read more >>
Many thanks for your get well soon messages – I think it definitely worked, because no sooner did I post that than I started to feel a little better! I’m still not back to 100% right now, but I felt well enough to try a very easy and short run this morning, so thank you!
To show my thanks, I’m going to share my picks from the latest Burda magazine, which arrived this week. Usually the August issue is the start of the Fall fashions, but this seems more like a transitional issue – lots of summer wear but some great long-sleeved pieces, too.
First up from the “macaron pastels” feature is omg I must make this pieced sheath dress! Burda clearly love it, too, since they made it three times in this issue. My only letdown is that the back is very boring indeed, so
if when I make this, I’ll be slicing up the back and adding similar diagonal seams like I did with my swirled sheath dress (still one of my favourites ever, I might add!).
The dress on the left really reminded me of the RTW dress I wore to a wedding recently – though you didn’t see the back, it too had a lower back cutout! I also rather like the pleated teeshirt on the right. It also comes in a solid-sleeve version and the pleating detail reminds me a lot of the pleats on the neckline of my favourite Manequim silk blouse pattern.
Now, I really hated the shiny, glittery, tacky disco fabrics they used in this feature with the “DJane” (a term which I’ve never, ever heard before. Nor had any of my music-industry friends – though urban dictionary has some feelings on it!). But, if you look beyond the gold lamé here this surplice-neck top has a lot of great design lines, and I love the idea of a pleated band, too.read more >>
It’s typical that I end up making the most boring, basic pattern out of the crazy-amazing June issue of Burda magazine! But I’d traced this out as soon as the magazine arrived, and I was in desperate need of a quick “me project” after a very busy week of work sewing. So I sat down on Sunday morning after breakfast, and had this finished before we left for a BBQ at lunchtime! I literally couldn’t have gone to the shops and back in that time…
This really is just a basic, jersy tank/vest with a racerback as its only detail, so I paired it with some “problem fabric” I had in my stash – I bought this from Minerva at the end of last summer and it wasn’t really what I was expecting. It’s a thin, black viscose jersey with but lines of dense stitching which make the fabric in between the lines sort of gather and pucker. Cool to wear, but a total arse to cut out as it moves all over! It was also fairly linty, so I’m glad to be able to wear it instead of sewing it!
(Seen here paired with my pre-Mexico neopreney leggings and shot on location at a friend’s back garden, BBQ just out of shot!)
Burda’s recent winning streak was bound to stop sometime, and this issue landed with a giant THUD as far as I’m concerned! This is the usual summer issue, light on substance and big on frills, peasant styles (so 90s I’m going to go gag myself with a spoon), and the return of the clichéd safari style feature.
But there were a few garments worth discussing, so let’s take a look inside before retiring it to the shelf and drooling over June’s issue again instead…
Unfortunately we start with one of the ugliest garments I’ve seen in a long time (and I’d just flipped past an awful, off-the-shoulder peasant maxi dress, too). Who possibly thought that this satin bomber on the left was a good look?! I’m not even sure where to start – the unfortunate pocket flap placement right over the boobs, the wide elastic waistband making the model look super short-waisted, the petroleum shine of those cheap satins, or that horrible white pilgrim’s collar? BURN IT!
(The lace dress on the right I’m ambivalent about, but you’ll see it in worse fabrics in a minute)
This is a lovely gown, even if it is too big for the model and doesn’t really go with the rest of the collection (further confirming my theory that July is just the dumping ground for all the bin-ends of summer patterns before August’s first Fall fashion issue). I like the asymmetry and this could be a really lovely dress, either in the long length or the shorter version.
Let’s ignore the fact that this is sewn in “imitation snakeskin leather” for a second, and that it’s something that an Aerosmith backup singer might wear onstage – at least that ruffled overlayer won’t fly open in the wind, right?read more >>
My go-to baby present for many years has been a changing mat – hand towel on one side, fabric and pockets on the other, and it all folds up nicely and fastens with ribbon. I still enjoy making these (and I get great big thumbs up from the parents!), but I wanted to make something different this time around, and I had two lots of Spoonflower organic cotton jerseys I fancied using.
I actually made these way back in early April, but since they were both gifts, I needed to wait until both sets of parents received them before I could share them with you. But since I made them so long ago, the details are a little hazy in my mind, so apologies for anyone looking for a particularly useful pattern review here!
I sifted through my digital pattern archive and selected #145 from the March 2011 Burda magazine (it’s not on the US Burda site so you’ll have to refer to the Russian archive). I liked the versatility of the design, that it looked quite handy to wrap a baby up in, but that it was also easy to sew and could fit into the two fat quarters I had of each of the fabrics.
For our local friends’s newborn baby girl, I selected the meat fabric and used the 3 months size. I knew the parents would laugh their heads off and be happy that it wasn’t predominantly pink, too. I didn’t actually get to see the baby wearing it since she was asleep at the time, but I’m just going to assume she’ll grow into it!read more >>
I don’t know what’s in the water over at Burda HQ, but they are seriously on a roll right now – it’s been an amazing few months of consistently great issues, but seriously, this issue takes the cake! I’m usually not a fan of the summer issues, but there are just so many fantastic designs I want to make in this one that I found myself scanning nearly every page!
So settle on in, this is a long’un…
A few years ago I would’ve been all “oh, a feature on shorts? Yawn, flip through…” but upping my running game (plus having an actually hot summer last year) has made me appreciate shorts a lot more! Burda gets several brownie points for this pair because a) they’re sporty, b) they’re a great length, c) pockets! and d) they used a non-white model. Big applause all around.
Now, this is the exact same pair of shorts as above, but with curved seams for colourblocking. If it were me, I’d have put the dark portion at the crotch rather than the reverse, as this is a good trick I learned from a cyclist for disguising saddle sweat marks, but it also goes to show that you can just draw lines like these on any shorts pattern and get the same effect.
YES. I may have already traced out this classic racerback vest (tank) in order to use up a few 1 meter pieces of awkward, “not really what I was expecting when I ordered but still nice” jerseys…
And let’s talk about these shorts with the angled overlays – these must be a knockoff of a designer garment because this is now the third time I’ve seen patterns for them – first in the January Manequim magazine, and then again when Simplicity released 1370, which has a view for this, too! (Actually, I’d love to do a comparison post on these three if someone could send me a scan of the Simplicity pattern piece layout, please? They’re stupid expensive here.)
On to the next feature, which is entirely based on Japanese-inspired cutting techniques. oh my god are you kidding me?! An entire feature based on unusual cuts, seamlines, drapes, and nary a cheap “Asian brocade” or kimono in sight – think Pattern Magic or Drape Drape. YES.
First up – this dress with an overlay which sweeps over the shoulder and around to the back. I could see this being an amazing formal gown, even though Burda have made it in a fairly casual fabric here.read more >>
I don’t know why, but this issue was really late to arrive this month, only turning up on Friday, after (I swear) everyone else on earth already received theirs, and some had even started making things from it! I love my subscription, and it’s usually timely, but it makes me cranky when it’s a really good issue I’m waiting on!
I’m not sure why so many of the garments in the first feature were made with waffle piqué (maybe the Big Waffle Piqué Cartel got to Burda?), but I rather liked the design of this sweetheart-necked dress. I thought at first there might be kangaroo pockets in the skirt, but no – the model is just holding her hands at the pleats for the fun of it…
This banded dress is just ok IMHO – it reminds me too much of the overdone “Duro dress” of a few years ago, but I more wanted to point out the blatant advertorial for Frizz-ease in the corner. Look, I don’t mind if Burda start introducing ads into the magazine (frankly, I find it really weird that it doesn’t contain any), but make them ads. Don’t try to shoe-horn ads into your crappy, poorly-written copy and expect readers to be stupid enough to lap it up. Give Frizz-ease a full page ad and don’t insult your readers’ intelligence.
The maxi dress on the right isn’t really my thing, but I really like the paneled seams of the mini dress on the left. The dress has a few variations shown in this issue, including an above-the-knee length, and both strapless and spaghetti strap versions, but I liked this cap sleeve treatment best.read more >>
This might be the quickest turnaround for a pattern I’ve made in ages, but last weekend I put together the weird, conceptual “tube” tee from the April 2014 Burda magazine (I’m so current!!) and some splatter-print viscose lycra jersey I bought at Hancocks when I was visiting my folks in Virginia in November. Or it’s up on the US Burdastyle already should you wish to buy the pdf.
The pattern itself is rather avant-garde – it’s really just one big rectangle! On the right-hand side (as worn) there’s a side seam and a pretty normal, set-in sleeve. But on the left it’s just a fold instead of a side seam and a horizontal slit is cut in, where a sleeve with the sleeve cap chopped off (no, really!) is set into that. The neckline is just the top of the rectangle and is only an inch or two narrower than the hem!
I wasn’t so sure that the weird left sleeve would actually be comfortable, but it really is! I don’t even notice it when I’m wearing it, and it doesn’t really look strange when worn, either.
The body feels super voluminous and quite long to me – I’m tempted to narrow it and the cowl neck as well. I made a Burda size 40 which should be true to my new measurements, but everything is super wide – I’d definitely consider going down a size in the rectangle, but keeping the sleeves at your true size.read more >>
I wasn’t overly keen on last month’s issue, but there’s a lot to love in this one! Even the designs I didn’t like definitely had their own merit – lots of details and designs with thought behind them, and nary a shapeless sack in sight! But let’s take a peek inside for my picks…
I didn’t like much from the Southern style feature (nothing wrong with it, just not for me!), but I love that Burda have snuck in another cycling pattern, hot on the heels of last month’s seat cover! I really love the look of panniers, and I think these are a great design, with or without the frills.
The only Southern style garment that really jumped out at me was this shirt with the front, “bib” yoke. I don’t tend to sew many woven shirts for myself, but I really like this pattern, and it’d definitely be good in the summer heat!
I’m convinced that someone at Burda HQ has either studied at Bunka, or else is just really into Japanese-style pattern cutting, because we’ve had at least one design a month that just has Bunka written all over it, and this dress is certainly it. I had a bit of a “Burda WTF” reaction at first, but the more I looked at it, the more I think it might actually be kinda cool. Or uncomfortable – I’m not so sure about that left sleeve with the flat sleevehead. But I’m kinda into the uneven tube concept, even though I’m unsure whether it’d work in real life.
Here we see the cover dress in more detail, and it’s utterly gorgeous. This is the best about Burda – a flattering, edgy, and well designed dress that’s made accessible to everyone. Those skirt petals are just inspired and the topstitching and seaming is just icing on the cake.read more >>
There wasn’t much to get excited about in this issue, in my opinion. March is always the issue with the bridal gowns, but even those left me cold for the most part – overly fussy with too many extra frills, bows, and (in non-bridal sections), migraine-inducing ugly prints.
I’ve pulled a few nuggets from the pile though…
This dress was the only design from the first feature that I even glanced twice at – I really like all the pleating, but that surplice opening looks like a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen, and the model’s pose doesn’t help. It looks like she’s stiffly holding herself to avoid anything creasing or opening up!
Burda’s take on “grunge” was almost as laughable as their taken on “punk” earlier this year, but I did spot this very on-trend bomber jacket, which looks rather nice.
This is one of the ugliest outfits I have ever seen in Burda. Ever. Hideous tartan chiffon (why??!) paired with itself, plus the laziest drafting I’ve seen in a long time – those bell sleeves look like what a My First Pattern Drafting student might do if it were 1993. Ugly ugly ugly. UGH.
Burda print classic jeans patterns so infrequently that you’d think they’d be shouting about these from the front cover – “Sew your own jeans! Easy, step by step illustrated instructions!” Do they not want to sell issues or something? Why else would they disguise these in an ugly floral and call them “Five pocket Trousers”? It makes no sense! (If you missed the take-home message here – this issue is worth buying for these jeans alone.)read more >>
I don’t know what happened this month, but I appear to be the last person on earth to receive their February issue! Some people were already posting reviews of their sewn garments a full week before mine arrived in the postbox, not fair! But better late than never, here are my picks…
First up – this dress isn’t particularly earth-shattering, but it’s a nice classic shape, with short- or long-sleeve options, and a clever little central hidden kangaroo pocket in the skirt, too. I’m definitely eyeing this one up as a possible birthday dress for March, especially since I’ve got all that luscious silk twill that Dilly gifted me when she came to visit!
I know there are a lot of sewing ladies online that go ker-ay-zee for anything with buttons in the back but… I seriously don’t get it! So, you have to have someone help you get dressed whenever you want to take it on and off? How is that a good thing?! I’m not convinced by the central pleating on this dress, either, which might end up looking less than flattering…
I’m not entirely sure what it is about this wide, cropped blouse, but I absolutely love it! Maybe it’s the cocoon-shaped sleeves, or the back yoke, or the nice V neck, but I really could see myself wearing this a lot with leggings. I don’t think it’s quite as successful with the full skirt Burda’s paired it with, however.read more >>
I’m quite behind on my magazine posts – I’ve received this Burda and two Manequims while I was deep in the frenzy of launching my sewing patterns, so they got pushed to one side with all the activity. But for those of who who decide whether to buy the issues based on my reviews, here are my picks from the last Burda of (now last) year!
The most noticeable garment here is a truly horrible one-sleeved caftan dress, but hark! Is that a men’s tuxedo jacket I spy?!
Here the ladies get patterns for a bustier and an interesting draped skirt. Nothing groundbreaking, a definitely more of Burda’s “young fashion” when paired together, but definitely wearable and fitting with the New Year’s Eve party theme. But what do the blokes get? Yet another button-down shirt, identical to the ten others Burda have published in the last few years! It’s so lazy of them to just reprint the exact same shirt over and over… No wonder more men don’t sew.
Here we get a better look at the fantastic cover teeshirt/tunic with gathered side seams, paired with a great pair of narrow-legged leather trousers. The cover shirt also has the colour, illustrated instructions for this issue, too. This is definitely my Most Likely To Make for this issue, and the few versions that have popped up on the sewing internet already have looked great.read more >>
I had high hopes for this issue after the stellar November issue and the sneak peek at the back of that, but when I saw the line drawings it became apparent this could’ve just been entitled “The Dolman Issue” for the number of dolman sleeved garments in it! I’m not sure if someone at Burda HQ gave down the commandment that set-in or raglan sleeves weren’t beginner friendly or what, but there sure are an awful lot of fabric-guzzling designs in here, but it’s not all bad…
First up, no surprises for guessing – it’s a dolman sleeve tee! Actually this design isn’t so bad, it’s a nice twist on a casual, long sleeved tee, and the narrow sleeve cuffs help control some of the volume in the underarm/side seam area.
Since this is the holiday issue, the crafts are spread throughout the magazine and are way better than Burda’s usual “stick some glitter on twigs and call it interior design” school of crafts. For instance, these box bags are actually really nice little gifts, and a great way to use up scraps of nice, hefty home dec or other fabrics. There’s also a pattern for little moccasin slippers that uses wool and thick fleece that might be worth making as gifts too.
Now you’d think that, because this is a cowl dress, I’d be all over it, but I’m actually lukewarm. There’s something about that long pleat running into the cowl that just looks messy and haphazard, and from the cutting diagram I can see that the front is cut entirely as one (including the kimono sleeves, which have a gusset thrown in so you can actually lower your arms!), and then the pleat is just folded over. I know fabric is cheap these days, but the layout just makes me wince at the amount wasted to make a dress that way!
There are a few good trench coat patterns in this issue, but I particularly like this one because it shows that you can make a nice boucle coat without it being the same, ugly, tired, Chanel-alike design.
Again with the cowl neck and (nearly) dolman sleeves! This one looks like it’s just asking for a wardrobe mishap, along with showing off every little lump and bump in that fabric, but the top version of this doesn’t seem much better.read more >>
Woo! I knew if I waded through enough mediocre issues we’d get to a good one again! This November issue is the Fall fashion spectacular I’ve been waiting for, and it’s so good I’m even lusting over half the Plus pattern…
First to catch my eye was these foldover trousers, sized for Tall ladies. They really remind me of my KnipMode foldover trousers, which I still wear every winter and still get compliments on!
I love this biker jacket with its off-centre zipper and dramatic collar! It simultaneously reminds me of both my purple MyImage coat and that designer Manequim leather jacket (which I still want to make!), though this is designed for ponte knits in the body, and stretch leather in the sleeves. On closer inspection of the instructions, I noticed it’s unlined (apart from the sleeves) so that big collar is only just one layer of jersey. Also, I think the collar looks way more wearable in the catwalk comparison photo than on the model!
Here’s an example where it pays to really have line drawings and photos of a pattern – I initially loved the tech drawing, but when I saw it on a live model, I realised those pleats right over the hips would probably not be the most flattering…
From the Little Black Dress feature, I really like this sheath dress for stretch wovens – the slim, zippered sleeves are a particularly nice detail, and a great way to show off some short, posh zippers (hello Riri!). The vertical skirt seams might be a touch overkill though, but they don’t appear to be for shaping anyway so could be eliminated I imagine.read more >>
I’m in the German edition of Burda Style magazine this month! I’m so excited!!
Someone at Burda HQ dropped me an email months ago asking if they could have some hi-res versions of my pale pink twist dress photos to use in the magazine, but it was so long ago that I’d assumed they dropped the feature or something. But no, a German edition of the fabulous November issue appeared in my postbox on Friday!
I had already scanned my subscription English edition for my review (going live tomorrow – it’s worth waiting for, I promise!), so I flipped through the German version to see what differences there were. The first thing I noticed is that it’s a heftier magazine, and there are ads in it, along with more editorial pieces (like a feature on a Philadelphian artist), more fashion spreads (like this season’s ankle boots), and that all the pattern instructions and pattern sheets were pushed to the back, and in their own separate magazine!read more >>
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.read more >>
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!read more >>
First of all, thanks so much for all your kind comments last week! It was a bit week for me, posting two finished garments and a pattern/tutorial so this week might be a little sparse, especially in the leadup to our departure next week.
But I’ve been doing a bunch of little bits over the past month or so – things that aren’t really big enough to post about on their own, or that I’m not quite ready to post about yet, or things that I’m just really keen on. So it’s time for a little roundup post, I reckon!
Refashioned doggy tee
I’ve been so impressed by all the shirts Novita has been making for all her foster dogs over the past few months, so when a friend asked if I could maker her Boston Terrier puppy a Run dem Crew shirt for his cheering duties at a race, I thought it sounded like fun.
With Novita’s advice, I used the free Milla Milla pattern in size Medium (we tried Small initially but it was too tight), and it was really quick to put together apart from the binding. Don’t use their crazy, fiddly binding instructions – next time I’m just serging on a folded binding and topstitching! Done! I used a small RDC shirt as the starting fabric, and tried to place the logos as best I could. Apparently little Stringer Bell was the hit of the cheering station!
The Napkin Project embroidery
I didn’t get as much detail in as I’d hoped, but I did complete a decent design for The Napkin Project before the deadline!
The topic was “home” so I worked in Tower Bridge, boatlife (via a porthole) and the greenery of the gardens. All the embroidered napkins will be used in a nursing home in Bristol to spark memories in dementia patients, so I hope mine is well received! My grandmother is suffering from dementia right now so I’m really proud to be a part of this project and help others like her, even in a small way.
I wasn’t meaning to, but I ended up buying some fabrics from Minerva. Oops.
The crazy print will become perfect running leggings (of course!), there’s some silver-coated denim in there, a cool cutwork mustard jersey that reminds me of camouflage tents, and a few other interesting 1m cuts of jerseys, too.
One fabric I bought but which isn’t pictured above is a large quantity of the cheapest stretch fabric they had, for use in running muslins. As it turns out, the peach poly jersey is actually not too bad – at least it’s a nice middling weight for use in testing tops or bottoms. read more >>
After umming and ahhing for months over which pattern I should use, then muslining two different patterns which were both too small, I ended up making this pair in two days’ flat! As you’ll recall, it’s #120 from the April 2010 issue of Burda magazine (sadly not on Burdastyle.com!), an issue which also had a great pair of men’s trousers I’ve been eyeing up for James, too.
Worn here with my plum bamboo Jalie top…
I’m a bit scared that I can sew an entire pair of jeans now (including the front fly) without looking at instructions a single time… I did, however, inspect a pair of James’s RTW jeans once or twice to see which side of the seam they topstitched!
Oh, and remember when I tried on the muslin for this pattern and it was way too small in the waist and hips? Well, I put the muslin to the side in my sewing cave and tried them on a few weeks later and they fit perfectly now! Yes, only I would go and change my body instead of just doing a pattern alteration…read more >>
After August’s total stinker of an issue, I was really hoping that September would be a great one to pull me into Fall sewing and inspire me, but this one is just as bad! Seriously, I kept pulling this one out every few days thinking “it can’t be that bad – there must be something worth making in it…”
Well, after struggling to find the good in it, I’ve found some acceptable details that might be worth repurposing, but IMHO this is a new low. Sigh.
We wait ages for Burda to produce some decent lingerie patterns, and then they go and disguise this slip as a neo-grunge dress! I’m not entirely convinced by the front pleating, and since they’ve obscured it in every photo (here in a very busy print), I’ll have to wait for those keen Russians to sew up a few before I make my verdict…
The cropped, Peter Pan-collar jacket – ugh. The bad dress hangover from last month’s disgusting neo Victorians feature – double ugh. But the jersey split skirt – yeah, I’m alright with that. This is probably my favourite of this issue, and it’s quite telling that I’m even just lukewarm on it.
The winged sleeves are a really interesting detail here, and it’s a bonus that this has the illustrated instructions for this issue, but why did they have to put them on such a shapeless sack of a dress??read more >>
I’m not going to lie to you – there’s a whole lot of ugly again in this issue! After last month’s disappointing collection, I was very hopeful that the first of the Fall fashions would herald a return to some great Burda patterns, but alas!
I’ve tried to shield your poor eyes from the worst abuses and find some nuggets in the poo, but I just couldn’t help it. Happily, though, if you’re Plus-sized, you get the best patterns of the whole issue!
The entire Downton Abbey-inspired feature was just fugly so I’m going to pretend that just doesn’t exist. Moving swiftly on…
When the photos for this issue were first previewed, I would’ve never guessed that the tech drawing would look like this! This seems like it could either be a fantastic take on a basic long sleeved tee, or a really annoying noose that gets in your way and drags in your tea…
What an awful 1980s double sweatshirt abomination, paired with an even uglier leather skirt just to make the sweatshirt look not quite so bad in juxtaposition. Even the model looks sad that she was forced to wear this.
The 1970s Marianne Faithfull feature wasn’t much better (because there’s nothing I hate more than hippie style, or the 1970s!), but it did contain these slim leather trousers. I’m not as keen on the long-line blazer, which, for Tall women, is just going to further elongate them, right?
This red suit is absolutely the best of the regular-sized patterns in this issue! I’m not even usually a fan of blazers but the cut is really great here – classic yet interesting, and it comes paired with a really well-proportioned pair of trousers, too. Even better that for some reason Burda chose to have the coloured illustrated instructions for the blazer, even though they’re usually reserved for the most remedial patterns in the issue (you can see Burda forgot to remove “Easy Sewing” from the top there, which clashes with “Advanced” and “Masterpiece” just beneath it!)read more >>
I had an uncharacteristic free weekend – no races and not much planned, so I ended up getting lots of sewing bits done!
Sewing room clear-out
I’ve only got a small (temporary) sewing cave, and I’m a very tidy, organised person, but I’d let it get a little messy and it was feeling crowded, so after my two hour hill run on Saturday morning, I came back and had a bit of a clear out. I filled a full black bag with rubbish, but here’s what I pulled aside to swap at the Goldhawk Road meetup on Saturday!
Yes, you could be a good home to some pattern, pattern magazines, books, craft kits, or fabric that once lived on board! Now, if I can manage to be good and not fill up the space with things I pick up in the swap or fabric stores…
Remember the last time I made a skylight cover (strangely, I see last time I was sewing jeans alongside it, too!)? I’d only ever made them for the back cabin, where the skylights are peaked, with windows that open like wings, but on the front deck, the skylights are flat and require grills that fit overtop for safety and security.
We had a joiner make a gorgeous new cover for the skylight over our bedroom, but it’s been shamefully covered in tarpaulins for the last few months while I procrastinated swearing my way through sewing another.
Even with a walking foot, the clear plastic is a total P-I-T-A to sew because it sticks to the machine bed, the foot, is stiff and rams into everything, and is generally just awful.
This time around, I got so sick of the stickiness that I grabbed a “newspaper” (tabloid left from our joiner) and ripped off pieces to go underneath and also under the presser foot.
This surprisingly worked rather well, and the newspaper just rips out easily afterwards. Worth remembering if a) you don’t mind newsprint on your fabrics, and b) like me, you never have tissue paper lying around
It’s not my best work, but it’s done and will allow more light into our new bedroom!
If you recall, I decided on a Burda pattern for my non-stretch denim so I sewed up a quick muslin of that on Saturday after my skylight triumph.
The triumph was short-lived.read more >>
The summer issues are never Burda’s forté but wow this issue is particularly bad! For me, the only reason to not throw this in the bin full stop is the lingerie section. Paunnet has already savaged the ridiculously, hideously ugly stuff in this, so I’ve tried to keep my complaining to a minimum. It was dragging me down to complain so much, but I just couldn’t help it on a few!
Like this first one – this is quite possibly the most hideous pattern Burda has ever published! I couldn’t believe the editor actually chose this one to restyle later in the magazine, proving once and for all that you “can’t polish a turd”!
“These trousers conceal LEGS”. Ummm, and?!? (I personally think the top and trousers aren’t too great with less-than-ideal proportions, especially for Tall women, but this bit of copy just made me crazy!) Did their usual barely-speak-English translators go away on holiday already or something? (Also: “batik” is not the same as “tie dye”!! arggh)
The vintage pattern this month is a woven tee and shorts from the 1960s. Both look really modern and wearable, though making the top in “rafia” sounds like it’d be really uncomfortable! I’ll take mine in silk, thanks very much.read more >>
One practical aspect of being a sewing runner (or a running sewist) is that I can take all those oversized race tee shirts that seem to accumulate and refashion the nice technical fabric into something more suitable. Oftentimes I just trim down the front and back based on my knit sloper (like I did with my Paris race tee), but this time around I thought I’d change things up and use a Burda pattern instead of my usual sloper, since one presented itself nicely in the form of the “scuba set” in the June 2013 Burda magazine (or you can purchase as a pdf here).
I started by pulling out a pile of race tees I wasn’t 100% happy with (though in reality I only did two of these four)…
This particular shirt was always destined to be refashioned – I visited tons of running shops when I was in Baltimore in April, but my favourite was a small, very friendly shop run by a very enthusiastic runner, Boston Street Running (Baltimorians, it’s down by the big Safeway in Canton). I ended up chatting to him for ages about nutrition, races, running fashion, and he despaired that he only had one of their shirts left, and it was XXL with a printing mistake, as he really wanted to give me one!
I assured him I’d refashion it down, and send him photos of me wearing it in front of Tower Bridge…
One thing I really like about this pattern is that there are no side seams – it uses side panels instead!read more >>
I’m a tad late with my review of the latest Burda magazine (or as it’s known these days “Burda Style” – but that just makes it too confusing with the other zillion things they do with the same name), but a) it arrived in the midst of my World tour, b) it’s competing with both the April and May Manequim magazines, and c) well, I have made something from it already so I think I’ve earned a pass!
In any case, this is a surprisingly good issue, despite being a summer one!
First up is this sheath dress with angled side panels and hand-stitched details. On first glance it appears quite vintage-inspired, but the sharp seaming in the line drawing actually shows it’s a pretty modern draft!
I chose this next image not really for the batiste skater skirt (which isn’t really my style), but because OMG is this the first black model Burda have ever used?? And I realise this is the “street style” section so she’s not really a model per say, but seriously, I cannot believe how white Burda’s models are, even when they’re showcasing African or Moroccan or Asian inspired patterns they still use white models!*
A bit of an aside, but as I was travelling the other week I saw a massive advert for the German Wings budget airline with three cabin crew ladies: a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead. To which I chuckled to myself “oh, it’s German diversity!”
Next up is a nice figure-hugging knit dress with a cowl neck and gathered side seams. It’s also available as a top, which I think would be an excellent summer basic, or even for layering under jackets.read more >>
It’s June, I hear you cry – why is she sewing a wool cardigan in June??!? Well, I selected this cardigan in my Spring 2013 Sewing Ideas because I’m a realist, and I recognise that I need a lightweight cardigan for 80% of the British summer! I’m grateful to not have the disgustingly hot & humid East Coast summers I grew up with (nor the swarms of mosquitoes everywhere!) but it does mean some wardrobe concessions must be made.
This cardigan appeared in the March 2013 Burda magazine (or it’s available for purchase as a pdf here) and I thought it was one of the nicest, prettiest, and most versatile cardigan patterns I’d seen in a long, long time.
This is a basic, slim-fit cardigan with shaped, faced bands, front gathers, and button closure. I love the slim fit, the beautifully drafted, curved bands, and the delicate and pretty gathering. I get annoyed when patterns have skimpy gathering, but there’s a nice amount here, which is a great detail and offers bust shaping.
THIS PATTERN RUNS VERY SMALL! One reason I sew so much Burda is because they’re always so consistent, so I’m very, very glad I read the other reviews first.
When I compared the front and back to my self-drafted knit sloper, which has 10% negative ease (perfect for tight-fitting running tops, which is my usual usage), this cardigan pattern was even smaller still! If you can – go up a size, but if you’re the largest size already, like me, I recommend cutting larger seam allowances throughout the waist and hips at the very least. I personally tapered to about 1” allowances on the waist and hips in the side seams, then sewed ~3/8” (1cm) from the edge.read more >>
Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my asymmetric Drape Drape teeshirt! A girl could get used to that level of flattery…
It also marks the start of my sewing short sleeves, which means it must finally be Spring, and hence, time to start thinking about marrying up the patterns and fabrics I’d like to sew for the next few months. I really do these only for my own benefit, and so they’re not a “SWAP” in the sense that everything must coordinate against each other (lord knows I have enough clothes that I don’t have problems putting combinations together!).
This is more just a set of ideas towards which I’d like to work, so when I get to the end of a project, I can quickly refer to this image and go “oh yeah, I want to sew that next!”
For the first time I’m also including running/exercise gear in my plans, since I’m wearing lycra as a significant portion of my weekly wardrobe, and I want to contain all of my sewing ideas together. So you’ll find all the running stuff on the bottom row, and the rest of life’s wear on the upper two rows!
- Style Arc Ivy tee in mustard & charcoal viscose jersey (I’m currently sewing this now!)
- Burda March 2013 #107 cardigan, in brown merino wool jersey (LOL English summer AM I RITE?)
- One dart lace bra (copied from RTW/self-drafted from Shin) using an aqua lace I bought from Danglez.
- Burda Jan 2012 #122 trousers in leftover hot pink cotton sateen (so it’s a merging of my pink party dress and my grey trousers!)
Here’s my “one liner” review of this issue – if you’re looking for Spring sewing inspiration, you probably won’t find it here!
I’ve felt the last few Burda issues were a bit lacklustre and this one is even worse. There are a few nice patterns, but most require alterations in order to make them wearable for most people, or are things we’ve seen before. I’ll leave it to Paunnet to tear apart all the horrible rectangle “patterns” in this issue!
First up we’ve got a retro-style bikini with a cute tie in the front and shirred elastic at the back, and elasticated briefs. I found it a bit strange that this is drafted for wovens, when it’d be much more comfortable in a traditional swimsuit lycra. I also saw an idea online that it’d be really cute lengthened into a dress or top! (PDF Pattern here)
There’s a bunch going on in this page – first a cardigan (rather a lot like Jalie’s new one, but for wovens), trousers that look way too much like pyjamas for my liking, and a quite nice dress (which also has a short sleeved option) if you leave off the cutesy patch pockets. (Cardigan PDF Pattern here)
This twist-top is probably my favourite in this issue, but it looks like it either requires a camisole underneath, or some extensive alterations. And I swear there’s a pattern exactly like this in one of the Pattern Magic books, so it’s hardly original.read more >>
Remember the lavender “chic sweatshirt” I made my mom a few months ago? Well, she wears it so much that she asked if I’d make her a lighter weight version for Spring and Fall. Since I’d already done the pattern tracing and grading, I figured sewing up another would be a fairly quick job.
As you recall, the pattern is from the fabulous the September 2012 Burda magazine (or you can purchase the download pattern here) but the pattern only goes up to 44, and she decided she needed a size 46, so I had to grade it up for the lavender version. This time around I just needed to cut out the fabric and sew a few seams!
Since my mom saw a flyer that one of the fabric stores near her had pointe jerseys on sale, she opted to select this blue colourway in person, pre-wash it, and post it over to me. Then I made it a few weeks ago while I was ill (hey, it was a quick make!) and brought it along to Baltimore with me in my suitcase!
I really like this vibrant blue on her – I think the colour is a really smart choice as it’ll work equally well in Spring and Fall, too.read more >>
Well, it was bound to happen… We’ve had quite a few great Burda issues in a row, but to my eyes, this one’s a stinker. I mean, there are a few patterns that are okay, but an awful lot of ugly that I couldn’t bring myself to even scan. I’ve sifted out what I could from this issue though, so here are my picks…
I’ve never been a big fan of maxidresses, but this one looks nice, if a bit “only to be worn on holiday”-y. There exist maybe two days in the year you could actually wear something like this in London and not look unspeakably sad. Which is why I don’t sew many summer clothes…
Here are two versions of the same simple, boxy top with pleats around the neck (not that you’d know it from the pose on the left!). I like this top (and to a lesser extent, the belt-required dress version), but I swear I’ve seen this design over and over again before. I do kinda like the idea of having an all-lace back, but I’d do it in a teeshirt pattern or something.read more >>
Thank you all so much for your patience! I finished sewing this dress in time for my 34th birthday on Monday (and I proved it by showing you dressform photos and talking in depth about the construction process!) but such a rich, dark colour really requires daylight to shoot properly, and today was the first opportunity we’ve had.
Another reason I wanted some great photos of this is because it’s an incredible pattern with some seriously striking design lines and beautiful details, and frankly, it deserves to be seen properly! In fact, it’s a true designer pattern, and from Matthew Williamson, no less! It was printed in the September 2012 issue of Burda magazine, but you can still purchase it as a pdf download if you missed it and want to make your own!
I made mine in some lusciously soft and supple “Ravissant Duchess Satin Plum” that’s been in my stash for three years just waiting for the perfect use, and paired it with a floral lining fabric gifted to me from Veronica when I was in Paris last Spring. Personally, I think these two make the most perfect pairing, even if it’s only me who sees the inside!
As I said on Monday, this pattern is a step up from the usual Burda patterns – more like a Vogue Designer pattern in all its wonderful details, but with the usual precise Burda drafting. I really wanted to do this dress justice, so I did quite a few things the long way, like the fell-stitched sleeves, walking vent, and all the matching seam intersections!read more >>
If you’ve been following along, then you know I’ve been super busy for the past few weeks and it was a bit touch & go whether I’d finish this dress in time to wear to my special Mystery Birthday Dinner tonight. I’m proud to say that I did finish it in time, thanks in no small part to the snow cancelling our Saturday afternoon plans and giving me time to huddle down and sew! (It did not cancel my run though – we still ran 19 miles in the snow & fierce winds)!
Unfortunately I didn’t finish in enough time to take daylight photos last night (plus it was snowing sideways & not exactly ideal photoshoot weather!), so I can only offer you some dressform photos right now, but hopefully we’ll be able to get a few shots of me dressed up before dinner tonight.
But — while everything’s fresh in my mind, I thought I’d tell you about the construction of the dress, and how I handled some of the trickier aspects of it.
I decided I didn’t want to fiddle about with a muslin for this dress, so I did the next best thing and sewed up the lining first, just to double check that my sole alteration of raising the waist 1”/2cm was right, and everything was okay.
After that I cut out the shell and facings from the purple duchesse satin, and the next hurdle was to attach the curved facings to the curved neckline and sleeves of the lining. The neckline wasn’t too bad, but the sleeves were a total bear! For this reason (and a bit that became apparant later, too), I’d recommend sewing the side seams dead last, after the lining and shell are joined at the neckline and sleeve edges, and then sewing the side seams. This means you can attach the facings flat, for starters…read more >>
My weekend mostly went like this…
On Saturday morning I got up for a 2hr 45min (16+ mile) run in the rain with my two good friends, Chris and Juell. We got soaked, ran along Regents Canal to Camden and then through the heart of the city and back through Shoreditch to home. We were soaked to the bone, but had a great time and I furthered my knowledge of myself, my glycogen storage capacity, and my stomach’s ability to digest medjool dates as a gel alternative. That, and I feel a bit more confident now that I’ll be able to finish Copenhagen marathon now, having dialled back my expectations after being ill for so long.
The above uses the official photo from when I bought the “Ravissant Duchess Satin Plum” from Fabric.com three years ago, but below you can see the actual colour and exactly how much gorgeous lustre it gives off in the light. On the inside, I’m using a lovely floral lining fabric gifted to me from Veronica when I was in Paris last Spring.read more >>
I’ve seen a lot of hate for this issue online, and after the fabulous February issue, well, it was certainly going to be a hard act to follow. But if you look beyond the bridal and the strange styling (ankle-length lace vest, anyone?), there are some truly great patterns hiding in these pages…
First up is something so good I’ve already traced it and mentally assigned stash fabric to it – a cardigan with a gathered front, shown here in stretch lace, but also elsewhere in a different jersey. Cardigans aren’t something I’m usually attracted to, and in fact, I’ve never sewn one that I can recall, but I really like the look of this one, and I even like the idea of a lace one as a dressy coverup for a few weddings I’ve got coming up…
I will probably never make them, but big up to Burda for including a pattern for leather trousers. Often sewists complain that there are too many “easy sew” sack patterns in magazines, but Burda really are including difficult patterns in here, too. (I’m not even going to mention the unspeakably ugly cape, though.)
And to go with the leather trousers, a biker jacket! Though not in leather, I still love the seaming and topstitching details in this, and it’s uncommon to see a biker jacket pattern with a centre-front closure instead of diagonal.read more >>
I’m not actually doing the Burda Challenge again this year, but I keep seeing so many great patterns in each issue that I want to sew – like this quick, gathered raglan merino wool sweater from the February BurdaStyle magazine (or to purchase as a pdf download here). And I am powerless to resist.
I bought this plum merino wool jersey on etsy along with some brown as well – the purple is sold out but there’s some brown merino wool jersey left and it’s luscious and so soft – nice and thing for layering but so warm, too. Amazing stuff! So cheap, too – 5m for £30 is an absolutely steal. I often see Antipodean sewists going on about how lovely merino wool is to sew, but it’s something I’ve never, ever seen for sale in Europe so I jumped on this when I saw it!
(Worn in these photos with the jeans I made in November)
I sure hope you aren’t sick of chic sweatshirts yet, because despite showing you my wool one on Tuesday, I’ve got another for you today (which I actually made several weeks before my grey one).
When my parents were visiting in October, my mom looked through all my recent makes and decided she’d like a chic sweatshirt for her belated Christmas gift, and she picked out a lovely lavender sweatshirting for it while she was here. Remember how lovely she looked in this lavender dress I made her a few years ago?
The pattern is again from the the September 2012 Burda magazine (or you can purchase the download pattern here) but the pattern only goes up to 44, and she decided she needed a size 46, so I had to grade it up. With multi-size patterns, it’s not too difficult – just measure the space between the size lines, add that onto the largest size, and connect the lines at the corners.
Here’s a good tutorial on grading up a pattern, and thankfully, this particular one happened to be the pink shaded pattern for this issue so it was easier than usual. It probably took me about 15-20 minutes to grade up all the pieces on the pattern sheet (of which there’s only 4!), then another 10 to trace them off, so it wasn’t nearly as painful as grading up a pattern that isn’t multi-sized.read more >>
I’ve been meaning to sew both of these pieces for a few months now, but it didn’t occur to me exactly how well they work together until I went to do the photoshoot and realised, hey – these make for a great transitional weather casual outfit!
The wool sweatshirt
I mentioned it in my Burda Challenge roundup but I abolutely adore my turquoise chic sweatshirt from the September 2012 Burda magazine (or you can purchase the download pattern here), and I wear it so much I’ve been plotting another ever since. I’ve had this wool blend fabric in my stash since our honeymoon in 2010, when I bought it at Elliott Berman in NYC. I’m not sure if it’s a jersey or a woven, and it’s got a bit of loft and stretch, but it’s not as spongey as your typical loden. And for a wool, it’s super soft and not scratchy in the slightest.
So I made another “chic sweatshirt” out of this wool – does this make this one my “luxe sweatshirt” or something?
As before, you’ve really got to baste those curved front darts carefully so they’re accurate when you sew them. I always do my hand basting with silk thread (hot pink so it stands out against pretty much everything I sew) because it pulls out so much easier than polyester or cotton thread when you’re done.
I really like the detail of the curved, darted sleeve head, which makes the construction of this more like a raglan sleeve than a set in one.read more >>
A month on, and I’m still ravaged by the shingles attack that hit me in mid-January. Absolutely everyone who saw my torso said it was the worst case they’ve ever seen (doctors included), and lucky, lucky me, the little bugger caused nerve damage, which means the pain in my side could continue on for months or possibly a year (again, lucky, lucky me). I’m on four different prescription painkillers until the neural-specific one hopefully starts working soon, so I’ve been stuck at home Resting (I hate resting.). The good news is that the doctor says I can now go do the odd half day at work and very easy run here and there as it’s driving me crazy not to, but I’m not to overdo things. But even that’s better than being chained to a couch!
Anyway, I’ve done as much resting as it’s humanly possible for Melissa to do, which means I’ve been lying flat on my back and sleeping for most of the days, but I managed to squeeze in some sewing, almost entirely in 5 minute segments, followed by 20 minutes of rest. Rinse & repeat… These will have photoshoots and proper posts coming hopefully next week!
The amazingly simple-to-sew Style Arc Marita dress:
A grey wool “chic sweatshirt”:
A quick, gathered raglan merino wool sweater from the February BurdaStyle magazine:
Thanks very much for all your kind get well wishes on my shingles and compliments on my lingerie set! I’m finally starting to feel a little bit better today, plus I’ve been a lingerie sewing whirlwind while ill so I’ve got lots more to show you, including some using the purple lace I bought at Kantje Boord in October!
In the meantime though, I want to show you my picks from the latest Burda magazine, because this one is a real keeper!
I LOVE this teeshirt with gathers on the raglan seams (front and back). There’s also a short sleeved version, too – I am totally making this!
Burda have a new feature in this issue (maybe it makes up for the lack of vintage pattern?) where they compare a bunch of their patterns with the latest catwalk trends…read more >>
As I write this, London is in the midst of the second snowfall of the year (if you count Monday’s over-hyped yet under-delivered snow, that is) and I’m bundled up in a full-body thin layer of silk (long johns), plus my wool foldover trousers, my bamboo turtleneck, two pairs of socks, and my Russian greatcoat for my 35min walk into work today. It’s nothing on the Pennsylvania winters I grew up with, but at least I feel prepared!*
The good news is that, while it’s freezing outside, my sewing cave is one of the warmest spots on the boat, so I’ve been busy!
Papercut Peter & the Wolf Trousers
The new trouser pattern from Papercut Patterns was burning a hole in my To Sew list, so I just had to try them out! I finished these before last weekend, but Saturday I was covered in mud (another cross country race) and Sunday it was freezing and I didn’t fancy a photshoot.
I did an awesome job lining up the seams on the side invisible side zipper, if I do say so myself!
I really like that they have you topstitch all the mid-leg vertical seams as well as all the yoke seams – that topstitching really makes the seaming stand out nicely. It also meant I actually finished a huge 1000m spool of black Gutermann thread! I thought those things were infinite!
I’ve not yet worn these to work (the tulip hems mean my long johns are visible in front, the horror!) but I can tell already they’ve got a nice fit throughout – I especially like the trouser hems and the hip yokes, though they do mean the pockets are placed further down the leg than I’m used to…
I’ll try to get some photos this weekend, even though the details will be lost in the dark brown stretch twill (hey, it was in the stash alright!?) I’d bought in Paris last Spring. I didn’t have any particular attachment to it and it was a stretch woven as per the pattern requirements, so I made these as a trial version (or wearable muslin if you prefer). I might fancy making these again in some stretch wool suiting in my stash from last winter…
Another Chic Sweatshirt
When my parents were visiting in October, my mom looked through all my recent makes and decided she’d like a chic sweatshirt for her belated Christmas gift, and she picked out a lovely lavender sweatshirting for it while she was here. Remember how lovely she looks in lavender? I think it was a great choice. For my gift, she re-taught herself to crochet and made me a wonderful hat in mustard wool I picked out. Hooray for our little skills exchange! read more >>
I (silently) set myself the challenge to sew one garment from each issue of Burda magazine (aka BurdaStyle) in 2012, and I’m proud to say I completed it! I’m not the sort of person to make New Year’s resolutions, or proclaim lofty goals to everyone who’ll listen – I’m more the sort to quietly commit myself to something, and see if anyone notices what I’m up to before the completion… I do know that Kristy has also been keeping up with the Burda challenge this year, and it’s been fun to see which patterns she’s chosen from the same issues (and on occasion we selected the same pattern!).
There were some roaring successes, a few fails (both my fault and not), and some that I changed my mind on only after months of wear. So I thought it was worthwhile to have a look through all the projects from this year, and my thoughts on each looking back from now…
Link to original post: Great Basic – Grey Flannel Trousers
At the time I said: There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about this design, but I just thought it looked nicely versatile, and something I could wear to business meetings as well as just team with a teeshirt if I fancied it.
My thoughts now: I don’t think these look as nice in the photoshoot as they do in real life. I genuinely love and adore these, and have worn them pretty much nonstop, at least once a week to work, since I made them a year ago. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this pattern, and the silk pocket linings fill me with glee everything I slip my hands inside. I really do need to make some more of these!
Link to original post: The Blue and Black Burda February sheath dress
At the time I said: But really, I just love this dress! It’s so comfortable, and I’ve gotten so many compliments even in just the two occasions I’ve worn it in the past week. I also like it because it reminds me both of my beloved September dress pattern but also of traditional cheongsam dresses…
My thoughts now: I think the pattern is fabulous, but the fabric I chose was too thin, and the upper chest is a bit lumpy where Burda tried to tell me to have a facing when it should’ve just been sewn closed. I wore this a few times a month over the summer, but the short sleeves keep it from being in all-year rotation. I’d really like to sew this pattern again in a ponti jersey, like my other favourite dresses.read more >>
While I’m prepping my showcase of the patterns I made from each of the Burda magazine issues in 2012, I have to admit that I feel kinda relieved that I don’t have to make anything from this January issue! I mean, I don’t think it’s a terrible issue, but there’s nothing much in it that really grabs me, and I’d prefer to use my time to revisit some patterns and magazines I neglected while focusing on Burda last year.
But for those of you with subscriptions and thinking of doing a similar challenge in 2013, here are my picks from the first issue…
There are some great basics in this issue, like this cowl top and pencil skirt (shown here in fantastic metallic leather). Sure, I’ve seen these patterns countless times before and don’t set my world on fire, but they’re great wardrobe builders and starting points for other garment variations.
The tech drawing looks nice enough – a simple sheath dress with integrated cap sleeves… so why did they choose to make it in what appears to be tin foil??
There’s a feature comprised entirely of reprinted patterns from the late 50s and 1960s, among them this sweetheart neckline sheath dress, which seems a great opportunity to grab one of Sunni’s covered belt kits!read more >>
Are you excited yet? I sure am, because this dress is the last in my one-Burda-per-issue challenge for 2012! I set out to sew one pattern from each issue, and I’m pleased to reported I completed it (though much more on that in a bit – I’ve got a rundown post coming).
The final garment in the challenge is the Burda December cover dress (Burda Dec 2012 #112) even though I technically completed in on New Year’s Eve, I’m counting this in 2013’s tally since I’d already written up my end-of-year post by that point!
You may remember that I sewed up a muslin of this over the holidays, but I took inspiration from the long version shown in the magazine and made my final version in some pale pink viscose crepe from Stone Fabrics Super wonderful – flowing, drapey, takes a nice press (though that means it also wrinkles readily!), and has one crepe side and the other rather smoother (I used the crepe on the outside). You really can’t beat it for £6/m! It’s fairly narrow though at 137cm wide, so if you also choose to make the shorter hem length with long sleeves, note that you’ll need 3 meters of it.
This pattern (which also has a longer hem length with long sleeves) has the illustrated instructions for this issue, and man do you need them! It reminded me of one of those Vogue designer patterns where it doesn’t actually look like a dress until the very last step. Note that if you buy the pdf pattern from the Burda Style site, you get the same full, illustrated instructions that appear in the magazine.read more >>
First of all, thank you all so so much for all your lovely comments on the vintage wiggle dress! Due to another crazy week at work plus coming down with a rotten cold, I’ve been even less equipped than usual to reply to as many as I like, but rest assured I do see every one of them (they’re emailed to me, so no matter how old the post is, I see what you wrote!), and I’ll try to work through the backlog of replies soon.
But rather than waiting on little ol’ me, have a look inside the latest issue of Burda magazine, because they’ve gone and ended this year with a bang, my oh my…
How much do I love this dress?!? It’s so good they’ve put it on the cover, and then again inside, with long or short sleeves, and floor-length, or knee-length hems. When I was shopping in the West End with my mom a few weeks ago, I swear I saw this exact dress across a crowded department store, so I’m pretty sure it’s a designer knockoff – maybe Christian Dior? Does anyone know? In any case, it’s a Tall dress (boo! so most of us have to remove some vertical length in a few spots), but there are illustrated instructions for this one (which you can view in the pdf here since the long version is up for purchase on the English BurdaStyle.com already).
I know the tech drawing for this sequin tank is pretty plain and boring, but it’s all about optimising a very special (or expensive) short piece of fabric, and this sequin version reminds me of a RTW Express navy blue tank seen here. I also quite like the stretch leather trousers, but the likelihood of finding stretch leather outside the NYC garment district is quite slim…
I like the pairing of this peplum jacket and jodhpurs but those trousers mysteriously look like the exact same trousers from the recent Burda Easy magazine but with an extra inner leg seam cutout… Sneaky Burda, sneaky.read more >>
Last week I told you all about this dress – the pattern details, how I traced all fourteen of those curved, monster front darts, the things I omitted, the things I changed, and the things I’d want to know if I were you, sewing this for the first time.
So if you want to know all the geeky details (including the UK shop where I bought this lovely sage green marl ponti roma jersey!), then you best read that post, because this one’s going to be light on words and heavy on photos!
What I will say again is that this is a reprint of an original pattern Burda printed in 1956, but graded up to the normal Burda size range and included in the the November Burda magazine (or you can purchase it as a pdf here if you missed the magazine).
I’m stupidly happy with this dress – it’s the exact right snug, clingy, long sleeved knit sheath dress that I love to wear in winter. For the past two winters, my favourite dress has been the purple September 2010 Burda cover dress and this dress reminds me a lot of it, with a similar fit and feel.read more >>
It’s a reprint of an original pattern Burda printed in 1956, and one of my favourite running features that Burda magazine have been doing this year. Since the company’s had a very long history, it makes sense that they should look into their archives, dust off a few gems, grade up the sizing to their usual modern range, and translate the instructions!
Contrary to popular belief, this particular one is not a maternity dress, despite the fact that the model clearly looks like she’s “showing”. I can assure you that I do not look pregnant in it one bit, so let’s move on with the catty remarks…
In any case, I finished this one on Sunday night, but considering that it gets dark at 4pm here now, I won’t be able to do a photoshoot until this weekend, meaning you won’t see it on me until next week. By which time I’ll have probably forgotten all the construction details, boo!
So by way of a reminder, I thought I’d type up my thoughts now, then you’ll see the finished design next week. So the “Tell”, then the “Show”!
1. The bodice has seven monster, curved darts, all of which needed to be accurately marked onto the fabric. If you have carbon paper, I suggest you make good use of it, but for me, I remove the inside of the darts with scissors, then thread trace each dart with silk basting thread so I can see it on both sides. Then repeat for the other bodice piece. This took a few evenings, but it was important to get them right, as it’s the focus of the entire dress!read more >>
I’m pretty sure this isn’t supposed to be a painter’s smock, but that’s certainly what this feels like to me! In the October edition of BurdaStyle magazine Burda call it a “retro short coat” – a reprint of a vintage pattern that originally appeared in 1952. From the magazine and original sketch, it reminded me loads of a coat Bel wore to the country house party in the first season of The Hour, so I was keen to make it to inject some vintage styling into my usual modern wardrobe.
(It’s available to download from Burda’s English site if you like it, or just fancy reading the instruction pdf)
I made it here in some silver-grey linen gifted to me by Veronica when I was in Paris. It’s nice fabric, but I think the colour isn’t helping the smock comparisons! Maybe it needs something brighter…
Burda’s patterns are very nearly always well-made, but this one in particular is impeccable drafted (well, except for the curved collar), with tons of inset corners that joined up perfectly. It’s one of those patterns that’s a joy to sew, when everything matches up and just comes together like a little puzzle – match up corners and notches here, a bit of gathering there, pieces join to be the Centre Back in unexpected ways – that sort of thing! If I wanted to be picky, there’s some generous gathering across the back, but there wasn’t quite enough gathering on the front seams for my liking. Personally, I’d rather the gathering be concentrated in a smaller area than have it be wide and hardly any gathers.read more >>
I don’t think this is the best issue of Burda we’ve seen in a while (remember how amazing August and September were??), but there are still a few patterns worth mentioning, and even a few worth buying!
I really like these slim trousers omg but they look identical to the ones in the January 2012 issue that I made! Seriously, I inspected the tech drawing and pieces and it really does look like this is an exact reprint from January! To be honest, I like my grey trousers so much I was thinking about making them again, but now I might make this pair instead purely so I can compare the two.
Here are those slim trousers again plus a top with a boxpleated peplum. I really like this peplum top, but I think the one I made two months ago is probably enough for me for a while!
This long trenchcoat is rather nice, though it has an asymmetric back vent flap that just looks wrong (but is easy enough to change).read more >>
I’ve been aware of Burda Easy magazine for a while, and I even bought one a few years ago, but I don’t usually like the designs so I usually steer clear. But I really liked a few of them in this issue, and it was staring me in the face in a French supermarket a few weeks ago, so I couldn’t pass it up. Coincidentally, I bought it at the same time as the Fait Main magazine I already shared with you.
If you’re not familiar with Burda Easy, it’s published twice a year in several languages (but not English), and has illustrated instructions for simpler designs. The patterns come on tissue and are printed in such a way that they don’t overlap each other so you could cut the out rather than trace if you’re that way inclined. They don’t contain seam allowances, which is the norm everywhere except the US.
I’m not sure about the colourblocking on these trousers, but I really like the design lines and I always love a front-leg seam. The short sleeved jacket here is also cute, and has variations for full jackets and waistcoats, too.
I really love the seam lines on this boxy top, and I like the way they’ve used different black fabrics to play around with texture (the miniskirt’s very on trend with that hemline, too!).read more >>
A lot of sewers like to “Sew with a Plan” (SWAP), but I prefer to call this a “Shortlist” rather than a “Plan”, so I’m free to still change my mind and add/remove items as I go along! My main goal here isn’t so much to create a capsule wardrobe that can be worn together, but more to use up fabrics and/or that have been in my stash for a while that I’d really like to just wear.
From the top down, in no particular order:
- KnipMode 12-2005 #10 – I’ve got some non-stretch denim aging in my stash from a few years ago, and I love KnipMode’s style lines for these. My wardrobe is in desperate need of more jeans, hence why there are two pairs in this Shortlist!
- Altered Burda 06-2012 #129 – Now that my stretch satin from Gorgeous Fabrics is in hand, I can finally make the final version of this dress after completing the drafting and muslins back in July. read more >>
- The recommended fabric is silk, yet the instructions don’t tell you to sew French seams, or indeed finish the raw edges at all. As far as I can tell, even if you follow their insane instructions, you’re left with a triangular area of raw seams at the shoulder. If I’d liked the top enough, I’d have had to make my own weird facing to handstitch on to cover this.
- There’s a ridiculous amount of ease in the bodice – way more than Sorbetto, for example, and that’s also a non-bias, slip on shell. I ended up cutting this with the front and back pieces a centimeter or two off the fold simply to fit it onto my narrow silk, but I checked first to make sure it’d not be too small. And having completed the shell, I can say that it’s still on the loose side, even with my reductions!
- Facings on a silk. WTFOMGBBQ? Why?? I said Nuts! to the facing and did a narrow bias edge (in leftover silk from my birthday top which I still had lying around) on the neckline, and did a two-step narrow edge for the hem.
- Burda tells to to cut an extra wide hem allowance on the sleeve edges, press in and out (and shake it all about, do the hokey pokey- oh wait) and mess about with it until the sleeve is entirely completed… and then sew an invisible hem by hand. On silk. And it’s a reeeeeeally long hem. I’d rather eat glass, Burda. The much better option here would be to cut a regular hem allowance, and machine-stitch a narrow edge or rolled hem before basting any of the sleeve pleats. Realising they’re crazy and trying to do this later is much more difficult (ask me how I know).
- The sleeve instructions are absolutely incomprehensible. Burda would have you flip the entire pleated edges around the neckline and back to the armscye at the shoulder, which a) completely contradicts the photos, and b) there isn’t enough seam length to do. So I had to try and make the best of pre-basted pleats, attach to placement lines that may as well have not existed (since the pleated edges didn’t match up anyway), and a mess of raw edges (see above). My best attempt was not good enough.
- And finally, when I tried the top on to see if I even wanted to carry on finishing the raw edges, the sleeves are just ugly. Less “quirky chic” and more “80s shoulder pads”. Ugh.
It’s not the first time I’ve done the “upmarket sweatshirt” thing before – some of you may remember my Haute Hoodie back in 2008, but I think this new take has got even less in common with the usual sweatshirt idea than my earlier one!
The pattern here is Burda September 2012 #106 but it’s also available as purchased download pattern, too. I’m really liking that the English BurdaStyle.com site is finally getting the magazine patterns up more quickly these days, sometimes even before my print edition arrives!
I bought this turquoise sweatshirting back in 2010 from Fabric.com and had my parents bring it in their suitcases when they came for the wedding – it’s so difficult to find sweatshirting in non-traditional colours here in the UK! I’m not quite sure why it took me so long to sew this, as I love the colour and the sweatshirting is really nice quality, too.
Happily, I finished sewing this just before we left for our week’s holiday in the Loire Valley, so you get to see this top in a French pastoral setting rather than the usual London maritime one!read more >>
The last two issues of Burda have been so spectacular that it was always going to be a hard act for poor October to follow, and it’s gotten a bit of a kicking online for so many lazy, square, and shapeless designs. Indeed, I couldn’t find anything to like in two entire features (the Pastels one and the Hippie-Outdoorsy Crappe one), but there was enough in the “New Sophistication” feature alone (photographed with the dressmakers dummies, see below) to justify this issue’s existence to me!
So let’s skip right to the afore-mentioned “New Sophistication” feature, shall we?
I’m not entirely sure why, as it’s wholly impractical, but I really like this long, wool waistcoat (which reminds me of the Sept 2010 jacket that was way too big and boxy). There’s another version in this magazine that’s longer and has integrated long, ponte knit sleeves, too. I know my arms get chilly before the rest of me, so a body warmer really isn’t very practical for me, but the addition of sleeves, well, that changes everything!
This surplice top is nice but nothing new (I’ve seen this design at least 3-4 times in Burdas over the years), and I even quite like the quirky “hip wrap”, which is somewhere between a kimono-belt and a waist pack. It’s definitely a good use for those odd-sized scraps of coatings and leather I’ve got lying around!
I like this cowl top but I hate how Burda flattens these to one side though, ugh! let the cowl free! These high-waisted, slim legged trousers would also be a great wardrobe staple.read more >>
It should come as no surprise that I’ve been sewing this peplum top – after all, I shared my instructions on how to line this top already! But for those of you who are short in the memory department, this is #113 from the August 2012 Burda magazine, which is also available to purchase as a pdf download here (and you can look at the full instructions and layout diagrams on that site for free). There’s also versions with long sleeves or with a much longer peplum, extended into a dress, so there’s quite a lot of versatility here.
A lot of peplum dresses just feature a ring of excess fabric around the hips, but here, the curved waist seam plus the sloped hemline and bias-cut peplum on this particular pattern really sets it above the rest. I also like that it’s separates, so I can pair my top with a skirt, slim trousers, or leggings and get much more wear from it than just a single dress.
This is how I wore it to Karen’s V&A Ballgowns meetup, worn with my denim-look leggings I made a few months ago. I know peplums are really trendy right now, but I really like how retro 1950s this outfit looks even when made with completely modern patterns and fabrics!read more >>
Thank you so much for all your compliments on my Fuchsia party dress (and marathon legs, ha)! Apologies if any of you had trouble with the link – I’d originally categorised it wrong and had to correct it, which changed the URL.
Also, big thanks to everyone who entered my competition for the MyImage magazine – I was blown away by the number and wonderful variety of pattern request ideas in your comments! Now, if I ever had a chunk of time spare to draft them all, I’d be a rich woman… Anyway, the random number generator drew 32, which means Silvia is the lucky recipient!
The calendar might still say August for another day, but at least in London, there’s a definite crispness in the air that signals the return of Fall, and Burda’s already got this covered with another fantastic issue!
We had a similar (but A-line) dress in the May issue, but I actually prefer the lines on this petite dress instead, and that it can be worn with a bolero to give it sleeves is just a bonus!
Both garment here are really simple, but as you can see from the photos that you can really create a lot of interest just with fabrics. The top is really just a long sleeved teeshirt with inserted seams at the shoulders (like my Knipmode rose and lace teeshirt!) and the skirt is just a basic pencil skirt, but together, they really work, and are within reach of most beginner sewists.read more >>
Now that I’m feeling better, I can start showing you all the garments I made when I was ill (I’ve got two more after this, too). It’s convenient that these trousers and top pair together so nicely, as I can show them together in one photoshoot!
First up, let’s talk about the trousers!
The main reason I made these is that they’re a pattern for knits, which you don’t see very often, and they’ve got nice slim legs and a fly front. Usually knit trousers mean elasticated waistbands a’la leggings, but I have fond memories of a few RTW pairs like this I had in high school and university that I wore positively threadbare! I hate turn ups, though, so I just cut these at the final indicated length and then just didn’t fold them up (for normal length legs rather than 7/8 length with cuffs). On the next pair I’ll slim the ankle a bit more though
I made these in a really nice quality black polyester ponte jersey from Truro Fabrics. I bought a sage green ponte at the same time for a second pair, and I’m glad to find a reliable UK source for really great ponte, as Burda often uses it in their patterns. Furthermore, these only needed 1.5m of fabric so I made these trousers for a grand total of £16.25 (the zipper set me back a whopping 50p, ha!). That’s downright Primark prices, there!read more >>
I’ve been buying Burda magazine (formerly “Burda World Of Fashion”, now “Burda Style”) since 2005, and I’ve seen its greatness come and go (and then come back again) in waves. It’s been getting steadily better over the course of 2012, but this August issue is the best one in a LONG time! Definitely the best this year (along with May 2012), but possibly it ranks up there with September 2010 and August 2006 even in my own personal Burda Issue Hall Of Fame!
I pretty much love everything in this feature with the white background, but let’s take these one step at a time.
First up is this blue tuxedo with slim trousers and a great jacket with interesting, non-standard lapels. How could I not love this, when I’ve already made a blue tuxedo with slim trousers and a jacket with interesting lapels back in 2008 (and also from Burda patterns)??! LOVE.
I really love the shape of this dirndl-inspired dress, with its cap sleeves and interesting bodice seams, but part of me is also concerned by the sharp seaming – they look awfully similar to the seams on a Burda slip pattern I tried that really didn’t work for me (ahem, pointy boobs) so I’d want to definitely muslin this bodice before going further.read more >>
Thanks very much for all your feedback on my post regarding the design lines for my upcoming sheath dress – I decided to go with the top design, and save the bottom one for some later colour blocking (maybe in ponte jersey?).
Once that was decided, I sewed up that basic Burda sheath dress (which fit me very well, as expected), then while it was on my dressform I drew rough design lines on to match. After the rough lines were on, I cleaned these up with French curves while the dress was lying flat (these photoshopped ones are just free-handed on top since my black lines on navy blue fabric were hard to see in the photo!)
I then cut apart the Burda muslin along my new lines, and cut into the curves a few times to release any bumps. I then transferred these altered pieces onto a second muslin to test that all my new curves matched up well:read more >>
I know it’s a cliché to say so, but I’ve been very busy lately! So busy that there was no sewing activity whatsoever last weekend (though I did cut and fit an awful lot of insulation for the new boat bedroom, attended two out-of-town barbecues, and raced a new 10km PB in the weekend available to me!). In two weekends’ time I’ve got a friend’s wedding and ever since we were invited, I knew I wanted to apply a Pattern Magic technique onto a sheath dress for this occasion.
Overall, I was disappointed by the June Burda magazine, but I saw dress #129 and knew it’d be a great starting point since I know Burda’s dresses fit me very reliably (and I’ve already raised the waist by 1 inch to make it perfect).
The technique I’m looking to apply here is one I learned on my Pattern Magic 2 course at Morley College, though it’s well documented in the second book, too. Essentially, you make a muslin of a basic block (in my case, I’m using this Burda pattern), draw design lines wherever you like, cut along those lines, and then release any lumps into the curved edges of the new pieces.
So thus far I’ve copied the tech drawing off Burda’s site, raised the neckline a bit, and removed all the darts in Photoshop (since mine will be incorporated into my new design lines anyway), then printed off a bunch of these empty tech drawings onto a sheet of paper.read more >>
I’m never usually a big fan of summer issues or summer clothing, so I’ve again decided to share my picks from the Burda and KnipMode July issues together. I’ve already decided to not renew my KnipMode subscription, after the new editor turned it from the best pattern magazine out there (in 2010, and IMHO) to the worst one out there in little less than a year. It’s also the most expensive, which makes the decision a bit easier! So I think this is probably the last of my subscription to arrive, and as I’m pleasantly surprised by this month’s Burda, I’ll start with it….
Burda Style (formerly “World of Fashion”) July 2012
Most of the flapper-style dresses were misguided, ugly, and unflattering, but I think is bias-cut, cowl neck number could actually the the opposite of all those things if made in a flowing, lightweight fabric.
I can’t even remember the last time I sewed (or wore!) a button-down shirt, but something about this pattern really grabs me. It could be that waist-seam, which mimics a peplum without being too trendy, or maybe it’s just that I’m happy to see long sleeves in a July issue (hello English summer!).
There’s another variation of this gathered, raglan shell in the magazine which adds short sleeves and is worn with the slit in front instead of the back, but for some reason, in their lightweight cotton, all I could see was “hospital gown”. But here, in a soft, solid silk, I can suddenly see a lot of layering possibilities – both for multiple layers of silk (how about a blue charmeuse with a purple voile or chiffon on top??), and for wearing under jackets or cardigans for officewear.read more >>
This skirt was featured in the May 2012 edition of BurdaStyle magazine, but it’s one of the few that’s also available for purchase as a downloadable pdf if you missed this issue (a really great one, IMHO!).
This is quite an interesting pattern because of its simplicity – it’s only one pattern piece (the same for the front and the back), with a bunch of radiating pleats on one hip, and just two side seams to sew. There are three hem lengths suggested on the pattern, and I went with the shortest, Hem length A, which ends up right at my knees.
And that’s it – no zippers, no elastic, no nothing. So it’s a really quick and easy skirt to sew up in one evening!read more >>
KnipMode June 2012
Let’s start off with the best from across both issues – this asymmetric, flounced top is just fantastic! I really like it paired with skinny jeans like they have here, too. It’s really important when you’re wearing volume up top to balance it with something slim below, or vice-versa!
In my mind, this A-line midi skirt was almost identical to one in last month’s Burda magazine that I really liked (and already traced, but when I’ll sew it is another matter!), but when I place the tech drawings side-by-side, they’re actually not as close as I remembered…
None of this combo of jacket, shell, or trousers is particularly earth-shattering, but I really like the look of pairing a cropped jacket (my forte) with a longer layer underneath. And beautiful, shimmering jewel tone solids are always a good choice!
This is a bumper issue for Plus sized patterns, with something like 15 on offer this month, but the one that really caught my eye is that they’ve released a favourite of mine from last summer in larger sizes now!! This is one of my favourite casual tops, despite the tunic-length, and I’m really chuffed to see it made more widely available now.read more >>
Last weekend I cut into cut into one of the oldest fabrics in my stash, a dark turquoise silk charmeuse bought in January 2009, to make the cover top from the Burda April 2012 issue:
There are so many things wrong about this pattern that I’m going to revert to list form to get the rant out of my brain:
We had a long weekend here in the UK this weekend, and I’m pleased to report that I made the most of it! On Saturday, James and I made an impromptu trip down to Brighton, and we stopped off at Lewes on the way down. Our main objective in Lewes is always the Harveys Brewery shop, but I also discovered The Stitchery just across the road upstairs in the Riverside Centre, which stocks a wide variety of fabrics, embroidery floss, yarn, and haberdashery. I checked my handy “sewing shopping list” on my phone, and bought black waistband elastic and trouser hooks, both of which I needed. Very sensible of me, I know.
But the real temptation was walking right past Ditto in the North Laines in Brighton, and I told myself I was only allowed to buy ONE fabric there, so it’d better be a good one! In the end, this gorgeous butter yellow floral silk charmeuse won out over a similar yellow coloured, textured, ex-Blumarine crepe.
Florals really aren’t my usual fabric choice (and I would’ve never bought it from the terrible photo on Ditto’s site), but in real life, I was just captivated by it, and I’m thinking I’ll need to pair it with some edgier like jeans or my leather skirt to diffuse the twee-ness.
After our big day on Saturday, on Sunday we didn’t leave the boat at all! I spent most of the day doing sewing stuff, starting off with fusing all the interfacing onto James’s reversible smoking jacket pieces. I find fusing interfacing to be really boring at the best of times, but it’s beyond teeeeedious with a mini ironing board and mini iron! Once that was all fused, I then moved on to hand basting all the pocket placements (it’s a fantasy jacket, so there are five pockets!) and then basted the bound buttonhole placements, too.read more >>
In addition to my exercise gear you saw yesterday, I actually made another top and trousers the weekend I got back from Montreal! Since I wasn’t in a fit state for a photoshoot until now, I kinda feel like I’m clearing out the cobwebs here…
This top is another “Flip turned for a draped effect” top from Pattern Magic 2 (drafted on my Morley College course!), this time using the tulip sleeves from Jalie 2806 for a more Spring/Summer look. This is the third time I’ve used these tulip sleeves and I really love the look and love wearing them – they really make a top much more special than just your average short sleeve! I used a lovely orange marl viscose jersey from Tia Knight here that’s just sooooo soft and lovely to wear! Hurrah for an impulse purchase!
The trousers are from the March Burda magazine (#126), using some stretch cotton sateen I bought at Tissues Dreyfus in Paris last month. It looked black in the dark lighting of the shop, but I got it home to realise it’s actually dark brown, which was fairly annoying, as I wouldn’t have bought 3m of brown had I known!read more >>
I’m feeling pretty good about the past few issues of Burda magazine. For a while there (2010, I’m looking at you!) they really seemed to be only printing boring, shapeless and awful patterns, but I’m glad I stuck around because the past few months have really been a return to form, as far as I’m concerned.
There were quite a few patterns I want to make from the February issue, but only one demanded I drop everything and Sew It Now, the colourblocked asymmetrical knit sheath dress #117:
I know a lot of people complain about tracing Burda patterns, but I seriously don’t have a problem with it. Most patterns take me about ten minutes to trace, I have the pattern sheets on top so it’s not difficult to see the lines, and I do a few at a time.
This dress may have the illustrated instructions for this issue but WOW was this a total bear to trace! It’s printed in red lines, but this sheet also contains the “easy”, pink shaded pattern, so there are multiple points where you need to trace red lines over pink shading. Add to that the irregular shapes of the pattern pieces and you’ve got yourself a headache.
If you can get through the tracing pain, though, you’re really in for a treat, because the tracing took longer than the cutting or construction combined. I sewed this up last Friday night after work and wore it out to a friend’s birthday the next day!read more >>
As I mentioned last week, I got gifted some wonderful grey flannel from Claire (however did she know I like grey? ha!). It’s so soft and lovely that initially I thought it should become a dress, but then realised I’m likely to get much more wear out of a really chic, comfortable pair of dress trousers.
There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about this design, but I just thought it looked nicely versatile, and something I could wear to business meetings as well as just team with a teeshirt if I fancied it. These also have the illustrated instructions for this issue, but I could sew trousers blindfolded by this point, so the instructions didn’t make much difference to me.
I did notice, however, that they do the particularly dumb construction technique of tucking one leg inside the other and sewing the crotch seam last – this makes NO SENSE to me, as it means you can’t check the fit until you’re 95% done. Whereas if you do the outer seams last, you can pin and adjust the fit in the thighs and hip before you sew it up…
These photos were taken after sitting in a car, then sitting through a big Sunday roast so there are more wrinkles here than I usually have! The fit on these feels a bit closer than with most Burda trouser patterns I’ve sewn, but it also might just be because I haven’t sewn trousers in a non-stretch fabric in a while.read more >>
I’ve finally emerged from the craptacular flu (which then turned into bronchitis) that I’ve been under since Dec 28 – thank you for all your well wishes! For me, it really feels like the new year, 16 days late!
The Ruby Slip was my first garment of 2012, but my second and third aren’t far away…
Grey flannel trousers
Just before Christmas, I met up with Claire for lunch and she gifted me a massive length of wonderful dark grey flannel. It’s so soft and lovely that initially I thought a dress, but then realised I’m likely to get much more wear out of a really chic, comfortable pair of dress trousers. So on Friday night I traced and cut Burda Jan 12 #122, mostly because the issue was handy, but also because they looked to be a great basic. These have the illustrated instructions for this issue, but I could sew trousers blindfolded by this point, so the instructions didn’t make much difference to me.
I sewed this on and off over the weekend and nearly completed these despite hardly being at home. As a nice tie-in to my previous garment, the pockets, fly underlap, and waistband lining are all done in the pale green silk leftover from my Ruby Slip.read more >>
I finished Holly’s silk gown on New Year’s Eve, so this is officially my last project from 2011. If you recall, it’s Burda 08/2008 #125 and is one of the designer maternity patterns from this issue (and in my opinion – a really nice maxi dress whether you’re pregnant or not!).
We muslined the bodice portion of this (minus the drape pieces) back before Christmas, and made a few changes: taking a few tucks out of the neckline here and there, and increasing the bust space on the standard size 44.
I totally missed the chance to finish this for her Boxing Day birthday, but I figured I’d be still in time for any January parties before the birth in late January, and we were even scheduled to go over for dinner last Friday, where I was going to bring the dress along and sew up the hem on my little red machine after we ate (the hem is just raw here, as I can’t do that without her wearing it).read more >>
Back on the 17th I set some bold goals to finish by New Year’s:
I thought it was time for a little progress report, seeing as how I only have a few days to go…
Paco’s Drape Collar Tunic– I sewed this up in an evening before Christmas. Though I had to get very creative in order to get long sleeves out of the 2m of sweater knit I bought… Note to self: Buy more yardage, or shorten the body length next time! Clover jeans– I just finished these! I’m totally loving the fit and the (IMHO) improved pockets, too.
- Holly’s maternity maxi-dress, Burda 08/2008 #125 – Having no place to cut the fabric of the enormous skirt pieces, I actually took it along to work yesterday and cut it out on the big (and empty) lunch table at lunchtime! The few guys left in the office already think I’m weird anyway. Shrug. In any case, this is now ready to sew!
- Ruby Slip – I wanted to cut the skirt pieces at the same time I cut out the maxi dress, but the low table height was killing my back by the time I finished with the maxi dress. I don’t think this will take long to sew together if I can ever find somewhere to cut the single-layer, bias layout… A good cutting area is my new productivity choke point.
… I want to make:
- Clover jeans – I love the fit of my Clover trousers so much, but I don’t like the pockets or side opening. I’m altering the pattern to be more like jeans! (oh yeah – I did fix the zipper in the end…)
- Ruby Slip – The pattern is printed and taped, but not yet traced. I have the perfect silk in my stash, and I bought some to-die-for wide lace at MacCulloch & Wallis on Friday
- Paco’s Drape Collar Tunic – This is already traced and I’ve got the perfect purple sweater knit hanging around from last winter. This should be a quickie on the overlocker
- Holly’s maternity maxi-dress, Burda 08/2008 #125 – The bodice is traced, I’ve done a first muslin, and the fabric is ready to go. Her birthday’s on Boxing Day, so I’m aiming early!
I’ve got to go into work on the 27th-29th, but I’ve still got a lot of days off to hole up in my sewing cave. Most years I end up making a coat over the Christmas break, but I don’t really have much need this year so I thought I’d focus my attentions elsewhere instead.read more >>
First of all, thank you all so much for all your comments and praise on my Charcoal pinup dress! I knew I really liked it, but it’s nice when so many others agree.
One thing that I hadn’t realised in the magazine discussion, nor sewing, nor wearing it out, however, is that this dress pattern is a very close knockoff of the Roland Mouret Macha dress, which was shown in his Spring 11 RTW show!
Really, the bodice seaming is all identical, but there are a few differences:
- Burda’s pattern is for wovens, RM’s dress is a stretch woven
- Burda’s has long sleeves, RM’s is sleeveless
- Burda’s has a back V neckline, RM’s has a square back neckline
- Burda’s is princess-seamed in the skirt, RM’s appears to be one panel in the skirt
- Burda’s has a centre back invisible zipper, RM’s has a centre back exposed zipper
I feel like this post should have a warning, like those awful, dated jokes – Dangerous curves ahead! But to be honest, I’ve been running like a mad woman for the past few months, finally running much faster and further than I ever did before I got ill, so I’m relishing the chance to show off my running body right now*.
This dress was in the Sept 2011 Burda magazine, but it’s also available to buy as a download pattern on Burdastyle.com if you missed that issue (or believed the blog hype that it was a bad issue, gasp!). I really loved this pattern from the second I saw it, and all I really needed was a little nudge from BurdaStyle and I was totally sold on making this as my double-duty James’s birthday dinner and Christmas party dress.
Though on reflection, it might be a bit too sexy for my office party.
As this was a close fitting sheath with a non-stretch fabric, I opted to go right ahead and make the only fitting alteration I ever make with Burda patterns, and even then it’s only occasionally – I removed 2cm above the waist line across all the vertical panels so the waist of the dress is more in line with my own.read more >>
My next two sewing projects to share with you both use the fantastic, charcoal grey, ex-designer poly/viscose/lycra flannel that Neighbour Helen gifted to me just before they set sail for the continent. If I didn’t have the fibre content tag still attached to the fabric, I’d assume it was a cashmere or wool flannel, it’s that lovely!
The first use of the flannel is actually already finished and could’ve been spotted in the swankier parts of Spitalfields on Saturday night – an amaaaaaaazing sheath dress from Burda magazine:
I’ll avoid a long story to explain the Why, but you’ll have to wait til next week to see the photos. But trust me when I say it is a truly stunning va-va-voom dress!
Then this weekend I decided to jump right in and use up the remaining ~2m or so of the flannel and make the vintage Maudella midi skirt pattern I bought in Sheffield a few weeks ago:read more >>
If you recall, I used this maternity coat from the August 2008 issue of Burda, but after the first muslin we made some design changes (namely, eliminating the band and gathered sleeve caps) and an added dart as a consequence of an FBA (full bust adjustment) so it’s not quite the same as you see in the original tech drawing below…
Apologies for the slight blurriness and busy background – this is why I try not to do photoshoots after dark, but it couldn’t be helped this time around! At least you can see how it fits her, even if the photo quality isn’t great.read more >>
As you recall, last week I underlined Holly’s maternity coat and created all five bound buttonholes, but I had the day off work on Friday so I was able to make loads of progress over my long weekend! In fact, her coat is now 95% finished and ready to hand over, so I thought I’d give you a rundown of what I got up to…
I’m making this maternity coat from the August 2008 issue of Burda, but after the first muslin we made some design changes (namely, eliminating the band and gathered sleeve caps) so it won’t look exactly like this tech drawing:
As I constructed the shell of the coat, I took the extra step here to catch-stitch all the thick wool seam allowances to the flannel underlining. I started off just doing this on the sleeve seams as I feel the bumps are most noticeable during wear there (and therefore most likely to get annoying quickly!), but I carried on and just catchstitched everywhere.
I wanted this coat to be as nice for her as one I would make myself, so why not? I also noted that Gertie was asking last week how to make the seam allowances lie flat on her coat – well, the answer is catch stitching!read more >>
If you recall from last week, my next project is this maternity coat from the August 2008 issue of Burda, which I promised a very good friend:
After we sorted out the fitting and design alterations (including a second, quick muslin fitting of just the upper bodice in the pub toilets on Saturday night!), my first step was to cut out all the pieces in the green wool and then again in the black cotton flannel I’d bought to underline the spongey wool coating and give it a bit more structure. The coating is wonderful, but I’m a bit concerned about it bagging out in places, and I wanted to give it some added stability as well as a bit of extra warmth (though if warmth were my primary concern, I’d call it “interlining” and attach it a bit differently!).
Here’s all the pieces hanging on the line in my tiny sewing room:
I then hand basted all the layers together around the edges of the pieces, plus through the darts, and then also marked out the placement lines for the five bound buttonholes:read more >>
Just to make things absolutely clear – no, I am not pregnant!
But my very good friend (and beginning sewer!) Holly is, so I’m doing some maternity sewing for her over the next few months, and helping her to sew a few things for herself, too. We’ve already had an afternoon session converting regular trousers to maternity versions (and I’m thrilled to report that she’s since gone home and done a few of these herself, too!), but it’s down to me to start the “from scratch” garments.
The first project was to make a “wearable muslin” of this Burda knit dress from June 2010. She picked this pattern out of a lineup, and it’s actually great for a beginner. The seamlines and construction are pretty straightforward, and you get a lot of bang for your buck with this, as there are two sleeve variations and two length variations!
I traced off all the different versions, and used the double tracing wheel I picked up in Budapest to even add the seam allowances on for her, too (something I never bother to do for myself, as I prefer my patterns without).
For this muslin I used some viscose jersey donated by Claire (Seemane) specifically for muslining purposes. The print is definitely too wild for me, but it might come in handy for Holly while she’s got a limited wardrobe. I don’t think it’s an ugly print by any means, and I could see her toning it down with a black or navy jacket or cardigan.read more >>
If you recall, it’s a two-part suit, with a draped, collar-less jacket and a pleated pencil skirt:
I’ve been sewing both of the pieces in parallel, so I’ve finished them at the same time. I like a lot of aspects of this suit, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not totally in love with the overall resulting look.
The jacket and skirt together!
Things I really like:
- The lapel-less shawl collar construction
- The asymmetric drape
- The three part, bell shaped sleeve
- The two-tone, piped lining
- The folded and seamed facing on the draped side
- Pretty much everything about the skirt
- Construct and attach the sleeve linings to the rest of the lining
- Interface the jacket hem
- Attach the lining to the jacket around the front facings and neck edge
- Construct the skirt lining and baste to the skirt at the top edge
- Attach the waistband
- Machine-hem the skirt lining
- Machine-stitch some grey lace tape to the bottom skirt edge
- Anchor the lining to the seam allowances at the underarm
- Baste and hand stitch the jacket hem
- Hand stitch the lining hem to the jacket hem
- Hand stitch the sleeve lining hem to the sleeve facing
- Baste and hand stitch the skirt hem
- The trench jacket – Burda magazine 02-2009-119 – finished!
- The transitional jacket – My Image Winter 2011 #M1165
- A silk blouse – Burda magazine 09-2010-110 – finished!
- The “I mean business” skirt suit – Burda magazine 09-2011-126 and Burda magazine 09-2011-127 – both already traced!
- A basic cowl tee – My Image Winter 2011 #M1152
- A silk blouse – Manequim 08-2011-356 – already traced!
- A basic cowl tee – Lekala 4039
- “Off duty” jeans – KnipMode 12-2005-10
- A silk blouse – Manequim 08-2011-360 – already traced!
- It has no collar
- It has extended sleeve bands instead of the awful dropped sleeves
- It’s cropped at the hips
- My wedding gown!
- Silver tweed jacket
- Navy riding trousers
- Nude sheath dress
- Patrones cowl top
- KnipMode draped dress
(and I switched to a larger thumbnail size when I revamped the site, too!
The drape makes for a rather elegant side view, too:
Things I don’t like:read more >>
I’m beginning to feel like my draped suit (Burda September 2011 #126 and 127) is dragging on forever, so it’s good that I am making progress in the few snatched snippets of time available to me over the past few weeks. I hope you’re not getting too bored yet!
We were out of town this past weekend, up in Sheffield visiting two very good friends of ours in their new place (a house with his’n‘hers sewing machines! We slept in a room with a vintage Bernina!). It’s about a 3.5 hour drive from London, so there was ample time in the car for handstitching, but it did require some planning ahead to get the suit in a state ready for it.
Going back to my earlier To-Do list from last week, I was able to finish the following on Friday night before we left:
I also prepped about 5 lengths of grey and pink thread with beeswax before leaving so that I wouldn’t get horrible tangles while doing all the handstitching. I never used to bother with beeswax, but it seriously does help cut down on the excess tangling, so the time spent waxing and pressing the thread in advance really does save you time and frustration in the long run.
Then, in the in the car ride up to Sheffield and back (and, err, also in the KwikFit waiting room while we had new tires put on) I was able to:
I just love how that hot pink satin piping turned out! You can also see my lace hem tape on the skirt here. This was a pack of lace tape I’d bought at the Amish dry-goods store in Perry County last year, paying 50 cents for it, and with a 1986 copyright on the package!read more >>
There’s been only slow and steady progress on my draped suit (Burda September 2011 #126 and 127) this week as there’s been little time to sew, but I did get a few hours of “me time” in on Sunday evening after my insulation work was done for the day.
Those few hours were enough for me to finish the entire shell of the jacket and skirt, but I needed a clear surface to cut out the lining fabric, so that was delayed until last evening (since my running group was cancelled). Since the wool suiting has stretch, I didn’t want to negate the benefits of that with a non-stretch lining, so I pulled out one of the few stretch wovens in my stash – a blisteringly hot pink stretch satin I’d bought from Fabric.com last year (and came across in my mom’s suitcase before the wedding). Despite it being polyester, it actually feels wonderful and it was worth the price to be such a high quality lining.read more >>
Last weekend I cut out all the pieces for my upcoming draped suit, Burda September 2011 #126 and 127, in the beautiful grey stretch wool suiting I’d bought specifically for it.
Since then, though, progress has been slow. I’ve got an evening class for work every Monday night, I’ve found a wonderful, brilliant amazing running club I go to on Tuesdays, and our weekends are still chock full of boat DIY work as we scramble to get the last outside work done AND the insulation up before the weather turns. Which leaves exactly three evenings left for all of our social activities, and any sewing left to squeeze in. This week I’ve got something on all three of those evenings, too.
So this really leaves progress to be made in very small segments. I’m very good at finding spare ten minute pieces of time here and there, but lately even these have been thin on the ground. Over the past week, I only managed to work on this jacket twice – on Wednesday night I fused all the necessary pieces with Pam’s weft-insertion interfacing and vilene bias tape, and then Sunday afternoon I actually managed to get a few hours of sewing done once I’d done 3 hours of insulation work and the dust settled enough in the hold for me to get out my ironing board.
Beyond that, while we were working on the construction part of the boat, something happened to the 24v cabling and so the lights in the bedroom, sewing room, and one other area no longer work. So my sewing room is very dark now, even when it’s light outside! Please accept my double apologies for the quality of these photos – I had to light the area with a headtorch while taking these on my (soon to be upgraded, yayyy!) old iPhone 3G camera.read more >>
As I mentioned last week, I made this blouse the weekend we got back from Hungary. It was a really quick make, with only a few seams and minimal closures, so even including some thread tracing and french seams didn’t really lengthen the project time. In other words, it was exactly the sort of project I needed right after a holiday!
Burda 09/2010 #110 is the sleeveless version of this top and one of the, oh, eleven must-sews for me from this September 2010 issue. It’s been one of my absolute favourite issues since the moment it came out, so it was nice to make something other than the cover dress for once!
I mostly made this to coordinate with my upcoming grey wool skirt suit, but with our unexpected hot and sunny October (29C/88F!!!) in London, you’ll get it see it worn now in a summer style, paired with my silver tweed KnipMode skirt. I imagine the weather will cool off enough by the time I finish the suit that you’ll get to see it layered underneath the jacket as I intended!read more >>
We’re back from our Hungarian holiday and feeling wonderfully relaxed, though it’s debatable how long that’ll last! This was my fourth time in Budapest in the last ten years (and James’s third!), but it was the longest we’ve been able to spend there and our first trip outside the city.
Our main reason for going was so we could celebrate our first anniversary at our favourite restaurant, Karpatia (last time we were there, Michael Palin and his film crew were in the other room!), but to also soak away our boat work aches in the city’s plentiful hot spas! In four full days in Budapest, we visited three different hot spas: Szechenyi, Palatinus Strand on Margaret Island, and Hotel Gellert. Think swimming pools, but filled with bath-water warm mineral water (no chlorine!) with assorted jets, bubblers, massaging fountains, wave pools, slides, and whirpool baths and you’re still only halfway there…
In an astounding bit of coincidence, we enjoyed amaaaazing traditional Hungarian food, tokaj, and palinka stalls at the Nemzeti Vagta (“National Gallop”) festival. It was mostly about Hungarian horsemanship with incredible costumes, chariot races, and Heroes’ Square set up like a Ben Hur set, but there were also stalls representing every region in Hungary, some showcasing amazing embroidery:
I really like that you can focus on the stitching when you only use one thread colour! Unfortunately, I didn’t see any needlework kits for traditional designs on sale anywhere.
Then we took the train out to Balatonfured on Lake Balaton for a few days, and I made great use of the train time to finish the last hand sewing on my trench jacket! (I’m also wearing my silk jersey Lekala cowl top here.)
While we were there, we rented bicycles from our hotel and cycled the 6km to the next town, Tihany, and back along the river. My trench jacket and my navy riding trousers came in very handy here as it was the only cool and cloudy day of our trip!read more >>
I’m so pleased to finally show you the first piece from my Fall 2011 sewing aspirations – the trench jacket!
As you recall, I was restricted in my pattern choice since I bought the last 2.5 yards of this waterproof gabardine from Mood when we were in NYC last Fall, but in the end I settled on Burda 02-2009-112. The gabardine feels great – it’s not coated with anything and it doesn’t feel plasticky – it’s just that the weave is so tight that water beads on it! Perfect for London!
This is a Burda Petite pattern, but the only change I needed to make to the muslin was to lengthen the sleeves! I’ve been busy sewing this in tiny increments over the past few weeks because I’ve been so busy, and you can see that we had to squeeze in this photoshoot after work, too!
I really love the overall shape of this totally curvy jacket, but I especially love the pleated back vent, which was surprisingly very easy to sew! I cut the same pieces in the lining, and I cleverly waited to sew the diagonal topstitching to keep the folds in place until after the lining was in so the two layers stay together nicely.read more >>
It’ll be no surprise to you that I’ve already started on my Fall sewing, since you’ve just heard all about my upcoming trench jacket, but I’ve been thinking about the rest of my Fall sewing ambitions over the last few weeks. Having August temperatures mostly in the 50sF (16-20C) meant that I was mentally ready for cooler weather a long time ago!
I’ve got the fabric for all (but two) of these already, too, so I’m sure to get through a lot of my stash this way, too… Though I did just buy some new fabric in order to make four of these, oops. More on the matching fabric later.
I am on fire for Fall sewing right now, and the latest object of my desire is my beautiful little trench jacket. I’d bought some waterproof gabardine from Mood when we were in NYC last Fall, but it was the end of the roll so I only had 2.5 yards to play with while selecting a pattern.
With several years of various pattern magazines to choose from, I was in no short supply of trench coat patterns. However, many of the traditional, double-breasted, longer length trench coats require at least 3 yards/metres of fabric, so my fabric shortage helped me narrow down the possibilities immensely. In the end, it was down to Burda 02-2009-119 and Burda 08-2007-111, and I figured I’d get more years of wear from a stylish jacket than I would a cape.
So the curvy, feminine, petite pattern won out!
I did make a muslin of this (I’d be mad not to for a petite pattern), but surprisingly, the only alterations needed were to lengthen the sleeves. Despite being 5’8”, I tend to find that Burda’s Petite patterns fit me waaaay better than Burda’s Tall patterns (which seem to be grotesquely oversized whenever I try them).read more >>
Remember back in November when I made a muslin for the Burda Armani knockoff coat and found it to be absolutely, unforgivably awful? Well, even at the time, I could see that my main problems with the coat weren’t necessarily likely to be problems with the shorter, jacket version of the same pattern (Burda 09/2010 #117).
So while I’ve been contemplating my Fall sewing options, going through my stash, and tidying up my tiny sewing room, I decided it was time to alter it to evaluate the jacket.
The main differences from the coat are:
Believe it or not, I still had the muslin tucked away from last year’s coat FAIL and I came across it again when I was tidying up my sewing room. In about 15 minutes I had adapted the earlier muslin to be the jacket – and most of that time was spent pressing 10 months of wrinkles out of it!read more >>
Well, at the time, I said I’d definitely make a summery version, too, but then again, I often saw I’ll remake patterns and then I hardly ever do, so I can’t really blame you if you thought you’d never see this pattern again!
But you’d be wrong! This dress is just so stratospherically flattering and magical that I couldn’t resist making a summer version in pale pink and grey lace, even though it meant hours of hand basting the lace onto the knit during our French road trip. And then once I was home, fusing metres upon metres of vilene bias tape to the various curved seams so they wouldn’t ripple during wear.
All this before I even constructed a single seam, but you know what – it was totally worth it.read more >>
Following on from last week when I showed you the shirt I made for my nephew, I also wanted to share the super-belated Christmas garment I sewed for his cousin, my niece.
When I saw the cute boleros in the February Burda magazine, I just knew I had to make one for Megan. Bolero #142 seemed to be the most wearable version for Spring and Summer, and I had just enough of this incredibly soft, pink zebra print minkee I’d bought for her at Fabric.com!
Honestly, how great a model is this girl??read more >>
I started work on this lace skirt just before we left for France, when I was finally over my post-March wardrobe exhaustion and finally ready to get stuck in on some more complex and fiddly projects. So I got all the layers cut out and basted together before I left, so this I only had the fun stuff left to do last week! Hooray for me!
The luscious purple lace is all dark purple on one side, but with added chenille texture and lighter, printed flowers on the other side. It’s from Ditto fabrics, bought by Pip as part of my Christmas gift, and I made good use of my 1m!
Since it’s lace and more sheer than I’d like for a skirt, I underlined this with some fabric I bought on Karen’s big Walthamstow meetup – it’s a poly stretch woven, with a bengaline-feel on the light purple side, and a wine-coloured, satin reverse. The purple side matched my lace perfectly and the satin reverse just meant I didn’t have to line it because it’s already slippery inside! Score!
While the colour match isn’t perfect with either my bamboo tulip top or my purple boots, it was close enough for me to wear them together yesterday!read more >>
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was first laying out my initial plans for this mini wardrobe, but now I’ve had some time to step back and have a look over what I managed to accomplish last month. I made this wardrobe mostly for myself, to use some luscious fabrics from my stash in combination with patterns that really appealed to me, but I also kept one eye on the contest requirements running over at PaternReview.com to make sure I remained within their rules, too. Here’s my entry into their contest, or you can just read on below…
I started with a blue viscose, draped knit top that I’d bought from ASOS and really liked, but I wanted to wear with both casual and dressy bottoms.
To coordinate, I sewed:
1. Jalie jeans – I’d made a muslin but the waistband was horrible so I had my work cut out for me on this pair using great quality stretch denim from Mood in NYC, plus some London streetsign fabric for the waistband facings and pockets. I used my vintage hand crank Singer machine for all the topstitching, plus I got to use my vintage buttonholer attachment and high quality rivets for the first time! I fixed all the waistband issues in this pair and these are now my favourite jeans. Read more…read more >>
I’ve now finished the fourth garment in my March Mini Wardrobe plans and I think you’re going to love it as much as I do!
I bought some utterly luscious grey leather when I was in New York in September, and I’d thought about a few different patterns (even going so far as muslining one I never showed you), but I finally settled on the long, slim pencil skirt from the August 2010 Burda magazine (#128).
Since we’re talking about leather here and you cannot unpick any stitches once they’re sewn, I made a muslin, which revealed a few minor fitting issues which needed fixing in the final skirt. Other than that, I shortened the length to make it above the knee (which also eliminated the back vent) and removed the centre front seam to improve the look.read more >>
You’ll get to see my Manequim silk blouse tomorrow, but in the meantime I thought I’d give you a progress update on the fourth item in my March Mini Wardrobe, the leather skirt (Burda magazine 08-2010 #128 – though #127 is nearly identical).
I’m making this skirt in some utterly luscious grey leather I bought while on honeymoon in New York, and despite having sewn with leather loads of times before, this is my first real leather garment. So knowing what I know, I knew I had to make a muslin first because once you sew leather, it’s done – the needles holes are permanent so you can’t rip out stitches!
I made up a quick muslin at the end of February, and, unusually for Burda, the size 42 was too tight over my hips. Rather than trace a bigger size (boring!) I drew two long lines up the front of the skirt on either side of the centre front. On the waistband and yoke pieces, I added 2cm width to each line, and for the lower skirt piece, I made a triangular wedge which tapers to nothing at my marked hem.read more >>
You wouldn’t know it from the lack of sewing photos, but I’ve actually been fairly productive over the past two weeks.
I was a terrible auntie this year and failed to make anything nice for my niece and nephew this Christmas, and my sister-in-law said I should just send them something when I get around to it, seeing as how they’re both so overwhelmed at Christmas anyhow. So before I got started on my March Mini Wardrobe stuff, I took an afternoon to make these, which are currently in transit:
I made a fluffy pink zebra minkee bolero for my 7 year old niece, and an adapted (ie: no hood) monsters and red jersey tee for my 8 year old nephew. You’ll see more about these when they try them on, with any luck…
And while I was clearing the sewing guilt decks, I finally also made the silver silk jersey dress I’d promised (and muslined) for James’s sister over a year ago!read more >>
I’ve finished my post-coat winter sewing plans apart from the La Mia Boutique draped skirt which I’m feeling now is better suited for spring or summer, so I thought I’d dip my toes into the Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe contest that’s running throughout the month of March.
This is a pared-down version of their usual, sprawling wardrobe/SWAP contest, so this time around you need to create a five piece wardrobe in four weeks, using one item you already own (sewn or RTW) and be able to create at least six different outfits from this. I’m actually going one better and aiming to sew five pieces rather than four, but that may fall by the wayside depending on how the month goes.
Here’s what I’ve got in mind:read more >>
James isn’t normally the pyjama sort, but it’s been particularly cold this winter and he’s been in need of some PJ bottoms for quite a while. He only has one pair and it’s kinda sad to be wearing Santa Homer Simpson in February:
(Note to family – please don’t take this as a plea to send more. He really only needs and wants this one pair!)
So I took pity on him and said I’d sew him a new pair to wear, and Burda magazine 12-2010 #134 was particularly handy. There are tons and tons of unisex pyjama trouser patterns out there, but this one was easy to find, and I know Burda’s sizing is so consistent that a 52 would fit him fine.
We were going to use the grey knit fabric we bought at Ditto, but I greatly underestimated the width of that so there was nowhere near enough (totally my fault as Gill asked “are you sure that’s enough?”). In a sea of insipid cutsey prints, Chawla’s came through with this solid black cotton flannel for cheap (3m for £11 shipped and I’ve got extra for jacket interlining if I like now, too). Chawla’s may not have the widest selection of natural fibre fabrics, but they are consistently the fastest shippers ever – I ordered this on a Tuesday, and it arrived in Thursday’s post!read more >>
I made no secret of my total love and adoration of Burda’s September issue last year. In my opinion (and many of you!) this was the standout, stellar issue in an otherwise mediocre year for the magazine. I’m slowly working my way through everything I wanted to sew from that issue (some good and some bad!) but now it was the time for the cover dress, #122.
I showed you the pattern alterations I made to “un-petite” this pattern, though I reckon I could have even added a bit more to the middle of piece 2 as my pointiroma has less lengthwise stretch as my muslin knit, making the underbust seam just barely under my bust. The horizontal seam between pieces 3 and 4 hits me right at my natural waist on the sides, which I think is just great. I also took 6 inches off the hem of pieces 7 and 8 so that this is above the knee rather than below.read more >>
While I wait for the weekend to photoshoot the Lekala ribbed top (either you all are too smart or I’m too predictable!), I’ve started work on creating the cover dress from the September Burda magazine. It’s a really cool, curved seam design with no side seams and designed for knits, but it’s one of Burda’s Petite patterns.
I am in NO way petite – at 5’8” (172cm), I am closer to Burda’s Tall height (180cm) than I am to the petite height( (160cm). I have a sneaking suspicion that my torso is quite compact and my height is mostly in my legs, but in any case… I’ve made a few of Burda’s petite patterns before with good results, namely, my 30th birthday dress and the blue silk cocktail dress, so I wasn’t totally scared off because it’s for petites.
I made up a muslin of the top half of the dress (the half I’m most concerned with) on Wednesday night and I’m happy with my alterations so I thought I should share what I did.
First of all, lay out pieces 1 and 2 so that their folded edges are aligned, taping the pieces together loosely. Then lay out pieces 8 and 9 so that their folded edges are aligned, and that these meet the front pieces at intersections 7 and 8. Don’t worry that the shoulders are far apart or that some of the curved seams don’t meet up whilst flat.
My alterations are the white pieces shown below:read more >>
Now that I’ve got my big winter coat sewing out of the way, I can turn my attentions to filling in a few gaps in my winter wardrobe. Sewing these things now means I can get another good 3-4 months of wear out of them before moving on to short sleeves and lighter jackets (no really, for the past few years we’ve had flurries and hard frosts in April or May).
So I’ve gathered together the patterns I’d most like to sew along with fabrics I’ve got in my stash that would help fill my wardrobe voids…
Starting at the top of this collage, we’ve got:read more >>
My favourites of 2010:
Standout moments in sewing land:read more >>
“Oh”, I hear you think*, “another one of those Burda turtlenecks?!?!”
Endless others have already made this, and I admit I was hesitant to make it myself because:
- When a pattern gets made a LOT, it kinda makes me want to sew it less (maybe it’s shades of “I sew so I don’t wear the same thing as everyone else” coming through?)
- I love love loved the Burda September issue and it almost feels like a cop-out to make the super easy pattern from it first when there’s just so many great patterns in there
But in the end, I still really needed more long sleeved tops and I already had the fabric and the overlocker and coverstitch were still threaded in the right colours. So it’s fate.read more >>
Are you ready for some random sewing goodness? Let the randomosity begin!
- When I was at the bookstore on Brick Lane buying James’s birthday card, I couldn’t resist this reusable wrapping paper (okay, it’s just fabric to me and you!) with London streetsigns. I love that it’s a London fabric without being OMG UNION JACKS THE QUEEN TOWER BRIDGE! I figure I could use it as a lining like I did with that Japanese tea towel and my bolero jacket a few years back…
- We were supposed to meet up with Pip and her boyfriend two weeks ago to celebrate Christmas, but we had to reschedule due to my swine flu, so I’m only just now able to sew up her present – a Nairobi bag made up in gorgeously soft red wine leather, bought in NYC from Global Leathers (I find it interesting that Americans would call this colour “burgundy”, whereas in the UK it’d be “claret”). I’m about halfway done and already I can tell she’s going to love it!
I’ve been calling this James’s “fantasy jacket” because he’s asked me to recreate a beloved unlined, simple, waterproof jacket that was stolen from a pub on the night he met me all those years ago.
He recalled it from memory while I attempted to create an accurate tech drawing, and then once that was agreed, I compared this against my vast pattern magazine archive (made much easier since I started tagging my At a Glance scans online, so I just had to shuffle through those issues tagged “menswear”!).
I decided that BWOF 10/08 #134 was a pretty good starting point for what James wanted, and I went from there. The muslin went well, so around Thanksgiving I started on the final jacket, made from a very cool laminated linen from Mood in NYC, with bias binding made from some dark red and black tie silk bought in Dublin three years ago.read more >>
I always look forward to Pattern Review’s Best Patterns of the year, but this year the nominations don’t have a single pattern magazine included. This is really disappointing as I do 99% of my sewing from them, and I feel the shortlist really doesn’t reflect my own personal sewing in the slightest. (And don’t even get me started about the inclusion of some patterns that were just Big 4’s stumbling, mediocre versions of great patterns previously printed in pattern mags!)
So I thought it might be fun to have our own nominations for the Best Pattern Magazines of 2010!
I think it’ll be easier to vote for whole issues rather than specific patterns inside, and also give people a better idea of which back issues to hunt for. If there’s enough nominations, I’ll set up a proper vote in a bit so we can see what’s crowned the winner when I do my own personal roundup of the year on New Year’s Day.read more >>
It may be FREEZING in London, but the heat is on for me to sew James’s fantasy jacket in time for his birthday on Saturday!
I’m calling it his “fantasy jacket” because he’s asked me to recreated a beloved unlined, simple, waterproof jacket that was stolen from a pub on the night he met me. So he recalled it from memory while I attempted to create an accurate tech drawing. Then I compared this against my vast pattern magazine archive and decided that BWOF 10/08 #134 minus all the bells and whistles plus a few different whistles and bells was the best starting point. The muslin went well, so this weekend I started on the final jacket, made from a very cool laminated linen from Mood in NYC, with bias binding made from some dark red and black tie silk bought in Dublin three years ago.
The rubberised coating on the fabric means any and all pin holes show, so I needed to treat it like leather – pattern weights and rotary cutter for the pieces, and since it’s unlined, I also needed to create metres upon metres of bias binding for the exposed edges. I used a continuous bias binding method for the first time ever and it was very quick, though not very intuitive.
(I wrapped the binding around a sunglasses case to avoid creases. And because it was handy. Let’s face it – I’m not going to be needing the sunglasses any time soon!)
After binding most of the edges, I then set to work on the front welt pockets, which were rather tricky on a fabric that requires a press cloth (I’m paranoid that the laminating will melt!) and can only be basted where it will never be seen. So I thought I’d document the process and give you all a little welt pocket tutorial.
This is also exactly how I do bound buttonholes, but because the scale is much larger here, it’s easier to try welt pockets first to get the technique down and then just do the same thing on a smaller scale for buttons once you get the hang of it.
How to sew a double welt pocket
My pockets here are 7 inches long (6” is standard but I wanted to make sure his big man paws would fit in), and the opening is a total of 2cm wide (1cm on either side of the centre opening line). So the welts I cut out were 4cm wide (folded in half, they’re 2cm wide so straddle the stitching line nicely), and 8 inches long (so I get some overlap at the ends). You’ll need two welts per pocket. I folded each of these lengthwise and machine basted close to the cut edges to keep them together. If your fabric frays or shifts in anyway, you may want to interface the welt pieces in addition to the area around the pocket opening.
Hand baste the pocket edges and central line. When you’re basting (in general), never turn a corner with your hand stitches, but leave the tails free at the corners. Also, you should extend the short edges here two centimeters or so beyond the long lines. I haven’t here because the needle holes would show!
When I was in NYC on our honeymoon, I went a bit mental in Global Leathers and I found this awesome bronze leather with a black suede reverse in their scrap bin for $10! Steal! It was plenty big enough to make this obi belt, and I reckon I’ve got enough leftover to either make this again as a gift, or make a ruffled wristlet for me..
Cidell, Ghainskom, and Dawn have all already made BWOF 06/09 #151 ages ago and I’d kept this in the back of my mind since I saw theirs. This is the perfect pattern for this leather because not only do you get to see both sides, but it’s fully reversible, too!read more >>
James and I are big fans of the fantastic and fantastically trashy HBO show “True Blood” so this Halloween we decided to dress up as Bon Temps’s psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse and her 250 year old vampire boyfriend Bill Compton. James’s costume was considerably easier than mine (wear black, put on plastic fangs and fake blood, speak with Southern drawl), but thankfully mine didn’t involve too much effort this year either.
I wanted to recreate Sookie’s most recognisable outfit, the Merlotte’s bar uniform, which consists of black shorts, a tight white teeshirt with the green Merlotte’s logo, and a back bar apron.
As I’ve made clear before, I do not wear shorts. I own one pair that I bought when I was 18, and they don’t get worn outside the moorings. Whatever shorts I made here would be a one-time only garment, so I wanted to make them as simple and easy as possible. Since the October edition of Burda magazine was handy, I traced off #111 and then modified them to make them as simple as possible:read more >>
I absolutely LOVE the Burda magazine September 2010 issue. Loved it from the first second I saw the technical drawings, and now, several issues later, I’m still not seeing much that tops it. I literally have 11 or 12 must-sew patterns from it, and one of them is the Tall coat, #118.
As you recall, when I was in New York, I saw an eerily similar coat in the window of the Armani 5th Avenue store, and this sealed the deal – I must make this coat using my super thick, ex-Burberry dusty teal coating that’s been in my stash since last winter!
I don’t make muslins for a lot of things, but when the fabric is expensive, or can’t easily be resized (like leather), or if there’s a lot of work involved before a fitting can be made, then I’ll grumble and moan and make a muslin first rather than waste my nice fabric (and time!) and get any fitting issues out of the way first.
Let’s get down to the instructions first – Burda’s instructions aren’t too bad on this one EXCEPT for the zippered inseam pockets – they are absolutely nuts, and account for a good third of the instructions for the entire coat. But the instructions are besides the point, because if you jam your hands into your winter coat pockets when you walk like I do, you really don’t want metal zipper teeth digging in to the backs of your hands! So leaving off the zippers not only saves you time, but makes for a much more usable coat.read more >>
Jacquie made these trousers as part of her recent wardrobe collection (she’s “dingyadi” on PR) and I instantly knew I had to make them, too. Like her, I was put off by how skin-tight these looked on the Burda model in the magazine, but in real life, they fit really nicely! Unlike her, I left off the front patch pockets, though, as I figured there was enough going on everywhere else!
They’re from Burda magazine 08/2008 #120A:
They’re great trousers, but there’s just so many freaking pieces, omg! And the topstitching!!
Take the front leg, for instance. On a normal pair of trousers, it’s one piece (maybe three if you have a pocket). On these, the front leg is comprised of three pieces before you even get into the pockets (so 6 in total for mine, or 9 if you chose View B with the added pouch pockets with the flap!). There’s a scooped pattern piece at the inner thigh in the front and back, and lots of horizontal topstitching across the knees in addition to topstitching pretty much every seam of the trousers, too.read more >>
Pip came round last night for dinner, drinks, holiday food exchange (French cheese from me and Greek nougat from her!), and her final fitting on her bridesmaid dress.
If you cast your mind back to April and May, her gown is the long, purple, silk jersey Gant exclusive design gown from the Sept 2008 Burda magazine.
I’d completed the gowns back in May, but I left off the tiny covered buttons on the cummerbund and finishing the hem until closer to the day so that they wouldn’t have to worry about gaining or losing a few pounds, or deciding on different shoes before now!
Happily, Pip’s gown fits her perfectly, with minimal overlap at the cummerbund, and really her hem was just about perfect with her chosen heels. But then we realised that if she switched to her comfort flip-flops on the dancefloor, the hem would drag, so I’m going to pull up the hem by an inch.
Then Pip wanted to see me in my gown, and since I hadn’t tried it on since the skirt was attached, I felt it was a good idea. But even though I was capable of wrestling into the boned bodice before, it was proving impossible (and more than a little claustrophobic) with the attached skirt. It was apparent that I had to remove the brass bar at the top of the zipper to allow the top to fully open and give me extra room to squeeze into the gown. I’d thought I might have to, but I kept it in until now since it wasn’t a problem. So now I’ll just need to add one or more hook and eyes to the top of the zipper to keep it all in place.read more >>
I had a busy yet productive weekend – not only did I finish my Colette Patterns Beignet skirt, but I also made the Patrones 292 sleeveless bias cowl top, too! I didn’t have enough time for a photoshoot over the weekend, but I did remember to finally document my favourite way of finishing the edges of thin blouses like the cowl top so I can finally share this with you.
This technique is great for necklines and armscyes on sleeveless tops, and is my preferred way to finish any kind of blousey, lightweight fabrics like silk satins and the viscose (rayon) you see here. You get a thin, finished edge that looks good inside and out with a minimum of fuss, and you don’t have that awkward problem of facings flipping out or anything, either. As long as you’re okay with a small amount of topstitching on the right side, this is the technique for you…
So before we begin, sew one of your seams so you’ve got a C-shape. If you’re finishing a neckline, this means you sew one of the shoulder seams. I’m finishing the armscye of a sleeveless blouse here, so in this case I’m sewing both shoulder seams, leaving the side seams free.
Cut out a bias strip that’s the length of your opening edge, plus a few centimetres just to be sure. For the width, I prefer a finished facing of just 1cm, so my width here is 1cm + (2× 1.5cm seam allowances) = 4cm. read more >>
Both bridesmaids dresses for my September wedding are now finished! Since I’m sewing both of these plus my own gown, I stipulated that these had to be knit so that I could sew them early and my girls could feel free to gain or lose a few pounds without too much last-minute alterations hassle.
To refresh your memory, the three of us chose the Gant exclusive design dress from the Sept 08 Burda magazine:
The previous posts about these dresses spanned over a year (from our pre-illness, original wedding date), so to help you find them, here’s a handy list:
- Choosing the pattern
- Going fabric shopping and choosing their colours
- Tackling those pleated cummerbunds
- Finishing the first dress
Last week you got to see the newest Patrones that Aisling sent over, but you all have been far too good to me, because last week I also got a surprise parcel from Daisy!
She did some awesome detective work and worked out my size and style and picked out Simplicity 2754 and Butterick 5317 for me! And she did a great job, because I really like them both! I always have a hard time seeing the potential with the Project Runway patterns because the pattern covers are so horribly done that you can’t see any details at all, and Simplicity’s site makes it really awkward to browse by technical drawing (what I do as a general rule with Burda magazine previews). Anyway, as it turns out, I really like the details of this one, and doing some research myself, I remembered that Trena made it a few months back and I absolutely loved it! And she’s so got the right idea with those back view enhancements! And the Butterick Maggy London dress is just screaming out for a border print, as far as I’m concerned – the skirt is just a rectangle with pleating, so anything with a border or lace at the edge would go perfectly as you don’t have any cut, curved hem or side seams. So it actually is as easy as it’s labelled, seeing as how you’re really just making the bodice…
These patterns all came at the perfect time, because not only did I finish the second bridesmaid dress this weekend (photos coming later this week), but London has stumbled into a mini-heatwave which always gets me raring to sew! After spending the last two months solid on these dresses for my girls, I’m more than ready to sew for myself now, and I’m not scheduled to start on my wedding dress muslin until July.
Sooooo, how much can I cram into the next month, eh? Granted, I’ll still want to make a few things here or there while I’m working on my gown, but I thought it’d be a good idea to get all the things I want to sew together in one place. I’m not calling it a wardrobe or SWAP since they don’t all go together, and I don’t want to commit myself to ALL of these since I tend to get bored easily, so let’s just call this a shortlist so I can choose from these at will…
The FehrTrade Summer 2010 Sewing Shortlist!
From the top:read more >>
I made a big push on Sunday to get as much done on the first bridesmaid as I could, and between then and some “non-commuting” time yesterday and today (I worked from home both days so I put the hour I’d normally be commuting to good use!) I managed to finish Pip’s dress, apart from the hem and the covered buttons, which I need to purchase in town tomorrow.
To refresh your memory, I’m sewing the Gant exclusive design dress from the Sept 08 Burda magazine:
I tackled those pleated cummerbunds first to get them out of the way, but even the easier silk jersey portions were not entirely straightforward. With a design this simple, the glory is in the perfect execution!
First thing I was grateful for is my newly-raised cutting and drafting table. Each gown takes four skirt sections this size (front & back, exterior & lining), and they take up nearly the whole table!
I didn’t take any intermediate photos of Pip’s dress, but I ended up doing the entire bodice on my sewing machine after all, so that I could understitch the neck and arm openings more easily. In the end, I only used the overlocker for the long skirt seams.read more >>
Fashion has always been cyclical – we reinvent ideas from decades past and give them a new twist. But with everyone playing off similar influences, sometimes two designers independently come up with very similar ideas. So it’s really not a surprise that you can sometimes find very similar pattern designs across companies, too.
As I found out, once you start looking for “pattern twins”, suddenly you start seeing them everywhere!
Patrones vs Knip tops
It all started when reader Hilde pointed out in my Patrones 289 review that this Plus top looks an awful lot like an older KnipMode design, so I decided to investigate further by comparing the shapes of the pattern pieces side-by-side:
(This KnipMode top was previously neglected because it was in the same issue as the fabulous swimsuit pattern…)
While the tech drawings look different, when you look at the pattern pieces you can see that most of that is just down to artistic interpretation and the pieces are very similar indeed!
Knip vs Burda blouses
Then I noticed in my review of the March 2010 KnipMode that their ruffle-collared blouse was incredibly similar to one Burda released last year! read more >>
While I’ve been showing you all sorts of books and magazine reviews and drafting up free bag patterns for you, what’s been going on in the sewing room, I hear you ask! Well, I set aside April and May to sew my two bridesmaids dresses, and after a long muslin period, I’ve been getting stuck in with the most time consuming portion of the dresses first – the pleated, silk satin (charmeuse) waistband/cummerbunds.
The fabrics were bought over a year ago, so I fished out the bag and got to work on the reeeeeeeally long pleated sections using Burda’s magazine instructions (which are surprisingly helpful) and a bit of info from my The Art of Manipulating Fabric book (thanks, Cindy!). These are knife pleats, one centimeter apart, and Burda called for seven pleats down the band, but after my test piece, it looked a bit sparse at the top and bottom edges, so I decided to go for eight pleats in the final versions.
So in order to help any of you attempting this on your own (and sadly, a Perfect Pleater is way too narrow to help me here), or those of you wondering why professional designers outsource their pleating to professional firms, here’s what’s involved…
How to pleat
Step 1 – On the reverse of the fabric to be pleated, mark chalk lines exactly 3cm apart, one for every “mountain” pleat.read more >>
There have been quite a lot of people wondering about the various sewing pattern magazines out there and which they should buy or subscribe to. Since I’ve been primarily sewing with pattern magazines over the last few years, I thought some of you might appreciate my opinions on the major pattern magazines (and no, I’m not getting any kickbacks or referral money from any of these links, if it wasn’t obvious!).
For all of these magazines, you receive a glossy magazine with lots of nice photos of models wearing the various designs, and there will be a section containing the technical drawings, instructions, and fabric layout for each design. Patterns are included in a special folded bunch of papers (usually stapled in the centre so you can pull them out easily without damaging the rest of the magazine). The patterns come in a variety of sizes, but none of these contain seam allowances and you need to trace them off the sheets provided.
I trace my patterns using a serrated tracing wheel and brown kraft paper, but many others prefer to use tracing paper and pencils. I add my seam allowances when I cut out my fabric by simply cutting 5/8”/1.5cm away from the edge of my paper pattern, but there are double tracing wheels available to do this for you.read more >>
While my mom was staying with us over the summer, she absolutely fell in love with my mustard yellow handbag and called dibs on something (anything!) made from the remaining leather. Since I didn’t have enough to make another Nairobi bag, I started looking through my stash and fashion mags to get some inspiration, and lo! from the Feb 09 Burda WOF “Australia The Movie” accessories feature (not on the website I’m afraid), there was the perfect handbag, already in yellow even!
There were only two pattern pieces to trace – the main bag body (I doubled the paper pattern so it was the full size rather cut than on the fold to make it easier to lay out on the leather) and the small flap. All the other pieces were rectangles of various dimensions that Burda list in the instructions – the only one I actually used was the piece for the side and bottom of the bag.read more >>
The October 2009 Burda WOF magazine had some really cute winter girls clothes in it, but for me, the sweatskirt (#145) jumped out right away as a great present for my neice, Megan.
This was a really quick pattern consisting only of the skirt (the same for the front and back) and the kangaroo pocket, with a length of ribbing attached for the waistband! I was able to make this using the last leftover navy blue sweatshirting and a ridiculously tiny amount of leftover ribbing from James’s 2008 birthday sweatshirt and it was all done in under an hour. The only changes I made to the pattern was to lengthen it by about an inch because Megan is rather tall and lanky and I’d rather err on the longer side than shorter!read more >>
And now, to start off a few posts showing off “What I Gave” this year (ok I’m a little late), here’s the hooded sweatshirt I made for my main squeeze, James.
James really liked the look of the men’s sweatshirt in the December Burda magazine and when I asked him which colour(s) he’d like it in, he proceeded to sketch the sweatshirt and fill in all the sections with the colours he wanted, plus where he’d like some added piping, too. Looks like I had a tough bill to fill in time for Christmas…read more >>
I’ve been doing loads more Christmas sewing but I can only show you the barest amount since so many friends and family read the site. But that just means there’s going to be a glut of posts going up between Christmas and New Year, plus I just got two KnipModes so I can show you my picks from October through January, plus I got gifted the Twinkle Sews book so I’ve got loads to say about that, plus it’s soon time for my year end roundup! So lots coming up, and it’s probably a good thing we’re staying at home over the holidays!
But first, two gifts I can show you some peeks of… My friend Pip has cottoned on to the fact that I can make her things in silk that cost way less than in the shops – last year it was the silk pyjamas, but this year she really wanted silk pillowcases, so I made her a pair in black silk charmeuse based on the measurements of my own cases, plus I added a bit of contrast reverse side and a line of piping to jazz it up a bit.
And even though James reads the site, he had so much input into his sweatshirt that it’s hardly going to be a surprise on Christmas morning!read more >>
Even experienced sewers do dumb things. I hardly ever make muslins except when I’ve got really expensive fabric (like coating) or when I’m working with a pattern company I’ve not used very much before. But for Burdas, I know I’m a size 42, and that size 42 always fits me.
Until now. I’ve just finished sewing BWOF 05/2009 #117 and (yes I know it’s a stupid thing to do) I didn’t try it on until I put the invisible zipper in right at the end because it’s a PITA to get someone else to pin you in and out and frankly, I still hurt from that surgery so I just like to get into my sewing zen zone and proceed without interruptions. That’s my excuse, anyway.
So what’s Burda’s?? Being polite, I could say this pattern runs small. Besides the fact that Burda patterns don’t run anything, they just fit, every time, with German precision, since when is it okay to have zero inches of waist ease in any woven pattern (seriously – measured dress waist is 30 1/2 inches. Size 42 body waist measurement is 30 3/4 inches on the size chart)? Argh. I think I’m most annoyed because I trusted Burda so implicitly, and because I did such an awesome job on those pointed underarm gussets that so intimidated me (they actually turned out to be really easy – just make sure you thread-baste the seam lines, interface the point, and sew each in two steps like Burda suggests).
I even had to dial Susan down to her absolute smallest setting (39-29-40) to get the dress to fit onto her, and even then the zipper is really straining at the back bodice!read more >>
The second of my winter knit dresses is the cross-bodiced Burda WOF 06/09 #129. I’ve had my eye on this pattern ever since it came out, but I was amazed to see that no one had reviewed it yet on PR, so it’s definitely an undiscovered gem as far as I’m concerned!
I recently ordered a big batch of fabrics from Totally Fabrics (more on that later) in their 40% off everything sale including this brown floral viscose jersey print with shades of teal, fuschia, and grey thrown in. I only ordered one metre (of 1.5m available stock) but when it turned up, it turns out they gave me the whole 1.5m rather than have an awkwardly short leftover! Score! Even so, there was no way I could squeeze this entire dress out of the yardage available, so I had to do a clever amount of fabric Tetris, shorten the hem by 2 inches, make the sleeves 3/4 length, and sew the hidden front bodice piece from a constrasting grey marl jersey.read more >>
Sorry about the delay in the knit dress photos – I’d planned to do a photoshoot on Sunday but we had a mini hurricane all day, and then I had lung surgery yesterday so even though the dresses are finished (and I’ve started on a third!), it’ll be a few days until I can climb into them without wincing and make myself presentable.
So it’s a good thing that I’ve got these phots of my little neighbour Rosie’s 2nd birthday present to keep you occupied in the meantime, eh? A few weeks ago we were invited to her party and knowing how much she loved Matilda’s dress, I thought I’d make her something to announce the proud occasion.
There’s a great amount of toddler patterns in Burda magzines, but I finally settled on BWOF 05/2006 #137 which is just a simple teeshirt with shoulder snaps for easy dressing. I used some of the ex-Paul Smith grey jersey with stars, bought from Ditto Fabrics, and some lavender cotton interlock leftover from my mom’s dress to make it a little more girlie!read more >>
Remember that wool, collared Patrones top I made recently? Well, I’m so happy to report that my overly detailed instructions for it weren’t in vain, because Kim’s made this top, too! It’s fitting, really, since she’s the one who hooked me up with this issue in the first place… ;)
Doesn’t she look great? In her own words:read more >>
I’ve had this flowered black and red denim I’ve since I was 13 or 14 year old. I remember being so inspired by the “sewing machine driver’s test” we took in Home Ec class that I got my mom to buy me this at JoAnn’s Fabrics and I made a really simple tote bag out of this using her old pea-green Kenmore sewing machine. The bag fell apart soon after (let’s just say I wasn’t big on following any “rules”), but I just attached the straps back on with some safety pins and continued to use it as my school bag for the rest of the year.
I honestly had no idea this fabric even still existed, but my mom found it lurking somewhere in my old room at their house and brought it with her this summer. I looked through my pattern magazine archive (made so much simpler by scanning each of the index pages into an online album) and #113 from the July 2008 Burda WOF magazine jumped out as the prime contender.
There wasn’t much fabric left, but it was plenty enough to make this skirt. I’d definitely keep this one in mind if you’ve got a metre or so of heavyweight fabric you want to make use of!read more >>
Sorry for the delays in posting these photos, but I really wanted to do some proper photoshoots, and last week I had 8 hospital appointments in 5 days, and it gets dark by 4pm now in London so it makes matters even more difficult!
But if you’ll recall, my neighbour Helen gifted me a bunch of fabric from her fashion school days earlier this year. You’ve already seen her wool tweed turned into a skirt, but now’s the chance for the silk to shine! I had a browse through my vast pattern magazine archive and discovered that overblouse 114 from the Nov 08 BWOF (on the right in the first photo below) was the perfect design as it actually called for the exact type fabric I had, and it didn’t have any fiddly button openings that would make a clean finish difficult here, either.
This silk is a semi-sheer crepe chiffon, with a wonderful tartan printed onto it. This was printed onto the fabric after it was made, as opposed to most tartans which are made with the pattern woven into it with different coloured thread. The extra cool thing here is that the tartan is actually printed on the bias, which gives so much more interest to a fairly plain top, without adding any visual width that a wide horizontal stripe might give to the wearer.read more >>
(I fear I’m a few days too late for a “Trick or Tweed” post title!)
I’m starting to get into the Fall/Winter sewing mindset now (having almost entirely missed this summer, it’s a bit of a stretch), so what better says cold weather than a nice tweed skirt? After browsing through my pattern magazine archive, I finally decided on the rather recent Skirt 110 from the September 09 Burda magazine.
I chose this skirt because I really liked the big front pleat that conceals the two single welt pockets, and having that large pleat means there’s plenty of walking ease. I tend to walk really fast and with a large stride, so I always need a walking slit or pleat in my skirts. The fabric is a great wool (with a bit of synthetic thrown in, according to my burn test) tartan with lots of earth colours and even a thread of blue running through it, which is great for classic Fall and Winter looks. I mentioned before that this fabric was also a gift from my neighbour Helen, who had kept it from her fashion school days and thought I’d make better use of it than her spare room storage!
I already wrote about creating the single welt pockets, which took as much time to sew as the rest of the skirt combined, but here’s the end result!read more >>
I’ve sewn as far as I can now on the KnipMode Weekend Bag without the extra laminate – I’ve finished the lining, the three exterior pockets, and joined the two main pieces, but the next step is to attach the zipper to the long strips adjacent to it, and those are the bits I ran out of laminate for (oh, I decided to be lazy/cheap and forego the piping, btw).
So rather than twiddle my thumbs while I wait for the postal strike to run its course, I thumbed through my fabric stash instead to get some inspiration for some “me sewing”, after making so many christmas presents (which I can’t show you til December since the recipents visit here, sorry). Funny, but the two fabrics that jumped out at me the most were two I didn’t buy at all – a browny tweed tartan wool and a royal blue tartan sheer silk. Both are remnants, and both were gifted to me by my neighbour Helen.
My next step was to go through my pile of pattern magazines and find suitable patterns for them both, and I ended up with:read more >>
I’ve been keeping myself busy within my four walls, and a lot of this is down to you all who sent me boredom busting parcels and activities to open up each day! So I thought I’d share some of the seewing and crafty ones so you can see what I’ve been up to (though there’s way more yet to open!).
First up is from Rachel, who sent me two “retro” issues of BWOF from her stash, 07/2000 & 12/2002, with a note challgenging me to find some hidden gems and just giggle at the rest. I’m up for a challegne!
(sorry for the iPhone photos – it’s the best I can do since I’m away from the scanner and the DSLR)read more >>
I had the itch and energy to sew on Monday (Day -2) so I spent a few hours working on my first activity pack. Because even after I get out, I’ll have to avoid all exposure to the sun for the next two years to avoid aggravating graft vs host (Gvh) disease, so I thought this wide brimmed, floppy sun hat from the May 09 Burda (#141) looked like a good way to ease myself back into sewing and eventually shield my face and shoulders from Mister Hurty McSunshine.
This hat pattern comes in two sizes – 56 or 58cm head circumference (I made the latter as I’ve got a fat head), and I really wanted to make sure the brim stayed nice and stiff to get the maximum shade, so I picked up some incredibly stiff fusible canvas the last time I was in MacCulloch & Wallis.read more >>
Last second delays, delays, delays are really getting me down. So last night I forced myself to sew a quick knit top to cheer me up and give me something new to wear…
For me, “quick” means:
1. the pattern’s already traced (and previously made is a bonus!)
2. the fabric is in my stash, washed and ready to go
3. Made from knits so no stopping to press seams
Luckily, I fondly remembered BWOF 11-2008 #125, so I went through my traced pattern pile (I knew I kept all of those for a reason!) and whipped this up in under two hours.read more >>
I’ve got lots of turquoise basket weave wool coating that I bought from Fabric.com on a deep discount the same time I bought that gorgeous faux fur, and I’m envisioning it as a great spring coat (believe me when I say it’s the perfect weight for London springtime, okay?). But I’m torn between three different coat patterns, so maybe you all can help me decide?
1. Patrones #261-17 – Pros: It has a hood, and big pockets, and it’s already traced, since it from an issue I borrowed from Zoe ages ago! Cons: I’m not as confident on Patrones’s sizing so a muslin is a must, and it’s not got any pockets (Wtf?) so I’d have to add on some patch pockets.read more >>
I had quite the busy weekend! On Saturday, my neighbour Veda came over with her new book, Cute Stuff, and we had a sewing lesson all afternoon. She recently turned 11 and asked for sewing stuff for her birthday (getting that same awesome Chinese-themed sewing tin, too!) so I said I’d let her rifle through my scraps and we’d make something.
So she chose the pocket tissue holder from the book, and we went through the instructions, step-by-step and I taught her how to press and pin, knot the thread and tie off, and how to turn corners. It was loads of fun, and in the end we embellished little faces onto our holders like they do in the book so it looks like the holder is eating the tissues (they come out its mouth!).
The book is really well written and illustrated, and (as you’d expect from the title) full of really cute projects. I don’t think Veda will have any problems doing most of these on her own soon. I should offload way more of my scraps onto her, come to think of it!
As for myself, after the intellectually- and technically-stimulating green silk dress, I needed something brainless and easy, so I made BWOF 08/06 #109 in red corduroy (again!). Seriously, I’ve made this pattern so many times I could sew it with my eyes shut now, but these just fit me so well that my wardrobe is constantly crying out for more… I made a pair of these red cords over a year ago, but the corduroy I’d bought blind off the internet was way too thin for trousers and wore out after only a couple months’ wearing. Boo!read more >>
Happy birthday to me!!
Today is my 30th birthday, and as such, I’ve made Burda WOF 03/09 #116 in emerald green silk charmeuse (satin) to wear to my big party on Saturday night!
I tested this pattern a few weeks ago and wrote all about the fitting and muslin work here, and thanks to popular opinion, I did indeed take a wedge out of the back seam to get rid of the swayback wrinkles. Apart from that, I kept the fit the same!read more >>
My 30th birthday is fast approaching, and even though I make myself something special every year to wear on the day, this year I wanted to sew a fabulous dress using some emerald green silk charmeuse (satin) I’d bought years ago and stashed away in the hopes that someday I’d recreate that Atonement dress. I was really excited to see in the Burda WOF March online previews that there was a dress that suited me perfectly – gorgeous gathered, yoked shoulders with floaty sleeves, falling down into a deep V neck with a swooshy gored skirt and plenty of back detail, and shown in my chosen fabric – Burda WOF 03/09 #116.
The timing would be tight, though, since I usually only receive my subscription copy on the 15th or so of the month, but I thought I could pull it off. But then Burda updated the website with the full information, showing it was a *&£@^% petite pattern! Argh! It’s always the way that the designs you like the most aren’t in your size, and with the timeline, I really didn’t think this was meant to be…read more >>
I bought some beautifully soft mohair sweater knit from Classic Textiles last time I was at Goldhawk Road (1.5m at £8/m), but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it until I went skimming through my magazine archive and saw this sweater. The mohair knit is a very open weave with an abstract star/flower pattern running through it, so I knew that whatever I’d make would have to either be lined or be worn with something else underneath (both to show the pattern and also to protect modesty). I chose the latter.
I had only one week’s notice to make something new to wear to my British citizenship ceremony, and I thought the pairing and the “British chic” pattern were too good to pass up! But I had a very busy week and weekend, so I only ended up finishing it the night before! Phew!
Here I am during and after my ceremony at Southwark Town Hall earlier today, pleased as punch!read more >>
I bought some beautiful cream wool jersey from A-Z Fabrics on Goldhawk Road last time I was there, and I figured it’d be the perfect all-season fabric for layering or for wearing alone. By the time I bought it, though, my funds were a bit depleted, so I only grabbed a meter and a half as it was quite pricey at £10 a meter. I was instantly imagining it as a turtleneck but without any fully formed details in my mind. Then I was reminded of BWOF 08/08 #118 (an issue I’d previously overlooked) and saw that this was definitely what I had in mind, albeit shortened to a top.read more >>
I’ve heard quite a bit of talk from other sewers that the February 2009 issue of Burda WOF magazine is the best one yet. I really don’t know what’s wrong with me (ha!), but I’m just not that into it. I mean, there are a few basics I like, but nothing that’s really screaming make me now!
For me, the best issue of Burda will always be August 2006. Let’s start with the evidence, in chronological order…
The first garment I made from this issue was BWOF 08/2006 #101:read more >>
In continuation of my quest for comfortable pyjamas and tops that can work as pyjamas or casualwear, I’ve made BWOF 12/08 #113 pleated neck tee and KnipMode 03/2007 #11 leggings, which I made once before as pyjama bottoms in the pink retro guitars waffle knit.
The heathered and super soft grey jersey is from my first trip to Goldhawk Road, which I bought for £4 a metre, and it was enough to make both the top and leggings, with enough spare for another top someday, I reckon.read more >>
The bridesmaids have chosen their dress design! The only parameters I gave them were that it had to be a knit dress (no way am I undergoing extensive fittings for them on top of my dress!), and they had to choose the same pattern. Luckily, both of them have similar body types so picking a pattern that suited them both was relatively easy!
I will be sewing up two versions of BWOF 09/08 #132, the Gant Exclusive Design dress:read more >>
I had a few metres of black microfleece leftover from interlining my winter coat and I thought I’d put it to good use since it takes up so much room in my limited stash (and as you read yesterday, I have lots of new fabrics coming in!)
(My neighbour Lucie was hosting our mooring’s craft night so I thought we’d do a photoshoot in a finished boat for a change!)read more >>
Let me just start off by saying I love this coat. I would jump up and down on Oprah’s couch like a crazy woman for this coat. It makes me happy just to look at it, and to touch it makes my day. I love it so much that I actually feel paranoid wearing it out for fear that some Peta idiot is going to pour paint on me because it looks and feels absolutely like real fur. But wear it out I do, because I love this coat!
I mean, seriously, look at this faux fur, is it not fabric porn?
And the end result is just love at first sight!read more >>
I can’t believe I’ve actually made a Burda WOF pattern in the same calendar month as the magazine! I think this is only the second time ever I’ve been able to do that, but I saw BWOF 01/09 #110 and instantly saw a perfect pairing with the print lycra knit I bought on Goldhawk Road:
(Thanks, Trena, for the swatch/drawing pairing idea!)
I’m actually going back there this weekend so I’m definitely going to raid the shop I bought this in, because the feel and drape of this lycra is fantastic, and at £3.50/m, you really can’t beat it!read more >>
Recently I’ve been doing more batch tracing rather than tracing one pattern, sewing it up, then tracing the next. I find my sewing bottleneck is often in the tracing step (even though it doesn’t take much time), so by doing a bunch at once I can always have something on the go to work on in the mornings and evenings.
I’ve been mentally matching up my patterns to fabrics in my stash and tracing an awful lot the last few nights. Here’s what I’ve got coming up in the next few weeks, though you can see my plans have had to change somewhat to focus more on comfortable knits…read more >>
I joined The Great Coat Sew Along all the way back in May because I’d never made a coat before and it seemed like a great opportunity to gather together with like-minded people and learn an awful lot, too! Even though I (and others) really fell behind on the timeline, I’m really proud to have finally finished my coat while it’s still cold out and to have learned a huge amount of techniques that I never would’ve on my own! So I owe this coat to Marji, really, for setting up and organising the Sew Along, and I’m already planning my next coat…
But for this coat, the pattern was BWOF 09/2005 #102:
I made a huge amount of alterations on the pattern: raised the waist by 1”, lengthened the arms by 1.5”, added a wedge to the lower centre front for walking ease, widened the top sleeve (and shoulder seam) by 1”, and increased all the vertical seams below the chest by about 1/2”. And then on top of all that I changed the pockets and added the interlining, too! It’s probably more alterations than I’ve done on all my other 2008 patterns combined! But as much as BWOF usually fits me straight off the sheet, this pattern didn’t really have enough wearing ease to fit big sweaters underneath…
Previous posts about this coat
- May 2008 – The original proposition
- June 2008 – Choosing an interlining
- June 2008 – Muslin fit and alterations
- July 2008 – Tailoring supplies shopping
- January 2009 – Making the bound buttonholes and attaching the microfleece interlining
Ok, ok, enough with the backstory, here’s the photos!read more >>
Twas the day before Christmas and all through the boat, all the creatures were stirring, especially Melissa at her sewing machine and Bosco with his catnip mouse!
We were invited to breakfast on Christmas morning at a neighbour’s and she kept saying how we should all just come in our pyjamas for some bucks fizz, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, so I thought it’d be fun to whip up some brand new pyjamas to wear! Christmas has always meant new pyjamas to my mom in particular – growing up, she and her brother and sister would always wake to find a new pair at the top of the stairs which they’d then be expected to change into so they were wearing new PJs in the christmas photos! I didn’t take it that far (I changed into the blue silk cocktail dress in time for dinner!), but it was awfully nice to wake up and put on new, comfortable clothes!read more >>
I’m a huge fan of Burda World of Fashion magazine (BWOF) (elsewhere in the world known as Burdamode), but because the patterns are only available for one month only, sometimes it’s frustrating to miss a really good pattern when you seen it sewn up months later. I’m guilty of that myself, but Burda thankfully choose a few patterns each year from all the hundreds (if not thousands?) published in the magazine to reprint and repackage as Burda envelope patterns.
Burda envelope patterns have the same drafted patterns as appeared in the magazine, but they include seam allowances and have much better sewing instructions, with helpful diagrams and tips. The good thing is, these stick around for much, much longer than just one month, and are sometimes easier for people to buy in stores than the magazines.
So in the interests of friendly
copycats inspiration I thought I’d fill you in on some of the garments myself and others have made from BWOF that are now more widely available in case you missed that magazine issue…
This dress has been in the works for quite a while now, but yet again I find myself with a new cocktail dress just in time for all the Christmas parties! I first noticed BWOF 09/08 #114 when the issue’s preview came up on the website because the seaming was exactly like a Versace dress worn by Kate Moss in the Fall 2007 Versace ad campaign. Besides being a great designer knockoff pattern, I simply just loved the seaming details, though I’m not terribly keen on Burda’s styling of it as a jumper (in the American sense of the word).read more >>
While I’m still waiting for the fabric to arrive from America for my last Christmas present, I decided to add to my trouser collection and make a second pair of the black biker trousers, which are BWOF 05/2006 #112. I realised in my observations of what I’m wearing this month that my trousers in general are way too dark and I need some slightly lighter ones to allow me to wear (my many) black tops with them.read more >>
I had about a half meter of tubular black cotton interlock leftover in my stash, and
Burda WOF 11/2008 #125 looked to be an excellent use for it! It’s in the workout section of this issue, and #124 is a variation of the same shirt with longer sleeves and a triangular neck insert. I was aiming to make the long sleeves minus the insert, but as it turned out, I was really only able to squeeze in the short sleeves with some creative refolding of the fabric after cutting out half the pieces.
I’m mostly finished with BWOF 09/2008 #114 (which, you’ll remember, is the spitting image of a Versace dress) which I’m making in navy blue silk with a square neckline. The silk is really lovely and drapes beautifully, and I love how it feels, too. I’m super pleased with how the whole dress is turning out, actually, but this morning I noticed the two front seam lines are doing a funny thing towards the hem:read more >>
And now, the finale in my tweed and satin three piece suit, the flirty kick skirt, BWOF 08/2006 #103! Yes, it’s all business in the front, and sex appeal in the back with those curvy seams and slim pencil stylings…
The back view is where the fun starts!read more >>
Continuing on with my need to fill my wardrobe’s trouser-shaped void, I decided this time around to try (gasp!) a different trouser pattern! But since I still wasn’t sure how well BWOF 05/2006 #112 would fit me, I opted to sew it up in the leftover black cotton drill from Simon’s pirate coat so that nothing would be lost if the fit was awful.
Frankly, I should’ve trusted Burda more – the fit is even better on these than on my casual TNT (“tried and true”) pattern I’ve been making for ages. These trousers have a seam running down the front leg that goes right into the pockets at the waist, and I think this extra seam really helps to shape them more closely to my legs.
I couldn’t wait for the photoshoot to wear these, though – so forgive the wrinkles! By this point they’d already been out for a friend’s birthday cocktails followed by langostines (yum!) in Soho, plus a full day at work. So just trust me when I say that there are no fit wrinkles when they’re fresh…read more >>
I’ve been featured in quite a few press clippings before, but I must say, to appear in my favourite magazine is extra exciting! The German edition of Burda magazine (named “Burdamodenmagazine” there and “Burda World of Fashion” here) runs a monthly special feature on creations made from Burda Style patterns, and months ago I was asked if I could send over some bigger photos of my trousers and vest combo for inclusion in the magazine!
We ended up having a new photoshoot to get some better (and bigger) images, and the end result has finally been published in the September 2008 issue!!read more >>
I’ve been fantasising about making this dress ever since February, and I finally got the right inspiration to make it, and in a lovely fabric that nicely bridges the Summer/Fall/Winter gap. BWOF 02/2008 #103 is a knit dress with raglan sleeves, wide boatneck collar, and a really distinctive front twist leading down into a wrap skirt.read more >>
I’m in rather desperate need of trousers for my Fall/Winter wardrobe, and so I naturally turned to Burda WOF 08/2006 #109. You may remember that this is essentially my favourite trouser pattern ever – I’ve made it as jeans (twice!), in brown twill, and even in red corduroy. The fit is perfect for me, and it serves as the backbone of my wardrobe when I just need some nice, wearable trousers and don’t feel the need to be particularly challenged by a new pattern. As much as I love trying new patterns and techniques, sometimes you just need something reliable that you know is definitely going to work.read more >>
Burda WOF have just posted a full preview of their September 2008 issue (though only for members at the minute), and this dress practically jumped off the screen at me:
Gorgeous, right? Well, the reason it stood out to me is because those central bodice seams are a spitting image of a Versace dress from Fall 2007. I saw the ad with Kate Moss last year and I loved the design so much that I ripped it out and have had it hanging on my sewing room wall ever since:read more >>
This has got to be the quickest ever turnaround for a fabric purchase. I bought a remnant of taupe big wale corduroy on Thursday at Goldhawk Road for a pound, sent it through the washer on Friday, hung it out to dry overnight on Friday, and had sewn it up into a new skirt by Saturday dinnertime! It didn’t even see my stash box!read more >>
My unofficial knit month continues, this time with an incredibly comfortable “frankendress”! The top half is KnipMode April 2008 #13 (still available to buy from Naaipatronen, fyi), which you should remember from when I made it before in blue for myself and then again for my mom:
I absolutely love my top, and I often find myself in my wardrobe late at night picking out clothes for the next day, holding that shirt and asking myself “wait – did I already wear it this week?”. I just knew I had to turn this pattern into a dress to get even more wear out of it, so I searched my back issues of Burda WOF magazines and found a great knit dress to use for the bottom half: Burda WOF 05/05 #125.
I sat down with the two patterns and sketched out a combined technical drawing and then started thinking about my plan of attack to serge this all together, keeping in mind that it’s a lot easier to construct flat seams than in the round… I didn’t follow my plan exactly, but I did stick to the basic idea, and I’d definitely do it this way again.read more >>
On Sunday I decided to step up my “July is Knit Month!” activities and finally break into the world of high-performance sports gear. I started running to lose weight a few years ago and, along with sewing, it’s now become my favourite way to both unwind and start the day. I really do get cranky and irritable if I don’t get my regular runs in!! Over the years I’ve amassed a good collection of wicking tops and trousers I wear in rotation until they fall apart, but recently I’ve been having a hard time finding good wicking sports gear under £30 a pop, and especially in the trouser style I prefer – long length and slightly boot cut. Everywhere I look it’s always either skin-tight leggings, capri length, or both! UGH!
So I was very happy to discover that Pennine Outdoor stock wicking sports fabrics, both polyester teeshirting AND Meryl cycling lycra! So in one shop I got supplies for both my tops and my trousers! Now, you may be excused for cringing at the mention of polyester, but in running circles it is well known that polyester is the preferred fabric as it doesn’t hold sweat or chafe like cotton does. If you ever get blisters from a run or long hike, switch to 100% polyester socks and you’ll never get them again. So while I shun polyester in regular sewing, I positively seek it out in running gear, especially when I find the exact same two-sided, slightly waffled weave that is used in all the official race shirts! Bamboo is even better than polyester, though, as it doesn’t hold the stink or microbial nasties either and is softer by a factor of ten, but that’s another discussion entirely…
Anyway, on to the sewing!read more >>
I’ve suddenly become inundated with pattern magazines, which is an excellent position to be in, especially since the Big 4’s recent offerings have been dull, dull, dull (really, how many times can they restyle the exact same sack dress?).
First up is the Italian pattern magazine La Mia Boutique, given to me by the lovely Anwen, who’s soon going to guide me around a few London fabric shops I haven’t been to yet! She’s clearly a very good lady to know!read more >>
Ooh, I’m back baby! After my last two duds I was in need of some seriously quick fun to start off Knit Month, so I selected Burda WOF 06/08 #109 sewn in a lilac cotton interlock from Pennine Outdoor as my first bit of fun!read more >>
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had a pattern that just did not work for me at all, but strangely, I’ve just had two in a row that I’m giving up on entirely.
I fell in love with the chic styling of the Hot Patterns Monaco Top – the slit opening, the slim lines, the angular bib, the pieced bottom, and all sweetened by the cute gathered sleeves. At least, that’s what I thought the pattern was for…
I should have really listened to the earlier reviewer of this pattern (who also didn’t make it past the muslin stage) and just cut my $18.50 losses and run far, far away.read more >>
Phew! It’s been a very busy week, both in my sewing room and elsewhere on the boat. Parties, film nights, more deck grinding, music selection for a friend’s wedding, gardening, broken water pumps, gifts, muslins, and BIG shopping, but to name a few!
The deadline for the finished instructions and my bio for the “Pillowcase Challenge” book were also due this week, so I devoted a big chunk of Sunday to getting that perfect, and then the rest of the weekend was spent making a twin blue KnipMode shirt for my mom:read more >>
I’ve been planning on sewing myself a new winter coat for a while now, and I’ve been lurking on Marji’s Great Coat Sew Along site (currently members-only) for a bit, but after I saw her timeline, I finally realised I can jump right in and sew this alongside all my other summer sewing! So the month of May is where we’ll be gathering supplies, then doing muslin fitting in June, and finally starting the coat construction in July in order to hopefully finish in September.
The more I thought about it, the more I felt confident I could stick to that schedule, and now our renovation plans are looking likely to include the demolition of my temporary sewing room in the fall (to make way for our bedrooms and our lounge) so I may not have a place to sew my coat if I wait any longer!
As you know, I’ve already bought my exterior fabric – some gorgeous charcoal grey, 100% wool coating fabric from Rosenberg’s.read more >>
We’re still very much in the grips on winter here in London – temperatures barely above freezing, constant rain and high winds, and over Easter weekend, almost continuous hail and flurries. Ugh. I’m nearly finished with my winter sewing, but with the weather as it is, I can’t really start sewing anything for warmer weather just yet. But I was just so in love with the silk charmeuse I bought in Dublin that I ignored all common sense and sewed up Burda WOF 02/2008 #119.
Such is my dedication to all of you that I went outside for this photo shoot when it was 30F/0C with high winds. I’m not sure if you can see the goosebumps or not!read more >>
I’ve just spent nearly all of my four day weekend (double bank holiday, woo!) behind my sewing machine and ironing board, and I couldn’t be happier! For the last few years I’ve made myself something nice and new to wear on my birthday, so today I’m wearing my new clothes! It dulls the pain of turning 29, you see… ;)read more >>
I should have some photos for you very soon of my beautiful silk blouse, but in the meantime, I’ve started thinking about sewing up my next pair of jeans, using some brand name Levis 3% lycra denim from Crybaby’s Boutique (though it appears to be sold out now!). It’s all washed and dried (in my neighbour’s tumble dryer) and pressed and ready to go, but now I have to decide whether I’ll stick with my tried and true jeans pattern, Burda World of Fashion 08/2006 #109, or whether I should a new pattern, BurdaStyle’s Anita skinny jeans pattern.
So my first thought was to compare the two patterns to see exactly how different Anita is from my usual pattern. It fits me like a glove, but has back darts rather than a yoke, which is my only aesthetic issue with it. Now, the BWOF pattern (in brown paper) does not have seam allowances and Anita (in white paper) does, so if the two patterns were exactly the same there should be 5/8 inch of white showing all the way around the edges.read more >>
Sunday morning began with me balancing on two narrow beams in a four foot tall crawl space, crowbarring up a huge portion of floor in order to get at the water tanks underneath. Sunday evening ended with me sewing up this blouse. I’d say I had a pretty full and varied day!
I absolutely love the Feb 2008 issue of Burda World of Fashion magazine, and #123A is one of the three from that issue I’m determined to have! I used the remains of some fabulous jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics that reminded me so much of Missoni zigzags that I couldn’t say no (you might also remember this fabric from the top I made my mom for Christmas!).read more >>
If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember that my grandmother visited the Pendleton woollen mill in the 1960s and bought two 2 yard remnants of 100% wool navy blue suiting fabric for $6 each (so $12 total). In August, she gave these to me, saying she’d never got around to sewing up anything with them and she thought I’d make better use of it.
The trousers were far more straightforward than the jacket, however, so they didn’t take nearly as much time or seam ripping to complete! I wanted to tie together the satin accents of the two pieces so I opted to add a thin stripe of navy blue satin ribbon to the outside seams of each trouser leg, which I think gives a subtle sheen as I move. The integral belt/waistband of this pattern really evokes a sort of cummerbund, too, and raises this design above just a normal trouser suit.read more >>
My copy of the latest Patrones Magazine (#264) arrived last night! As I explained last week, it’s incredibly difficult (and expensive) to get your hands on, but this issue has fulfilled all my expectations and more. It’s kinda sad, but I actually had trouble sleeping last night because my mind kept wandering over all the details of about ten of the designs while I was trying to sleep!
The Jean Paul Gaultier skirt (#69) is absolutely first on my list. It’s hard to see from the photo, but there are curved seams running through the front and back that are begging for contrast fabric – I’m thinking black wool crepe with black satin or leather curves (I also really like the blouse in that set, too).read more >>
I’ve been working on the jacket portion of my tuxedo-inspired suit (the show piece from my F/W 07 Collection) for the better part of January now, and I finally finished it this week. I cut out the pieces for the trousers at the same time to ensure I had enough fabric for both (I do, with about a half yard left over!), but sewing both at once would’ve really just resulted in missing pieces!read more >>
Last night after dinner I thought I’d go work on my blue Pendleton jacket. I knew the next step was to create and attach the upper collars (that will cover most of the satin lapels), and so 2 pieces for each lapel, plus the back (collar) facing, it shouldn’t have taken more than a half hour or so. Two hours later, I was mentally exhausted and I felt like I’d come away from an entire day’s marathon session.
I know I only just moaned about this pattern yesterday, but I ended up doing something last night I’ve never, ever done before in sewing: I got out a ruler and measured two pieces to see if it was actually physically possible to join them.
The seam in question:read more >>
I’m making good progress on my tuxedo-y suit using my grandmother’s vintage Pendleton wool. I’ve done the single welt pockets (a first time for me!) and the construction of the jacket body, and I’m now working on the many collars and lapels. The placement of the welt pockets (which are hidden under a front flap) is way too high, though, and the pockets are too narrow to be useful, though – this is the second time I’ve had BWOF jacket pockets be waaaay too narrow for my hands to fit through, so I must remember that for next time.read more >>
I have such a thing for red corduroys. I’ve probably owned about ten pairs over my lifetime, and they have all been worn multiple times a week until their inevitable downfall. For the last few months, however, I haven’t been out shopping very much and when I have been out in stores, I haven’t been able to find any cherry-red cords anywhere.
So in my American fabric buying orgy I picked up some bright red baby wale corduroy to make my own. The fabric was a bit thinner than I was expecting (more shirt weight than trouser weight) so I hope they don’t wear out prematurely, because I’m stupidly happy with them!read more >>
If you have never felt or sewn bamboo fabric before, stop what you’re doing and go buy some right now. Seriously. I’ll wait.
Bamboo jersey is as soft as cashmere, as easy to work with as cotton, machine washes without much shrinkage (or loss of softness), is antibacterial (so if you make workout gear in it it doesn’t stink half as bad as even the techno wicking stuff!), and all the wrinkles steam out of it in the time it takes to have a shower. Honestly, this stuff is wonderful, and I can’t wait until more colours are available and I’m buying every single one.
This wrap dress pattern is originally from the May 2006 Burda WOF, but it’s proved so popular that Burda have released it as a 2 euro download pattern, too. It really is the perfect wrap dress – necklines that don’t move, secure fastenings (two snaps are concealed beneath the decorative belt), and best of all – a full frontal overlapping skirt panel so you don’t have any surprises on a windy walk to work! Coupled with the luxuriously soft bamboo, this really is like wearing pajamas…read more >>
I fell in love with the yellow cocktail dress in the 11/07 Burda WOF magazine, with its wide, square neckline and fabulous 90 degree front darts, and it just so happened that I had just the right amount of butter-yellow duchess satin leftover from James’s pirate coat lining to sew this up. Since the satin was so thick I opted to omit the lining and just go for facings instead, which made this an even quicker project.read more >>
I’ve broken my self-imposed ban on sewing fleece. I blame the 90s for making me think it’s the most unfashionable fabric on earth, only worn in big, boxy cuts by soccer moms and awkward preteens.
But the heating on our boat still isn’t sorted yet, and I’m sick of seeing my breath while I eat dinner every night, and sewing with quite literally numb fingers (my metal shears are so cold they hurt to touch them!). So I got the boyfriend drunk and convinced him to order 5 metres of navy blue fleece to make us some warm lounging clothes to only wear around the boat.read more >>
I’ve now completed two pieces for my FW/07 Collection, a pair of chocolate brown trousers, and a white cropped jacket.read more >>
I’ll have another update very shortly (as soon as I can arrange the photo shoot), but until then, I know some of you have been asking how the Glastonbury dress held up to the deluge of mud…
And the answer is, surprisingly well!read more >>
Back when I got the pillowcases for the famous IKEA skirt, I also bought a Tanja shower curtain that caught my eye from across the store and was conveniently marked down to a fiver.
It’s stayed in my fabric stash ever since, just waiting for the perfect project, which presented itself in the form of this Burda WOF 60s dress from the May 2007 issue. It turned out to be the perfect fabric for this dress, considering that Glastonbury is coming up in a few weeks and I’ve been wanting something special to wear (and let’s face it, if the famous downpours happen again this year, this dress is ready for them!!), and because the pink piping matches my hot pink wellies perfectly.read more >>
Ever since I finished my sewing room, I’ve been sewing like a woman POSSESSED! On Friday evening I finished this tunic top from the March 2007 issue of Burda WOF magazine, and on Saturday, I cut out and nearly finished another tunic top (I’ve just got the hem to go – watch for it later this week).read more >>
After a bit of hard labour with some power tools and brute force, I was able to clear three of the little hotel rooms on our boat two weekends ago. One became a walk-in wardrobe, one will very shortly become James’s office, and the third blossomed into my (temporary) sewing room (all the little hotel room walls will be ripped out to make way for our living room, two bedrooms, and two en-suites. The fate of a sewing room in the new plans is still unclear!).
But let’s move on to a tour of my sewing room, since this is probably the tidiest it’ll ever be…
Here’s the overview shot of the whole room. It’s about the size of two single beds side-by-side, with light coming from two halogen lamps and the porthole (which puts out a surprising amount of light during the day).read more >>
I decided I needed a challenge. I’ve never made trousers before, let alone jeans, but I had some stretch denim from Walthamstow Market wallowing in my stash for over a year, and I finally had enough time in my schedule to do them justice. I’d attempted to make Vogue 8202 about a year ago, but only got as far as the muslin stage before I realised that a) the front rise was scandalously low, b) there was about 4 inches too much ease, and c) I started to lose weight and the pattern size range I bought was far too big to bother downsizing and redrafting. So this time around I used a pattern for corduroy trousers from the August 2006 Burda World Of Fashion magazine and just added the missing pieces (namely, the back pockets, the fifth pocket, and an interior fly piece) from my old Vogue pattern.read more >>
While in Holland last weekend, I managed a very quick run through Utrecht’s amazing fabric market (every Saturday on Breedstraat, with 100+ stalls of every fabric imaginable) and got a bunch of red velour for another (secret!) project. I finished the other project and used to offcuts to make this very warm and snuggly top, just in time for winter.read more >>
One of the nice things about buying tons of lush, black velvet for your boyfriend’s pirate coat is that you get to have your way with the leftover fabric! And if you’re a bit cheeky and insist that you’re going to be left out in the cold very soon because none of your other jackets fit anymore, then sometimes, sometimes, you can get away with making use of the scraps before the intended recipient of the fabric.
I made Jacket 101B from the 08/2006 issue of Burda World of Fashion magazine, which, if you’re not familiar, contains about 50 patterns in each magazine, ranging from incredibly fashion-forward to designs to some real “who in god’s name would wear THAT?” shockers. But overall, there’s at least a few things you’d make in each issue if you had enough time. August’s was a particularly good issue, but seeing as how my need for a jacket was the greatest, I tackled this first.read more >>
I made this with a vintage-style crepe-de-chine dragonfly print from efabrics.co.uk (99p a meter! and it was coincidentally made in Japan), and a matching jade green crepe-de-chine from the same place that wasn’t on sale, so it was £2 a meter. I was really breaking the bank on this project…read more >>