Burda 2011_07_113

Originally published July 15, 2011

.Whew a lot of posts about one garment.  But as I said in the second post, this garment was challenge for me both logistically and creativity wise. Although my first post was dated July 7, I had started thinking about this as early as June 26.  It took a lot of time and thought.  I feel bad for including so much detail because I’m afraid I’m boring some very good friends. But I want this much detail for me for future reference.  My little sewing journal contains only a few notes.  These blog posts contain the real “meat” of the process.  But to continue:


Once the rose parts were dry, I “trimmed” the remaining tulle.  I’ve got an older wood burning tool for decorative wood burning.  It’s got to be 35 years old.  For about a year I was really into wood burning and turned out a new piece every few weeks.  Trouble is, I was always copying someone else’s designs.  It ceased to be fully satisfying when I couldn’t create my own visions.  None the less, I held onto the tool.  It wasn’t cheap and I did remember many satisfying hours with its use.  Several years ago, at least 15, maybe 20 or 25 when we first started doing FSL and then adding tulle-insurance to our FSL, this heat producing tool was mentioned as an exceptionally easy and effective way to deal with the excess tulle. I dug mine out and have been using it for this purpose ever since.  So rose parts dry? CHECK.  “Trimmed” with wood burner?  CHECK. Assembled?  Time to dig out the fishing tackle box purchased several years ago when DH first discovered Cabela’s.  It’s amazing.  DH looks for hunting and fishing equipment, I look for crafting accessories in the same sporting good store.  There have been times, I’ve spent more money in his favorite store and it was all me.  This tackle box holds all my beads (or it did until DH gave me his collection of fishing beads.)  I also have a small plastic box in the top of the tackle box which contains extra jewelry findings and remainders of earring pairs.  I anticipated several delightful hours of looking, trialing and selecting what would be the perfect center.  So of course, I touched 3 things and found perfection in under 10 seconds. Does that ever happen to you?


My pearl earring is a large (I don’t remember the mm) and real. The stud was 10 gold just like my wedding ring.  I lost the other earring but was reluctant to discard this piece since I spent so much on the pair. (Does that ever happen to you?)  I had thought I would stitch the petals together; add the center bead(s); change thread colors and stitch the leaves to the petals.  With the earring, I attached all pieces in one quick motion.  I decided upon a separate ring to attach the rose to my garment.  I didn’t want the pearl which held the rose together to also support its weight on the blouse.  The simple ring along with a hump-backed safety pin should do the job.


You see two pins because I have pinned the ties separately from the rose and both to the blouse:



And Oh what a difference this rose makes to the finished garment:




I may not be completely done.  I’m still not sure about the hem. The placement of the rose and tie seems a little awkward. That may need to be tweaked.  I’m afraid that at their current length, the ties appear more to be an award ribbon of some kind.  I may need to tweak that a bit too.  But for now, I’m super pleased; and you dear reader, should be glad that this is




Burda 2011_07_113

Originally published July 14, 2011

.It really annoyed me that the decisions I’d made had changed this from a romantic top with wonderful fabrics to a peasant sack blouse. How could I recover?


I picked a few silk scraps from the trash and fashioned a tie of sorts in approximately the same place Burda chose.  Ah, immediately, character improvement!

Because I didn’t like either a matching or contrasting hem band, I used a rolled edge on my serger finish the the hems independently from each other (i.e. the gauze is hemmed separately from the poly/cotton). I’m not sure it helped, but the rolled hem didn’t distract from the overall feel of the top.


I liked those ties.  I did indeed.  But the blouse was still lacking character. I knew I didn’t want pull one of the sleeves off my shoulder. Nope, not doin’ it.   That left the possibility of a rose.  As I looked carefully at my silk fabric, I realized that wasn’t a primitive print at all.  No those were all heraldic designs such as you would see during one of the most romantic periods of all times as background for every knights ‘shield in every kingdom.  A rose was a very important symbol during that time and would seem perfect especially if the viewer knows anything of this European era. I fished out another scrap from the trash can, this time of yellow cotton gauze and ignoring both shape and strings, I fashioned a fabric rose. Perfect!  I’m still working on project #2 as this thought and action play out and had intended to stitch out a lace for project #2.  During my search for #2’s lace, I found this amazing rose.  Of course it doesn’t look amazing when you see the stitch files:



No at this view it’s more like “what in the world do we have here?”


I stitched the leaves (green) first, because you just never know.  I’m pretty sure of the quality of this particular digitizer, but really you never know.  Things can go wrong during download. My machine may not like files that your machine thinks are candy.  FSL (free standing lace) which this is can all too easily become misaligned.  You just don’t know until you stitch it out.  In fact, I don’t do real FSL. Not since my Bernina Deco stitch for 3 hours producing the most beautiful, perfect copy of Mari Osmond’s angel. When I rinsed the water soluble stabilizer WSS part of the wing disintegrated.  Well, it made a big rats nest in my strainer.  No one else had reported this issue.  In fact, most were awe-struck by the perfect.  I never trusted a FSL file again.  I use a sandwich of heavy WSS, tulle, and then light weight WSS.  The leaves stitched in about 14 minutes.  I was trimming the jump stitches while the design was still in the hoop, as is my habit, when I trimmed several of the important connecting bars. You just never know what will go wrong.  Fortunately, I hadn’t touched the WSS or tulle and the stitched design as a whole looked perfect.  I returned the hoop to the machine and stitched it one more time.  I much prefer the design stitched twice.  I really do and so when I stitched the flowers, I stitched them a second time.  I trimmed most of the excess WSS and tulle, then rinsed briefly under the faucet.  I rolled the pieces in a towel to remove most of moisture, then shaped the pieces over small jars and allowed them to dry overnight.


Burda 2011_07_113

Originally published July 13, 2011

.I wimped.  Know those 1/8″ french seams I tested?  Seams in 3 different fabrics?  1/8″ tiny seams, sewn, washed and dried?  Once I added the poly/cotton under layer I decided the serger would do fine.  I really do like my serger and prefer to use it when possible.  I’m perplexed sometimes at the disdain that others express towards sergers.  When I started sewing, we used a old, I think model 66, Singer with only a forward and backward, variable length stitch.  My mom thought this was wonderfully, high tech.  After all, she started sewing with hand needles, graduated to a single stitch, single length, forward only machine. Err,,, that’s as she told the story.  I’m sure she wanted to impress upon us how neat this machine was and like many didn’t always object to making a good story even better.  She passed 12 years ago, so let’s not split hairs about her description, eh?   Anyway, I felt like I grew up using a primitive machine.  My mom bought a fancy Kenmore zig-zag machine from Sears when I was in High School.  I think it was her way of encouraging my sewing interest.  But my point is, we didn’t finish seam. Heck we wore clothes out before the seams shredded.  Mind you, we didn’t sew on fancy silks or rayons. It was 100% cotton and wool was a real luxury for coats or highly tailored garment only.  I sewed that way for years — without regret.  I wasn’t quite sure why someone wanted the inside to look as good as the outside anyway.  I bought my first serger in 1989 plus or minus only because it sewed so fasssssssssssssssssssssssssst! Yes sir. That serger could put together a garment in no time. My mother lamented “why didn’t they have these things when I was making my little girls clothes?”  She saw the demonstration of ruffling on a serger and dropped her jaw on the spot.  Anyway, I love and appreciate my serger for its sewing.  The finished seams, decorative possibilities are frosting on the cake.  Knowing now that my silk would be supported by both a gauze and the poly/cotton, I didn’t hesitate. I serged the seams.  And no, I don’t think it detracts at all.


I did think the sleeve band of silk and cotton gauze was terrible.  Really detracted from the over all look.  I trimmed the silk/gauze band off and replaced it with just the cotton gauze doubled.  After stabilizing the neck line, I did the same finish in that area.  Let me pause here.  I’m having such a problem stabilizing necklines.  It’s odd or maybe not.  For years and years, I skipped stay-stitching.  Usually I could stitch together a garment with minimal handling and no chance of the curves stretching.  But I’m using a much wider range of fabrics and I am handling the cut pieces more.  I’ve tried several stabilizing methods.  For this garment I put the tissue on the ironing board, arranged the front (and later back) on the tissue so that the neckline was the same as the tissue, then I fused woven bias tape around the neckline.  I’m concerned that the bias is an error.  I’m afraid that it will allow stretch.  But my experience with woven necklines that can’t stretch, is after wearing a few times they are either stretched out of shape or torn.  The bias tape is a trial.  I hope it works.


I stitched the poly/cotton with the gauze as one (as in underlining) to the sleeve and neckband. But then stitched each fabric to itself at the side seams (as a lining).  I rather prefer this, because it allows the gauze to retain it’s floaty, transparency.  I have used cotton gauze before.  Then I made my first try-on for fit.


I was concerned about several fit issues even though I’ve already fit this pattern.  The pattern was drafted for a sleeve.  A cap sleeve becomes essentially sleeveless even if there is a little flutter over the shoulder.  Pattern companies are always trying to convince us we’re getting our $$$ value out a pattern because it has multi-views and oh how much more value, if the pattern can be worn sleeveless as well as with sleeves?  Not much if you care about fit.  A sleeved top will fit better, be more comfortable and wear better if the armscye is dropped about an inch and a little more ease is allowed in the area.  A sleeveless top however is better when it is high and tight.  How can the pattern companies offer both options?  They wimp.  Either the sleeve will be too tight or the sleeveless to lose and too low.  And my B5561?  Little too much ease and a little too low.  I pinched out just 1/4″ on the side seam but realized if I bound the lower curve of the armscye but allowed the binding to stand tall instead of wrapping to the back side, the armscye would fit fine.


The look in the mirror told me another story.  The +4 inches in length that I thought I wanted changed this from a cute, romantic top, to a peasant blouse for the over 60.  I shortened it 3″ immediately.  Then tested bands for the hem.


I didn’t like it.  Not one bit.  The contrasting band looked out of place.  I didn’t take a picture, but the same fabric band was just at the right place to show how big my b@tt really is. And somehow the romanticism of the blouse was still been totally lost.


Sigh, I hung my blouse and dreams of a romantic little top on Mimie and returned to project #2

Burda 2011-07-113 Part Deux

originally published July 12, 2011

.Yes I’m afraid this is a several part post.  Partly that’s because I write too much.  I even go back and delete whole paragraphs but still have too much.  I have a problem expressing myself in only a few words.  So this is a multi-part post because I write too much, but also because this was a real challenge and creative effort for me.


Back in my first post (July 7) I was contemplating using this Burda pattern.  I love it but overlooked some important points.  It was asymmetrical (the sleeves were not the same from side to side) and it was intended to be off the shoulder.  I didn’t like the ties from the get go.  Sure they look romantic, but ties generally irritate me.  I spend my day fooling with them and usually after the first wearing figure out how to do without.  As I was choosing my fabric a lovely transparent silk and semi-sheer, crinkle-cotton gauze, I decided to ditch the Rose.  I just didn’t feel that the rose worked well with what I viewed as a primitive art theme on the silk fabric. I also planned to use the silk for the bindings and was worried about how the silk sleeves and the silk bindings would handle the stress.   I did some testing and settled upon 1/8″ french seams. I traced the sleeve and half the front back. Then  tissue fit using Mimie (my dress form and made a minor change to the back tissue.  I was ready to go….. and then…. someone kindly pointed out the asymmetrical and off-shoulder qualities of the pattern and questioned how visible I wanted my underwear.



Oh my! Talk about a monkey wrench thrown in the works.  I came to a screeching halt and actually pursued other sewing.  When I returned I’d made some big changes.  First off, I realized that I had already made and fit 2 very similar patterns. That would be Butterick 5561


and Kwik Sew 3593

Both are similar and neither exactly the Burda top. B5561 is designed for wovens has a mini-sleeve; fits me nicely; has a scoop neck I like; and I’ve already made a version without the center pleat. But I really want the true cap sleeve of KS 3593 which has the disadvantage of being drafted for knits and the wide neckband.


I compared my already fitted tissues of B5561 to the Burda blouse.  To my surprise the front and back were nearly the same. The Burda front has a dart, which Butterick has rotated out; the sleeve is smaller and asymmetrical; and the Burda blouse tissue is shorter by about 4 inches.  Oh my B5561 has a dart in the sleeve which does much to improve fit. I’m glad I did this comparison.  I decided since I liked B5561, I would use this as my basis.  I didn’t shorten B5561, but I did compare the sleeves carefully.  I traced a new sleeve of B5561 and then using a ruler removed 1.5 inches from the bottom.  This turned the sleeve into a true cap sleeve.


I cut my fabrics and came to another halt.  I’m planning to wear this in public in a conservative (even though they vote Democratic) Mid-Western community.  Showing my underwear is really not a good idea.  I’ve made an effort to fit into my new community and didn’t want to ruin it now.   I started on another project.


We made our monthly trip to Walmart — 90 miles there and 90 miles back– and also stopped at the only real complete fabric store  within that distance.  The next real, complete fabric stores are 184 miles (there and another 184 back home).  I was looking for a very light weight batiste.  They didn’t have what I wanted. No surprise, but Walmart didn’t either. Next day, back home again, I scoured my own stash and did find 3 yards of a poly/cotton nearly transparent fabric. It was white so I should remove the “nearly transparent” qualifier.  White is always transparent. I wasn’t sure of this, but I placed a single layer of the poly/cotton over Mimie and then opened the back so I had one layer and pinned it to Mimie as well. It’s close.  I think in actual wear, my neighbors will see the shadowed top of my bra line but nothing more. That will be acceptable. So cut the front and back out of poly/cotton and start you machines…. or mine at least.

Burda 2011-07- 113

originally published July 7, 2011


.I’m really intrigued by this lovely blouse.  No I won’t post pictures.  I’ve given up trying to navigate Burda’s new and improved website and they’ve been pretty harsh with others who’ve uploaded pics.  I feel that Burda doesn’t care for their English speaking customer base and would just as soon that we all went away. I guess our $$$ is not as good as other currency.  Ah, forgive slight political rant and lets get back to sewing… So I look at this and I see a raglan sleeve top with true cap sleeves.  It has a narrow band across the bottom and again at the top with ties and a Rose.

I’m really excited about the use of a sheer with solid fabric.  The sheer is not an overlay but is the fabric of the sleeves and actually joined to the the solid in the seam lines.  I’ve had less than stellar success with joining solid fabrics together.  My attempts were denim or upholstery fabrics and then a second woven or knit fabric.  Invariably my seams deteriorated and pretty quickly.  With knits the seams stretched badly. I had expected the woven fabric to stabilize the knit and was surprised at the ripply knit side of the seam. With other woven fabrics, the lighter fabric always pulled and shredded. I not only love the look at the Burda blouse, but I want to know how to handle fabrics of two extremely different weights as one garment.

My fabric choices are a 100% silk in a primitive print and a 100% cotton crinkle-gauze.

I think the rose would detract from the feel and tone of my primitive silk fabric.  But  if I lose the rose, am I losing the feel of the garment?

I tested some seams. Not shown is the yellow interlock fabric that I was considering in place of the crinkle gauze. I tested both with narrow 1/8″ french seams.  Originally I had wanted to use a 3 thread rolled seam (serger) or 4 thread if the additional security was needed.  But one of my SG angels said that she’d had success with similar fabrics and the narrow french seam.  Indeed, this is a terrific choice.  The swatch above shows my preferred fabrics after a trip through a normal laundry cycle and typical ironing (yes I iron).

I’ve already traced the pattern. Well, traced half.  I couldn’t understand why Burda had put a full front and a full back pattern on the master sheet. When I looked for differences, I couldn’t see any and proceeded to tissue fit

My tissue fitting revealed too much ease at the back neckline.  I’m not sure about the sleeve, it does look small and I wonder if it will bind. If I were using all knits, I wouldn’t be concerned. But using all wovens (or had I been using a woven and a knit), I wonder about the fit and strain on the seams.  Even with french seams, the sheer fabrics will not hold with too much stress.  And then…. was pointed out that the garment is Asymmetrical. Another responder pointed out that Burda was attempting to achieve an off the shoulder look. Oops. I like asymmetrical,,, on other people. On myself, I worry with the garment the entire day. It’s just not a comfortable look for me. I don’t “Rock It”, I pick, nit and worry it. An easy solution is to cut the garment without the asymmetry, but will I lose the over all look of the garment?  I feel the same way about the off-the shoulder business.  It’s not and has never been a comfortable look for me. Should I eliminate it?

I”m still pondering these questions.