Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Morning Quarterback

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice there is.

--Yogi Berra

Almost one year ago, during a Memorial Day sale, I purchased several yards of this beautiful pinstripe cotton.

I imagined making it up into some kind of shirt dress - cool, crisp and perfect for the summer. But the summer whisked past in the blink of an eye, and I never got around to it.

Then, last Fall, came this Burda magazine:

With a pattern for this blouse:

It was perfect! I especially loved the little dickey-like bib with the stripes flipped 90 degrees (horizontal, while the rest of the shirt has vertical stripes).

And then winter whisked by in another eye blink...

So, this is kind of embarrassing, but I've been getting the Burda pattern magazines for a year, and I haven't made a single garment from one of them yet. But, this weekend, that all changed!

I started on this blouse - following some of the "best practices" that I have learned from you guys - including (a) starting by making a muslin (especially important because this is my first time using a Burda magazine pattern) and (b) using up left-over threaded bobbins on said muslin. ;)

Probably most of you have sewn from these pattern magazines, so this won't be new to you, but I thought I'd show an example of the pattern sheet:

Stapled into the middle of the magazine are a number of pattern pages with multiple pattern pieces drawn in different colors over top of each other. My blouse uses pieces 1-7 in black ink on page F. The image above is about 1/18th of the page - it unfolds multiple times until it pretty much covers my cutting table.

You find your pattern pieces and then trace them. (For me, the finding took a lot longer than the tracing!) They don't include seam allowances, so you have to add your own. I added 3/8th inch seam allowances.

One of the reasons I wanted to make a muslin was to scope out any things that might be difficult to do well with my pink pinstripe fabric (hereafter, "ppf"). I had reasoned out for myself that I would have to be careful to get the horizontal lines to align on each side of the dickey-bib.

But I hadn't realized how careful I would have to be to get the bottom edges of the dickey-bib aligned! I don't know how well you can tell in the picture above, but even though I THOUGHT I was being careful, they don't line up on my muslin.

An interesting note on the collar - I'm used to these single stand collars having a rounded edge at the front, but this one has (or should have) sharp corners. (Another place I need to be more careful with my ppf.)

There is a nice pleat detail in the back.

I wasn't crazy about their hem instructions - I thought it came out bulky. I'll probably switch to my favorite method (
shown here) for my ppf.

So, these Burda magazines have somewhat of a reputation for sketchy instructions, and this one lived up to that reputation! I think a big part of the problem is that they don't illustrate any of their instructions with sketches, so if you can't make sense of the words, there is no back-up.

The first place that I think could have used an illustration was the button band. Luckily, I've done one before, so I eventually got through this step okay.

Next, several of the pieces were interfaced on only one half (like the button band, the collar and the cuffs, for example) and the instructions never indicated whether the interfaced side should be put on the outside or on the inside of the garment. I'm going to go look at some of my other patterns to see if there is a general rule to follow.

Finally, the sleeve placket. I've never done one before and couldn't make heads or tails of the "instructions" in the magazine. Luckily, I remembered that this issue of Threads magazine:

Had a special series on sleeve plackets:

(To be accurate, I remembered that SOME issue of Threads had an article on sleeve plackets, and then I spent an hour browsing through all my back issues trying to find it!)

By referring back and forth between the pattern instructions and the pictures in the magazine article, I was eventually able to make good progress on my first placket!

The pattern actually called for a placket with an arrow head point at the top - but I just couldn't get that to work (I couldn't get the arrow head to be symmetrical). So I went with a squared off top, which is not unreasonable given the squareness everywhere else in the pattern and the linearity of the ppf.

So, I still have to do the other placket, finish assembling and then install the sleeves, but then my muslin will be complete and I should be ready to move on to the ppf!

While I've pointed out the challenges associated with the instructions, I actually am enjoying working with this pattern. It seems like the pieces really fit together well. And I like the style - there are no darts, so it could be considered a little boxy, but it fits my body well (I think - you'll be able to judge for yourself someday soon) and I think the squared-off style works well with a pinstriped fabric.

It was especially nice to be doing some real sewing on a substantial project! :)

I hope you had a good sewing weekend and are ready to face a new week! :)


Branka said...

I like that shirt, too, can't wait to see the final result! Thank you for nice pics of your muslin progress. Happy sewing!

Lori said...

Looks like a perfect mix of fabric and pattern. Your musling looks great, good luck on your shirt.

Christine said...

Looking good! Can't wait to see the final!

gwensews said...

Some people balk at making muslins. I find it calming to be able to work out any problems, whether fitting or construction before cutting beautiful fabric. Then, I can enjoy the actual sewing of the garment.

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

Great first Burda magazine choice. I think your muslin turned out pretty well considering the scant instructions