The Honest 'Tooth

Even experienced sewers do dumb things. I hardly ever make muslins except when I’ve got really expensive fabric (like coating) or when I’m working with a pattern company I’ve not used very much before. But for Burdas, I know I’m a size 42, and that size 42 always fits me.

Until now. I’ve just finished sewing BWOF 05/2009 #117 and (yes I know it’s a stupid thing to do) I didn’t try it on until I put the invisible zipper in right at the end because it’s a PITA to get someone else to pin you in and out and frankly, I still hurt from that surgery so I just like to get into my sewing zen zone and proceed without interruptions. That’s my excuse, anyway.

So what’s Burda’s?? Being polite, I could say this pattern runs small. Besides the fact that Burda patterns don’t run anything, they just fit, every time, with German precision, since when is it okay to have zero inches of waist ease in any woven pattern (seriously – measured dress waist is 30 1/2 inches. Size 42 body waist measurement is 30 3/4 inches on the size chart)? Argh. I think I’m most annoyed because I trusted Burda so implicitly, and because I did such an awesome job on those pointed underarm gussets that so intimidated me (they actually turned out to be really easy – just make sure you thread-baste the seam lines, interface the point, and sew each in two steps like Burda suggests).

I even had to dial Susan down to her absolute smallest setting (39-29-40) to get the dress to fit onto her, and even then the zipper is really straining at the back bodice!

Fabric Shopping in Dublin and Battersea

As I mentioned earlier this week, we visited Dublin on a flying visit last week as James was speaking at a conference, and I decided to tag along to visit some of his family over there. I first visited Dublin back in 2000 when I was a student and did the very American thing of visiting for St Patrick’s Day (hint: it’s absolutely rammed with Americans and Aussies!). We went back again in 2008 to see some family and also buy an engagement ring, and then I had to fly over a bunch for work around 2011-2013 but those trips were mostly in-and-out on the same day, dealing with a difficult client. But it’s been long enough now that I’m mostly over the pain of those awful work trips, and since I had a spare day to wander around the city centre, I thought I’d revisit a few of the fabric shops I reviewed back in 2008.

While I’ve got mixed feelings that the Woolen Mills is no longer a source for haberdashery (mixed because I’m sad it’s closed down, but happy because it’s now a sister restaurant to our favourite restaurant in Dublin, The Winding Stair), I’m pleased to report that Hickeys on Henry Street is still going strong!

A last minute travel bag

I wasn’t planning on doing this, but as I was packing for Mexico, I realised that I didn’t have a suitable bag to carry around with me on all our adventures – something that would be big enough to carry water, guidebooks, and all my usual purse stuff, but also be both secure, low-key, and not kill my shoulders. I utterly love my orange leather satchel, but it’s very recognizable, plus it’s only got two snap closures and I have to open the whole top to get anything in or out. Fine for London, but not for traveling.

So, I found myself, on the day before our flight, devoting the vast majority of the day to sewing up the free Urban Jungle bag tutorial! Nothing like sewing on a deadline (or, uh, preferring to sew all day rather than just go to TK Maxx and buy a bag!).

By its very nature, this bag used only supplies I already had on hand, so it was essentially free. The exterior fabric is this silver-coated stretch denim from Minerva that I’d bought then did my usual 30 degree pre-wash, and I was really disappointed to find most of the silver coating had disappeared (they’ve since added a warning to the listing). Minerva were great, though, and sent me the same fabric again so I could try hand-washing it. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the faded yardage since I wanted rock star jeans (though both pairs of Catherine’s look great anyway – her pre-washed pair and her unwashed pair), so this seemed like a great use.

For the lining I used some cheap poly satin I’d been given years ago, plus I found a nice metal-toothed 20 inch zipper in my stash (I think from Zipperstop in NYC?), and I got to use up a bunch of really heavy interfacing that’s been in my stash for ages, too (though IMHO, the tutorial goes a bit overboard on the interfacing, but it was written for an interfacing company so go figure).

I made some changes to the tutorial for my own use – I left off the “accent” pieces and instead doubled the side pieces so I have little pockets on the side, I used velcro as the closures for these side pockets as well as the large, flapped document pocket purely because I didn’t have any magnetic closures lying around! I also added a few patch pockets in the lining to help organise my stuff. Normally I’d have a zippered lining pocket in there, too, but I was feeling quite stressed about finishing in time (I literally finished with minutes to spare before I had to leave for Run dem Crew!), so I left that out. Oh, and instead of purchased handles, I made my own shoulder strap, which is conveniently long enough to either go over my shoulder, or across the body.

Yet another bridal bodice muslin

I’m no big fan of muslins and fitting tweaks, so the title is really reflecting my impatience at still being in the fitting stage. I want to get on with the fun stuff! But I also really want to get the fit and design perfect here as I can’t really go unpicking the vintage satin (the needle holes remain), so here I am, still soldiering on, though hopefully not for much longer…

Yesterday was my day off so I devoted pretty much the entire day to this dress. Right after breakfast I made up Muslin #2 (not shown because no one was around to photograph me), which incorporated the neckline changes and better-drafted add-on straps. There’s no photos, but essentially, I just needed to pinch some fabric out in three places, which you can see here shaded in orange on my pattern pieces:

So I made those changes to my paper pattern, unpicked pieces 1 and 3 from the muslin, cut new ones out, and reattached them, bringing us to Muslin #3. And I was pretty happy with the fit, apart from a bulge above my right breast which I immediately knew the cause of and fixed it on the paper pattern.

Black Beignet skirt and a bias cowl top

It feels like I’ve been talking about sewing the Colette Patterns Beignet skirt for ages now, but it’s mostly because I’ve just been so busy with life (running, socialising, wedding planning, the boat, and my garden, mostly) right now that I’ve been sewing in tiny increments here and there! But it’s finally complete, and I even managed to sew up the bias cowl top from Patrones 292 (#19) to wear with it!

Even though these go so well together, I’ve actually got no shortage of other things in my wardrobe to wear with either, so there’s no “orphan coordinates” here! And I managed to sneak some mustard and navy into my wardrobe a bit earlier than I’d planned, too!

Burda floral crossover dress

The second of my winter knit dresses is the cross-bodiced Burda WOF 06/09 #129. I’ve had my eye on this pattern ever since it came out, but I was amazed to see that no one had reviewed it yet on PR, so it’s definitely an undiscovered gem as far as I’m concerned!

I recently ordered a big batch of fabrics from Totally Fabrics (more on that later) in their 40% off everything sale including this brown floral viscose jersey print with shades of teal, fuschia, and grey thrown in. I only ordered one metre (of 1.5m available stock) but when it turned up, it turns out they gave me the whole 1.5m rather than have an awkwardly short leftover! Score! Even so, there was no way I could squeeze this entire dress out of the yardage available, so I had to do a clever amount of fabric Tetris, shorten the hem by 2 inches, make the sleeves 3/4 length, and sew the hidden front bodice piece from a constrasting grey marl jersey.