Still here Still Sewing

originally published Aug 10, 2011


.After that long spate of daily posts, I probably seem unusually quiet.   I have had some usual and unusual activities. DH needed new glasses which required a trip in one direction. I signed up for a Tech class on my sewing machine i.e. trip in the complete opposite direction. Then we have the normal monthly shopping, club meetings and activities.  I thought when I retired I have oodles and oodles of time to devote to my favorite activities.  Turns out, life has a way of filling time.  You have to protect time for your favorite activities or it gets sucked into doing other things.


I’m still working on Burda 2011-08-104.  I came to a screeching halt about a week ago.  Once again, I have managed to start a project with a clear vision and then depart radically step by step.   I had stitched out most but not all of the lace and pinned it on the sewn top. I could see immediately that the inspiration garment and this thing in front of me were hardly related.  I asked for suggestions at SG.  I have to say again what a supportive group this is; many suggested just completing the garment as is because it is “mine”.  I like this advice, but I really wanted to recreate closely the original garment.  So I started thinking and asking what happened?  First off Burda 2011-08-104 is not exactly the same as the inspiration garment.

Inspiration garment:

Burda 2011-08-104


I understood from the start they weren’t exactly the same.  The inspiration depends upon the lace to create shoulder straps in a raglan formation. Burda uses narrow straps in typical tank top formation with side zipper.  Inspiration  garment has some kind of gathering going in the center front.  Burda has bust darts and smooth center neckline. Inspiration garment has more fabric (and ease) across the hem.  Burda has a turned and stitched hem.


I understood about the shoulder straps.  I rather wanted Burda’s shoulder straps because I need to cover my br@ straps. Lace as in the inspiration isn’t going to cover the br@ strap.  At my age, I need a br@. I need to cover my br@ straps. I needed Burda’s shoulder straps and was willing to forgo the simplicity of the lace strap.  What I missed though was how the lace angled up to the neck in a raglan fashion.  I’m sure I could have altered the pattern to duplicate that angle, but I don’t want to. I’ve got a vest with the same angled shoulder straps.  I love the vest for many things, but it emphasizes my pear shape and narrow shoulders. I don’t want to duplicate the effect of the vest on any other garment —- ever again.


I rotated the darts to the shoulder so that 104 is like the inspiration but I don’t have the ease in the skirt or the gathering at the center front.


I also chose a solid, light yellow crepe fabric whereas the inspiration uses a grey and white print.


My lace is light yellow. The inspiration is white. Additionally, the yellow lace blended in with my fabric choice and is hardly visible whereas on the inspiration garment the lace immediately draws the eye.


My lace is similar to but clearly not the same as the inspiration garment.


So I’m now 8 steps from the inspiration, if not more.

  1.    straps instead of lace
  2.    straps not angled like lace
  3.    insufficient ease in skirt
  4.    no gathering at center front neckline
  5.    solid fabric vs print
  6.    light yellow vs grey and white print
  7.    yellow lace vs white lace
  8.    lace is not distinctive from the garment.


Each choice (made consciously or unconsciously) keeps me from achieving my goal of closely recreating the inspiration garment.  So now the question is how to correct my choices.  How to put me back on track.


I’m going to keep and use the lace as stitched out. As of this post, all my lace is stitched in the light yellow. It takes a long time to stitch out all that lace and it’s not exactly cheap.  The stabilizer is the most expensive item, but I’ve also got thread, bobbin and electricity tied up in this project.


So I’m keeping the yellow lace, which means I also want a yellow fabric. I don’t know what this says about me, but I went stash diving and found a yellow and grey print.  Again the print is not the same as the inspiration, but I think using a print will replicate the inspiration garment better than the solid. Unfortunately the yellow in the fabric is not exactly the same as the yellow in the lace.  I’m not sure if I need to address this or not,,, yet.


I can easily alter the pattern to include the gathering at the center neckline which will add the additional ease seen in the skirt.


  • straps instead of lace  NO CHANGE
  • straps not angled like lace NO CHANGE
  • insufficient ease in skirt  ALTER PATTERN
  • no gathering at center front neckline ALTER PATTERN
  • solid fabric vs print  USE PRINT FABRIC
  • light yellow vs grey and white print  USE GREY AND YELLOW PRINT
  • yellow lace vs white lace  NO CHANGE
  • lace is not distinctive from the garment. CREATE CONTRAST THROUGH PRINT FABRIC

So my plan is to fix the 5 things that can be easily fixed.  It does mean altering the pattern and sewing a 2nd garment. That leaves me with a very plain tank created from Burda 2011-08-104 and the decision of wearing it as it or adding something to juice it up a little.







Burda 2011-08-104

originally published July 31, 2011

.It shouldn’t be surprising that I jumped right onto this pattern.  I’d been thinking about the inspiration garment

ever since I saw it on someone else’ blog.  My questions at the time had been how to duplicate the lace and how to support the girls. It’s pretty obvious this was designed for a preteen without too much up front or at least someone not needing any front support.  Let’s face it, when you’ve survived 6 decades you either support the girls with a properly fitting br@ ; or you, your friends, significant others and neighbors discover that your n_ipples hang about even with your knees.  One of the benefits of a long life for women is long girls. I could, like several that I know, wear my br@ and allow the staps to show.  But to me that’s always slightly uncouth.  I just don’t care for the look and so over the years discovered ways to conceal my “supporting cast”.  Burda Style 104 in August 2011 seemed like a perfect answer.  I may need to include lin_gerie snaps in those narrow shoulder straps. I’m OK with that.

I began with the lace:

I really thought this contained the essence of the lace in the inspiration garment.  I’m always telling DH I should seriously take up digitizing.   Even though this design was in my “stash”, I spent 4 hours cleaning it up and right sizing it.  Next was joining in groups of 4, 3 and 2.  Followed by trimming off those 2 bottom circles and arranging them in multiples to form a trim.  I have a good 12 hours in editing time.  I’m fairly sure I could have digitized these from scratch in less.  But I always think “Oh the worst is already done.  I just need to make some connections.”  5 minutes for connections turns into lots of time as I clean up blobs, stray stitches  and in this case a weird line of stitches down the vertical center of the design.  I can’t and won’t blame the digitizer for the issues I corrected.  Our automatic softwares keep “assuming” we want changes when we don’t.  I’m fairly sure that early on, Embird converted a number of jump stitches to running stitches and added tie-on and tie-offs before I knew I needed them.  As much as possible, I’ve turned off these automatic corrections. But I find that with every update, Embird keeps turning back-on things I’ve long ago decided were not helpful.  Nonetheless, Embird is still my digitizing program of choice.  Not only for the cost, but for the ease of use.   Point here is that all my issues were not the original digitizer’s fault.  Neither the design nor the digitizer should be criticized.  Had I used the designs exactly as they were purchased, I’m unlikely to have had problems. I’m also unlikely to have had the size I wanted and would have had to invested other time and effort into connecting the individual motifs.  It’s a trade off.

Once I started the laces stitching out, I turned my attention to tracing the pattern from Burda’s Maze:

Thank heavens AnnR clued me in about 6 months ago.  I circle the numbers at the side and then search straight up the pattern maze until I find the pattern piece.  I do trace with my finger before adding tracing paper.

BTW, this is a great place to use those Frixion Pens everyone is humming about

Pilot FriXion Ball Pen, Erasable Gel Ink, Fine Point, Assorted Colors 6 pack: Black, Blue, Red, Pink, Orange, Purple (FX7C6001)

I used to use my Ultra Fine Point Sharpies. But I prefer the Frixion’s because I can erase them and not be distracted by previous tracing efforts.

Back to the tracing, I placed my paper on top and traced the neckline and straps.  I do have a fairly decently fitting tank top pattern.  I have no desire to fit a second tank top, I just want the very narrow straps and neckline and that’s all I trace:

After that, I remove Burda’s pattern maze and create a sandwich of my already fitted tank top and the Burda narrow straps and neckline.

I tape them together using Repositionable tape. Yeah, not cheap but I do find it to be helpful.  I pull off about 1″ pieces and I use them again and again until they won’t stick.  The repositionable tape will hold my pattern pieces, tracing paper or whatever in place while I’m doing my thing and then remove without damaging anything.  That’s what’s worth the $$$. Once I’ve traced what I needed from my fitted tank pattern, I do add the seam allowances and then trim the new pattern piece.

I know some people don’t trim the pattern piece. But I find I’m more accurately placing the pattern and cutting fabric if the tissue has been trimmed.  That’s especially helpful if I’m short on fabric or matching stripes, plaids or prints.

I went ahead with my original fabric choice, the light-yellow, rayon crepe.  I was perplexed by Burda using a full front and a half back pattern piece.  I checked with my SG friends and received no advice to the contrary, so I folded the front in half and placed it on a fold as well as the back (which was specified to be placed on a fold).  I ditched the side zip.  I mean when I can’t get that low of a neckline over my head, I’m probably too old and feeble to be making and wearing such a thing. I cut my bias 1-3/4″ wide.  That’s just my preference based upon the normal width of my serger stitch and how much I want to fold and turn.  I do a french binding, nearly always i.e. fold the bias in half, place all raw edges together; stitch desired width from raw edge; press, turn to inside and topstitch.  It makes a nice clean finish.  Just exceptionally easy to do with no exposed raw edges when you’re done.

I did have 2 problems with the bias.  First off the neckline was much, much lower than I thought.  I kick myself for not comparing the tissue to Mimie.  Had I done that I would have raised the neckline long before even contemplating cutting the fabric.  I even asked myself, why?  Why didn’t I pin the tissue and check on Mimie (my dressform). I don’t know.  I guess it was just a brain-f-art  The neckline almost,  ALMOST covers my front br@ line. Almost. I did not turn and topstitch the neckline bias.  I pressed nicely and decided to see how I could work the lace with the bias to create a little more modesty.    I did press, turn and topstitch the armscye binding.  To my surprise the binding is not snuggling to my dressform.  Nope, the binding is standing tall and proud or as the experts would say: GAPING.  I have gaposis at both armscyes and now looking carefully at my neckline too.  I know that I’m going to need to adapt my Quick Neckline Fix to all 3 bindings if I’m to have a top that doesn’t suffer with gaposis.

I serged the sides and hemmed my top.  Then I placed it on Mimie.  The lace was continuing to stitch out nicely and at least getting close to time to arranging for use.   I tried the group of 4 on the top (now being worn by Mimie) and realized my calculations were slightly off.  This required another few minutes a the computer creating a group of 5 and then of course 88 or so minutes stitching the new group out.  I rough trimmed all the lace as it came off the machine.

As I’ve said before, I gave up true FSL long ago.  So these come off the machine in another sandwich, this time a heavy water soluble, topped by tulle and then a layer of light water soluble.  I do hoop all layers and baste them together in the hoop.  Generally, when the machine is finished, I rough cut the lace from the sandwich, rinse all or most of the WSS and then burn the edges with my wood burning tool.  This time though, I rough cut the lace out of the sandwich and then pinned it to the waiting neckline. Oops:

What’s the point of all the lace if it doesn’t show up?

I’m thinking I need to choose another fabric with enough contrast that the lace will show up. I suppose I could redo the lace in another color.  I’m talking about 6 hours of stitching; after all the digitizing is done.  I could choose a different lace—purchased lace— to finish the light-yellow, rayon crepe OR I could just toss it.  I purchased this fabric years ago during the Walmart Fabric O-rgies.  I started with a good 5 yards and am down to the last 3/4-yard remnant.  It could be time to quit on this fabric.

Sigh, what would you do?

BurdaStyle August 2011

originally published July 30 2011


.It seems that everyone has their favorite Burda Issue.  It’s the issue that you return to again and again, making garment after garment from it’s pages.  Eventually you realize that you’ve made nearly everything that Burda showed, even if you did it your way.   I think August 2011 is going to be that issue for me.  I even found something in the kids section that I’d like to make.


I probably won’t make any of the skirts.  The few skirts and dresses I’ve made aren’t worn very much. So although i like the styling this issue has to offer in skirts and would like to make at least one of them, I probably won’t.


And I’m not too sure about Trouser 115 with the ruffles.  Maybe if I made it 4 sizes too small, in a knit fabric and called it pajamas??? But I do believe that I can easily adapt the details for 130 and 137 to my own nicely fitted trouser pattern.  I’m not sure about all the buttons on 130.  I seem to recall having had a similar pair years ago.  I seem to remember being very annoyed with the amount of time and effort required to unfasten before being able to “go”.


Actually I think the first project will be 104.

104 is a simple tank styled top with low U front and back necklines. For some reason not immediately clear to me, Burda has you installing an invisible side zip.  I dislike side zips. If I absolutely had to use a zip, it would be a back zip.  However, I’m a proponent of being able to dress myself.  If extra opening is required (with that low of a neck??), I will create a back slit with a button at the top. A closure I can manage without DH’s assistance.  I’m perplexed about the zip.  The fabric recommended is crepe; a non-stretch crepe i.e. this pattern is drafted for woven fabrics.  This pattern also includes the all-important-to-me bust dart.  But no other visible shaping.  Both the side seams appear to be straight.  I thought there might be a side vent at the hem. But the instruction make no mention of such a design feature. I mean, I see nothing that would preclude me from pulling this off and on over my head. I see no need for an additional opening.


If you’ve read my blog at all the last few weeks, you might assume I’m continuing my “bender” on tank tops. But truth is, this pattern just happens to look like it would work very nicely with this Anthropology top:

Truly, I fell in love with this top and all the lace.  The lace appears to continue up the shoulder and onto the back, becoming the support for the garment.  I rather wonder if that would work.  I’m much more confident that covering the very narrow shoulder straps of 104 with lace would give the same appearance, but much better support than lace alone.  Whatever garments I make must be able to survive a little abuse. At least that of going through the laundry. I don’t dry clean clothes.  I believe I’ve mentioned this before.  There is no dry cleaner in my town.  What we do, is drop our clothes off at the local pheasant processor.  He calls some place in Nebraska (about 30 miles south of us)  When they have enough calls the place in Nebraska makes a run and picks up cleaning.  When they have enough calls, they bring the previous load back.  Dry cleaning is not something to be undertaken lightly.  You’ve got to really want the items cleaned in that fashion and be willing to wait a month or two.


I’ve already picked out my fabric, a yellow rayon crepe.  And I was shocked to find a very similar lace in my collection of 100,000 embroidery files:


No not exactly the same. But the over all shape is suggestive of the lace used in the inspiration garment.

See how 3 look when lined up together


Right now, I’m testing embroidery threads to see which of my 300 spools of embroidery thread match most closely with the yellow crepe.  I’m afraid that the spool which works the best, is the spool that’s nearly empty.  In which case this project will be delayed a week or so.  I buy my threads online.  There are things I love about living in the back woods.  The delay caused when I need supplies is not one of them. It’s one of the reasons I have 300 spools of embroidery thread. So I’ll need to consider another project while waiting for the desired supplies.


How about this one 126:


OK granted this is a dress and I said I wouldn’t be making dresses, but I’d love to see it as a blouse.  I’ll probably add just a bit of ease across the waist and hip – making it more blouse like.  I do realize that it opens all the way to the tummy.  I have several thoughts.  One is using the front of 104 to make a Tshirt front and attaching inside to the side seams.  A second idea would be creating a lace insert.  A third would be, raising that damn neckline to where it should have been to start with!


I also adore dress 116


Now, I do have a Butterick pattern that is similar. Similar but not the same.  I love the pockets and the cowl neckline. To get the pockets, I’d probably make this tunic length.


Having overcome my fear of raglans I’m wondering what I would need to do to support the collar for 119:


Again, I’d make this blouse length. Just jettison the skirt portions and extend the top to a suitable length.


I’m also liking 125.


I admit to being intrigued by the fabric gobbling tie collar. But I’m also interested in the princess seams and extended shoulder.  An extended shoulder that’s proportioned to my body does look nice.


OK no point in listing all the patterns in the magazine to make my point. Which is:  I love this issue. I love the styles and the fabrics that they chosen.  I’m a little concerned sometimes.  Like why do I need a size zipper for 104 and not mentioned earlier, but those pants 13?  Well the shorts recommend a corduroy fabric while the full length trousers call for a knit.  That can’t be right.  I just can’t see that a firmly woven fabric would fit the same as a knit.  Just don’t see it.  All I can say is stay tuned to see what I actually get done.