22 June 2014

BurdaStyle Slender Pencil Trousers

Here are the pants I previewed in the last post. I love love love them.

I used this pattern from the Winter 2014 US BurdaStyle Magazine. Matthew Santa bought me the magazine for Christmas and it was probably the best gift I have received. This magazine comes out quarterly with 20ish sewing patterns (plus more that you can download for a fee) that are generally pretty interesting style-wise. I have picked up the next two editions (spring and summer) and will subscribe after we move. You do have to put up with tracing the patterns from sheets like those below, but that is not a big deal.

Onto the awesome pants. I had about a yard of the stretch cotton twill fabric I used for my coat and was trying to decide what to do with it. Matthew suggested that I try making some pants. I went through all the patterns I have and chose 4 patterns that were pretty simple - narrow leg, minimal pattern pieces - and settled on this one from BurdaStyle.

I have a few fitting problems, but for a first go they are amazing. I made a size 36 with no adjustments. There is waaaay too much fabric in the front for a stomach that I do not have and too much fabric under my bum for a butt I do not have. I asked for fitting advice on a few sewing forums and it was suggested that I shorten the crotch length in the front, do a flat belly adjustment, and a flat butt adjustment. I'll also take in the leg a bit more below the knee.

Despite the fitting problems, I have worn these many times since I finished them. The 3% spandex makes them just stretchy enough to be comfy, but not jegging-ish and I think the colour is perfect for pants. These pants fit right into my colour palate and the Autumn 2014 12 piece collection I am working on.

Most man I have shown my pants to has had some comment along the lines of "It must be difficult to use the restroom in those pants" due to no zipper in the front. Oh, women trousers, you are a mystery to men.

One last thing: My pants were a Featured Member Project on Burdastyle.com! I'm an internet superstar.

I am on a self imposed fabric buying ban until I find a job, so I'll have to wait to make another pair of pants from this pattern for a few months. I do, though, have some linen and denim to turn into pants from other patterns in the meantime. Let the summer of learning how to fit pants, begin!

17 June 2014

I made me a coat!

During spring this year, I discovered that I was missing a lightweight jacket from my wardrobe. I have a heavy wool coat, a lighter wool coat, a rain coat, and sweaters, but nothing between the lighter wool coat and sweaters that I could wear on non-rainy days. I thought about buying the Everlane Trench Coat, but it sold out before I was able to purchase one, so I went searching for a sewing pattern.

I am not sure how I came across Waffle Sewing Patterns, Pinterest perhaps? or maybe while I was trolling Etsy looking for sewing inspiration? Anyway, I came across the Duffle Coat and decided that it had everything I wanted in a spring jacket. It had a loose, A-line shape with a hood and pockets. Sold! So I went to Jo-Ann's to find fabric. I was browsing through the bottom weight fabrics and found this teal cotton with 3% spandex. Having a stretch cotton probably wasn't the best choice, but this coat used up nearly three yards of interfacing along most of the seams, so they are not stretching anywhere.

This was my first time sewing a coat and overall it went pretty well. There is some funny business going on, such as I sewed the toggles slightly askew so it pulls the front up a bit, when I was attaching the lining something stretched a bit somewhere leading to some bunching on the inside corner, and my first welt pockets are not even but they are serviceable. I am treating this coat as a wearable muslin.

I cut a straight size 36 and it fits overall. I wish I had lengthened it for my long torso by a couple of inches, but there were not lengthen/shorten lines on the crazy pattern piece. The coat is essentially one pattern piece that is both the front and back, with no side seam, so I wasn't sure how to extend it without skewing something. I'll investigate that further if I make this coat again.

The instructions included with this pattern were fantastic. They are illustrated clearly and all the steps are very nicely explained. I was able to do my first welt pockets relatively painlessly with the very detailed instructions. There was also a reminder at each step you needed to press and provided instructions for finishing the main seams with a faux flat felling. The multi-sizing on this pattern was also great. It is set up so each size is a different layer in Adobe Reader and you only need to print off the size(s) you desire. Very clever. I would buy another pattern from this company!

The pockets are placed pretty much where a side seam would be and I find them too far back. Instead of being able to easily put my hands in the pockets, I have to search for them and it bothers me. I would move them forward just an inch or so.

My colour pallet does not normally include teal, but I just kept coming back to this fabric when I was at the store and I decided that it was meant to be. I'm still a bit iffy about this colour as a coat, but stay tuned for the pants I made from the leftover fabric because they are fantastic.

For the lining, I chose a cotton flannel gingham fabric. I really hate being cold and I thought the flannel would be perfect for early spring and late fall weather. I'm laughing in the picture above because I had just asked Matthew if he was taking a picture of my coat or my breasts.

This project took me about a month from fabric purchasing to hem finishing (which I was able to do with my blind hem foot, such a great invention). I worked on it an hour here and there when I needed a break from dissertation writing. This has been my largest project with so many outer coat and lining pieces, but so worth it. The only problem has been that I finished it right as the weather started heating up here and haven't been able to wear it outside anywhere.

Here is a preview of my awesome pants! I'll write up a post about them soon.