Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book review: Burdastyle sewing handbook

Book Index/Chapter headings;

Chapter 1: Getting Started
Setting up sewing spaces, sewing toolkit, using a sewing machine.

Chapter 2: Using patterns
Selecting your size, tracing off patterns and adding seam allowances

Chapter 3: Let's start sewing
fabrics, finishing techniques, closures

Chapter 4: The skirt
Includes the skirt pattern and 2 variations.

Chapter 5: The blouse
Includes the blouse pattern and 2 variations

Chapter 6: The dress
Includes the dress and 2 variations

Chapter 7: The coat
Includes the coat and 2 variations

Chapter 8: The bag
Includes the bag and 2 variations

Does this book have clear illustrations or photographs?
Yes, the instructions are quite good for the patterns too. I really enjoyed the page at the end of each chapter that includes another 13 or 14 variations of that pattern.

Would you recommend this book as a MUST HAVE?
I like the style of writing, and I like the variations on each pattern, it really shows you don't need an arsenal of patterns if you are creative with some basic ones. I will admit though that none of the patterns except for the coat really jump out at me personally and my favourite coat variations (no. 10 and 13) have got no extra elaboration on how to make them! (I reckon 13 is just shortened into a jacket and 10 looks as if the darts have been rotated out to make an a-line coat skirt)

I thought the basic sewing information included was good and I like the information on sewing a curved princess seam, its how I do it now but I wish I'd known it when I started sewing.

I ordered mine online and to be honest I don't know if I'd have bought it if I could have flipped through it first (Ah, who am I kidding I have a sewing book addiction - I can never say no to adding another one to my library!). It seems to be focused towards beginners/advanced beginners and if you were just starting out or hadn't been sewing for long I would maybe recommend it to you but also tell you to get a good fitting book and a good basics book like Readers Digest Complete guide to Sewing or The Vogue sewing book, which have a lot more beginner sewing information but just don't come with the patterns.

So in summary: A good basic book but unless you like any of the patterns included, I would recommend having a flip through it before you buy.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Burda 6011: Bella Jeans

I love this pattern! It's a real TNT for me, I love being able to grab it any time I need jeans and just sew it straight up - no fitting!
The adjustments I've made in the past though are: made the waistband lower to sit at my natural waist, put a zipper in instead of a button down fly, and took about a 1" wedge out of the back to stop it gaping, Otherwise its a straight Sz 46.

I used some Denim I got at Rathdowne Fabrics on my last visit to Melbourne - It was a 2m remnant of nearly black stretch denim, I'm kicking myself I didn't grab more actually!

I think I hemmed them a bit long this time though, I might take them up by an inch or 2 because without heels they sit a bit long at the hem.

I used some sateen I had left over to face the waistband and rivets on the pockets (don't mind the chalk marks!)

Hide and seek with the kitty cat!

Well I've started my holidays (3 weeks, woohoo!), looking forward to going to the beach and lots of sewing, lol! Wishing everyone a great Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Simplicity 2601

This is the second time I've made this blouse, the first time was in a cotton not long after I started sewing so it had no adjustments. I've never worn it, it never fit properly around the bodice (no FBA), and the peplum tending to stick out a lot because the fabric I used was quite a heavy cotton, almost a quilting weight. So this time around I used a Cotton Satin which is a lot thinner and made a sz18 with a 1" FBA and added 2" to the back width which I ended up easing into the midriff band as it was too much. I think a bit of the oversizing is due to the fabric as it has some give to it.
I originally made the flutter sleeve version but the sleeves didn't quite fall right, so I cut them down to fit tighter.

Its a very neat construction method with this blouse - there's no facings except for the midriff band and the inside is all finished with bias binding. The pattern calls for interfacing the midriff band, but I interfaced both the midriff band and the midriff facing as this fabric is fairly flimsy and I'm only got light/medium interfacing at the moment.

I used black buttons from my stash

I'm struggling a bit with this blouse because it's so different to everything I usually wear, even though when I look at the photos I think it looks fine. It feels quite feminine and pretty when I usually wear knitted tanks and cardigans, I think I just need to wear it around a bit and get used to it. At least its work appropriate and it should be fairly cool as its 100% cotton, and I can see making it again as a sleeveless blouse to wear with a shrug/cardigan

Friday, December 16, 2011

Simplicity 2398

So even though this pattern is for a formal dress I thought it would make a nice top. I used a Cotton Satin off the spotlight clearance table, first time I've seen it, its thin like a cotton but has a nice sheen like a sateen.
I shirred the back of the top - I really wish I'd not used the zipper, the top doesn't need it plus it was a PITB, I always remember afterwards when I sew with bias that I should have put some interfacing down each side for the zipper before I start sewing. It always ripples, I end up having to unpick and run gathering stitched down the ripples, then resew! Maybe i should write myself some cheatsheets to remind me what not to do! There's still some rippling, but not enough to bother me.
I interfaced the midriff band - If I make it again I wouldn't bother having it, it tends to crumple up when I wear it. I ended up hand stitching down the gathers on the front of the bodice too - they were pouching out so I did some small stitches under the creases.

I made the size 20 with a 1" FBA and added 2" on each back bodice side for the shirring.

The bodice was lined with a stretch cotton and used satin bias binding to do a hong kong finish on any exposed seams

Self fabric piping

I'm loving this fabric, lots brighter than what I normally wear, in fact I think its the only pink item of clothing I own!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lekala 5927 Shrug

I've been looking for a simple shrug pattern to wear with my dresses to work, I can't seem to find any in the shops and I tried out McCalls 5006 but wasn't happy with the way it sat in the front. Anyway, I found out about Lekala patterns last week and lo and behold they had the perfect shrug pattern! The website is a little bit harder to navigate than burdastyle (it's all translated from Russian, so the shrugs are actually under 'tailcoat'!), and to download the patterns you need to purchase 'credits' then order the patterns (It only worked out to around 50c Australian for a pattern but you need to buy a minimum of 10 credits). Also the patterns aren't multisize, you enter in your measurements then are emailed a pattern drafted to your size! I followed Fehr Trades tutorial which made it all a lot easier!

I'm really happy with the pattern - very well drafted and I found the sizing to be spot on. I did have to adjust the arms by adding extra width but I have to every pattern I make. The instructions however were terrible! After I found them finally (they are under the pattern picture as 'technical description'), it's all written in Russian and even with google translate I couldn't make heads or tails of them! I ended up using the pattern drawing and the notches on the pattern to work out what went where! Once that was sorted though, it only took a few minutes to overlock it together - I set the sleeves in flat then did the side seam/arm seam in one, and used fusible hem tape on the sleeves which is the only hem left exposed. It was so easy I'm planning on making one for each dress I make from now on, no more wondering what to wear them with!

So I definately recommend Lekala patterns, lots of great designs plus they're nice and cheap, as long as you can get by without instructions!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The winners and some Christmas sewing

And the winner of the Colette Pattern is;

and Simplicity 6350 is;



So while Spolight has their 50% off christmas fabric I couldn't resist and got some fabric for the kids.
I made my son a pair of boxer shorts out of my trusty pattern Simplicity 9958 and some 1950's repro cotton fabric

and my daughter a simple circle skirt. This fabric came in panels to make a tree skirt (?), but was perfect to make a skirt. I used 2 panels to make a full circle and 3" elastic for the waistband.

Plus i thought this fabric was just gorgeous so made the daughter a simple pillowcase

Friday, December 9, 2011

Restyle week: McCalls 5859 and a Giveaway!

This was the first jacket I ever made. Its not bad seeing as I did no adjustments to the pattern at all, if I made it again I'd do a FBA and cut a size smaller to fit my shoulders better.
I like a bit of gathering on the shoulders but this jacket is a bit too exaggerated for me and I never wear it, so I unpicked the sleeves and cut the sleeve head smaller then sewed them back in again. I actually think i cut them down a bit too much, if I make it again I'll split the difference and still have some gathers.



Pattern Details; McCalls 5859

Description: Close fitting lined jacket with peplum, lapel and collar and optional pockets. Two sleeve variations to choose from

Fabric Used; Corduroy for the main fabric and sunsilky (rayon) lining.

Size: I made a straight 20.

Will you make it again: Yes I might, I want to adjust the pattern though before I'd make it again (FBA and adjust the wrinkles out of the lower back).

After all this restyling I have a couple of patterns I'm not going to use so I thought I'd have a giveaway.
All you need to do is comment on this post and pick which pattern you'd like out of Colette Jasmine Blouse or McCalls 6350 and next week I'll pick a random comment for each pattern and post them out (I'll post international), see if you have better luck with them than did!! Please make sure I can contact you through your comment :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Restyle Week: McCalls 5936

This was my second version of this jacket (first is here). I made this one out of a nice stretch corduroy with a stretch satin lining. The first jacket I did was in a double knit and the peplum falls beautifully, but the corduroy is just too thick and the peplum sticks straight out!

I ended up unpicking the peplum and just hemming it as a cropped jacket.

Before: (I lightened the pics so you could see them better)


Stretch satin lining:

Piping around the facing;


Pattern Details; McCalls 5936

Description: Semi-fitted princess seamed jackets A, B have separate lapels, flared peplums and sleeve variations

Fabric Used; Stretch corduroy for the main fabric and a stretch satin as the lining.

Size: I made a 18 with adjustments - FBA, extra back width and extra arm width

Will you make it again: Yes, if I make the full jacket it will need to be in a drapier fabric, and I'm thinking about making another cropped version in a denim.