Friday, September 11, 2015

Finished Suit- Burda Shrunken Jacket + Single Seam Pencil Skirt

A couple days later than expected- I finally finished my latest project.  I've come to realize that I need some basics in my life, not everything I make should either be brightly colored or patterned.  I need items to go with those!  My biggest problem, though, is never being motivated to sew the plainer items.  I am glad I stuck this one out, because I really like the final suit, even if it is a plain grey suit.
For the jacket, I used Burda's shrunken jacket, I would give you the Burda Magazine it's from, but in the U.S. version they make you go to the website to download it!  Luckily, I had an older Russian Burda that had the pattern included with the magazine.  I made a straight size 38.  I worried that it might be a tiny bit snug in the bust, so the front bust is sewn at 3/8" instead of 5/8".  Next time I will not do this, as it's a tiny big big now in the bust.  Lesson learned- muslin the pattern.  I narrowed the shoulder 5/8" with a dart, and dropped the shoulder 1/2" so I didn't have to use shoulder pads.  
The skirt is the same pencil skirt as my two quilted pencils skirts made earlier this summer.  One difference though- I redrafted it taking out two solid inches.  I figured that zero ease/negative ease would make the skirt more flattering as the fabric I used is a very stretchy wool, I would call it wool knit, but there is still some structure to it. I think it just has some lycra in it.  I didn't put in a zipper as there was enough stretch to get it on, but I probably should have, it takes some work to get on.  I got the wool from the fabric store in Lawrence, Kansas- so at least that splurge didn't end up as stash. 
Can I be honest, I think this is one of the most flattering side views of me in a long time.  I hate looking at pictures of me from the side.  From February 2014 until July 2015 (so pretty much the span of my blog), I put on about 17 pounds.  Some of it was due to the toxoplasmosis- I was too tired to do much, some of it was a medication I was on, but most of it was eating not so well.  This was on top of the baby weight I hadn't lost yet, so I was up about 25 pounds.  Looking at myself from the front or the back, I still looked okay in my mind, but you could really tell that I had gained weight from the side.  In early July, I decided to get serious about losing the excess weight, as I had my U.S. vacation coming up, and if I didn't do something I would add another 5-10 pounds.  I upped my yoga, added some weight training, started running/walking, and stopped driving to work.  And I also really started to watch what I eat- I've been using the loseit app to track my calories.  Before my vacation, I lost five pounds.  I didn't lose any on vacation, and since then I've lost another seven pounds.  This picture really shows off the work I have put in.  I still have some ways to go, as I don't want to over do it (I've had to cut out running for a bit due to terrible shinsplints).  But, I am starting to feel better about how I look.
I think feeling bad about my body was one of the reasons that my blogging about my sewing has dropped off over the last couple of months.  It's hard to write about clothing, when all you can see in the pictures are your flaws.  And that you have a queue of 'boring basics' to sew. 
However, this 'boring basic' suit has a secret.  And that secret makes me super happy every time I think about it.  Plus it feels super lux to wear it.
I had no suitable stretch lining in my stash (as in I didn't have any stretch lining), so I remembered this crazy stretch silk charmeuse at the fabric store down the street.  Yes, I bought 1.6 more meters of fabric this month, and yes those are purple chili peppers.  But that is how I got (forced) myself to finish this suit.  I loooooove this lining!

A closer look at the chili peppers.  And yes, I lined the skirt with it as well.  Even though today, I looked very conservative at work, at least I knew I had chili peppers underneath it all.  Which made me feel better about wearing a dark suit in a sea of dark suits.
I used purple bias binding to finish the edges of the facings for the jacket and for the hem of skirt.  It makes my jacket look very professionally done.  Even if my hand stitches are never the same size.  Anyone have suggestions on how to improve that skill?
One last note on this jacket, it was almost a goner when I got to the collar.  This was the first jacket I have made where there is a collar stand.  And the directions made zero sense (either in English or Russian).  I was stumped.  However, I bought several Burda paper men's suit patterns, and luckily one of them had diagrams for the collar.  Thank god!  I think it's an interesting touch.  Speaking of men's patterns, my next project is my husband's leather jacket.  I found a Kwik Sew jean jacket pattern, that with a lot of slimming it up has the right style lines for the motorcycle jacket he wants.  I have searched for three months for one, and they do not exist.  Insane right? 

Catherine Zeta Jones' Jenny Packham Embellished Gown
Image found here

 I am going to leave you with what I have decided on as my inspiration for my marine ball dress.  I am so excited for it!  It will be a lot of work, but it's going to be stunnnnnnnning!  It will be silver with white, so it will be pinstriped!!!! I just bought 150 yards of strung clear sequins, and will be buying a sequin foot when I'm in the states in two weeks.  Yes they make them, and I am not ashamed to be buying one.  Anyway, I think that is all I have to say, so until next time happy sewing.



  1. Wonderful looking suit but I really can't wait to see your ball gown!

  2. Love the secret lining. And can't wait to see how you go with the leather jacket. I'd love any tips you can give so when I try that myself I don't end up pulling my hair out in frustration!