Friday, 30 May 2014

Hooray! I'm done! Burda Millitary Jacket finished!

Wow- that was a long haul and I finished it just under the wire too! I think for my next Make A Garment A Month project I will make a scarf-LOL!

I am very happy with my jacket even with all her Flaws, and she has many-believe me. My husband has named this my 'Zombie Hunting Jacket'. But I don't want to get it dirty just quite yet.( huge fan of The Walking Dead )

This will be a good coat for running about town in, paired with jeans. I didn't really plan to wear it with a dress, but today I just grabed it and took it to work with me so my lovely girlfriend Denise could take my picture. Thanks D!

This is my Zombie grunge look.

I did add shoulder pads because I always remember a professional tailor telling me they are always in style when you are making a suit - and they reminded me of my Dad looking so statuesque and crisp going off to work.

I love most of all that I used his hardwear. On the epaulettes I used the RCEME pins which means he was in the Mechanical Engineers. The broach is actually a hat pin. I love this one , because the brass has been polished so much over time it is almost worn smooth. I have no idea what the ribbon stands for, I'll have to ask my Mom.

I used bright red lining In case I need to signal passing air planes and because this was a Value Village acquisition that I knew would come in handy one day! Yeah- stash busting. I wound up using very small button holes on my belt because for some reason I could not make the eyelets work- so much for having a very expensive machine, functions work wonderfully on samples but when it comes to the real thing that's a whole other ball game! The same with my keyhole button holes. Great sample, crappy reality. Upside - I am now an expert at removing button holes.

And yes it really does fit me. I made a size 40 which I thought would be plenty big but by the time it's lined and shoulder pads are added it was perfect, I won't be getting a bulky sweater on under it! There were no alterations made to the pattern, other then for my short arms. I'm lucky enough to still have my proportions balanced even if I have put on a few pounds. But if I were ever to make this again I would add about an 1 1/2" to the torso length to accommodate the belt a bit better. Or because I'm lazy, I'd forget the belt altogether!


I was going to point out the defects but have changed my mind, I'm over them now and I'm ready to make a new SCARF.

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.


Monday, 26 May 2014

A Small Distraction. McCalls 5998

I know, I should be finishing my Burdastyle Military Jacket. It's almost done, I just have to attach the belt loops, do the buttons and button holes, hem it and put the shoulder pads in. But.....

I got distracted. My friend Karen asked me to make doggy tuxedos as a shower gift for her daughter Kayla. Kayla has two Labs that will be hanging out at the wedding so they need to be properly attired too, right? Karen liked the idea of ruffles with the black lacy edge on it. I agreed - not having a clue how to do it. This is how I get myself into trouble!!!!

First, here is the finished look. Are they just not the cutest thing you ever saw?!

I literally started off with a sketch as per my conversation with Karen. This is how I envisioned them.


Then I found this pattern. Weird how close that is ... Right?

McCalls 5998 View B , size XL , fits a 20" Labrador's neck.

So it's simpler then I had in my mind but I bought it for the size and shape.. Never having made any dog clothes before I wanted a starting place. And the rest I just made up as I went along.

I had to figure out how to the edging - did you know they sell sewing machines that just stitch edges like this? Wow , you learn something new everyday. I searched around the web to find out how to do that stitch without buying the machine, but no luck. I think you can buy books that show you how to use your home sewing machine to do things like this but I needed it faster then buying a book. So I set to work playing with my stuff. I made lots of awful tangled thread messes but finally got something I liked and looked similar to my vision.

I used regular weight polyester thread in the bobbin and a button hole twist in the top. It was too thick with button twist in both and too fine with just regular thread. The stitch I used was a hem stitch A2:25 on my Husqvarna and I shortened it to 3.5 and left the width alone.

On the folded edge of a 2' wide ,( cut on the straight) strip, I laid a piece light tear away stableiser underneath and stitched away slowly . Then tore away away the front and back of the stableiser carefully.

And ta da!
I think it turned out great. This could have so many applications, collars, cuffs, flat pipping. On a bias strip it would work on neck finishes. Baby clothes ,quilting and heirloom items of all kinds. If any one knows of some books or a website that explains more on how to do this kind of work, please feel free to comment with a link. Thanks.
I added a front placket, used Seam A Seam 2 to hold it all together and top stitched it to the front of the 'bib'. I also used interfacing . The pattern called for the bow tie to be made out of ribbon but I chose to make the bow ties with the black bridal satin. More stately looking, don't you think?

I also made the card using book pages,stamping, free hand doodles and torn paper and put all the neighbourhood family names on the little houses,including Kayla's soon to be last name. I wrapped it in tissue and jute and served it in a bird house planter box- Kayla collects bird houses. I have to say of all the beautiful gifts she received these doggy tuxedos stole the show! It's times like this when I'm very happy that I sew so I can make people happy with the things I make.

Thanks for checking in. Your comments are always welcome.

Stay tuned: the Military jacket will be finished very soon.


Friday, 16 May 2014

Burda Military Jacket - getting close to finished....

In my mind I have finished my Military Jacket, when in fact it is not finished. I just want to move on to making some spring and summer clothes with all the wonderful colours and prints. I keep getting distracted looking at everyone else's blogs and all the great projects they are making. I feel like Dug the talking dog from the movie UP. The Squirrl scene:

That's one of my excuses, the other one is procrastination. I'm sure every seamstress is familiar with it. I'm procrastinating not because it's not working out or there are fit issues, the truth is, it couldn't be better. I was so worried about working with the pleather but it worked just fine. I sweated bullets over setting in the sleeves and they went in like butter! Now the lining- I machine basted the the shell in this morning and OMG, it fit! I thought I would have to fiddle and hand stitch, or do 'couture' work as I like to call it. But no, all is well. I'm doing it the old fashion way. I've looked up so many tutorials on bagging a lining and ya... I just don't get it, it looks so confusing to me. Here's a peek at the basted lining.

The top stitching has given me the most grief so far. I started out using a single thread and then using a double stitch that was okay for the pockets and flaps. However it's not so nice on the back side and there is a tab on the collar that flips over and is buttoned, so I had to get creative and sew portions from the back side- and I did it wrong twice so there was some swearing and unsewing going on. I switched to two threads in the top for most, with a single stitch .Then I had to put it aside for my sanity for a few days or there may have been a homoside! What I have learned for next time - use proper topstitching thread in top and bottom!

I had not planned on making the belt or belt loops but when pillaging through my many BUCKETS of buttons I came across a bag of brass Miliary buttons and hardwear that my mom must have given me at some point in time. Oh man what a treasure to find!

These were all from my very own Dads army uniforms. My Dad passed away over 30 years ago, so these are really special and I think he would get a kick out of me using them. Especially when he single handedley invented recycling- just a slight stretch..... Included is a brass buckle and a ribbon and some hat pins and other assorted pieces. After finding these I had to recearch what he did in the Army, he was in the Engineers- I had no idea! They are the guys that fix the equipment and vehicles, this was a great distraction! So now I have to make a belt. I have been looking for some brass grommets - no luck. So I'm going to try my hand at making some eyelettes for the belt. My machine is pretty fancy so I think it can be done. I just discovered it makes really amazing keyhole button holes too.

There we go. I'm all set, that took about 2 minutes. Some Frey Check, black thread and a black Sharpie marker and I'm good to go. Oh Man, now I gotta go to work- and I was just getting my Mojo back!


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Burda Jumpsuit 02/2013#124

It pays to clean out your closet every once in a while! Look what I found hiding. I made this Burda Magazine jumpsuit at the end of last season and then forgot about it.

It was very easy to put together especially because I didn't bind the pockets or the neckline. I had to adjust through the torso , it was long waisted and I am not. That was an easy fix. I just removed some length from the bottom of the bodice. It has elastic at the back waist and nice deep pockets, and is so comfy to wear- except when it's bathroom time.... The front waist does not have elastic or gathers so it sits flat over the tummy area which is more flattering then having a lot of excess material in that region.

Ok, she looks better in it! LOL. Mine gaped under the arms a bit so I threaded some shearing elastic through the hems of the arm holes and that seamed to do the trick- I won't win an award for that alteration but I was too lazy to take it apart and redo it. If I make it again I will do it properly. I think I could even make it one size smaller. Live and learn.

When I make it again I will use a weightier fabric, I have some nice red linen in my collection - humm..

If you have a nice long waist you could have fun accessorizing with belts but I just used a braided jersey tie, nothing fancy.

It was such a nice sunny day.... I gotta get out of the sewing room a bit more and get some colour!!


Sunday, 11 May 2014

Thursday, 8 May 2014

May MAGAM up date

Slow and steady! I just keep plugging along on my Burda Milatary Jacket 5/2010#127.
Let's see- there has been lots of top stitching and no broken needles, yeah me! I don't know why I torture my self with all this top stitching. It is not one of my strengths! And to boot I'm using a double stitch which is painfully slow. It is ok but not perfect , oh well. Also sewing with pleather offers it's challenges. I use a Teflon presser foot,so that helps. Pressing is another issue altogether , I've used a press cloth and a light touch for the sleeves seams and yoke and they turned out well yet when I pressed the shoulders they somehow scorched. Why,why, why,?! Fortunately there will be epaulettes on the shoulders so it will not be noticed, but I will know and that will bug me!
My dress form (dolly lama) is bigger then I am so it looks like it will not close but I assure you it fits. In fact I cut it out a size bigger so I could actually wear clothes under it.
Progress from here on in will be slow. I will procrastinate with the lining. This is not a lined garment so I will be on my own for that and I usually fudge some convoluted method together- yikes! I am also very nervous about setting in the sleeves- pleather leaves no room for errors, every stitch shows if you need to unstitch anything.........wish me luck.

Making a Burda magazine pattern

If you have never made a Burda magazine pattern I'll give you some idea of how I go about it. It will seem a bit daunting in the beginning but after a few (or 30)years it becomes second nature.LOL! I remember how complicated it seemed at first but after making that very first dress I was hooked! The only so called hard part is copying the pattern pieces , but once you have done that it's a piece of cake, you just sew it together!

The first few years I worked with these Burda magazines they were completely in German which I neither speak nor read but there were pictures and illustrations so I went with it. By the time they started translating them to English it was so poorly done it didn't really matter to me because I was so used to figuring it out by myself. But the instructions are so much better now. I was young and broke and it was very good bang for my buck- in fact I still think it is when you consider here in Canada we can pay 35$ plus for just one Vogue pattern! Yeah- sometimes it's a crap shoot as to whether you will like any of the styles that month but I usually find a few things I like. For example this jacket is from issue May 2010, and it never struck me then but seeing all of the Military looks around these days it was great to know I had it in my pattern in my 'Library'. Some times it would be a pain to have to search through crates of books when I was on a mission but now I look on the Burdastyle website to find the model then I just search for the issue. Way easy. Yes you have to add seam allowences but again, it's not that hard. Practice makes perfect right? And isn't that why we like doing this in the first place - so we can get better at our skill? At least that's part of my process.

Picking a style for me is not just about the fashion layout. I need to look at the illustration and the shape of the pieces to determine if it's what I want at the moment. It maybe too complicated or what ever - same as on a pattern envelope, all that info is inside the mag in the instruction booklet.

All the styles are multi sized , so after choosing your size ( European sizing) using the corresponding dash type line, you search for the pieces in the giant map ... This is the daunting part!! Maps are labled A,B, etc,and pieces are colour and number coded. Then what I do is, using a sharpie marker trace over my pieces. All the darts, notches, grain lines etc are there, so make sure you get them all. Then I place tissue paper over top and re-trace. I add my seam allowences when I'm cutting out to avoid even more paper work. Any additional info is in the booklet so be sure to read it. Most models will require you to draft extra pieces like facings or pocket pieces cuffs or bindings. Again make sure to take note of these because you will need them too!! All the dimensions are included.

notes of caution, if you are using a sharpie it could bleed through so make sure you protect the surface you are working on - I'd hate to see a dinning room table ruined! I trace mine the first time so I can clearly see it and not get lost. If I happen to need a different pattern on the same map sheet I will use a different colour sharpie.

Personally I don't find this procedure any more difficult then down loading a pattern, taping the tiles together and cutting them out.

Some of the benefits I have found of using Burda through the years have been vast amount of styles contained in each issue, such as all the current trends for women, children, men, babies, costumes, vintage, and accessories. There are craft ideas, re-fashioning, and styling suggestions. Some times I have thought an issue was pretty lame, only to re- visit it a few years later and realize it was way ahead of its time. Every issue offers at least one garment used in an in depth picture tutorial, but for most, some level of sewing skill is assumed. There are articles on designers - up and comers and old. Photo shoots are usually in a beautiful locations and there is always something interesting to read related to fashion, fabric, and sewing techniques. For me the best part of my month is when that brown envelope arrives in my mail box! It's time to put the tea pot on, sit back and escape into my own little world ! Burda over the years has offered me countless hours of enjoyment and provided me with a wealth of information and education. I have carted boxes of them with me through all my moves and I would not give up a single issue. So if you haven't yet tried one they are available for purchase as single issues and subscriptions or you can down load an individual model / pattern from the website. I subscribe to mine through a German-Canadian news company - GCNews


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Re fashioning a new sewing room accessory

I made this.....

I was inspired by some of the many creative uses for yard sticks and rulers that I have seen on Pinterest and around the internet. Here a a few of those inspirations.

Because I didn't have a bunch of yard sticks at my disposal, I used what was available to me. Paper.

It started it's life as a promotional box from a hair product company. However I saw a new potential. On one of those occasions when I wanted my sewing room to become Pinterest worthy and thought every thing should be cute and funky and matching, I set to work with Mod Podge and paper to transform this-

In to this-

This is scrapbooking paper 'rulers' by Tim Holtz and Mod Podge at work to create a sort of modern industrial looking storage case. This is now the home of my staple gun and staples, and I don't mind having this on display in my sewing room at all!

If anyone knows how to distress the metal please feel free to comment or direct me to a link. Thanks.


Monday, 5 May 2014

A spring baby quilt and card

Green is the colour of spring, healing, and new life. This is my little offering to new little life! I thought these were great colours for a baby shower gift when you are not sure of the gender. As it happened- it was a boy! Tristen. I think this could have worked for a girl too... Right?

It's a simple 9 patch. I kinda wished I would have put a bit more quilting into it but it was a last minute thing. I'm not sure of the dimensions, I usually just make theses up as I go along, and stop when I think it's big enough. This one fits a crib to be sure. But it's small enough that Mom can pack it around with her. The back- I forgot to take a picture of - is a nice cozy flannel in white. I believe every new child needs a hand made quilt, made with love!

I also love making cards! But once all my card making gear comes out I'm afraid my sewing gets put on the back burner and sewing for me is like breathing air!

My cards are usually one of a kind. This one is a water coloured image with torn embossed paper, vintage velvet and machine stitching.

Happy spring everyone!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Butterick 6024

Here's my next offering to the Laundry Gods. Butterick 6024
I am making A/B combo. View A without the train.

I thought this would be a cute summer top so I am making it up in a cotton print. This is one of my newer pieces from Fabricland, I think I got it in March. It's not quilting fabric but it sure feels like it and I'm not crazy about clothes made with quiting cottons- to me they just look to stiff and 'House wife-y'- I know, call me crazy, but that's how I feel. The colours are cream and dark navy. I am being good and sticking to my plan to sew with more colour and prints. Ya - it almost looks black but it's not, so that counts. It will look good with jean capris.
The hubby is teaching me how to use the self timer setting on my camera and I kinda chopped off his head! Oops. I also apologize for the nightmare of a back ground - my messy sewing room! Or the sweat shop as I like to call it. I dream about those beautiful sewing spaces you see on Pinterest .......... Dream on!
Here I have Lola staring me down while I work, talk about pressure. Then she likes to play hide and seek under my instruction sheets, it's kinda funny to watch her in action, like she is sliding into home plate. Then I was trying to press a big piece of yardage but gave up because she would not get off of it!!! What, who me?
Lola is a pure bred Bermese and they don't shed fur like most cats. Thank goodness because she is all over everything.
It is super easy to make , the instructions are very good. I wound up making a size XS because when I compared my measurements to the ones written on the bodice pattern piece, there was ample play. I find it's much better when I go by the size inside the envelope then on the envelope,I think that is where most new sewists go wrong when choosing what size to cut. This is a very generous style because I am usually a S/M and not an XS. I like this pattern and will for sure make it up 2-3 more times, linen perhaps, some lawn, and I'm toying with the idea of some rayon jersey for a bit of swing and drape, and turn it into a dress.
At the end of the day it's a still a big shapeless tunic. The picture on the envelope alludes to more 'fit' then it actually has, and although it is not a boat neck, bra strapes will show with the slightest shift in movement.
I saw this made up on someone's blog - sorry I don't remember who's, and it looked better I thought made up in a plain colour fabric because you could see the pin tucks and design lines. Having said this I wore it to work the other day and received tons of compliments. Next time, if I make it with a print, I will not put a seam down the back. I don't like how it didn't line up very nicely and I don't think it is necessary for fitting.
In conclusion it's a sweet little top. I like the cap sleeves,they cover that bit of under arm fat. If you need an easy, loose fitting style for summer, give this one a try. The end