Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pattern Notebook: Merckwaerdigh EFG40 bra

This bra was a fail for me.  I've moved on to CUPL16 now, but I wanted to record my notes on EFG40 before I forgot all about it.

I made my Merckwaerdigh order just a few weeks before this pattern was released so I tried to make do with BHS10 with stretch mesh and lace (I guess I never blogged my second version of this bra, seen on Instagram here).  I've worn the bras plenty, but over time the materials have started to lose their spring and therefore their support. This has also happened to my stretch fabric Marlborough to a lesser degree.  With both of these bras I've come to realise that I will just never get the support and lift I need from fabrics that stretch to that degree.  What I need is a cup that is actually large enough!  Luckily I didn't have to put in a second order with Merckwaerdigh, Pam, my neighbor let me borrow her copy of the pattern.

Pattern Notebook

View / Size used: 

I'll be honest, I was using this pattern because it had my cup size in it, and in spite of the style. I am not in to the sling thingys in view A, but I thought the plunge style had potential, so I made up the plunge style, view C, first.

I such took a long time to decide what size to trace off. The 34D BHS10 was most certainly too small, so I knew I needed a larger cup. I also wanted a smaller band.  The sizes on the pattern indicate that they are UK cup sizing, and the cups in the UK go from D to DD to E.  Going one cup size up from a 34D is a 34DD, and then keeping the larger cup, but moving down a band size would make me 32E.  In other words, there is a size between 32D and 32E. Looking at the body measurements indicated on the BHS10 and the EFG40 I actually think that Merckwaerdigh does NOT have a size between D and E, so going up a cup size and down a band size gets me to a 32F instead.  I actually used the sister size 34E, and I can't remember why now. It might have been something to do with my intention to stabilize the band more.

Fabric / Notions Used: 
I was glad to read that each cup piece is called for in both a 'stretch fabric' and also 'cup lining', so this was designed for low to no stretch fabrication. I used a cotton/acetate/lycra satin from The Fabric Store. It's got some stretch but is nice and beefy.  I also cut each of the cup pieces in the cup lining fabric that I ordered from Merckwaerdigh's now defunct ebay store. It's not for sale in her etsy store, but it actually looks and feels almost identical to the stabilized tricot swatch (#FT200) I just got from Fabric Depot.  By the way, the stuff called 'sheer stabilized tricot' (#FT151) is only stable in one direction and has quite a lot of stretch in the other, so don't think you can sub one for the other.

Since I have fabric and notions from such a hodge podge of sources, I've made myself little cards to go with each bra pattern I have, so I can make myself a little kit and check each item off and put it in a sandwich bag as I gather what I need so here's the checklist for this pattern:

Cup Fabric: Cotton mix satin from The Fabric Store
Cup lining: "Cuplining" from Merckwaerdigh
Band fabric: Same fabric and lining used for the front band as the cups, back band is power net from F&S Fabrics, in west L.A.
Hem elastic: 1/2" Plush back picot on a roll from downtown L.A.
Neckline elastic: 1/2" Plush back picot on a roll from downtown L.A.
Cup elastic: 3/8" lighter picot knicker elastic
Strap elastic: 5/8" plush back satin strapping, Trim 2000, downtown L.A.
2 x Rings, 2 x sliders: 5/8" from Zip Up Zipper, downtown L.A.
Chanelling: Bra Makers Supply
Underwire: Didn't really have any that were short enough but temporarily used some I got in Rimmon Fabrics, West L.A.
Boning Channeling: Some left over channeling from a Bravo Bella kit
Boning: Plastic boning from Richard The Thread (I think it's this stuff)
Back Closure: I honestly can't remember where that's from.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
I didn't use scalloped lace for the side piece, instead I cut the piece out of cuplining, sewed the fabric and lining wrong sides together and turned them to give a clean edge. Otherwise, it's all as drafted.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
No, not really.  I think I eventually understood what I was supposed to be doing, but it was pretty hard to follow.  This was not my first, second or third bra, so I was able to do most of the construction without too much help, but I did sew the side cup piece wrongly at first. That piece does not get sewn to the other cup pieces, it overlays them and is just caught in the seam with the band. 

The two piece cup and the side cup piece
What not to do
The side piece basted to the main cup before sewing in to the band.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I think it's actually a pretty good looking bra.  I particulaly like how lines of the side cup piece looks in this fabric.  I liked that the pattern addresses the fact that it's for large cup sizes in a few ways: The cups are non-stretch, there is side boning and the band is wider than other Merckwaerdigh designs.

This particular bra was too small for me, so it's hard to know if my dislikes are more about fit, but I do find the space between the cups really wide, but I don't think just narrowing it would be the right way to fix that problem. One thing that isn't especially large-cup friendly is that it's essentially a two-piece cup, with a third overlay piece. Even though the cup was too small for me overall, there was some extra space along the seam line of the main cup, which had too sharp an angle for me to fill. I think I would like a little more coverage in the main cup pieces too.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
It doesn't fit!! I felt like I was falling out of this thing. Quad boob is not the look I'm going for.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Oy. I did sew other views. I just don't know if I can recommend this view as-is.  If you're cool with a super duper plungy bra with your (presumably) E cup and larger, then I suppose, sure!

 On to the next failed experiment!!

Merckwaerdigh EFG40 v2

View / Size used: 
View A, and I went up another cup size to 34F.

Fabric / Notions Used: 
Cup Fabric: A print nylon tricot with one way stretch from Angel Textiles, downtown L.A. 
Cup lining: Another tricot with the stretch going in the other direction. This is a technique that I learned from Bravo Bella, but I actually don't recommend it. I much prefer to just have a totally non-stretch lining.
Band fabric: front band is the same print nylon tricot as the outer cup, with duoplex as a lining. The  back band is power net from F&S Fabrics, in west L.A.
Hem elastic: 1/2" Plush back picot on a roll from downtown L.A.
Neckline elastic: 1/2" Plush back picot on a roll from downtown L.A.
Cup elastic: 3/8" lighter picot knicker elastic
Strap elastic: 5/8" plush back satin strapping, Trim 2000, downtown L.A.
2 x Rings, 2 x sliders: taken from an old RTW bra
Chanelling: CH909 White satin channeling from Sew Sassy
Underwire: Rimmon Fabrics, West L.A.
Boning Channeling: Omitted on this one
Boning: Omitted on this one

Back Closure: No idea.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
I put the sling things on the inside rather than the outside. There's a chance that they would work slightly better on the outside, but I really doubt it would make that much difference.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Not especially, but between the notches and my previous bra making experience, I wasn't too confused at any point.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It just doesn't have any lift. On her blog, I think the designer says she based this on a strapless bra, and it does seem to have a lot of that design still in there.  I'm just not convinced that this is the best place to start for a large cup size. Normally quite a lot of the lift comes from the way that the cup and the strap connect, but here the strap attaches to the slings, and the slings are not attached to the main cup at all.  The center is very high, basically as high as the cup at the underarm, but this doesn't seem to help the lower cup lift at all really.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
I liked that it technically fit, meaning it encapsulated all the flesh it was meant to encapsulate. Unfortunately it wasn't doing anything I liked with that flesh.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I did try it one more time.  I guess I'm a glutton for punishment. Spoiler alert: still didn't work. I had hoped that I could use the cup from this view without the slings and just attach the straps directly to the cup, but when I tried that, I still didn't like the shape that this cup was giving me.

Finally, I combined both views, and used the side piece from view C with the view A cup.  I wanted to make sure that the small amount of give in the tricot cup was the problem, so I made it up in duoplex. Still not good. So I have totally abandoned this pattern.

One good thing did come out of all of this, the non-stretch cup 34F did fit me, which meant I was within the size range of CUPL16! That's where I went next, and I hope to blog about it soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The bra bug is back, and that means buying stuff

 I've been trying to make bras for more than two years now and in that time I've amassed quite a lot of supplies.  Every couple of months I wonder why I have so much bra making stuff but still no self-made bra that I'm 100% happy with.  The No.1 roadblock is fit, but a pretty close second has been finding the right materials.

Recently I pulled out all the stuff I've accumulated again, and tried to assess what I needed to fill the gaps so I can use up what I have already. The trouble is; it's easy to find long lists of places to buy various bra making supplies1, it's much harder to piece together more detailed information, like what the hell some of these fabrics are exactly,  or how quality varies item to item or from store to store2.  I've decided to put a list together of my personal feelings on the supplies that I have ordered3. I'm hoping to update this post in the future if I order more materials.

Lots of words ahead. Hit the "J" key in feedly now if bra making is not your thing.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Burdastyle 9/2013-101 - Day dress extraordinaire

Hey guys! It's been a while, I know. There's no big reason really. I just went through a stage where I completely lost my grá for blogging.  I'm still sewing something most of the time, but I was basically out of stuff to say about it.  There must be a time when most bloggers think to themselves "hasn't this all already been said?".  Anyway, when I put this dress on today, it occurred to me that I had already written the post, and there aren't that many reviews out there of it, and I happen to really love it. So after wearing this dress for months, I have finally gotten around to reviewing it.

When I was little I hated dresses. I refused to wear any kind of dress.  I'm still not really a dress person, but this is the kind of dress that would make me change my mind.  I can't fully identify with people who claim they can wear exactly what they want because they sew; I still can't reliably turn out a garment that's exactly what I want every time.  Having said that, I'm sure that if I went shopping for a dress, I'd be shopping for a long time before giving up and failing to find a dress I like as much as this one.

Pattern Notebook

Burdastyle 9/2013-101B

View / Size used: Here's how far behind the blogging is from the sewing: I made the first version this dress a year and five months ago.  Unfortunately it was the project where I realised that I was not a Burda straight size 38.

Turns out my hips are a 40.  It became obvious because the pockets on the dress were doing something funny, I had already serged off the seam allowances, so I couldn't add anything back there.  My fix of just sewing the pockets closed didn't work - the dress just was too tight on my hips. The fabric had a pretty firm stretch so that may not have helped.  

For version 2 (made back in November 2014) I kept the 38 bodice and added it to the skirt of Burda 8/2012-115 (which I had traced because it shares pattern pieces with 8/2012-113 (is it too late to make a peplum top, are they over yet?). The skirt is also a 38, but there's so much ease it doesn't matter.

Fabric Used: Mystery cotton/rayon from FIDM.  It's quite thin which I've come to realize is a good idea for this pattern because there is a whole lot of fabric in the center where the two sides meet.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
In addition to changing out the skirt, I narrowed the front ties. They are total fabric hogs, but I also think that they are too wide and short.  The pattern pieces actually get wider towards the ends of the ties.  I folded back the pattern piece on both sides until it was actually tapering inwards, and eyeballed adding about 6" more.  In order to get such long ties I pieced them just after the '7' notch.

I also swapped out the sleeve. I actually don't know where I got the sleeve from, it's a knit sleeve that I have stuck to my pinboard.  It was unlabeled apart from 'knit sleeve' but I'm pretty sure I traced it from Burda.

I didn't use any elastic in the waist, I don't think you need it with the ties. Actually I hadn't even noticed that in the instructions the first time round.

The hem is actually even if pulled down, but the way the ties are, it comes up in the middle. I didn't leave it to hang before hemming, nor did I do anything so smart as measuring the hem from the floor while it was on my dressform, I just turned it up and stitched.  Perhaps something to think about next time.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
It's all pretty straight forward until you turn the ties right side out, then it's confusing as hell. Reading them now to tell you what I did, I'm still confused. I'm pretty sure what they're saying is that between the notch '4' and '7' you have to figure out how to transition from the inside of the tie to a seam allowance neatly.  This is made more complex by the fact that the ties end up with the seam running down the middle of the back, so the neck edge starts turning in before it even gets to the tie. I just turned in the neck edge and stitched with a straight stitch.  For the lower edge the waist seam allowance gets turned in until it becomes the tie seam allowance. After that step it's straightforward again.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I was attracted to this dress because the picture of the 101A top in the index page is tied like a more traditional wrap, then I was so frustrated because the larger pictures in the magazine and the line drawings all look different - the crossover is much lower.  Thankfully I saw Mokosha's lovely version tied both ways, and that cleared up the mystery. (She made it again, here, I still want to steal that dress!)

Oh sorry, what did I like about the pattern, I think it's super flattering, I love wrap things, and this is a nice twist on it.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
It's a great dress.  I dress pretty casually, and I think that this is on the nice end of casual without being too far outside of my normal stuff.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I'm sure I would, and yes.

Construction notes: 
I think I've covered it all above.

Machines / settings used: 
Janome 7318 for sewing.  I used a 3 mm straight stitch for sewing. I don't usually bother with stretch stitches apart from in places that will need to stretch like the waist seam.

I serged most of the seams but I couldn't figure out how to do it on the waist seam, so I just left it.  It is jersey, and hasn't raveled or done anything weird.

Hopefully I think of some more things to say soon! xx

Monday, February 9, 2015

Burda 6849 - Fitted shirt

I love shirts. I love the idea of a shirt that fits nicely, but it hasn't been an easy thing to find. I actually donated a bunch of RTW shirts about a year ago because I couldn't ignore how badly they fitted anymore, but I had such a hard time sewing anything better that I actually bought one a few months ago. You'd think that having a sloper would help, but I've found that it's not getting a pattern to the point of no ease that's difficult, it's getting the right amount of ease that's really tricky.  To me, that's the difference between a pattern maker and a designer.  This shirt isn't perfect at all, but I think it's a pretty good step in the right direction.

Pattern Notebook

View / Size used: View B / C with no pockets. I have no idea what the difference is between view B and C.

I cut out a straight size 38, but made fit adjustments afterwards.  I chose that size because it's my usual with Burda. For reference, my my high bust corresponds with the listed bust measurement for a 38 but my full bust would be a 40/42. Using a size 38, I still had 1" of ease according to the finished measurements on the pattern tissue. My waist is a 40 and hips are 42. All this is fairly moot because my waist length is off the bottom of the chart at least 3 inches shorter than the pattern is drafted for.

Fabric Used: Plain 100% cotton gingham from Angel Textiles in downtown LA (they don't have a website, but I've made a google map of all the fabric stuff I know about in Southern California here). I bought this fabric ages ago for muslins, but I don't actually make muslins, so it was time to use it up!

I used some light interfacing from The Fabric Store. It's the same stuff I used and loved on my last two shirts, but it may actually be slightly too light for this shirt. I do have some interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, but I'm not as in love with it as most people seem to be. I find the names of her different interfacing really confusing. I have the 'ProWOVEN Shirt-Crisp FUSIBLE Interfacing' maybe I should have ordered the 'ProWOVEN Light-Crisp FUSIBLE Interfacing"or the 'ProSheer Elegance MEDIUM Fusible', but my mind was boggled by the super long convoluted names when I ordered.  The 'shirt-crisp' interfacing was also really hard to fuse.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't use the pockets, and I used tower plackets rather than the more simple strip that the pattern called for.  I adjusted the back darts fairly substantially, and took in the sleeves by about 5/8".

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Pretty good but I did a couple of things differently. I did the yoke using the burrito method. For the sleeve, I was torn. I hate setting in sleeves, and usually just sew them in flat, however adding tower plackets and cuffs is easier to do before the sleeve is attached to the shirt, and you have to do them after you sew the sleeve seam.

I came up with a sort of best-of-both-worlds solution by sewing on the plackets, then a few inches of the sleeve seam, then I attached the cuffs.  I was still able to sew on the sleeve in the flat, but didn't have to wrestle the whole shirt while attaching the cuffs.  Even though I sewed it in flat, I had to baste the seam line of the sleeve head before attaching it to the armscye to ease it in. 5/8" seam allowances are a total PITA when it comes to sleeve heads.  I was glad I used that method because I did end up narrowing the sleeves all the way to the armpit, which is trickier when the sleeve is set in the round.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love that there's front and back darts, I have a really hard time figuring out where the side bust dart goes so this pattern eliminates that problem entirely.  There are so many places to take in or let out after it's together, that it's really handy for getting a nice fit.

It is a little odd that there's no pleat in the sleeve going in to the cuff, but it's not hard to add one I suppose.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
It's a bit long, especially in the sleeves.  I'll probably shorten them about 3/4" next time. I could probably take 2" or 3" off the hem.

All the pictures of it actually tucked in were out of focus, but here you might be able to see that it's ever so slightly too roomy at the waist to be tucked in smoothly.  I would like to make a version in a stretch woven, so I could go a little closer with the fit.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes yes yes.

Construction notes: 

I tend to use snips for notches, but you can't do that for front or back darts, so I used Saral chalk paper (from the art supply shop) with packing tape on the back, it makes the paper stronger so you can really push on it. I also used a solid tracing wheel because I find it works better than the serrated one when I'm marking fabric.

For the tower placket, I first used the Off The Cuff placket tutorial. I've used it before, and both times, I've sewn the placket the wrong way around. I can't put my finger on why it makes me confused because she explains clearly in the text; put the little piece on the small side and the big piece on the wider side. Then I tried following Kathleen Fassenella's photo's.  I think Kathleen Fassenella's method is easier and makes for a neater placket. Using her order, I was able to form the tower using the iron and fabric glue before I sewed it on to the slit, which was a lot easier than doing it while it's attached to the sleeve. This fabric has no right side or wrong side, so I proceeded to make two of the same side sleeve. I had to rip one of them out again, so I had to sew 4 plackets in total. I bet I could do one in less than 15 mins now.

I still wish I'd taken the trouble to get the Shirtmaking book back out of the library because of all the cool tricks that Tasia is sharing in her shirt sew along.

I sewed it up exactly as drafted first.  The front was pretty good, but the back was exactly what you'd expect from a pattern designed to have the waist 3" lower than my waist.

I ripped out the darts, put the shirt on my dress form and just pinned. The darts ended up starting about 3" higher, but ended at about the same place. The widest point of the dart was about 2" higher.  I also took in the CB seam above the waist.

There's still a little ease there, but the fabric is non-stretch so I figured I'd leave a little wearing ease.

Machines / settings used: 
Singer Featherweight for construction - 10 stitches per inch for construction and topstitching.
Singer buttonholer for the buttonholes, 5/8" template, width '2', I went around each two times to get a nice dense buttonhole.

Brother 1034D serger to finish seams.
Differential Feed: 1.0
Stitch Length: 4
Stitch Width: 6.5
Tensions:  Left Needle: 4, Right Needle: 4, Upper Looper: 4.1, Lower Looper: 4.1

But wait!. There's a ....  Bonus Garment!

A jumper from the left overs of my dress! It's made from the Sew-U Home Stretch raglan size M, but I had to slim down the sleeves and body quite a bit. It's possibly even smaller than a small now - the flowery fabric is very stretchy.

I think that's the last thing I can make with this fabric, it's not exactly a solid, I'm sure people would start to notice, so the rest is all yours Aleah!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Pattern Notebook: Burda 12/2014 - 121

I have a habit of liking my in-progress projects better than the finished product.  I think it's got some amount to do with the fact that an in-progress item still has the potential to be the best possible version of the thing I have in my head. When it's done, it's potential is frozen, it is what it is, with all of the little flaws that come with a home made garment made by a non-factory.

The best example is this wool dress, which I have worn a few times, but is just a bit too much like a bathrobe in it's current form. I never did get it to look as nice as before I finished the front edges and it was just safety pinned closed.  I think it would be less bathrobe-y if it was sleeveless or shorter or both. (I just realized that I used to host the pics of that dress on flickr, which I don't use anymore. I should restore them sometime.)

So I tried to learn my lesson on this project which has quite a few similarities, it's a close fitting dress with great texture, but a potentially overwhelming pattern.  I thought I would prevent it from looking too overwhelming by keeping the hemline short. That seems to be a thing at the moment, my sort-of inspiration was this dress.  But when I tried it on mid-construction, I decided I liked what I saw and called it done right then.  No sleeves, no elasticated gathering on the side, and I left the cowl hang loose, it's supposed to be tacked down so you can't see the wrong side of the fabric. I actually like the pop of black, so I'm leaving it.

So here are my notes, of this semi abandoned pattern:

Pattern Notebook

Burdastyle 12/2014 #121

View / Size used: I cut a straight 38.  I'm actually a 38 on top and a 40 by my hips.  It did fit at 38, but I ended up giving myself a little extra room below the waist at the side seams when I sewed it up.  This pattern does have negative ease, so I just had to judge it based on the stretchiness of the fabric.

Fabric Used: Some kind of poly knit from the Michael Levine Loft. I really don't know what to call it, it's two layers of fabric woven together like it's pre-quilted, but in a floral pattern.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
I did sew the side seams with about 1/2" extra at the hips. As I said above, I didn't sew in the elastic to the left seam, left off the sleeves, didn't tack down the neck piece.

Even though I had intended to keep the hem short, but after seeing Dawn's version and how short it is, I wanted to build in some insurance.  I added 5" instead of the recommended 1 5/8" for the hem, and ended up taking a 1" hem, effectively adding 3 5/8" to the pattern!

Because I didn't tack the neck down or have sleeves, I finished the neck opening by just serging and turning, and the same for the armholes, except I added a light 1/4" elastic in the armhole to try to prevent it from stretching out.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, but if I were putting in the sleeves, I wouldn't have used Burda's construction order.  I think it would be easier to do it this way: Sew the neck side seams, sew the sleeve in flat, sew up the side seams.  I have no idea why they tell you to set in the sleeve.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
It's actually just a nicely shaped tube for the body, and a tube for the neck at an angle to the body tube. I might actually like it better if the neck tube went straight up from the body,  and the shoulders were symmetrical - one of the shoulders is a slight integrated cap sleeve by itself.  I usually leave the cap side scrunched up so it looks like the other side. I might at some point de-weird this pattern like I did with the drape t-shirt. If I did I would use the cap-less side, and just cut it on the fold.

FYI to people using the sleeves, they are very slim.  I like it, but if your fabric isn't super stretchy you might want to be careful.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
I do have the same problem with this dress that I have with all cowl necks, every time I see myself in it, I want to fix the cowl some other way. It never seems to fall just right. Still, I do like the dress, I love the fabric, and I think it was a good use of it.  I have loads left, and some of it will likely become a raglan jumper.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would! I think it would be nice in a wool jersey, if I put a lining in it. And yes, I would recommend it.

Construction notes: 

Machines / settings used: 
Janome 7318 for basting and hemming.  I used a 4 mm zig zag for both purposes.  No fancy hemming business because you really can't see it on this busy fabric.

I turned the needle tensions up a little since they were construction seams, and I didn't want too much of the black thread to show through.  I also made the stitch length shorter on the neck than I usually would to cover up the right side of the fabric from showing through too much.  The width was set to the max, and actually completely encased the 1/4" elastic that I used on the armhole.

Brother 1034D serger for construction seams.
Differential Feed: 2
Stitch Length: 2 in the neck part, 3.5 otherwise.
Stitch Width: 7
Tensions:  Left Needle: 4.2, Right Needle: 4.2, Upper Looper: 4.2, Lower Looper: 4.2

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pattern Notebook: Burda 6840

I worked with someone a few years ago that had many, many silk shirts that were gathered around the collar.  They really caught my eye, and I've been looking for a pattern to replicate them ever since. The effect was something like the picture below.

I bought McCalls 6702 and Butterick 5611 trying to replicate the idea but they have gathers in a yoke, not the collar.  I made up B5611 in the smallest size in the envelope (size 10), which is a full 4 sizes below my measurements indicate, but it turned out completely gigantic!

I took these pictures last March.  I intended to shorten it and take it in at the sides before blogging and giving it a final verdict.  I never did, so it's gone unblogged.  Of ourse I've been wearing it anyway.  Don't we often say as sewers that we're so lucky because we can get our clothes to fit? Ya, most of the time that doesn't apply to me.

Over the holidays Joann had one of it's rare sales on Burda (and Simplicity) envelope patterns, so I went rummaging in the drawers to see if I could see anything close.  I ended up buying Burda 6839, 6840 and Simplicity 1279.  Actually Burda 6839 is closer to the inspiration, but it just looks so weird in that stiff shirting fabric, I couldn't bring myself to make it up.

So back to yoke gathers I went, and made up a test version of Burda 6840.

I've only just now noticed that Vogue 1412 is closer than any of the ones I have already, and I have a few candidates in a Patrones magazine.  I may keep trying to get this right!

Shirts with no sleeves are surprisingly fast to make! This shirt has the added benefit of getting the button holes out of the way at the beginning of the process. Now that I think about it, that was probably why this shirt got done in basically one sitting, usually button up shirts spend about 10 days on the back of my chair waiting for me to get the buttonholer out.  I kinda-sorta should get the buttonholer back out to do the final button hole in the collar, but we all know that is never going to happen.

Pattern Notebook

Burda 6840

View / Size used: View A, size 10 for the neckline and shoulders to the bottom of the armscye, 12 for body. That's 36/38 in euro sizes.  I normally use 38 in burda, but I compared the finished bust measurement to my far-too-big butterick and there seemed to be pretty generous ease in the bust.  Normally that's a good thing, but I didn't want that area to be too bulky in the stiffer fabric I was using.  I'm considering using a 38/40 combo if I make this up in flowy silk.  For reference the finished bust measurement of the Size 10 butterick shirt was 45.5", in this shirt it was 42.5".

Fabric / Notions Used: A fairly light cotton shirting with no stretch.  It's got a nice sheen to it, but no drape.  I can't remember where it's from. I thought it would be fun to use some contrast pink buttons under that covered placket. I got them from Nhi's giant bag 'o buttons (seen in this post - how many of those have you used Nhi??).

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
Apart from grading between sizes, not much.  I did turn my back pleat the other way out. Is this a men/women thing? Like the way the fly opens one way or the other? A quick survey of J Crew and Banana Republic tells me most women's shirts don't have any pleat, but the ones that do, have the pleat the way I've sewn it.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, I've found Burda envelope patterns fine for the most part. I liked that they had you apply the bias binding while the side seam is open, it makes for less stress trying to get it just the right length.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the design. It's not the one that I was looking for, but it's very nice all the same.

I don't know if there's a drafting error, but my collar seemed to be too long when I pinned it, but then not as bad when I actually sewed it, so I had to rip and re-sew a few times. In the end I took a little off one end of the collar stand, so their not actually symmetrical. I'll never close it up so it will never matter that much.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
I like it more than I thought I would in the shirting. I like the length and the fit in the front.  The back is far too big,  I could easily eliminate the pleat, and actually take some darts back there.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I'm not sure if I'll bother with the silk version, but I would recommend it.  Watch out for the collar length.  If you sew it on using Andrea's method, you can adjust as necessary on the fly.

Construction notes: 
The concealed placket was so easy, I might do it that way in future - not only do you do the buttonholes first, but if they're wonky, no one will see!  Not much else to say on construction except to record my settings.

Machines / settings used: 
Featherweight, 10 stitches per inch for construction, 7 stitches per inch for topstitching.
Rolled hem using roll hem foot, had to adjust tension for this foot, not sure why, longer topstitch worked better.

Singer buttonholer on featherweight for buttons, 1/2" template, W: 4

Brother 1034D serger to finish side seam, the only seam needing finishing.
Differential Feed: 1.5
Stitch Length: 5
Stitch Width: 5.7
Tensions:  Left Needle: 4, Right Needle: 4.2, Upper Looper: 4, Lower Looper: 4

I tried to get modeled pictures when I took the pictures of my jeans, but this is the only one in focus!  Oh well, hopefully you get a sense of the shirt from the dress form.

See you guys soon!