Friday, October 10, 2014

BurdaStyle 07/2014 - 114 Top & Fehr Trade Duathlon Capris /VNA Top

Not the snappiest of titles, but I like to go for descriptive!

Immediately after writing my last post stating that I was back and had lots to post, events conspired against me.  Firstly my camera had to go in for repair which took a week and the repair centre also happened to be located right in an area where huge numbers of pro democracy protesters had gathered causing several major roads in HK to be closed.  They are still closed, but the number of protesters is dramatically lower and it is possible to get around, just takes an age.  Then would you believe soon after I had picked up the camera, Google decided to disable my account due to suspicious activity.  I never found out what happened, but today I was able to reset my password so finally finally I can get going.

First I'm going to knock out 4 garments in one post, they are 2 workout sets, although they don't have to be worn as sets necessarily.

This is the Fehr Trade VNA top and Duathlon capris, both of which I have made before and reviewed in more detail here.  The fabric is a panel print so I wanted to utilise both parts - the crazy coloured bit and the black and cream section.  It's a slightly thinner fabric than I like to wear at the gym (TMI, but I sweat a lot and the wet t shirt look is not good on me!) so I underlined the whole thing with some powernet.  I thought it might be too hot, but I've worn it a couple of times and it works well.  Maria bought the same fabric when she visited recently so it will be interesting to see what she does with it.  I still have some left so I can copy her anyway!

I lengthened the VNA top following the instructions included in the pattern.  The shaping and point at the back means that you can't just add onto the hem so I appreciated that the method was included.

For the second set I started with another pair of Duathlon capris, I ended up taking in the pair above enough at the side seams that I decided to cut a size small for these.   

The top is BurdaStyle 07/2014 114 and although not specifically a gym top the magazine showed it in a sporty section and I liked the colourblocking so decided to give it a try.  

I made my usual Burda size 38 and it went together really easily.  The drafting is excellent and even the instructions are pretty good so you get a nice finish on the v neckline.  But.....

I think you can immediately see the problem I had with this pattern!  Now I really don't care if a bit of my sports bra shows when I am working out, but this was ridiculous!  I often have this issue when others don't so I think I have a short upper chest, but it's something to watch out for if you make this pattern.  I was really happy with the rest of the top though so I just stitched on a kind of modestly panel at the neckline.  

Here is the inside view of the modesty panel, you can see I did a rather slapdash job, but I cut a scrap of fabric, hemmed the top edge, pinned it in place before topstitching the whole neckline and then trimmed away the excess.

I wasn't going to post photos of me wearing this stuff, but I always find it invaluable on other blogs and reviews so here you go.  Bear in mind I decided to do this on Friday evening 15 minutes before I'm supposed to be leaving the house so this was a real rush job, probably the best way in retrospect, don't think about it, just do it!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Normal Service Can Resume

Well that last month did not go as planned.

I had a two week trip to Turkey booked and as usual planned to make some new clothes to take and get some more exotic photo backdrops than my front door.  I went on a shopping spree and got as far as picking out patterns, I even cut out a few things.

Then one of my 2 cats who has been treated for cancer for the last year, rapidly deteriorated and we had to have her put to sleep.  Even though she was quite old and with her illness we knew it was coming, it still hit me hard and I just had no motivation to sew.  It was undoubtedly the right thing to do, but I still miss the crazy old thing.

On to cheerier stuff, despite my old wardrobe and cat blues we had a wonderful time in Turkey, visiting Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus and finishing with a relaxing few days on the coast.

On to cheery sewing stuff, I have a bunch of things lined up and ready to go, some plans may change, but it's still hot and summery here so hopefully I can still get some use out of the stuff I have traced or cut before fall arrives.  More coming soon!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Style Arc Maggie Shirt

Thanks all for the feedback on the scarf tie top from my last post, maybe the fabric stretched a bit - anyway I agree with the majority of you and have hacked off the ends of the tie so that it is now hem length.  I think this is a style that needs a lightweight drapy knit, but it looks (from the way the sleeves hang) like Burda's version is made with a stiffer fabric so it could work, you'd just need to accept that the knot area will be bulkier.


A few months back Style Arc in addition to their usual free monthly pattern, were doing a 3 for 2 deal on their new tops so I picked up a few including this casual Maggie shirt.

I thought it would be ideal for summer and easy to sew.  While it is both of those things, I feel a bit blah about the finished garment, there just seems to be too much fabric and it feels like it keeps slipping backwards although a belt helps.  The illustration seems more accurate than the line drawing.

Style Arc Maggie

I used a black and beige printed cotton and although it is lightweight I'm wondering if something drapier would work better.  I cut my yoke on the cross grain rather than use a contrast, I do like how it wraps over the front.

The instructions are as usual quite sparse, but adequate.  The front is cut in one piece and you need the pattern piece in front of you to figure out how to fold it to create the front pleat and placket correctly but after that it is very easy to put together.

I finished this up except for the buttons, put it to one side and filed the pattern away, that's how unexcited about it I was.  A few weeks later when I finally got some buttons I didn't refer to the pattern and ended up putting them on wrong so they are visible instead of being hidden in the placket.  Too late now and I suppose it's not a big deal, but it does remind me even more of a pyjama top now!

Despite all that, it is ok and is in versatile enough colours that I will wear it, but I was reminded of a burda shirt I made a few years back that I wore till the fabric wore out, I think I will stick to that one in future for this type of shirt.  It took a bit of digging, but finally found it - 06/2008-105.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Burda Style 07/2014 - 117 Tie Neck Top

I know a lot of people were disappointed with July's Burda and it is true there is a lot of dodgy stuff in it, but I decided to give this tie neck top a whirl which I think looks much better in the line drawings than in the photo.  Generally after my initial look through the magazine and a giggle at the flowery descriptions I ignore the photos and just refer to the line drawings.

Sticking with the black serger thread, I pulled out this knit from my stash, it has a subtle glitter running through it.  The wrong side of the fabric will show on this design unless you double up the collar/tie piece, but this may add a lot of bulk depending on the fabric.

On first reading I found the instructions utterly mind boggling.  It was only when I studied the line drawings and realised that one end of the neck tie is caught in the centre front seam with a loop to pull the other end through that the penny dropped.  I made a 38 with no adjustments and after my last Burda knit top disaster it was good to have no fit problems with this one.

The loop/tie portion does misbehave a bit and not stay where it is supposed to - or at least where I think it is supposed to - so I might go back and tack it down somewhere so I don't keep fussing with it.

I like how this turned out, the shaping is just right for a knit top, I'm still on the fence about whether the tie is too long and it does extend past the hem which is different to the line drawing.  The edges are unfinished so it's easy enough to lop a bit off the free end.  This is a one way decision though so I want to be sure - to chop or not to chop?

I also discovered a setting on my camera called "beautiful skin" which sounded good to me, but happily it does seem to be better at taking photos of dark clothing in not great light by using a soft flash.  When I force the flash indoors it is usually really harsh on the clothes (and makes me look like a scared red eyed alien) so this does seem to be an improvement, but weirdly when I don't look at the camera it turns my skin orange!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fehr Trade XYT Workout Tops

It's interesting that several of you commented that you had real problems fitting the Kay Unger Vogue dress from my last post, I assume in the bust area - perhaps it only works easily on certain body types?  Maybe stretch fabric really helped me?  I am certainly no master at fitting and am from the fit as you go school although I have learnt over the years when to add extra at deep necklines, surplice bodices and the hips on pretty much anything.  I only ever do a muslin if I am using some precious fabric or trying out a style that I am unsure of - usually some mad Burda creation that I get strangely drawn to!

As part of my goal of making my own workout clothes, I also picked up this Fehr Trade XYT workout top pattern which comes with a built in power mesh bra layer and 3 back variations.

Fehr Trade XYT

I have never had much luck with tops with built in bras in RTW, being a brasize 34d, they are ok for loungewear, but I wouldn't dream of doing anything remotely active in them.  The pattern instructions do say that it is designed for an A or B cup and that if you are larger you can either do an FBA on the mesh pieces or leave them out altogether and just wear a regular sports bra underneath.  I might go back and experiment one day because I really should be able to get a better result making my own than RTW, but for this go round I went with the latter option.  (Coincidentally since drafting this, a post on common XYT adjustments has just gone up on Fehr Trade  - see here for more details).  

I made 3 versions of the X back, but modified it to fill in the cutout at the centre back (so it would cover my sports bras although I just bought some in funky colours and I like the layered look I see on other people so next time I may try the other styles).  In fact on 2 of them I joined the upper and lower back together since I wasn't using a contrast or the mesh layer, overlapping the seam allowances and cut them as one piece.  So that's another variation you could do.  

Front view
Back view

Binding made from plain black lycra fabric
I played around with different edge finishes as well and used fabric binding instead of elastic as I liked the look so much on the VNA top - I wasn't very smart about this on the first go round (the polka dot one) and should have trimmed off the seam allowance on the neck and armscye first, so my shoulder straps are wider and my neckline higher than they are supposed to be.  As I say this is all a learning process!

These colours are actually navy/white & grey, love these fabrics together and will probably put them together for a VNA top
I added a couple of inches at the hem for a bit more coverage.  I used size M which is not as close fitting as the tops on the pattern envelope, but since I intend to wear them with a sports bra and I don't want it too tight fitting this is ideal for now.

Hmm will wear this with a different sports bra next time!
As with the VNA top, the instructions are really good and this top goes together fast, especially without the mesh layer.  It doesn't use much fabric, actually it will be great for using up leftovers and thinking of fun fabric combinations.