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.

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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 🙂

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

Burdastyle Short Sleeve Raglan Top 02/2016 #118

I was super excited to make this queue-busting top when I borrowed a Burdastyle magazine from the library:
Burdastyle short sleeve raglan top

Unfortunately I’m a bit disappointed in the result… I think it looks a bit unflattering on me so I won’t be sewing it again.

Burdastyle 02/2016 #118 Burdastyle 02/2016 #118 Burdastyle 02/2016 #118

This is my first Burda top (not counting the nightgown I sewed), so I was unsure whether to go with size 36 as recommended. I wanted a bit of extra ease and decided to play it safe by cutting a 38 – which ended up being too big, even after taking in the sides and raising the armhole as much as possible. I also know I have a rather short neck, so I shortened the height.

Fabric used
French terry, though the collar is rather floppy…

Fitting notes
– Took in the side panels 21mm in total each side
– Narrowed the arm width 16mm total under each arm
– Shortened collar height 1cm (2cm total)
– Hemmed 2cm instead of 3cm to keep length

The pattern is a fairly quick sew though, especially if you use a fabric that doesn’t fray, so maybe it might work for you?

First garment!

My first garment is the famous Colette Sorbetto. I decided I would try a free pattern for my first go, to see if this sewing my own clothes thing was for me. I actually made this back in August, but after wearing it a few times (and making additional fit adjustments thereafter) I think I can actually evaluate it more objectively now.

When I first made it, I was absolutely thrilled – I made something that covers my body! Amazing! I wore it to work the next day and even wore it to a job interview the following week haha!! What I didn’t test with the fit was how it looked sitting down though, and with the stiff fabric, the neck would gape open… After I showed it to my boyfriend’s mom, she recommended taking up the shoulders and taking in the hips which were flaring out, which helped a lot with how it looks, though you can see there are still fit/fabric issues.

Looking at it now, I don’t like it as much as when I made it, but I’ve been wearing it pretty regularly.

I’m wearing it with (unhemmed) Simplicity pants which I just finished, and will blog about soon…

Sizing
According to the pattern, my size is 00 bust (smaller than their sizing) – 2 waist – 0 hips. As it was my first time sewing a garment, I cut a size 2 grading out to size 4 at the waist and hips, but ended up taking in the sides to about a size 0bust/2waist/0hips, and would start with the 0 directly next time. I think their sizing chart is true to size.

Fabric
I squeezed this out of 0.8 m of 140cm wide Python print “fashion fabric” cotton, though I think the fabric doesn’t work with this pattern.

Fit changes
– Kept bust dart location (many said it was too high but I didn’t find it so)
– Lowered the armholes
BUT
– Shortened the length of the shoulders (thus bringing up the bust dart and armholes)
– Cut straight down from the waist to the hips as it was flaring out

Design changes
Lengthened the hem to size 18, curving the hem

Construction changes
– Finished the armholes and neck with self bias, folding the bias tape under, top stitching armholes and blind stitching the neckline
– For the hem, sewed a line of stitching, using this as a guide to fold under the curved hem, top stitching.

Next time I would
– Use a fabric with more drape (silk?)
– Start with size 0, or size 2 with shorter shoulders / higher bust dart
– Cut straighter fit from waist to hips
– Lengthen, exaggerate curved hem
– Try a simpler version without the front placket