Friday 31 January 2020

A silk Burdastyle blouse

This blouse started out as a multi-purpose experiment. I wanted to check the fit of Burda patterns on my ever changing shape and I wanted to work with a variety of fabrics to get to know my new sewing machine, a Bernina 570QE. Slippery striped silk gave me the opportunity to test the built in dual feed vs the walking foot and I figured twelve buttons would give me plenty of practice in the buttonhole department as well.

The pattern is Burdastyle 11/2016-131, with shoulder princess seams, puffy sleeves and cut-on ties. The fabric is silk that I bought for a steal, in fact is was cheaper than muslin fabric so I bought plenty of it and put half of it in the washing machine. There was no visible difference between new and washed fabric. Good to know I won't be sponsoring the dry cleaner by making this garment!

I cut the side panels and the cuffs on the bias, just for the fun of it.

The front was cut on the straight grain, but as you can see in the cutting layout that meant the ties ended up on a weird angle with the stripes in a rather non-distinct direction. So I cut off the pattern pieces for the ties at center front and recut them on the straight grain. This created a tiny seam which completely disappears in the knot.

Stripe matching on the side seams was partly successful, due to the fact that not all stripes had the same width. Very noticeable in close-up, not so much from a distance. The dual feed worked nicely and I really enjoyed playing with the adjustable presser foot pressure.

Sewing the buttonholes was fast and easy, although it was challenging to find the right type of interfacing. Firm enough to keep things straight, but not too much or it would interfere with the drape of this very lightweight fabric.

The insides, with covered shoulder pads.

Burdastyle 11/2016-131

Sorry for the sad bathroom pictures but the weather is dull and grey and I want to get rid of that long list of unblogged projects. So, what's the verdict? Well, I was pleasantly surprised by the fit of this wearable muslin. These pictures were taken after a festive dinner and there is some wrinkling going on, making it hard to judge whether I could take out a bit of fabric in the upper bust, but I think I will next time.

This blouse is a lovely addition to my wardrobe, both on its own and as a layering piece with a navy suit.

Now does anyone know what type of silk this is? The seller had no clue and I hadn't worked with a similar fabric before. The blouse feels crisp and almost weightless. The silk has a subtle sheen, is easy to work with and presses well. It has slubs in the weave, but not as much as silk dupioni. I have a few yards left and I would like to label it correctly.

Wishing you all a happy weekend with plenty of sewing time!

Sunday 5 January 2020

Reflections and plans for 2020

Don't you love the tradition of looking back on the sewing year that just came to an end? So let's dive into my best 5 makes, my top 5 misses, and.....o, wait. Who am I fooling? I only documented the grand total of 5 garments here in 2019!
The picture above shows what I added to my winter wardrobe, a Knipmode sweatshirt and a Knipmode designer dress. Both big hits and often worn.

And here's my summer output: a Zadie jumpsuit, a summer version of the Blackwood cardigan and a Burdastyle top. Again all incredibly popular wardrobe additions!

And, although a bit silly given the numbers, the annual pie chart sorted by pattern company.

On the upside I can celebrate a 100% success rate, but what happened to all those plans?? 
In short: life. 

As you may remember I started the year with an improved sewing room layout, a sorted stash and a new sewing machine. I was not very satisfied with my sewing in 2018 and wanted to make more adventurous choices. And I did! A year ago I could not have imagined sewing a jumpsuit and actually LIKING it. Both the plaid dress and floral top are new to me styles as I have been experimenting with different shapes.

The sewing room layout worked like a dream and after some cursing and threats to throw the new machine out of the window we became best friends. We bonded over working with many different fabrics. I sewed with sustainable fabrics from Enschede Textielstad, made a silk blouse, a linen jacket, cozy sleepwear in double knit jersey, experimented with decorative stitches and am now working on a boiled wool winter coat. My new Bernina passed every test with flying colours!

So I did in fact sew more than I showed here. But if it isn't recorded on the blog, it didn't happen.

Last year wasn't the best of years for me health wise. It's one thing to be sewing when on antibiotics or painkillers, but posing for blog pictures is something else. So one of my plans for 2020 is to deal with this this back log as soon as I can and have all my sewing notes up here, well documented and in a safe place. Those sticky notes in various notebooks drive me crazy! I hope the weather will be cooperative to take decent blog pics, and if not I do have some indoor action shots of a few of those garments that will have to do.

Of course I have a long list of sewing plans. (And too much fabric, as you didn't think I only bought fabric for five lousy projects, right?) First I'm going to pick up where I left a month ago with my winter coat. I made a muslin, altered the pattern where needed, cut all three layers and basted fashion fabric and underlining together. Somewhere in the mess that is my sewing room there must be a pile of lining pieces waiting to be marked....

When my coat is finished I hope to fill a few wardrobe gaps. I could use some summer dresses, tops, pants and sleepwear and I have a lovely fabric waiting to become a spring coat. I'll keep working on improving my sewing skills, both online in the Susan Khalje Couture Sewing Club and in real life as one of my birthday gifts is a workshop with a tailor. I'm really looking forward to that.

Here's to a wonderful and creative new sewing decade where we make all our sewing dreams come true!