Saturday, 26 February 2011

Burda Magazine Patterns

No I'm not planning my next military manoeuvre

Just trying to figure out where 106B is amongst this lot.   I bought my first burda style magazine last week, the February 2011 issue.  I travelled to London for a meeting for work and I happened to find it at WH Smiths at Liverpool Street station.  They don't seem to sell the magazine anywhere in Norwich which is not a bad thing as I wouldn't want to buy too many.  It would be weird to think I could probably die of old age before sewing up all the patterns if it became an out-of-control monthly habit.

I suspected the small neatly folded pattern sheet in the centre of the magazine would look something like the above and it didn't disappoint.   I remember learning in school about 18th century letter writing - the "cross-letters" style used to conserve paper.  Something like this:

I'm sure that if Jane Austen had been told that 2011 sewers would be deciphering 50 patterns printed on top of each other, so really cross-lettering was not that bad, she would not have believed it.  

Although the prospect of tracing one pattern out of 50 printed on top of each other may be daunting it is not going to defeat me.   I have chosen to make 106B, this little Jersey top:

I have quite a bit of Jersey left over from my leggings projects, so I will be using that up.  I will probably use the blue Jersey to go with my Blue Denim Skirt.  This afternoon I will start tracing out the pattern using my newly acquired tracing skills.

I also quite like this skirt but haven't decided yet if I will make it.

I hope that my first burda magazine project will not be too onerous with the added step of tracing out the pattern and following the minimal instructions in the magazine. One thing you can't argue about is the price.  I exaggerated about 50 patterns, but still, where else can you get 36 new patterns all for £4.75?

Look at all these:

Patterns seem to be expensive in the UK.  I haven't bought that many so I don't really know but they have been around £10 a piece.    

Anyway this is what I'll be doing this afternoon.  I am taking it easy as I have had a horrendous cold all  week and still don't feel too great.  I finished my Pendrell during the week.  I am really pleased with it but my current grogginess has delayed the photo session so I hope to post it soon.

Happy Saturday sewing everyone.  

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Pendrell Update

Happy Saturday sewing everyone.  Just chilling with a cup of tea and then I'm going to carry on with my Pendrell blouse.    In case you don't know the Pendrell is the first pattern from Tasia at  Sewaholic which she designs for pear shaped girls.   Here is the link to her excellent blog  There is a sew-along tab on the home page which has all her links about the Pendrell.  She conducted a sew-along for the Pendrell recently and so all the posts are in one convenient place.   You don't have to be a pear to make it - she shows you how to "un-pear" shape the blouse.  In fact I reduced the hip when cutting.

This is in fact the first top or blouse I have ever sewed so it is quite exciting.  Before taking up sewing again in summer 2010 I had only made 2 skirts and a dress.  Since last summer I have made dresses, leggings and a skirt.

I am using a polyester chiffon fabric with colourful glittery circles on it.  I am also trying my hand at underling the blouse inspired by Tasia's posts on underlining.    Unfortunately I can't remember what my underlining fabric is.  I will check when I next go back to the fabric shop.

I started cutting during the week over 2 nights, the polyester on one night and the underlining the next.   They ended up being late night sessions - I think I finished at midnight both nights.    Now cutting is one of my least favourite things about sewing.  Since taking up sewing I have read that some sewers love the cutting part.  If that is you then I am truly envious.  All that getting the fabric straight, lining up the grainline and pinning is enough to put anyone off sewing.   However it is one of the necessary evils (evil being far too strong a word but you get my meaning) in the way of the fun stuff.   As the most tedious part (in my opinion) comes at the start, my new philosophy is to get it out the way - just get started.  I use the dining room table with an old curtain draped over the top.  (Even I probably would have given up by now if my only option was the floor - I still remember the back-aching agony from the couple of times I have used the floor).   If I get the horrible stuff out of the way during the week then I can play with the sewing machine at the weekend (which has to be everyone's favourite part).

I almost forgot - another first for me - I traced out the pattern with Burda tracing paper.  This again took me a night during the week, so I must have spent 4 evenings on the project this week.   Although it took time I think the extra effort is worth it.  I have the pattern now ready to use if I want to do it again and the original is still there if I want to make a different size.

I also did the basting for the underlining over 2 nights - thankfully a much easier task than cutting and it didn't take as long.  I basted by hand.  Tasia has given examples of machine basting the underlining as well as a nifty diagonal tailor basting (a different hand basting method).  I used the running stitch as it was quicker.   Tasia has compared the 2 and she thinks there is less bubbling on the hand basted method.  However - you know what - as Tasia says,  it is up to you.  If speed is your thing then by all means machine-baste away.  Personally I will carry on hand basting until I am more experienced or confident.

The great news is that with all the most tedious parts now out of the way I can now start sewing on a rainy Saturday afternoon!  Here are some pictures of my basted pieces showing the underling and the top fabric.   I cut out the neck and armhole binding in the chiffon fabric but having re-read Tasia's blog, she used the underlining fabric for her underlined silk blouse.  I may do the same but I'll make that decision later.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Angela Kane's Pencil Skirt

This is a denim skirt using Angela Kane's pencil skirt pattern  I shortened the skirt which meant I could leave out the back vent.  I also made the waistband bigger, effectively doubling the side of the pattern piece.  I also added the optional pockets, both on the front and back.  I changed the shape of the front pocket by making the bottom edge of the pocket flat.    I used a lightweight denim.  On my first fitting I thought that it would benefit from being lined and so I had my first go ever at lining a skirt!  I used the black lining out of an old shift dress I was going to sell / throw away.   It took a look of thinking and figuring out and I eventually got there with a lot of help from this excellent Threads video

I thought the waistband would be long enough for it to lap over the left so I could do my first buttonhole but it wasn't long enough.  It fitted exactly the width of the skirt, so I sewed in a metal clasp instead.  If I do this again I will either make the waistband longer so it flaps over the left or I will leave as it is and insert a longer zip that covers the waistband as well.  (I also know next time to check how long the waistband is before I start making up the skirt!).   I really enjoyed all the topstitching.  Angela Kane's Pinafore Dress videos on You Tube are very helpful for this skirt and she tells you how to do the pockets and the topstitching.   I did my own embroidery on the pockets.  I traced over a design of a stick girl I found on the internet and traced it on.  I started to hand sew it but then I thought it would take too long so I actually ended up machine sewing the embroidered design!  I went really slowly, putting the machine on half speed and sewing one stitch at a time.   It came out better than I thought but it took me ages to tie up all the loose ends at the back.  All in all I am really pleased with my skirt.  I finished it on Friday and wore it out yesterday!

I am also wearing a black pair of leggings I made using another of Angela Kane's patterns.  I have made three pairs in total - one blue, one pinky brown and one black (as above).  I have already written about the blue leggings (my first leggings) on my Burda Style page

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Diary of sewing addict!

Hi and welcome to my first post.   I dusted off my sewing machine in the summer of 2010 having not opened it (let alone used it) for over 14 years.  Inside I found my Visa slip from 1996 (pre-digital of course - the ones where your card went in a contraption that slid over and printed out your card details on the slip).   After a bit of messing around I discovered to my delight that it still worked and could actually make things.  Since then I have become a sewing fan and have made quite a few good things (and a couple of duds, albeit wearable ones).

I have a profile on BurdaStyle where I have already posted a few of my finished projects.   I work full-time in a demanding job and I have found that sewing is a brilliant way to completely switch off from work.  You become totally absorbed in what you are doing.  Other sewers love listening to music while sewing.  I love listening to Radio 4 while sewing (I love Radio 4 almost as much as sewing).

I am not a quick sewer, I sew at the weekends around doing other things and will sometimes grab the odd hour after I return from work.  However, I'm not worried about that.   What's the rush?  There's no rush.   If you start to rush then the fun of sewing may go away.   If I am ever inclined to rush or cut corners I just remember Angela Kane's words on one of her shirt tutorials: "This is couture not factory sewing".   Music to the ears of someone who likes to take their time to do a job properly!

Anyway I thought I would start this diary to document the progress of some of my sewing projects.   Sorry no pictures as I haven't worked out how to post them yet!