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2014-02-137_138

Burda 02/2114 #137/138 are very similar to Jalie  3352 .  Both the Burda and Jalie patterns are Dolman tops with the option of long or half-sleeve.   I have a subscription to Burda.  I may as well use the Burda version and save my $$$ for something else. More fabric, maybe? There is a visible difference between the two patterns. The Burda contains a  yoke seam line which offers more color blocking opportunities. Once I traced the Burda pieces I realized this seam also contained a dart. A generous C cup or better dart.  For my figure a bust dart is important and the Burda becomes the much better choice fit wise. What I didn’t notice, until I traced the pieces, is that Burda version includes a unique shoulder gusset. As I traced it, I thought it would be a PITA; small and fiddly to handle. More like something I’d add as an afterthought to correct a too wide neckline…

…and I discarded it.  The shoulder gusset. I threw the whole piece away.  Just to be sure I had enough fabric to cover my hips, I compared this pattern with 2011/04#118. 118 is very similar and fitted recently. I had to add a bit of ease for my hip but I also said “no way” to the neckline as drafted. The last tweak I did to 118, altered the neckline to the narrowest and highest I would wear (not including turtle or stand up necklines).  As drafted the 137/138 neckline is about 10″ wide and  would fall off my shoulders.  I don’t like off-the shoulder necklines. On me. On you they are lovely. I don’t like fussing with my clothing. I want to put on my clothes and be unaware that I am clothed. An off-the-shoulder neckline tends to drift, drag and shift requiring constant attention. Nope that wasn’t going to do for me. So in addition to tossing the shoulder gusset, I transferred the neckline of 118 to my tissue for 137. However when I cut fabric, I cut the neckline 1/2″ wider (on each side) and 3″ deeper. Much more suitable for a spring/early summer garment.

Speaking of cutting fabric, my choice for this garment is a rayon jersey knit with an interesting foil printed design. I’ve learned that bold patterns can hide all design lines.  I was hoping this would be bold enough that if the yoke design line doesn’t really flatter me, it would disappear into the pattern. This fabric was well-behaved at the cutting table. But I wish I had  spray starched it before cutting.  I wasn’t able to sew for several days after cutting the fabric.  When I sat down at the machine, the fabric edges wanted to curl slightly.  It wasn’t really bad or I would have stopped and starched the fabric. But it was annoying and I’m sure that I trimmed small bits (1/16″) that should have been part of the garment. I wanted to do an up and over neckline finish at the 900CPX, however the fabric kept wobbling slightly. Tighten up the presser foot pressure and the fabric shifted created an undesired, rippled finish. After about 4″, I ripped out the cover stitching and used the SM to top stitch just under than band. Good. Enough and best of all done. The Design Ruby is a much more expensive machine than the CPX and sometimes  proves its worth by handling fabrics with which the serger and cover stitch struggle.

Mostly this was quick serger stitching and pressing. I did tape the back shoulders– those long shoulders that end half way down the arm; and I basted the side seams together to check the fit before finishing. Other than the 5 minutes spent at the CS fussing with the neck binding, this was an easy project. I needed that.  Having struggled with the fabric for the  Loes Hines boat neck top and then fussed with refitting PP113 (and trying out the PBA), I needed something quick and easy.

Now to the fit.

This is a dolman design. It’s not my favorite style. It lacks a smooth close fit and reminds me of when I was 50 pounds heavier, trying to wear RTW.  With my narrow shoulders and wide hips, I always ended up with excess fabric flapping away underneath my arms. It’s almost impossible not to have excess underarm wrinkles when using a dolman design.  I have seen some 40’s and 50’s styles which were constructed with an underarm gusset and tight shoulder fit, that were as shapely as a set in sleeve. However, That’s not this design and I’m not willing to put in the time to convert it. Besides there are times when I rather prefer the soft, casual look.

Unfortunately I can’t be sure of the fit.  I didn’t do one of my standard adjustments, the narrow shoulder alteration.  Because of that I have too much length in the shoulder which droops, well everywhere.

I think for a dolman it is acccpetable.  I’m a little annoyed with the hemming. Done at the cover stitch, I didn’t notice it puckering until I did the final press. The sleeves were hemmed flat, then the side seams serged and finally the bottom hem CS’d. I’m not ripping out serging unless it is absolutely unavoidable.  In this case, I decided to call my hem “tucked” and ignore that it wasn’t what I set out to do.

I like the fit of 118 better. Also the yoke seam is not unattractive but I don’t really like it either.  I think that instead of using this pattern again, I would take 118 and add the horizontal seam for the sleeve. I’ve become so round-shouldered that I hate seeing it. I used the triangle shoulder pads for both patterns which on my figure is justified even with a casual top.

This completes garment 3 for my Spring to Summer 6PAC.

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118 Again

After the debacle of the 3 piece Eureka leg, I really needed a success. Honestly, that’s the first time I’ve been truly disappointed in any versions of the Eureka. There is something I obviously don’t get about fitting pants and selecting fabrics.   Ah, time to give it a rest and turn my attention to what I’m calling the Burda 118.

Burda recycles pattern numbers.  It’s mouthful to say and  think: issue 4 of 2011 #118. Eventually, if it’s a Burda pattern with which I want to make multiples, I start thinking and calling the pattern by just the last 3 digits.

At my final evaluation I decided I wanted to permanently add 1″ ease to front and back arm pieces; and remove some of the ease across the hip in back.  With that fresh in my mind, I taped a strip of tissue to the sleeve pieces, marked 1″ below the seam line at the hem and drew an angled  line back towards the underarm eventually merging the line with the underarm.  For the excess ease in back, I did a reverse dart i.e. I drew a line starting about 1″ below the top seam allowance and extended it to the bottom hem.  I sliced that open with my rotary cutter and then overlapped 1/2″ at the hem.  I folded the pattern and put it away until yesterday.  When I pulled it back out, I had decided that I wanted to make room for shoulder pads and revise the too-wide boat neck so that my underwear wouldn’t be visible.  This time I added a strip of tissue across the top of the sleeve extending it into the neckline area.  I retrieved the Pure N Simple shell pattern pieces, aligned center fold to center fold and traced the PNS neckline on both back and front. Then I trimmed the excess tissue and contemplated fabric.

I decided upon an ITY knit.  I’m one of the fortunate people who can wear most fibers.  I like ITY knits but mostly for slightly warmer weather. Somehow ITY is not as warm to me as cotton interlock or even woven blouse fabrics. I chose this fabric because it is fun. I love the colors and the leaf print. Most importantly though is that what I initially thought would be a fabric-thrifty pattern has turned out to need close to 2 yards. I did not think that adding ease to the sleeve would have made that big of a difference but I could not fit this on 1.5 yards of 58″ wide fabric and follow the grain lines.  The grain lines are important. They make sure that the stretch is going around the body.

Once I settled on the fabric and layout, cutting and stitching was a breeze.  I chose to finish the neckline with a picot elastic. The elastic was stitched right sides together at the neckline with one shoulder open. I stitched the shoulder closed then turned the elastic up and top stitched so that just the picot edge shows.  During wear, I wish that I had trimmed the neckline another 1/4-1/2 inch.  It is nice and stretchy but hits me in just the right place to irritate.  I hemmed the sleeves before stitching the side seams.  Last time I wrestle with trying to cover stitch the very narrow sleeve hem.l I couldn’t produce a smooth hemline.  I really do mean it felt like wrestling.  I would stitch half a dozen stitches, then try to pull the fabric forward in front of the foot and smooth it out for the next half-dozen stitches. Just didn’t work well.  So even though the sleeve hem was 2″ longer, for this version I hemmed it flat and then serged the side seams.  That worked. I cover stitched the hem as well. I’ve pretty much fallen into a habit of pressing up 1-1/4″ and then using Steam-A-Seam to hold the hem in place while cover stitching.  Somehow that’s less fussy to me than using pins, or basting first at the sewing machine; and it works really well. The layers are much less apt to slip, I don’t even worry about setting the differential.  Perhaps you’re wondering why I didn’t cover stitch the neckline?  Well I started. Cover stitched about 6 inches and stopped. The stitching was obviously wobbling. Like this was my first time trying to top stitch a neckline.  This was the only trying part about this garment.  I was using black thread to cover stitch and black lacy elastic to finish my neckline.  I couldn’t see the threads on the back to remove them.  I had to use the seam ripper to cut each stitch and pull it out.  That was, on the line of stitching I could see.  I had cover stitched with one needle falling over the edge into the elastic and one needle falling into the fabric.  After that first line of stitching (the line on the garment face)  was tediously removed, the bottom loop and other line of stitching fell out.  The SM top stitched beautifully. Last thing I did was slip the 1/4″ shoulder pads into place and tack them down on the shoulder seam.  Even with the top stitching issue, I spent more time altering the tissue than sewing. This is a great pattern.

Not sure if you can see it, but I still need to remove a little more ease across the hip.

Still desperately needing that haircut.

From the side, the back is looking good but the front hem is rising.  That’s typical for me.  I was surprised when the slinky hem was even.  Although I didn’t add any length to the sleeve, it is almost too long.  I’m thinking I can also remove some of the ease in the sleeve.  I added 2.5″ total to the pattern (1″ underarm 1/4″ on top). I needed 2″ when the fabric was slinky. I think slinky stretches more than ITY so I”m not sure what happened. I carefully followed gain placement. Anyway, I think I’ll remove 3/4″ of ease at the sleeve hem narrowing to nothing at the underarm. I want to keep the slim arm, at least for now.

Tweaks for the next version include

  • Remove .75″ ease from sleeve
  • Shorten sleeve 1″
  • Remove 1/2″ from back at hip
  • Add 1/2″ length to center front.

Most people wouldn’t see anything wrong with this garment. So I’m going to wear it with pride.

Burda 2011-04-118

After a solid failure, the best thing (for my sewing) is to pull out a TNT and have a resounding success. But I didn’t do that.  I’ve been struggling for months to refit my TNT’s, consequently,  I crave styling rather than dependable. I’ve even gone through all my Burda Indices and picked out 164 styles I’d like to make. OK, so I want different; I need success.  Can I find something that will give me both experiences in one? Maybe….

I thought Style 118 in issue 04-2011 was interesting.  I’ve been intrigued by it for the last 3 years.  It is a dolmen (–my spelling may be wrong I’m thinking of the one piece sleeve-shoulder affair).  These don’t bother me like a low dropped sleeve, but I still need be cautious because the look can be unflattering on me. I also hesitated because the dolmen obviously merged with a high front yoke which can be bad on me.  Another concern was how  the sleeve merged into the side seam and that line continues to narrow all the way to the hem. Can’t believe that would work on me.  I’m not rectangular or apple-shaped.  I have narrow shoulders and wide hips … the exact opposite of the line I’m seeing on the schematic. I reviewed the pattern frequently because I think this could be a fabric saving garment. Too often I’ve had patterns which called for large amounts of fabric, most of which became odd-shaped remnants. This looked like a pattern that might even fit into those odd shapes and might be perfect for two small amounts of coordinating fabrics.

I started not with a TNT, but by tracing a size 40 from the center fold. I found the grain lines on the shoulder/sleeves easily but hunted hard for them on the midriff pieces.  I was expecting the grain lines to be parallel with the center fold line. I sort of stumbled across the grain line going crosswise. Unexpected but I think is another interesting and fabric saving feature.   I looked at the traced pieces very hard.  I expected to add more ease at the hips but the first thing I needed to do was shorten the pattern. If there were markings that said “blouse length here”, I didn’t see them. To shorten, I pinned the shoulder/neck/sleeve piece to the bottom pieces and compared with  my TNT Pamela’s Pattern #104 to mark the length.   I added 3″ ease on the side at the hip. That would be 3″ for each side on both front and back a total of 12″ for the entire garment.  That’s a lot. I also compared the sleeve width because it looked dang narrow.  Instead of  a separate narrow sleeve piece, I have the PP104 sleeve marked with the “narrow sleeve cutting line”.  I’ve never used the narrow sleeve. I prefer the ease of the regular sleeve.  But, 118 (Burda 2011-04-118) looked about the same as PP104’s narrow sleeve, so I left the sleeve alone.

I used a slinky fabric.  Even though the sleeve passed comparison, I wasn’t sure I trusted it. I wanted slinky because I know slinky stretches a long way.  As suspected, this is a fabric-thrifty pattern. I started with a piece 60″ wide, 1.5 yards long. I have left a 35″ by 35″ square. Enough for a summer tank top.

I serged the front and back yoke/sleeves together and finished the neckline with FOE.  I had a problem with my FOE  (my fault) and had to trim it away. There’s nothing as difficult for me to rip as black thread on black fabric. I trimmed not only the FOE that I goofed but enough to reshape the entire neckline evenly. Unfortunately, that makes the neck a little wide for me.  I do like the FOE finish and take full responsibility for my goof.

Next I serged the bottom pieces to the top and then basted the side seams from bottom hem to sleeve hem. (Didn’t hem yet .)  With that I discovered that my reticence was correct. I could pull the sleeve on only because my fabric was slinky. But it was much too tight to be wearable for any length of time.  I spritzed away  the basting (I  use water soluble thread)  and inserted a 2″ gusset to the under sleeve.

That’s perfect! I just need to alter the pattern adding the same amount of ease.

I serged the side seams and hemmed using my cover stitch machine.

I wanted easy. I got easy.

Oddly enough, I think there is too much ease in the back across the hip. The wide boat neck seems to emphasize my rounding back as well as displaying my bra and back support.  I may need to wear a scarf so that I cover these up.

I think the side looks fine.   The yoke falls just above the widest part of my bust.  This is not bad on me.  Best is the Ebb which falls below the bust and just above the tummy.  But this is OK.  Definitely wearable. Even more so because for the first time in ages, the front hem is not rising (that I can see.) Normally I need to add length to the center front.  I won’t need to do that with 118.I do see the fold which would indicate that a bust dart could be helpful.  I think this is typical with the dolmen styling and I’m not sure I can eliminate it. Next time (there will be another), I ‘ll see if I can smooth just a little bit up into the yoke line.

I’m even pleased with the front. Taking into consideration the type of pattern it is and that I modified it by copying the side seams of a TNT, it’s pretty good.  I will keep in mind that this is drafted for stretch fabrics.  I’ll remove a little ease from the hip (on the back; I think I need the ease for the front) and change the neckline just a little so that it doesn’t highlight the rounding curve of my back.  I’d also like to figure out how to add a small shoulder pad.  It’s pretty obvious that my left shoulder is lower than my right. I suppose I could ignore it but I’d like to counteract the rounding back too. Overall, I’m very happy especially for a first time garment.  I’ve already started thinking of it as the TNT #118.