Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ahhh, *the* day of love is upon us again. Actually every day really should be a day of love where we celebrate those who are near and dear to us. Yesterday I decided to share the love by making a big batch of sugar cookies. With the help of my youngest we rolled dough, cut hearts, baked, and then frosted a HUGE plateful of cookies. I'm sure you can imagine the smiles we got when the big kids and daddy came home in the afternoon. And boy are they good, I've already ate WAY too many!

Also, I made myself another boat neck top. I just love this pattern! There was more stash busting too - it's a poly knit from Joann's that I've had for eons.

Lastly, I had a fellow sewing mama pass along a "Thank You" award to me on her blog ~ thank you Sabrina!!!

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's Day!!! :-)

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Burda Boat Neck Top Review

Wow, two posts in two days, I'm on a roll! I was very excited to get the boat neck top sewn up from the February 2009 issue of BWOF. I'm pleased as punch with the result too. It went together beautifully and when I showed it to my hubby for his approval I got the "that isn't a new shirt" comment. Well actually it is honey, but I used the remaining leftover fabric for this top and I do have a summer shirt in the same fabric. Love the fabric tho. It's such a yummy knit from Lucy's Fabrics. I've had it for at least 3 years and was happy to do a little stash busting and get myself a new top.

Pattern Description: Fitted boat neck knit top with long or 3/4 length sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:36-44, I made a 36

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, tho I didn't follow them exactly. More below.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I've been wanting a boat neck top of ages and so I knew I had to sew this pattern up right away.

Fabric Used: A leftover piece in my stash from Lucy's fabrics - it's heaven to work with!

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I found the sleeve cap to be a bit too tall. Burda wanted you to sew it in in the round and use a gathering stitch to fit it in. That is such a stupid way to sew a knit top IMO, so I planned to sew it in flat. I found the sleeve to not fit right so I ended up reshaping it a bit and removing about 3/4" from the top sleeve ~ picture of pattern piece. After my alteration, it went in like a dream.

I also stabilized my neckline by sewing clear elastic to the edge at a 1-to-1 ratio. I just wanted to make sure the neck didn't gape open.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I'll definitely sew this again. I actually started on a second top, but due to a cutting error, I didn't haven enough fabric. I made the body of my second shirt with a rayon/lycra jersey and it's WAY too thin and clingy for this top - oops! Guess it's going in the thrift store bag.

I definitely recommend it to others.

Conclusion: Super cute and easy top! Also worth noting, I only used 3/4 yd for my top and the directions say 1 1/4 yd so you might want to lay out your pieces before purchasing so you don't end up with a little unusable piece of fabric.

This picture is for Reethi. She asked what the side view of Burda 10-2008-114 looked like so here is a picture. It's hard to take a side view because there is no place to put my arm. You can see I have a swayback and the shirt is caught on my tush a little. My photographer hasn't learned she must look for these things so her mama looks good! lol Hopefully you get the idea Reethi.

Before I put the boat neck pattern away, I might try to make just one more. I really love this top!!!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Burda Gathered Front Top

Do you ever have one of those projects that is simple but seems to take forever to get done? Well this was it for me. I felt like such a simple top should be a breeze, but I only had small chunks of time to work on it and then the fabric was just giving me fits. I finally finished it yesterday morning, thank goodness.

Pattern Description: From Burda, "The clever front gathering will really make waves, the raised waistline providing a very slimming effect, particularly flattering on the women with a long torso."

Pattern Sizing: 36-44, I made a 36

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, tho the picture in the magazine appears to be more gathered in the center front than mine is. It might be a little more snug fitting too.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were easy (either that or I am starting to *get* BWOF instructions).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved this top from the moment I saw it. I was drawn to all the gathers and the uniqueness of it.

Fabric Used: Rayon/lycra jersey from Joann's (this fabric was a royal PITA to work with). Maybe it was just my bad luck, but we didn't really get along too well.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I traced off the pattern as is, but ended up sewing the front neckline up about 1.5" higher than Burda tells you to. My bra was showing so I figured that isn't a good look. I also didn't hem the sleeves with a 2" hem, instead I used only 1" because I couldn't get my sewing machine foot in there, pretty tight space. Also, as mentioned in other reviews, the lower part of the arm is pretty narrow so I let that out about 1/4" or so on both sides and it's much better.

Another thing I did which I haven't done in the past was interface my the hem and the sleeve hem. The fabric was so drapey and needed the stability. I used Palmer/Pletsch Perfect Fuse sheer in both places and I cut the strip 1.25" wide for my 1" hem so it stabilized the fold too.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is a pretty unique top so I don't know that I'll sew it again. I am pretty happy with the end result even tho it has taken me days to complete this simple top (small bits here and there, not big sewing session). Looking at it on myself, I think that I would have been better off grading down to a size 34. I am right in the middle of the size 34 and 36 for my bust measurement and since this top is not super fitted, to me it looks a little big. I might take in the side seams a smidge in the waist to bust area, we'll see how I feel after wearing it around for the day. It's definitely a comfy shirt.

If this style is your cup of tea, I'd wholeheartedly recommend the top, it's really cute. Beware of the sleeves being a bit on the tighter side from the elbow area down to cuff. And if you're in between sizes you might consider sewing the smaller size.

Conclusion: If you're sewing with rayon jersey, you should use a stretch needle. I had no idea and had many fits with skipped stitches until I looked in my Fabric Savvy book. I was originally using a ball point needle but my machine and fabric did not like that combo whatsoever. Live and learn.


Now I would like to answer a question that was asked in the comments of my last post. Most of the time I can't reply to comments that are left because your email addresses don't come through. If it's something you'd like answered right away, please either email me directly, pm me through Pattern Review, or leave your email address when you leave your question in the comments otherwise I'll most likely answer it in my next post.

Anyway, Kim had asked where I took the Palmer/Pletsch fitting class at. Last fall I actually drove to Portland for four weeks and took a 3 hour class from Marta Alto at their studio in Portland (it's located inside Fabric Depot). Here is the website for the local sewing school, but they also have sewing vacations for those outside the Portland area.

For my next project, I cut out the boat neck top in the February issue of BWOF. I'm sure it will be simple so hopefully I'll have something to show for more quickly than I did with this top.