Burda outdoes itself on cleavage reveal!

As I noted in the last post, I have been looking for somewhat nicer t-shirt patterns for work.  I had been having some trouble, so I decide to go out on a limb and try something completely different.  The November 2008 BWOF had some “feel good leisure-wear”, and I really liked the lines of the t-shirt.  Here is the line drawing (it’s #125).

tshirt line drawing

It seemed kind of different from the shirts I had, and I had some fairly stable knit fabric that I thought would work well.

Let me preface this report by saying I know this is entirely my fault.  As many of you know, in regular street clothes Burda has a tendency to reveal a bit much in the cleavage area.  It should have, but did not, occur to me that they might feel even more free to let the girls out around the house, in leisure-wear.

This was really easy to make up — it’s not a complicated sewing project — but when I put it on it was so low cut that you could not only see my bra, but at the lowest point of the V you could actually see the skin underneath my front bra strap.  However, on the plus side, it seems to work fine with a camisole underneath.


It’s a totally fine t-shirt.  I don’t think I’ll make more — I’m holding out hope for the regular jalie t-shirt pattern that is on the way — but I have already worn it.

The jeans, by the way, are from this pattern .  I tried to make them look like actual jeans, with only medium success.  But they are very flattering.  I’ll post a review at some point.

Next up, almost done, is a shift dress from the 2/2009 issue (the one Amanda made here).  Also, oddly similar to Amanda, I am planning to wear it for my anniversary dinner on Friday!



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More of the same…

I gave my exams this week, so I rewarded myself with a half a day of sewing on Thursday when I finished grading, plus today.  You would think I’d have more to show for it.  What I did get done was another shirt for DH:



It’s very similar to the first.  I made the neck a bit smaller, and added a bit at the front and cuffs.  The major change is the fabric.  This is a very nice Italian shirting from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It’s much softer than the other.  DH was very happy, although he did not seem as surprised as the first time.  I still feel like it’s pulling a bit at the top button, but I’m not sure how to fix this.  Anyway, it’s getting warmer here so I think this is enough long sleeved shirts for now.  Now, however, he wants some linen pants.  This may be somewhat more difficult to pull off…

I also made up another version of the Jalie shirt for myself, this one with runching at the front and with tulip sleeves.



I still like this.  I’m having some issues with the neckband, which I detail in my review.  But it’s a really good basic pattern. 

I am having an issue with tops.  I have a huge number of skirts — basic a-line, and a few variants — that I feel like I don’t have any “nice” tops to wear with.  These Jalie tops are a little loose.  And the other choice I have is t-shirts from Target, which I like, but are not that nice.  So I’m going a little off the deep end for the next shirt, and trying something from BWOF (November 2008) which is billed as a “leisure-wear” t-shirt.  You never know.

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Sewing for “necessity”…

I have been sewing!  Just not blogging.  It’s gotten much warmer here, which means I am desperately in need of some summer clothes.  So I’ve been doing some simple sewing, nothing too elaborate, to fill out the wardrobe.  Here is the latest outfit.

jalieandpants 001


The pants are the same as the linen pants from a few posts ago, but in a light denim.  I also had to make them a bit smaller.  I found the linen stretched a bit, as does the denim.  Also I’ve lost a bit of weight.  Just a bit.  Anyway, I’m still a huge fan of these pants.  At least two more pairs, in regular blue denim, are on the list.

The top is my first shot at a Jalie top — it’s the fold-over front sleeveless tee.  I have been committed to Burda, but so many people made this on PR, and I thought it would be nice to have a simple t-shirt pattern.  Let me just say, Jalie is great.  If you are new to sewing, I would really recommend you try this.  It was trivial to make, looks great, the pattern was really well-drafted.  I’m very happy with this.  I’ve already cut out another.

Here is the outfit from the back.

jalieandpants 003

The only thing I’m unsure about, is maybe there should be pockets on the pants in the back.  I think without them it’s a bit of wide open space.  I’ll probably add this to the next version.  Dawn did this, and I liked the way hers came out (of cousre). 

My next projects are mostly for other people — another version of BWOF 3/09 #103 (tunic dress) for a friend and probably another shirt for DH.  But I’ve been making plans to use up the stash.  Here is a picture of the floor in my office/sewing area today


I’m trying to categorize the fabrics by garment type and assign them patterns by going through Burda and the rest of my patterns.  This isn’t weird, right? 



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Good wife

I was a good wife this weekend.  For one thing, my in-laws were in town, and I picked them up from the subway while DH was working.  That is worth a lot of points.  Even more significant, I finished the shirt for DH, while he was entertaining his parents with a trip to the suburbs.  Here it is, front and back.

jshirt 001

jshirt 002

(He doesn’t want his face on the Internet, so you miss the very top).

I was really happy with this.  It looks great, and comes pretty close to replicating the $200 shirts he likes to wear.  He was really excited about it, and wore it to work yesterday, which made me very happy.  My favorite part is the collar/collar stand, where I used a slightly different fabric for the underside of the collar and the inside of the stand, as you can see here


I also love the pocket.  It’s just a little bit interesting — a pleat in the middle — and it really adds something.  The darts in the back work well, although this is largely becuase he’s so slim.  I was really happy with the fitting/drafting on this pattern (BWOF March, 2009).  Most RTW shirts are much too big for him, so I expected to have to alter this, but I didn’t really have to do anything.

There are, of cousre, a few things I’d like to change on the next version, including:

  1. Nicer fabric.  This was cheap ($1.99/yard!) but is kind of stiff.
  2. Slightly longer cuffs
  3. Slightly smaller neck, but slightly larger at the top front.  It pulls a bit
  4. Smaller/nicer buttons.

Other than that, I think it turned out great, although I find sewing for other people somewhat more stressful.  I find there is a lot more pressure to make it look good on the inside, although I feel like I got there on this (french seams, etc). He is already asking for more.  I’ve created a monster.

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Ho Hum.

It was not a very productive sewing weekend, since my parents were in town (which was great).  I did, however, manage to make another version of this skirt, in a much more casual style.

blackskirt2 001

Somehow in this picture it looks psychedelic, at least on my computer, but I assure you it’s just a basic black with white stripes.  I made two changes, relative to last time.  First, it’s shorter.  Second, I got rid of the buttons and the fancy yoke treatment.  I kept the yoke, but just attached it to the front piece.

I can’t decide if I like this.  One issue is the fabric is kind of stiff, which might dissipate with washing.  But also, I’m not sure what to wear this with.  It seems to require something fairly tight on top, which I don’t really own.  Hmm… suggestions appreciated, of course!

I finally got around to cutting out the shirt for DH, which I’m hoping to get to this weekend.  Of course, I also need to sew a curtain to use as a door in our guest room, so he may have to wait.

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Project Runway it’s Not.

Did anyone else watch “The Fashion Show” last night, which is Bravo’s new Project Runway knock-off, now that PR is on Lifetime?  I am a sucker for Bravo and will, of course, watch anything they show me.  And I am obviously very into shows about sewing. Despite this, I found myself actively not enjoying this.  There are several problems.

1. Kelly Rowland is the worst host ever.  WORST.

2. No one on the show can sew for s–t.  DH was observing that I’m a much better sewer than most of the people on the show and, although this could just be him sucking up, I sort of agree.

3. The designers are a little weird.  Example: last night’s challenge was to make several outfits (in a team) that all used the same “must have” piece.  Like, you’d organize your collection around one really great pencil skirt or something.  One of the must-have pieces was gray, silk “harem-pants”.  Just think!  They can go everywhere!  Super for work.  I’m wearing some right now.  The show claims that they are emphasizing “wear-ability”.  Um.  Yeah.

Did anyone else watch?

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It’s finally finished.


I am, to put it mildly, excited.  I really love the way it looks — especially when all buttoned up.  Here is the back, and a view of the lining.  The full review, with all the details, is here


 The fact that this is finished at all is due entirely to my wonderful mother.  As you know if you have been reading this blog, I have been stymied for the last few months on this coat due to inability to do buttonholes large enough, in fabric like this.  Chicago apparently does not feature anyone who can do this for you.   So I shipped the coat to my parents in New York, and waited until I was visiting.  Saturday morning Mom and I treked down to Jonathan’s Embroidery.  Which I thought opened at 8:30.  And which does not actually open until 9:00.  And I had a breakfast to get to.

So I left my mother with the coat, with instructions.  In retrospect, this was a terrible thing to do to her.  I had built up this whole thing about how I worked so hard on this coat and blah blah and if they screwed it up and so on.  As it turns out, my mother is an incredibly talented quilter, who makes absolutely amazing applique quilts. But she doesn’t sew clothes.  Fortunately, the people who work at Jonathan’s are wonderful, and familiar with how one would want to do buttonholes.  But there were various problems — their largest size is not quite large enough, and so on.  And mom was really nervous.  However, she pushed through, and with a few (okay, five) phone calls we got it done.  The buttonholes are amazing, by the way, and way better than I could have done, even given any sewing machine.

The one issue is that they are not quite large enough, so at the moment it’s a little hard to get them buttoned.  This should ease with time, but it’s especially difficult since I seem to have sprained my thumb (not a sewing injury).  DH took some nice photos of me trying to undo the buttons to take pictures.  He’s such a sweetie.



 I feel like this is awesome.  Now I just have to wait a few months to actually wear it.  It’s really, really hot.  Which is good, because Chicago is really, really cold.  Just not in May.  Well, mostly not in May.

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I might actually finish that coat…

Am in New York.  Am planning to go to Jonathan’s Embroidery tomorrow morning for buttonholes.  If all goes well, I’ll post about the (finished) coat when I’m home Sunday.

Longest work in progress ever.

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Aren’t pants the best?

The greatest thing about sewing, for me, is pants.  Other things — skirts, jackets, tops, dresses — I really like, and I like the ones I make better than what I could buy, but I feel like they are pretty close.  In contrast, I have never been able to buy pants that fit as well as the ones that I make.

I currently have two TNT patterns for work pants.  By “work pants” I mean pants that, at the end of the day, I really want to get out of.  They look great, I have a million pairs of them, and it’s all I wear for teaching, etc.  But I’ve been shopping around for possible casual pants, especially since summer is coming, teaching is ending (5 more weeks!) and it’s finally getting warmer. 

I, like everyone else, was attracted to the bell-bottom pants from April’s Burda.  Tons of people have already made these up; I’m sort of late to the party.  But here they are, made up in a beige linen.  It’s a little see-through, but not so bad.  With appropriate underwear it should be fine.


I love these.  LOVE. THEM.  I especially like the top, with the pockets, which you can see in more detail here.  And yes, that’s my belly button on the internet.  Sue me.


These are really well drafted.  I know I shouldn’t do this with pants, but I didn’t even make a muslin, and they fit perfectly without alterations.

I am already envisioning these in a nice denim, and maybe a darker linen, and with the pockets on the back, or welt pockets…. 


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It is nice to see improvement…

I really like my job.  But it can be very hard to see improvement.  I’m still working on the same papers — not the same general project but literally the same document — as in 2004.  And while they are probably a little bit better now, the changes in quality are incremental at best.  Basically, I’m just not getting a lot better at paper-writing. 

I was reminded yesterday as I was packing for my trip (I’m travelling today) that this is one of the things I like most about sewing — you can definitely see improvement.   I’ve been getting a lot of wear out of this jacket:


My initial concerns that I wouldn’t wear it were ridiculous.  I wear it about once a week, and always feel great in it.  There are things I’d do differently on the next round, but not much.

This, in contrast, is my first jacket attempt from January, 2008.  Which is only about a year ago!


“Flattering” does not come to mind, although I do think I actually wore this.  If only my papers would get better at the same rate…

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