Friday, December 11, 2009

The Perfect Pencil

Here's the review from Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:
Burda Easy fitted pencil skirt with high or standard waist band option, back slit. I made view B with the standard waistband.

Pattern Sizing:
34-46. I sewed a 44.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
This was my first Burda pattern. Now I see what people mean. Half the instructions are missing, however there are helpful photos. If you have made a skirt before, this should be no problem.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I have been looking for the perfect pencil skirt. After hearing Gertie rave about this one, I checked out the reviews. All the reviews were glowing. They were right. It's the perfect length, the perfect fit, the perfect pencil skirt. It's a little hard to tell from the photo, but using the hem line provided on the pattern, the skirt ends right at the bottom of my knee without covering any part of my calf. I'm 5'6" (and a half).

Fabric Used:
Cotton twill with a little stretch from Fashion Fabrics Club in a dark blue grey. Not too stiff, not too light. I think I will make everything in twill from now on. It sewed like a dream. I barely needed pins. This is easily the best constructed garment I've made. The seams are perfectly straight. The zipper is perfect. I think it's due to the fabric. Twill evening dresses? Twill underwear? No? Okay, maybe not. But I highly recommend anyone needing an ego boost make something out of twill.


Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
This is the first time I've sewed a pattern and had it need no alterations at all. It fit perfectly. I have a small waist and big hips and booty. I always need to adjust things to fit my curves. Not this time. Heaven!

Because my fabric had some stretch to it, I mad the seams 7/8" instead of 5/8". I plan to make this out of a tweed woven next and I imagine I'll reduce the seams back down for a little more ease.

Also, the waistband was about an inch smaller around than the top of the skirt. I didn't want to ease the skirt to fit a waistband that instructions did not have me cut on the bias, especially because the skirt fit when I tried it on before sewing on the waistband. So I re-cut the waistband to be two inches longer - an inch to avoid easing the top of the skirt plus one inch for the extra tab where the button goes. It worked perfectly.
waistband tab:

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, yes, yes! I plan to make a tweed version right away.

Truly the perfect pencil skirt.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Simplicity 2497

So here's the story. I made the dress. I tried it on and asked my husband what he thought. He told me I looked like a clown and began singing circus music. Before I managed to throttle him, he reduced the insult to simply "it's just not flattering." Unfortunately, he was right. I have wide shoulders and wide hips, but a small waist. This style has a paper bag style waist - baggy above and baggy below the midriff band (which was a lot more narrow that I thought it would be). Without anything to highlight my waist, I look like a "refrigerator" (more throttling), "I mean rectangle." says the husband.

Then I saw FullertonRegan's version made into a tunic. I pinned mine up and it looked much better, so I cut and hemmed it into a tunic. It's better, but still not all that great. To make it fit better, I think I would have needed to make the shoulder wider, but the front bodice narrower (is there an adjustment for that?). Also, I could have made the midriff band about 4-5 inches wider so you could really see my waist. And finally I would add more room through the hips.



Ruffle detail


On me (with matching clutch bag)

Back view

See how it just bags about the midriff band? Unattractive.

Anyhow the complete review is on Pattern Review if you are interested. I should add that Corey now says he likes it as a tunic. But he may just be tired of being throttled. ;)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Photos of muslin

Here it is. The facing kept peeking out, so I stitched it down but the neckline puckered. The first time I sewed it in, it laid flat and beautiful, just inside-out. I must have cut it too small this time. Maybe when I make it from the good fabric I'll just line it and do away with the facing altogether.

Here it is on me. This photo shows the actual color better. Meh. Definitely needs tweaking.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Muslin for Simplicity 2511 (or the girl with alien eyes)

While waiting up 'til midnight so I could register for the series of upholstery classes at Austin City College, I worked on a muslin of vintage Simplicity 2511. Look at the size of the eyes on the (suicide) blonde girl on the pattern envelope. Scary. I made view 1. It is size 36 and I am a 37/38. I was going to grade it up slightly but I did a pin fitting with the pattern and it looked like it might work, so I went ahead with the original size and used 1/4 inch seams instead of 5/8. Well...I should have stuck with my original plan. It's a little too constricting through the shoulders and armholes. I'll grade up to a 38, use the 5/8 inch seam allowance, enlarge the armholes a bit and add an inch to the length.

It's made out of a navy slinky/crepey polyester with just the slightest bit of sheen from JoAnn's. It's soft and drapes very nicely. It would be more of a blouse and less of an almost wearable muslin if I hadn't sewn on the neck facing inside-out (so the interfacing side shows when you look inside and my trimmed seam edges threaten to peek out from the neckline). How did I manage that? (*sigh*) I think of sewing as sort of a big geometry project. I never really got geometry. I guess that's why I almost always sew at least one piece on upside-down, inside-out or backwards. I should try to think of projects as puzzles instead. I'm trying to decide whether to pick out the understitching and the seam and sew the facing back in the right way. That would take hmm...2-3 hours? Is it worth it for something that doesn't fit perfectly?

I went for something slinky to try out my new walking foot. Love! It made it so easy to ease the pieces together. Would it be cheating to use the walking foot on everything? Are there downsides to using a walking foot? Will I get used to it and have trouble if I attempt to sew velvet (like I'm planning to with the tunic from Twinkle Sews)?

Anyhow, I really like the shape of the blouse. It has 6 darts in the front and four in the back. It highlights the curves of my waist. It's hard to see on the navy, so I think I'll make the real thing in a lighter color to show off the detail. Maybe a cherry red? I spent a lot of time on the darts on this blouse. I have to say my sewing is getting better. That makes me happy.

BTW - I made it into the Upholstery class. There are only 7 spots and they usually fill up within hours of registration opening, hence the late night. I can't wait to tackle some of the more interesting upholstery projects I keep buying from Craig's List, much to Corey's chagrin. If all goes well, look for them on my soon (I hope) to be opened etsy site.

Update on the muslin:
I went ahead and picked out the stitching. I should get it back together tonight. I'll post photos when I do.