Friday, December 31, 2010

Vogue 8451 Top

I finally completed my first holiday project - the V8451 top. I used the knit fabric from my last post to sew it up and it is "an instant gratfication" project. The pattern is easy to sew with and I am quite happy with the result. 

I think the top looks quite like the drawing on the pattern envelope, maybe except for the neckline. For me, in the picture it looks like there is a separate piece of pattern forming the neckline, something like a ribbing, but there isn't. The neckline is only topstitched, holding the neckline facing inside the finished garment. I topstitched it in two rows.

I made some alterations to the sleeves. I made the view A with puffy sleeves, but to make the sleeves long, I combined the cap of the sleeve A and used the lower part of the sleeve C. I also shortened the sleeve cap by 3 centimeters in comparison to the original view A, to have the puffy part shorter than the original sleeve A.

Overall, an easy pattern to sew with and for not much work - in comparison to other patterns maybe, you get quite an effective result.

See you in 2011 :-). 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Sewing Plans

I hope everyone is having wonderful Christmas / holidays!

On the last pre-Christmas day - December 23 (we celebrate Christmas on December 24, having a traditional dinner), I went to buy some necessary sewing supplies for my Christmas holidays, so that I wouldn't miss anything when the days of my temporary freedom (not going to work) come along. I only wanted to buy some threads, but as quite often, I left the shop with a couple pieces of fabric, which had my name all over them. 

I've got about two meters (more than two yards) of white heavy knit fabric, which I plan to use for this Vogue 8305 top. The pattern is available only OOP now, but I was lucky enough to find and purchase one from Etsy. I would have probably left this pattern unspotted, if there wasn't for Tany of Couture Et Tricot, who used this pattern to make a lovely dress.  

The next two pieces of fabric are knits as well, both sporting the same pattern, but in different colors. I couldn't decide between these two, so I ended up buying tem both. I visualize them being transformed into wintery tops. Vogue 8451 (view A with long sleeves or view B) and Butterick 5562 (view B) are being considered as potential winners. Since the Butterick one is one of the newer releases, there are no reviews with helpfull tips on PR yet. Hmm.

The last one is a heavy knit fabric as well and while standing in the shop, I had no idea what to do with it, I only knew I wanted to have it. Yeah, greedy me :-). I think it might be a great dress, so I've bought enough of it to make one when the right time comes along.  I have already put some tought into it and maybe this vintage Butterick pattern could be a good starting point.

Since I won't go to work until January 10 (yessssss, *making very happy faces*), let the I-can-do-whatever-I-want days begin!! :-)

Happy holidays to everyone! :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pre-Christmas Treat No. 2

Since there was a blog called Pre-Christmas Treat No. 1, it is quite logical that I planned to write at least a No. 2, but I had no idea that it would take this long. 

I have to confess, that as much as I love sewing, I also love reading about sewing. Sometimes just reading about it, reading sewing blogs or reading about some sewing techniques makes me feel as if I was actually sewing. Does that make any sense :-D? It comes in handy especially when I have no possibility to sew, becuse I can always carry around a little book or a magazine and make use of it when waiting somewhere for something (in a bus, at a doctor etc). And of course, since I still have a lot to learn, I always learn something new when reading about sewing.

These are my excuses for the continuing process of buying literature and DVDs on sewing (*pulling an innocent face*). So, the arrival of a box with a set of Sew Stylish magazines and two DVDs  (Teach Yourself To Sew and Couture Techniques Workshop - Basics With Claire Shaeffer) pictured below, made me very happy a couple of weeks ago, although this time I had to pick them up from the customs and pay additional taxes for having them shipped from the USA :-/.

The bad thing is, that I haven't had enough time for reading or watching these properly. I began to watch both of the DVDs, which I like so far, but only after watching them from the beginning to the end, I'll be able to say my final verdict :-). And that's why I can't wait for the Christmas Holidays to begin for me, because that's when I plan to do all these things I wasn't able to do during the last (too many to count) weeks. So, for those interested in the DVDs, I'll write a review on them.

I managed to cut the fabric for the Simplicity dress I blogged about the last time, but that's what I have so far. The flu made me otherwise ineffective for a majority of the weekend. Which is "great", because one doesn't have much to do around the Christmas time, right ;-)...?

Have a wonderful week! :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Burda Jacket Finished...

... and I am not content with the result very much. I made a poor choice with the fabric, because it is much drapier than I wanted it to be.  Since it is a polyester, I pre-washed it and it changed the quality of the fabric. The fabric doesn't look so crushed as in the picture - it looks better on a real human body, but not what I imagined previously. I won't use buttons for the jacket, but something like a hook-and-eye closure. It's closed only with a pin so far, because I need to go to buy the closure, but I've got a flu, so it has to wait. 

There are some lessons learned from sewing this jacket:
     First, I'll have to do a plan for my future sewing, because otherwise, with such a lack of time as in the last weeks, the sewing progress is so slow, that it discourages me from finishing a started project. Even a half an hour a day is better than nothing.
     Second, polyester doesn't mean it's easily washable (I should have listened to my inner voice telling me not to pre-wash the fabric the way I did...).
     Third, work on a started project regularly, but slowly - which should help me avoid some mistakes I made only because I felt like a more profound preparation was not necessary. 
We'll see if I am a good at learning from my own mistakes when working on the next project ;-). It should be an underlined Simplicity 2754 dress...

 ... made from this mohair knit.

 Wish me luck and have a great pre-Christmas weekend :-)!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Some Non-Christmas Shopping

I've had so little time for me and my hobbies lately, that I am already pretty much annoyed. I truly hope, that it's going to change now, after everyting unavoidable has been managed (some reorganisations in the apartment, pre-Christmas cleaning and other "lovely" activities).

I won't share pictures of the pink Burda jacket now, since I didn't manage to make them yet, but I plan to do this by the end of the work week. What I am going to share with you is the new fabric I coudn't resist purchasing. 

These two pieces of fabric that have found home in my fabric stash are planned to become a jacket  (left) and a vest (right). They are of the same colour (not that the picture would truly show that...), but different textures. The left one is nicely soft (100% polyester) and the right one has got a crushed texture (viscose + polyester). They complement each other really well and I hope the finished garmants will turn out nicely.

The second pair of fabric has caught my eye immediately as I spotted it and although I only have a very vague idea about their future form, I had to have them. Both carry the same pattern, but one is a cotton/spandex blend (top) and the other is transparent polyester (bottom). A friend of mine is having a wedding in the summer and I think these fabrics can become a lovely dress for that event. I visualize a sheath dress (or maybe a dress with a wider skirt?) and something like a loose shrug with long loose sleeves. 

My not-so-successful attempt to transfer my visualisation on a paper...

 ... and a pattern to start with? Vogue 1176

 We'll see - the summer looks so distant now...

Another bunch of (this time) Butterick patterns has arrived. I always get so excited, when sewing patterns arrive - it's a small (or big?) obsession, really. I don't think I need any more sewing patterns, but I can't stop "collecting" them. Is there a self-help group for people obsessed with sewing patterns? Hi, my name is Zuzana and I can't stop buying sewing patterns ;-)...

Have a lovely and successful week and yay! for the upcoming Christmas holidays! ;-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pre-Christmas Treat No. 1

I don't have much time to sew recently, so it looks like it takes me a ridiculously long time to finish the pink Burda jacket. I only get a couple of sewing hours a week, so that's why I'm progressing so slowly. But I am at the finish line and will have it done by the end of the week. That's the plan ;-).

I am looking forward to Christmas - I really need some time to relax and not go to work, because I feel somehow drained. I plan to sort out my sewing stuff, because I have nothing but sewing patterns organized and I need to impose some order to my sewing world. 

Speaking of sewing patterns... As if I already hadn't enough of them, I ordered some Vogue patterns  a couple of weeks ago and they have arrived. There are some with interesting details among them and also some classics.  The jacket pattern came into my house, because I read Erica B.'s blog where she was raving about the pattern's instructions and "luxurious couture construction details" of the pattern. Now, try to resist and not buy it :-D. 

In fact, this is not the only package, that came into my possesion in the last days. There have been some things related to sewing I've been eyeing for a couple of weeks now and I have eventually ordered them. 

I've heard a lot about the Patrones magazines, but have never had a single issue in my hands. I know that there are some possibilities to subscribe to these magazines, but the price is pretty high. Fortunately, I found these on eBay and ordered them for a "test ride" :-). At first sight, I really love the patterns - they are mostly very wearable, but still glamorous, cute and fashionable. 

Now, I don't know how I am going to cope with the fact, that I don't speak Spanish (yet :-)), but I am remaining optimistic. Sometimes even knowing the language doesn't help. When sewing with Burda Style magazines (the Czech issues), althoug my Czech is fluent, the instructions don't make me any wiser and it's as if they were not there at all...

There are more things to come, some DVD reviews among others, but more about that later.

A great weekend to everyone and happy sewing!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vogue 1066 Jacket

I know, at this time, I should be already showing you a completed Burda jacket, but that's not going to happen. Why? Well, I've completed the torso of the outer shell, cut the lining pieces and put them together, as well as 90% of the sleeves, but that's where I am stuck. As much as I love Burda magazines, that's how much I also hate their instructions. They are always very brief and sometimes use expressions that maybe only professional sewers are familiar with. 

So, this is why I can't figure out the next step of the sleeve construction and I need to wait for my sewing classes to get some help. And this really bothers me.  I am starting to dislike the whole project because of this and I am definitely going to finish it, but for the time being,  I needed something that would distract me from this frustration. So I chose this:

Vogue 1066 jacket:

I meant to sew this for quite a long time, I even had the pattern traced (I don't cut patterns, I always trace them) and I had the fabric that I thought would work with the pattern.

The pattern envelope says "Advanced", but I wouldn't say it applies on the jacket. I did not sew the trousers, so I can't say anything about those, but the jacket is quite easy to make. Even for somebody with not so much sewing experience like me. After a couple of sewing hours, the outer shell of the jacket is complete. I still need to sew the lining, probably even buy the  right lining fabric and definitely buy the right buttons, but I am quite happy with the partial result so far. 
This pattern asks for a lot of topstitching and I chose a contrasting black colour, so I had to change threads while sewing all the time, but it's the fun part of the pattern. I am not completely happy with how the topstitching turned out, but I am not unhappy either. This is my first topstitching ever, so it can only get better ;-). 

This is what I have so far:

This project has brought back the good feelings about sewing and some new energy,  that will be much needed to complete the Burda jacket.

Happy sewing to everyone :-)!

PS: Don't miss out on the Butterick sale! They are only 2.99 USD now ;-). I couldn't resist the temptation and ordered a bunch of them :-).  I love buying sewing patterns.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

"Essential Sewing Skills" DVDs Review

It's been only a year that I began with sewing. I collect Burda magazines for about 8 years now, so this is probably for how long I wanted to start with sewing. This time around about a year ago, I finally managed to sign up for a sewing course. 

I like tke course that I go to, but I don't find it comprehensive enough. We learn various techniques, but I sometimes find them a bit dated or not going deep enough for my liking. Or sometimes, there is just not enough time for the need of all the attendants, although there is only six of us. As I began to attend the course, I also discovered the world of sewing blogs and sewing books, sewing videos, sewing... everything :-).

Since I want to learn to sew properly, comprehensively, with understanding how it all works, I started to browse the internet, searching for some literature and DVDs to help me. That's how I found the DVD set "Essential Sewing Skills". It is a 5 DVD pack with over 60 sewing techniques. It is from New Zealand  and fortunately, they ship worldwide, so I ordered a copy. The set costs 127 NZ Dollars (approx. 72 Euros, 101 USD) and the DVDs can also be purchased separately. The website offers two video previews, so I could check out if I was going to like the style of the DVDs or not. The two demonstrations were good enough for me, I also read the positive testimonials published on the site and together with the extend of the techniques offered, they convinced me to buy the set. And I am not dissapointed.

I can only judge the DVDs from an advanced beginner's point of view, but I really like them. They are very clear, the techniques are shown from a bird's eye perspective - the camera is above the sewing machine's needle showing things in detail and the explanations are precise. For me, someone, who still has a LOT to learn in the area of sewing, all these explanations are very valuable and I can always come back to them whenever I need it. 

All the techniques are listed on the inner cover of the DVDs. In the introduction, the teacher talks about sewing patterns, tracing patterns, cutting fabric - the necessary basic stuff that - for me - wasn't  overly interesting, but boring neither. Everything that follows is - according to me - a great explanation of a pretty big bunch of sewing techniques. There are lessons on collars, cuffs, darts, facings, gathering, hems, pockets, sleeves, slits, waistbands, zippers... Probably everything that you can call the essential sewing techniques. Everything is explained nicely in detail, from the marks on sewing patterns to the final result of every technique.

I find these DVDs to be a valuable source of many sewing techniques, that are new to me. I also use them to come back to those techniques, that I learned in my sewing classes, but don't remember precisely, to refresh my memory.

If you already stumbled upon these and are not sure if to get them, I can only recommend them. I can't tell how much they can be of an added value to somene who is a long-time sewer, but for someone like me, who still has a lot to discover in the sewing world, they are a great sewing help.    

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Working On a Jacket - BWOF 5/2006 - 107

I am currently working on my first jacket. Well, the first one that is (hopefully) going to be finished :-). I began to sew one during this summer, but I got somehow discouraged, because at that time, I wasn't attending the sewing course I normally go to (summer vacation) and I felt like I needed some help.

So after the new "semester"of the course started, I decided it was time to learn how to sew a jacket. I have quite a lot of books on sewing, even a DVD on how to sew a jacket, but if I get a real-human  assistance, that can't hurt :-).

I went through my (still growing :-/) stash of patterns, but didn't find any I would like in the fabric of my choice. So I went through all the Burda magazines I own (I keep buying them for about 8 years now, so you can imagine) and settled finally on the pattern 107A from BWOF 5/2006 (the Czech edition):

I already cut out the pattern pieces from the fashion fabric, but everything else is still waiting to be done. The fashion fabric is 100% polyester in a brocade look. I have two fabrics to choose from for the jacket lining - a tone-in-tone one (pink polyester) and a contrasting one (khaki-brownish-golden viscose).  I think I prefer the contrasting one, already because of the fact that it's not polyester and it gives an impression of a more luxurious look/feel. 

For the past couple of weeks I sometimes got only about three sewing hours a week, so I hope it won't take an eternity to finish this project. Wish me luck. In the meantime, I will be admiring all the beautiful garmets that you come up with all the time.