Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Sewing Udate

It’s that time of year when outside activities and family events reduce my sewing and blogging time. Especially blogging.

So this post will cover my last four sewing projects. Three blouses and a pair of pants.

The  inspiration for the first blouse was these mixed print blouses.

  I was delighted when I found a silk fabric printed with 6 different patterns, in vertical stripes of widths 3, 8 and 22 inches (Vogue Fabrics). I chose  New Look 6266 shirt pattern, which I have made before.

The shoulder yoke and sewn on collar and front bands gave me the opportunity to do some pattern piece layouts that utilized the stripe like the inspiration garments.

I like the finished blouse. The only problem is the color combo of  dark rust, verdigris green and gold is a bit odd and does not really coordinate with anything in my wardrobe.

 After all the work on the previous blouse, I was looking for something simple.  Butterick 6417 looked easy enough.

View B  - Front overlapping panels, with princess seams for a bit of shaping and a shawl collar.  Again the fabric is silk stripe, this time a narrow rose pink and gray stripe from I followed the pattern directions and  didn’t  interface the front panel/shawl collar. As a result  the lapels tend to fall open a little lower that I am comfortable with. So this  shirt is worn with  a  coordinating scoop neck tank top. 

Still on a stripe kick, the next project was a pair of pants  Burda 6811 .

They have a side panel and inseam pockets.  I cut the side panels with the stripes going horizontally.  I hemmed the pants and created vents on the panel seams just for fun. No issues with these pants.  Fabric is a navy poly rayon blend with white shadow stripes from JoAnn’s. 

The final garment is a blouse made out of the Nicole Miller novelty print “Cosmetics” from JoAnn’s Fabrics  It was on sale and I liked the print.

But the fabric is poly lycra.  I try not to be a complete natural fabric snob, and buy and sew poly fabrics every once in a while.  Still no love.  This fabric was easy to sew, but wrinkles a lot (I know...what?) and gets static cling except in high humidity conditions. The pattern is Vogue 7906 from 2004, I made view B with the  high collar and  bell sleeves.

It looks great and I get nice comments when I wear it. ....On rainy days.

Time to put away all my wooly fabrics,  bring out the linens and cottons and start some warm weather sewing.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Oki Style - Joker blouse and Stanis Jacket

I discovered the patterns from Oki Style via a picture of one of the patterns on  a now forgotten blog.     Oki  is the nickname of the designer, originally from Mongolia, now living in Germany. Oki describes her designs as experimental and alternative. See  Interview here.
She has an Etsy shop and a Web site. I recommend the Web Site   It is easily translated to English using the flag icon on the home page.  It has more patterns than the Etsy shop and some of them are available in petite, regular and tall sizes. Only standard sizes are offered on the Etsy shop.  The Web site's PDF patterns  include 3 print options, including one for US 8.5x11" paper.  Sizing is very similar to Burda sizing, including the tall and petite sizes.  The patterns do not have seam allowances or hems. You must add them.  The sewing instructions for all the patterns are available on the web site on the Instructions tab.  This means you can read the instructions before buying a pattern. The instructions are good. Text is in English and German, and there are many pictures.

  Makes of Oki Style pattern are not easily found  in sewing blog land, and there were  none for the two I sewed. I was attracted to the styles because they are recognizable silhouettes with a bit of a twist. The first pattern I made was the Joker blouse.  It is a raglan sleeved blouse with fit and flare shape.


 It has a concealed button front, and undulating hem line.

I thought the pattern draft was quite clever.  The bust  and waist shaping is created by large vertical darts. The back yoke  extends into the sleeve and creates a raglan sleeve with a diagonal seam.  The pattern was well drafted. All seam lines matched perfectly.
Back Yoke extending into sleeve
  I made the pattern as designed except for one difference, necessitated by my fabric width.  Because the back has many  darts,  it requires 54-60" wide fabric to be cut on the fold.  The dart in the center back is sewn to the outside.   My fabric was not  wide  enough to cut the back on the fold.  And  I didn't want a seam in the middle of the dart.  So I added a center back seam following the dart legs , and a  triangular shaped insert to replace the dart itself.  The center back seam is effectively hidden by the dart insert and draping at the hemline.
Original Back Pattern Piece
Back pattern with center back seam and insert
Dart insert
My fabric was a fine grey and white cross woven shirting I bought at Hancock Fabrics several years ago. I made a size 42 tall. I hand basted the narrow  hem  around the bottom of the shirt before sewing it by machine. It took a long time, but I was at a sewing retreat and there was lots of lively conversation to distract from the tedium.
Oki Style Joker blouse front

Oki Style Joker blouse side
Oki Style Joker blouse back

The 2nd  pattern was the Oki Style Stanis jacket.

It is unlined with cut on collar,  darted front, faced edges and high side slits. The back has a yoke with flared lower back panel. It has a two piece sleeve with the  undersleeve cut from a knit fabric.  I like the colors and scale of the check fabric used on the original jacket, and the way it looked in the flared back panel. Shopping from my stash I found a large scale,  acrylic/wool  plaid that was originally a thrift shop pleated skirt.  I was able to do plaid matching fairly well given the limited amount of fabric I had. I did have to piece the fabric  in the lower  back yoke. The undersleeves are a heavier ponte type knit.

 I made  a size 42 tall with my standard  curved back and square/forward shoulder alterations. Again the pattern was well drafted and went together quickly.  
I interfaced the jacket edges with fusible interfacing to prevent them from stretching during construction and used a firm poly acetate lining fabric as the facings. The instructions suggest you interface the facing.
Oki Style Stanis Jacket front
Oki Style Stanis Jacket side
Oki Style Stanis Jacket back

 I purchased several more of the patterns; a pair of pants, two dresses and another blouse, which you will see in the future.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Tunics - Slim or Swim

 I am still experimenting with different styles to wear to work, since the dress code went to anything goes casual 2 years ago.   I read style blogs for "mature" women , with topics like how to wear cropped pants, over the knee boot, best skirt length, etc.  I  participate in online “determine your style” challenges.  I carefully consider the “wear a scarf that echoes your personal coloring” or “wear simple garments with statement necklaces” advice. All quite interesting, but when I try many of these recommendations, I always feel I am physically fighting style and color preferences that are deeply etched in my brain tissue. Now I understand why my Aunt Sylvia stuck with her beehive hairdo and dressed strangely for many years.  

Recently I decided to try adding some tunic tops in my work wardrobe.

The first one was See and Sew  B6272,  which is the same pattern as Vogue 8962, minus the skirt. Both are now out of print. 
Vogue  8962


Yes, I am really late to the party. There are many versions/reviews online that I did not read until after I made mine, which was a good thing.  I selected the See and Sew pattern based on the line drawing ( the pattern front picture is ugly!) because it had a slim silhouette and some interesting seaming. There is a back yoke and the lower back pieces are cut on  the bias and wrap around to the front. Great seaming to use with a stripe or linear patterned fabric.  My fabric was a gray, black white abstract stripe knit purchased from  the Louise Cutting booth at the sewing Expo.  It was expensive, so I had only purchased 1.5 yards.  Not enough fabric to make this tunic with the cowl collar. And the neckline without the cowl collar was way too deep and wide. I added back 1 inch on each side of the neck and  2 inches at center front.  I finished the neck with  self-fabric binding.

  I did not have any of the fit issues,  or criticism of lack of fullness in the back or side seam pulling, that were prevalent in the negative reviews.  I think because  this is a slim fit tunic,  the location and contour of a individual’s hip/butt curve  has a big impact on the fit. There were no finished garment measurements on the pattern pieces so I did the measuring myself  before cutting, to ensure the size I was making had enough ease.  I made a size 14 which had 7 inches of ease over my hip body measurement. I wore the tunic to work  with jeggings ( Eddie Bauer travel pant) and a skirt (Pamela perfect pencil  skirt).  I got asked why I was so dressed up when I wore it with the skirt.

Slim tunic with jeggings

Slim tunic back

Slim tunic with skirt

My second tunic sew  was a Nancy Zieman pattern, McCall's 7474, a very loose-fitting tunic with a deep cowl neckline, front insert, back V-shaped insert and shaped hemline.

When a fellow sewer brought her version of this  tunic, made in an ombre fabric, to the sewing guild meeting Show and Tell, I was smitten. I had the perfect  fabric in my stash. Gray/cream marled  poly lycra knit with brown ombre overprint borders, from the G Street Fabrics $2.97 table.  I bought the pattern on the way home from the meeting and finished the tunic the  next day.  The seaming on this tunic was perfect for highlighting the ombre shading. But oh my, there a lot of fabric in  the flare of this tunic. 20 inches  of ease over  my hip measurement. All very drapey and swirly, but I  felt like I was swimming in fabric. And  I made a size M even though my measurements put me squarely in a size 16 or L. Below is the tunic worn with wide leg pants. It doesn't look bad, but it is definitely a " hide my body shape" look.

McCall's 7474 front

McCall's 7474 Side

McCall's 7474 Back

I wore it to work with stretch woven grey jeggings (Walmart).

McCall's 7474  with jeggings

I was comfortable, but very aware of all the fabric.  I had to make sure to gather up the fabric in the back when using the toilet, to avoid accidental dipping.  I actually got a compliment from a male coworker who said "You look nice in that outfit." It is both telling and sad that my first thought on hearing this was "Gee Mark, you must be overdue for  anti-harassment training refresher."  Our corporate  training on that subject is so severe it suggests not making any compliments on a person's appearance, lest it be interpreted negatively.

The pattern is easy to make and the instructions were good. Only puzzler was they have you cut fusible interfacing in 3/8" bias strips and apply them to  the hems , necklines and armholes, aligning the edge of  the interfacing to the edge of the fabric. That means the interfacing is 1/4 from the seam line.  I would think it would be important to interface/stabilize the seam line on the neck line and armhole, not the edge of the fabric.  And the interfacing on the hem edge, I was not sure what the purpose of that was. I had a mental discussion  with Nancy  Z. on those instructions, and decided to use the Burda method instead.  Which is to apply interfacing strip over the seam line, and  only on armholes and neck seam lines.

Conclusion, I will wear the 1st tunic more than the second. And both with jeggings.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Blue Burda 1 2017 Top 118

I, like many others was about to give up my Burda subscription when the 2017 issues started to arrive.  This top caught my eye.

The pattern is available for download from the BurdaStyle web site Criss-Cross Top   The upper  front has V-shaped pleats and overlapping bands secured to the side seams.  A style which adds “stuff” in the right place on my pear shape, no bust body. I traced the pattern, added the markings for pleats and band locations, and cut out the fabric with the appropriate seam allowances. All good, then I read the sewing instruction and tried to follow them.   I could not figure out what center seam they wanted me to sew  or how to form the pleats. Part of the confusion may have been my early morning  brain fog. But I had total frustrated  until I decided to folded the paper pattern along all the pleat lines.  Then the  fog cleared.


The red lines are the center front.  I thought the center front line at the bottom was part of some fancy complicated pleat. When you fold the pleats the three  red line  align to form the center front.

 Center front seam is from neckline point to fold line for first pleat. 

Front with center front seam sewn and pleats

After that the sewing was smooth sailing. The fabric is some kind of super stretch woven, with a crinkled surface, probably poly/rayon/lycra, that I picked up off the giveaway table at a recent sewing retreat. It was the perfect fabric for this top. I did not need a zipper in the center back seam because of the stretchiness of the fabric. I  initially sewed up the top without the bands to make sure it fit in the waist and hips. The top actually looks good without the bands as there is a “V” at the center front of the peplum, but be aware the front peplum waist seam does not align with the back peplum waist seam. The bands covers the the front peplum waist seam. I  also made my normal alterations, lengthening the back, added back shoulder darts, and the reduced shoulder seam by ½ inch.

Burda  1 2017 top 118

Burda 1 2017 118 back

I really like this top.