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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Burda Challenge 1/2017 #106

*Often when reviewing a Burda pattern someone asks about linking to the pattern because they can't find it.  Burda's website is awful. I cannot say I'll always link to a pattern because Burda's site is ridiculous (did I say that already??). I wished you could search THEIR site with THEIR naming convention, but you cannot.

In the search box enter the month and year like "01/2017" and then find the pattern.  Sometimes, Googling the name like "burda 01/2017 #106" works...sometimes it doesn't! LOL!

But all of the monthly magazine patterns are on the website, just beware that it sometimes takes well into the month for the newest patterns to be available. (e.g., not all of July is up yet)

Pattern Description:
Women's running leggings

Pattern Sizing:
34-44. I used a size 44, my standard for Burda bottoms

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Well...



Hahahahaha!

Shameless, shameless copy! I happened to have athletic knit in the stash in these 3 colors and grey. So it was just meant to be!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
They were. The pieces fit together well though because, Burda. I did NOT read the directions for the ankle zippers or waistband finish since I was going to detour from the pattern there.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
They're CUTE! Although, on the body, I like the contrasting insert much less than the pattern photo.


Soooo never realized how much my knees rotate inward! sheesh!

For most, a pocket is important and these are lacking. I made this belt thing awhile back so now I'm not worried if exercise bottoms have a pocket or not.


I honestly do not remember how I constructed it but
1) its a tube (there isn't a true pocket)
2) It has one seam in back
3) it's folded over  and seamed and the zipper is in the seam

I think I must have inserted the zipper, sewed the remainder of that seam, then closed it up on the short end, turning it through the zipper. Does that make sense?? IDK! lol!

I know I measured just smaller than my waist and used the same black knit as the pants, it's thick with a heavy stretch.

Fabric Used:
Blue from SR Harris, black and pink from Fabric Mart.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Lowered front crotch curve 1"
Scooped out back curve about 3/8"  (to create more of an "L" shape)
Left off the ankle zippers (not needed and who wants to fuss with invisible zippers in super slippery knit just for show?! Not I.)
Changed the waistband

I knew I didn't want that bulky elastic waistband finish. I wanted a yoga waistband but worried that it wouldn't stay up when walking (I can't run due to my arthritic knees but  I do take long walks).

I examined a recently purchased RTW pair and the waistband was finished just as I thought it was...there was a separate waistband and facing and there was narrow elastic inserted at the waist.

So I measured and cut separate front and back waistbands and facings. Sewed them together (into a circle) and then sewed the facing to the band. I then inserted 1/2" clear elastic (3/8" would have worked better but I didn't have that on hand) right up against the stitching, folded over, pressed and then attached the entire thing to the pants.

I was too lazy to change thread colors, but it's the inside! LOL!

The wider elastic wasn't super stretchy and it's inserted pretty much 1:1. I would put a little more tension on it next time, and use the narrower width! :)

As you can see in the pics it sits very nicely (and is balanced front to back!) and doesn't cut into the skin at all.

AND! I used my cover stitch on the hems! I was able to thread it and play around a little...I still need to practice...but I knew it was fine for hemming these.



This is after they were worn-sorry!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
YESSS! I probably wouldn't do the contrasting insert again--the hip pieces, sure, but not the crotch pieces. I'd also like to experiment with some of that athletic-like topstitching (flatlock??). I really want a pair in a fun print.

I went on an almost-4 mile walk after finishing them and they were very comfortable!

I am really on the mend now! I think all the swelling and bruising should be pretty much gone in the next few days. I have regained quite a bit of mobility. I think I extended my recovery by stopping the icing/pain killers too soon. I hate taking pain meds though!!

A few days ago, I was able to trace off the Grainline Lakeside pj pattern -- no cutting yet, that motion hurts and a rotary cutter is worse -- but that's okay. I pretty much figured no additional sewing for July so it'll be a bonus if I can crank those out.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Burda Challenge 5/2017 #110


Pattern Description:
Fitted sleeveless top with tie front

Pattern Sizing:
36-44. I sewed a 40/42 combo, typical for me with Burda.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes! Well save for the fact that they used poplin for some reason. Please use a lightweight cotton or something stable but that has drape (e.g. I think charmeuse would be gorgeous)

Were the instructions easy to follow?
They were! Hoorah! :) Hard to go wrong with 3 pattern pieces and what is technically a  very simple silhouette.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the tech drawing when this came out but hated the photo. Thought maybe I'd make it in ponte. And then tons of versions popped up on the Russian site and they started showing up on PR too and then I had to have it.

No dislikes.

Fabric Used:
Cotton voile from Fabric Mart (2.5 year old stash!)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Used a 40 neck/shoulder/armhole and 42 for the rest.
Made self-bias tape instead of the Burda facings.
5/8" swayback adjustment.


I could add a little more room through the back. I don't think I have additional swayback issues, just maybe a little too snug up top and it's hanging up.


bias tape, narrow hem, serged seams 
(I added 3/8" seam allowance instead of 5/8" when tracing)


I lowered the ties 1" and topstitched them down.



I made a fabric loop for the back closure. Several reviews mentioned not needing the back slit. Well, maybe. I have a big head. Huge. There is no way my head is going in this thing without the slit.



Oh next time I'd narrow the shoulder just a tiny bit. Someone lowered the neckline an inch and I love the result. I may try that too!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I will definitely sew it again. It is super cute and in cotton, it's very comfortable. It also makes for a pretty sweet swing-top without the ties.

My hand is still a bit swollen, sore and bruised. It's been a week. My body needs to understand I cannot handle being 'down'. Hopefully I'll be 100% soon.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sew Sew Def Magazine Review

Just a little late... O_o

I forgot. I kept meaning to review it but I was sewing so.much!! that I was writing posts for that stuff and the review fell by the wayside.

Disclosure: I was provided a free issue to review. I did not purchase *this* issue but of course, thoughts and opinions are my own.

On with it!

Sew Sew Def Magazine

From the About Us landing page:


SewSew
 Def is published twelve times a year by Mimi G Style and Norris Danta Ford. Mimi G Style has specialized in presenting sewing tutorials, patterns and inspiration for years and Norris Danta Ford who just began sewing six short months ago has dedicated himself to creating a community for men who sew. Now Sew Sew Def will be providing a multi-cultural sewing magazine that will feature sewing projects, articles, and inspiration for both women and men in the sewing community.

 
We're devoted to filling each issue of Sew Sew Def with on-trend, modern and fresh projects along with two digital pdf patterns in each issue. We will be producing fun features from garment construction to in-depth interviews with sew-lebrities,  home decor projects, fun finds, easy projects and step by step instructions.
 
Along with the digital magazine Sew Sew Def also provides content for SewSew Def TV

I received Issue 2, with Ashley Nell Tipton on the cover. I loves me some Project Runway and no matter how much I might end up complaining about it; I will never not watch it!!



The two patterns included this month were for swimwear. While both are cute and I am always yelling GO INDIE!! when it comes to swim and activewear; I likely won't get use from these. Well, maybe the trunks for my son...but that swuimsuit on an almost 40-year old F-cup? Not.Ever.Gonna.Happen! LOL!

This issue also included the Thread Theory Finlayson sweater and Mimi's casual jumpsuit pattern. There was a deadline to download these two freebies that I missed by my own fault. That's okay!!

Neutral:
  • It felt like a ton of articles. On one hand, there was a mix of how-to and just personal blog-like entries; which is nice. But it also felt like a lot.
  • Price. It's $10 for a single issue or $110 for a 12-month subscription. I pay $7.50/Burda with a sub and ~$11 (depending on the exchange rate) for Ottobre. Different, I know, magazine full of patterns vs magazine full of content with some patterns. I'm just saying the price tag doesn't bother me.

  • What could be better:
    • Editing. I am not a writer by any means, but when reading, typos, syntax and grammar errors manage to leap out at me. It is a little irksome! Not nearly as bad as when I'm reading an article on the website of a major publication or when I've found horrible errors in books published by huge outfits (that you imagine have a TEAM of editors...) but still a bit irksome. Obviously you want individual contributors to retain their voice; but those articles still need editing.
    • I get WHY there will be 1 men's/1 women's pattern in each issue but obviously that isn't a big draw for me.
    What I love:
    • The ads are really low-key and very well disbursed throughout the magazine. Not overbearing at all.
    • The new pattern picks and fabric trends. I love clothing but fashion? Not so much. I don't follow strictly "fashion bloggers" but I do check in on some of the more fashion forward sewers to see what's "in".
    • The "what we're listening to" music piece made me smile. I love music. SO MUCH!
    • A very diverse body of contributors. I hope this remains this way. There's way too much "uber popular bloggers sharing other uber popular bloggers" stuff. Hopefully this continues and we don't just see big named Indies represented over and over
    • All the men's stuff. I love when any underserved market is getting a little light shined!
    • Visually - it looks great. Fantastic color and a layout that works well. Technically; I appreciated clickable links going where they need to go. I do wonder if there's a concern down the line of links "breaking".
    • I love that they are even doing this! It is fun to see sewing expanding. It makes me happy! I also love that they have such big named sponsors.
    I probably won't subscribe but may purchase individual issues depending on the content / patterns. Mimi has a HUGE following with many beginners who enjoy the tutorials and video help that Mimi provides for construction. There's a large focus on easy-to-sew patterns and providing a bit more hand-holding while constructing commercial patterns. This is GREAT because anything that brings people to the dark side into the realm of sewing is fine by me! But obviously, I'm past the beginner/advanced beginner stage and don't require much construction help.

    I do think you should check it out if you're interested!

    Monday, July 10, 2017

    Happy Birthday to Meeeeeee!

    First: Sighhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

    My birthday was Thursday; had a fantastic day! Woke up Friday to a car that wouldn't start. Luckily, I know a little something and got it started but figured it was the battery. Drove it straight to a shop to get a new one.

    Weekend starts! I was ready to whip up a new dress for my ice-cream social on Sunday. Went out Saturday morning to empty the trash and got tripped up by a naughty cat-boy who does NOT belong outside but managed to sneak out the door behind me. So this happened:

     
    Sprained hand and fingers (not wrist). I was so thankful I did not break anything!!!
    how it looked immediately after :-O

    The swelling has gone down and I can now move my first 3 fingers - yay! It still hurts though if I move the "wrong" way. So I'll be taking it easy!

    My New Machines



    I was gifting myself a Brother 2340CV coverstitch for my birthday...and then this Singer Quantum 9985 jumped into my cart. Crazy how that happens!  Both machines were purchased on Amazon and arrived before The Big Day. Yippee!!!!

    My "maybe, one day" TOL machine is a Pfaff. But (and this is not a value judgment), I cannot justify paying that kind of money for a machine right now.  I've seen marked improvement in sewing quality from my $120 Talent 3321 to my $160 Stylist 7258 and I expect to be happy with my $400 Quantum Stylist 9985. I am SURE the Pfaff sews better; but I'm not sure that it's 5x better to justify the outlay right now.  I've been in circumstances where I've been complemented on my sewing in one breath and then the conversations turn to 'junky big box store machines' in the next. I fully admit to always smiling smugly and sharing that I sewed whatever I'm wearing on one of those 'junky big box store machines'! :-D  Hahaha! I'm a jerk on the inside!

    I have been wanting a second machine. The obvious, is working on something with topstitching; but also, I am very rarely working on just one thing at a time.  For awhile I had both the 3321 and 7258 and even though the new one is WAY better, it was handy having two. I was going to grab the infamous Brother CS6000i as a second machine but started researching higher level Singers and was sold on the 9985. As with my other upgrade, I am adding some features that I didn't have before and am happy about! The new-to-me features have an asterisk.

    (I wrote this post back when I ordered the machines, but now I've sewn a couple of things on the sewing machine!)

    ·        * Extra-Large Color Touch LCD Screen
    LCD screen but it is not touch screen
    (update: it is annoying to have to touch the screen, wait for it to "go" (which admittedly is like 2 seconds) and then navigate to straight stitch. It should default to straight stitch).
    ·         *Built-In Sewing Assistance with Audible and Visual Messaging 
    This seems like it could be handy at first; but eventually you get to know your machine
    ·         Easy Threading System with Automatic Needle Threader
    I've never used this. I can thread the needle faster than their 6-second system! :) I am still 20/20 though so  maybe one day I'll appreciate it? Lol!
    ·        *6 Styles of Alphabets & Numerals with Memory Function
    I could see playing around with this, maybe?
    ·         13 Presser Feet
    I am on Singer #3 and have a very nice assortment of feet. With this machine I've gained a new Walking Foot though! I swear mine has worn out. Do they wear out?? I think mine has. My machine feeds better than the walking foot! Glad I didn't buy another one.
    ·         *Presser Foot Sensor
    This just prevents the machine from sewing if you haven't dropped the presser foot.
    ·         *960+ Built-In Stitches with Stitch Reference Chart
    10 Essential, 21 Stretch, 919 Decorative, 13 Buttonholes, 6 Styles of Alphabets & Numerals.
    960 stitches means nothing to me. However, I am always thrilled for extra buttonholes AND I LOVE the design of this buttonhole foot much better than that of the 7258!!! It's an integrated piece so the entire thing moves (like with embroidery) vs feeding the fabric. This should eliminate the issues I have with buttonholes in denim as my 7258 has a hard time feeding it even when I do a nice job grading those seams.
    ·         *Mirror Imaging and Elongation Function with Stitch Editing Capabilities
    I don't imagine I'll do much embroidery-type work but you never know.
    ·         Drop Feed 
    ·         *13 Fully Automatic Perfectly Sized Built-In Buttonhole Styles with Exclusive Buttonhole Underplate
    Oh. See how excited I got before about this?! :)
    ·         Easy-to-Load Top Drop-In Bobbin System with Clear Cover
    (update: I've had drop-in the entire time. I do like that you just hit the needle up/down button twice and it pulls up the bobbin thread)
    ·         Free Arm 
    ·         *Automatic Electronic Thread Trimmer
    We'll see how well this works! (update: IT IS FREAKING AWESOME!)
    ·         Drop Feed with Box Feed Motion
    ·         *Adjustable Presser Foot Pressure
    The 7258 has "automatic" adjustable foot pressure. This can be controlled manually on this machine. I am excited.
    ·       *Stitch Memory with Editing
    ·        Automatic Stitch Length & Width 
    On the non-straight stitches; which you can override.
    ·         Electronic Auto Pilot 
    I never really sew without my foot pedal.
    ·         Needle Up / Down Button
    I LOVE this feature on my 7258.
    ·         Automatic Bobbin Winding
    ·         *Slow Sewing Speed Button Option
    I can see this being handy. This is used in conjunction with auto pilot
    ·         *7mm Stitch Width
    1mm additional width from my current machine.
    ·         *High Sewing Speed
    Goes up to 850 stitches per minute
    ·         Automatic Locking Stitch Function
    This is on the decorative stitches.
    ·         Automatic Reverse
    ·         Horizontal Threading
    And the thread path is covered which is nice.
    ·         25 Needle Positions
    From 13 to 25!
    ·         Automatic Tension
    Ehh I rarely use it on auto and end up dialing it to like 0.5 either way. We'll see how well it works on this one.
    ·         Extra-High Presser Foot Lifter
    Always nice...my current machine does have this.
    ·         Optimum Power Control
    ·         DC Motor
    ·         Heavy Duty Metal Frame
    Idk what "heavy duty metal" is used :-p The 7258 has an aluminum frame. This machine is 3lbs heavier.
    ·         Warranty
    ·         On-Board Storage
    ·         Snap-On Presser Feet

    The Brother coverstitch is quite popular and needs no introduction. It took a lot of mind-wrangling to buy a machine that serves, pretty much, one purpose. But with all of the knits I sew...I'm SO excited.

    I'll review them both after I've had a chance to put 'em through the paces a bit!

    So for now, I have moved some stuff around.  I have the serger and coverstitch on a pine desk that I've had for forever. However, the leg got splintered in last year's house move so I will still need a new table. I scored the Linnmon/Adlis that the new machine is on for just $15 though so I'll be on the lookout for the longer table --for some reason, the 57" Linnmon is 29"+ in depth vs the 23 5/8" of ALL of the other lengths. UGH!!! I don't have 6" to give. Blergh. I really wanted the 7258 to be on a table. I'd have to go with the 78" table, losing the bookcase. I could *possibly* put the bookcase under the window. May clutter that corner...but functionality is more important than aesthetics. We'll see!

     
    SM, thread, some notions above...the messy but necessary sewing box.
    There's a lot of random stuff in that cart. It needs to be cleaned out!
     
    artwork by my daughter! I just need to grab some picture hangers
    Serger and Coverstitch
    Serger thread cones and random stuff in the cart
    Notions, machine manuals and other books on the shelf. That's my 7258 on top.
     

    Cutting table which gets moved around the (tight) space as needed
    White shelf has cutting/tracing tools and pressing tools
    And of course, iron and ironing board

    Before I said I had a few posts in draft mode; there were 4. So it seems I will get caught up on blogging because I sure won't be sewing. Booooo! 

    And unfortunately, I won't be responding to comments right now unless there are questions. A little typing is fine, but I can't do too much. Your comments are all very much appreciated though!!!

    Friday, July 7, 2017

    Burda Challenge 6/2017 #112

    This dress ended up as my work birthday dress because I got distracted by shiny!! Also, I didn't sew nearly as much as I'd planned over the long holiday weekend.

    It was SO HOT yesterday! I decided to try to capture photos outside but oh my gosh. I have very few because I was certain I was going to melt right into the grass.

    My expression is pained. LOL!
     
     
    In the side view, I am totally mean-mugging a passerby. She was all.up.in.my.business! I don't know why she was so concerned with what I was doing! Sheesh!
     
    I didn't do my standard 5/8" swayback adjustment. I'm not sure why. I probably just forgot. It's a tad long in back. And, I love the back v but boy is that hard to get into alone! Keep that in mind. 

    Pattern Description:
    Fitted V-neck dress with godet skirt panels

    Pattern Sizing:
    36-44. I sewed a 40/42/44.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
    Yes!

    Were the instructions easy to follow?
    They were fine. But again, it's a pretty straightforward silhouette.  As far as lining the bodice, I tend to do technique based stuff like that based on my own experience rather than instructions. (Sometimes I do read them because you never know when you'll learn something new!) When I line a sleeveless dress (or in this case, bodice), it's all about the width of the shoulders. On a wide shoulder I'll sew both up, attach them, and then close up the shoulder seams by machine.

    On narrower shoulders, I leave 3 seams open (sides and back), attach neckline/armholes, and then sew the other seams up. This is how I finished this one.

    Again, I was able to trim off 1/8" from the lining and avoid understitching. I attached the lining to the skirt seam by hand. This didn't turn out perfectly, it's a little lumpy on the outside, but then I'm never happy when I line the bodice and attach bodice + lining to the skirt at the waist seam. Seems like the bodice ALWAYS sags.

    Maybe next time I'll try letting the bodice hang free and add thread chains at the side seams.



    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
    I love the shape. It's right up my alley. The length is perfect and I love a V-neck.

    I like the back V too but it's hard to zip yourself into! I should teach Wilson the cat to zip dresses...

    The length!! I said that. So what. :)

    I did not like the same piece for front and back skirt. For the front you cut on the fold, for the back you add seam allowances and cut 2. I've never seen that before!

    The godets went in completely effortlessly. I always take a couple shots in motion and 1) this gives me my "outtakes" that I post sometimes and 2) in this case, shows the godets in motion.

    It's such a nice shape. A little swingy and feminine but not too sweet.
     
    curtsy-esque

    Fabric Used:
    I went back to my email...it's a poly/wool blend! Poly-cotton(??) suiting from FM. It takes a press beautifully but came out of the dryer (and sewing process!) completely wrinkle free. Hence my assumption that there's some blend of natural and synthetic.

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
    I used a 40 neckline and shoulder, 16 bust and 18 waist/skirt. If there is a waist seam, I need a 44. If not, a 42 is usually okay. I did do flat pattern measurements at the waist and hip.

    I used an invisible zipper instead of exposed.

    I managed to sew that label super close to the edge. Oops.

    I blind-hemmed by machine. My hands have been KILLING ME. Did I mention I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right hand? Yeah. Sigh.

    So...

    Way back when I first learned that this was a doable thing, I was all excited. But my 1st machine did not do a good job at this. The fabric always wanted to creep horizontally and things would go wonky. So I gave up on blind-hemming by machine. I've had my Singer 7258 for over 2 years and have never done a blind hem because "blind hem by machine sucks". (yes, I am a 12 year old on the inside).

    Well, my new machine (yes, you read that right! More to come!!) and I have gotten more acquainted. And I thought, "hmmm...maybe...?? PLUS, this fabric has texture and even if it isn't perfect, it'll be less visible..."

    Well, it is darn near perfect! It turned out amazingly well!!

    You can *just* see the stitching if you look close enough. You can see them towards the bottom of this pic and follow the line of stitching. I bet, if I went back in on that lower area and steamed it, those would faint a bit more into the fabric.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
    If the silhouette interest you, go for it! It isn't anything new or exciting but I like it even so. I wasn't thrilled when I first finished it. I thought the print looked too checkerboard-like. And interestingly, I really did not like it with a black belt. Much better with a pop of color (I have this red one and a yellow one).

    I doubt I'd sew it again but I bet the basic b&w print will mean lots of usefulness.

     
    I still have 3 draft posts that need photos and will be ready to go. Not much sewing this weekend so hopefully my blogging will catch up.

    Until later!