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Friday, July 31, 2009

Giveaway winner

I was going to have my little man help me with this, but I kept forgetting while he was awake, so without further delay...

Yay!  Congratulations, Tyna!  Email me your address at knittingjenny AT gmail DOT com, and I'll send you the magazine this week.  Shipping usually takes about a week from here to the States.  Hope you like it!

BWOF 05-2009-117

Here's a washed-out closeup so you can see the pleats at the front.
I was attempting to knock off a Michael Kors dress I love.  I'm really happy with the result, but due to my fabric choice, it doesn't look exactly like the original.
Back view... unimpressive.  :-)

I entered this in the knockoff contest at Pattern Review.  I guess this falls more into the "inspired by" part of the rules than a true knockoff.  I keep saying I'm going to do one of those contests and then never finish in time.  Well, finally I follow through!

Here's my review from Pattern Review.

Pattern Description: A slim silhouette tapers slightly in at the hem to emphasize feminine curves, and charming side slits let you walk freely.

Pattern Sizing: European 36-44. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except for my changes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn't use them (German).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Love the style. I chose it to knock off a Michael Kors dress.

Fabric Used: black wool jersey, definitely not what Michael Kors used and not what the pattern is designed for, but it works for me.  I also lined it with a black slinky knit because the wool jersey is a bit scratchy.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: The fabric choice dictated fit changes. I cut a 38 but took in pretty much every vertical seam. I also omitted the slits and didn't use any closure since my fabric is a knit. I cut the back pieces on the fold. I also made the neckline a bit lower, trying to mimic the Michael Kors.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may sew this again in a woven. 

Conclusion: The pattern didn't catch my eye in the magazine, but I love it made-up. I think it's a pretty good match for the dress I was trying to knock off. Of course my fabric choice is totally different, so it doesn't look identical.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's aliiiiive!

Disregard this post.  The maxi dress is back, Baby!

I was going through all my fabric today, preparing for a possible move (gotta do the important stuff first, right?), and found this gem.  
I had glossed over it before because I thought I only had a yard.  But no!  1.5 yards!  Perfection!  And it's rayon jersey and flowers, just what I wanted.  

It's a sign!  It's meant to be!  It will be done!  Soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

McCalls 5525

I wanted a short, white trench this spring.  Now, it's the end of July, and I have my jacket.  I do love it... just wish I had it a few months ago.  This has taught me to plan ahead for these bigger projects!

Here is my review from Pattern Review.

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, lined, double-breasted jacket and coat have collar, lengths and sleeve variations, shoulder pads, princess seams and side front pockets; coats B, D and E have back vent; jackets A, C, coats B, D, E have belt carriers; jacket C, coat E have epaulets with button closure; coat E has pocket flaps with button trim; jacket C, coat E have collar tab; jacket C has front yoke; jacket C, coat E have back buttoned yoke; coats B, E, jacket C have sleeves with button bands; jackets A, C, coats B, D, E have topstitch trim, button closure; jackets A, C and coats D, E have self-tie belt. 

This is view C.

Pattern Sizing: 8-24W

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? Very well written. There are a lot of steps and little details, but I just took it one step at a time and eventually finished.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Love all the details - the tabs and buttons. The fit is also great for me.

Fabric Used: Rayon twill from Sawyer Brook. It is a good weight for a light jacket that still has body.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I made a straight 12. The only alteration I did was to add about 2 inches to the sleeves (I not really tall but have loooong arms). No design changes.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is my second version of this pattern, so I won't be making it again any time soon. I'll definitely keep it in my pattern library, maybe for a heavier weight coat in the future. I strongly recommend this pattern. I like both versions I made.

Conclusion: I nice classic trench with great details and easy-to-follow instructions.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

100th post giveaway

In honor of my 100th post, I'm doing a giveaway.  I think (hope) I have enough readers to do this.  :-)

Up for grabs is the Spring/Summer 2009 Knipmode Special.  I'm not sure what makes it special since I've never bought a Knipmode before, but there you have it.
Oh, did I not mention it's in German?  Think of it as exotic.  You can figure it out.  You don't need no stinking directions!  If you're desperate, you can always use an online translator, but good luck making much sense out of the translation.  :-)

I'm not giving this away because I don't want it, either.  I picked it up yesterday, especially for YOU!  Here's a look at some of the inside:

There are no articles like BWOF, just patterns.  Maybe that's what it's the special.  There are 9 distinct patterns (some with variations), but they show everything in a few different materials, which I like, and they don't pair anything with RTW.

I think it's funny one section is called "Sportlich Amerikanisch" - American Sporty!  Lots of stripes.  :-)

So... if you want this, leave a comment, and I'll draw a name on Friday - August 31st.  ...and if you've never left a comment, consider this your opportunity to start!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

August BWOF

BWOF spoilers ahead!

I picked up an August BWOF (actually it's now called Burda Style Magazine, but that's really long to type) at the fabric store.  Sooooo excited.  I liked a bunch of the patterns, but I'll just show you my three favorites.

Love these:
First, my fave.  I'm making this dress even though I don't need any more dresses!  I think the seams and darts are unique.


I was naughty and bought two fabric remnants at the store.  One is a fun silk satin print I want to use for a simple, loose top to keep it as casual as possible.  I'm thinking this:


Finally, I want this cape-like thing.  Would probably leave off that bow thing at the neck, though, and keep it clean and simple.


Friday, July 24, 2009

I heart Michael Kors

Well, I like a lot of the clothes he makes anyway.  Take this little number:
(click the photo to go to his site)

I'm kind of but not really knocking it off for the Pattern Review contest this month.  

First, I want a LBD for fall/winter, so it'll be black.  I'm using a black wool jersey.  It's a pretty stable knit, but still a knit - not gray wool tweed.  
Second, the BWOF pattern I'm using is very similar, but the draping on the front is a bit different.  I probably could have changed it without too much trouble, but I didn't want to make a muslin and didn't want to mess it up.

I have the shell complete and am working on the lining now.  Should be done in a few days!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Maternity shirt... not intentional

Having recently been pregnant (my littlest man is almost 2 months old), I consider myself a bit of an expert on maternity wear...  I definitely should have made this 4 months ago!  I don't think it's the pattern's fault so much as my modification - namely, making a top instead of a dress.

Here's the pattern.


Cute dress, right?  I think maybe the weight of the skirt keeps it from looking too maternity when worn, despite the empire gathers.  I need a few cute, easy-to-wear tops, though, not any more dresses, so I shortened it.  So anyway, without further ado, here it is:
not too bad from the front, right?  Within the realm of the fashion of the day.  Heres the back:
not bad... maybe a little funny looking with the V with no skirt.  But, wait for it... wait for it...  Side view:
Yikes!  Not the look I want.  Hubby was a bit confused as well when I wore the new top.  Like "why are you wearing a maternity shirt now?" but phrased a little nicer.  He knows my sewing projects are like my babies.

As an aside, I did attache a modesty panel inside.  I wanted to be able to throw this top in without dealing with a cami on a hot day with no air conditioning.  Here's a look at the inside of the panel.  It's just a piece of fabric doubled so the fold is at the top (no edge finish needed) and stitched to the seam allowances of the collar band facing.
So the saga continues...  All day, I'm messing with this shirt and trying to figure out how to fix it.  For a while, I thought it looked kind of cute tucked in like this:

When the hubbs came home from work, though, he said "umm, no."  That comment wasn't phrased any nicer.  :-)  Now, I'm thinking I can take the sides of the top in so it's closer fitting.  I don't want to scrap the top.  I think it's cute.  I love the gathered details and I think if I just redrafted the bottom front panel without the gathers, it would look "off" with the rest of the top.  Any thoughts?

To be continued at a later date...

Here's the pattern review I did:

attern Description: Mid-knee or mid-calf dress with fitted bodice, has self-faced neck band and midriff, sleeve variations and center back zipper. A: contrast neck band and midriff. D: contrast neck band, sleeve bands and midriff.

Pattern Sizing: 8-24

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, except mine is a top.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. I decided to do a few things differently, though.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The style is really cute. The way I made it, though (shortened to a top) looks a bit "maternity). I don't think the dress version looks that way, though. The weight of the skirt must fix that.

Fabric Used: rayon jersey purchased at a local fabric market in Germany

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: No alterations. Design changes were many: First and most obvious, I shortened it to make a top. I also added a modesty panel so I wouldn't need to wear a cami underneath. I'm not sure how the model in the photo is wearing the dress with nothing underneath. Finally, I didn't interface anything. I don't think it's necessary, and without the interfacing, I didn't need a zipper and cut the back pieces on a fold I also finished the inside differently, eliminating the need for hand stitching. The inside isn't as clean this way, but it's how RTW does it anyway. If I had a serger, I would have been even happier with the inside.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may sew the dress as intended, or I may try to make a top again, changing the bottom somehow so it's not so maternity-looking. I think it makes a cute top! 
I do recommend it - you will need to wear something under it, though. It's super low cut. I think that's accurately shown on the pattern photo, though. The dress reviews I've read on here look really cute.

Conclusion: Glad I tried to make the top since I need new tops more than new dresses, but I need to revise this one a bit.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Death of the maxi dress

Well, I guess it can't die if it was never born, but anyway...

I'm not going to make the maxi dress.  I had ordered some rayon jersey print fabric before the maxi dress plan.  When it arrived, I remembered that my cheap-a$$ self only bought one yard.  Not enough for a full length dress.  I just can't find anything else in my stash that I love for a long dress.  (and I don't want to buy more summer fabric - 1) I have enough! and 2) by the time it would get here and made up, there'd only be like another month to wear it).  So yeah, no maxi dress for me.  :-(

I do have a knit top to show when I stop being lazy.  I'm going to try to modify it a bit, though.  I look pregnant in it, not to put too fine a point on it.  Not something you want after having a baby 7 weeks ago.  I'm not exaggerating either.  When I wore it, my husband instinctively patted my tummy in the morning (he thought for a second I was still pregnant).  NOT GOOD.  It's super cute, though, so I'm trying to save it.

Also, my trench is FINISHED except for buttons and buttonholes.  Of course, my little man got into my buttons and I can only find 7 of the 13 I need, so I need to do a massive sewing area clean-out/button-hunt or shlep to the fabric store with a toddler and a baby or wait until the weekend when Dadddy can watch them.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sewing has taken over... shopping, that is.  I have a big ol' 40% off everything coupon for an online store I love but have never broken down to pay the prices.  I went browsing, intent on buying something.  As I looked, with everything I liked, I either said "I can just make that" or "I'd buy it if this one little thing were different... I'm not going to settle."  

After thinking about it, all of the shopping I've done in the last few months has been for sweaters I can't make and accessories like shoes and belts.  You would think the decreased purchases would make the hubby proud.  Fabric has definitely filled the void, though.

And that coupon?  I'm contemplating some jewelry from the site.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Butterick 6067

First, thanks so much for the nice comments on my silk dress.  The encouragement is really nice!

I made this dress a week or two ago.  The pattern is so old, Butterick doesn't even have a picture of it up on their site anymore, but you can see it on the review page if you're interested.  Here's the review:
Pattern Description: fitted dresses with neckline and length variations

Pattern Sizing: mine is 6-10, not sure of the other envelope ranges

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yep

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Like the style and how quickly it went together.

Fabric Used: stretch cotton print from

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't line it at all to keep it cool. I finished the neck edge by folding over twice and topstitching. I also added some other decorative topstitching on the bodice. One other change was to cut two front bodice pieces instead of one and add snaps to open for breastfeeding.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think this is the 3rd version of this pattern I have and I may very well make more. This pattern is old and OOP, but if you already have it, go for it. It's quick and easy.

Conclusion: I made this dress in one day (about four hours total) with one yard of fabric... instant gratification! I love it for running errands on hot days. 

Now, just two replies to previous comments:

Kathryn (my sister) - GO FOT IT with the knits.  They're quick (usually) and easy to fit.  I also find I wear them a lot more than most of my woven creations.  They're just comfier. 

Libby - do it!  Making something new is so much more fun than alterations.  I've been knitting less and sewing a lot more lately.  It's quicker, and, on average, I find I'm happier with how my sewing turns out.  Don't think I'll stop knitting completely, though.  It's so relaxing, and you definitely don't have to concentrate as much.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Vogue 1100

Here is my version of the dress pattern in Vogue 1100.

Can I tell you how much I love it!?!  I'm all set for church tomorrow night.
Here's the review I did on Pattern Review.  

Pattern Sizing: 6-20. I made a 12.

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? Yes. The trickiest thing was sewing with the silk charmeuse for the first time. It is SLIPPERY!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Love the style and the pleats at the neck. 

Fabric Used: Beautiful silk charmeuse print from Gorgeous Fabrics. I was able to make this out of one (generous, thanks to Ann) yard. The lining is your average run-of-the-mill slippery poly lining. I wish I had some silk habotai, but I was on a deadline...

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Absolutely none for once! I made it straight from the envelope and needed no fit alterations. I will say you may need to do a SBA if you have a B cup or smaller. (I'm breastfeeding right now, so my bust has grown. I will probably need to take it in when the girls go back to Bs.) The only thing I did slightly differently was the zipper. I didn't have an invisible one and needed to finish the dress, so I sewed a regular zipper into the lining and hand-stitched the silk on top, covering the opening. I figured I'd redo it with an invisible one when I got one, but I think it looks great, so I'm going to leave it.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may sew it again in a wool for fall and leave out the hole at the neck. I think it's such a cute and flattering style and very on-trend with the pleating at the neck. I also may make the jacket at some point. If you like high-waisted skirts, there's also a cute one in this pattern. I definitely recommend the dress pattern. It's worth buying the whole pattern just for the dress.

Conclusion: I LOOOOOOVE this dress! The fit, the style, the fabric I used. I just love it. 

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ok, I decided to go for it with the maxi dress.  For Tammy (and anyone else who is curious), a maxi dress is just a really long sundress.  Most of the ones I see are ankle-floor length and made of either jersey knit, silk, or a lightweight cotton.  A lot of them are either strapless or spaghetti-strap.  Strapless is out for daily wear with a toddler in the house.  Spaghetti strap would be ok if I can find some kind of bra inserts or shelf bra.  If I can decide on a pattern that will let me wear a regular bra, that would be money.

I think the print ones look most casual, and jersey is easy to wear, so I'm thinking of using a red and white print rayon jersey that's in the mail, supposed to arrive any day.  

After some snoop shopping online during my two boys' synchronized 2 1/2 hour naps (yay!!), here are a few I like:   

dress 1

  There's a very similar pattern in a recent BWOF I have, and I could add spaghetti straps.  

dress 2

  I have a lot of these crossover necklines and like them.  I could put some kind of bra strap keeper under those thick straps, too.

dress 3

  Super easy to hide bra straps, but does it look too covered up top for being so long?

dress 4

  Ooooh, LOOOOOVE this one... not sure how I'd do those shirred cups, though.  Definitely need to find a similar pattern.

Thanks for all the comments on the last post.  You've given me courage!  And again, if I hate it (or it's out of style by next May), I'll just chop it off at the knee!

My copied top

As I mentioned before, I wanted to make a copy of this top.  I bought it last summer from an Ann Taylor Loft outlet ad have worn it to death... literally... there's a big stain on the front that you can't really see in the picture.  Since there's a big stain, I had no qualms about cutting it up...
I just cut the seams right off to get my "pattern pieces."  Here you can see where I'm cutting the side seam.  I didn't bother undoing the hems or neck finish or anything.
Here, I'm trying to show where I cut marks to help me put it back together (like the little triangles in commercial patterns).  They're near the middle of the photo.  I just cut slashes through the seam and into the arm and back about 1/4 inch.  I did this on both sides of the sleeve head (1 notch in front, 2 in back) and under the bust to mark where the crossover top pieces join with the bottom front.
Then, I cut off those seams, leaving the notches on the pattern.
Here's the sleeve, all cut out.
and here you can see the notches.
Then, I just used the pieces of the original shirt as a pattern on some new jersey, remembering to add seam allowances, hems, etc.  For some pizzazz, I added some narrow lace to the neck edge.
Voila!  The finished top!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Where would I wear a maxi dress?

So maxi dresses are the big trend right now.  At least, this is what I've read, and everyone in sewing blog world seems to have made one.  I haven't seen many people wearing them here in Germany.  Is this a trend only for the uber-stylish, or do lots of people in the States wear them?  

I think I'm young enough to pull it off, but I still hesitate to make one.  I'm afraid I'll look silly, and I'm not really sure where I'd wear it.  I guess if I hate it, I could always cut it off short.  

Monday, July 6, 2009

New pics of old stuff

Ok, the stuff isn't really old, but I do have some new photos.

Fist is a top I blogged abut here and here.  All I did since the last post about it was shorten the hem, but I think it's much more flattering with the skirt.
Here's my handsome little man wearing the outfit I made for him.  Still has a couple months it will fit him, I think.
And here's the pink jacket I blogged a bout here most recently.  Now I can actually wear it with the belt, and I have worn it once, to dinner on a chilly evening.  It's pretty warm because of the underlining, so it will be a nice fall jacket.  I'm seeing some bright colors in the fall forcast, so I hope it won't scream "spring" too much.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Look 6655

I finished this a few weeks ago but haven't gotten around to posting it.  It looks better with white pants, but, well, that's just not what I was wearing that day.  Sadly, I haven't worn it since the picture since it is not breastfeeding-friendly.  I do like it, though.  It's definitely unique in my wardrobe.

The pattern review is here.
I've also been working pretty well off of my summer sewing lists this past week.  I finished WIPs 2 and 3, and I made the first dress on my other list.  I cut out the dress yesterday during naptime and put it together today.  Yay for good, long naps!  

I'll try to have my hubby take pics of all the finished stuff tonight after bedtime.  It stays light here til almost 11, so 8pm light should be adequate!

Now, I really need to stop getting sidetracked and finish that trench!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How have I not heard of this website?

Has anyone bought anything from The Fabric Fairy?  I think it's geared more towards kids' fabrics, but there are a ton of cute cotton jersey prints I want for tops.  Will... not... succumb...

I have a couple of finished things to show.  Just have to find a zen moment of synchronized napping to take pics.