Burda Cowl Neck Top

The Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135) was part of my 2017 Make Nine so I wanted to share it for that reason. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I really think the issues are due to the fabric. The top really requires a fabric with enough drape to make the cowl really look gorgeous. On the bolt, the fabric appeared to be nice and drapey, but it wasn’t really. It washed up a bit crisper as well. A knit with rayon would work beautifully in this top.

20171106_153019 20171106_153032

The top has raglan sleeves and an inset for the front and back for the neckline/cowl. The sleeves are also in the original pattern ruched at the side from forearm to hem. I chose to make sleeve bands instead since I doubted I would like the ruching. In terms of fit problems, the sleeves fit like wings and the bust is pretty good. The cowl neck could be more cowl-like. More room in the hips would be good.

20171106_153025 20171106_153049

In terms of sewing, it’s not my best work. The cowl was difficult to get in and there is something weird with the side seams.

20171106_153037 20171106_153039

And yet the times I have worn it, I really loved wearing it. Just goes to show that a garment doesn’t need to be perfect for you to enjoy wearing it. It’s a super comfy top and I just love the colour of it. The length is perfect for wearing with jeans. Overall I feel pretty great in it even though I know there are fit problems and sewing problems.

Go figure.

Burda has the usual sparse instructions so this top isn’t for the faint of heart. You just sort of have to “interpret” their instructions or go your own way like I do 90% of the time.

Speaking of 2017 Make Nine, I’m on track to get five out of the nine done. Way better than my 2016 Make Nine where I made exactly zero of the things I planned.

Here is my #2017makenine Except for the middle column, these are @burda_style patterns. I made a goal to make more Burda patterns since I love the designs and think the block fits me pretty well. Plan is to make at least these 6 this year starting with the grey sweatshirt using some cat print terry I have. In the middle column, I want to make a maxi length @cashmerette #appletondress with some lovely tropical fabric I recently acquired in a swap. I love #M7537 from the @mccallpatterncompany early spring release. I can see it becoming a quick favourite. Finally, I have a bunch of flannel in my stash that is due to become pjs using the free pattern from @5outof4patterns If I bust that stash, I clear out an entire shelf of my stash! And I get many cozy pjs to wear about the house in various lengths for the year. Last year I didn't get any of my list done. This year feels pretty reasonable and should be doable. 😁 #sewing #sewcialists

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I think the summer dresses just aren’t going to happen, but the pj pants and the kimono robe will for sure. I finished my Appleton dress, Burda sweatshirt and now my Burda cowl top. I would love to get the top left corner Burda dress done sometime this winter. I have fabric for the other Burda dresses, but it doesn’t seem to make sense to make summer dresses when there are leaves on the ground so those will likely be pushed over to my 2018 Make Nine list. The McCall’s dress fell off my to make list. I ended up buying fabric for M7624 instead. Hahha oops. I hope to make view  C or D depending on how much I can squeeze out of the fabric at some point during the winter.

I’m just not sure that both of those dresses will happen in 2017. They may be muslined in 2017, but not finished up.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda cowl neck top (10/2011#135)
  • Pros: Even though it was tough to put in, the separate pieces for the back neckline and the cowl make for a nice shape and lovely finish. I really like the relaxed fit and with some tweaks it would be perfect.
  • Cons: The usual sparse instructions issues for Burda patterns.
  • Make again?: With some nice drapey rayon knit and a few fit/style mods. I would increase the cowl width and try to figure out how to adjust to get rid of the flaps of fabric in the sleeves above the bust.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

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Pattern Hacking Smorgasbord

First off, thank you for the wonderful comments and messages on all my social media formats on my last post. Your support means so much to me and helps life me up on bad days. I cannot thank you enough for both reading my posts on chronic illness and responding to them. Even a “like” makes me feel better. Chronic illness can be so isolating and lonely, but I love having an online community to make that feel less and less true. I may be at home in bed, but I am able to feel the love. ❤

I can’t use the word Smorgasbord without thinking of Charlotte’s Web.

Man, that rat knows how to live. It is living its most authentic life. Hahah.

August was pattern hacking month at the CSC and I got quite a bit of inspiration from the posts that fueled some recent sewing.

First up on my recent pattern hacks, is a Cashmerette Concord T-shirt. Anyone who follows me knows this is my TNT t-shirt pattern. I just adore it. It fits me perfectly. So why even try another t-shirt pattern to achieve what can easily be done with an existing pattern?

I didn’t even make a paper pattern for this. I was feel super lazy and having a low energy and medium pain day. I grabbed my tailor’s chalk and just made the adjustments with that on the actual fabric. I had minimal fabric leftover from my friend’s dress, but it was determined to become a 1980s inspired top.

The shirt is a bit of a flashback to an early 80s top that I vaguely remember and can’t find a single picture of. The 80s top had a tie neckline with a keyhole too and puffed sleeves with cuffs and a banded hem. Because of the small amount of fabric there was no way I could stripe match and I had to cut it shorter than I would prefer. I cut the back going in the opposite direction from the front and failed to remember to take a picture of that.

It was an easy top to hack. I extended the width of the sleeve across the entire sleeve from the centre. This gives enough width for the gathers at the sleeve head and the gathers around the sleeve band. I cut the sleeve band against the grain. This does effect the stretch of the fabric so I had to extend the length. I am probably about an inch and half too short for that so I do find the sleeve band doesn’t quite hit in the right place. But I was working with very little fabric and didn’t have enough for a longer band. I used my chalk to draw the shape of the keyhole and then cut a very long neckband. I also cut a small piece of fabric to finish the keyhole. The easiest part was likely the bottom band. You cut it slightly shorter than your hem. I didn’t even need to really cut it. It was the bottom edge of the fabric after cutting off the sleeves on the fold. I think I may have cut it a bit shorter and that is it.

Well I like this so far! #concordtshirt #sewing #sewcialists

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Cashmerette Concord T

I just love the top and really want to make more that look the same. Since I didn’t make a pattern paper for this, I will have to do backtracking and make it. I can’t kick past Andie for not doing it. It was an accomplishment for me to cut out the top that day. No way I was putting my spoons toward making a pattern.

Next up on the pattern hacking smorgasbord is a *finally* finished pleated Cake Pavlova skirt. Another TNT pattern for me. Speaking of TNTs, which is all that I used in this post, have you heard of the upcoming Sewcialist TNT month? I’m pretty excited for it! Clearly TNTs have also been on my mind.

Cake Patterns Pavlova Skirt

The skirt is black so unfortunately you might not see the pleats I added. There are two pleats halfway between the centre and the side seam on each side and on both the front and back.

A note on the socks. They are the Wolf and the Tree Going Rogue socks. I never got around to posting on them and these are the only pair I made. I will say they run bigger than I thought they would and I had to size down significantly. I really love them though and will eventually get around to making more since I am on board with matching my socks and cardi (cardi is my Gryffindor Sophi Cardi).

Cake Patterns Pavlova Skirt

There is a side seam pocket on the left side of the skirt and the zipper is on the left side of the skirt.

Cake Patterns Pavlova Skirt

The above picture highlights the pleats a bit better. The fabric is from the thrift store and is a lovely and extremely soft cotton stretch suiting. I had no idea fabric like that existed, but it is lovely. The waistband is unfortunately a bit tight. It’s due to the interfacing on the waistband. I am hoping it relaxes with washing. I should have used knit interfacing to make for pie room in the waistband. I started making the skirt earlier this year and left it aside to take out the waistband. I’m kick myself for not removing the interfacing at the same time. 😦

As long as I am not swollen or having GI issues, I can wear the skirt without issue. It’s just not going to be one I reach for on bad days.

Finally, my last pattern hack is using the Cashmerette Springfield top.

While at work one day, I got it in my head and HAD to draw it out.

I have been wanting a tie-neck top for a while and had never gotten around to it. I saw Elizabeth make a top with ruffle cap sleeves and just had to make one. Then my brain suddenly put the two together at work and I freaked out because it became my dream top. Add to that a lovely tunic length and a high-low split hem! OMG. A veritable smorgasbord!

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Edit: No shame posting the back with a big sweat stain from having worn it all day. Hahah. 😛 Shirt is poly crepe so no breathing! Also as an aside… I’m noticing how wonky my ankles are looking here. Yeay, EDS? lol

For this pattern hack, I had changed the neckline to a v-neck. I just drew the line on my pattern and folded it under. I extended the front by 2 inches and the back for 3.5 inches for the high-low hem. The top already has a split hem. I used the pattern view with the princess seams on the back. I do see from pull lines that I might benefit from going up a size in the butt area due to the extra length and needing to skim over my widest asset (har har). But otherwise, the fit is good. I added some handstitched gathers to the shoulder area of the neckband to help it sit well. The ruffle cap sleeves are just long rectangles gathered. The sleeve and neckline are finished with bias binding.

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Cashmerette Springfield Top

Really feeling myself in that picture. Ha!

Cashmerette Springfield Top

A bonus to this post is my alteration of my Auberley dress. The sleeves never quite felt right. They were big enough, but with EDS sometimes woven sleeves can be too constricting and can cause issues. I split them down the centre and then added some cute cuffs with snap closures and gathered the sleeve hem into them. What I achieved is a sleeveless feel for my wonky joints but a sleeved look that is “on trend.”

And now after all that, I want some fair food. Bring on the cotton candy and popcorn!

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Decades of Style has expanded their size range for their Decades Everyday patterns! The Chore Skirt just released today and goes up to a size 26 or a 46″ waist. This means no more grading up for me! When Janet asked me to test the skirt, I jumped on the chance. I’ve been a big DOS fan for a while. The instructions and drafting are great. The vintage style is right up my alley.

The Chore Skirt is not your regular pleated skirt. It has a narrow waistband, side seam pockets with a side seam zipper, and beautifully placed pleats in the front and the back. In the front, there are less pleats than the back for a clean look. The back pleats really give the skirt a lovely look. There are also side pleats that make the pockets and zipper disappear. There is a bottom panel in the skirt that is perfect for contrasting fabric or for using bias tape or lace. The hem is weighted so that the skirt always draped beautifully. The skirt works beautifully in mid to lightweight fabrics that can handle the multiple pleats at the back.

I made my skirt in a hot pink cotton poplin with bias trim above the bottom panel. The skirt went together really quickly except that I originally forgot the side pleats and frantically messaged Janet saying the waistband didn’t fit. She was very wonderful about it, but my cheeks sure were red! With the side pleats, it of course fit perfectly into the waistband. D’oh.

I will need to wear this version with a belt, but that is okay. My gold belt looks fabulous with it. 😉 I made a size 24, but likely should have made a size 22 instead. I was trying to be extra cautious because my waist can fluctuate due to inflammation. Next time, I will choose a size 22. I have visions of making this in chambray fabric or some lovely linen. Or copying this vintage version posted on the Decades of Style IG page:

Isn’t it beautiful? ❤

Here is my gorgeous version! Don’t I match my blog theme perfectly? ❤

Just a note, the belt is styled under the waistband here since I haven’t added carriers yet for the belt.

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Decades Everyday Chore Skirt

Look at that swish!

Needless to say I am totally biased because I was already a fan girl of DOS and I got the pattern for free. But in spite of that bias, I really love this skirt and I think it’s a great pattern.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Decades Everyday Chore Skirt
  • Pros: Well-drafted pattern and a great size range! The strategically placed pleats are really going to look awesome on a lot of people.
  • Cons: I’m not sure I have any cons!
  • Make again?: Already dreaming of the next one!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

Blank Slate Patterns Barton Shorts

Shortly after I was done pattern testing the Oceanside shorts, Blank Slate put out a call for testers for the Barton shorts. I really wanted to test them, but ended up not because I was testing a different pattern at the time. I got the Barton Shorts later with a gift coupon Blank Slate gave me for testing the Oceanside shorts. Win win!

I got a lovely linen rayon fabric from fabricville and some cotton lace. I made a 3XL and compared the crotch curve to my Oceanside shorts and made adjustments for that (full butt adjustments and a bit of shortening of the front crotch curve plus a bit longer length). The other change I made was to use 1 inch elastic instead of 1.5 inch elastic. I’ve confined my rant on that to my TL:DR review at the bottom.

They fit perfectly when I first sewed them…

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

My husband took this photo in Niagara Falls. Then the shorts got put in the dryer and they shrunk a bit overall. Unfortunately, they ride up now when I walk and are tight in the butt now. They were just perfect in Niagara Falls. The cotton lace shrunk as well and the hem flips up a bit. Oh well, lesson learned. I will be washing and drying linen twice next time since my green Oceanside shorts also shrunk a bit. I still love the shorts and wear them far too much! I’m definitely going to make more.

Overall, I like the Barton Shorts more than the Made with Moxie Prefontaine Shorts that I made last year. I prefer the side seam pockets and the shape of the side seams more. The Barton Shorts were also a better fit for me and sit more comfortably for me. The size range is also better for the Barton shorts. I’m at the top for the size range, but at least I didn’t have to grade them up!

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Blank Slate Patterns Barton Shorts
  • Pros: Lots of options for the hem (lace, bias tape, etc) and the length.
  • Cons: Decent size range, but being at the top means that it won’t be a good option for people bigger than me. Maybe it is just me, but I find when a pattern recommends 1.5 inch elastic it’s pretty unnecessary. I have tons of 1 inch elastic in my possession always and most patterns use 1 inch elastic for shorts and elastic waist pants. The Misty Jeans also have 1.5 inch elastic and I’m just like… why?! Maybe it is a Canadian thing that 1.5 inch elastic isn’t available everywhere and is so much more expensive when I can find it, but dang it…. I just hate 1.5 inch elastic. The Oceanside shorts use half inch elastic and that drove me a bit bonkers, too. I changed that to 1 inch elastic as well. I just don’t know… I am probably being too picky about it, but damn…I just want 1 inch elastic. In the long run, it’s an easy adjustment to make to patterns, but I just don’t really get using the wider elastic. Okay, done this weird elastic rant…. LOL
  • Make again?: Definitely. I’ll probably make a couple PJ versions since I love kicking around the house in these. I think the shorts would also be a great gift!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

Cashmerette Dartmouth Top

I’ve been wanting to sew up a Cashmerette Dartmouth top since it was released early this year. It’s a style of top that I always loved in RTW but could never wear for fear of bust exposure. The Dartmouth top is perfect, though. The cup sizes make it wearable for bigger busts without the danger of exposure.

While my bust is nicely contained in the shirt, the bridge of my bra peeks out. This problem is due to the bridge being too high on my handmade bras; the bridge comes up about 2 inches higher than I think it should and pulls away from my body causing discomfort under my bust. My bra cup does need more room but I have a pronounced breastbone so if the bridge goes too high, it will not sit correctly anyway.  It’s an issue that I am remedying soon with some bra pattern changes and cutting my wires a bit shorter at the front. These changes are for comfort and accessibility. I haven’t made a new bra in a year and a half because of the issues. But it is long overdue. I’m down to just 3 handmade bras and really need to get a move on the alterations. Once those are altered, there will be no issue with my Dartmouth top.

I made my usual size 22 G/H graded to a 24 at the hips. The fabric I used is a slinky bamboo jersey in a coral monkey print. It’s a great fabric for the gathers at the side seam. By the end of a day of wear, the fabric is a bit stretched out, but it snaps back into place with washing. Poor recovery does tend to be an issue with rayon and bamboo knits in my experience. The weight of them also tends to pull the hem a bit lower. I shortened this top by 3.5 inches. I just serged the bottom, because lazy. The two top layers are sewn together, which leads to a bit of drape from the top layer due to the fabric. In the future, I might go for less lazy to get it to sit right at the hem.

The pattern went together well. The only change I made was to add sleeve bands, because lazy and I prefer sleeve bands. I find that the sleeves sit better in a knit with the bands. It helps that I hate hemming knits. To be fair, it’s my sewing machine that hates hemming knits. Jane Eyre is such a diva.

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

An Accidental Capsule Wardrobe

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Cashmerette Dartmouth Top
  • Pros: I love everything and the size range and cup sizes are perfect.
  • Cons: My bras don’t work with it. Just something to keep in mind. It’s not too low cut for me, but may be for some people.
  • Make again?: Just need to find the fabric. Wouldn’t this look fabulous in a leopard print?! ❤ ❤
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md5/5 stars

SMH It’s been a while…

Luckily, I was not absent from blogging due to illness, but due to summer being busy and fun so far!

My main source of enjoyment has been my garden.

Flamingos and pinwheels. #gardening #urbangardening #smallspacegardening #containergardening

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Our front step is looking pretty snazzy! #plants #smallspacegardening #urbangarden

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And my plants

I haven’t taken a recent picture of my garden. The tomato plants have grown to be 3 feet tall! The cucumber, red peppers, and beans are coming along too. Sadly, the amount of rain drowned my herb seedlings and made my lettuce turn from good to bad in a day. Oh well, lessons learned. I will buy some mature herb plants soon and just keep them inside, I think.

My jade plant sadly got a mold disease and looks really bad. I used a spray solution on it and all the diseased leaves are falling off. I hope I saved it in time. I have one little cactus that is looking poorly, but stabilized over the past month. If anyone has a clue what is wrong with it, please let me know. I know it isn’t bugs or too much water…

Why yes…I do anthropomorphize my plants. #plants #cactus #indoorplants

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The big news is that I met Kat!

She came all the way from New Zealand and we met up and did some fabric shopping.

She brought me some tasty chocolate and lush merino from New Zealand. We also bought matching pink monkey jersey!

It was so good meeting her. We even discussed a Monthly Stitch meetup in Japan for 2018. I’d love to do that!

In the sewing world, I made three more Pavlova skirts. Cake Patterns is no longer, but this skirt pattern is a staple for me.

Unfortunately, I need to alter the black skirt since I mis-measured and need about another inch and a half. Luckily the skirt has pleats and a long waistband to let out.

The skirts have pleats in the front and in the back. They are meant to copy this Butterick skirt pattern by Gertie. In my version the pleats are a bit different and a bit more flattering on me. I seriously love the black and white skirt and wear it a ton in spite of it being made in a mid-weight suiting material. The blue one is pretty short and works great for a variety of casual cosplay, including Wonder Woman.

I made a new born outfit for a friend’s baby boy.

And the finished outfit. Yeay! #sewing #sewcialists #babyclothes

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The E is totally covering up a serged hole. 😦

I have two dress cut out and ready to make for two different friends.

I have to get on those and send them off.

I managed to get a wicked good haul at the thrift store and add 30 yards to my stash…

I’m not doing great on stashbusting….

I still have UFOs and am slowly getting through them.

These Misty Jeans require topstitching.

This Harrison shirt still needs button bands and a collar:

I still need to redo this dress.

I think I will take the waistband off and add darts to the skirt. At first, I was just going to do fisheye darts, but now I want to do it properly.

My swimsuit is half done. The bottoms are all done. They look messy when laid flat, but are fine on me. I have to make the bra top soon.

This is an in progress picture of them:

Done now, but I didn’t take another picture after this.

I cut out and made a Concord T shirt yesterday.

Well that was quick! #concordtshirt #sewing #sewcialists

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I also have an Appleton maxi almost done. Here is a sneak preview.

Oh yes. Yes. Yes. I do love this. Yes!!! #appletondress #sewing #sewcialists

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I also cut out a Webster dress and two pairs of shorts in linen rayon fabric

The Appleton dress will be posted soon. I just have to put on sleeve bands and hem the dress and take pictures. It’s going to be gorgeous. I am trying to meet the dresses deadline on Friday (@ 8pm in Toronto!) for the Monthly Stitch’s indie pattern month. It’s also part of the maxi dress sew along. 🙂

Are you taking part in either of Indie Pattern Month or the Maxi dress sewalong? 🙂

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

I’ve been sewing a lot all of May but haven’t had the time to take any pictures. I’m hoping to get the rest of my UFOs done in the next couple of weeks so that I can move on to my summer sewing plans.

I finished the Belize shorts from Itch to Stitch on May 20th, but I started them last September. Initially, I had graded up 2 sizes to accommodate my hips, but when I tried them on they were too large overall.

I took out the waistband, the side seams, the leg seams and the crotch seam and sewed it back together much smaller. I took out about 5 inches overall. Sadly, that was about 1 inch too much in the back. When I tried them on again, I found the back was a smidge too tight. I also found both the front and back rise were too high at the centre. The back rise needs about an inch taken out at the centre back and the front needs about 2 inches taken out at the centre front.

There are some major fit tweaks to get this right, but I actually quite like the shorts. The length is perfect and the crotch doesn’t ride up too much while I am walking. Not that I’ve done much walking to test this, because it’s not really shorts weather here yet much to my chagrin.

The fabric I used is a hot pink stretch denim. Leftover from a Snapdragon skirt ages ago.

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Itch to Stitch Belize Shorts
  • Pros: Love the the flat waistband at front with the elastic waistband back. I like the variety of looks with the pattern and the skort option.
  • Cons: A good size range, but I do subtract meanly for having to grade up a couple of sizes and then needing to grade down. Makes me not trust size charts!
  • Make again?: I might… To be honest, I kind of feel like I found a good casual short pattern with the Oceanside shorts. I also have two other shorts patterns in progress. I doubt I will come back to this pattern this year.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdhalf-star-black-md3.5/5 stars