Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


BurdaStyle’s Christmas giveaways

In case you’ve forgotten, BurdaStyle’s annual Christmas giveaway is currently underway.

Stop by daily to check out the prizes and comment to win!

Good luck!

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Cowl-neck, stripey Sadie tank

OK. I actually finished this a week ago, but have not had time to post it.


I used the same BurdaStyle pattern as this shirt, but used the version that adds a cowl neck.

The Sadie has a nice fit to it, I think. It’s a little snug, but I like it. I could go up another size, but then I think it would be too large.

This material is from the stash Nannie gave to me. I did not cut it so that the material would stretch from seam to seam (which would be the correct way) because I wanted the stripes to be horizontal. Getting the shirt on, therefore, is a little tough, but not impossible.

I had plenty of material, so the neck and arm bindings are made from the same material, making them softer and lay better than my first Sadie tank top. (You can’t see the neck binding as it’s behind the cowl neckline.

I didn’t like the shirt at first. I thought maybe it was too tight or didn’t look like a good fit. But after I wore it for a day, I really fell in love with it!

What do you think?


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Leafy Embroidery

It’s finished! I completed the embroidery on my polo-to-tank-top shirt on Friday evening. Not too bad for an old men’s polo shirt, huh?

Haa, haaa! I like this picture of me scratching my head.
Chris meant it as a joke, but I think it’s one of the best shots he took. 🙂

I really don’t like having my picture taken. Blah!
This is probably the best “normal” shot  Chris took.

What do you think?

You can read more about the changes I did to the top here. I used BurdaStyle’s Sadie pattern.

Here’s a close-up on the stitching around the collar.

The spot on my neck is actually in the camera. We thought it was the lens, but it’s actually on the mirror or something else in the camera. Can’t seem to get rid of it.

I used a decorative stitch on my old Singer called “Sephora.” What do you think?

You can see where the embroidery hoop was. 🙂

The embroidery pattern comes from Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. I used her “Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-to” book. I love how the embroidery thread matches the collar and sleeve thread!


From Polo-to-Tank Top

My second knit, my first tank-top and my first refashioned item!

My polo-to-tank top

An old polo shirt.

I used BurdaStyle’s Sadie pattern and cut up one of Chris’ old polo shirts. The top is just a bit snug, but I like it. I can’t wait to wear it over and over again!

I had a little trouble with the bias tape binding. The pattern calls for cutting up strip of fabric to use as the binding, which would have been less stiff than the bias tape, but I didn’t have enough polo shirt to do that. I don’t really mind the stiff binding as I think it gives the shirt and interesting look.

I also didn’t like how blind hemming the tape looked. The thread was a lighter green (I didn’t have a dark green spool on hand) and I thought it made the collar look tacky.

So, using a stitch called “Sephora” on my old Singer, I decided to do a decorative stitch instead. I like how it turned out. What do you think?

I originally had planned to add flowers or something along the left side of the collar, but the best I could come up with, using what I had, was this:

Too juvenile for a 30-year-old woman, me thinks.

I could have left the top plain; it’s all right like that. But, to me, if you’re making something, you’re able to put your own personal touches on it and make it yours. So why not go all out? I felt the top still needed something, but what?

I flipped through Jenny Hart’s “Sublime Stitching” book I picked up last Christmas while visiting my parents. I decided on a border along the bottom front of the shirt like this:

What do you think? I think I’m going to love it!

The embroidery floss matches the Sephora stitching pretty well and makes the top look more interesting. I can’t wait to finish!

And it shouldn’t take long. I finished the first vine in one evening. I’m using a simple backstitch for the stem and satin stitch (my first attempt at this stitch!) for the leaves.

(Thanks, Mom, for teaching me the basics of embroidery and thanks, Jenny, for this awesome book!)


Shirt ideas

As I said in this post, I’m planning to tackle some easier projects for awhile. I’m burned out from jackets, pants and other detailed projects. I need some quick satisfaction!

Here’s what I’m thinking of tackling. I may not get to them all, though I would like to, especially as Christmas gifts.

These are all from BurdaStyle and the images below belong to them:
Madison — I want a sweater dress to wear this fall and winter and thought I could make this in wool or thick cotton. Any other suggestions? I also wonder how hard it will be to add sleeves. I would want short or cap sleeves or 3/4 length sleeves.

J.J. Blouse — This will be cute with pencil skirts and slacks for the fall. BurdaStyle also has it styled with a long sleeved shirt underneath and that might work to carry it into the winter. I think, maybe, a jacket will work too. (Yes, I know. This looks detailed. I told you I love detailed stuff. It’s hard for me to get away from them!)
Sadie — I would make the tank top, either cowl neck or the plain. I could see this in a fancier knit so that it could be used under jackets and cardigans. I probably would not make the dress. I had one of Chris’ cast-a-side polo shirts, but now I can’t find it. It’s green and soft. It would work perfectly for this.

Natalie — I was thinking of making this as a gift. I really like the seams in the front and the collar. This is one of BurdaStyle’s plus-sized patterns and can be easily adjusted for different sizes. I would love to hear your color combinations for the collar and body of this shirt. BurdaStyle made the collar red on a black shirt.

Ellinor — Another potential Christmas gift. I would even make this for me. It’s nice and simple. Any suggestions? I was thinking a sheer fabric with a colorful ribbon would look nice over tanks and other shirts.

Lydia — This would probably be a Christmas gift. I usually don’t wear long-sleeved T-shirts, unless they have a V-neck collar and maybe a 3/4 length sleeve. I don’t know how to alter the neckline for a V-neck, so this will probably be a gift, if I make it. If anyone knows how to alter the neckline, please let me know.

I’m hoping these will be quick and will be relaxing and enjoyable! Picking out the fabric and notions should be wonderful. If y’all got any fabric and color suggestions, please share!
After I’ve finished off a few, relaxing pieces, I’ve got denim I bought last year and I plan to make jeans. Hopefully I’ll be recharged and ready to tackle them before the end of the year!


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Shorts are finished!

I’m in need of quick sewing projects. I’m drawn to projects that are detailed and, therefore, take a long time for me to make. Which is usually fine, because I love the projects once I’m finished. Usually. These shorts, however, have not been fun. So, it’s time for a break.

I was happy to learn how to do back pockets and underlaps, but it just took a long time to figure out what needed to be done. And I’m not sure I did them completely right.

In the end, I’m sort of proud how they came out, especially the back pockets.

I wished BurdaStyle had larger, more detailed pics on the page. I found it hard to figure out what I was supposed to do and that may have helped. (I do like the idea of printing at home though.)

If you’ve never sewn a stitch before, I wouldn’t recommend any detailed projects from BurdaStyle quite yet. (Sorry, guys!)

I know they say to start out simple and work your way up, but I believe that if there’s something you want to make, start with that. You’ll enjoy it more than if you sewed something you won’t use.

I haven’t had any trouble using McCall’s or Simplicity patterns, no matter if it was for jeans or jackets, but they tend to use a lot of pics . . . like a pic for every, single step. And that works better for me. The pattern instructions with pictures show me visually what to do. Sometimes I need that as well as words.

So, BurdaStyle patterns may just take me longer to figure them out. (Though if I went with simpler patterns I probably won’t have as much trouble and should be able to whiz through them.)

Besides trying to figure out instructions for new techniques, I hit quite a few snags on techniques I’ve done before and, usually, feel quite confident about.

For instance, the hem. Oh, Lord, why can I not hem? If anyone can tell by the pics below what I’m doing wrong, please help!

I do sew an angle at the bottom the hem, which is supposed to take up the extra material and prevent puckering, but for the life of me, I couldn’t get it to work with this project. I don’t know if it’s the material, but I suspect it’s operator error and I need help learning a new way to keep hems from puckering.

I also had trouble with the belt loops. I couldn’t get the fabric to turn inside out. I think it was because the material is so stiff. So the loops show serger thread and look pretty tacky. But, hopefully, Chris’ shirt will cover those and it’ll be all right.

I also did pretty awful with the zipper. I’ve never sewn a zipper with an underlap and I don’t think it is supposed to make that much of a difference, but it did. I usually can’t keep the stitching straight and that was to be expected here, but all these stray stitches look pretty bad.

Instead of looking for a nice contrasting thread, from now on I’m going to use thread that’ll blend in. Yeah, I like contrasting, top stitching, but jeez, I do not sew well enough to want to show the stitching off!

Anyway, I hope the hubby will like these shorts. I think they turned out okay, though they’re far from perfect or even okay. At least he’s got something to cover his bum. 🙂


Hubby’s shorts, some tomatoes and brie dessert

Current projects
I haven’t undated with any photos of my current projects, mostly because none have been finished in awhile!
For the past two weekends I’ve worked on a pair of shorts for Chris. I am using BurdaStyle’s Jochen pattern. This is the first time I’ve used a print-at-home pattern. I’ve been using the traditional tissue paper patterns, which I use to trace out the size I need and then use that.
Let me tell you, I think I like printing out the pattern so much better. Because I’ve got the pattern saved on my computer, I don’t feel the least bit guilty in cutting off the larger sizes. If I need a larger size, I can print it off.

I also don’t spend hours taping together tracing paper and tracing out the pattern I need.

The downside is printing at home does use a lot of ink and paper. I did use the back of recycled paper so that helped somewhat. And recycled printer paper lasts longer than tracing paper because it’s thicker. Still a bummer about the ink though.
I am using remnant material that Nannie gave me. I really liked the fabric, but didn’t have enough to cut all pieces out of it. So, luckily, I had a blue in a matching shade and it works perfectly for inside pockets. Thanks to Ferny and lonemoose, BurdaStyle members, for the idea!
(Please do not use photos without permission.)
This is the front pants leg and pocket./Photos by E.A. Seagraves
With this pattern, which is actually a really nice pair of slacks that I’ve altered into shorts, I had to learn how to put in a back pocket. It took a while for me to study it and figure out what I needed to do, but I think I handled it okay. What do you think?

I hope to finish these before it turns cooler. All that’s left is the center seams, waistband, zipper, buttons and hemming.
I’ve also been working on this sweater since February. I’m knitting on the collar now. So it’ll most likely be finished before the fall.

Tomatoes
I have to say, despite early nibbling by deer, rot and insects, our garden has been a success! Look at this haul.

I plan to can these this weekend. Probably can more diced tomatoes and some salsa. I canned 2 quarts of diced tomatoes with chilies and 4 quarts and 1 pint of diced tomatoes the other weekend.
A dessert to try
For my birthday earlier this week, we bought a small wheel of brie cheese. I turned four triangles into dessert last night with left over egg roll pastry I had on hand and blackberry jam.
I got the idea from the web, but can’t seem to find the two recipes I’d found before.
I basically placed the brie in the middle of the pastry and topped it with jam. Then I folded it up and placed the folded side down. I sprinkled it with brown sugar and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
It was very tasty! You should give it a try.