Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ruffles and Jeggings

I don't do ruffles much, and I've never done jeggings (jeans + leggings), but here they are. I was immediately drawn to the intriguing ruffle-y neckline when I saw it. And the tunic length clearly needs to be paired with leggings, which apparently was a big, gaping hole in my wardrobe. They're quite the opposite of bell-bottoms, eh?
I'm glad I had done a v-neck before (using Jalie's helpful illustrated instructions), or this ruffly version would have been tricky. In the above photo you have a good view of the interesting raw edge finishing. The outer edge of the ruffle is raw, and so are the armholes. They are stabilized with a self-fabric bias binding which is sewn on the inside.
I love how the neck turned out. The pieces are cut as spirals so that, when straightened, the outside edge ripples.

The big question is the length. Even though the magazine's modeled photo does show it this long, I somewhat illogically thought it'd be shorter on me.

The pattern is Tunic C from this Japanese book which, translated, is titled something like "My Clothes Sewing: Always Wear, Many Times". It is by Mizuno Yoshiko. ISBN 4529048543.

The fabric I used is cotton interlock from Chez Ami. Interlock may be too heavy for summer, but I thought I needed something with weight to hold the shape of the ruffles. I have no idea what fabric the pattern called for, but it does look like it could be interlock knit.




The illustrations are numbered step-by-step and give a pretty good idea of the finishing techniques.

The leggings are super comfortable. I was glad to be able to use up this ultra thin and stretchy denim since it wouldn't have worked for regular jeans.

The pattern came from this book: "Natural and Layered Style", a Pochee Special in the Heartwarming Life Series (ISBN 452904791). The book was a gift from the creative and very funny Sigrid of Analog Me. Thanks, Sigrid! The book is full of lovely girls' and womens' clothes and little did I know the first thing I'd make would be simple leggings.

Here you can see the modeled photo and the pictorial instructions.



Now, the question for you, dear readers. I've tried to demonstrate the tunic in a couple of different lengths, besides the almost dress length it's at right now.

Should I:
1. Leave it as is, worn with leggings.
2. Shorten it to a more common tunic length (above photo).
3. Shorten it to long top length (photo below).
4. Wear it as a dress (i.e. with sandals).
5. Other.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Bellbottoms are for Men, Too!


I've said before that my dad and father-in-law both opted out of the bell-bottom fad. Maybe they didn't realize what wonders flared hems can do for one's figure. Or maybe, as young people, they already knew their "individual" styles.

Case in point: when my husband came home from work the other day, he took one look at me and exclaimed, "You look like my dad!" (This said with admiration, naturally.) It took me only a moment to realize that, yes, I was wearing shorts and black socks. All I was missing were the white tennis shoes.

Moving on... here are some beauties from the 1975 Sear's Catalog.

Who can resist corduroy? I can't.

Jeans joint?


More jeans with great topstitching lines.


And even though they're not bellbottoms, I can't resist sharing these gems with you:

Notice the denim boots. You could really go all out with the denim: jacket, bellbottoms and boots.
And you could even do an extra layer in there with a blue denim lesiure shirt jacket.

Don't even try to resist corduroy when it's stitched up in a Richly Masculine Corduroy Sportcoat.

I'm not sure if this photo disqualifies my blog from family friendly status, but check out the Terry-go-rounds! (Notice the term "richly masculine" is nowhere to be seen in reference to these towel skirts...).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Burda Magazine - Then and Now

I got my first issue of Burda Magazine in July of 2008. The news service I bought it from gave me a free copy when I bought a subscription. (I don't think they do that anymore). I've let my subscription lapse after two years, now that I have hundreds of patterns at my fingertips. My library happens to have a subscription if I'm ever dying to see the most recent issue.

I picked up this tattered copy from 1977 on ebay. Burda magazine began in 1950 and started including traceable patterns in 1952. Long ago, it included recipes, knitting patterns, and lots of ads. Now, it has cut the ads and recipes, and has more feature items: analysis of the runways or biographies of designers. I'd really like to see an issue from the 1950s!

From September 2001.

From March 2009.

From November 2010.

Just about as interesting as the changing fashions is the evolving tracing sheets. This one's from 1977. The lines are in just two colors. Each pattern piece in the magazine is indicated by a number, which you locate in the margin. One of the lines in the piece you want to trace will be parallel to this number.


By 2001, they had added multiple colors and notes on the pattern pieces (such as fold lines and grain lines).

For several years, they reduced the number of patterns per sheet (by adding more sheets) and it was comparatively EASY to trace.

In the 9-2010 issue, the crazy overlapping lines were back again.
This is an instruction sheet from 1977. The magazine didn't have any sort of master list of the patterns included. You had to flip through the entire magazine.

Now the magazines have both a photo view of all the garments and a black-line drawing view.

The modern directions seem a little longer now than in 1977. I wonder if the instructions were as cryptic then as they are now?


One other interesting thing I noticed: modern Burda patterns each come in varying ranges of 5 sizes each (for example 36-42, or 44-52). Most of the vintage patterns came in just one random size; a few came in 2 or more - making grading and fitting patterns a little more challenging.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Shorts Variety Show

Sara has a good number of summer tops, but is short in the shorts department. The bike shorts I whipped up last week went over so well, I've been inundated with requests for more. The girls have been searching the stash for more colors, not as concerned about the lycra content of the knits as they should be (:
The black cotton lycra shorts will also go well with Sara's gymnastics leotards. They are a shortened version of Ottobre 3-2010-10 (Lime Jersey Shorts).

Next up are a pair I drafted with instructions from Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's Wear. I was greatly disliking these when I first made them, mostly because of the unpleasant poly poplin I used, but also because they are baggier than I envisioned and my freehanded pockets look ridiculously tiny. Sara chose the fancy fake metal button for embellishment.

Now that I've let the shorts sit for a few days, I don't think they're so terrible. In hindsight I should have used a tailored block instead of an easy fitting block to get the fit I was envisioning.



Last up are my favorite pair made with a leftover scrap of wonderful cotton ripstop. I wish I had bought yards and yards of this. But alas I didn't know what it was at the time.

The pattern is from an old Ottobre I have, published in Finnish: Ottobre 2-2002-32. I had to downsize the pattern this year, but I know it'll be one I use for years to come. The pattern also gives a bermuda length and has a three length women's version which I've made several times.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sewing Talk

And we have sun! Summer sewing plans are in full gear. And as usual, I have far more ideas than I can possibly have time to implement.

A few weeks ago, my husband had to travel to LA for a week. When he told me, which thought do you think popped into my head first:
1. Darn, you're leaving me alone with the kids for a whole week.
or
2. THERE'S a KINOKUNIYA IN L.A.!

FYI: Kinokuniya is a Japanese bookstore. Yes, I know the locations.

He braved his way through ridiculous traffic and brought me home three (3) Japanese pattern books, one of which was "Sewing Talk" by Machiko Kayaki.

This is an extremely simple sleeveless top. The neck and armholes are gathered with elastic. The hem is supposed to be elasticated too, but I narrow hemmed it this time.

You make bias strips for a binding/elastic casing. I don't think I was supposed to add seam allowances to the shirt pieces, though, since the neck seems higher and the arm holes wider than they should be.

I felt the shirt was pretty loose, so I removed 4 inches total from the waist point, tapering back out to the hip and armscye. I probably tapered too sharply, since the hem sticks out at the sides a little. I should have just removed some width from the hip, too. Next time I may try elasticating the bottom hem to see if if that suits me, after all.


Here's the front cover of the book. The ISBN is 4579110528.

Here's the top in striped shirting.

The instructions are quite minimal and don't include any sort of order of construction steps. But certain techniques are illustrated: making your own bias tape with one of those nifty little hand tools and an iron (something I did for the first time!), and inserting elastic in a casing.

The traceable patterns come in Japanese sizes 9, 11, 13. I made size 9, which corresponds pretty closely to my measurements. The shoulders fit well (after my normal shoulder adjustments), but there's quite a bit of ease elsewhere. So I think you'd have a decent amount of wiggle room if you don't fit one of the sizes exactly.


Here is the same pattern made into a dress.

I made top "b". The dress is pattern "c".

My fabric was madras plaid from Mill End Textiles.