Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bluse - Sommer-Symphonie

Sewing! Why are you so hard? I honestly feel like I need to glue some sort of motivational poster on my sewing machine. Maybe a quote from Galaxy Quest: Never give up, never surrender!
Or the ever applicable Gargamel with his "I'll get you, I'll get all of you if that's the last thing I ever do!"
Do you hear that, sewing patterns? I'm not giving up.

Even if it means producing a bunch of ugly fitting clothes until I finally get the hang of it.

During the past couple of weeks I've been busy sewing, reading a bunch of sewing blogs and figuring out my body measurements. The whole thing led to a few horrifying conclusions. Turns out I'm completely deformed – one leg shorter than the other, bad posture and dropped shoulders (not to mention the fact that my right shoulder – my bag carrying shoulder - literally has a dent from schlepping all the heavy crap I put in my purse. A dent!!!!). Following a sewing pattern exactly as printed with my body being all asymmetric leads to ill fitting clothes. (Okay, my beginner sewing skills may also play a part in it.)
So what I need to do is:
1) learn more about how to adjust the patterns to fit me better
2) carry nothing in my purse besides my wallet and cellphone (an actual dent in my shoulder!!!)
3) probably spend less time hunched over said sewing patterns/knitting or
4) sign up for some sort of corrective exercise program (is there such a thing as stand-up-straight pilates?)

I'm going to be honest – point 1 is the only one that has a chance of actually coming true. Until it does, here's a Burda blouse that I spent a week sewing.

Made 3 different muslins, and after going a few sizes down made a blouse that fits me so long as I stand perfectly still and with my back completely straight. I probably went too far with the alterations – I'm pretty sure I made the upper back too narrow, because it pulls a bit tight if I bend over. Or maybe it's the cap sleeves. Either way – upper body mobility is somewhat limited. Guess I need to walk around with straight posture and my head held high ;-) 

Invisible zipper sewn with an invisible zipper foot. Also took some practice. I just wish I trimmed the top of the zipper a bit more, to avoid that little gap.

The fabric is light batiste, very soft and flowy. Very difficult to sew, because it keeps slipping. Hemming the finished blouse turned out to be a nightmare – I sewed and unpicked the hem three times – I just couldn't get it to be straight.

All in all – a learning experience. The zipper and the sleeves don't look all that bad, right? Little sewing mistakes and the fit problems are okay, I can live with them. Here's my biggest problem with this blouse - the pattern choice. What was I thinking? The pleats at the bust and the light fabric make it look like a freaking maternity top. Not a good look on me. New goal: Learn how to choose patterns that look good on you.

Here it is tucked in. Much better. 

And with a cardigan. Thank God for cardigans. (This one's from H&M) 


New new goal: Knit some cardigans for future coverage of my sewing disasters. Feel free to recommend some cardigan patterns for me to knit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Eastlake sweater is finally finished. I didn't do too good a job at seaming the pieces together, especially the sleeves, but no way am I ripping now. I guess it's just one of those things that comes with years of sleeve seaming practice. But let me tell you - knitting a sweater for two months and then having to sew the whole thing together at the end - not fun. Especially the stupid sleeves. But no more moaning, let's see some pictures!

I used Sublime Yarns Extra Fine Merino Wool DK, lovely yarn to work with and very soft. I hope it will last and not get all shabby after two washes. 

The pattern was great, easy to follow. I bought the Berrocco Woodland Gothic book especially for the Eastlake pattern, but there are at least three more cardigans in there that I'd like to knit. But I have no suitable yarn in my stash. Why is that always the issue? I've got buckets full of yarn, but when I find a pattern that I like, somehow nothing in my stash suits it. What a cruel stash-joke.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Burda blouse

Spring is finally here. And for me that means buying a Burda magazine and pulling out my sewing machine. Burda easy F/S 2012 has a cute dress that I fell in love with. Don't know why, it's not really my style. I probably just like the fabric and the color. 


These Burda patterns always come in different views, so I decided to make a blouse first, before I ruin a meter and a half of expensive fabric. 

I was a good girl, I took my measurements and made a muslin version first. According to the size chart, I'm a size 38. Now, I realize that this blouse/dress is supposed to be roomy, but the first blouse I made looked more like a tent. So I went down a size. And then once more. And then I finally sewed the real thing, because size 34 is the smallest one on the pattern. Basically, I traced the pattern 3 times, cut the fabric 4 times and sewed the same blouse 4 times. A super simple blouse, but soooo time consuming with all the muslins and seam finishing. It took me four days. 

And here's the finished version. The fabric is... crepe? No idea really, I picked it because to my shortsighted eye the pattern looked like little watermelons. It's somewhat stiff and probably the wrong choice for a blouse but whatever. 

It looks a little lame if I wear it like that, but when I tuck it in, I get a parachute effect on the back. But I take comfort in the fact that the model in the magazine seems to have the same problem, so maybe it's supposed to look like that? 

Too weird to wear like this?

From the magazine, her back is also inflated
Cardigan to the rescue!

Now I don't know if I should make the dress or not. I've got some flowery blue batiste - it's very soft and should fall better than this blouse, but I don't want to look like one of those inflatable wind dancers every time the wind blows. Decisions, decisions. 

And obligatory 'how's my knitting going' update: Finished the front, the back and one sleeve of the Eastlake sweater. I'm about 10 cm into the second sleeve. I should probably leave this Burda business aside and finish the Eastlake first.