Monday, September 14, 2015

Miscellaneous tops

I’ve been sewing more than blogging, the way it goes from time to time. I’m working on new pants which I’ve drafted myself, more on that in a separate post. This post is mainly about the tops I made.

First this BurdaStyle top which is double layered. I had this fabric around which is a bit sheer on its own. I made the blouse of Vogue 1440 early summer, never got round to do a blog post about that one, but learned that it was too sheer to wear without underlayer. So this top was the perfect choice for it. Actually it was the pdf pattern I traced in my previous post, I did not have the issue it was published in (July 2013).  It’s a nice basic for summer, will have to stay in the closet for a while now as it’s getting chillier here.

BurdaStyle twist shoulderimage

Couldn’t be more basic, a white top based on an Ottobre pattern. Meant to be worn under a jacket or cardigan. I changed the neckline and made it deeper. Initially I made the neckline band using the technique shown in this video by Sarah Veblen. It’s a good technique in general but did not work for me this time. Probably because I stretched too much. In the end I measured the circumference of the neckline on the pattern and subtracting 20% for the length of the neckline band. Worked perfectly.


The Presto top by SavageCoco is very popular at the moment  and I jumped on the bandwagon. A lovely top. The inside finishing is very neat. The construction is described well, just do as instructed and you get a perfect finish of the neckline/shoulder area. I’m not often using the so called “Indie patterns”, often they are too expensive and/or too basic for my liking but this top was very reasonably priced ($4.99). Combined with the positive reviews on it, it was worth trying.

Presto top

I sewed a medium size and it turned out to be too tight. Too much negative ease for my liking. But the fabric is sooo nice and soft that I hated to throw it away. It fitted my daughter very well, but she didn’t like it. As this will mostly be worn under a jacket or cardigan too I added a strip of fabric to the side. It goes from the hem at the bottom in one long strip to the sleeves too, as these were very tight as well. Next time I’ll trace the large size.

Extra strip Presto top

The last one I made yesterday, it’s StyleArc’s Gail top. After making this photo I hemmed it and am wearing it today, casual with a nice twist. The fabric was bought a few years ago and all the time I did not know which top I would make from it. Then I thought about this variation and I quite like it. I’m going to do some work on the pattern for my next iteration: take out a bit in the center front waist area and have the neckline cross a bit higher. Both are figure related problems, not a pattern fault. Though StyleArc’s instructions are confusing. One sentence says “sew together”, the next one “join together”. I was thinking I had to do something else than sewing together in the last instruction. Could be my English but it was confusing me. And as construction is not that obvious, I was referring to and needing the instructions. They could do better on that.

StyleArc Gail image

Three of these four tops were pdf patterns that I traced using the method described in my previous post. I really like to do it that way.

And to finish off for today (mainly for my own reference): another shawl finished:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Tracing pdf pattern without taping

Though I’m not a huge fan of pdf patterns, I do realize that times change and sometimes use them, when they have a limited number of pages.
Some time ago on a Dutch sewing forum I read about tracing a pdf pattern without taping them first and it was a lightbulb moment to me. Less fuss and the pattern can be stored away easily. This is how I do it:
Take a sheet of tracing paper large enough for the pattern piece you want to trace and place the first page of the printed pages underneath.
Trace the pattern lines you want (this is a Burda pattern so it has multiple sizes) and also trace (part of) the lines for matching to the next page. Often there are notches on the lines too, so I mark those as well.
Then you slip the next page under the paper sheet, align with the notches and lines and trace that page.
The resulting pattern: there are a few extra marking lines but that does not disturb me at all. If they do disturb you could erase them.
The printed pdf is not cut and can be stored away.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jacket finished

Not a very original title, but that it’s what this post is about. My jacket is finished and Ilike it very much. As you may remember I drafted the pattern based on my sloper and a Burda pattern from 1993. In my previous posts you’ve seen how I interfaced it and this post is all about the outside.
I’m pleased with the fit, though for the next jacket I will take out a bit of the width at the back at the waist and below. The muslin was a bit longer and I did not see that this would happen shortening it.

Nancy and Tany expressed curiosity for the sleeve wrap. The link I gave was to one photo of a series of photos from Ann Rowly from which you can go to further photos, but it seems not to work on all devices. This link is a more general one to her photoalbum, the sleeve wrap instruction starts at photo number 70. AllisonC: I learned this method at the English Couture company too!

jacket frontjacket back   worn open  Side 2    jacket 1detail button

Thursday, August 13, 2015

More progress – sleeve

In this jacket I chose to use the “sleeve wrap” method instead of the more conventional sleeve head. I first saw this method used in one of Ann Rowley’s jackets and kind as she is, she has a photo tutorial in her Flicker album. I’ve used it once before when doing a course in making a classic tailored jacket.

This is how it looks like on the inside.


And here on the outside.

front jacket 

Lyndle asked how and when I add seam allowance, on the fabric or the pattern and whether I use the actual seam lines. I absolutely prefer to work with the seam lines and not often add the default seam allowances. I use wax tracing paper to trace the actual seamlines to my fabric and use those during construction. That paper is a normal sewing notion in the shops here.

That said this jacket is a break from that routine: the fabric would not take marking with wax tracing paper and a lot of fusibles were applied too. I cut with the 1.5 cm (5/8”) seam allowance added to the paper pattern, but still mark the actual seamlines on crucial points after applying the fusibles. For example the top of princess seams, the top of sleeve seams, the neckline corner. I love the accuracy of working with the seamlines. It’s how I learned to sew, patterns with added seam allowances were something I did not know till I bought my first Vogue pattern (pretty sure that was a Claude Montana pattern), and then I was in my twenties and had been sewing for over 10 years. Never got used to patterns with added seam allowances.

seam allowance marked  

In above picture you can see the curved ruler that’s 5/8”wide which I used to mark the corner. Claire sells them again, also in metric measurements. I use them regularly, they’re such a handy tool.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Nice progress

My jacket is coming along nicely, though it’s not finished yet. Just showing some inside photos  and a first idea of how it looks now. The sleeves don’t have sleeve heads yet, but already have a nice curve.

sleeve 1

The inside looks like this. This time I’m using speed tailoring techniques, using fusibles. Two types of interfacing are required here: a light and a heavier fusible interfacing. The shoulder placket is a canvas, held in place by a fusible as well.

inside back

It’s quite a bit of work pressing all the interfacing in, but once that’s done, construction is pretty straightforward.

jacket inside

Anne asked in her comment “When you use the word 'sloper' does this have seam allowances on it or is it more of a block, so without seam allowances? I'm assuming that the burda pattern, being old and from a magazine doesn't have seam allowances?”
As I understood the word sloper and the word block have the same meaning in pattern drafting. It’s a basic pattern including some ease based on your moulage. The moulage has no ease. Here (meaning The Netherlands where I live) Burda magazine patterns, new or old, don’t have seam allowances added to them. Both my sloper and the Burda pattern don’t have seam allowances. That works fine for me, it’s the way I learned to sew and for me it’s also easier to evaluate the size of a pattern if seam allowances are not included.

Thank you Vicky for mentioning the book by Lynda Maynard on using a sloper with your pattern. For the moment I’m fine but it’s good to know there’s a reference book available.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Combining pattern and sloper

(Very picture heavy)

I love making jackets, as I answererd to Faye’s poll last week too. And you will know already if you’ve been following my blog for a while. If you click the tag “Jacket” in the side bar you’ll see most of them (though admit I sometimes forget to tag my posts). Time to make another one.

In May and early June I worked on the sloper for a jacket. Trying my muslin again a few days ago I was not completely satisfied with it, especially the position of the bust dart. I was so focussed on the sleeve that I did not see it. I changed it, made a new muslin, drafted a new sleeve pattern with less ease and it is good to go (photo later).

Next was the decision on the pattern and fabric to use. This is my fabric. A pretty stable knit in a weight suitable for a jacket.


Initially I planned to use it for this jacket, but decided against it.


I could only find suitable black faux leather trim and zippers with black tape and the contrast might not be good, even though there is black in the fabric. Also I considered that I will get more wear from that jacket if I use a color that’s more in my comfort zone. The above fabric is not really my usual color.

So after some deliberation I decided to work on the pattern that I showed in my previous post, from the 1993 Burda magazine.

Burda jacket line drawing

Nice shape, nice details, not complicated (no collar) and I love shorter jackets. As I’ve started my journey drafting my own patterns partly because I don’t want to make muslins all the time, I used my sloper pattern and combined that with the Burda pattern. I actually traced the front of the Burda pattern and used it to make my pattern. Fingers crossed it will work without the muslin, as I’m not going to make one.

As it might be of interest for those of you working on drafting a sloper/pattern I took pictures of how I did it. It’s my way of doing it, there could be other ways. If you know other methods please chime in!

The front sloper without changes.


The Burda pattern on top, waistline and center front matching the sloper. You can see it’s too short and not matching the shoulder, which is what I expect. I used to make patterns longer above the waist. From this I traced the bottom part and the overlapping center front.



Then I shifted it up and traced the neckline.


Connected the lines with a slight curve, like the Burda pattern has too.


The armhole is very much like the pattern too.


Drafted the line for the princess seam.


Messed up a bit moving the dart into the princess seam, did not use pencil so could not erase :(


At this point I cut the two pattern pieces apart. Below is the side panel with the dart still in.


One leg of the dart is cut and closed to the other dart leg. The side panel is ready (though I will smooth the bust line a bit). 

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The original and my pattern side by side. Mine is a bit wider, especially in the hip area.


I did the same to the back of my sloper pattern and turned the darts into princess seams. An important step is to check the length of the connecting seams: side seams, princess seams.

The main pattern pieces are ready. It was nice to see that my sleeve pattern is almost exactly the Burda pattern for the sleeve, only a bit longer.
I’ve still some work to do in drafting facings and some interfacing pieces. That’s for another day and not so interesting.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Burda – April 1993

“Who saves something, has something” is a Dutch saying. The English equivalent is “waste not, want not”. I found an old Burda magazine yesterday evening when rummaging through a pile of magazines, searching for something else. I should be de-cluttering but this magazine is a keeper! I never made something from it, the pattern sheets were still attached. Probably because in 1993 I was pregnant with my first child and for a long time after that I did not really sew for myself.
Some things look so current (or classic?) that I would like to make them. I’m still undecided as to what my next project will be, so perhaps???
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