Monday, May 30, 2011

Pattern Review: BS 02-2011-106

I have been doing a lot of talking about Burda lately, but I haven't shown any of my projects.  I thought it was about time I showed off my first Burda project ever.  I discussed my introduction to Burda here.  When I got the February magazine, there weren't a lot of things I wanted to make, but the more I look at the styles, the more I find to like.  In any case, since I had heard how traumatizing sewing Burda was, I decided to make my first project something simple.  What could be more simple than this top?

The top - Burda Style 02-2011-106B.
I found the softest knit in the flatfold section of the "local" non-JoAnn fabric store.  Now, as I have stated before, I really can't wear prints.  I just can't.  I look ridiculous, like I am in my pajamas.  However, this is the softest fabric ever.  It was only $2/yard, so I got two yards.  I couldn't help it.  I loved it.  It was sooooooooo soft.  While sitting at the pattern books showing my mom the skating patterns I was contemplating (for new sleeve options), I induced they envy of every passer-by who wanted to touch my pretty knit fabric.  When I got it I wasn't sure what to do with it, and I figured that with my trepidation over the pattern, it might be a good fabric for my first experiment with Burda, because I wouldn't be absolutely devistated over the loss.  

I am happy to say that the project turned out well.  Despite the fact that I kept repeating "This has no seam allowances, this has no seam allowances" while tracing, I barely caught myself before cutting out the fabric without any allowances!  Whew!  Disaster averted.  And other than the sewing machine trying to eat my fabric while I was hemming the second sleeve (why is it ALWAYS the last step that gets bungled?), it went together really easily.  While I still don't think I can really wear this in public without looking a little strange (it would be better in a 3/4 or sleeveless pattern perhaps?  Or maybe it needs more accessorizing?  A vest to break up the pattern?), the actual Burda pattern worked out super well.  I love the drafting on the sleeves, and all-in-all a great simple long sleeve shirt pattern.  And, it is sooooooo comfy and soft.  So here is the finished product:

My first Burda ever!

Now for the official review!

Pattern Description: A simple long sleeve t-shirt.

Pattern Sizing: Burda sizing 34-42.  I made a size 40.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!  There are two versions of this in the magazine - one with stripes, and one in florals.  Because of the type of fabric used, my shirt looks a little more like the striped version in terms of visible ease.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Actually, yes!  Other than never telling me to sew up the side seams (I sewed them up just before setting in the sleeves), the instructions were very clear.  Granted, this is a simple pattern I could have figured out on my own, but I figured for my first Burda pattern I should at least try to follow them to see what all the fuss was about.  Now, some of the terminology is a bit... odd.  You can tell the instructions are translated, but there wasn't anything that was totally puzzling.  And, this may sound really odd, but I actually sort of like the Burda instructions - they are like a cookbook.  They say what to do but not how to do it.  I usually try to follow instructions (at least on a first sew-through with a pattern), and the basic outline of procedures left me feeling more open to trying new techniques.  I also think the Burda instructions have practical finishing methods.  These instructions included the use of a twin needle to finish the hems.  I had never used a twin needle before, but I love the results!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved the sleeve!  The drafting is top notch.  I totally understand why so many people love the Burda patterns.  I have a bit of a full upper arm, but I had no problem with these sleeves - they fit great without being too tight or too lose.  The whole shirt is a perfect blend of easy comfort while being just fitted enough to not look sloppy.  

Fabric Used: Mystery knit from the flat-fold bargain section.  I think it might be some sort of cotton or rayon knit (it really doesn't feel like polyester).  It is so incredibly soft.  I had my reservations about the print, but the softness and $2/yard price tag won me over.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added 2" to the length, because I have such a long torso.  I also used clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams, but other than that, no changes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes!  I am so making this again in the future.  I think next time I may take it in slightly at the waist, because I have the swayback and small-ish waist (really it is "average," but I always feel like patterns have too much ease there.  I would also probably try a 3/4 length sleeve because I tend to like that length better than full-length sleeves.  I would totally recommend this pattern!  It is the perfect first Burda pattern - only 3 pieces to trace, not too much fitting, simple instructions.

Conclusion: This pattern has started my infatuation with Burda.  My only issue is with the fabric choice - I don't think the print particularly suits me, but I love wearing this shirt because it is so soft.  I am not sure how much I will wear this shirt out and about - but it is so incredibly soft and comfy, so it will definitely get use around the house.  Overall this pattern is a win, I learned a new technique (how to use my twin needle), and I have a shirt that I love to wear.  Highly recommended.

Ok, some more pictures!

The back.
Twin needle stitching and bias binding around the neck.

Twin needle stitching around the hem.
The fabric print.  Perhaps a bit too busy for me, but so soft and comfy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

JoAnn Memorial Weekend Sale - The Haul

Alrighty, so a few days ago I posted what I considered the best deals from the JoAnn Memorial Weekend sale.  I am happy to say that, except for Simplicity Pattern 2172 (the steampunk pattern - I have NEVER seen it in a store, in any size, sale day or no, so I wasn't too shocked to miss out on that one), I was able to complete my Simplicity pattern wishlist, pick up some fabrics at amazing prices, find some buttons, get some thread, and a few new toys to play with tools to use for my upcoming tailoring projects.

It took a trip to two different JoAnn stores.  The first is what I consider the farthest JoAnn within reasonable distance (~20 miles).  I had been stalking some of their red tag fabric since I visited that store a few weeks ago, so I was very excited about them still having it when I got to the store this morning.  It was possibly the best JoAnn sale day experience ever.  First, they had all the red tag fabric I wanted.  Second, they were well stocked in Simplicity patterns (except that one...).  Thirdly, I met a super nice lady who was looking for a button.  We kept running into each other.  She was older, but used to do ballet (until her 30s!) and made her own ballet costumes.  She was very interested in my skating costumes (I had my fabric swatches for thread matching), and informed me about a good German bakery (with strudel!) in the next shopping center over (I was on a schedule, but this bears the need for further inspection).  She was super cool and probably one of the nicest random people I have met in a long time.  Fourthly, they had ALL of the Gutterman thread colors in stock and were even re-stocking the shelves as I was looking!  Amazing.  Fifthly, they actually carry tailoring supplies at this JoAnn location!!!  None of the other ones have such supplies that I have seen (at least, not in the quantity as this store), so I got some fun new toys.  Sixthly, and most amazingly, I only had to wait about 3 minutes at the cutting line.  Now, I had a ton of fabric to cut, and, unfortunately, the other lady getting fabric cut was making a wedding gown for her future-daughter-in-law, so she had a ton of fabric to get cut as well.  So, sorry poor people behind me!  I hope your AnimeCon costume turns out well!  Thanks for waiting!  Also, as this store has mostly fabrics and fewer crafts, and I effectively blocked everyone from checking out by taking so long at the cut counter, I had no line at the checkout counter either (bwahahahaha, ermh, yeah).  All in all a great first stop and totally worth the drive.  The only disapointments: no white grosgrain ribbon and no 10 yard bolt of muslin.

Since I had such success at the first store (and used my 10% off everything coupon), I wasn't planning on doing as well at the second store, but I actually found some amazing things.  I went to red-tag land first.  Found some nice rayon fabric for a button down shirt, some stunning taffeta (I could not leave it behind....), and (are you ready for this?) $5/yard 100% silk doupioni!  At a JoAnns!  I was letting my fingers wander over the fabric, so I felt it before I saw it.  It felt like real silk, but my first thought was no, can't be.  I looked at the label - yup.  100% silk.  Well then, can't be red tag.  Wrong again!  $10/yard red tag silk - half off goes to $5/yard.  Happy dance!  I was also able to pick up the remainder of my Simplicity patterns (except that one...), found some white grosgrain ribbon, and the bolts of 60" muslin!  Yay!  Luckily I had speedy cutting lady, not grumpy cutting lady.  But most of the people at this store act like they wish you weren't there (the other customers, I mean), and the are ALL there for home dec.  All of them.  When you are buying garment fabric they just give you that look, like, what, are you so poor you have to make your own clothes?  There was one nice couple snapping up Simplicity patterns, (wife at the book, barking out numbers and letters, the husband pawing through patterns).  Unlike first store, NONE of the drawers are labeled correctly (you would think they could at least get the right pattern company on the drawer?), so I was more than happy to help them locate a few of the patterns (princess costumes!) for their kids.  Is it insane that I look up all of these things online, go to the stores with a list of the pattern numbers and sizes, and just start digging?  Am I really the only person who does this?  I can't be the only one who actually tracks these sorts of sales?  (Trust me, if we had a Hancock, I would track them too!).  *Sigh*  Maybe other people don't care because they are just there for the home dec?  Whatever.  Anyway, to make life better, nerdy check-out guy was sort of trying to flirt with me, so even though I didn't have the 10% off everything coupon (as I had already used it), he scanned one for me anyway.  Win!

Ok, enough blabering, let's look at the goods!

I really wanted to get some of this stretch mesh in every color!  I really want to do a sheer sleeved figure dress at some point, and can't beat the pricing on these:

Stretch mesh (aka "that nasty sh*t, as dubbed by grumpy cutting lady)

Next: normal clothes fabric.  The green is destined to be a button-down shirt, as is the aqua.  The light blue was $2/yard, so they will be used for (possibly wearable) pants muslin for my Burda Style patterns.

Green: rayon blend, aqua: linen/cotton/lycra, blue: poly/rayon/lycra.

Next, I got some flannel.  This is apparently NOT intended for children's sleepwear.  I don't know why.  This is like the new label on EVERYTHING at the store.  Are the children supposed to sleep naked?  I don't know, whatever.  The dark purple will be used for interlining a coat, and the crazy print for sleepy pants.  I guess I will be sleeping in it at my own risk?  It was $2.50/yard, and I love it.  It's so 80s.  The stripy knit will be a shit, and the light blue is going to be a (possibly wearable) muslin.  I hear the pattern runs big, so I want to test it out on a knit with similar drape to one in my stash, but that doesn't have the sentimental attachment.

Back row: cotton flannel (not intended for children's sleepwear), front: knits.

Now, the pretties.  The red was $2.50/yard.  It it has the black flocking, and will either be a coat or a dress, possibly in some vintage pattern?  The brown/gold was fabulous (even better in person) and it wanted to come home with me.  I love it.  I have a plan in mind, but I am not 100% positive of its future use yet.  And, lastly but not leastly, my 100% silk!  $5/yard.  Love!

Red: flocked poly taffeta, brown/gold: embroidered poly taffeta, green: 100% silk!

Ok, that was it for my fabric stashing, onto the other goodies.  First, patterns.

Costume patterns.  My kryptonite.

Normal people clothes.

Doll & toys.  Vintage Barbie pattern is for my mom!

Next, my new toys!  Got a pressing ham, a seam roll, 10 yards of muslin, and some super fin pins.

Tools of the home couturier.

Also, got lots of buttons!  I wasn't going to get the large packs, but I really want to make some button down shirts, and the only good color matches were in the mixed packs.  The ones on the left are gold sew-on jewels; the right are a silver color.

Buttons, buttons everywhere.

My fav button find.  The picture does not do it justice.

And thread!

Polyester, cotton, embroidery floss, and storage!

And other useful things...

Shoulder pads, 20 yards of elastic, clear elastic, grosgrain ribbon, invisible zip.

I went in with a list and a plan.  Everything was 40-60% off except the ribbon and the zipper (which I need for one of my next 3 projects, and I was able to use a 40% off coupon).  On top of that, 10% of total purchase at each store.  Since I bought so many patterns, I saved over twice what I spent at each store.  Other happy news: my source finally has June Burda for sale!  Score!  My stash is quite happy now, and quite full.   I will be making some online fabric orders in the near future for a very specific project, but I don't know that I will be doing as much intake at JoAnn sales in the near future.  The next few large summer sales will happen around competition dates, during which I will be busy and preoccupied.  My list of pattern wants is much reduced (there are a few Vogue, the new Buttericks, and that one Simplicity!), but I can now wait and evaluate the new styles as they get released, instead of searching about and hoping to get patterns before they go OOP.

All in all, a good start to the long weekend.  The plans now: finish putting stones on the skating dance dress, hem my coat, and sew on the buttons.  Finishing two projects in one weekend?  We dare to dream.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tall, Small, and Regular - Demystifying Burda Sizing

Alright, as previous posts indicate, I have successful stalked the internets for the June Burda preview.  And, luckily, the patterns I really like for next month all fall in the normal size ranges.  Of course, I have not been so lucky with my previous issues for February, April, or May.

It started in February when I picked up my first Burda magazine.  I was in love with this dress:

Burda Style 02-2011-135
and also this coat:

Burda Style 02-2011-133
Sadly, both of these patterns are in the plus sized 44-52 range.  While grading down from a 44 to a 40 might not be too difficult, I still consider myself a newbie to Burda, so I am not sure if I am ready to try altering those pattern quite so much yet.

Then in April I was smitten with these pants:

BurdaStyle 04-2011-131
But they came in non-standard sizing: 17-21.  I had no idea what this was, but I had only just figured out that I should be something around a size 40 up top and a size 42 on the bottom.  I was just sewing up my first Burda pattern, so I eventually figured out that the 17-21 was petite sizing, but I wasn't sure what that meant, except that I wouldn't be making these pants any time soon.

Then, of course, in May, I fell in love with this dress:

BurdaStyle 05-2011-106.  May Best of BS award winner!
Which is sized 72-88!  Argh!  I found out this is sized for "tall," but, like petite, had no idea what this meant in terms of actual sizing.  I figured I would have a better go with tall than short, but I still needed to figure out what that meant.

Eventually, after some internet research, I was finally able to figure out the Burda short/regular/tall sizing scheme.  It is nicely illustrated here (I found this somewhere on the internet a while ago; apparently this useful bit of info used to be included in the magazine):

It is a bit difficult to see (clicking on it should bring it up larger), but here is a summary:

The Burda petite sizing is 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.  These numbers are HALF the regular size numbers.  The tall sizing is 72, 76, 80, 84, 88.  This is DOUBLE the regular size numbers:

17 = 34
18 = 36 = 72
19 = 38 = 76
20 = 40 = 80
21 = 42 = 84
        44 = 88

So, all you have to do to pick out the correct petite/tall size is take your regular number and either divide by two or multiply by two.  For example, I like those petite pants from April, so all I have to do is take 42/2 = 21.  So I would trace a 21.  For the tall dress I need a combo of 40 and 42 x 2 = 80 and 84.

Then, once you have traced the pattern, you either have to add or decrease length.  The regular sizes are sized for a person who is 168cm, around 5'6" in height.  Petite is for 160cm, approximately 5'3" height; and tall 176cm, around 5'9".  So, clearly, going from a Petite to regular will need an increase in length the same amount that going tall to regular would need a decrease. Going from tall to petite might be a bit of a challenge, because that is a lot of length being taken out, but I would be curious if someone tried it.  In any case, there are several lines that must be adjusted to change the length appropriately.  The values on the chart are given in mm, but I will convert to centimeters and approximate inches for those who don't have metric measuring instruments.

High bust: 7mm =0.7cm = 0.27" = 1/4"
Top of rib cage: 13mm = 1.3cm = 0.51" = 1/2"
Hip: 10mm = 1.0cm = 0.3937" = 3/8"
Mid-thigh: 20mm = 2.0cm = 0.79" = 3/4"
Mid-calf: 20mm = 2.0 cm = 0.79" = 3/4"

For the sleeves:
Sleeve cap: 5mm = 0.5cm = 0.20" = 3/16"
Mid-sleeve: 20mm = 2.0 cm = 0.79" = 3/4"
Also, the sides of these sleeves must be taken in or widened at the seams, tapering to the cuff, so they fit in the armhole (bottom sleeve picture in the outlined box above).

Total length adjustments: 60mm = 6.0cm = 2.36" = 2 3/8" (but if you go by the estimated inch values above, it is actually 2 5/8").  This is for an 8cm height difference, the total length needs to be adjusted by 6cm.  This can help you figure out how much length alteration you may need.  Unless you are like me, where you have an extremely long torso and short/average legs.  I would probably shorten the tall dress then re-lengthen it just to make sure it was going to hit the right spots.  For the petite pants, I will just lengthen them as suggested, but I will also be sure to make a muslin.

Of course, then there are the children sizes (100s) and men sizes (???) and the maternity clothes.  I haven't even begun to figure those out yet, so don't ask.  I don't really have a need for any of them, so I haven't really worked to figure them out, but if I ever find the need in the future, it will be another sizing post then.

So, there.  Falling in love with a petite/tall size is not the end of the world.  Falling in love with a plus size... I am still working on that one, but I might be close enough that I could eek by doing my own re-sizing.  Especially for a knit pattern.  For that coat, well.  I have other coat patterns.  But I still totally want one in a jacquard or brocade!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memorial Weekend Massive Sale

For those of us in the US it is approaching the lovely long holiday weekend for Memorial Day.  Which, of course, means massive craft store sales!  I don't have a Hancock close by, so again I will be making the rounds at the local JoAnns.  There are a couple of great deals this time around:

$1 Simplicity patterns (limit 10)
50% off Buttons
50% off Red Tag fabrics
50% storage
50% notions
$30 for 10yards of 60" muslin

Also, this entire week is 40% off Gutterman thread.  And, on Friday and Saturday there is a 10% off total purchase (including sales items) coupon floating about.  There are also various fabrics on sale for various amounts, but I can't remember anything that specifically interested me.  I have been scouting out the red tags, and I have decided which stores I shall be planning on visiting.  I am hoping to polish off my Simplicity wish list, and maybe snag some buttons for a few shirts I want to make.  I also hope to pick up some more Gutterman thread.  Hopefully a stash building post will be in the works for next week.

Happy sales hunting everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Newsflash - June Burda Style Preview Posted, Part 2

Alright, so my Italian website has let me down.  BUT the French and Russian websites come to the rescue!  They are set up the same as the Italian site, so they are showing line drawings, model pictures, and garment pictures.  What a concept.  Alrighty then, on to the goodies.

First of all, it appears there will be a new feature in this issue - a Featured Designer dress.  Who the designer is I do not know, but in any case, here is the dress:

This dress might be ok.

I like it much better on the model.  I actually sort of want one.

Here is a case where the line drawing does not make me want to sew it up.
So, well, hmmm.  I do like the dress on a form and better on a person, but the line drawing makes me think that even if I did get this pattern it would be very far down on the queue.

In addition, Burda seems to be continuing their potato sack love:

Color block potato sack.

Spaghetti strap potato sack.

Gathered potato sack.

Minimal effort potato sack.
And, of course, the shirt dress!

Best of both worlds: a potato sack shirt dress!

At least the sleeves are fitted...
I am finding that I like a lot fewer of the styles presented this month.  However, there are a few that I liked:

LOVE!  Love the color, everything!  It's like a blue version of my 80's Barbie dresses.

The line drawing is much sadder.  Clearly, this style REQUIRES a belt to work.  But, I would be ok with that.

Ok, so this is a beach cover up, but I really like it.  Not the color, but that can change.

This dress is sort of cute, nice for summer.  It would almost fit last issue's retro vibe section.

Ok, so I think this looks like a (sexy) lab coat.  I would not wear it in white ever, but in other colors, maybe.

Here is the line drawing.  Not sure about the pockets.  It also comes in shorter lengths.

Sooooooooooooooo looooooooooooong.  I would make it shorter, but I like the top and sleeves.

Pants!  I LOVE these pants!  Perfect jeans pattern, no?

They always seem to make them in crazy colors!  (Ok, there is a white version, but difficult to see.)

For me this top is a maybe.

It does sort of look Audrey Hepburn though....

A simple tee shirt pattern - excellent!  Not exciting, but useful.

I actually like this shirt a lot too.

It looks even better on the model.
So, while there are a few other things in this issue that I might consider sewing if I had the need, really, there are a few shirts and those PANTS.  I am actually super in love with that blue dress, but I just don't know if I could wear it and not look ridiculous.  I don't think I have the legs or hips to pull it off, but I don't know.  Maybe I am just dying for fabric in that color.  Hmmmm....

And now on to the fun part: BWTF.

First of all, why would you create such a horrible bikini pattern?

Wrinkles, wrinkles everywhere.
And then make it up in these horrendous fabrics?

Granny pantie bikini bottoms?

Ummm, what?  It looks like it would be very sad if it got wet.
Of course, they couldn't leave the plus size girls alone either:

Why is that colored patch there?  It makes the stomach look wider!  Imagine it in red - can you say black widow?
Alright, so there wasn't as much to make fun of in this issue either.  Most of it is sort of meh.  I don't care enough to love it or to hate it.  Which is sort of sad.  However, there still must be a best and a worst, so here they are...

And the Best of BS Award for the Month of June goes to....

Pants!  It is unfortunate that the coat covers the details in this picture, but I do really like these pants.
And, finally, the BWTF Award for the month of June goes to.....

She looks like she stole her granny's underwear and went to the beach.  Seriously.  Don't give me that face.
I think Michael Kors would make some sort of comment about the bag being all "matchy-matchy" as well.

In any case, another month announced.  I am debating on getting this issue, but I love those pants, and I would make some of the shirts, possibly some of the dresses (with modifications), maybe that skirt that was shown with the white top.  But seriously, I wear pants all the time, hardly ever dresses or skirts.  I am also very particular about the style of pants that I like.  Lately the Big 4 haven't had a lot of patterns with the silhouette I like (I have the Vogue Alice + Olivia patterns, review to come), or at least, not with a lot of different options for the waistband area.  I like these because they have a more casual style and could be made into jeans or semi-nice pants, whereas my pants love from the April issue would be for slightly dressier options.  So, I think I may have to get this issue, even if it is just for the pants.  Although I will probably make other things as well.  It seems the longer I have a Burda issue, the more things I see that I want to make from it.  Of course, that bikini will never be one of them.

See you next month for July!