good look for me (I haven't worn a tucked-in shirt in a very long time). For that reason, I opted for a traditional front pocket. Yes, you assumed correctly – the pocket pattern from OOP Simplicity 7581.

Burda Style 12-2009-116

Before cutting the denim, I cropped the leg by folding the leg pattern pieces up several inches. The back leg pieces of this pattern are drawn as one with a vertical line marking the division. While tracing, I ignored that line, fearing that seam might make the jeans too busy. I reconsidered right before attaching the back legs but there wasn’t a prepared (pre-shrunk) piece of denim to cut new pieces. I continued with the original plan and it was fine.

I like the side cargo pockets but decided that one was sufficient. I used the Burda pocket but skipped the bellows treatment. Also skipped was the pocket flap; a tab was substituted. The pattern for the tab came from page 32 of Sewing Menswear – Pants. This book is available as a free download on Google Books.

Though it is an easy thing to draw a tab and add seam allowance, I had downloaded this book about the same time that I started the jeans and knew I wanted to somehow use that tab. It is intended to be sewn into a back welt pocket. I copied and enlarged it. Sorry, can't tell you by how much – just until it looked like it belonged with the pocket.

As is becoming my typical approach, I didn’t read the Burda instructions and sewed these jeans as I wished. The pattern is very distinct but since it is already traced, I intend to get some mileage out of it. Once I’ve made the effort to trace, fit and sew up a new pattern I want to be able to use it again, albeit in a different configuration.

The Snowflake skirt for DD#1 is coming along. To broaden my newly acquired single-welt pocket skills (where’s that merit badge?), I am sewing a matched pair onto the skirt back. Well, matched is the goal but there may have to be a loose interpretation...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tammy and the Single-Welt Pocket

This is the newest project to come from our roll of denim. Behold the beauty of my first welt pocket.

Burda Style 05-2010-130

Besides modifying the number of welt pockets, there were other changes made from the original pattern. The most obvious being the zipper fly; it opens on the other side. I topstitched wherever I felt like it. Nope, not gonna have have to worry about dry rot in that cone of topstitching thread…The extended waistband tab was eliminated. Though it is a nice design feature, I felt it would add too much bulk, especially when constructed from denim and a belt added.

Everything was sewn on the machine – no handwork at all. I like that! I got to use the rivet press again and attached rivets to the front pockets.

Out of all of the welt pocket resources I found (and there isn’t a shortage out there - just look), I chose the information from my Palmer/Pletsch Pants for Real People book. At first, it was because the instructions have the inside pocket pieces long enough to be sewn into the waist seam and the dimensions for the various pieces were provided. That meant I didn’t have to do any math and could concentrate on the technique. However, it was the step-by-step “holdin’ my hand all the way” method got my attention.

With a total of two welt pockets to my name (the practice one and the real one), I’ve learned that making a welt pocket isn’t difficult, but it is time consuming. I just followed the instructions and it worked! The illustrations make it clear what needs to be done and the text is easy to interpret. I was lucky and found my copy at a thrift store. I think I paid a dollar for it. However, even at full retail, it is worth having as it contains a wealth of practical information.

Practice Single-Welt Pocket

Besides thrift stores, I have also purchased used sewing books online. For instance, the Vogue Sewing book (pictured in my last post) came from for $.01; shipping was $3.99. I’ve had only one bad online experience - a much wanted sewing book arrived smelling like cat urine. It was promptly returned.

Working on this skirt, I've not only learned how to sew a single-welt pocket but I also credit it for improving my future bar tacking skills.

I had a "duh" moment while stitching the buttonhole onto waistband. For as long as I've had the Bernina, I have been using a narrow zigzag stitch to secure fly shields, attach belt loops, etc. and I have been less than thrilled with the results. My bar tacks look messy, even with careful marking and stitching. Why couldn’t I just use the same stitch that the Bernina uses for buttonholes? After all, it is a clean, tight zigzag; just what I need for a bar tack. I couldn't come up with a good reason not to use it, other than the Bernina Buttonhole Police might come after me…

I don’t know what you have to do to get ready to sew a buttonhole on your machine, but on mine, you attach the buttonhole presser foot, put the bobbin thread through the finger of the bobbin case, adjust the stitch length and switch the buttonhole knob to position 1. This makes a great stitch for bar tacking. I wish I had thought of this sooner. Anyway, my bar tacks should start looking better.

Burda Style 12-2009-123

Burda Style 12-2009-116

What’s coming next from the denim roll? DD#1 has asked for a version of the Burda Style 12-2009-123 flounced “Snowflake” skirt. The denim has been cut and I will start on it today. I have also sewn some cropped denim pants, using modified Burda Style 12-2009-115/116, for myself.

Those Burda's are finally earning their keep.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

To Welt or Not?

The front of my latest project, another denim skirt for DD#1 (Burda Style 05-2010-130), has been waiting to be joined to the back. It has been taking up space on the worktable as I had not been able to make up my mind regarding the back pockets.

Burda Style 05-2010-130

Up until now, I have avoided sewing welts of any type. To me, welts seem delicate. You know - cutting into the very corner with a thread or two left for a seam allowance. I've thought they should be reserved for wool jackets and other garments that aren’t sent on frequent trips through the washer and dryer. Yet, that thinking must be irrational; I’ve gained some insight in my back pocket studies (yes, while in the checkout line at Costco and HEB). Welt pockets are used extensively on washable pants. I no longer can use fragility as my excuse. 

I pulled some sewing books from the file and have been reading up on single welt pocket construction. I have also found several online tutorials that deal with welts.

Ok, this pencil skirt will become my welt pocket experiment. To aliveate anxiety, I am limiting the experiment to one pocket as creating a matched pair could be beyond my current skill set. Oh, don’t worry - I am a woman equipped with fusible interfacing and Fray Check...besides, I’ll try it out on some scraps first.

DD#1’s Bird Skirt – Vogue 2811

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tammy Goes to Austin

I spent the day in Austin with DD#1 and DD#2. Come mid-morning, it was time for caffeine. Here I am at the coffee shop wearing my new outfit.

The pattern for the top is Stretch & Sew 1582 and it dates from 1978. I sewed View C using the View B short sleeve (or View B with the drawstring from View C-take your pick). The fabric came from either JoAnn’s or Hancock’s and was far enough in the past that I don’t remember which. Although polyester, it lacks the typical ick factor and is comfortable. Oh, and the center fronts do match up, just not in the photo...

The pants are Burda Style 02-2011-123A, downloaded from the BurdaStyle website. I cropped the leg and added the front jeans pocket from Simplicity 7581. The black cotton fabric likely came from Fabric Mart and I used scraps from the top for pocket lining. I didn't put any pockets, welts or otherwise, on the back; nor did I include the belt loops.

Burda Style 02-2011-123A
The top went together very quickly. The pants took longer as I had to incorporate the Simplicity pocket pieces into the pattern.

I’ve been having an easier time sewing pants lately. The only thing I am doing differently is cutting them two sizes smaller. I'm finally ignoring the measurements/sizing charts and going with what actually fits.

By the way, DD#1’s bird skirt has been finished and that rivet press is amazing! To keep her skirt different from her sister's, I used two colors of topstitching thread - red and gold. I also changed the shape of the back yoke and used a different front pocket – Simplicity 7581. Yeah, I like that pocket.

DD#1's life is on fast forward for the next few weeks, yet I’m hoping she will be able to model her new skirt for us. However, if she can’t, here is what it looks like:


I am officially done with the Ottobre bird. Have a wonderful week!