Friday, 22 February 2013

BurdaStyle - Special, Plus Magazine Spring/Summer 2013

REVIEW: BurdaStyle - Special, Plus Magazine Spring/Summer 2013
Aside from spotting people I know in print, I also picked up the latest issue of the Plus magazine last week too.

01 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

And, what a pleasant surprise it was! Very often comments about Burda's  offering of plus-size patterns in their normal monthly magazine tend to leave people a little cold, and mutterings of shapeless sacks abound. (Their normal magazine shows only a handful of plus sized patterns amoungst the regular sized and kids items.) 

02 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013 03 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

But, as I flicked the pages of my purchase (a biannual publication) I found quite a few things drawing my attention, things I could see myself making.

04 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013  05 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

Shirt Dress 421
This is a figure-skimming number with princess-seam shaping on the bodice front and back - with a pencil style skirt.

06 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

Blouson Jacket 435
BurdaStyle call this a College Jacket, but to me this is totally reminiscent of a Bomber Jacket I had as a teenager - a total throw-back to Ace McShane in old Doctor Who episodes LOL! This would be pretty good looking with some skinny jeans and heels (or Baseball Boots!).

07 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

Jacket 405
Look at the great style lines on this jacket. Burda's is made from Silk
- but how great would this look colour blocked - or even a Leather/Ponte Knit combo huh?

08 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

Drape Front Dress 405
Again Burda call this a Corsage Dress - but it's more like a softer ruffle / waterfall to my way of thinking. If you didn't like the asymmetric details it could be altered into a pretty good strapless fitted dress methinks - and at least being Plus-Sized drafted already there'd hopefully be less fitting issues than trying to grade-up from  the standard size-ranges.

09 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

Drape Skirt 416 A
Then there was this pencil skirt with side-gathers that looked very familiar - and if you ask me aside from the higher waist... it's a pretty close style-match for the Starburst Skirt Pattern #113C from the 05/2012 issue of BurdaStyle Magazine - perhaps this was a popular style for Burda and they decided to try and duplicate it's success in a larger size range?

10 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

Sleeveless Jacket / Waistcoat 413 verses Jacket 414
I'm a sucker for admiring that slightly louche music festival style. It's not a style I wear - but I sometimes like an item or too I spot in a fashion magazine. I've always kind of liked those worn-in cotton military/safari style khaki coloured jackets (example) so comfy looking to through on for Spring/Summer. 

11 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013
Then, I saw the 413 sleeveless jacket pattern, and I liked the covered zip feature (though I'd personally prefer buttons with a covered a concealed button placket), I and I like the collarless finish.. BUT I'd want it to have sleeves (and I didn't fancy drafting any haha!). But a few pages further in I spot 414 - and it look suspiciously familiar to 413. I compared the technical line drawings - and if you ask me they're both based on the same core pattern (yay!).

So, below is my cut 'n' pasted re-hashed version of how I want my jacket to look..... now if only I could find the right fashion fabric ;)...
Long-length sleeves, collar-less neckline, concealed button placket, nice deep gusseted pockets with flap finish, and a drawstring at hem.

12 - BurdaStyle - PLUS Magazine Spring-Summer 2013

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Let's Get Happy to Get Map-py!

You could be HERE too LOL! :)

It was Tanit Isis's post that got me all pinned down to the map LOL! Another Sewing Scientist has started a collaborative Google-Map of sewists to help facilitate meet-ups, shopping-trips, get togethers, and all-round bl**dy good sewing-time (yay!).

So, c'mon get yourself added to the map :)

    Here’s how to participate:
  1. Open this link to get to Map the Sewintists.
  2. Ensure that you are logged into your Google Account.
  3. Click on the red EDIT button (on the left of the screen).
  4. Click on the blue pin (to 'Add a placemark') on the upper left of the map.
  5. Next, click on your location to drop the pin into place.
  6. A box will open that will allow you to add your name or blog URL in rich text
  7. Save et voilà!

It is strongly advised that you only pin your general location or closest city, since we don`t want creepers peeping in our windows while we sew in our unders, do we?

It appears that you cannot pin to the map if you are using a mobile device / tablet; also, you may need to use Firefox since other browsers may not work.  

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

First Garment Make for 2013! (Part: Two - Overlocking and Vents/Side-Splits)

Picture heavy post coming below peops... if nothing else - it serves as an excellent visual reminder for me - as I need to make-up the plain black cotton version of this top... as I've already cut out the fabric LOL!

Following on from my last post I ran some test samples on my sewing machine - as I was concerned that it might chew up the lightweight flimsy fabric. I used a Microtex needle (so it's nice and sharp!) - and my vintage machine has the ability to lower the feed-dogs for Normal - Silk - Embroidery fabric. The last setting basically lowers the feed-dogs completely out of the way so the fabric can be moved around freely at will. SIDE-NOTE: That's a pretty handy feature if you're using a Buttonholer attachment, as it can save the need for an extra plate to cover any feed-dogs that cannot be lowered out of the way. With a Buttonholer the attachment itself grasps onto the fabric and moves it around as the buttonhole is stitched - therefore it needs the fabric to not move along with the sewing machine's feed-dogs.

Schmetz Microtex Sharp 70/10 Needles  Switch to raise/lower feed-dogs on my sewing machine

The straight stitch samples came out best on a fairly long stitch length, with the top-thread tension reduced a little, and the feed-dogs lowered to the Silk setting. I also preferred the nicer stitch formation I got using my straight-stitch foot and straight-stitch needle-plate (the plate was another excellent purchase a while back from the ever-handy Helen). I find that with that plate I can only use the machine with the needle-positioned to the far left - otherwise the needle would break when it misses the tiny narrow hole... ask me how I know !!?!.

I also tested the overlocker (serger) using 4 large spools of nicely matching grey thread I picked up IIRC at William Gee in Dalston. I had tried the tie-on method of switching over the threads... but only the left-needle worked! All the others got jammed and caused the thread to break. Anyhow... it's so easy to thread my machine I don't need the instructions anymore - just a pair of tweezers and some good lighting LOL!
Then, having examined the construction of the original (i.e. nosing around inside!) I could see that the majority of seams were overlocked together. I also observed, that to create the small, but simple side-vents (splits?) I'd have to overlock the front and back side-seams on both the front and back bodices from the hem-upwards for about 11cm (4½") - that's the length of the vent + extra at the very bottom for the turn-up of the hem-allowance + a bit extra above where the top of the vent ends. The idea would be to then straight-stitch the side-seams (SS) and the integral but short underarm seams together - stopping at the point where the top of the vent should be. The overlocked edges of the vent are then pressed to the inside of the garment along the same width as the 1cm (3/8") SS - and then they are topstitched in place about 7mm (¼") from the edge. After that the hems can be overlocked, pressed and then straight-stitched into place.

So, to pre-overlock the vent/side-split edges I did the following:
(1) Marked the where the top of the vent is (the same place the side-seam ends/where the split-opening finishes).
(2) Marked the level at which the SS will end-up overlocked together - then clipped from the edge of fabric inwards at this level stopping at the point where the finished fabric edge will finally be (NB: for this delicate lightweight crepe fabric I cut the pattern pieces wider than the final).
(3) I then folded the fabric above the clip in towards the middle of the bodice, and pinned it out of the way. (It will be out of the way of the overlocker blades.)
(4) Then each of the 4 vent/side-split edges are overlocked (4 = 2 sides on the Front Bodice, 2 on the Back Bodice) - tailing off the threads at the point where the upper fabric of the bodice is folded out of the way.

 Overlocking the seam allowances on the vents (side-split opening) first

Overlocking the vents - pinning fabric out of the way of the blades

Overlocking the vents - finishing at the top of the vent

I was then ready to straight-stitch the shoulders together - but this fabric is flimsy and fiddly to handle, so I pinned and then hand basted it together to get an easier to manage machine-stitch result. After the straight-stitching I pressed the seams, then overlocked them.

Next, I straight-stitched the side-seams. Starting from the curved area of the underarms working down towards the hems. I stopped to back-stitch very carefully at the point where the top of the vent opening starts. Luckily there's a tiny overlap of the fusible stay tape at that spot to reinforce the stitches - as I was concerned that it could be a stress point and tear through when worn (eekkk!).

Then, I needed to overlock the side-seams. However, I was concerned about my iffy ability to negotiate a tight curve on the overlocker - with out fluffing it up big-time and slicing something off with the blades irretrievably. So, I first carefully cut along the cutting-line of the underarm curve and also about a further 3 - 4cm worth of the vertical-line (see photo below) and then I stopped. I figured this would make it easier for me to manipulate the fabric around a curve when I overlocked the side-seams.
Preparing to overlock the side-seams

I then placed the under-arm seam-allowance under the presser-foot - aligning the cut-edge of the curved-fabric against the side of the cutting blades. And, I was able to overlock easily around the corner and down the straight (sounds like driving a racing car LOL!) !  ... i.e. just as per this tip about serging inside curves here I straightened the line as I fed it through the overlocker machine as I stitched around the curve. It basically eliminated 1 out of 2 sticky areas for me - I could ignore the problem of cutting in a nice curve, and instead I concentrated on just stitching it nicely instead (yay!).

Overlocking the underarms and then the side-seams When I got close to the top of the vent opening (which I had marked off with water-erasable marker at point about 5 - 6cm above the top of the actual opening) I needed to overlap the overlocking stitches with the pre-overlocked section. It's here, that the pre-cut, pre-overlocked edges of the vent seam allowances meet up with the overlocker blade-edge as it passes through the machine towards the needles. I overlapped both sections of overlocking a little bit before trailing off the threads gently to the side (see photo below).

Trailing off the threads before reaching the top of the vent opening

Okay, so far the shoulders are sewn up, as are the vents/splits, and the side seams - only the sleeve-cuffs, neckline and hem left to write-up for posterity :) !

  On different tangent, but kinda related to overlocker/serger machines I spent half and hour   this evening moving all my favourite serger/overlocker pins onto a new separate Pinterest 
  board of their own (Sewing - Sergers & Overlockers: Tutorials & Tips) so I could find and
browse them more easily hehe


Next up... Part Three - Sleeve-Cuffs, Hems and Neckline

"Oh, hello there! Your face is VERY familiar... have we met before?"...

CLOTH Magazine, Issue 15 - 04
...I don't usually buy CLOTH Magazine, but I was in *WHSmiths this afternoon and the current issue (no. 15) fresh onto the newstands today caught my eye.

CLOTH Magazine, Issue 15 - 01  CLOTH Magazine, Issue 15 - 03

And, when I glanced inside of the attached pamphlet I spotted 2 very familiar faces... one I have met and enjoyed the company of on several occasions (most recently at Stevie's Walthamstow meet-up).
CLOTH Magazine, Issue 15 - 06

The first face I recognised was the delightful Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons - she of the lovely Mathilde Blouse no less!

The other face, I at first glance mistook for his identical-Cousin Cathy, until I remembered that Cathy now sports a fanciful pink coiffure so I knew instead it had to be Peter of Male Pattern Boldness.

CLOTH Magazine, Issue 15 - 05

CLOTH Magazine, Issue 15 - 07

*To those unfamiliar WHSmiths (pronounced W H Smiths funnily enough, or not as the case may be LOL!) is big national chain of newsagent shops here in the UK - selling newspapers, magazines, greetings cards, books, stationery, DVDs, music etc. etc. there is a branch or two in practically every town, city and airports too. If you're lucky the larger branches will stock magazine titles such as BurdaStyle, Threads, SEW Today etc. :)

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Fabric Malaise - Finding A Cure in Walthamstow

07 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013.JPG

When the Stashitis gets too bad, *Fabric Malaise sets in, whence upon a Sewist must gather with others of her kind - there to unload the burden of her overflowing stash and release them into the arms of a fellow sufferer.

So, when you can't find a cure in Boots the Chemist what are you to do? People - I give you the Meet-Up! Unshackle yourself from your woes, and have some fun, and that's just the ticket for raising your spirits and inject some much needed Mo back into your Jo ;)!

Luckily, for fans of the fabric the wonderful Stevie organised a fab get together for us yesterday in a cold but welcoming Walthamstow (a place I am not unfamiliar to the enticing charms of LOL!)

The troops gathered at the entrance to Walthamstow Central tube station for 11am, then we all set of quick march to the Marrakech cafe on the High Street.

02 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013.JPG 01 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013

Much fabric, notions, magazines and patterns exchanged hands - but this was no clandestine liaison - rather it was a light-hearted and uplifting of like minded sewing-souls. And, whilst the weather was cold outside the atmosphere inside was exceptionally warm and inviting :)

As per my post late on Friday evening, I had over 60 items to swap - yup I had *it bad peops LOL! 20 pieces of fabric had been dutifully folded and placed lovingly into my pink trolley - but I knew that that was an awful lots of fabric to swap (hehe). So, to help my fellow Sewists decide what they'd like to take home with them I made a swatch-sheet with the width and length of every piece. Then, all anyone had to do was to pass the sheets around and jot-down their name next to the piece they fancied - simples!

05 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013.JPG
Tilly and Jane eye up one of the trims & habby stalls on the market
Only 3 pieces of now ex-stash fabric didn't go home with anyone - but they instead were gathered together with anything else the group didn't want to keep and I dropped them off to the Sue Ryder charity shop just down the road from the cafe.

03 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013.JPG
Stevie, Jane and Helen - enjoying the banter with the guy on the fabric stall outside of Sainsbury's
The day was filled with so much fun and laughter (see more pics here on Karen and Tilly's blogs), we discussed the potential fibre content of the wares on the man-outside-Sainsbury's-stall (perhaps a burn-test is in order - charts here and here folks?) and there as much praise for the Mathilde Blouse pattern too (I've bought mine already :) )
04 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013.JPG
Ahhhh... the allure of the "From £2 per metre" table of knit/jersey fabric in Saeed's shop!

My personal acquisitions on the day were: 4 gorgeous pieces of fabric - a medium-blush pink polka dot fabric (courtesy of Zoe), some warm toned light-yellow baby- corduroy from Tilly, some soft deep purple knit from Stevie, and a lovely printed medium-dark blue denim from Karen. I was also the fortunate recipient of a lovely top pattern from Shivani - Simplicity 6808

06 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013.JPG

Items I went on to purchase were 2 of cones of overlocker (serger) thread, some zips (for some reason I have a tonne of invisible zips in my stash but like zero normal zips? weird!), some blue and cream thread spools, some more Singer branded sewing-machine oil for my Mum (what can I say when it comes to parts/accessories for her machine my Mum is a brand-name snob LOL!). Plus, 2 metres of cotton fabric (off-white with a green pattern - perfect match for the walls in my sewing room.. so how could I resist?). I was pretty proud that I went out with 20 pieces of fabric, and only came home with 5 (yay!).

08 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013.JPG

Some of us (naming no names) arrived empty-handed, yet acquired so many pieces in le-grande-swap that they had to purchase a brand new trolley on the market in order to make it round the fabric stores afterwards! (See... trolleys are your friend folks - and NOT merely an excuse to buy even more stuff hehe!)

Persons now [temporarily] relieved of their *Fabric Malaise symptoms are (in alphabetical order (with the name of their blog too):
Claire (me, LOL!) - Sew, incidentally...
Helen - Sew Stylish
Shivani - pins & needles
Zora (sans blog :) )
(Did I miss anyone out? Please let me know!)

After everyone else had departed for the station, I hung around and popped into the Lidl and picked up a set of 2 seat-pads, and a pair of shelf-baskets for my sewing room too.

10 - Walthamstow Meet-Up 2nd February 2013.JPG

I just want to point out for the record, that I don't have a fabric problem and that my heart does not palpitate and my eyes do not go all a squergly in close proximity to fabric . Also, I did not just have my fingers crossed when I typed that last sentence ;)!

*A ghastly affliction, usually caused by the over accumulation of fabric in one's stash. Notable symptoms include the squirrelling away of new acquisitions into secret corners of the home away from the inquisitive and enquiring eyes of family and friends, or the sudden loss of floor-space in every room. Sufferers are often place known to hang onto pieces of fabric for prolonged periods of time, before coming the realisation that they a) no longer like the piece, b) feel it no longer suits them, or c) believing that it will never realise it into an actual garment now, or indeed if ever. Symptoms may be alleviated via the sharing, swapping, or donation of existing fabrics with other Sewists. A last resort is the removal of excess items of fabric to the local charity shop / thrift store / or Ops shop. The Malaise is sadly a life-long chronic condition, the symptoms of which may ebb and flow - dependant upon numerous factors, including (but not limited to): the availability of financial funds, limits of storage space, and the co-operation of an understanding and sympathetic spouse.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

PRIMA Pattern - March 2013, Batwing Sleeve Dress

Haha... 3-times is a charm? Even though we're in the month of February, the March 2013 PRIMA Magazine is on the shelves in the Newsagents and that issue's pattern is available to order by phone until the end of this March too :)

PRIMA Magazine - March 2013 (01)
The pattern for March is a simple pull-on dress with no fastenings has an extra-long bodice cut to drape flatteringly over the slim skirt, which is kept in place with an elasticate waistline. The batwing sleeves are bracelet length and cut in one with the bodice. (For knits / jersey fabrics.)

PRIMA Magazine - March 2013 (02)

PRIMA Magazine - March 2013 (03)

See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Yup It's Over 60... Items That Is - Ready To Swap!!

20 pieces of fabric
1 book by Claire Shaeffer
2 Cath Kidston booklets
16 Zips
2 Plastic Pin Boxes (Vintage an in need of a clean?)
10 small spools of thread
2 Silicone Finger Guards (Pressing Aids)
6 Pieces of Single-Fold Bias Binding
2 copies of SEW Hip Magazine

err.... I think that's it folks!

20 pieces of fabric ready to swap!

The Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts 

Slide show - of all the goodies below :)


These are all destined to find new homes at tomorrow's meet-up in Walthamstow... maybe you'll be taking one of them home with you :) ?

My pink trolley is groaning at the seams - but the sewing room is breathing easier now (hehe).

PRIMA Pattern - February 2013, Stylish Swing Coat

Okay, so not to get all Groundhog Day on you (following on from yesterday's post) but the pattern for the February 2013 PRIMA Magazine is available until the end of this month too folks

PRIMA Magazine - February 2013 (01)
The pattern for February is a ladies roomy, unlined swing coat has a softly-draped asymmetrical collar and pockets in the side seams. It fastens simply with two large press studs.

PRIMA Magazine - February 2013 (02)

PRIMA Magazine - February 2013 (03)

See my old post here on tips for ordering their patterns: PRIMA Magazine: How to Order Their Sewing Patterns.