Ralph Pink Moda Dress Review

I’m not very good at this blogging thing, lol. No blog posts for a year and then 3 in one day 😀 One difficulty is that it’s difficult to take good photos – there aren’t many blank walls in our house, and generally it always feels quite dark. We definitely need to upgrade our lighting in every room. But now that my boyfriend is away on a trip for a week, I can take over the house and use it as my sewing studio!

The other difficulty is that I have always been uncomfortable being photographed. My awkwardness and discomfort shows. Well, I purposely cut my face out of the photos since I don’t do my makeup on the weekends. After trying to photograph 2 projects back to back, I actually feel slightly more comfortable. Looking at, and trying to evaluate the photos somewhat objectively, I realise being a bit more conscious of having better posture improves the photos 200%. Maybe I could also learn on working to “give face” in photos, but let’s take it one step at a time 🙂

Anyway, on to the review! I had been wanting to make this dress probably since I started sewing 2 years ago. I think it’s impractical with dresses outside of summer, but browsing the clearance fabrics at my local store, this stable, thin, stretch “denim” twill (probably viscose poly blend) jumped out at me. It would pair so cute with this pattern! And if you’re going to make a cute, impractical dress, you gotta go all the way and make it in white! 😉 I never buy white dresses due to risk of getting ruined – but when you sew, you can just sew another one!

The construction is fairly simple, though fitting was slightly challenging. I love the design and seamlines of the dress – most indie patterns are pretty basic and in my mind not worth paying for when I can trace a Burdastyle from the library for free.

Some fitting tips (or how I did it)
I put together the pdf, traced off a single size (I would need a smaller size for upper half, but figured it would be easier to fit if I traced a single size), tissue fit my bustform to check the general dimensions. I adjusted for my erect/short back. I noticed that the center front hips would need some additional width, and that my center front bust would probably need to be taken in.

To do a muslin fitting, I sewed all the pieces together, except for a 1″ SA pinned along the entire back, and divided the front with a 1.5″ SA. That way, I could get the muslin on, adjust from the front, and remove the back pins, and transfer the fitting adjustments back to my tissue pattern. Since the center is on the fold, I needed to do some pattern drafting adjustments to get more fullness in the hips. I didn’t want to mess with the design of the seams too much unless necessary (only adjusted for my erect/short back).

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Because the final fashion fabric was so stiff, I had excessive length/bubbling in the back and the bodice was “lifting up” causing gaping in the neckline, which I attempted to fix by taking up the shoulders and increasing the back center seam. Probably the fabric is not the ideal match for this pattern (the cotton bedsheet muslin sewed and draped perfectly), since there are some fit wrinkles in the back which I don’t know how to resolve. I probably need a sway back adjustment as well.

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Overall I think it is cute, but there are few fitting woes that I don’t know how to resolve (or maybe the fabric is a bad match for this pattern). On the bustform it looks great, so maybe the dress needs to be tighter, since it is a stretch twill?! But then again, my body is not covered in flocked velvet texture which can hold the dress in place 😉

 

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My Sewing Pattern Review: 

Pattern Description:
The minimalistic Moda dress will add a subtly demure element to absolutely any occasion with clean, sharp lines and curved cap sleeves. Featuring a plunging square neckline and delicate piping that contours the body, the wearer can make full use of the nipped in waist for a more modern, feminine look. Experiment with colour-blocking dress panels and contrasting piping to create a more statement piece, and to enhance that all important body-shaping aesthetic.

Pattern Sizing:
UK 4 – 16 (EUR 32 – 44 / US 0 – 12)
I sewed a UK 8/EUR 36/US 4 according to my measurements, but I needed to grade up the hips during the muslin making process. When I looked back on the sizing chart, I realised that the sizing chart was based on finished garment measurements (oops)! I missed that since I usually wear European size 36, so be aware that his pattern sizing has minimal ease.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, the line drawing, although I skipped the piping.
I also added pockets.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The construction of the dress is fairly straightforward, although there were some misprint/typos in the labelling of pattern pieces. The front side pieces are actually the back side pieces and vice versa. Also, when tissue fitting the pattern together, the front side piece was “mirrored” (had to place with print side facing in). There was one pattern piece where marking lines were missing.

For a beginner (and an “indie” pattern), the instructions are quite sparse. He didn’t explain how to finish the top of the invisible zipper in the side seam, though I suppose if you are experienced that is not a problem (I tried to search online and fairly certain that I did it not do it in the proper way…)

I actually changed the order in which I sewed certain seams in order to make additional fit adjustments.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern itself is beautifully drafted and designed! Really brilliantly designed so that the darts and shaping become unusual design elements. The pattern pieces consist of many straight lines, which is perfect for beginners like me – and sewing it together was really fun and satisfying due to all the seams coming together like magic!

One major drawback for beginners is that you will need to have some understanding of pattern grading to get a good fit, due to the mystical shaping/darting/seaming, it is not so easy to “just draw a smooth line between” to grade between sizes on the flat pattern.

** fitting tips above **

Fabric Used:
Stretch cotton viscose poly twill (almost like lightweight stretch denim) that was on sale! Probably not ideal for this project as mentioned.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Fitting adjustments as mentioned.
Added pockets, lengthened the dress 3 cm though it’s still a touch short.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
As mentioned, this is technically an easy sew, although fitting requires some pattern drafting understanding. I’ve read reviews that his patterns are more geared towards slimmer body types, so this pattern may be a bit challenging to fit.

I will DEFINITELY sew this in more fabrics! Would like to try it with contrast piping, in a jacquard or silk, in chambray, in print… It’s so cute, and the fit is coming along. I’ll just need to figure out how to vary the design a little so that it becomes less obvious that I’m sewing the same pattern 🙂

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My new doll + learning to fit!

I took the plunge! I had been toying with the idea of a bustform, and saw someone selling a “Petite” bustform secondhand in Stockholm fairly cheap. Perfect! (since I have a really narrow ribcage) Though the logistics of getting there would be a bit difficult. Well anyway it sold pretty fast, but by that point I had already been fantasising about what it would like to own one.

A few weeks later, someone was selling a “small” bustform in my town – a little less than ideal given the size, but I figured it was good enough. Besides, I can always resell it if it really didn’t work out. Anyway, by the time I took her home, I was in love 😀

I honestly never thought I could get so much happiness from an object, but there is something reassuring about it. She’s (nearly) my body twin, and somehow I feel more happy about my body.

To better understand how the lines of my body match up with the bustform, I started working with a Palmer Pletsch fitting sheath pattern (McCall’s 7279) which I had in my stash. I hadn’t had a lot of motivation to sew a sheath, since it’s a bit on the formal side for my office.

I worked through the bodice using old ripped bedsheets. I learned so much about my body flaws unique quirks:

  • narrow back and shoulder
  • short/erect upper back
  • hollow chest
  • high bust apex
  • swayback
  • forward shoulder
  • (no front waist dart – round belly)

The number of adjustments is probably also due to working with a size 10 (if I had started with the size 8, probably would not have needed so many adjustments).

I’m absolutely astounded to find out that my upper back is so flat and short compared to the “standard” size. I tried on a RTW sheath dress that I (believed) fit me like a glove and have received many compliments on, and sure enough, there is a huge bubble of fabric floating above my upper back. Now that I’m starting to learn about fitting issues, I can’t unseen them! I also finally understood why RTW button up shirts (particularly Zara) are always too low cut on me.

I bought a really cheap clearance fabric while on vacation in northern Sweden, from a store known for being “the best” in Sweden according to some. Well, when we arrived there, they were experiencing a blackout, but I was determined to buy something. What I didn’t realise was that the 5m end of roll bargain fabric I bought was full of flaws. I thought I could still eke out a wearable muslin, envisioning something like this:

Victoria Beckham green sheath&Other Stories sheath

But the fabric started to look pretty awful, resembling a uniform/pinafore from the 1970s. So I abandoned it and cut my losses. Perhaps if I get inspired by a fabric I might start this again, but I mostly wanted to start on a looming Ralph Pink dress project in the queue.

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My sewing pattern review:

I’m really interested in improving the fit of my clothes, and the Palmer pletsch method really intrigues me, although their courses are expensive. (I own the Fit for Real People book) When I found out that they produced teaching patterns, I thought it was worth a try to try to learn it on my own!

Pattern Sizing:
I had a lot of trouble selecting a size – the envelope suggested 12, I made a size 10, but with all the adjustments I made, if I made the 8 it would have made my life much easier :/

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I didn’t finish the project.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Generally yes. Since it is a fitting pattern, there are many, many steps! I really needed to refer to the book Fit for Real People several times during the process, so the pattern itself is not all encompassing, though it may get you a better fit than if you had not tried at all.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the lines on the pattern, they helped reinforce the knowledge and principles which I had been struggling with.

The entire process was quite draining and tedious as a beginner, and very difficult to fit on my own. However, I came away with a lot of new knowledge about the types of adjustments I might need (particularly in the bodice)! I felt like tissue fitting the skirt was not very helpful, or maybe my lower body dimensions are already quite typical, at least in a skirt. While working on this project, I purchased a secondhand bustform, which was a great help.

Changes to the pattern?
I drafted a portrait neckline, which I think will be more flattering, though I didn’t carry out the project to the end.

Fabric Used:
I made several muslins out of an old cotton bedsheet. The green fabric I got on super cheap clearance, but realised when cutting out, it was cheap because the fabric was full of flaws. By the time I started sewing it together, I decided to abandon the project since the fabric quality really didn’t look as good as I imagined it would – it started to look like a uniform from the 1970s :/

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Now that I have my basic bodice and the idea for the end result, I will probably sew it in a nicer fabric, though I need a break from the project.

I would recommend this together with the Fit for Real People book.

Read more on my blog https://swedishseams.wordpress.com/

Burdastyle 02/2018 #107 Twisted Jersey Top

After the tediousness of the shirtdress, I needed a palette cleanser!

I’m lucky that my library carries Burdastyle magazines, which is great for queue-jumping inspiration. Their section with “outdoorsy, casual” styles appealed to my desperate need for cute, practical, casual clothes. This one in particular jumped out at me:

Burdastyle Twisted Jersey top

It must have been fate or serendipity, since I had a green jersey that had been sitting in my stash for 2 years… I bought it on a fabric shopping spree in Stockholm when I had just started sewing, since we only have 1 fabric (chain) store in my town. I had some looming guilt about the fact I’ve only sewn 2 pieces from the haul of 8 (?) fabrics. I even had the price tag still on and was shocked at what I had paid, $15USD/m… Fabric is expensive in Sweden! Makes me wish I had gone on a bigger fabric spree when I was in New York last Christmas 😉

So much to like about the pattern – knits + forgiving fit + forgiving structure + just 2 pieces = speedy! Even if my sewing construction was slightly off (as it always is) you wouldn’t be able to tell. I also love asymmetrical cuts since they look so *fancy*! 😀

I was nervous about sewing with knit jersey for the first time. Digging around my sewing room I found a small stash of different sewing needles which I had forgotten I had bought! Since I have a vintage Husqvarna, I was unsure if the needles would even work. Investigating further online, I read that stretch needles don’t work well on vintage machines 😦 So I used a sharp, new needle – and you know what? Why was I so scared to sew with knits?! It was probably the easiest sew I’ve had in awhile! And the twin needle for finishing the hem – WHAT KIND OF MAGIC IS THIS??!!

I think this might look cool in a Breton stripe jersey! Not sure if it’s too recognisable to have 2 shirt styles which are so similar. Although, before I started sewing, I occasionally bought 2 of the same style garment if I really liked it – I suppose I’m just self conscious that other people who know I sew will look at it and think – “oh that must be homemade?!”

My review on Pattern Review: 

Pattern Description:
It looks complicated, though it is truly a gem to sew. This jersey top with the bateau neckline and the offset sleeve seam is a quick sewing project that will be a wardrobe favorite right away.

Pattern Sizing:
Made a straight size 36, skipped grading up the hips since the fit is really forgiving

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. I didn’t read the other reviews, but make sure to mark all seams as well as sides (wrong/right side), otherwise you might not be able to puzzle it together.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
So fast and easy, as the top is just 2 pieces! I really recommend this pattern for beginners – this was my first project with jersey and I don’t know why I was so afraid of it! No fitting adjustments, no zig zag finishing… this was speedy! Was a great palette cleanser after struggling through a shirtdress. The longest step was probably figuring out how to sew the “sides”! But once I figured it out, it was so satisfying!

The design is really unique, (flattering too I think) and the shirt is so comfy!

Only dislike is that the neckline could be a little “tighter” – it tends to just flop out, since it is only turned under.

Fabric Used:
Cotton jersey I had in my stash for the past 2 years! By coincidence it’s the same green hue as what the model is wearing in the magazine… or maybe when I spotted it, it was serendipity that I needed to sew it.

I managed to squeeze the fabric out of 1.2m x 150cm/60″ wide fabric, so if you are on the smaller size range it might be good to know that you can squeeze it out of less fabric!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Accidentally forgot to add the correct arm hem seam allowance, so it’s a little shorter in the sleeves.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I recommend it highly! I might sew it in a stripe jersey, although it’s a rather unique design to have 2 of this style. The top is rather long, it could almost be a dress, so that is another option.

McCall’s 6436 shirt dress hack and Kibbe Body Type Dressing

Finally finished the project I started back in January but lost motivation for, due to the long dreary cold winter, until after the hottest and longest summer in memory in Sweden…! I needed to finish it so I could at least wear it once this year.

Last summer I was obsessed with owning a floral stripe shirtdress. There was a dress at Zara which might have fit the bill, except that based on the model’s height, it would definitely be too long on me. On top of that it was in viscose/rayon, and meanwhile I spotted a cotton lawn fabric (a bit of a splurge at 10 GBP/meter) on Minerva Crafts which would be much nicer! I could only buy the fabric by the meter, so I hoped 2 meters of the narrow 140cm/56″ fabric would work by hacking a shirt pattern.

I used McCall’s 6436, my 3rd shirt dress pattern. Previously I attempted a Papercut peter pan dress shirt, an unfinished UFO since I realised just before doing the buttons that the the quilting fabric probably wasn’t very wearable, as well as Butterick B5526 which I was not crazy about due to the size of the collar.

Based on what I read from other reviews of this pattern, I made a muslin, or attempted to make a wearable muslin in a poly cotton navy pinstripe fabric which I bought in the discount bin at my local fabric store. I ended up removing the sleeves, since the fabric was a tad stiff for this shirt style, and ended up being a bit too much STRIPES IN YOUR FACE. In the end, I never finished the shirt since I didn’t have any summer bottoms that went with a navy sleeveless shirt. A pair of white jeans would have looked amazing with it, but my summer wardrobe is seriously limited. Living in Sweden where summer is like a week long, it never made sense to invest in a summer wardrobe. Until this year. If only I had finished the shirtdress earlier I would have been living in it 😦

So anyway, after finishing the muslin, I felt confident enough to dive into hacking the pattern into a shirtdress!… Well, if only I knew what I was in for… The number of design changes, fitting changes, and incorporating new methods that were not in the sewing pattern – well, I really didn’t make things easy for myself! (Read on for my full Sewing Pattern Review of what I changed) Though, the silver lining that I sewed my first sleeve placket! (well, actually, attempted it, ripped it out, practiced on a scrap, and then tried again). Thanks to the fabric, which was so easy to work with! I’m really seeing the benefits of working with higher quality fabric.

Though the pattern is a loose fitting blouse, I just can’t help myself from taking in patterns towards a more fitted silhouette. One of the frustrations I’ve had with buying RTW and with my early sewing projects is that everything is ill-fitting on me, making me look terrible. Parallel to my sewing projects during the past year, I’ve been trying to incorporate the principles from Fit for Real People, and just started fitting a Palmer Pletsch sheath dress learning pattern.

I’ve also learned a lot from my favourite Youtuber, Aly Art, about dressing according to Kibbe body types about what styles and silhouettes look best on me. I’ve often been confused/skeptical about dressing for body type, since it’s unclear whether I’m a pear, rectangle, inverted triangle – none of the traditional advice really seemed to apply to or be helpful for me… Well, according to the Kibbe body types, I’m a Gamine (more specifically, Soft Gamine), best described as looking a bit “teenager-ish”. Yin or rounded in the face, and Yang / angular in the body.

Gamine Do’s:

Small, sharp geometrics. Precision fitted and crisply tailored. Your outline should be sharp, straight and staccato. Many vertical lines and horizontal lines.Details should be small, sharp. Broken up, loads of crisp trim, outline, colors, cuffs, waistbands, lapels. Sharp angular necklines. Sharp and narrow waist definition

Avoid:

Oversized. Large or long geometrics. Unconstructed shapes. Soft edged or rounded shapes. Ornate, intricate or delicate shapes.

More tips on Gamine dressing (basically a reminder for myself!)

Some examples of Gamine celebrities are Mila Kunis, Audrey Tatou, Mary Kate and Ashley Ohlsson.

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Applying these principles on myself, I can see that tailored > loose. These photos are taken days apart (the pencil skirt and tie neck blouse I blogged about last time). Though I know the principles in theory, application of the knowledge takes a bit longer (and maybe I need to either stop wearing the blouse or try to redo it). 😦

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Now, this advice has really clicked for me, since basically for the past decade, oversized, minimalistic, loose, boxy shapes have really been “in”, especially in Scandinavia. And I have never felt good in these types of garments (while simultaneously wondering how everyone else manages to pull it off). I feel much more at peace knowing, confirming and accepting that, really, I should be wearing tailored shapes with waist definition to look my best. Though this makes my sewing tasks harder, at least I have the power to create the garments that look best on me, irregardless of what is “in” at the moment or not. And that is amazing 🙂

Finally, thanks for bearing with me for the photos! I was super proud on finishing the dress, but after taking photos, I’m a bit unhappier seeing the finished product on. The interfacing on the placket is rather bulky and interferes with the dress falling smoothly! Any advice for softening up the interfacing? My local store doesn’t sell thinner interfacing, so I’m not sure when to skip interfacing or not on my next project(s).

As well, I haven’t yet installed the cuff buttons. Advice about what to select? I used some cheap bulk buttons I picked up on a trip to New York, but I don’t think that I’m very fond of it (see my close up photo of the buttons on the placket). Also appreciate advice on my next version of this shirt. The buttons seem a bit too big?! (not sure if I’m just used to RTW, but my other dress shirts have much smaller buttons)

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My Sewing Pattern Review:

The shirtdress is my 4th attempt at making a dress shirt as a beginner (previously tried a Papercut peter pan dress shirt, also Butterick B5526 which I was not crazy about, and now this, a 3rd pattern). I think I finally found a pattern to continue building on for future.

I attempted to make a wearable muslin in a mystery fabric (navy pinstripe poly cotton most likely). The fabric was surprisingly nice, though probably better suited for a loose, drapey summer trouser than a shirt (still learning about fabric since I’m a beginner), so I ended up removing the sleeves since they were a tad too stiff.

Pattern Sizing:
Big 4 is known for having a lot of ease, so I sized down 1 size (size 8, grading out to size 10 in hips) and made fit adjustments thereafter.
This pattern comes in different cup sizes A/B, C and D, and I used A/B.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I think so. The cover photo shows a lot of ease in the pattern, though I took in the darts considerably and reduced the sleeve cap.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, aside from challenges due to my own modifications to the pattern and methods. I think if I had actually followed the instructions I would have made my life easier, but then I would not have got the result I wanted.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The high armholes are very flattering!

Generally I like the collar, as I didn’t like the collar on Butterick B5526.
The collar is too tall for my short neck, although I attempted to shorten the collar stand (forgetting to shorten the collar itself).

The pattern uses a 2 piece sleeve, which would making finishing the sleeve placket easier for a beginner, though I made my life harder by sewing a 1 piece sleeve and doing my first sleeve placket! 🙂

The cup sizes still seemed to be too large for me, although it may have to do with learning how to select and grade my proper size due to my body type (broad shoulders, narrow back and chest). Generally RTW that fits me in the shoulder is also too large in the body.

Fabric Used:
2m x 56″(140cm) wide Cotton lawn for the shirt dress // poly cotton for the muslin

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Oh boy! Quite a lot!

Design changes:
– Extended the length into a shirtdress. This was a great way to squeeze a shirtdress out of 56″/140cm wide fabric that I fell in love with, which I could only buy by the meter online (2m used)
– I reduced the sleeve cap height / shoulder ease (approx 1/2″ ease reduction) using Silhouette Patterns Peggy Sagers’ method on Youtube

– narrowed the sleeve width, using a RTW dress shirt I already own as a reference
– shortened the collar stand (forgot to shorten the collar height…)
– hidden shirt placket

Construction notes:
– 3/8″ seam allowance for armholes, 1″ seam allowance on cuffs to be able to skip over the step of trimming after sewing
– French seamed sleeves, so that they will look neat when I roll up sleeves

Fitting changes:
– shortened sleeves by several cm, and then shortened them another 1cm again between the muslin and shirt dress which ended up being a tad too short…
– quite a long, deep back dart, to try to compensate for my erect back and sway back. I learned during the process that I probably need a narrow back adjustment instead, since I thought I only had a sway back and erect back.
– lowered/deepened the neck scoop
– shortened bust dart, lowered by 1.5 cm
– added waist darts for additional shaping

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
It was quite a task learning to sew and fit a dress shirt, as well as make changes to the pattern and methods simultaneously, but I will definitely make this again, taking away all I have learned!

I recommend reducing the shoulder ease / cap height if you want to get a nice streamlined fit on the shoulders as I did.

2 year sewing anniversary!

And a 1 year break from blogging, eeps! I decided to take a few months off from sewing, due to my frustration at selecting appropriate fabrics for patterns, learning how to fit, learning to sew, learning what garments I like wearing, all at once. So I took some time to really analyze what I wanted to wear and what I felt good wearing. Also have started a fabric stash of beautiful fabrics from Sri Lanka and Mood in New York from business and personal trips 🙂

Still I was suffering from some sewing-perfectionism-paralysis for some periods. What broke me out of that was surprisingly, sewing costumes! Since I didn’t need to sew perfectly  for an outfit that only needed to hold up for a night, I could really just jump into sewing for pure fun! As a new employee at my workplace, I was a part of the party planning committee, and I insisted that we dress as clowns a la Clockwork Orange 🙂

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From my workplace’s previous summer costume party as Gogo from Kill Bill, which I never posted. I ordered the skirt online from a Chinese eBay seller which ended up a tad short (eep!) though I figured I was well covered on the upper body at least.

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Pic of Burda cocoon dress just before finishing. Realised I don’t like dresses that don’t have waist definition, so I tapered and took in the sides a lot. Only to not be able to walk up stairs in it. I might put in a back slit, maybe, never.

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Burda tank (my detailed Pattern Review BURDASTYLE MAGAZINE 04-2016-#118 (TANK WITH NECK PLEATS), with some modifications (left the pleats open). Wasn’t crazy about it until I tried it on with a high waisted skirt. The interfacing is a bit too stiff?! But I’m happy about the fit! At this point I learned that I have an erect back (possibly narrow back with “wide” shoulders, as in I need to size up from my bust size).

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My second version of this Burda Bowtie blouse 10/2011 128A (my detailed Pattern Review 10-2011-128A (BOWTIE BLOUSE). Obviously I needed to customise it 🙂

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Self-drafted quarter circle skirt + the skirt just before hemming. Of course made mistakes during drafting and adjustments, and needed to put in a lining since I misjudged how thin the linen (bought in Sri Lanka) would fall. Worst of all, the hem is uneven, and I hand sewed the hem with a single thread while watching a 2 hour movie, so I’m dreading the thought of redoing it… Most likely I will just live with it. The matching top I had planned is a WIP since it ended up being more matronly than expected. Really trying to let go of my disappointment in the result not being as good as hoped for, and trying to see it as learning experiences.

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And the latest project, which I am super proud of! Finally, something that fits amazing and looks store bought! (Or, better than store bought, since I have never purchased a pencil skirt in my life, as pencil skirts never fit me right!) The fabric is from Mood, cotton twill marked with a designer whose name escapes right now… This fabric was an absolute dream to work with! Pattern is BURDASTYLE MAGAZINE HIGH WAISTED SKIRT 04-2012-118 (my detailed review on Sewing Patterns). Oh, and of course I made a number of changes to the pattern design – I really can’t leave it be to follow directions exactly!

Currently trying to finish a shirtdress which I started back in January, and lost motivation for since it was cold… Now that we’ve had the hottest and longest summer ever, trying to rush to get it done before it gets too cold (omg!). I may need to learn to sew ahead of seasons. One thing I realized about my sewing is that I sew like I cook – I almost absolutely cannot follow a recipe/directions without making my own modifications to it, haha!

Feels a bit silly(?) that I somehow feel compelled to blog even when it’s been a whole year since I last blogged, and that I don’t really have followers so to say. I guess I feel that I’ve gotten so much from the online sewing community, that I want to have some presence online, as well as share whatever I can, however little it may be 🙂

Butterick B5526 – Black & white checked flannel

Posted very late after the fact… Wrote the review back in April but didn’t take photos until June, and then it was vacation time… Anyway, here comes the review!

I started sewing this in January, but I mentioned last post that I threw the shirt into a corner in a rage. After spending several hours pattern matching the pockets, basting, sewing, ripping out due to the super high placement, cutting out new pockets for better pattern matching, basting again, top stitching, the result looked like SHITE. (I ended up ripping them out at the end.) Anyhow, this long weekend I had the house to myself and I finally finished it up!

I purchased a plaid flannel all the way from US, fabric.com. My plan was to use it for outdoorsy activities. Generally I hate what outdoor clothing companies produce for women. Seriously – why is everything pink??

I wish they made guys’ clothes in women’s sizes – neutral and classic. Anyway, I was having trouble deciding between a more fitted shirt and a looser shirt, and the boxier look below won out for me.

I washed the fabric before cutting and sewing and it ended up surprisingly rough and thin 😦 Super disappointing.  This was also part of the reason I have been procrastinating so much in finishing it up, just knowing that the fabric will not feel that nice on the skin. Though maybe I can tumble dry it to soften it up, hopefully not shrinking it either.

Now the photos!

 

But actually, now that the shirt is done, (with a few minor quibbles noted below) I’m surprised how good it looks! The effort I put into matching the plaids really paid off. I may actually wear this one, also considering that I’ll be using it mainly around the house and taking walks in the forest.

Fitting notes

  • Sewed size 10 (for a looser fit)
  • Shortened arms 4 cm

What I don’t like

  • Pockets are too high
  • The huge collar! Not helped by the collar stand… I should have realized by looking at other people’s photos that the collar (for me) resembles a shirt from the 70s… Or maybe I am just so used to fast fashion shirts where as little fabric is used as possible? In any case I will try tracing off another collar from another shirt or pattern
  • Other reviewers mentioned the excessive shoulder ease. I may try adjusting this next time.
  • Rather airy around the midsection… I actually feel a cold draft while wearing this shirt, even though the fabric is rather thick, making it too cold and too warm to wear at the same time… Maybe I will try taking it in at the waist?

Next time

Maybe, maybe I should sew this shirt again immediately. I have been frustrated at the quality of my sewn garments, and given the amount of time that goes into making fitting adjustments, figuring the construction, ripping out mistakes, perhaps it would be smarter to sew up the same pattern several times immediately after the first… The compulsive overachiever side of me wants to constantly switch to new, better, shinier patterns. Though the pragmatic side of me thinks, hey, aren’t you always looking for shirts for work, and modifications is what sewing is all about!.. (does it need to be boring?) I have been hunting for a shirt to replace one that I have worn to death. Heck I still wear that shirt which needs replacing, even though I shouldn’t (have had several wardrobe malfunctions as the bust buttonhole opens by itself). Thinking something like these, but in black (and not in that polyester material):

And I feel like I am so close to being able to make it myself, with a few changes like adding the shoulder epaulettes and flap pockets. (Hmm asking for trouble?) I don’t have the heart to rip apart the shirt I own and trace it off. This also means I need to buy some fabric… Decisions, decisions!

Burdastyle 10/2011 #128B Tie blouse

Last make for the year!

Burdastyle 10/2011 #128 – this image is of view A, though I made version B where the tie neck is not fully attached to the collar.

Burdastyle 10-2011 #128 image

I don’t know why I feel compelled to apologize for the poor pics – it is my blog and I’ll do what I want 🙂

Burdastyle 10-2011 #128 image
Burdastyle 10-2011 #128 image

I’m trying not to be so hard on myself – I’m not as happy with the shirt as I should be(?) For whatever reason I end up being slightly disappointed with everything I’ve made so far. I have made huge leaps and bounds in my sewing! The shirt is definitely wearable, and next time I make it (and there will be a next time) it will even closer to perfection!

During the last few weeks I have been reflecting over how I want next year to be different. And that includes being more kind to myself 🙂 2017 will be my year of Self Compassion. Happy New Year!

Pattern Sizing:
I made size 36

Fitting/design changes made:

  • Raised depth of the V by 4.5 cm in order to make it more work appropriate
  • Shortened the sleeves by 3cm.
  • Shortened the body length by folding it up twice and sewing a blind-hem by hand

Next time I would:

  • make the neck band thinner
  • lower/round out the neck

Some inspiration for next time

Tie neck black
Tie neck pattern
Tie neck pattern
Tie neck beige