burda style magazine turtleneck top pattern

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Burda Style magazine (September 2012) Turtleneck top, pattern #104A

burda style magazine turtleneck top

This pattern is 1 of 10 from the ‘Swinging Sixties’ pattern collection in Burda Style Magazine, 2012.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

My freshly traced pattern pieces!

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Front.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Back.

burda style magazine turtleneck top

Small cowl neck detail.

Let’s just continue with my sewing-ALL-the-knits obsession, shall we?

So I currently have two quite involved sewing projects on the table that have lots of pattern pieces and notions that I’m not too familiar working with. Did I mention that I need both projects completed by the end of this month? Even still, sometimes you just need a quick win. Like an easy, no-fuss project that you can start in the morning and wear by the afternoon/evening.

So that didn’t really happen with this top because I decided to start looking through my old Burda magazines at eleven o’clock at night, BUT it was still fast! And if you’ve ever worked with (or downright struggled with) a pattern out of a Burda Style Magazine, you already know that it’s a different world from your average big 4 pattern experience. Tracing a pattern admist millions of lines, adding your own seam allowances, and then finally putting your project together with a total of two small paragraphs of instruction. It can be a feat!

I decided to use the knit I just purchased that I mention in this video + make an easy wardrobe staple to add to my Fall wardrobe options. A slightly fitted turtleneck top with only four pattern pieces? YES please.

However after I traced/pinned my new pattern pieces the night before, genius me misplaced the magazine with the pattern instructions the very next day! But instead of panicking, I just realized that I could totally wing this project and put them together without it. I’ve made enough garments just to know exactly how it should be assembled. And even though this isn’t the hardest of pieces to make, I couldn’t help but be incredibly proud of myself!!

I’ve never been consistent with sewing, but I’m always impressed by how much I’ve really learned over the years. And I still look forward to trying new patterns and learning more techniques. Sewing is the best!!

organize your sewing life using Pinterest

seworganized1Pin this! ^_^

First off, Happy New Year everyone!

If you indulged in any of the festivities that involve ringing in the new year, perhaps you made your dress for the occasion. Or perhaps you are considering turning over a new leaf in your wardrobe and beginning to think of alllllllllll the great sewing patterns/outfits that you’ll be able to tackle this year. I know I am!

You would probably agree that most of us seamsters have an issue with having an overabundance of fabric at home. I’ve actually managed to keep my fabric stash pretty minimal, but I have over 200 sewing patterns in my collection so obviously I am NOT opposed to buying a pattern on sale! I often get excited about a new sewing project, but the idea of sifting through the large moving box that houses my patterns is a headache in itself. Maybe for you it’s just easier to buy new project fabric at the store since you really don’t recall what material, nor how much yardage of it, you already have at home.

Been there. Sick of that.

Well, I’ve figured out a much easier way that we will all be more organized and happier stitching divas in the new year by simply using two things that you already have – a smart phone and the Pinterest app.

Let’s start anew, shall we?

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Ipad screenshot example of my sewing pattern collection beautifully organized on my personal Pinterest account.

1. Using your phone or digital camera, take picture of the front envelope of each pattern that you own. For existing fabric you have in your stash, take a picture of the print. These pictures will become the pins for your new boards.

2. On a piece of paper, write down all of the categories you’d like to describe each pattern or fabric. For the fabric, you may choose to categorize by color/print (ex. florals, neutrals, ethnic, etc.) or material type (ex. cotton, polyester, wool, etc.). For sewing patterns, you may choose to categorize by brand (ex. McCalls, Vogue, Colette Patterns, etc.) or clothing type (ex. Dresses/Skirts, Shorts/Pants, Outerwear, etc.). These categories will become the names for each new ‘secret board’ that you create.

You can also create a “wishlist” category for the sewing patterns that you plan to possibly get in the future. If you are anything like me, you have a few pics already saved in your phone of snaps you’ve taken while sitting at the table looking in the pattern catalogs!

3. In your personal Pinterest account, add a new ‘secret board’. Using the categories that you’ve just listed for yourself, name each board accordingly. Be sure to add an underscore before each new category name (ex. “_Florals”). This will help ensure that the boards remain listed together and will be much easier to spot them from your existing boards you’ve already created.

If you are going to add boards for both fabrics and patterns, I would suggest creating all categories for patterns with a single underscore and all categories for fabrics with two underscores to keep them better separated. (Ex. “_Florals” verses “__McCalls”)

4. Begin uploading your pictures to save as new pins! It’s totally up to you how you’d like to describe each pin. For sewing patterns, I organized them by garment type and put the pattern number in the description box. As for the fabric, I’d suggest writing as much as you know in the description box. For example, known fabric type, stretch/no-stretch and remaining yardage.

5. After all of your uploads and descriptions are complete, be sure to select the board cover image for each category. This is an optional step, of course.

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Iphone screenshot examples of my sewing pattern collection.

So this may be a cute idea and all, but WHY do this, you ask? Let me give you a few reasons.

  • You can actually plan a future sewing project away from home now because you have all of your patterns and all of your important fabric stash information now in the palm of your hand and on-the-go. ISN’T THAT AWESOME!?
  • Doing this can potentially save you some cash. I am guilty of buying a pattern that I already owned simply because I couldn’t recall if I had previously bought it once before or not. Haven’t you purchased new project fabric before only to realize there was suitable fabric that you forgot you already had at home? Yeah me too.
  • Going to a sewing retreat or meet-up? This is an excellent way to “share your stash” with new friends, or show off your rare pattern finds in your collection without having to pack said collection.
  • Are you a designer meeting up with a potential client or simply planning to sew a project for a family member? Quickly and easily cue up your existing pattern and fabric collection on your phone and easily start sharing your ideas.

So now there is a convenient way for you to organize your entire current sewing life at your fingertips. However, it doesn’t stop there. From now own, let us all vow to make sure to make certain things become habit when you go to the fabric store:

When buying new patterns: Make it a habit to immediately take a picture of it and file it away on your Pinterest account.

When buying new fabric: Take a picture of the bolt and fabric, note the date (if that’s important to you), note yardage purchased, and the type of fabric. And for the love for all that is good in the world, WASH YOUR FABRIC WHEN YOU GET HOME. It takes the frustration out of trying to figure out years later, ‘ has this fabric been pre-washed yet?’. Just save yourself some time in the future and put your mind at ease and wash it per the care instructions NOW.

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I make sure to take pics of all fabric on the bolt before I take it to the cutting table so I have the fabric type and proper care instructions. I pin these photos for my future reference! 

So that’s it you guys! Taking a few hours to snap photos and upload to your Pinterest ‘secret board’ will open a brand new way of keeping your stashes organized in a useful, yet very modern way. I’ve been doing this for the last couple months, and it has been such a help to me.

I hope this helps you to start your new sewing year right! Happy pinning! xo

holidays, oversold flights + knitting

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Wool and the Gang beginner knitting set. BEYOND excited about this!

Before I get to the bad stuff, first things are first – how cute is this company? Their play on words is absolutely genius. This photo alone pays homage to the epic 70’s r&b band, an unforgettable 90’s rap girl trio and the one-and-only Snoop Dogg himself via one skein of 100% Peruvian wool yarn and mammoth knitting needles. Consider me impressed and excited to once again try to learn this skill called knitting.

Obviously it’s the holidays, so I wasn’t just completely being selfish here. Last year, I ran a sweatshop out of my parents house and made a total of 80 coasters to give as gifts for friends. Since this year I’ll be working through both of my favorite holidays, I just didn’t have the energy to be the bearer of awesome homemade gifts for 20 friends again. But I’ve had my eye on Wool and the Gang for around three years now. I couldn’t help but take advantage of their buy 2 get 1 free (for ME!) gift deal and snag a beginner knit kit for both my best friend and my bf’s mom to enjoy this Christmas.

I swiped the freebie gift for myself because I’ll definitely need some sort of new creative distraction after dealing with crazed holiday travelers for these next 2 weeks straight. And this seriously may be the only gift I get this year anyways, so I refuse to feel bad about it! Besides, I seriously can’t wait to see how this turns out for all of us!! I think if you already know how to knit, this Lil’ Snood Dogg project could take you less than 2 hours to complete. That surely won’t be happening here, but honestly I will be so incredibly impressed with myself if I can figure this out soley via the online tutorials, haha.

Regardless, I managed to somehow squish my beginner kit into my rollerboard so the finished result will most likely be modeled on one of my layovers before the New Year (hopefully). I’m going to Canada a few times, so I would love to have it ready for snow!

But don’t you worry about me, eh? I do have a proper scarf packed for myself just in case things gets bad again.

Enjoy your holidays everyone! xo

Starting with easy to sew knits

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I love wearing knits. Jersey knits most especially.  I could live in tees, sweater tops and sweater pants without regrets. They pair so easily with jeans (my other favorite thing) and they have so much give in their fabrics. I say all of this to confess that although my feelings for knits is a life-long loving relationship that cannot be broken, I have much apprehension sewing with knits and other stretchy materials.

Wovens and other extremely stable fabrics are just so easy to work with, but knits scare me a little bit. They feel unpredictable under my sewing foot, and after I sew a decent line of stitching on a knit, it pops and breaks under the natural stress and stretch of the material.

But, to be frank, I know that I just haven’t done my homework. I never use the right needles and I have never bothered to do the correct finishing on knit hems. And after meeting with my sewing buddy in Dallas this last weekend, she swears to me that it’s seriously not as bad as I make it out to be.

I really really want to start wearing my own clothing for the everyday, and what I enjoy wearing on most occasions are knit-based items. Admitting my fear outloud to another person that sews was actually my first step in getting the proper help that I needed. Next I took a crash course by looking at these three brief videos, by Sarai of Colette Patterns, introducing you to the difference of knit fabrics and a quick overview on how to work with them – here’s video 1, video 2 and video 3 if you are interested! She also includes a chapter from her latest book about sewing with knits to download for free via PDF (!!!!)

Lastly, I just went to my neighborhood fabric store (JoAnn’s, of course) and selected a $1 easy-to-sew Simplicity pattern. I also took advantage of the Veteran’s Day sale and chose enough fabric to make two sweatshirts.

The last photo is how I left my sewing desk before I had to leave for my 4-day work trip. But come next week, we’ll see how well this pattern really turned out!

BRB.

Sewing pattern review – Simplicity 1165

simlicity1165

As with most projects that I start, I usually end up completing them several months later for one reason or the other. This naturally means that the masterpiece that I have created is actually out of season. So here I am looking like Summer when it feels like Fall.

However, my elation will not be deterred!! Check out these fancy pants made of loud (and proud) floral rayon fabric.

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Also, I love reading pattern reviews because they prove so helpful before I start my own pattern project. I appreciate the time that other seamsters have taken to share awesome outfit pictures and write detailed reviews of the great and not-so-great things about said sewing pattern. I’ve contributed a few of my own over the years too.

However, I thought I’d take this idea further and make a simple pattern review video instead! There’s no substitution for video sometimes, especially when it comes to seeing how clothes really move on the body.

I plan to do more of these because I feel like these prove helpful to some. Take a gander at my quick pattern review of Simplicity pants pattern #1165.

simlicity1165cNew Ikea project desk and my sewing machine that I haven’t seen in nearly 4 months!

simlicity1165d100 pounds of sewing supplies from home that I finally got around to shipping to myself from Houston!

I know it’s been a while, kids. I’m ever-so-slowly trying to get my life here settled in San Diego. Remember when I transferred to Seattle for work? Yeah, well after 4 months, I just transferred to San Francisco!

Oh the adjustments. But at least I’m working in the same state that I live now AND my sewing life is finally here with me!

More to come. xo.

 

if I were a boy

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 1. YES! Those are indeed (baby) dreadlocks – nearly 7 months in!
NO. That is NOT armpit hair.
2. Fabric I scored back in June from JoAnn fabrics via their small ethnic collection.
They had me at hot pink + gold detailing.
3. I hate making bias tape, but I hate the look of stiff store-bought bias tape on
beautiful fabric even more. The struggle is always worth it.
4. Business in the front. Party in the back.
5. As pointed out by a male friend via my Instagram upload of this photo, it totally
looks like I’m pissing on the wall.  Artsy polaroid attempt ruined.

As always, I intended to make this top in time for the appropriate season. Luckily (or not so luckily) Texas doesn’t really have seasons.  So although other places in the United States are making their transition into Fall, we are still busy in the South either getting our tan on or dodging raindrops. Basically, this top is super perfect for the now. Big half-moon window in the back and all.

Allow me give more credit to the backside of this pattern – this. back. is. absolutely. SICK.

That detail alone makes the top for me.
Oh. This is McCalls pattern #6702, version A.
If you aren’t traveling a lot for work or in the middle of a major move, it should be a relatively quick sew? A few focused evenings and it should be knocked out. It’s labeled as Easy, so it definitely wasn’t terrible.

And yeah. Go ahead and scroll up to revisit the last pic again. It totally does look like I’m relieving myself on the wall, doesn’t it!??

:/

uncommonly good sewing project tips – let’s start with #1

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I’ve had a few tips up my sleeve for some time now and since this is mostly a DIY blog, I figured I should start sharing a few already.

Let me just say that it’s totally okay if you don’t know how to sew at all. I always feel that posts like these make people that may be new to the subject, but may possess a true interest, to feel like any tip mentioned will automatically go over their heads.

Relax – it won’t!

The best way to learn about sewing (and most things) is to jump right in. I personally started collecting a few patterns and picking up some sewing-related tools long before I actually learned how to sew. Like, before I got the courage to un-box my machine from the previous five Christmases before that. If you have any interest in sewing and fabrics, these tips should prove quite useful to you going forward. If anything, you’ll be much more knowledgable than I was when you decide to really start on your own.

So without further ado, my first helpful sewing project tip is to use a roll of butter paper for tracing commercial sewing patterns.

tracingpaper2Tracing a commercial pattern with a 18″ x 50 yd sketch paper roll

 “Butter paper?” You ask.
I know. Consider this insider tip stolen straight from inside the studio walls of architecture school. No tuition fees required.

You. Are. Welcome.

tracingpaper3Pieces of Cynthia Rowley baby pattern, version B.

Before you start getting hungry, let’s first talk a sec about commercial patterns. These are envelops that are packed with pattern pieces (of various size) that are printed on thin sheets along with a set of instructions for sewing garments, home furnishings, and accessories. The finished look of the item and its variations are printed in color on the front of the envelop for your reference.

There are patterns you can buy from most local box-store craft retailers that include, but are not limited to, Simplicity, Vogue, McCalls, Burda, Butterick, etc. There are also indie patterns that are usually found at select specialty fabric and sewing shops in your area and/or online that are ship-ready or available in PDF (Colette Patterns, By Hand London, Megan Nielsen, Deer and Doe, etc.) Most of my current pattern collection is made up of the former since they are easier to get my hands on at such a deep discount (usually between 99 cents to $4). However, the indie pattern folks that I mention above are really great about having helpful sew-alongs on their popular patterns, and it’s pretty darn cool to see lots of seamsters around the world wearing their finished projects!

Regardless of where you source your patterns, for the love of all that is awesome DO NOT CUT YOUR ORIGINAL PATTERNS! Tracing is definitely the way to go. Why?

  • Save yourself some money. If you cut out a particular size, your pattern is DONE for. What if you actually needed the next size up instead? What if you decide 4 months from now that you want to make that one dress pattern in version B for your sister too? Oh well. Looks like you’ll need to buy that same pattern again, provided it’s still available. (Womp womp)
  • Speaking of next sizes – what if you needed to modify a certain area like the waist, hip or bust? Or maybe you wanted to alter a part of the pattern in your own design? Yeah. Good luck with that.
  • I think it’s safe to say that commercial pattern tissue paper is just flat out terrible. So easy to tear and wrinkle.

So that’s why I suggest using “butter paper” which is just the name our profs would kick around in reference to this special roll of thin tracing paper that we would use for our floor plan/building design sketches. The roll comes in a varying lengths and is usually found between off-white to yellow hues (hence the nickname “butter”) from the art store. It was great for layering sheets for jotting ideas, developing sketches, and so easy to quickly tear off sections using a ruler.

Allow me to show you in 20 seconds just how easy you can neatly tear these sheets.


Other things to consider:

  • You get to keep an original collection of patterns. I literally have over 100 patterns in my stash and a few discontinued patterns that are still good as new. These are all worth saving, and I hope to pass these down one day to anyone that carries the interest. Fashions always come back around!
  • Working with a tracing paper roll is so much easier than individual sheets. I’ve always hated the tissue paper, so early on I used to buy large artists pads of tracing paper to use. That proved to be a grand headache too since I had to tape so many sheets together to trace over a large pattern piece. I find that many pattern pieces for garments tend to be longer than they are wide, so having the roll does help cover everything nicely without having to do much taping (or any) of tracing paper sheets together. I personally recommend purchasing no shorter than an 18 inch roll. The 24″ and 30″ are awesome too (you won’t have to tape ANYTHING), but I feel that an 18″ is just fine, a little cheaper, and lasts super long. If you find you need more coverage for a particular pattern piece, just roll out a new sheet of tracing paper, butt the new sheet to the top of the original sheet and tape them together with regular invisible tape.
  • Pinning the sketch paper to your fabric is painless and much easier to cut around than commercial pattern paper.
  • Not quite as flimsy as the “tissue paper” patterns and you can see through to the original patterns with no problem while tracing.
  • You can write extra notes for yourself.
  • Can also be ironed on low setting if has been folded from storage.
  • If you dare to tackle the millions of overlapping lines included on the pattern inserts in Burda Magazine, you will most definitely need this tracing paper roll to transfer the pieces on.

tracingpaper4Just look how nicely this paper pins to the fabric!

It’s a total win-win in my book. And after saying all that if you still don’t believe me you can just check out these other reviews. I actually had no idea that there were a lot of other home sewers that were already using it for the same!

This is just the first, and I hope that it proved at least a bit helpful to ya. Just a heads up – sewing tip #2 is downright odd, but is pretty darn helpful when buying fabrics at the store.

making coasters with fabric scraps

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step4

step5

step6Aaaaaaand done 😉

Not too bad, right? I love these coasters! Not only have they proven useful, but they are a cute addition to my coffee table and have been a unique conversation starter with guests. These could also make great housewarming gifts for friends too!

Any questions or comments you may have regarding this tutorial, please leave in the comments below.

another use for bed sheets

20140208-123229.jpgbefore + now after

20140208-123238.jpgtaking measurements + making plans

Processed with VSCOcamdiscounted sheets + prepping the first curtain panel

Processed with VSCOcamI embellished the existing embroidery detail on the top sheet by adding my own hand-beaded trim.

Been living here almost 2 years and of course I’d wait til the last 6 months of my lease to put up some curtains. It’s not like I haven’t tried this once before when I ordered a d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r curtain from Urban Outfitters (they were supposed to look like THIS *angry face*). Although I was so undecided about what color or pattern I wanted to dominate probably the most important wall of my entire living space, ultimately I think I was just super hesitant to put holes in the wall.

Sad? Maybe. But I’m pretty sure I’m couldn’t be the only renter that has had this fear. Whatever. There’s a Lowes hardware store down the street, so I’ll just deal with that issue in six more months.

My curtain wish-list was for two panels that had to touch the floor. I was going for long + elegant. I also decided against a busy print since I wanted them to easily compliment my existing handmade throw pillow.  So I figured they would be more solid, but NOT boring. I found the perfect curtains at Bed Bath + Beyond, but they were $109….I just couldn’t do that. And looking for enough lightweight upholstery fabric was much to expensive by the yard (even with a coupon). If I was willing to make them, how could I get that much fabric in the specific color I wanted?

That’s right. Bedding.

At a discounted retailer I purchased 2 sets for around $12 each, and all I really needed out of each set was the flat sheet. Honestly I could’ve purchased just one set, but I wanted them lined in a contrasting color. But if I wanted to make other throw pillows or just wanted extra pillow cases for my own bed, now I have plenty!

Here’s a good sew AND no-sew tutorial to follow if you’d like to make your own curtains out of bed sheets.