Can you handle two Brazilian pattern magazines in one week? After my earlier Moda Moldes review, you might be already crying uncle and pining for caipirinhas on Copcabana, but hold on, because there’s much more in store from Manequim below…
Strangely, the first patterns in the magazine this month aren’t for humans, but for Barbie dolls! I’ve never seen doll patterns in any of my pattern magazines before, let alone designer-inspired dresses and coat (really, I’d prefer if they’d just given us the full-size versions!). Really, though, I shouldn’t complain, as these patterns are free to download, so you might be able to make a little girl very happy in time for Christmas…
There are only three Plus patterns this month (even though Barbie got four!!), but they’re all really nice – a yoked tunic top that would be a perfect silk tee, a dress with fantastic contrast raglan seaming, and a sleeveless top with a blazer-like shawl collar that I’m considering knocking off for myself…
I just think this maxidress is so elegant! I tend to like pale, solid colours anyway, but the surplice neckline with the folded-over lapels is just a lovely touch, and one I’ve not seen in any other pattern. I must file this one away in the memory bank for future franken-patterning. (But seriously, how lovely would this be for a bridesmaid’s gown??)
You know how I feel about shorts, but I can’t help admire this vintage-inspired set with the lovely tie-collar blouse, even though I probably wouldn’t wear it myself.
Again, this top has a neckline that’s completely new to me, so bravo for the ingenuity in Manequim’s design team! However, I still can’t decide whether I actually like it or not – all I could see were two smaller tank-tops dancing towards each other, and now I’ve seen it, I can’t un-see it…
This is why I will never be a fan of prints – why take two patterns with amazing & novel seamlines and sew them up in wild prints that obscure everything unique about the pattern?! Seriously, let’s take the dress first – asymmetric, yes! Edgy zipper placements, yes! Sheath dress, yes! Of course I love it. And that blazer, which looks so pedestrian in the photo, is just awesome in the tech drawing, I mean, look at the sleeve seams, or that back box-pleat/peplum, how good is that??
And finally, the designer inspiration this month is Cacharel, and we get a (admittedly kinda weird) dress, a (rather boring) button-down shirt, and a great little dolman tee – very easy to sew. Again, this would make a great little silk tee like I’m so fond of!magazine, manequim
I arrived home from Mexico and wasn’t particularly filled with sewing mojo, to be honest, but happily this was short-lived, because I saw that Pattern Review had announced a short, two week Lingerie Sewing Contest for the second half of October! This was just what I needed to kick me into action and remind me that I’d been meaning to alter the seaming on my bra cup pattern after I’d made the eyelash bra.
The cups on that one were fine, but I have some gorgeous turquoise lace in my stash from Danglez’ closing down sale (sniff!), and it was too narrow for my one-dart cup pattern. So before I could even start sewing, I had to do some pattern drafting manipulation first – introducing some seam lines to account for the narrow lace, split and rotate the dart around a bit, and voila! Now I’ve got a three part cup!
I was so happy with the fit of this bra that I made myself a matching pair of Lacey Thongs (my free downloadable pattern, if you’d forgotten!) to go with it.
Seriously though – I think this must be about the 8th or 9th bra I’ve sewn, but only about the second I’d wear out of the house. Sewing a bra is easy – getting the bra to fit properly, feel comfortable, and look flattering is beyond challenging. I think I understand other people’s frustrations with trouser fitting now, because this bra fitting journey has been character-building!
My real breakthrough came when I stopped using commercial patterns and just traced existing RTW bras instead. For me, they were a much, much closer starting point than the bizarre cup shapes provided in the KwikSew and Elan patterns I’d previously tried.
In fact, my advice to anyone wanting to start sewing their own bras is to take a bra you already own, trace off the parts (a few times, and compare for accuracy), remove the underwire for tracing, and sew up some muslins. Again, Orange Lingerie’s ebook is absolutely indispensable for bra sewing. Skip buying a bra pattern and buy her ebook instead.
In fact, I’m so pleased with the fit and comfort of this bra that I’ve actually taken some photos of me modelling it (tastefully!). However, you may see more of me than you’d like, so I feel this should be opt-in rather than accidentally skimming your eyeballs over it in a post. So if you’d like to see how the bra and panties fit me, you can see some photos here (opens in a new window).
What can I say about my Lacey Thongs that isn’t just going to sound like marketing? Seriously, I love these panties, and I can’t have too many in my lingerie drawer! The turquoise lace here was only slightly stretchy, so I erred on the larger size with my pattern, and I’m glad I did because they fit great.
When I pulled the lace out of my lingerie sewing stash, I saw I also had bought pale turquoise (nearly white!) elastic, straps, underwire casings, and bra hooks at the same time. However, the elastic was wider than I was anticipating – this is fine for the bra and the waistband on the panties, but would be really uncomfortable around the crotch, especially in a thong!
So I required an emergency run to MacCulloch & Wallis last week, where I was very pleased to buy some narrow picot-edge elastic in the exact shade of turquoise I needed! It looks so professional next to the turquoise cotton crotch lining I’d also thought ahead to buy at Danglez!
I’ll be entering this set into the Lingerie Contest at PR, so I’ll put up a link when voting begins in early November. This was just what I needed to kickstart my post-holiday sewing mojo, and I’m so pleased about having a well-fitting bra pattern that I’m actually making another set in different lace (seen on the left above)!tags: drafting, lace, lingerie, ss13
Most of you are familiar with Manequim magazine from my monthly reviews, but you may not be aware that it is just one of several sewing pattern magazines in Brazil!
Friends of ours brought me back some magazines after they holidayed there a few years ago, and you may recall that I reviewed Moda Moldes, Molde & Cia, and Figurino Moldes at the time. You can get the former two on eBay from Brazilian sellers, but they’re all pretty similar in their styles, drafting, size selection, and price. So if you’re having problems subscribing to Manequim, it may be worth your while to try one of the other magazines instead.
Anyway, I was thrilled when Rachel at House of Pinheiro was back home in Brasilia recently and very kindly offered to buy this one for me, and I thought you all deserved a peek! This is apparently a special issue of the magazine, though I can’t see what makes it different, to be perfectly honest!
This tunic may look like it’s just an oversized, belted teeshirt in the photo, but have a peek at the tech drawing and you can see there are two giant darts that provide shaping and visual interest.
There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this sheath dress, but it’s just a nice, well-balanced design that I’d totally wear!
Look beyond the “mullet” hemline of this skirt – I would’ve missed all the great details if it wasn’t for the tech drawing! Shame they used such a crazy print, because with all those seams and pintucks, it’s not like it really needs it…
I love this sheath dress with pleated overlays! Again, this is something I’d totally wear, and since it’s not in my size, I’d probably just go and make it myself without a pattern. Sometimes it’s far easier to adapt your own sloper (or well-fitting plain dress) and draft your own copycat details than it is to fiddle with grading all the pieces of a design.
And finally, here’s a selection of three pairs of trousers – a very plain stretch woven pair with a side invisible zipper and no waistband, a wide-legged pleated pair, and a classic, slim-leg trouser. It’s a nice touch that the pairs on either side are available in multiple sizes, too.
I hope this only whet your appetite for Brazilian patterns, because I’ve got a review of the latest Manequim issue coming up later this week…tags: magazine
Wow, what an adventure! We’ve been back home for a few days now and I still haven’t quite processed all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes (oh, the tastes!) we experienced during our nearly 3 week long journey through Mexico. I’m pleased to report that both my travel wardrobe and my last minute travel bag were completely up to the task and all my abuse, and I’m glad I brought my leggings and long sleeves, too, because it was rather chilly in Mexico City and San Cristobal in particular! Detailing the entire trip would take far too long (let’s just say that in my first day there I ate 3 new fruits and vegetables previously unknown to me, and I’d need both hands to count all the amazing places I swam!), so this is just a rundown of the sewing-related highlights of the trip. (For the fitness-related highlights, pop over to RiverRunner!)
I knew at some point I wanted to buy an embroidered blouse, but I really wanted one I could wear in real life that didn’t scream “Mexican holiday”, either. We found a lovely artistanal boutique shop in Oaxaca that had a ton of blouses and dresses that were both modern and contained elements of traditional Mexican embroidery, too. This blouse was in the window, and when I tried it on and it fit, I knew I had to have it. I utterly adore it.
It’s exactly the same in the front and back, and the embroidery is all black, stitched by hand, and with a lot of open cut-work. The fabric of the blouse itself feels like rayon, and it unrolled from my backpack wrinkle-free like it was born to travel!
In San Cristobal de las Casas, we at at a fabulous cafe run by the Zapatistas (now no longer in active combat mode) run as a co-op. Around the edges there were a bunch of little handicraft shops selling goods made by villagers and political prisoners, and I couldn’t resist this little pouch that has “Rebel Women” and a fierce Zapatisa lady (aka “Mexican ninjas”!) embroidered onto it.
When we were at Teotihuacan outside Mexico City, we visited a shop where we learned about all the ways the Mexican people have used the maguey cactus for thousands of years. It’s the crucial for making mezcal, yes, but it can also be used for paper, shampoo, and – if you break off the tip of the very central spine, you have a spiky “needle” and attached, incredibly strong, fibrous “thread”. The “thread” was then dyed in about two seconds by smearing rose petals onto it, then that was turned blue with a bit of calcium!
I was so thrilled with this that they packaged it up for me to bring home!
When we were in San Cristobal de las Casas we stumbled across a fabric shop completely by chance (On General M Utrilla, one street off the pedestrianised 20 de Noviembre right downtown). The Dia de los Muertos fabric outside drew me in, but they felt really stiff, cheap, and nasty so I looked a bit further and found this striped fabric that I’d like to use as accents on a black dress or jacket. Again, something that works with my style without looking costumey! I bought 2m of this, but it was pretty narrow (think loom width), and my receipt tells me I paid 50 pesos for it (about £2.50 – so cheap for me, but certainly not for Mexico prices).
And I saved the best for last, because I found this wonderful little Dia de los Muertos seamstress figurine in the same shop I bought my blouse in Oaxaca. It cost me about £2 and I just love it!!
Does anyone else buy fabric when they’re on holiday? What’s the best sewing-related souvenir you’ve ever brought home?tags: mexico13, shopping
Way back in May I was contacted by Lolita Patterns and asked if I’d like to be a pattern tester for their latest design, a mock-separates dress called Sugar Plum. It looked like something I’d totally wear to a business meeting, and their size 12 matched up almost uncannily to my measurements, so I went for it.
The turnaround deadline was tight (only two weeks), so I got shopping right away. The bodice of the dress is for lightweight wovens, and the bottom for stable knits (apparently to make it more comfortable for sitting at a desk all day, how nice!).
I don’t often go for prints, but I fell in love with this dandelion head fabric from Stone Fabrics, and to simplify matters, I also ordered a beige polyester crepe to line the bodice (since the dandelion crepe is semi-sheer), and a navy ponte jersey for the skirt. Normally I’d steer towards natural fibers, but my recent world tour reminded me of the importance of non wrinkling work attire, and I wanted this to unroll from a suitcase without the need to iron!
The two poly crepes were lovely to work with – they kept a crease if I pressed hard enough, but indeed resisted wrinkling when “scrunched” in the hand. The only big problem was that they frayed like crazy. This left me with two choices – either do french seams, or overlock the edges before sewing. Since it was a new pattern company and I was already skipping a muslin, I thought it unwise to do french seams for fear I’d need to unpick any, so I went the overlocking route. It did significantly add onto my prep time, but you really can’t see the overlocking threads through the fabric, and I’ve got piece of mind that the fabric won’t give out at the first sign of stress!
My test version was a pdf pattern, but it also is available ready-printed if you prefer that. I quite like that they’ve done two totally separate drafts for the smaller sizes (in which I fall), and the larger sizes. It totally makes sense that a size 24 is a different shape to a size 2, right!? The pattern makers explain the sizing here if you’d like to read more.
I found a few typos and made a few suggestions to the instructions (which are all fixed in the final version!), but they were really very well done – the order of construction in particular was very clever, and results in 90% of the seams being enclosed and without any hand sewing!
Since I already went outside my comfort zone with the print, I thought I’d play it safe and go for View B, which doesn’t have the front ruffles. The ruffled collar and gathered sleeves are already plenty girly enough for me, and I really like that the button loops are more prominent this way, too.
The skirt includes pockets, but I omitted these since I didn’t want any bulges, and I never travel without at least two bags for all my electronic devices anyway!
Even though there’s a fully-functioning button placket at the bodice front, in reality these are really only decorative, because there’s an invisible zipper in the centre back! I don’t mean to brag (ok, I do!), but how awesome is that invisible zipper?! The two-pass method (baste it first, then sew slowly with a regular zipper foot) changed my sewing life…
Countdown to my next business meeting!
PS: Lolita Patterns also have a free skirt pattern if you want to check out their sizing for yourself first!
I’m currently away in Mexico – this post was written and scheduled before I left (and the dress was sewn in June!!). Please leave comments – I’ll read them as I have internet but will probably not be able to reply!tags: dress, lolita-patterns
Burda’s had a bit of an ugly and disappointing streak for the past few issues, but this one is a definite improvement, with only a few Total Uglies, and quite a few Ooh That’s Nices!
I love the wide neckline on this top – I think it’s a really flattering shape, and it’s a bonus that it’s designed for knits. The pleated waistline gives nice shaping at the waist, too, without being overly peplum-y.
Usually when a pattern is shown in two different styles, it’s easy for me to choose one of them over the other to scan and highlight, but with this dress I love the pastel version and the military version equally! This dress is totally on my To Sew list for Fall & Winter – I love wearing long sleeved knit dresses, and the neckline, raglan shoulders, and waist pleats are just fantastic!
This duffle coat really reminds me of the turquoise one I made a few years ago and literally wore to death! It’s such a wonderful casual style, and the contrast panels really offer a good opportunity for playing with texture or colour, too.
This is the dress version of the pale pink top above, and I think the lengthened version is just as nice as the top! Shame we can’t really see many details here in the small photos and busy print fabric…
I’m always on the lookout for more slim trouser patterns since I wear them so frequently, and these look rather nice. The boxy top is a Tall pattern, and didn’t appeal to me at all in the stiff, shiny fabrics earlier in the magazine, but I totally see its appeal made up in a boucle or sweatshirting here.
And finally, the “Burda WTF” award for this issue goes to this tissue paper dinosaur. Because, seriously, what the hell is St Martin’s Procession and why would this be the highlight of it?? Again, Burda totally fail to understand their global audience…
(I thought maybe it was a Catholic thing but no, James hadn’t heard of it either!)
I’m currently away in Mexico – this post was written and scheduled before I left. Please leave comments – I’ll read them as I have internet but will probably not be able to reply!tags: bwof, magazine
Twice a year we end up overlapping a little between the Fall fashions here in the UK and the Spring fashions over in Brazil, and when that happens, it’s just magic! I know it’s warming up there but I can’t help but be inspired for Fall by this issue!
First up are a bunch of Plus-sized patterns – here there’s a nice jacket, a really interesting blouse, and a basic shirtdress, but there’s also a surplice dress, a lace dress, and another blouse included in the Plus range this month. Often there’s only one pattern!
I absolutely love the seaming and neckline of this crop top, but even I’m not brave enough to wear this out with my stomach exposed, so I’d definitely lengthen it myself!
The designer inspiration feature this month is Proenza Shouler and I utterly adore this piped sheath dress, and the blouse with tulip sleeves (in a variety of sizes) isn’t bad, either!
I nearly squealed with delight when I turned the page and saw these shorts! Regular readers will know I am not a shorts fan but I started running in them this summer and am completely won over (for running anyway!). I’ve been looking for a pattern to mimic my Nike split-side seam shorts for ages and found nothing – until now! These are pretty much exactly what I was looking for, and it’s offered in multiple sizes, too! Attach a lining panty at the waistband and you’re ready. Thank you, Manequim!!
And finally, it’s a bit difficult to tell exactly what the feature is on this dress since it’s covered up in the photo (are those pleats? seams? piping?) but I love the shape and idea anyway.
I’m currently away in Mexico – this post was written and scheduled before I left. Please leave comments – I’ll read them as I have internet but will probably not be able to reply!tags: magazine, manequim
I bought a bit of fabric recently, and I had a spare few minutes in between packing and setting up our new bedroom, so of course I squeezed in a new top before we left for Mexico!
The fabric is a distressed jersey print from Minerva that I bought a fortnight ago. It’s not got the nicest hand and feels quite stiff from the paint used on it (and didn’t soften up much in the wash, either), so I had to choose a pattern carefully. I first thought of my tie-front Pattern Magic top but 1m wasn’t enough for that so I turned to this pattern instead since it was traced and nearby after I made it earlier this year for my gathered merino top.
The neon trim was just a happy accident – I’d originally planned a basic neckband of self fabric but I mismeasured the neckline (I forgot to add in the top of the raglan sleeves!) so I started to think outside the box and I remembered I had some of this stretch fluroescent orange binding (also from Minerva!) in my stash from earlier in the year. Now I can’t imagine this top without it!
I’ve found fluorescents don’t photograph particularly accurately – the orange is really bright and vivid in real life!
This was super quick to make – there were only three pattern pieces plus four seams, and then I just carefully zigzagged the binding in place, stretching it a little as I sewed. Definitely an instant gratification tee!
Notice the glasses in my back pocket? I wear contact lenses, but often give my eyes a break at the weekends but I’m too vain to wear them in photos! But James suggested I should bite the end playfully for a photo, and I ended up looking like a stern pipe-smoker instead, ha!
I’m currently away in Mexico – this post was written and scheduled before I left. Please leave comments – I’ll read them as I have internet but will probably not be able to reply!tags: bwof, knit, mexico13, top
I wasn’t planning on doing this, but as I was packing for Mexico, I realised that I didn’t have a suitable bag to carry around with me on all our adventures – something that would be big enough to carry water, guidebooks, and all my usual purse stuff, but also be both secure, low-key, and not kill my shoulders. I utterly love my orange leather satchel, but it’s very recognizable, plus it’s only got two snap closures and I have to open the whole top to get anything in or out. Fine for London, but not for traveling.
So, I found myself, on the day before our flight, devoting the vast majority of the day to sewing up the free Urban Jungle bag tutorial! Nothing like sewing on a deadline (or, uh, preferring to sew all day rather than just go to TK Maxx and buy a bag!).
By its very nature, this bag used only supplies I already had on hand, so it was essentially free. The exterior fabric is this silver-coated stretch denim from Minerva that I’d bought then did my usual 30 degree pre-wash, and I was really disappointed to find most of the silver coating had disappeared (they’ve since added a warning to the listing). Minerva were great, though, and sent me the same fabric again so I could try hand-washing it. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with the faded yardage since I wanted rock star jeans (though both pairs of Catherine’s look great anyway – her pre-washed pair and her unwashed pair), so this seemed like a great use.
For the lining I used some cheap poly satin I’d been given years ago, plus I found a nice metal-toothed 20 inch zipper in my stash (I think from Zipperstop in NYC?), and I got to use up a bunch of really heavy interfacing that’s been in my stash for ages, too (though IMHO, the tutorial goes a bit overboard on the interfacing, but it was written for an interfacing company so go figure).
I made some changes to the tutorial for my own use – I left off the “accent” pieces and instead doubled the side pieces so I have little pockets on the side, I used velcro as the closures for these side pockets as well as the large, flapped document pocket purely because I didn’t have any magnetic closures lying around! I also added a few patch pockets in the lining to help organise my stuff. Normally I’d have a zippered lining pocket in there, too, but I was feeling quite stressed about finishing in time (I literally finished with minutes to spare before I had to leave for Run dem Crew!), so I left that out. Oh, and instead of purchased handles, I made my own shoulder strap, which is conveniently long enough to either go over my shoulder, or across the body.
To be honest, I found this bag quite stressful to sew – I accidentally cut the main body pieces the wrong way around (the pdf instructions say it’s 9 1/2” x 7” on the fold, but don’t say which way around), so I had to re-cut and re-fuse all of those midway through. I ended up breaking two denim needles in sewing this, so god knows what it would’ve been like had I actually used the additional interfacing the tutorial called for (I used heavy interfacing on all the exterior pieces and also on the document pocket lining, plus a super heavy duty interfacing on the exterior bottom.
The only thing I really didn’t like about the tutorial is that it requires hand-stitching the lining to the zipper tape at the very end, ugh ugh ugh. I’m sure I could’ve re-ordered things to machine-sew that and leave an opening elsewhere in the lining for flipping, but my brain was melting by that point so I just sucked it up and hand sewed it. But overall, I’d definitely recommend this bag – it’s a great size, has a nice shape with great pockets, has a secure zipper closure, and the instructions are really carefully written. And it’s free.
I’m currently away in Mexico – this post was written before I left. Please leave comments – I’ll read them as I have internet but will probably not be able to reply!tags: bag, mexico13
But what did I actually sew in that time? As per usual with me, I sewed most of it, but left off a few things (like the dress, which, in linen, just didn’t seem backpack-friendly!), but included some other garments not in my original set.
From last month’s plan, I actually did sew:
My neopreney travel skirt
My Neopreney leggings
My Hummingbird skirt
My Classic jeans (not in the image but mentioned in the post!)
My Three hidden travel pockets in the skirts & leggings
- Two running belt pockets for me and James to wear under jeans to act as a money/passport belt
- A new top, to be revealed while I’m away!!
My plum Jalie top
My cream lace tee
My merino cardigan
My sparkly jacket
My simple skirt
My pleated denim-look leggings
I thought some of you might also be interested in what I’m actually packing, so I took a photo of it all laid out on our new King sized bed* while I sorted out myself what was going along:
I chose everything I wanted to wear and would mix and match together well (plus not show sweat stains too badly, ugh! I hear it will be very humid!). I’m expecting to re-wear and/or do some hotel-room-sink laundry while we’re there, too. I didn’t really take note of what was sewn vs RTW while choosing, but now that it’s all laid out, I can see that all of my bottoms are sewn by me (woo!), and just over half of my tops are, too. It’s funny, the newest RTW item I’m packing is the bikini, which I bought a year ago, and everything else is at least four years old (I think I bought that H&M top over ten years ago!!).
If you don’t recognise some of the sewn stuff, here are the links to go back and refresh your memory (minus the ones linked above, of course!):
*And all this was made way easier by the fact that we now have our new bedroom to sleep in, which means our new wardrobe space, too!!
We’ve been slaving over this bedroom for over two years – hauling rubble, hand brushing old paint off the hull, primering the steel, hand-cutting every inch of insulation, building the floors and walls, sanding, painting, you get the idea. And it’s been over two years since I’ve had a proper place to store my clothes so this is just luxury (even with the hanging wires – we’re making due with extension leads for now).
It’s a strange feeling to go away to sleep in hotels when it feels like we sleep in one every night right now! Luxury!tags: mexico13