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Manequim magazine July 2015

25 August 2015, 17:21

Hola from South America! No, I’m not in Brazil (yet – I’ll be just over the border one day next week), but in neighbouring Argentina, where I’ve just become World Champion at the 5km road race here at the World Transplant Games. omg! While that sinks in, let’s have a look through the July Manequim…

Here’s a better look at the cover outfit, but with pattern details this time. I’m not fully sold on crop tops for myself, but I like the idea of the stretchy striped midi pencil skirt and the two pair together really well.

The patterns aren’t particularly special, but I just love the digitally printed fabric they used to make the shirt, with its sheer sleeves, and the banded, full skirt.

Ooh, I just love the starburst hip seaming on this midi skirt and the deep slit really gives it some added drama. That it’s in my size is just a bonus, really.


Burda magazine August 2015

31 July 2015, 13:50

Finally, after months of lacklustre issues, Burda have produced one that I’m actually excited to show you! August is traditionally the start of the Fall fashions, but there’s plenty of transitional designs included in here too, and so many I want to wear right away…

Just to start things off on a damp squib – I see what they’re trying to do here and I know I’m normally a sucker for anything asymmetric, but I’m just not convinced by this shapeless dress with a weird pleated section tacked on at the hem.

It’s not really my style, but this riding jacket is beautiful. The details, the proportions, the finish – just lovely.

The outfit on the left, however, I’d wear exactly as it is, in a heartbeat! Both tops shown are the same raglan-sleeved top made from lightweight wovens, and the midi skirt with the hi-lo (or “mullet”!) hem is cut on the bias. I’m not a wide-legged trouser fan, but they’re an interesting design with the deep pleats.


MyImage magazine FW15-16 (and giveaway!)

22 July 2015, 13:16

It’s been a while since we had a look inside the bi-annual, quadrilingual pattern magazine, MyImage – over a year in fact! But they’ve got a new issue out, full of Fall and Winter styles and they’ve got a few new tricks up their sleeve, too, like a wider size range for more patterns, and some pdf pattern options, too.

MyImage magazine is printed on nice, thick paper that’s actually larger than my scanner bed, so apologies that some of the images are a bit cropped here – you get a nicer look at the images than if I’d just taken a photo of it! Or you can always have a better look in the digital magazine flipthrough, too.

I knew it was a great sign when I saw these seamed jeans about two pages in – SWOON! It’s like they made a pattern just for me! I love, love, love the seaming on these – they’d look great from all angles and really take the average pair of jeans up a notch. Or for that matter, they wouldn’t even have to be in denim – I’ve some great stretch navy twill in my stash…

I also wanted to show you some of the improvements they’ve made to the instructions (which are, as always, offered in English, Dutch, German, and French) – many of the patterns now also have photos or illustrations showing how to do some of the details of the pattern construction, and these jeans actually have an extra tech drawing which labels where all the pattern pieces go! What a great idea!

The raglan teeshirt dress on the left could be a great style basic, but I also really like the jogging bottoms and cropped jacket on the right, too. The trousers reminded me of the True Bias Hudson Pant that so many people have made, and looks super comfortable for lounging!


Manequim magazine June 2015

7 July 2015, 14:11

We experienced a bit of Brazilian heat here in London last week, but I’m happy to report that it didn’t stop me from moving into my new sewing room. Hefting furniture and hauling boxes wasn’t fun when dripping with sweat, but I’m about 80% moved in and I’ll of course give you all a tour once I’m done. Even without my machines hooked up and with some temporary lighting, the space just makes me happy just being inside.

But for now, let’s try and cool off with some thoughts of a Brazilian winter…

First up is this leather pencil skirt, which really reminds me of my grey one I made a few years back, though it’s sadly now too big. And this one’s sized far too small!

These may not seem like much, but a nice, basic trouser pattern in the full standard size range is an absolute goldmine! I get asked over and over (and over!) again what I do when a pattern I love isn’t in my size, and basic patterns like this are great for transferring interesting details from ones that are too-big or too-small. Just take the pleat, or panel, or pocket, or seamline you love and transfer it onto a basic version in your size…

From the same “black and white” feature, we get a pattern for this asymmetric, faux-wrap skirt, which is really striking with the colourblocking, but I think would also be great in an all-over tweed with a leather buckle detail.


Burda magazine July 2015

24 June 2015, 13:38

I’m not normally a fan of “summer” sewing since the styles printed by the likes of Manequim, Patrones, and Burda for the summer months tend to all be focused on super hot, beach weather that’s just completely impractical for English summers. Case in point: today in London it’s sunny and warm, high of 23C (73F) and for the most part, that’s a pretty average summer day. In other words, it feels like Spring or Fall do in most places, and I love it. You all can keep your disgustingly hot and humid summers, and I’m happy to take a few useless sewing magazine issues each year as a trade-off!

But surprisingly, this July issue of Burda actually isn’t half bad! There are, of course, a few wholly impractical, wispy beach styles, but there are also designs I could wear…

Speaking of designs which work for English summers, this one’s got ours written all over it! The details of this boxy, yoked shirt are just fabulous – I can’t recall ever seeing rounded placket before, for starters…

Ugh, the fabric choice here just makes this look like a cheap and awful nurse’s costume! And those insipid sleeve flounces, gag.

In my eyes, the best pattern of this entire issue comes from designer Antonio Marras – it’s a great silhouette, and the neckline and hem length are bang on trend. But even better are those angled seams, which are only really revealed in the tech drawing!

I’m not usually drawn to maxi-dress styles, but this halter dress (for Tall sizes) with its fantastic, sweeping full skirt really catches my attention in a way that a shorter hemline version just wouldn’t. In fact, it reminds me most of ballroom dance gowns!


Burda magazine June 2015

29 May 2015, 11:10

Yawwwwwwwwwn. Another lacklustre issue – what is up with the design team at Burda HQ recently? I know they’re capable of amazing, fashion-forward and flattering designs, because they break out of these ruts every now and then and just wow us with a consistent 6 months or so of designs.

I mean, this time last year I was praising them for a consistently amazing few months of issues, the pinnacle of which was the amazing Japanese-design feature. Maybe I should just go back to my spring 2014 issues instead until the tide rolls back into a more favourable patch…

I really want to like this blouse with its asymmetric collar, but it just feels like they’ve tried to add too many incongruous details into one garment. Skewed collar! Neck ties! Boxy shape! Asymmetric taped sleeve! Any one or two of these together would be fine, but all of them and it just feels unfocused and busy.

I’m officially on Team Jumpsuit and I like the look of this one on the model, but this is a Tall size pattern, with extra elongated body lengths, so I think this on top of jumpsuits being elongated anyway means that it’d be a tricky one for me to fit. And I’m not convinced I need more than one summery jumpsuit in my wardrobe right now!

This sheath dress is just fantastic – it’s simple, but it’s shown several times in the magazine, both partially colourblocked (as it is here), but also all in one fabric, and again with three separate coloured fabrics. The seams all flow together nicely at the sides, and there’s an option for shoulder ties, too. This could be a great basic pattern for adding further design elements (cough Pattern Magic cough), too.


Manequim magazine May 2015

15 May 2015, 12:55

The latest issue of the Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim arrived already, and it’s not only the start of their Fall fashions, but also a tribute to Mother’s Day (which is celebrated in May in a large portion of the world).

First up, in the celebrity style section (which is normally filled with Brazilian soap stars I’ve never heard of), I see a familiar face – Kate Middleton! The dress is quite a classic shape with a wide, boat neckline, and comes in a variety of sizes, too. It’s designed for scuba fabrics, which are becoming more widely available in the past few years, too.

The cover feature this month pairs a soap actress with her daughter (who I’d assumed was about 16, but reading the article, is apparently 12?!), with dresses and separates for both mother and daughter to wear. I particularly like the two wrap dresses the mother is wearing, though they’re very similar styles besides the hem length.

Some of the daughter’s patterns are actually for sizes “16 years” or “12 years”, which I’ve never seen in Manequim before, like this collared sweatshirt pattern. They’ve not included a size chart in the back of the magazine at all for these tween sizes, so how they compare to the smallest adult size, 36, is anyone’s guess!


Manequim April 2015

5 May 2015, 14:21

Wooo!!! It’s the best Manequim of the year – the one with all the Oscars gowns! Let’s breeze through the rest of the issue and get straight to those Hollywood designer evening gown patterns, shall we?

First off, the Plus selection this month is just the usual three patterns, but they’re keeping to the glamourous end of the scale, using singer Adele as the muse.

I LOVE this classic leather biker jacket – it might be slightly too small for me, though (I’m in between 42 and 44, I’ve discovered), but it’d be easy enough to adjust using another pattern as a guide…

I think I’ve discovered the secret to me and blazers – I hardly ever wear them myself, but I’m occasionally drawn to the odd one or two in magazines, like this orange one (Can I just say that I love everything about this image? Wonderful model & composition and art direction!!). I think the main thing is that I dislike the traditional, folded over, notched lapel – so designs like this which are a bit different in that area really appeal to me!


Burda magazine May 2015

30 April 2015, 14:09

Thanks so much for your congratulations on my London marathon race this weekend! My legs are amazingly feeling pretty much back to normal already, though I still need quite a bit of recovery time “under the hood”. In all the excitement (and a fair bit of “post-marathon brain”), I completely forgot to congratulate some other fierce and fantastic women who ran it, too!

With a fair amount of resting time ahead of me in the next two weeks (before I run a half marathon, then cycle our first sportive, then run a 10km on successive weekends. No joke!), I’m hoping to get some quality sewing time in. But I’m not seeing much to inspire me in the latest Burda edition…

I’m really getting tired of Burda’s recent ruffle fixation, but I actually don’t hate this ruffled coat, which is surprising. Maybe it’s that it reminds me of the Lolita Patterns Spearmint coat, or maybe it just seems a bit more well thought out than just randomly slapping ruffles onto an unsuspecting garment…

On first glance, this seems like a dress pattern we’ve seen a thousand times before, but the overall body shape is closer to a cocoon-shape than I’ve seen in a dress before. And the pleated neckline creates a bit of interest (and could conceal a big meal, hahah).


Manequim magazine - March 2015

21 April 2015, 13:33

The latest issue of Manequim magazine is here (well, latest to its international subscribers, anyway – it takes a while to make its way to me), and even though it’s not a hugely fantastic issue, it’s still better than the last few Burda magazines IMHO, which have been in a real slump this year! But let’s take a look at my picks for this month, where there’s hardly a ruffle in sight…

There are only three Plus-sized patterns in most issues of Mannequim, but the selections this month look really wearable – a casual day dress, a tunic with gathered sleeves, and a versatile trouser pattern.

Instead of the usual “Patterns in the style of X designer” section (maybe they’ve run out of iconic designers?), this month we get 1950s-style patterns instead. I’m not hugely interested in this decade most of the time, but I love this sleeveless blouse with the gathered bust seam and tie neck. I think I have a piece of silk or two in my stash that may be perfect for it, too!

Now, I’ve been subscribed to Manequim for a few years now, but this is a first in all that time – lingerie patterns! Squeeeeeeeal! Mostly the patterns are for lounging or pyjamas, like this robe and pyjama set, but I think the camisole might be nice on its own, too. I need to do some comparison with the Seamwork Savannah camisole pattern (which I already own), and not just because the two magazines have vastly different idea of what their readers want to see in a lingerie model!


Burda magazine April 2015

9 April 2015, 12:45

Apologies for the delay in reviewing this issue! I know a fair few of you use my reviews to decide whether or not to buy them. My subscription copy arrived before we left for NYC, but I was too pressed for time in finishing my jeans and getting the other posts scheduled that I didn’t have time to scan this until after we returned home.

But there should still be time to order this should you like any styles more than I do!

“Hi, I’m too thin. Can you show me a dress that will instantly add 50 pounds to my bust, waist, and hips, rendering me something akin to the Michelin Man caught in a ruffle explosion? You can? Great!

This is probably my favourite from the issue, as I always enjoy a good 3D construction – in this boxy top, the back wraps over the shoulder to form the sleeve. The square neckline is also a good look, but I’m unsure about the overall silhouette. Perhaps it could be improved by a fabric with a softer hand?

This drop-waisted dress is definitely channelling the 1920s, though the kangaroo pocket modernises it a bit. There’s also top version version of this pattern that could really work if you’ve only got a metre of fabric to play with but, beware that super LOW neckline!


Manequim magazine - February 2015

27 March 2015, 13:29

When this latest issue of Manequim magazine landed in my post box, I had to stifle a laugh and a double-take that I hadn’t accidentally received a copy of Seventeen magazine from my childhood. Could they have possibly chosen a more 1990s, off-putting cover image?? Like, totally!

Here are the Plus patterns this month: a tunic, simple cowl dres (similar to that Vogue Donna Karan one everyone in the blogosphere sewed up!), and a parka jacket.

Are twist dresses done yet? This one feels really similar to a Pattern Magic design, albeit with a novel back.

From the designer (whom I’ve never heard of & didn’t note down) style section this month, a cute little skort with a panelled front.


Manequim magazine January 2015

25 February 2015, 13:27

Well, it wasn’t just me, then – loads of you also thought the March Burda was a total stinker! Well, here to mop up your tears with an injection of Brazilian sunshine is the January edition of Manequim magazine (the issues take a little while to make their way across the world to my postbox…).

First up is a pattern from the “soap style” section, a rather nice little top with a collar, gathered back yoke, and long front zipper. Also of note is that this style is available in the full size range for regular Manequim patterns, 38-48, meaning pretty much anyone could make this or use this as a basis for sizing up other shirt patterns which aren’t in your size…

From the cover, I rather liked the design of this flirty, fun little summer dress, and even moreso when I saw it’s made in neoprene (which I assume is actually scuba). The asymmetric hem with the pleated layer is a great little detail.

There’s no designer-style section this month, instead they’ve disappointingly used the 1970s as the design inspiration instead. IMHO, the 70s are the worst decade for fashion so I was surprised I liked even a single pattern from it! But this little camisole stood out, not just for its frill and open back, but also because it uses less than a meter of fabric and is offered in multiple sizes.

I don’t know where you would find a zipper long enough to stretch the whole way down the back of this dress (or you could just make do with a shorter, invisible zip I suppose!), but the real feature here is in the front, anyway! Brazilians love to show a little bit of skin, and the cutaway abdomen in an otherwise demure gown is a really interesting design detail.


Burda magazine March 2015

23 February 2015, 12:20

I’m of two minds when I get a pattern magazine in the post and there’s really nothing I want to sew from it. On one hand – “arrgh! What a waste of my subscription money!”, but on the other, well, at least there’s nothing new to be added to my already-overflowing Must Sew list, right?

I don’t often comment on the covers of magazines, but seriously, did no one at Burda HQ look at the “aloha hawaii” writing overlaid onto the skirt of the same colour and not foresee problems?!? Maybe we should reclaim “aloha haw” and get it trending on twitter, pff.

Oh geez. Let’s start with the abomination on the left – to me this looks like she took a burlap feedsack, wrapped it around her waist, and borrowed some man’s belt to hastily cinch it together. The jungle background isn’t helping, either, all I can think is that she’s on some survival tv show, forced to cover herself with whatever’s available. The unwearable jumpsuit on the right is almost chic in comparison – if you overlook the fact that it’s open to the navel ad requires wearing something else underneath it (the jumpsuit in the upcoming Sewing Bee book is far, far nicer).

This dolman-sleeved woven top is quite a nice take on a woven tee (which are much more frequently short sleeved or sleevless). I’m not completely sold on the underbust gathering, but that could easily be converted to pleats or darts. Still, a nice enough staple to have in your pattern arsenal.

This wrap dress is probably my favourite of this issue – I rather like the waist treatment, and the deep pleats at the skirt are flattering, too. Overall, a really nice, fresh take on the usual wrap dress.


Burda magazine February 2015

3 February 2015, 14:01

I’m a bit behind on my review due to my emergency trip to the States, but this wasn’t the greatest issue ever anyway, IMHO, but there’s plenty enough to like (and to moan about!).

This shirt is probably my favourite of the entire issue – I love its angular seams, inset corners at the shoulder, and general shape. I thought it’d be the perfect partner for some muted, geometric Liberty lawn in my stash, but the pattern actually calls for jersey. For once I actually don’t want to sew something in jersey, figures! I also quite like the asymmetric skirt it’s paired with. It’s just a basic pencil skirt with some additional, diagonal darts and a drape but I think it works here.

This coat pattern is shown in several guises throughout the magazine, but I like this classic navy version the best (minus the weird patch pockets over the boobs!). It’s also the pattern with coloured, illustrated instructions this month, too.

Here’s that same angular-seamed shirt as seen above, but made in a thicker fabric so it looks more like a sweatshirt than a teeshirt. The skirt it’s paired with here is very simple, but works well to showcase a special fabric, or in this case, just two great colours! (also, bonus points for including a bicycle in the photoshoot, Burda!)


Manequim magazine December 2014

7 January 2015, 12:36

This is the last of the pattern magazine roundups for a little while (well, until the February Burda arrives, I guess!) so I hope you’ve enjoyed them. I’ve certainly enjoyed the break from blogging over the holidays, having prepared these posts before diving into my sewing cave with a flash of tea and a box of mince pies! But it’s high summer down in Brazil, so let’s see how Manequim celebrates the season…

First up are the Plus offerings for this issue, all summer separates in white. I’m not too sure about the jumpsuit (or jumpsuits in general, really), but I like the look of both blouses and the shorts).

This page definitely shows my favourite look of this issue – both the top and skirt feature asymmetric hems, and I think they pair together perfectly. The top has a very flattering surplice neckline, and it’s got a shape that I’m going to call “post-peplum”, as I think we’ve all moved on from that trend by now, right?

These trousers are deeply unflattering on the model. And to make matters worse, they’ve got her wearing a bodysuit with bare legs right next to it as if to say “look, she does indeed have normal thighs, it’s just the ugly trousers’ fault!”.

More ugly. I could possibly forgive the weird hem on this skirt, but what’s with the ridiculously large, poofy pockets??


La Maison Victor magazine - Winter 14

5 January 2015, 13:23

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of pattern magazines, and I’d heard whispers recently that there’s a new Belgian pattern magazine on the market, so I kept my eyes peeled while we were in Brussels for the weekend in December… and couldn’t find it. But then, just as we were apart to take the Eurotunnel back to the UK, I found a copy of La Maison Victor in the WH Smiths in the Calais terminal! Hurrah!

So I can share details of the newest pattern magazine to you, and it’s good. Like, really, really good! It’s a quarterly magazine printed in Dutch, French, and German, and contains patterns for both sewing and knitting for both sexes through from babies to adults!

First up, I know you want to see the patterns that are included in this issue, and La Maison Victor make it easy – the pattern sheets are included in a special booklet in the centre of the magazine with the tech drawings printed on either side. You can tell they really did their research on this, as a lot of sewists prefer to keep their pattern sheets separate from the fashion magazines.

This magazine has got fantastic art direction and styling. It really feels like a boutique fashion magazine, and the garments are shown in a variety of poses and detail shots, and some, like this, are just to lay out what’s coming up in a feature.

One of the included patterns is for a basic wrap dress, but again, styled and presented very nicely, and with the tech drawing, layout, and instructions appearing immediately after it in the magazine. This is great as it means you don’t have to keep flipping to the instruction section while holding your place in the regular magazine (like I do with Burda, Manequim, KnipMode, La Mia Boutique, Patrones, etc etc).


Burda magazine January 2015

2 January 2015, 11:46

I hope you’re not too sick of my magazine reviews just yet – a bunch of them arrived all at once and I know a lot of you find them as a great source of inspiration, not to mention a guide as to whether it’s worth buying the issue or not! This is the first of the 2015 issues to grace my postbox, and Burda have really started the year off right!

omg omg omg, this is the short coat/jacket pattern of my dreams!! This is exactly what I was looking for – it’s perfect for my navy wool and vintage Italian silk I’d already bought, plus look at those seam lines! The back view is even better, with amazing seaming at the upper back, plus the asymmetry?!? I’m in love. And yes, I’ve already traced this out and dumped the other pattern (sorry, September 2010 short coat!).

I can see this boxy sweatshirt pattern being a really versatile design (with or without the notched neckline), and I think the skirt is a seriously nice, too. The side panels give it a nice bit of flare and motion, but there’s no risk of it being blown around in the wind, either, since they’re secured into those front seams. The only thing I don’t like is that the edges are kept raw, but that could be fixed easily enough.

There’s an unexpected maternity feature in this issue, which features a lot of casual separates. This shirtdress looks to be really versatile, but I’m not sure I buy into Burda’s suggestion that you could wear it after pregnancy, too… Maybe with a massive obi-style belt, but you’re still pushing it!

Yes, I really am that predictable – as several of you have already let me know(!), these trousers are totally me. And you’re right, I do really like them!


KnipMode magazine - December 2014

30 December 2014, 13:43

What a blast from the past, right?? Some longterm readers may recall that I used to subscribe to the Dutch pattern magazine, KnipMode, but the quality of the designs really went downhill when they appointed a new editor and I let my subscription expire back in 2012. It was an easy choice, since it was the most expensive of my magazine subscriptions, but when I get the opportunity, I still pick up the odd issue from continental newsstands.

Well, we were in Brussels shortly before Christmas for a festive weekend at the Christmas market, and on our drive back we stopped in at a Belgian supermarket. I was surprised to find KnipMode on the magazine rack, and I couldn’t resist seeing what KnipMode were up to these days. Clearly loads has happened since 2012, as they’ve not only had a complete redesign, but have a new publisher as well! The editor I blamed for the downhill spiral is still there (grumble grumble) but the designs look decent in this one, so I’ll hold out hope…

“Knip” means “cut” in Dutch, so I think the new scissor logo is quite cute!

First up is a green party dress with lots of gathering and a nice surplice neckline. It’s not a million miles away from my 30th birthday dress, which is probably why I was drawn to it!

This tie-hem shirt is styled for a party here, but I think this could be a really great casual top, too. It’s made for wovens, and with the kimono sleeve it means there’s only two patterns pieces plus the hem binding, so it’d be super quick to sew it! It reminds me a little of a Pattern Magic design that I drafted and muslined but haven’t quite sewn up yet, though the tie on that is in a different position.


Manequim magazine November 2014

29 December 2014, 13:08

Manequim magazine have had the unique tradition of offering two November issues each year – some sort of weird reasoning like “there’s too much summer to be contained in one issue!”, but this year for some reason there’s only one November issue (yes, I double checked the numbering with October and December’s issues to make sure it just wasn’t lost in the post!).

It may appear at first glance that I’ve not pulled out many garments here, but the ones I’ve chosen are amazing and therefore this cranks my overall rating of this issue up a notch!

The Plus sized garments this issue are all cocktail dresses, and they are fantastic! Look at the lace seaming on the right-hand blue dress in particular (sorry the tech drawing is blurry)! That hem! Those curved seams! Luscious.

The designer inspiration feature this month is in the style of Costume National, a brand I’ve heard of but am not particularly familiar with, if I’m being honest. The woven tee on the right is also offered as a pattern, but I was just blown away by the monochrome seamed dress! That’s not a printed fabric – the white and black crepes are cut separately. I’m a bit disappointed that the back is so plain – they should’ve really carried the seaming around to the back IMHO. However, the glory of patterns without seam allowances is that it’s easy to just draw your own new seaming on and split it up yourself.


Manequim magazine October 2014

26 December 2014, 13:01

Manequim magazines appear to be like that old London bus saying: “You wait for ages and then three come along at once!”. All of us international subscribers were accidentally sent some random teenybopper magazine with Taylor Swift on the cover instead of the October issue a month or so ago, and even though I emailed a complaint, I didn’t really expect to see this issue. This sort of mixup happens about once a year with the publisher, and we usually just get our subscription extended by an issue. But no – October’s issue did turn up in the end, bundled with November, and then December arrived a day later!

First up is a pattern for a very trendy little bike satchel pattern. The overall construction isn’t really new, and in fact I’ve got a bright orange leather satchel I use every day that looks very similar. But the unique part here is that there are an extra two straps on the back which allow it to attach to the handlebars! Very cool, and something you could add onto just about any bag pattern.

The Plus patterns this month aren’t particularly inspiring, I must admit. Really, overalls? They aren’t flattering on the tiniest, youngest ladies, let alone those of us with a bit of hips…

Manequim patterns are mostly offered in one size only, but there are a few each issue which come in multiple size (which you can then often use to sort of “scale up” fancier patterns that aren’t in your size). This teeshirt is a basic design, but it’s offered for a ton of sizes, and would be a really good base for other styles. I also rather like the simple, pleated midi skirt it’s paired with here.


Patrones 343

5 December 2014, 14:02

What a nice surprise! I wasn’t expecting this magazine at all, but my in-laws were visiting Spain recently, saw it on a newsstand, and grabbed it for me. I’m so glad they did, too, as not only is it a great issue with a bunch of wearable separates (much better than dozens of holiday dresses), but it also sees the return of the designer names!

Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve had a Patrones magazine (18 months by the look of things??), and to be honest, I’d gone off them a little bit. But this one has me excited again that they might be turning things around and getting back to their heydey of a few years ago… But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – let’s take a peek inside, shall we?

There are a ton of button-down shirt patterns in this issue – some traditional, some more blouse-like for flowing fabrics, and some more unusual, like this one with the attractive yoke panelling, dolman sleeves, and unusual centre front invisible zipper. I’d need to do a muslin first, of course, but I’m keeping this one in mind for the unusual Liberty lawn I bought earlier this year, especially since this shirt needs less than the 1.5m I bought.

To run the risk of sounding entirely predictable – ooh! A short coat! Yes, I know I’m consumed with short coat/jacket patterns right now, but this one is a good example of a design I rarely see outside Patrones (and the seamlines are really similar to the grey tweed jacket I made a few years ago that I’ve worn to death!).

There’s a fantastic feature in this issue which contains a ton of designer dresses and jackets, but ones that would be not only quick to sew, but could easily work for office attire. First up is this Joseph sheath dress – quite plain in the front with only two horizontal seams, but the back features a flounce from shoulder to knee. Also shown here is a Zadig & Voltaire jacket, which has a pretty traditional tech drawing, but made more interesting for leaving some of the edges unfinished to fray.


Burda magazine December 2014

27 November 2014, 12:29

It’s the last issue of the year, boo hoo! Oftentimes Burda have some easier projects (including menswear) you can make for gifts in their December issues, but this one’s just for ladies and girls. I initially wasn’t that impressed with this collection, but the more I looked through it, the more I found myself drawn to a few…

I’ve often admired the sequin tops other sewists have made, but I’ve never quite gone as far as to buy some sequin fabric for myself. This boxy jacket might change that, however!

This dress is the Tall offering this month, and even though the shorter, peplum top versions works fairly well, I pulled this out because the simple act of adding a straight skirt onto the curved seam means the model looks absolutely pregnant. Not really a look anyone wants, and it seems like a good idea drafting-wise. But in practice? No!

I’m really not a fan of the dress (square neckline, yes, but the puffy sleeves and awkward pleat at empire waist? Urgh.), but I love the little girl’s coat! Like the trench cape a few issues ago, I’d totally make this if it were in adult sizes!

This little boxy jacket for girls feels like the sister to the ladies’ sequin jacket above. They’re both for special fabrics and have a similar fit and seam lines, without feeling too “mini me”.

I utterly love the asymmetric collar on this coat, plus the off-centre closure, and (though it’s hard to tell in the garment photos) the hidden pleating just above the pockets would really give this some wonderful shaping. They’ve gone one step further and appliqued fancy lace over a portion of the wool coating, which I just love. Two thumbs up for this one, Burda!


Burda magazine November 2014

30 October 2014, 14:57

I received this issue a good week ago, but I hadn’t been overly enthusiastic about this one, even though there are a lot of interesting designs going on. There are noticeably fewer patterns included this time, too, which seems to be related to there being some huge gown patterns which take up more space than usual on the pattern sheets.

So if you’ve got a formal occasion coming up over the holidays, you’re about to become very excited, but there’s plenty of casualwear included too…

There are some great separates in this issue, but I personally don’t rate either of these! The top is made for lightweight wovens, but that hem is just far too wide, in my opinion, and really gives the sort of “is she pregnant?” look even when teamed with slim trousers (not to mention that deep neck pleat which will look terrible on large busts!). In this case, they’ve teamed it appropriately with leggings, but delving a little deeper into the pattern, these leggings have: a) interfaced waist facings, and b) an invisible side zipper. On a knit. Errr. The pattern itself looks fine, just not the finishing!!

So are these cigarette trousers any better then? Well, I personally think the inset leather pieces would be more flattering slightly curved rather than straight, but that’s just drafting preference. The zipper on the side though – if you read the instructions, you do 80% of the work of creating a zippered welt pocket, only to seal it up with a facing to make it utterly useless! Otherwise, it looks like a decent pattern for stretch wovens, with a back yoke and nice front pockets.

I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of this knit top across the sewing world in the next few months! It’s what Burda does best – a great knit top with interesting details and great fit that can be made up in a thousand different fabrics.


Manequim magazine September 2014

13 October 2014, 13:13

It may be turning blustery and cool here in London, but in Brazil it’s just starting to heat up – what better reason to look into the latest issue of Manequim magazine while I mentally warm myself in the Rio sunshine…

The first to catch my eye in this issue was in the “designer style” feature, which this month looks at Paco Rabanne. It’s mostly separates (with the exception of the pleated party dress on the right), but I love the asymmetric shell top seen here on the left! It’s got pleating on one shoulder, and on the other, a leather panel which wraps over to the back with no shoulder seam. I can’t think of a better way to utilise a small piece of silk and a scrap of leather (let’s face it, neither are getting thrown in the washing machine anyway!).

I’m having a bit of deja vu on this sleeveless, crossover top, and I realised it’s because there was an almost identical pattern in the May Burda magazine (seen here on the right for comparison’s sake). I’m guess they’re both inspired by the same runway look…

There’s nothing groundbreaking about this shirtdress, but it really looks like something I’d just live in should I find myself in a hotter climate. Great cut, great print, and easy to wear.


Burda Easy magazine Fall/Winter 2014

6 October 2014, 13:24

While we were off holidaying through Bohemia, I didn’t really get a chance to do much fabric or haberdashery shopping. There are tons of fabric shops all over Budapest, but we were definitely more concerned with the street food and thermal baths while we were there. In Vienna I really meant to stop in at Komolka and Stoff und Faden (thanks, Shannon!), but we were short on time and all I could manage was a peek through the windows of the latter while they were having a class at night. I didn’t see anything sewing-related in Prague, but I spotted a few fabric shops in Berlin along the marathon route (sadly, not really the time to be stopping to shop!), so my lone sewing souvenir this time around was a copy of the latest Burda Easy magazine, which I was happy to pick up!

If you’re not familiar with Burda Easy, it’s published twice a year in several languages (German, French, English, Italian, and Russian, I believe?), and has fully illustrated instructions. Sometimes the designs are simpler, but in this issue they’re happily on the more advanced/interesting side and not too difference from what’s in the monthly magazine. 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.

The last time I bought an issue was two years ago when we were in France but I think I prefer the designs in this one even to that. Burda Easy really only provide four base patterns, then spin a huge amount of variations off of those, so you can get a pretty wide variety of looks (also helpful if you need to do things like an FBA, you only need to do them once!).

First up – I’ve cooled off the peplum look rather a lot by now, but I really like the paneled pencil skirt (either with the asymmetric godet or not).

I thought this foldover clutch with the bow detail was really cute – it’s explained in a series of colour photos on the facing page, and it’s only rectangles so doesn’t require any tracing, either.

Here’s another variation on the seamed pencil skirt, but this time it’s shorter and with more godets inserted to give it more of a skater skirt shape. I also like the look of the colourblocked tee, but not being a sweetheart neckline kind of woman, I’d personally smooth out the point so it’s just a curve over the bust.


Burda magazine October 2014

3 October 2014, 12:33

I received my subscription copy of this magazine the day before we left for our Bohemia trip, but by that point I’d already written a full week’s worth of posts (I hope you enjoyed all those book reviews!), and didn’t have any time to spare to scan this until after we came home.

I haven’t seen much about this issue online yet, but after two mediocre Fall issues, this is the Fall fashion issue I’ve been waiting for!

I usually shy away from “nautical styles” since it can be a bit cliché to live on a boat and dress like a sailor, so I was surprised that I really liked a lot of the styles in this feature, including the His’n‘Hers pea coats.

It’s hard to beat a good long sleeved cowl neck tee as far as I’m concerned (they’re pretty much my uniform in the colder months) and I really like that this version has a crossover at the shoulder which brings the cowl a bit higher. This should prevent any “leaning over gaping” issues that some cowl tops have, but there’s only one way to find out! (There’s also an un-pieced version of this same tee)

Now, I thought the trousers pictured with the stripey tee above looked nice enough, especially since they have an interesting back view, but then I saw this note in the instructions! What?? That sounds like a problem, not a feature! I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I sew is to avoid RTW fitting issues like trousers falling down as I wear them…


Manequim magazine August 2014

2 September 2014, 16:18

You may be thinking “August? What about July’s issue?” and to this I say Wow, you’re way more observant than I am, because I only noticed that July never arrived until I went to scan this issue in. Sad face.

But not for long, because this issue is all about party dresses, because it’s their 55th anniversary issue! Judging by the number of articles talking about the history of Manequim magazine and photos of old issues, I thought for sure we’d get some great vintage reprints, a’la Burda magazine, but alas, no – not a single vintage pattern here.

First up is a sweatshirt pattern, offered in a wide range of sizes, that is a pretty standard design except for the inclusion of two zippers at the hem. They don’t appear to have pockets behind them, but are instead just purely decorative.

I didn’t really like any of the styles in the cover star’s feature, but the “designer style” this month is Tom Ford, and this faux-wrap dress looks to be a classic design (and not just because it reminds me of that New Look pattern everyone was sewing in 2006!).


Burda magazine September 2014

22 August 2014, 11:44

Burda magazine August 2014

25 July 2014, 16:12

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.


Manequim magazine June 2014

18 July 2014, 12:34

After the dizzying heights of May’s issue (and April’s Oscar gown special!), June was going to always be a let down in comparison. Sure, there are some nice patterns, and if you’re Plus-sized, this is totally the one to get, but I’m just not overwhelmed with inspiration this time around….

The first pattern to catch my eye in this issue was the maxi-dress in the top left – have a look at that back! It’s got the basic upper back like the T- view of my XYT Workout Top pattern, but with a bunch of short strips overlapping to make an almost Art Deco look! Who’s up for an XYT hack??

Manequim produce a lot of jumpsuit patterns, and having worn precisely zero in my life (let alone sewn any), I’m usually not too fussed over them unless they’ve got separates potential. But this jumpsuit has a really elegant asymmetric drape over a belt, which looks really chic!


Burda magazine July 2014

27 June 2014, 13:25

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?


Manequim magazine May 2014

30 May 2014, 12:55

It is an excellent time to be a pattern magazine subscriber, and I think this week’s posts on the June Burda, April Manequim, and now this May issue are a great illustration on the variety and fashion forward elements that just aren’t being seen in the Big Four right now.

The other two issues this week have been fantastic, but this May issue may just top them all… I don’t think I’ve ever scanned so many pages from one magazine before!

First up are the Plus offerings for this issue – three different dresses all with illusion-type colourblocking made popular by Stella McCartney recently.

As you may have guessed from the cover, there are maternity patterns included this month for the first time that I’ve ever seen! The cover blouse is the nicest IMHO, but there’s also patterns for a skirt, trousers, and a caftan-like dress, too.

The designer style patterns this month use Jason Wu as their inspiration and we get a really intricate jacket with wide lapels but loads of the sleeve details are just swallowed by the floral print. There’s also a cutaway shoulder blouse with a wide hem in multiple sizes, and also a dress with some stunning lace appliques. It might be difficult to source a similar lace, but the dress pattern is offered in a whopping 6 sizes, so it’s a great pattern to have as a jersey base for comparing against & modifying to become other styles not in your size.

I stopped buying Patrones magazine a while back as I only ever really liked the winter issues anyway, and I was getting a bit bored of their styles. But to me, Patrones really made the best coat patterns ever. Let me tell you, this coat feature here is enough to make me burn all my back issues of Patrones and sew all of these instead.

Take this pink coat for starters – immaculate clean lines – the princess seam goes straight into that angle to form the pocket. The raglan seams draw the eye to the face, and there’s no collar in the way to distract from the simplicity. YES.

This pattern appears to have everything I’d ever want from a motorcycle jacket, and sewn in coating rather than leather. Again, the attention to detail here is great – I only wish I could see more clearly what’s going on with that right side (as worn) pocket…

Again with the crazy amount of details and fabric mixing – is it a trench coat? Is it a biker jacket? It’s apparently made with faux leather, coating, and a polyester (presumably the fabric with the holes) and you know how much I love to mix different textures in the same colour!

And lastly in the coat feature, I adore this colourblock coat with the stripe running through just above the waist. Very striking but very classic at the same time.

Now some of my long-time readers may recall that in the very first issue of Manequim I ever had there was a feature on chic uses for sweatshirt and I squealed with delight. OMG IT’S ANOTHER CHIC SWEATSHIRTING FEATURE. And this time it’s even better. I had to restrain myself to even leave one pattern out of my picks.

This dress! You could totally leave the lower sleeves off and it’d work well with cap sleeves, too!


Manequim magazine April 2014

29 May 2014, 12:21

I hadn’t realised that this issue arrived so late until May came nearly a week after it, but it means I’ve got two issues to show you in rapid succession. It’s always about this time of year that Manequim do their famous “Oscar dress special”, too, and squeeeeeee! this is it!

See? Brazilians do wear sweaters in winter! pfff. But seriously, despite it’s cropped proportions, it’s got some nice colourblocking, and the skirt lines are great, too.

Bomber jackets are huge this year, but I do believe this is the first sequined one I’ve seen – and here I thought I’d seen every variation possible in my pattern magazines so far! The skirt is also interesting, though I don’t think I’d be confident enough to put all my trust into a zipper like that…

Normally I’d be awfully excited to have a bodysuit pattern in my size, but frankly, it’s nowhere near as exciting as Closet Case Files’ Nettie pattern, which is already in my sewing queue. The trousers look like good basics, though, and they’re offered in a few sizes, too.

I must’ve flipped past this at least three times before I noticed that this boring shirt has actually got an asymmetric twist – the collar is rotated and the opening shifted off-centre. So what was boring is now highly interesting!


Burda magazine June 2014

28 May 2014, 12:34

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.


Burda magazine May 2014

28 April 2014, 14:14

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.


Manequim magazine March 2014

22 April 2014, 12:55

I’m often inspired by styles in Manequim magazine, even if I don’t actually sew that many, and I particularly love the Fall and Spring issues which tend to overlap a bit more with the seasons we have in the UK. Brazil is entering Fall now but the same styles are super wearable for English Spring, too.

The celebrity style section (which is usually occupied by Brazilian soap stars I’ve never heard of) is this month all featuring stylish women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. I really like the flowy faux-wrap dress Meryl Streep is wearing on the left, and it just happens to be in my size, too.

The Plus patterns this month are all blouses, and I think the pale yellow one is a particularly interesting design since it uses a twist in an outer layer, almost creating a twinset effect with the inner layer.

The designer style section is based on Alberta Ferretti’s designs, and these slim trousers and silk blouse are both provided in several sizes and would both make really great wardrobe basics. They also look especially good for testing out the fit if you’re new to Manequim, too.


Burda magazine April 2014

24 March 2014, 14:59

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.


Manequim magazine February 2014

20 March 2014, 13:50

Wow, everyone in Brazil must’ve been partying their bums off at carnival because my February issue was really late – I’d normally be expecting to see March any day now! But I’m just glad it arrived at all, because it’s a really good one, and features one must sew for me in particular!

First up are the Plus offerings for this issue. They may not seem like much, but all three look to be very wearable and versatile, and those bermuda shorts are offered in multiple sizes, too.

The designer style section this month is Victoria Beckham, and, all Spice Girl and WAG celebrity-BS aside, I actually really love a lot of her designs and find they intersect with my own personal style an awful lot. Here we get patterns for a really nicely shaped sheath dress, narrow trousers, and – the one that made me bolt upright when I turned the page – a draped, crossover blouse.

OH. MY. GOD. I adore… freaking adore… this blouse! That I can’t quite immediately work out the construction of that drape from the pattern pieces makes me want to make it even more. And, umm, it’s also in my new size, too. LOVE!


MyImage and B*inspired SS14 magazines AND Giveaway!

4 March 2014, 12:25

It’s been a while, but I’ve got the newest Spring/Summer issues of the Dutch-produced, quadrilingual pattern magazine MyImage to share with you, plus a peek into the second edition of their new children’s pattern magazine, B*inspired, too.

MyImage magazine

I absolutely love the jersey cowl dress on the right! It’s made up in three different prints in the magazine but it just looks so easy to wear for summer – that skirt wrap is an extra layer over a full skirt so there’s no chance of wind-related mishaps, either. On the left, there’s a casual woven shell with deep pleats at the neckline that would be very figure-forgiving, and it’s paired with a basic jeans pattern. I’ve been meaning to sew a pair of MyImage jeans for years now so I really must get on with it…

There are three Plus patterns in this issue – nice basics in the form of a loose, sleeveless shell with hi-lo hem, classic jeans, and this jersey surplice dress. Like the cowl dress above, the front skirt panel overlaps a full layer underneath so there’s no flashing worries, and the shoulder pleats look like they’d provide some nice shaping for larger cup-sizes, too.


Burda magazine March 2014

27 February 2014, 14:30

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.)


Manequim magazine January 2014

4 February 2014, 13:31

The latest issue of the Brazilian pattern magazine, Manequim, has arrived in my postbox and hurrah – it’s a special dress issue!

Omg, what a super cute asymmetric skort! I’m not the biggest shorts fan, but I would totally wear this! I love how the front panels are sewn into the front seams of the legs, too. Very cool.

I’m not a fan of the cropped jacket with a million fabrics, but the hem on the skirt is quite novel and a shape I’ve not seen before… (As is the one on the front cover, actually)

The designer inspiration this month is Derek Lam, and I totally love this knit sheath dress, even though it’s quite a basic design. I reckon I’m probably a size 42 now anyway, and I would totally wear this in a bright canary yellow ponte!


Burda magazine February 2014

28 January 2014, 16:33

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.


Manequim magazine December 2013

15 January 2014, 13:12

Brazil may be on opposite seasons for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, but there’s a lot to love in this issue, and importantly, lots of separates that can be layered and thus worn nearly all year round! Let’s take a look at my highlights, shall we?

First up is a group of Plus-sized patterns, all made up in white. The dress and shorts are alright, and the trousers have some interesting pleated godets at the hems, but ooh, look! It’s that jacket I loved from the first November issue (seen here on the right), but graded up to size 48!

The designer style this month is Emanuel Ungaro, and when I first looked at these two, I thought the one on the left was a skirt pattern, and the one on the right was a dress, but they’re actually the other way around!


Manequim magazine November 2013 (yes, another!)

10 January 2014, 13:03

Manequim always have two issues in November, apparently because there’s “too much summer to contain in one issue!” or something to that effect! There were quite a few things I like in the first issue but this one was mostly shorts, swimsuits, and Plus-sized patterns (all being things I don’t really wear) but there were a handful of highlights…

First up is my very favourite garment of this issue – a silk tank with chiffon inserts and contrast bands! It’s paired with some tie-waist trousers and also a casual jersey skirt, too (despite the styling, this was not in the style of a particular designer – just a bumper summer clothing feature).

You’d be forgiven for not seeing anything special in these trousers, but omg look at the tech drawing! Those curved seams, that topstitching (or is it pintucks? Or pleating?)! If only these were in my size…


Burda magazine January 2014

7 January 2014, 13:22

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.


Manequim magazine November 2013

6 December 2013, 13:13

I really should complain about my magazines not arriving more often – right after I mentioned that it hadn’t arrived yet, the (first) November Manequim turned up in my postbox! Let’s see if the second November issues makes its way to me soon… (Yes, Manequim has two issues in November. No, I don’t know why that is.)

In any case, it must be hoiday party season, because there’s a SEQUIN JUMPSUIT on the cover! Hooray everyone, let’s all dance in sequin jumpsuits!! (or, you know, chase after a toddler or do the laundry or sit in a cubicle…)

You wouldn’t know it unless you flipped to the back to check out the line drawing, but omg this jacket has incredible seam lines! I also love that it’s got the tuxedo-style notches, but no collar so therefore no roll to worry about either. Even the back looks amazing, with the extra seams around the sides. I reckon I could fit into a size 42 now….

On the very next page they’ve got another pattern with great seaming details – this time a corselette! Something like this would probably require a lot of muslins to get it fitting precisely to your own curves, but the payoff would be worth it.


Burda magazine December 2013

27 November 2013, 12:12

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.


Burda magazine November 2013

29 October 2013, 11:34

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.


Manequim magazine October 2013

25 October 2013, 13:55

Can you handle two Brazilian pattern magazines in one week? After my earlier Moda Moldes review, you might be already crying uncle and pining for caipirinhas on Copcabana, but hold on, because there’s much more in store from Manequim below…

Strangely, the first patterns in the magazine this month aren’t for humans, but for Barbie dolls! I’ve never seen doll patterns in any of my pattern magazines before, let alone designer-inspired dresses and coat (really, I’d prefer if they’d just given us the full-size versions!). Really, though, I shouldn’t complain, as these patterns are free to download, so you might be able to make a little girl very happy in time for Christmas…

There are only three Plus patterns this month (even though Barbie got four!!), but they’re all really nice – a yoked tunic top that would be a perfect silk tee, a dress with fantastic contrast raglan seaming, and a sleeveless top with a blazer-like shawl collar that I’m considering knocking off for myself…

I just think this maxidress is so elegant! I tend to like pale, solid colours anyway, but the surplice neckline with the folded-over lapels is just a lovely touch, and one I’ve not seen in any other pattern. I must file this one away in the memory bank for future franken-patterning. (But seriously, how lovely would this be for a bridesmaid’s gown??)


Moda Moldes Especial magazine

21 October 2013, 13:55

Most of you are familiar with Manequim magazine from my monthly reviews, but you may not be aware that it is just one of several sewing pattern magazines in Brazil!

Friends of ours brought me back some magazines after they holidayed there a few years ago, and you may recall that I reviewed Moda Moldes, Molde & Cia, and Figurino Moldes at the time. You can get the former two on eBay from Brazilian sellers, but they’re all pretty similar in their styles, drafting, size selection, and price. So if you’re having problems subscribing to Manequim, it may be worth your while to try one of the other magazines instead.

Anyway, I was thrilled when Rachel at House of Pinheiro was back home in Brasilia recently and very kindly offered to buy this one for me, and I thought you all deserved a peek! This is apparently a special issue of the magazine, though I can’t see what makes it different, to be perfectly honest!

This tunic may look like it’s just an oversized, belted teeshirt in the photo, but have a peek at the tech drawing and you can see there are two giant darts that provide shaping and visual interest.

There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this sheath dress, but it’s just a nice, well-balanced design that I’d totally wear!


Burda magazine October 2013

8 October 2013, 13:47

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.


Manequim magazine September 2013

3 October 2013, 13:48

Twice a year we end up overlapping a little between the Fall fashions here in the UK and the Spring fashions over in Brazil, and when that happens, it’s just magic! I know it’s warming up there but I can’t help but be inspired for Fall by this issue!

First up are a bunch of Plus-sized patterns – here there’s a nice jacket, a really interesting blouse, and a basic shirtdress, but there’s also a surplice dress, a lace dress, and another blouse included in the Plus range this month. Often there’s only one pattern!

I absolutely love the seaming and neckline of this crop top, but even I’m not brave enough to wear this out with my stomach exposed, so I’d definitely lengthen it myself!

The designer inspiration feature this month is Proenza Shouler and I utterly adore this piped sheath dress, and the blouse with tulip sleeves (in a variety of sizes) isn’t bad, either!

I nearly squealed with delight when I turned the page and saw these shorts! Regular readers will know I am not a shorts fan but I started running in them this summer and am completely won over (for running anyway!). I’ve been looking for a pattern to mimic my Nike split-side seam shorts for ages and found nothing – until now! These are pretty much exactly what I was looking for, and it’s offered in multiple sizes, too! Attach a lining panty at the waistband and you’re ready. Thank you, Manequim!!


Burda magazine September 2013

4 September 2013, 13:27

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??


Manequim magazine August 2013

28 August 2013, 17:42

I’ve got so much going on right now to show you all in good time, like some new tutorials, site features, and more, but in the meantime let’s have a look at the latest Manequim magazine.

The downside is that they removed the little tech drawings next to the fashion photoshoots so not only do I now have to keep flipping back and forth to the instructions at the back to see the pattern lines (extra annoying since they’re not in numerical order in the magazine) but I’ve also got to do extra image editing work to show you the tech drawings, dear readers!

But the upside is that at least there’s a lot of great patterns this month, cough unlike Burda cough

In the soap star style section, this little black dress and chiffon blouse both caught my eye. The dress in particular looks like something I’d totally wear!

This men’s yoked & lined jacket looks really nice! They say the pattern is online, though but I don’t see it in the list of free patterns (totally worth checking out though anyway!)? Can anyone find it on the site?

This issue apparently apparently celebrates Manequim’s 54 years as “the best fashion magazine in Brazil”. Seems an arbitrary number of years for a celebration, but no matter. I like seeing the original first issue cover, but I’d have liked it more had they given us some vintage reprint patterns!


Burda magazine August 2013

31 July 2013, 13:47

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!)


Manequim July 2013

25 July 2013, 14:49

It may be the heat of summer here in London, but in Brazil they’re in the depths of winter and oh my have they got some great patterns in store for us this month!

First up, in the Plus section, there’s a fantastic knit crossover top and a knit dress that looks like it’d be super flattering for both large busts and curvy shapes.

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this doggy jacket (complete with fur-trimmed collar) and jumpsuit – how did they know I’d just made my first dog clothing for a friend’s Boston Terrier puppy?!

From the cover photoshoot, I really like this boxy blouse (though it seems awfully familiar) and panelled skirt paired with it looks really wearable, too. Bonus points for spotting the dog model in her bag!

The designer style this month is Alexander Wang, and I love this dress with the stand-out pockets, which also happens to be in my size!


Burda magazine July 2013

28 June 2013, 13:13

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.


Manequim June 2013

25 June 2013, 10:37

As I mentioned last week, I had a great week for post while I was ill, including the latest Manequim magazine! Since Brazil is in the southern hemisphere, we get some wintery clothes, though there are still a fair amount of sleeveless options that would work for British summers, too!

oh. my. god. Plus sized lingerie!!! And they’re fantastic, wearable, and sexy designs, too – a bodysuit, bra, and panties in size 50 (B110cm W94 H116, just fyi). I’m terribly jealous that these aren’t in my size!

In the soap star style section, we’ve got this long sleeved sheath dress with interesting bodice panels that really looks like something I’d wear in the winter!

The designer pattern section this month is Jil Sander, whom I totally love! We get patterns for slim trousers (in multiple sizes!), the red batwing jersey top, and the blue dress with double-layer draped bodice. On top of the great designs, I actually really love the styling here, too – solids in vibrant colours, minimalist aesthetic, and letting the clean lines speak.


Manequim May 2013

6 June 2013, 16:59

Leading on from the amazing April issue, you’d be forgiven for expecting May’s to be a bit sub-par. But oh no no! Manequim have produced another really good issue with at least one “absolutely WILL make” for me, and if you’re Plus-sized, just drop everything and go buy this issue on eBay now.

The first pattern that stood out to me is this amazing Plus-sized biker jacket with gathered sleeves and diagonal zipper! (Also the dress is rather nice, too)

The cover star’s pleated dress has definite potential, but I prefer this sheath dress with piped, angular seams that she wears later in the same feature, even though it’s got an extremely short hem! (which is easy enough to fix, thankfully.)

I adore this blouse!! It’s made with panels of silk chiffon and silk satin, but I personally would instead make it all from silk satin and just alternate the shiny vs matte sides to create texture instead. This means it’s both easier and cheaper to source fabric, and you don’t unintentionally reveal anything in the chiffon sections!


Burda magazine June 2013

5 June 2013, 12:42

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.


Manequim April 2013 (Oscar dress pattern party!)

3 June 2013, 11:49

I’ve been subscribed to Manequim (direct with their publishers) for going on three years now, and I’ve only had 3 issues go missing in that time, which isn’t too shabby considering the distance. But I’ve never opened up my envelope before to find, uhh, some other random Brazilian magazine!

As it turns out, loads of other people also got the same “Mundo Estranho” (“Strange World”) magazine instead of Manequim, and the publisher said ours would be sent out, but then May arrived with no hint of April. So I have to thank Isidore for alerting me to this review on a Brazilian site showing that April’s issue was not only the annual Oscar special (which I must own!) but it also contained a ton of fantastic blouses! So I grudgingly went and bought it on eBay just so I wouldn’t miss it (that “luma1985” eBay seller was fantastic, btw, and I’d definitely recommend her if you want any one-off issues)!

And you know what? I’m totally glad I did, because IMHO it’s one of the best issues for ages, which you can tell just by the number of scans I took from it here!

Nevermind the photos are of a Kardashian – the top and the curved yoke skirt here are fabulous and Plus-sized!

I really like the idea of using a necklace as an integral part of this top design. It’s a backless bodysuit (therefore, not for everyone!) but I really like the ingenuity and glamour of it here.

The embroidery around the neckline of this sheath dress is just stunning! It’s almost like a motif, but the pattern has you do the design yourself from some chiffon yardage. It’d be a lot of work, but in my experience, things like this are great for long car journeys!


Sewing World magazine May 2013

29 May 2013, 16:14

I meant to post this last week while I was away on my world travels, but I found it hard to tactfully review bits of it without adequate sleep (and even with more rest, I may still have failed!).

Sewing World is a British general-sewing magazine with a mix of garments, crafts, embellishment, with a definite skewing towards beginners, but with the odd advanced article thrown in, too. It’s one I’ve picked up and flipped through in newsagents over the years, but never really felt compelled to buy more than once or twice. In recent years they started publishing a pattern sheet insert in the magazine, which IMHO makes it a million times easier to sew projects from instead of drafting from instructions or scaling up from a grid.

My sole reason for buying this issue was to get Tilly’s skirt pattern (see below), but I figured it was worth sharing the rest of the magazine with you since there are probably a lot of you who are unfamiliar with it.

The first article is all about how to tweak a teeshirt pattern to make it fit properly, which is definitely a Good Thing, and is often something that sewists ask about, especially since most FBA articles require some form of darts. I’ve got no problem with the tips offered in the article, but as I flipped the page…


And with that, dear readers, absolutely every shred of respect I had for the article’s author and the entire publication went flying out the window. What. The. Eff.

Look, I know the Big Four put facings on knits, and I scream in horror at the sheer ugliness, stupidity, and enforced crappiness of theirs, too. That someone who purports to be an expert would do this to poor, unsuspecting sewists is just unforgiveable, especially when a folded, sewn, and topstitched neckband is a) simpler to achieve, b) simpler to draft, c) better looking and d) …actually, no D. Just don’t.

Moving on… deep breaths…

From the awful to the sublime – the real reason I bought this issue is to get Tilly’s Marielle skirt! I just love the pencil skirt shape, and the asymmetric buttons and trim, just lovely!


Patrones 324 & 26

21 May 2013, 14:58

I haven’t bought Patrones magazine in a while because I’ve been busy sewing other things, but the lovely Tg33 picked these two up when she was visiting Spain recently and sent them to me as gifts! How nice is that!?

So I can show you my picks from both, while I’m currently away on business in (not so sunny) Miami. Let’s feel the hot, summer, ocean vibes!

Patrones 324

How nice would that tiered top from the cover be really nice in a lightweight silk? Because the tiers all start at the shoulder (rather than being connected to a base at intervals), you could even use a semi-sheer fabric and get lessening coverage as you go down…

There’s an entire feature solely on jumpsuits and playsuits (how many does one girl need?!), and regular readers will know I’m not particular a fan, but I couldn’t help but love the seaming on this one!


Burda magazine May 2013

25 April 2013, 15:34

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.


Manequim magazine March 2013

8 April 2013, 14:54

Greetings readers! I’m still away on holiday, meeting cool people, (hopefully) photoshooting my new Easter makes, and eating my bodyweight in crab cakes, but here’s something to tide you over til I’m back… the latest issue of the Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim!

I think this sleeveless blouse with neck tie looks like a really classy blouse for the office, and it’d be great paired with a skirt and nice jacket, though it’d be a shame to hide that back yoke. I only wish this one was in my size!

Here’s another look at that lace dress from the cover – it’s almost a skater style with that short, full skirt, and a nice surprise V neck in the back.

oh my god, you guys – this cropped trench coat is so me! And it’s in my size!


Burda magazine April 2013

5 April 2013, 14:29

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.


Manequim February 2013

8 March 2013, 14:09

I don’t know about you, but it’s a drizzly, dreary day in London today (hello there, stereotypes!) and I’m going to use this latest issue of Manequim magazine to transport me down to the Brazilian sunshine. Are you with me??

These two patterns are the only Plus-sized offerings this month, but they’re great! Here we’ve got basic trousers (showing the current print trend) in a bunch of sizes plus a fantastic blouse with an offset bow at the neckline.

I really like this nice silk blouse with surplice front on the right (and a dress with a “mullet” hem I’m not into!), though I kinda made something similar years ago that I don’t wear much…

I really like how they used mesh fabric on this dolman sleeved top with that yoke running across the entire front! Usually I’m used to only seeing mesh on the upper chest, not down the sleeves as well. I’d never wear this long skirt but I like the idea of the side buckle harnessing the fullness of the godet underneath.


Burda magazine March 2013

1 March 2013, 13:34

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.


Young Image Spring/Summer 2013 & giveaway

25 February 2013, 15:55

If you’re not familiar with Young Image magazine, it’s the sister title to My Image and is all about patterns for kids, from babies to teens, boys and girls. Like My Image, it’s produced twice a year (Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer) and provides instructions (albeit sparse) in Dutch, English, German, and French.

First up we’ve got some patterns for boys – a button-down shirt with a bit more detail than your average and a fantastic pair of board shorts that have a lot of versatility – you could change the pockets for cargoes, or make in a different material for swimming trunks even!

Here we’ve got a really cute jersey jacket, a (barely seen) asymmetric knit tanktop, and some of the coolest-looking trousers I’ve seen for ages! Omg, those slanted pockets are just great – can we get them in adult sizes please?

It’s a first for me, but I’ve actually already sewn this next top already, as a present for my niece! I loved it as soon as I got this issue, and I went and traced it right away. The front has got a subtly curved yoke seam, but the back is where all the action is – a double layer with a tied yoke! I’m not going to lie – I love this design so much that I modified my new knit sloper to make a running version of this for myself, too! (If you’re a Pattern Review member you can see a sneak peek of my niece’s present over there in advance of my gifting it to her in April)


My Image Spring/Summer 2013 & giveaway

22 February 2013, 16:15

It may not feel like Spring yet, but all the pattern companies and pattern magazines seem to be releasing their warmer-weather patterns right now and My Image are no different!

The big news for this issue is that MyImage have started making Plus-sized patterns! When someone on the Pattern Review board asked why there were only a few Plus patterns instead of extending ALL the patterns to the Plus-sized range, the creator of My Image gave this reply, which I thought was quite a reasonable one:

“A wider range of sizes will make the magazine a lot more expensive. Also, the pattern sheets will be less clear than they are now and therefore we need to add 1 or 2 extra sheets, what will also drive up the price. As a starting magazine, we can’t raise our prices, otherwise we loose half of our customers and we have to stop again :)

We choose to make and print every pattern in 6 different sizes. We try to choose these sizes as careful as possible. For jumpsuits we usually start with 34, because jumpsuits are mostly loved by teens (12-20yr) For more casual clothes we start with 36 or 38 and we stop at 46 or 48. From 46 to 56 we made a new size chart, especially made for plus sizes. It isn’t simply possible to upsize “regular size” patterns to 48/50+ sizes with remaining a great fit.

Also, when someone needs another size than the 6 on the sheet, they can use our custom pattern service.

Anyway, I thought that was worth repeating here as it gives some insight into the difficult decisions patternmakers go through in order to try and please as many people as possible.

But enough of that, let’s have a look at my picks from this issue!

Speaking of Plus, here’s a great knit tunic with gathered sides and a classic jeans pattern (seriously, I can’t remember Burda ever producing a Plus-sized jeans pattern!). I’m not a big fan of shorts, but I really like the gathered-neck top on the right, and I think it’d be pretty versatile for layering as well as hot days.


Manequim January 2013

31 January 2013, 14:00

The latest edition of the Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim arrived in my postbox and I was rather pleased to see the publisher switched to a staple-binding (like Burda magazine) instead of the more awkward-to-scan and leave open on the table glue binding they’d previously been using. The pattern sheets are still loose in the magazine shrink wrapping (and not stapled in place like Burda, KnipMode, Patrones, etc), but this is a nice improvement as far as I’m concerned!

Straight from the start and we’re in a Brazilian summer with this amazing Plus swimsuit with gathered front, and gorgeous twisted ties in back. I totally love that a) they’re making Plus-sized swimwear patterns (AFAIK only KnipMode has also done this) and b) the design is so flattering!

And on the next page, we see some evening gowns, including one on the left with a top not dissimilar to that last swimsuit!

I love Manequim’s little silk blouses, and I think this one has the opportunity to become the most perfect silk tee! Though I had a look at the pattern layout to see what’s going on with those sleeves, and each sleeve is four pattern pieces! Very cool.


Burda magazine February 2013

25 January 2013, 11:38

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…


Burda magazine January 2013

11 January 2013, 13:55

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!


Manequim December 2012

10 January 2013, 14:17

While we freeze in the northern hemisphere, let’s take a mental trip down south, where in Brazil they’re in the middle of summer. If you need a bit of a boost to make the imaginary leap, just crank up the heating! Or if you’re suffering in the Aussie heatwave, grab a Caipirinha and sip along as we go through my picks from the December Manequim magazine…

First up we’ve got a cowl top with a difference – this one has a portion that comes together to form a centre front seam, keeping the drapes in front and you protected (also a nice yoke in the back there, too!)

From the “inspired by Fendi” feature, I like the idea of this top with radiating seams with little cutouts in the upper chest. I’m not sure I like exactly how they’ve done it here, but it’s a great starting point of an idea to make your own version.

This chiffon dress is just gorgeous, even though I’d never make it myself due to the professionally pleated bits at the sides! Nice of Manequim to include a pattern for a slip dress for underneath, too.


Patrones 22

8 January 2013, 18:23

Remember back before Christmas, when the in-laws travelled to Spain and brought me back Patrones 320? Well, at the time I was too flu-ridden to scan the second issue they bought at the same time, so I’m sharing it with you now.

This second magazine is labelled “Casual” but is more the size of a typical Patrones “Extra” issue. These lower numbered Patrones issues started a few years ago and are reprints of previously-published patterns. In this case, I haven’t seen any of these before so it’s fine by me!

It’s a terrible magazine photo (why cover up the pattern dress with a massive cardigan?) but I absolutely love the tech drawing for this curved seam dress. Funny, but it really reminds me of a Patrones designer skirt I made in 2008 and then never really documented on the site (which I tend to not do anymore, you see everything!)

There are tons of amaaaazing coats in this issue (remember that I swear by Patrones’ coat patterns!!), and I especially like this one with a zipper opening, and three separate zippered welt pockets, too:

The short, naval pea coat is such an iconic piece of clothing, but strangely, not one you see patterns for very often. For me, this would make a fantastic transitional coat I could wear 9 months of the year…


Patrones 320

21 December 2012, 13:54

Yay! The in-laws were holidaying in Spain recently and were kind enough to pick up two issues of Patrones for me! I was planning on showing you both at the same time (the other is a reprints issue, No.22), but in my limited evenings this week, I’ve been using my available time prepping fabric and tracing out patterns to sew over my Christmas break, and scanning isn’t nearly as much fun in comparison.

In the meantime, here’s the first issue, full of new winter patterns!

Patrones 320

Here are the patterns shown on the cover – a nice button-down shirt with pintucks, an amaaaaazing biker jacket, and some nice slim trousers/jeans. I really like the deep green velvet they used here, too.

Another slim trousers + shirt + jacket combo, this time in a more equestrian style. I’m not keen on the massive bow on the top, but I really like the jodhpur detail on the trousers.


Manequim November 2012 (yes, another one!)

13 December 2012, 14:25

I have no idea why, but Manequim magazine always produce two November issues. In all the other months, it’s just the usual one issue per month, so I have no idea why November is any different. Does anyone know why this is? Is it a cultural thing in Brazil perhaps?

In any case, here’s the second November issue – my review of the first November issue is here if you’d like to compare the two.

Regular readers will already know that I don’t “do” shorts, but it doesn’t stop me admiring the design of these elegant petal shorts.

This multisize, long sleeved blouse could easily work for colder weather by just using a different fabric, and it’s paired with yet another pair of cute shorts, this time with a retro curved hem.

The summer jacket is nice, but I’m more interested in the oh-so-versatile tank/vest underneath, since it’s in my size, and always a good thing for summer, but also for lingerie and layering.


Burda magazine December 2012

30 November 2012, 15:41

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.


Manequim November 2012

22 November 2012, 17:42

I wasn’t overly impressed with last month’s issue of this Brazilian pattern magazine (Remember there are other Brazilian pattern magazines too!), but this one’s got enough fancy party dresses in it to keep me happy, even if it’s overly summery for my personal use right now!

Now here’s some pattern versatility we can all use: a detachable peplum to wear with any skirt, trousers, or dress. This lets you be totally on-trend without any commitment, because when peplums go out of fashion again, your skirt/trousers/dress can still be worn without it!

Manequim are so good at the short cocktail dresses, and this little sheath dress has a really intersting crossover neckline and some cool pleats at the hips to add interest.

The designer inspiration feature revolves around Kate Spade this month, and I really like this dress in particular, because it doesn’t have a waist seam, which seems to be fairly unusual for this silhouette. The jacket is covering the neckline in this particular shot, but the square neckline is really flattering, too.


Manequim October 2012

16 November 2012, 16:43

You can always tell when I’m lukewarm about a particular magazine issue – it’ll not appear on the site for ages after it arrives! All I’m going to say is that the November issue arrived in my postbox last night and that’s given me a kick to actually share October’s with you, which didn’t really contain much for me….

Don’t get me wrong, if you have lots of kids to sew for, then this issue’s for you! But that plus the dearth of summer fashions just means I’m not all that excited by it.

I actually LOLed when I saw them describe the High-Low hem as “mullet” hemlines!! That’s fantastic! (No pattern’s here – it’s just the street style section)

Some of the kids’ patterns are fabulous, but then we have… this. Weird sweatsuit trousers with a pouch over the crotch. Of course!

Here’s a nice top with an illusion neckline and sleeve bands. I’m not fully on board with Camp Sleeveband, but I can see the advantage of keeping the sun off your shoulders without going to a sleeve. I remember in 2010 when Burda had them they seemed strange and shocking, but now I think they’re a lot more mainstream.


KnipMode November 2012

7 November 2012, 17:27

In my opinion, the Dutch pattern magazine KnipMode went way downhill with the appointment of the new(ish) editor and I stopped my subscription shortly after. But I couldn’t resist buying an issue at Schiphoil Airport when I found my flight home cancelled recently. I remember the subscription was more expensive than either Burda or Manequim, but I nearly choked when this rang up as €8 at the till!!

So let’s see if it’s worth it…

I’m a sucker for a designer collaboration, even if I haven’t heard of the design (who is Mart Visser, anyway?). The dress’s design lines are certainly interesting, and the coat isn’t bad, but I was definitely more excited by Burda’s recently Matthew Williamson pattern that’s for sure.

Some great skirts here! I particularly like the ruffled one, and the pencil skirt with the wrap-around back yoke. I’d forgotten how good KnipMode are at those sort of subtle seaming touches.


Burda magazine November 2012

2 November 2012, 14:11

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).


Burda Easy magazine FW12

1 November 2012, 10:40

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!).


Fait Main magazine October 2012

15 October 2012, 13:02

First of all, apologies for the delay in getting this (and about four other posts you haven’t seen yet) live. Immediately after we returned from our week’s holiday in France, I caught an awful cold/flu and was off work for a week and then re-entered the office to an unholy stress-storm. So all the wonderful planning and progress and goodies which I meant to share right after we came home are still only now dribbling out of my brain and into the site.

(whisper it) And I’m running a marathon this Sunday. THIS SUNDAY!*

Moving on…

While we were in France, I had a browse through the sewing magazines in a few supermarkets. The bigger ones tend to stock Burda (regular, Plus, and Easy), Fait Main, and Elena Couture. I wasn’t planning on buying either of the latter two, but I had a flick through this one and decided it was worth it for the workout gear (read on!), but the Elena got left on the shelf. And then, of course, I found the new Burda Classics at Calais, too. I also grabbed the latest Burda Easy (which you’ll see soon), as it too was surprisingly better than usual.

If you’re not familiar with Fait Main, it’s a translation of the Danish magazine Sy but printed in France by Hubert Burda Media. As far as I know, it’s not available in English, or any other languages, and is a monthly publication, featuring not just sewing patterns, but also knitting and embroidery patterns, too.

I bought this once before last Spring during our French road trip, but I think I prefer this issue!

First up is a cosy faux-wrap sweater and skirt – the sweater reminds me of the one I sewed for my UK Citizenship ceremony back in 2009, and like that one, this sweater also appears to wrap but is actually attached at the side seams, which I prefer.


Burda Classics magazine FW 2012 (& MyImage sale!)

3 October 2012, 11:13

We’ve been away in France last week and I’ve picked up a few souvenirs, including a stonking awful cold, which is unfortunately delaying my resumption of normal life and blog activity. So just rest assured there will be much to talk about as soon as my brain is functioning again. Until then, please accept my apologies for anything that doesn’t make sense here!

So, what is this “Burda Classics”, I hear you ask? Well, it’s part of a new series of Burda pattern magazines, set to run alongside the existing monthly issues. It’s available in English & French only, and produced by Burda France as a test run. Apparently there’s going to be 8 “special” issues per year, two of them Classics, two Plus, and the other four are anyone’s guess!

I bought my Classics mag last weekend at Eurotunnel Calais on our drive back – the one and only copy, bwahaha!

Two of these patterns are definitely reprints of earlier patterns (see below), but some may be new, I’m not sure. As you’ll see, there are lots of jackets, which aren’t exactly staples in my own wardrobe!. Sizes range from 32-50 but the bulk of the patterns are 34-44 or 46. The instructions and patterns sheets appear to be similar to those in the regular magazines, though as I have the French version, I can’t vouch for whether the English instructions make any more sense than the usual “Burda WTF” coming from Burda Germany’s head office!

Here’s my favourite pattern of this issue, a great little sheath dress for wovens or stable jerseys, in three hem lengths and three sleeve lengths:

A “Chanel” suit (albeit with a 2 piece sleeve). I intended to place a little rant here about how any chanel-type suit has the magical properties of making its wearer look at least twenty years older, but seeing as how this model looks to be about 60, that actually doubles my earlier estimate. Want to look old and frumpy? Wear a boxy boucle jacket and matching matronly skirt!

(Ok, this is probably a cranky side effect of my cold, as it’s not this pattern’s fault, it’s the “style” I take offense with!)

Omg, it’s the knit wrap dress I made back in 2007! This is a great pattern, appearing first in the May 2006 issue of Burda magazine, and then appearing again as envelope pattern Burda 7953.


Burda magazine October 2012

27 September 2012, 14:32

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.


Manequim September 2012

20 September 2012, 14:14

Hot on the heels of August’s issue, it’s another Manequim magazine, this time celebrating the first of the Spring fashions down in sunny Brazil!

The model’s pose on the cover of this issue totally cracks me up. I thought it was the most corny, awful pose I’d ever seen until I saw the rest of her photoshoot inside, and I have a feeling now that she must be a real ham, and she’s doing the dorky poses to be funny, which I quite like now!

In the celebrity section there are four patterns for maternity dresses, including these two gowns. I’m not sure if they’re just regular gowns which are maternity-friendly, or whether they’ve actually drafted them to account for extra belly. The tech drawing would suggest they’re altered, but the pattern pieces in the layout don’t (the straight hems are a giveaway!).

You know me and shorts (ie: I don’t wear them, full stop), but how cute are these, with their retro hems, piped front seams, and integrated pockets?! So cute I almost overlooked the biker jacket in my size, that’s what!


Manequim August 2012

12 September 2012, 13:48

August is a funny transitional month in the fashion world – for Burda magazine, August is traditionally the first issue full of Fall fashions, but for Manequim in the Southern hemisphere, this August issue is the last of the Winter fashions!

I’ve had this issue scanned and ready to share for a while, but it was receiving the (very Spring-y) September issue in the post this week that really gave me a kick to post about August. Sorry for the delay – the magazine review posts get slotted in around my other sewing escapades, since I assume you’re all more interested in what I’m actually making!

There’s only one Plus-sized pattern in this issue (with the inspiration dress modelled by the amazing Brazilian comedienne, Fluvia Lacerda!), and it’s a lovely shirt dress with pleated details around the neckline & sleeves.

I see a lot of classic button-down shirt patterns, but this one’s got an interesting twist – diagonal pleated inserts on both sides. It’d be an easy feature to add onto an existing shirt pattern you already have, too!

From the same feature, I totally love this sheath dress with square neckline where the bust pleats extend down from the neckline. It’s a really subtle bit of shaping, but I think this would translate nicely into a top, too.


Burda magazine September 2012

31 August 2012, 15:46

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.


MyImage Fall/Winter 2012 & Giveaway

28 August 2012, 13:22

It’s the latest edition of the bi-annual, quadri-lingual My Image magazine! They’ve also got a new edition of Young Image magazine, too, but as I’ve not got many kids to sew for, I’m more interested in the women’s patterns.

It seems nuts that all the pattern companies and fashion magazines are into long sleeves and heavy coats already, but I suppose we’ll thank them when the weather cools down and we’ve got the perfect patterns already in hand!

This cardi is nice (but nothing particularly new), but I’m mostly into the trousers. I’m not fond of the ankle shirring detail, though, so I think I’d just leave that off for a nice straight leg instead. Maybe that makes me boring, but there’s enough interest in the top half for my liking!

Contained in this one image are my two favourites of this issue I think – the coat is just amazing and I love, love, LOVE these slim trousers!! They’ve got some fantastic seaming on the legs and have added pleats to give great texture there and really play up the extra panels. These are for stretch wovens with an elastic waistband, in case you’re wondering (like I was, eyeing up my fabrics before the issue arrived!).


Manequim July 2012

6 August 2012, 13:14

I’ve had a few weeks to mull over this issue, and in my opinion, it’s another really great one, full of garments for “their winter” that could easily be worn in “our summer”!

In the section showing dresses inspired by Brazilian soap stars, I really like this dress with an integrated side-tie – it’d be really easy to just draft this as a separate piece, but the tie itself is cleverly integrated into the shaped seams, like something out of Pattern Magic!

I totally squealed when this issue first arrived, because the cover dress with curved black knit side panels is just too fabulous (and clearly inspired by the famous Stella McCartney “Octavia” dress) but it’s also only available in my size!! Yess!

Doesn’t this silk dress with draped skirt overlay and yoke look like something a certain Duchess would wear?


Burda magazine August 2012

1 August 2012, 14:41

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.


Manequim June 2012

17 July 2012, 14:20

I’ve had this issue for a while now, I’m not entirely certain why I’ve been dragging my feet to review it. I mean, I should be all over this – they’re are some great designs, and our “wettest, coldest summer in 16654687423 years” means I can wear Brazilian winter fashions right now anyway, but I think maybe I’m just in pattern overload shellshock or something. It’s a genuine malady, I’m sure of it.

I think this convertible coat is a great idea – you can remove the bottom of it to change it between a short winter coat or a longer one. It’s the kind of catwalk fashion that can really translate into people’s reduced income and wardrobe space and be really wearable at the same time…

The soap opera cover star is showing a side gather dress with a leather tab here – the dress itself is nothing special, but I really like the leather accent idea!

The designer this month is Ferragamo, and I really like this dress with a peephole neckline, especially since I’ve not seen any similar patterns around (yet?).


Burda and KnipMode July 2012

25 June 2012, 14:40

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.


KnipMode and Burda June 2012

1 June 2012, 23:21

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.


Weekend bits & pieces

22 May 2012, 15:04

Sorry for the stream of consciousness, but I’ve had a busy few days of sewing activity, but in more disjointed areas than any one common goal.

Burda and KnipMode magazines & PM3

The June editions of Burda & KnipMode arrived on the same day and made for a nice comparison. I loooooooved the May Burda, but the June one is way too summery for me, and I’m not really feeling it. I’ll review the KnipMode shortly, as soon as I can get the scanner going. I almost feel like I should start doing Burda magazine reviews since their online previews are getting more and more cumbersome to use, now that they’re eliminating the French site, the German does is a total PITA to view on mobile devices, and the English site only gets a third of the patterns a month after everyone else. But then again, so many other bloggers already do this so I don’t want to create a “New Vogue effect” where every sewing blog suddenly shows the same five pictures all at once.

What do you think? Is Burda niche enough that you want to see my picks like I do for Manequim and (soon to be much less frequently) KnipMode?

Also at the same time, my KnipMode renewal notice came through. I don’t want to renew, but I want to make sure I don’t need to do anything in order to cancel (ie: I don’t want it to renew me automatically). Could I pretty please send an image of the latter to a Dutch speaker just to confirm what I need to do? (Volunteers, please leave a comment) I don’t need a full translation, just someone to tell me whether I need to formally cancel or not.

My copy of Pattern Magic 3 (in English) also finally arrived, after the first copy got lost in the post from Amazon! There are some Must Sews in there (including one I’ve started drafting already) but also some hi-LAR-ious things in there. A review will be coming soon for this, too.


On Saturday, after my long run with friends, I made some new pants (underwear). As per usual, I used my TNT thong pattern, which originally came from a KnipMode magazine from 2007 or 2008.


Manequim May 2012

21 May 2012, 14:51

Hooray! It’s a new issue of our favourite soap opera-obsessed, Brazilian sewing pattern magazine, Manequim!

Oh look – it’s a shopper tote bag that folds up into it’s own zippered pouch! This is something I’ve seen a bunch in shops, but not in pattern form before.

I really like the square neckline and offset zipper opening to this shirtdress. On first glance, it looks quite standard, but the more I stare at the tech drawing, the more cool details I see in this!


KnipMode May 2012

10 May 2012, 14:46

My KnipMode subscription lumbers on, though I’ve yet to be really excited by any issue in the past six months. But as I find myself with some time on my hands while our boat is in drydock, I might as well share the latest issue with you now…

This yoked top looks like it’s be a great use for cotton lawns or well-washed quilting cottons, if you have any that don’t go all oddly stiff…

On first glance, this sheath dress looks pretty basic, but the dart placement makes this a bit more interesting than usual, and you could do some great colourblocking if you extend the darts a little further into seams…


Manequim April 2012

25 April 2012, 13:55

This time of year is my favourite for Manequim issues, as the Brazilians begin Fall, overlapping with our decidedly cool and wet English springs, it means for a brief period I can actually wear the patterns when they’re printed! So let’s have a look inside the latest issue…

Manequim usually contain one or two easy accessory patterns, and this month it’s patterns for two cute collars, plus some instructions for beading them.

The white skirt is a design I’ve seen done over and over before, but I love the white dress, with the pleated interest on the shoulders!

I absolutely love the asymmetric blouse, as seen on the cover, as well as its cool, one side seam layout! I’m not too sure about the shoulder bow, though – I’d probably leave that off, but this one is definitely on my To Sew list now!


KnipMode March & April 2012

28 March 2012, 15:32

The past few months of KnipMode have been so lacklustre that I’ve decided they no longer deserve their own post each month. Yeah, take that, Knip! So I’ve joined the last two months together here in an attempt to find a few diamonds amongst the turds…

March 2012

I really like the seaming on this suede jacket. It’s a different take on the general “waterfall cardigan” design that’s been ubiquitous in the past few years.

Oh dear. Those are some serious “Mom jeans” and they’re not helped by the awful styling and piercing blue denim shade…


Manequim March 2012

14 March 2012, 13:46

Wow, the seam allowance guide tool giveaway has been SO popular! Go over and enter if you haven’t already, because the makers have just given me two more to give away, so you’ve just tripled your chances!

If you’re looking for justifications for using said tool, then I put before you Exhibit A, the newest edition of the Brazilian pattern magazine, Manequim:

The lovely comedienne Fluvia is showcasing the Plus selection this month, which is just a nice, slim pair of trousers paired with a blouse. But look closer and you can see this is a new variation on the cowl-neck theme, as it’s a drapey collar morphed into a traditional shirt rather than a shell top!

This sort of “sheath dress with cool sleeves” is exactly what Manequim do best, and it’s what I think of as their signature House Style. I totally love the pleated sleeves here, though I hate how the skirt pockets don’t match up with the bodice seams! It’s easy enough to change, but it just seems like a sloppy design oversight to me.


Manequim February 2012

10 February 2012, 13:37

Brazil (and the rest of the Southern hemisphere) are starting to move into Fall fashions now, which is perfect for those of us thinking of Spring! Transitional clothing is so much more flexible for London’s climate than either heaviest winter or barest summer fashions, that’s for sure!

I’m certainly liking this issue a lot more than the most recent summery issues…

In the atelier section, this month there’s a pattern for a dress made entirely from silk scarves! Love that drapey peplum…

It was inevitable with the sheer quantity of jumpsuit patterns Manequim produce that I was eventually going to like one of them… Halter-neck AND cowl? Yes! I’m even willing to succumb to ridiculous bra solutions in order to wear something as chic as this.

How awesome is this Plus-sized sheath dress? There isn’t much more in the way of Plus patterns in this issue, but I think this dress is a knockout.

The “inspired by a designer” feature this week is on Nina Ricci, and I really like this lace dress (which is happily multi-sized!), and also the silk blouse with its open, flutter sleeves that are integrated into the back piece.


My Image Spring/Summer 2012

8 February 2012, 14:23

Woo! It’s time again for another issue of the twice-yearly, quadra-lingual pattern magazine My Image!

This sheath dress is one of my favourites from this issue. It’s kinda hard to see the details with the print, but take a look at the tech drawing! I also really like this sleeveless cowl top which would be great in a lightweight viscose jersey, and there’s also a shorts pattern here if you wear them (I don’t!).

I also totally love this yellow cap sleeve sheath dress – check out those amazing scoop darts! (This pattern is also shown on the cover, fyi)

Here you can see a knit dresses from this issue, plus a great pair of trousers and jacket. I love the tech drawing for these trousers, but it’s really difficult to see the pocket details in any of the photos – in most cases the top is covered by a tunic top, and this pair are made up in such a wild print that it’s hard to see much…


KnipMode February 2012

1 February 2012, 14:26

The February issue arrived a week or so ago, and thankfully it’s a lot better than January’s lackluster offering!

The first feature in the magazine teams blue with a bunch of other colours. I especially liked this blue & orange combination since orange is just SO hot right now. I quite like a lot of these separates but I love the seamed jeans!

Ooh, four basic trousers – I really like the first three (the last, not so much)…


KnipMode January 2012

19 January 2012, 14:39

I’m totally bored with this issue, so I apologise for going through the motions here. KnipMode have really taken a turn for the dull over the past few months, as far as I’m concerned, and this issue really just highlights what’s wrong with the new leadership at the magazine.

This issue is almost entirely comprised of “mix & match” garments – if you’re familiar with the Simplicity Project Runway patterns, then it’s the same concept here: choose a bodice, choose a collar, choose a sleeve, etc, and put together the garment you prefer. In principle, this is a great thing, and I’ve been enthusiastic when they’ve done this with cocktail dresses and blouses in the past.

The problem here is that every single one of these garments is b-o-r-i-n-g to start with, so choosing between several boring customisation options just doesn’t make it any better. It’s like someone at the top heard the concept was popular with readers, but didn’t actually go so far as to make sure the underlying patterns were desirable before running away with the concept…

Case in point – the jackets. I’m not particularly a jacket person anyway, but I swear KnipMode have already published princess seamed jacket patterns for every single one of these variations in the past six months anyway. And the sleeves – changing the length is NOT a variation, as far as I’m concerned. I mean, why aren’t they changing the sleeve cap to gathered, or making one a wide cape sleeve, or a cap sleeve on one or something?? There’s so much you could be changing here but they’ve just missed the opportunity.


Manequim November, December 2011 and January 2012

16 January 2012, 15:17

I’ve got a bumper stack of Manequim magazines to show you! A few turned around the same time in December due to the holiday post office disruption, and then the summer styles didn’t really inspire me to review these right away, and then the flu struck me down for a full fortnight… but it means you get to see a bunch of Brazilian summer fashions all at once!

There actually should’ve been a fourth issue here, too, but the other November issue (629) never turned up, and was presumably lost in the post. Bummer. I don’t really understand why Manequim always do two issues in November, but it seems that this one was lost for a lot of people – when I requested a replacement, they didn’t have any more in stock, so my subscription was extended instead. I’ve since seen that Melissa‘s copy of this issue was also lost but turned up months later, so I still live in hope! In any case, if you want to see photos, you’ll have to check out her review

November 2011 (630)

I quite like this teeshirt with the draped hem, though I have no idea why they decided to hide its defining aspect by tucking it in…

I really like the cut of this relaxed tee, especially the shoulder seaming, but I’d love to see this in an unexpected fabric, like a silk crepe or linen instead of the usual jersey.


Patrones 309 & 9

5 January 2012, 13:52

Happily, I got a chance to catch up on my magazine scanning over the holidays (expect to see a boat-load of Manequims and a rather boring KnipMode as well), so I can finally show you some highlights from the two Patrones issues my inlaws very kindly picked up for me while they were holidaying in Spain at the end of last year.

First up is a new(ish) issue, full of fall and winter fashions!

Patrones 309

I think this Cos coat is really interesting, though with it open on the model and a vague tech drawing, I’m not really sure how the finished coat would look. I mean, I like asymmetry, but does this mean one thigh would always be cold?

I love the cut of this motorcycle jacket and mixing the leather and tweed together like this, but omg did they have to use just a cheap and nasty pleather here? I can practically smell the petrochemicals from here, and the sleeves just make me want to cry! Still, how nice would this be in good leather?


Piling up...

21 December 2011, 13:24

The number of posts I want to write is piling up at an alarming rate, and I have no time to do anything about it, what with work being crazy busy (I hate all of you who get tons of time off at Christmas – I only get 3 days off in total! And my days have mostly been solving one problem, and having five new problems pour in while I was fixing the one, then moving on to the next in a To-Do list which never, ever gets cleared.) and us spending all our weekends working on the boat (last weekend we spent 15 hours building the subfloor down there. No, don’t feel jealous – the boat blog is being neglected, too).

So rather than stress about the amount of things piling up, I’m going to present my pile to you in pictorial form.

This is what James’s desk looked like this morning. It’s supposed to be my temporary cutting table while we’re building in the hold. How can I possibly cut the bias Ruby Slip or Holly’s maxi-dress fabric on this?? I’m pretty sure Bosco isn’t responsible, though he does look a bit shifty there…

I finished my vintage midi skirt ages ago, but have had zero time to document, or photoshoot or anything. So here’s two photos to test the hem length (which is why it’s just basted here)

I sewed a little waistcoat for James’s nephew out of this Tardamask fabric on Spoonflower. It’s got hidden pockets inside! He’s 7, and the biggest Dr Who fan ever, so we’re excited to see his reaction on Christmas.


KnipMode - December 2011

25 November 2011, 14:53

Oh KnipMode. What happened? You were so awesome in 2010, but then these last six months or so have just been so… blah.

If it carries on like this, there’s no way I’m renewing next year, especially as this is by far the most pricey of my three pattern magazine subscriptions (thanks to the exchange rate, it’s almost twice the price of Manequim or Burda).

There was a feature on winter white that had nothing to inspire me, so let’s move on to the pretty party dress feature. Surely there will be something there for me… and yes! This dress with criss-crossed chiffon is lovely, especially in these colours.

This dress, however, is a whole heap of hot mess. The fabric is terrible for this pattern, the princess seams are lumpy, and the colour just looks cheap and nasty on this model’s colouring. Eugh.

You know how much I love lace, right? Well it should tell you something that, in an entire feature on lace, the only thing I liked was this totally non-lace asymmetrical pleated skirt.


Patrones 306 & 307 (and Plus-sized giveaway!)

21 November 2011, 15:18

Patroneses are just like buses – you wait ages for one and then they all come at once!

I was very lucky to win a copy of issue 307 from Jacquie, who bought it while she was visiting in Spain, and then right after that, my friend Pip (aka the bridesmaid in purple) went away to Madrid on business. Even though she was on Spanish soil a good month after Jacquie, she managed to find 306 and no.8 on a newsstand there!

So let’s take a look inside…

Patrones 306

This edition was the last of the summer clothes, which isn’t too practical for me in London. I don’t go out of my way to buy the summer issues, but there is some good stuff to be had amongst the shorts and sundresses…

Skipping past the beach wear, this unstructured, reversible jacket and slim trousers is very nice.

I think my favourite in this issue is this strappy dress with an added drape portion. I can just imagine it moving in the wind (I’m going to ignore how cold that wind would be right now!).

I also totally love the seaming on the strapless cocktail dress on the right (the dress on the left? ick.). It’s difficult to see in the navy fabric with the belt on top, but the tech drawing is luscious!


KnipMode November 2011

27 October 2011, 13:01

I currently subscribe to three different sewing pattern magazines: Burda, Manequim, and KnipMode. I don’t post reviews of Burda because so many other blogs do already, and also because Burda are great about publishing all the line drawings in advance, so you probably already know whether you like an issue or not without me harping on at you. All three have reliable delivery schedules, with Manequim appearing in the first week of the month, then KnipMode around the middle, and Burda bringing up the rear at the end of the month, or the beginning of the next. This month I ended up getting KnipMode only a few days before Burda, but I think it was just a combination of Knip being a bit late and Burda being a bit early. What it’s meant for me is that I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with breakfast reading so I’ve only just now been able to properly digest each issue along with my porridge, let alone get out the scanner!

As a total aside, I find it interesting that Manequim is the cheapest year subscription at about £65, then Burda at £70, followed by KnipMode at about £90. All I’m saying is, KnipMode has been alright since their new editor took over, but they better step up to awesome territory again soon if they want to stay in the sewing budget…

The first ten or so pages of this issue are taken up by the wide array of styles you can create with their mix & match coat patterns. They’ve done this in the past with dresses and cocktail dresses but essentially you choose the various sleeves, bodice, collar, etc, and build your custom coat pattern that way.


Manequim October 2011

6 October 2011, 14:23

I was SO surprised when this issue turned up last week! This is the first time I’ve had a copy of Manequim in my hands before the month printed on the cover! Usually I receive it in the first week of the month, then Burda and Knip arrive somewhere around the middle of the month (though KnipMode publishes a month ahead of the others).

I’ve seen lots of variations on this horizontal-seamed shirtdress out and about in London! Just the other day I saw a lady wearing one with a navy and white stripe on the bottom and solid turquoise across the shoulders… It looked so good I made a mental note! Or I can see this as a great way to wear that difficult burnt orange colour that’s so popular right now – put it on the bottom half so a different colour is next to your face.

I’m not fond of the jacket on the right (way too much like a fussy Chanel jacket!), but I really like the vest on the left with the lace trim. It’s also a multi-sized pattern, which is useful.

For the last two issues, Manequim have been overloading me with totally amazing silk blouse patterns. I’m relieved to say this is the only one in this issue, but the tucks and twists here are so unique! I also really like skirt pattern and the colours they’ve chosen here – perfect for a Southern hemisphere Spring.


KnipMode October 2011

3 October 2011, 13:50

I haven’t really been terribly excited about KnipMode magazine for the past few months, since the new editor took over, but things are starting to look up this month, thankfully…

I love the lines of this jacket (and the retro styling!) but for me, this is kinda ruined by the poor fit on the model and that awful plastic zipper!

For me, the best design in this issue is this new take on the twist top (no, hear me out!). This interesting neckline plus long sleeves in an easy knit, this is a pretty likely addition to my winter wardrobe, I’m guessing, especially since there’s photo instructions in the magazine for that twist!


Manequim September 2011

20 September 2011, 14:00

After August’s silk blouse bonanza, I was expecting September’s issue of the Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim to be a disappointment in comparison, but hoo boy, was I wrong! This is a fantastic issue, as evidenced by my enthusiasm with the scanner…

First off there’s a pattern for a simple leather envelope clutch. My friend Cindy recently sent me a tutorial for a similar leather clutch bag, so the need for a pattern is really up for debate!

What a great jacket with such interesting seaming! I’m not so convinced about the dropped waist sheath dress though…

No, not deja vu just yet – I wanted to show you the tech drawings for the cover look, as the skirt is just lovely!

I know there are instructions for a similar twist dress in one of the Pattern Magic books, but I really like that Manequim took an extra step in the instructions for this dress and gave a secondary drawing showing how the pieces fit together. It’s almost like they saw what I did for the Vogue DKNY top and thought they’d do the same!


My Image Fall/Winter 2011

30 August 2011, 14:32

The newest issue of My Image Magazine came out a few weeks ago, and since I’ve liked their previous two issues so much, I went any bought this new one without much hesitation! Besides the fact that they’re a new magazine with a great small business story, they’re always really friendly over email, and keen to improve things like translation and note any corrections on their website. In other words, they’re exactly the sort of company I want to support! I’ve only made one of their patterns so far, but there’s quite a few in this issue which are begging to be made!

And scroll down to the bottom for an exclusive discount for FehrTrade readers, too!

My Image is published twice a year, so this is the Fall/Winter issue:

First off, I really like this colourblocked knit dress! They have you use two different knits in the pattern layout, and I like the effect here with a print and a matching solid. I also really like the floppy collar and the skirt shape (which kinda reminds me of my Manequim egg skirt!).


KnipMode September 2011

26 August 2011, 16:06

The latest issue of KnipMode arrived last week, and included inside was a letter to the subscribers from the new editor. I could really only make out something about Marion magazine from my (admitted) inability to read Dutch, so I actually transcribed the whole letter through Google Translate to find out not much of anything beyond that she loved sewing from an early age, trained at fashion school, worked at Marion, and is excited to be joining the great team at KnipMode. Yawn. So no real news there at all…

I’m kinda nervous that she may try to make big changes and ruin a good thing, because 2010 was an awesome year for Knip, and these last two issues under her control have been largely mediocre.

But let’s take a look at my own favourites this month anyway…

The first pattern to greet me is for some great trousers with kneepad detail- hey! wait a minute – didn’t we just have these in the last issue??? I’ve put August’s on the right here for comparison:

This jacket with its cute peplum ruffles might be my favourite in this issue, but I don’t really wear blazer-type jackets all that often so I’m not terribly likely to make this if I’m being honest.


Manequim August 2011

24 August 2011, 14:19

I’m not sure what I did to deserve this, but this latest issue of Manequim is chock-full of lovely silk blouses! Over the past few months I’ve been wearing my silk blouses all the time – with jeans as often as with skirts! I wear them out to casual weekend outings as much as to the office or dressy dinners, and the blouse I made from the February Manequim (twice!) is my favourite of the lot.

So I foresee quite a few of these making their way into my Fall wardrobe in and around work on some other, bigger projects…

But let’s look at all my picks from this issue!

I really like this lavender sheath dress, especially the little sleeves, but I’d alter the back so it’s not quite so low. I don’t normally wear this colour, but I think it looks really light and fresh on this model, especially considering it’s coming into Spring in Brazil.

This yellow cocktail dress with its angled, pleated bodice and skirt is possibly my favourite dress of this issue. It’s a size too small from me, but there have been enough similar styles in the past that I should be able to mix and match to make it work anyway.


KnipMode August 2011

29 July 2011, 19:05

As a subscriber, my KnipMode issues usually arrive in the first week of the month, like clockwork. But this month, I’d heard rumours that the August issue was delayed because of a printing error, so it wouldn’t be on Dutch news-stands until 15 July, meaning I probably wouldn’t get mine until a few days later. In hindsight, a few days here nor there really wasn’t going to improve this issue, as it’s a pretty mediocre one in my opinion. Lillian mentioned there’s a new woman in charge at Knipmode, so I certainly hope this is just a one-off boring issue instead of a worrying trend…

This issue starts off with a few lively Plus patterns, the star of which are these awesome jeans! They’ve got some great seaming on the leg, and the pocket edge is bias-bound, which I think is a nice feature, too.

I know Manequim do “celebrity” fashion a lot with their Brazilian soap stars, but it’s not really anything I go for in a magazine. If it’s a good pattern, it could be on a mannequin for all I care, and well, if it’s a bad pattern, putting it on a tango-orange glamour model isn’t going to make it any better. This was the best dress of the footballer’s wives collection of Z-list Dutch “celebrity” dresses…


Manequim July 2011

7 July 2011, 14:49

Hooray, the latest issue of the Brazilian pattern magazine, Manequim, has arrived! Even though our seasons are reversed, I’m finding plenty of styles in this issue that work well for English summers, even moreso than Burda magazine, which is aligned with our seasons (though is anyone else excited to see the return of Burda’s designer patterns? There were actually TWO patterns in the July issue that I’m tempted to make. Please oh please let this be the end of Burda’s slump!).

Manequim have started doing a little section at the front where they get a seamstress to help a poor damsel in distress to alter a Manequim pattern from a few months ago to suit their needs. I let out an audible squeal when I saw that this damsel loves my blouse so much she wanted help grading it down to a size 38! The skirt is apparently from an earlier issue, too, but it clearly didn’t make much of an opinion as I can’t recall it.

First off, I really like this blouse and the trousers here – it’s hard to see, but the trousers have a high-waisted band with piping that really reminds me of the waistband on my tuxedo trousers (which are stored safely in a garment bag now while we build our new bedroom and wardrobe). Both are offered in multiple sizes, too.


Manequim June 2011

30 June 2011, 17:23

If you’re reading this and sweating, then you may wish to imagine yourself instead in chilly Rio de Janeiro for the latest instalment of Manequim magazine. Brrrr along with me now…

First up is a rather useful two-page spread on how to customise your accessories with fur. I quite like the idea of adding fur to existing gloves, though the way they’ve added it to a dress here seems strange. Surely it’s better to create a detachable fur collar, a’la this coat tutorial?

I really like the dress on the left, with its cool peplum side panels and the wide, cross back straps:


KnipMode July 2011

28 June 2011, 14:31

Once again I’ve been a bit slow in reviewing this month’s KnipMode and Manequim magazines, but I’m only just now emerging from beneath the pile of pattern magazines. I got a bit overwhelmed there with my haul from France and my friend’s haul from Brazil, and I think I’m going to keep my pattern buying to the bare minimum for a few months so I can process through what I’ve got. So you’ll continue to see my monthly KnipModes and Manequims since I subscribe to those (I also still subscribe to Burda, but they’re less exciting and already heavily posted about online anyway) but I’m going to try not to buy anything more until the Fall Patrones issues emerge in a few months.

But KnipMode are still very much in the height of summer, and this is the vacation issue…

Ooh a swimsuit! It’s a bit more basic than the designer one featured last summer, but it’s still very wearable, and with the separate cups, it’d be very adjustable for larger busts.


Figurino Moldes magazine

21 June 2011, 14:36

This is the last of the three Brazilian pattern magazines that my friend very kindly brought back from Brazil for me. I’d love to say that I saved the best for last, but, err, no. To be perfectly honest, I struggled to find anything in this magazine to scan. I don’t really want to make anything in here, and most of it isn’t really bad enough to mock, either. But I’ll do my best with what’s here.

I have no idea what month or year this issue is (or judging by the design, which decade!), but the cover says “Anno 1, Numero 8”. I even did some eBay searches to try and determine what number the latest issues are, but there seem to be a million different types of “Figurino” magazines and no consistent numbering….

Here’s a really unflattering and dated-looking lime green jumpsuit, for formal occasions where you want your skin to appear neon orange!

My first thought on seeing this was “Why is that Brazilian woman wearing an NHS nurse’s uniform?” (UK readers, you know what I mean, right??)


Molde & Cia magazine - #65

10 June 2011, 14:09

Following on from yesterday’s review of the Brazilian pattern magazine Moda Moldes, I’ve got another magazine my friend brought back from her holidays in Brazil, Molde & Cia magazine.

I couldn’t find a month/year anywhere on the cover or masthead, but I believe this must also be the April 2011 issue as it shares a celebrity photo with Moda Moldes. I couldn’t find an official site for MM, but Molde & Cia have one, and its issues are much easier to find on US Ebay, too. I’d be interested to learn from any Portuguese speakers if it’s possible to order individual issues of Molde & Cia or Moda Moldes anywhere outside Brazil (that aren’t eBay), however, as Manequim requires a subscription for international customers.

Without further ado, here are my picks from this issue!

I really like the gathered bands on this mint green sundress, and it looks to be a pretty universally flattering style.

This cutaway top and skirt are based on the same model photo as seen in the same month’s Moda Moldes magazine (on the right)!


Moda Moldes magazine - April 2011

9 June 2011, 14:24

I only recently discovered that there are more Brazilian pattern magazines than just Manequim, and so when I learned a good friend was going to Brazil on holiday over Easter, I sent her on a mission to find as many as she could to bring back to me.

Not only did she find two Manequims for herself (she’s one of my beginning sewers so I told her I’d write up instructions for her for whichever of the patterns she wanted to make), but she brought me back three other magazines, too.

The first I have to show you is Moda Moldes magazine (which roughly translates as “Fashion Patterns”).

This magazine has a lot of celebrity-influenced fashion like Manequim, and I really liked the tech drawing for this draped, jersey maxidress, though I’d definitely shorten it to suit my tastes.

There’s clearly a limited pool of Brazilian celebrity outfits to choose from, because MM have chosen the same white dress that was also featured in the May 2011 Manequim (though in this case, I like Manequim’s pattern (on the right) better!).


KnipMode June 2011

6 June 2011, 16:15

I’m a bit slow on reviewing this latest issue of the Dutch pattern magazine, KnipMode, but it’s not a reflection on the content this month! Usually I tend to not find as much to like in summer issues in general, but there’s a lot to love in this one that will work with our English summers. I think it was FehrTrade reader Marie-Christine who once said “You can tell it’s summer in England when the girls switch to wearing white cardigans”! So true!

Mix & match dresses! Like the cocktail ones in November’s issue, you get to choose which bodice, waist, skirt, and sleeves you want and put it together yourself. I really like this idea, but for me, the choices on offer don’t really do much for me, whereas I was really excited about the cocktail dress options…

This plus knit surplice dress really reminds me of the lilac dress I made for my mom. I think these sorts of patterns can be so flattering, too, especially when the skirts are fixed in place to prevent wardrobe malfunctions!

There’s a few great Plus patterns in this issue, actually – I especially like the trousers and cowl top in this wardrobe.


Manequim May 2011

25 May 2011, 14:01

I must admit, I’m feeling a bit of pattern magazine fatigue at the moment, but I’m only halfway through my pile, with a bunch more Brazilian ones to go. Having a glut of patterns come in all at once means I’m feeling like I want to sew loads of things all at once, which is great for inspiration, but not necessarily production when you’ve got a full time job!

Good luck, then, that the latest issue of Manequim is a really good one! It’s not just me, either, as Arielle and Jacquie have both been raving about this issue, too!

This white sheath dress is such a simple idea, but one that results in a very elegant shape. I know it’s winter in Brazil, but this is a totally beautiful summer dress. And as my friend Holly pointed out, this neckline shape is great for broad shoulders!

This red dress has a pretty basic princes-line bodice, but it’s paired with a great cross-pleated skirt.


Fait Main Grandes Tailles (Plus sizes) magazine - giveaway!

20 May 2011, 15:18

The final magazine I bought on our French road trip is the plus-sized special edition of Fait Main magazine (remember I showed you a standard-size Fait Main magazine last week?). Like the regular Fait Main, this magazine is published in French. I’ve since learned that Fait Main is a translation of the Danish Sy magazine (thanks, Rose!), but I can’t seem to find any mention of this plus-sized edition on the Danish site to determine how frequently it’s published.

I wouldn’t normally buy a plus-sized magazine since I’m usually just one or two sizes too small for them, but the designs in this edition were just too good to leave lonely on the tabac shelf! As it turns out, I would be able to make a few of the designs in here, but it’d be greedy to keep it all to myself…

I really like this knit day dress, probably because it reminds me so much of my favourite frankenpattern dress I made so much two summers ago!

I love the rock and roll styling here – leather leggings, a loose tunic/dress, and a sequinned waistcoat/vest!


Elena Couture - 01-2011

19 May 2011, 13:59

This magazine (and its aliases) is by no means new to me, but this is the first time I’ve actually bought it so I thought some of you might enjoy a glimpse inside. Elena Couture is published three times a year – this is the first of the three 2011 issues, rather than being a January edition as you might expect from the numbering!

This magazines goes under a few different names, which you can see printed on the pattern sheets since they all use the same ones.

I’m not sure why they chose different titles for different territories, as it seems Burda have the better idea in keeping the magazine title the same no matter what the language. That way, readers get a more coherent feel for the brand, and it certainly makes reviews, eBay searches, and subscriptions easier! As it is, Americans can subscribe to the Italian version through GLP for $30, just fyi.

This batwing knit top is pretty basic, but I like the cool hem-band gathers on this skirt. Just different enough to intrigue me…


Idées Couture magazine May 2011

17 May 2011, 13:03

While we were in Toulouse during our French road trip, not only did the lovely Marie-Christine put us up for the night and cook us a wonderful dinner, but she had a gift for me, too – the latest edition of Idées Couture magazine!

If you’re not familiar with Idées Couture, it’s a monthly magazine that usually has a mix of knitting, crochet, and other crafts, and then one issue per year is a full translation of La Mia Boutique magazine. So even though this issue is the May 2011 Idées Couture, the designs and photos are all from the March 2010 La Mia Boutique magazine. Handily, this was just before my LMB subscription started, so these are all new designs to me!

To complicate matters, last year it was looking as though there was going to be a monthly French LMB translation, titled Ma Boutique, but now it appears that was just a one-off issue and they’re back to doing the yearly Idées Couture magazine instead. Confusing, I know!

The first feature was full of nautical styles that I can never really feel I can wear (for, err, obvious reasons). But I love this short, sailor-style jacket with the contrast topstitching. Clearly I wasn’t the only one, either, as I found out this was the cover image for the equivalent La Mia Boutique issue…


Fait Main magazine - May 2011

12 May 2011, 12:35

While we were in France, I came across this new-to-me sewing pattern magazine! Curiously, it’s a Hubert Burda Media publication, but it’s only published in French, and with a totally different tech drawing and instruction style from the other “Burda” magazines. Fait Main also contains four or five knitting patterns, a few sewing patterns for kids and plus sizes, and some sewing crafts at the back. The sizing is very similar to the rest of Burda’s sizes, with only few centimeters difference between a Burda 42 and a Fait Main 42, but close enough that I’d wear the same size in both!

I can’t find a definitive official page, but it seems to have been going since at least 2005 according to this archive list. Maybe a French reader can help shed some light?

This waterfall knit cardi is nothing new, but I quite like the ruffled blouse, and the tulip skirt is really cute!

Here’s another look at the cover dress with its fantastic draped collar. I think this would make a really nice, easy to wear summer day dress in a breezy cotton or underlined linen.


Manequim April 2011

28 April 2011, 13:40

For the past two years (and perhaps further back), the April issue of Manequim magazine has always included patterns which knocked off that year’s big Oscar dresses. I’ve been looking forward to the Oscar issue for months now, and April finally arrived and… there’s no Oscar dresses in it. Waaaahhmp-wahhhh.

But if you’re a plus-sized lady, you’re probably going to like this issue better anyway.

We’re looking at Missoni this month in the designer-inspired section, and I think this seamed skirt would be a really flattering basic. It’s just a bonus it’s in my size!

I really like the look of this taffeta dress, though I think I’d prefer to flex my puny drafting muscles and try my hand at it myself. I really need to stop being so lazy with readymade patterns and just rotate some darts like they did here…

While it’s not meant to be, this lace top really reminded me of Cate Blanchett’s Givenchy Oscar dress this year, with that same circular front.


KnipMode May 2011

26 April 2011, 13:10

KnipMode’s gone royal! Well, err, not those royals… Think of this more as an education on Dutch royalty you’ve never heard of (plus a mandatory Grace Kelley mention for good measure).

I love the look of this blouse, but the pattern layout made me realise I’d never have the patience the edge finish and carefully pleat those thousands of ruffles on it!

Also in the royalty section is this nice sheath dress with a pleated cummerbund and corsage (for which there’s illustrated instructions)

I love the tech drawing for these cargo trousers, but in both magazine photos, they look a bit baggier than I imagined…


KnipMode April 2011

18 March 2011, 13:11

Hurrah, my latest issue of my KnipMode subscription has arrived, and Plus-sized ladies, you have got to seek this one out because there’s an expanded Plus section with 12(!) patterns! OMG! And KnipMode actually understand Plus bodies and what flatters them. And they use actual Plus-sized models!

I think these Plus jeans are just fantastic, with that great seaming I’ve come to love from Knip’s trousers patterns. The knit top with the drape is also making me pretty jealous, and the dress variation of the same pattern just looks so flattering and easy to wear:

Also from the Plus feature there’s a cardie (that I think looks better on her than in the tech drawing), the same knit top as above, and a really excellent curved seam skirt (with no side seams):

In the regular sized rest of the magazine, I think this panel blouse would be a great way to showcase some really special, expensive fabrics. How lovely in a silk voile?


Manequim March 2011

16 March 2011, 12:51

Woop, it’s nearly Fall in Brazil and the latest issue of my Manequim subscription has arrived (just in time for me to finally start making that silk blouse from the last issue!).

There are quite a few nice surplice, pleated jersey dresses in this issue, and I quite like this one, though it’s not really close enough to my size to bother with grading it up (especially when there are others that are in my size!)

I’ve seen a lot of designs for tie shirts (I’ve even made one!) but I’ve not seen one where the tie is this low, and I really like the curve it gives to the hemline:


Patrones 299, 300, 301, and Costura Facil

3 March 2011, 13:15

I ordered these from a new-to-me Spanish magazine shop, No Pares de Leer. The prices (and shipping) were about the same as Hos Hanne, but the shipping was tracked by default so I could see exactly how slowly it was making its way to me…

Patrones 299

This is the last of the winter issues (sob!), but at least it’s full of what Patrones do best – coats!! I even like the coat on the cover, though I like it better without the enormous bow.

In the first coats feature (on that “Patrones beach” we’ve seen in pretty much every issue), I rather like this big, asymmetrical collar coat, but it does remind me of the Vogue Armani-knockoff pattern so many people have made (and I’ve loved, too).

This topstitched, seamed jacket just oozes cool. The detailing is just fantastic on this, too – they even added a little pouch to the belt!


KnipMode March 2011

21 February 2011, 14:46

I actually received this March issue of KnipMode over a week ago, but I wasn’t as excited about this one as I was the new MyImage magazine or the patterns I traced from Susannah’s stash, so it got waylaid a bit. But there’s still some good stuff in here, so it’s worth taking a look inside…

This is KnipMode’s Spring Trends issue, and so here is their take on the “military” trend. I like the green jacket and the trousers are quite nice, too, but apart from the colour, I don’t think either are particularly military-influenced!

I know Knip have had pleated sleeves before, but I think these work particularly well with the crisp, white shirting on this blouse.


MyImage Spring/Summer 2011

17 February 2011, 13:17

Hooray! The second issue of the multilingual new pattern magazine MyImage arrived! Now, I rather liked the first issue (even though I’ve not made anything from it yet), but I love this second issue!! They’ve really upped the design WOW factor here, adding in exactly what I love – tons of intricate seaming!

MyImage have posted all the tech drawings here and the whole magazine here if you’d like to see what you’re getting (Burda, Knip, and especially Patrones – take note, this is how you should be handling your online presence!!).

So even though you can see the whole magazine above, I still think it’s worthwhile pulling out my picks, because this issue is awesome and I love, love, love all the interesting seaming in here!

This seamed, cropped jacket is my favourite of the whole issue and I’ve got the perfect amount of navy uncut corduroy to make it in, too!


Saturday afternoon sewing pow-wow

15 February 2011, 12:46

I normally get quite a lot of sewing done on the weekends, but this weekend was particularly fun because Susannah of Cargo Cult Craft came over to the boat on Saturday afternoon for a big, fat geeked-out sewing session!

She brought her stash of ALL the 2010 Patrones issues, plus her assorted stash of Manequims, and I lugged my KnipModes, other Patroneses, and Manequims out of my sewing batcave. You should’ve seen the amount of pattern magazines on our saloon table! It was downright decadent, I tell you…

I ended up tracing two Patrones patterns then and there:

This cape jacket (295-22)

And an asymmetrical, yoked blouse (291-23)

Susannah fell in love with two Knips (a gathered knit dress – April 10 #14 and a long sleeved knit cowl top – Feb 10 #19) and traced those on our saloon floor, too. Poor James could barely find a scrap of carpet to walk on between my brown kraft paper and her Swedish tracing paper!


Manequim February 2011

11 February 2011, 13:30

Much to my surprise, the latest issue of Manequim magazine actually arrived a few days before the new KnipMode (more on that next week)! When I subscribed, I assumed the shipping from Brazil to the UK would be quite slow, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. And since the southern hemisphere is moving towards Autumn now, we’re finally getting some garments that can easily work for English spring weather in a few months!

The first feature is a bunch of looks from various cast members of the Brazilian soap opera, Ti-Ti-Ti, (yeah, me neither!) but importantly, this silver cropped biker jacket is utterly fantastic, perfect for spring/summer, and in my size, too!

I’m not a big jumpsuit fan and have yet to be even remotely tempted by one until now. Manequim have certainly ticket my boxes – Cowl neck, check. Drapey jersey, check. My recent forays into braver fashion have encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone a bit more. But this risk does involve an awful lot of fabric…


KnipMode February 2011

21 January 2011, 13:22

Sigrid gave us all a sneak preview of the February issue a few weeks ago, but now my subscription copy has arrived I can show you my picks!

While this draped cardie isn’t really my style, I’m seeing this draping side hem all over London right now. My sister-in-law was wearing something very similar to this at Christmas actually…

This is kinda creepy. I just got done choosing two pairs of KnipMode trousers in my post-coat patterns selection, and now Knip have gone and mated the two together! Seriously, go have a look at the other two and compare against this!


Manequim January 2011

18 January 2011, 12:27

This was a total surprise when it appeared in my postbox last week, as I’d only received the December issue a scant week or so before that (I believe December was just delayed from the holidays and my subscription starting later in their publishing cycle). I must say, I always let loose a little squeal and do the happy dance when I see one of my magazines in our postbox!

Brazil are still in the middle of summer, so there are a lot of shorts in this issue, but it’s an awful lot more wearable than the bulk of December to my eyes!

This pleated, banded sheath dress is exactly what Manequim do best! To me this looks like it was taken straight out of Victoria Beckham’s closet, I swear!

This might be my favourite dress of this issue. On first glance, it just looks like a basic shape, but if you look further you can see a huge amount of crazy diagonal seaming, and if you look closer again, you can see that some of the seams have exposed zippers that you can open for little flashes of skin! It’s only one size larger than me, too, so it’d be simple to size down a smidge.


Manequim December 2010

6 January 2011, 12:19

What a wonderful surprise to find this in my postbox just after Christmas – I’d subscribed at the beginning of November, but I wasn’t expecting my first issue until January. This arrived in a strong paper envelope with the magazine inside wrapped again in a clear plastic film, so it was well prepared to stand up with anything the international postal service could throw at it!

With Brazil in the Southern hemisphere, they’re in the height of summer now, so just let your mind wander on this cold, rainy, and dreary winter day and think of summer sunshine in Rio… ahhhhh….

First up is a very versatile bathrobe / dressing gown pattern. I’ve seen the perfect towelling fabric on Goldhawk Road, and my robe is starting to wearing out after a good long life, so I’m keeping this firmly in mind.

Most Manequim patterns are only offered in one size (go up one size from your Burda size), but this black cocktail dress is one of the few that are offered in multiple sizes!


Patrones 294, 296, 297, & 298

5 January 2011, 12:09

These issues of Patrones are a few months old, but I only just received them so I thought it was worth a brief whirlwind tour of my favourites (even if it’s only to jog my memory later when I’m looking for patterns to sew)!

(Top: 297, 296. Bottom: 298, 294)

First up is a surprise summer issue – James’s parents visited Portugal in December and I asked if they would keep an eye open for Manequim or Patrones while they were there, and despite looking everywhere, they only found this copy at the airport on their way home! Considering it’s 5-6 months old, I have no idea how it was still around!

Patrones 294

This issue is nearly entirely wispy summer dresses that can’t really cope with our bold and brash English “summers”, but I do think this Hilfiger-esque shift dress would work well in our climate. With a cardie.


KnipMode January 2011

30 December 2010, 22:07

My January KnipMode actually arrived a few weeks ago while I was ill, and boy is it a good one. Trouserpalooza!! OMG! Seriously, I think I counted 18 pairs of trousers in here, and 90% of them I’d wear in a heartbeat… There’s tapered leg, wide leg, jeans, leggings, treggings, wide waistband, no waistband, knits, wovens, and stretch! You name it, they’ve got a pattern for it here – they really have got the full trouser rainbow covered here!

How fresh and modern are these cargoes? I love the styling, but the tapered leg really updates these here beyond the stereotypical 90s grunge ex-Army fatigues.

I love these trousers with the foldover front! Seriously, these are on my list of my next tracing batch – I love that these are cutting edge but (crucially) without a drop crotch! They’ve even got big illustrations to do the foldover bit, too.


Pre-Christmas prep

22 December 2010, 14:02

Are you ready for some random sewing goodness? Let the randomosity begin!


MyImage Magazine

20 December 2010, 17:11

Woohoo! There’s a new sewing pattern magazine on the block! Do you remember a few years ago when I reviewed the Dutch magazine FIMI? Well appparently FIMI went bust, and a few of the ex-employees got together and started MyImage, taking their 25 years of experience with them to try and make a better pattern magazine. So not only are they an independent company started up by female entrepreneurs, but they’ve learned from the mistakes of an earlier company and started their own!

With a story like that, well, I just had to try their first issue!

This Winter 2010/2011 issue contains 16 patterns in child, teen, and ladies’s sizes, but subsequent issues of MyImage will contain only teen and ladies’s sizes, with an additional YoungImage magazine containing the child and teen sized patterns (I don’t know whether the teen patterns will be duplicated or different in each edition though!). If you’d like to take a look at the patterns in this issue, here’s a link to the tech drawings (pdf).

I’ve scanned in the size chart here so you can tell how these compare to other pattern companies:

The cover! (or most of it, since the magazine is actually a bit wider than my scanner!)


The Best Pattern Magazines of 2010 - Nominations

15 December 2010, 13:02

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.


The Motherload of KnipMode - Part Two

1 December 2010, 11:59

You can read my roundup of Part One of the haul of older KnipModes from Hilde here, but now it’s time for the exciting conclusion to my newly-acquired stash of KnipModes from 2005 through 2007.

KnipMode May 2006

Wow Knip have gone full-on wedding crazy here! The bridal feature takes up a good third of the magazine! Ok so the wedding gown is not really to my taste, but I still think it’s a shame that the pattern is a special-offer to post away for and isn’t included…

…but the patterns for the rest of the bridal party are!! Everyone from the baby to mother of the bride to wow! those are the first maternity patterns I’ve ever seen in Knip! I wonder why they stopped printing them, especially since Burda and Patrones seem to publish maternity patterns with some regularity.

I really liked the khaki and white colour scheme of this feature, especially with this model’s colouring, but my favourite pattern of the lot was these nice pleated trousers:


The Motherload of KnipMode - Part One

10 November 2010, 12:51

About 8 months ago, I got an awesome email from FehrTrade reader Hilde asking if I’d like her mom’s stash of KnipMode magazines from 2005-2007 as she wasn’t really using them much any more and they both thought I’d give them a good home.

Would I??? Omg.

So therein started the logistical planning to transport a rather heavy stack of magazines from The Netherlands over to London… Around this time we thought we’d be driving navigation equipment over to northern Holland in preparation for a neighbour’s North Sea crossing, so we’d make a detour to Hilde’s, but logistics didn’t work out and we weren’t needed for the neighbour’s barge anyway. And then, in a fantastic twist, a few weeks ago Hilde told me her sister lives in London and brought the stash over in her suitcase for me! So I only had to make a 10 minute walk from my office to her sister’s flat (seriously, what luck that she lives so close!) to pick up the magazines and thank her profusely for lugging them in her suitcase.

And for the past fortnight or so I’ve been absolutely pouring over them, picking out my Must Sews, investigating tiny design details, and noticing what changes Knip have made in the past 5 years.

There were too many for me to scan in one session, so here’s my picks from the early half of the stash, with Part Two to follow next week!

KnipMode 11-2005

OMG Lingerie!! I have already got the most perfect fabrics in my stash to make the camisole with the bra cups – the olive green stretch lace I bought in Paris coordinates perfectly with a teeshirt I got free with a magazine but was comically tiny (what percentage of the UK female population has a bust smaller than 27 inches? Seriously.). I think there might be enough to do the cami with a bit of the teeshirt’s sleeves left for a thong gusset. And you know how much I liked the KnipMode lingerie pattern I already had


Bridal bodice - a slight (but fixable) setback

24 August 2010, 13:34

Apologies for the photo-less post, but with four weeks to go to the wedding, the planning has gone from busy-but-manageable to STRESSAPALOOZA! And as a result, I haven’t had a chance to take the photos of my beautiful lining prickstitching off the camera yet.

But before I forget, I wanted to describe a slight setback I ran into in preparing to attach the skirt to the bodice. To start the process I removed the central skirt panel that contained the blue dye stain (from the tissue paper it was stored in for 60 years), and sewed the two gored sections together, which makes a really unexpectedly beautiful central detail. But as I was lining up the centre front, centre back, and side seams on the skirt and bodice to make the skirt pleats, I kept having excess fabric on one side of the front skirt.

Scratching my head, I measured the front of the skirt, and the CF is indeed central. So then I measured the seam line of my bodice, and ERRRRRRRR! the right side is 27cm to the CF point and the left is 24cm. So that’s why I was having excess skirt fabric on the left but having it match almost exactly on the right.


KnipMode September 2010

18 August 2010, 19:07

Still no August Burda or La Mia Boutique in my postbox (though I just found out my 6 month resubscription to Burda, made in a moment of weakness, won’t start until September now, argh.*), but KnipMode’s September issue arrived already, just like clockwork!

The first, colour-blocking feature has a bunch of great patterns in it, though I’m not quite sure about the styilng…

Case in point: fantastic coat! But purple Uggs? Really?

This knit dress appears no less than six times in this issue, but I thought you could see the lines best in this version. Though I think if I make this, I’d add a gathered waistband to the back, too, to make it all even.


KnipMode Summer 2010 Roundup

13 July 2010, 19:55

I’m taken a brief moment to poke my head up from under my enormous pile of BurdaStyle Book sewing, wedding gown dismantling and bodice muslining, running, gardening, wedding planning, and some seriously busy office day-jobbing to bring you an overview of the summer KnipMode magazines… I’ll show off what I’m actually sewing if and when I can, I promise!

June 2010

This dress and skirt are ok, nothing to really grab me, but they’re nice enough basics. I mostly just liked that the model has wrinkles!

Woop! Another origami dress!


How to subscribe to KnipMode magazine

7 July 2010, 12:23

An international subscription, that is! All of you lucky Dutch readers can just subscribe online to one of their many cut-price deals with great freebies (a nice Toyota sewing machine with a year’s subscription, nice!).

I’ve been buying individual copies of the Dutch pattern magazine KnipMode for several years now, and I finally got the funds together to get a subscription for myself, just as the euro/pound exchange rate was at its lowest for ages. I started the process at the very end of May, and look what arrived in my postbox on Saturday (3 July)… the August issue! Yayyy!

There have been quite a few people asking how they can subscribe (I think after getting a taste of the magazine during Naaipatronen‘s 3-for-2 sale! Seriously, way to go, guys, we totally cleared out their back issues!), so I thought I’d sum up the process here for anyone outside the Netherlands that would like to subscribe. Please note that the prices vary with time and postal rates, so always get your own quote!

Subscribing to KnipMode outside The Netherlands

As far as I know, there are no resellers or international distributors for KnipMode (or Knippie, their bi-monthly childrens pattern magazine), so you have to subscribe directly with the publishers.

Email ServiceTeam@sanoma-uitgevers.nl and say you’d like to subscribe to KnipMode with [your country] delivery. They’ll email you back (it may take a few days, they can be a bit slow to respond to emails) with a list of conditions:


KnipMode sale alert

17 June 2010, 12:13

I recently (after years of saying I would!) finally sorted out a subscription to KnipMode magazine, but since they said it won’t start until the August issue, I took a whirl round my favourite online KnipMode source, Naaipatronen.nl to get the June and July issues, plus one for a friend. I’ve used them for years to get my KnipMode issues and they’ve always given me great service.

Imagine my surprise when yesterday they sent me a partial refund, because they just started a 3 for 2 sale on all their magazines (they also stock Ottobre, Knippie, Burda, and Burda Easy)! How nice is that, the sale wasn’t even running yet when I ordered! The sale’s not mentioned on the English version of the site, but it’s a news story on the Dutch side, and runs until Tuesday (22 June).


Patrones 290

14 June 2010, 15:03

I’m kinda going backwards here, since I already reviewed Patrones 292, but Kim ended up with a spare copy of this issue so I got a surprise in my happy postbox!! Thanks, Kim!

Overall, this issue was more summery than 292 despite coming out earlier in the year, with tons of shorts (which I do not wear), but these tops worn with them were pretty cool. The white one uses a knit on top, and wovens for the two lower panels. What a great idea for lovely flowing silks or chiffons…

I love the bubble, cropped sleeves on this jacket…


Manequim April & May 2010

11 June 2010, 14:35

Are you ready for some exquisite eye candy? Remember when I showed you my one and only Manequim magazine last year, and I raved about how amazing the designs were? Well, Susannah from Cargo Cult Craft came over for Crafternoon and brought not one but two issues of Manequim with her that a friend recently brought back from Brazil!

And she is WAY nicer than I am, because she actually let me borrow them! I can’t believe she let these pretties out of her sight for a week while I scanned and traced like a mad woman… I actually only ended up tracing three patterns, but I scanned a lot more so I could go back and draft others in my size when the inspiration strikes. Manequim may have an amazingly talented design team, but the sizes offered are really limited – usually only one size per each design, with a few patterns being offered in three sizes. Not to mention that the roadmap pattern sheets are crazy to trace from. They make the new Burda sheets look like child’s play…

So thanks to Susannah, we can all have a few minutes of total escapism, as we marvel at the inventiveness in these designs (no really, some of the pattern shapes are mental!).

Manequim April 2010

I actually rather liked the dress shown on the cover, until I saw in the tech drawing that the ruffles extend from the shoulder down to mid-thigh, and are only being held in by the belt. As far as I’m concerned, belts should never be required for a dress to look good!


Patrones 292

21 May 2010, 12:54

Now, I know I said in the last Patrones post that it’d probably be my last for a few months since the Spanish summer styles really don’t suit English summers, but then I got a big ol’ offer I couldn’t refuse from tg33, who was holidaying in Spain and offered to pick one up for me!! Hooray! So thanks to her, you all get to see some gorgeous spring fashions!

This is Patrones issue #292, their “Spring Special”. It’s not quite as big as their “Extra” editions, but there’s still a surprising amount of very wearable clothes in here for a time of year I usually write off. I may have to reconsider my earlier Patrones-buying schedule…

Now I’m a bit safari-ed out of late, but Neighbour Helen was over (dropping off some pomegranate molasses, no less!) and she just squealed when she saw this safari dress:

The denim feature had its Ups… like this trenchcoat! And awesome pencil skirt (though on closer inspection, it disappointingly has side seams, rather than wrapping around into the pockets, boo)! And ruffled blouse! And stretch jeans!!


Which Sewing Pattern Magazine?

21 April 2010, 15:56

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.


KnipMode Spring 10 roundup

16 April 2010, 18:14

The flowers are out, the sun is shining, the geese have started nesting on our barges, and I’ve gone and bought the last few months of KnipMode magazines to see me through…

February 10

KnipMode often do celebrity style features, but this time it’s (squeal with me now—) Michelle Obama style!!

The first jacket/dress combo is a bit matronly for me, but I love the shirtwaister with the pleated hemline, as well as the layered skirt. Though, as NancyK learned with the Oprah celebrity-style dress, when Knip don’t sew up a sample themselves for the magazine, it’s always a good idea to make yourself a muslin first!

Ooh, look at this cute Plus jacket and jeans (yes, Burda, this is what Plus sized women look like. No, we are not afraid nor are we turned off the pattern because of it.)

In fact, this outfit totally reminds me of the jacket + jeans combo I liked in the November 09 issue:


Patrones 289

4 April 2010, 09:16

It’s Patrones Extra time, yay! Lots of spring fashions here and a larger-than usual Plus section, too. Patrones are back to the older (and better!) way of printing the layout and instructions back in the magazine pages and they’ve even added back a few of the designer names! Woop!

I bought this issue from a new (to me, anyway) German online shop that’s even cheaper than Stoff-Art (my usual Patrones supplier). This one worked out to be about 15 euros including shipping to the UK, and I was amazed to find it in my postbox on Thursday when I’d only ordered it on Monday afternoon! The only catch is that she prefers payment by European bank transfer, but will also accept Paypal if you email her first. Anyway she was very nice and super quick, so I’d definitely recommend her. She’s also got Ottobre, lots of Knippie (the kids version of KnipMode) and Onion patterns if you’re into those, too.

Here’s the overview (warning: the photo is very big so if you’d prefer to open it in its own window click here rather than on the thumbnail below)

My first “OOH!” went to this simple yet SO wearable linen dress with pleated hemline and very cool Japanese/batwing bolero jacket with sharp mitred corners:


Mentally sewing the LMB draped dress

15 March 2010, 12:44

I’ve gotten as far as I can on my secret other project while I wait for supplies (mostly new labels – can you believe I’ve sewn through the last lot of 120-odd Fehr Trade labels in the past two years??), so I cut out my muslin pieces for my birthday dress. If you’ve got a good memory, it’s this luuuurrrrrvely draped number from the Feb 2010 La Mia Boutique magazine, #6:

What I normally do for foreign language patterns (La Mia Boutique is in Italian) is look at the pieces and get a brief order of construction in my head. Usually I work from the top down, starting with assembling the front bodice pieces then join to the back at the shoulders, then finish the neckline, then if it’s a knit, attach the sleeves at the armscye and sew up the side seams, or if it’s a woven, do the side seams first them attach the sleeve in the round. After sewing for a while, you begin to see that most pattern instructions have you sew things in roughly the same order, so you can just do those here to suit this particular pattern.

But for more complicated patterns like this one, I like to sit down with a pen and paper and mentally go through the whole process, visualising how the different pieces interact and the pros and cons of doing which seams in which order (like “if I do this first, is it going to make it awkward to serge that?”). It’s a great mental exercise in spatial thinking, and one of the most pleasurable aspects of sewing for me.

And it means I don’t have to type in every single word of the foreign instructions and figure out what the translator’s trying to tell me (sewing terms are not the best translated! )!

So since I was writing these out anyway, I thought my order of construction might help others who were eyeing up this pattern.


La Mia Boutique Dec & Feb

2 February 2010, 13:39

It’s been a while since I’ve bought or sewn from a La Mia Boutique magazine. It wasn’t any sort of conscious decision, but it’s a bit difficult for me to get ahold of since the newsagent that used to stock it is no longer a newsagent, and RD Franks sells out of it within hours of getting any instore… The styles were also usually a bit too “out there” for me, in the way that Italian fashion can sometimes be – always vibrant and interesting, but not necessarily something I’d want to wear myself.

In any case, I’d been hearing reports and seeing scans from others that La Mia Boutique was getting a lot more wearable these days, so I jumped on two recent issues when they came up for sale from a UK ebay seller (afer having a previous order with a UK magazine shop mysteriously cancelled weeks later with no explanation).

December 2009

I absolutely knew I wanted to grab this issue since littlejazzbird gave a pretty comprehensive rundown of the best patterns in it (seriously, go see the scans on her site! She’s sewn up a lot of LMB patterns recently, too), but there were a few more I wanted to highlight…


Patrones 285

2 November 2009, 09:40

Oh I’ve got such a week for all of you dear readers! I’ve ended up with a bit of a backlog of completed projects, so I’ll be able to show you something new every single day this week!

But first, I’ve got the new issue of Patrones to show off (#285), since Kim Hood ended up with an extra and very very kindly posted it to me (god knows how it made it through the Royal Mail picket lines so fast!).

Here’s all the styles at a glance. It’s a Joven (Youth) issue, so the sizes are slightly different and there’s fewer patterns than in an Extra issue, but the selection is gooood this time around!


Bravo, UK Vogue!

17 October 2009, 12:50

I don’t read many mass market magazines, but when I feel the itch for something glossy, I nearly always reach for Vogue. Sure, I can’t afford to buy anything in it, but I never fail to take inspiration from the designs, and the articles are generally of a higher intelligence level than “eww doesn’t celeb X look fat??” you find in most fashion mags.

So I was utterly, utterly thrilled to discover that the November 09 issue of UK Vogue is almost entirely about DIY fashion, sewing, and customising. Quite literally, Make Do and Mend, though Vogue for some reason insist on using their awful “More Dash Than Cash” tagline (ick). In any case, this is seriously the best issue of Vogue that I’ve ever seen, and is a must buy for anyone with even a passing interest in sewing or DIY fashion.


Patrones 282

5 August 2009, 20:45

This issue of Patrones appeared in my postbox completely by surprise, as apparently my future-mother-in-law has been persuading all her holidaying friends to buy them for me while they’re in Spain! How lovely!

I didn’t bother to scan any images from the “Nuevo Hippy” feature, because, as it turns out, Nuevo Hippy is exactly like Viejo Hippy – fugly tiered dresses and kaftans we’ve seen a thousand times before. Gross. If there’s one style I hate, hate, hate above all others, it’s hippy.

Thank god, then, for the bikini feature, which is at least something different for pattern magazines!! There’s about ten styles in all, some with structured bra cups, others with soft, and about four different bottom shapes and styles that you could easily mix and match according to what you prefer.


Manequim magazine

24 July 2009, 16:40

If you were building your dream pattern magazine, what would be in it? Maybe some swoon-worthy evening gowns? Designer fashion homages? Patterns from exotic locations? An upmarket twist on casual fabric? Or maybe just some really sharp Fall/Winter fashions?

Well, someone clearly saw my wishlist, because all of this is in the April 2009 issue of the Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim!

The first feature in the magazine is Oscar fashion! I don’t know how they did such a short turnaround, but they took six designer dresses that big celebrities wore to the 2009 Oscars in late March, and made patterns to replicate them! Included are the dresses that Angelina Jolie, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Natalie Portman, Jessica Biel, and Meryl Streep wore (I wasn’t as keen on Ms Hathaway and Biel’s dresses)!


Boredom busters!

15 July 2009, 13:13

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)

In the 2000 issue I absolutely fell in love with this skirt:


Hospital activity packs

5 July 2009, 19:34

To accompany my my little red sewing machine on the inside here with me, I made up some “activity packs” in advance that my mom or James could just bring to me when I got the sewing itch. Into each gallon ziploc bag went all the cut fabric pieces for that project, plus the thread and bobbin, any notions, and the scanned line drawing & instructions. That way I should hopefully just be able to get down to business when the feeling strikes me without having to do all the boring prep stuff!

First up is already in my activity drawer (I’ve only got four drawers and a tiny wardobe in the room, so one is designated for fun!), a hat from the May 09 Burda, with all the pattern pieces cut out in the red & white floral cotton poplin, with all the appropriate pieces fused to some super heavyweight canvas interfacing.

I’ve also got this top and trousers from the May 09 KnipMode ready to go…


Patterns from a suitcase

1 June 2009, 12:02

My mom arrived on Friday morning, bearing a ridiculous amount of American cookies, candies, chocolates, cakes, and kitty treats, but also a few patterns that were on my wish list!

Vogue 1109 is a Sandra Betzina pattern for a knit top/tunic with really interesting seam lines. It kinda feels expected for all sewers to love SB without question, but to be honest, I don’t find her “all that” and this is the first pattern of hers I’ve even remotely liked (though not in either of those fabric choices, ugh) so I wanted to give it a try.

Simplicity 2647 is a knit dress with varying lengths and bodice treatments, but I really liked the short version with the wrapped side even though it’s quite similar to a Vogue pattern I already have.


KnipMode May 2009

5 May 2009, 15:40

Last Tuesday I had the extreme pleasure of meeting fellow sewer Sigrid as she was visiting London with her family and had a short break in their sightseeing to come and stop by the moorings! It’s so funny, within minutes it was like we’d known each other for years, even though we’d never met in real life before, only observing each other from our respective sewing blogs…

Besides the great opportunity to blather on about sewing with someone whose eyes don’t glaze over within 5 minutes, she also brought me some really nice gifts! Oh Sigrid, you can definitely come visit again, you didn’t have to bribe me!!

First up was a gorgeous silver and black Kantje Boord lingerie kit for my birthday!


FIMI magazine

6 March 2009, 13:01

Most of my sewing patterns come from pattern magazines these days, partly because they’re so much cheaper than envelope patterns here, but also because I find the variety of styles so much more appealing than the Big 4 these days. So when a pattern magazine comes along that I’ve not tried before, I find it difficult to resist! I’ve already shown you the insides of Patrones, Burda WOF, and KnipMode and also La Mia Boutique, so I thought a lot of you might be interested to take a peek inside F.I.M.I. Magazine, too!

What you’ll see here is the Summer 2009 issue of FIMI magazine – they appear to only print four issues per year, one for each season. It’s Dutch magazine, but instructions are in Dutch, English, German and French, which is something I applaud for getting new sewers into pattern magazines, as they don’t seem quitue so scary when they’re in your native language. The pattern sizes are simply S-M-L-XL rather than the numbered sizes I’m used to, but I haven’t had a chance to make anything from this issue yet to see how true to size they are. The physical size of the magazine, however, is bigger than most magazines which are A4 (UK) or 8.5×11 (US) and big, thick, glossy pages – I couldn’t fit it all of this in my flatbed scanner!

Here’s the cover:


August 2006 - the best Burda issue ever

28 February 2009, 09:12

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:

Velvet jacket


Recent KnipMode roundup

26 February 2009, 14:25

Last week I went on a bit of a spree and bought the November through March issues of KnipMode in one go. I usually get a couple at a time to save on shipping, but in this case I hadn’t bought since October so I was playing a bit of catchup (I should really just bite the bullet and subscribe already!). While I was on Naaipatronen.nl anyway, I figured I’d try another sewing magazine I’d never seen before and also bought FIMI magazine, too (more on that later).

I’ve spent the last few evenings thumbing through these and picking out my favourites, so I’ll let you in on a few gems here now in case you want to grab them before they go out of stock (it seems like the issues I write about tend to sell out directly after, ha!). So, working on chronological order, here’s my picks.

First up is KnipMode 11/08 #8b, a really gorgeous silk and gorgette dress that’s in the running for my birthday dress.


Patrones 276

16 February 2009, 14:18

I’ve just received the new Patrones magazine, and, after a few issues filled with shorts and vests in the middle of winter (???), I’m happy to say they’re back to some more wearable styles! I don’t think this issue is quite as good as 272, but that’s not to say it’s without its gems!

I’ve added the technical drawings and pattern pieces to their magazine photos below so you can get a better idea of the pattern. I find it quite difficult to discern the details from just a fashion shoot alone, so I always need to flip back and forth to the tech drawings!

First up, I love this green yoked blouse from the magazine cover. It’d be a great use for small lengths of silk charmeuse, and the ribbon across the front is a good way to break it all up, too.


Purple KnipMode Twist Top

17 December 2008, 11:03

If this top looks familiar, then it’s because this is the fourth time I’ve sewn this pattern!

First, I made it in blue ribbed knit over the summer, then again in the same fabric for my mom. Then I transformed it into a dress. And this time, well, it looks an awful lot like the Plus size version that was reprinted in the October edition! Combine those with Trena’s recent version and you’ve got a strong contender for my Pattern of The Year 2008!

To refresh your memory, here’s the magazine photo, from KnipMode 04/08 (which appears to be sold out everywhere by now, with good reason!):

And here it is, in purple cotton interlock from Pennine Outdoor!


Reprinted Burda patterns

15 December 2008, 12:37

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…

My tweed kick skirt is now Burda 7895

My tuxedo inspired suit is now Burda 7762


Coming up...

4 December 2008, 10:44

Now all my Christmas presents are done, I’m home free to sew more for myself! So coming up in the next few weeks you should find the following…



Patrones 272 - the Fall fashion holy grail

16 September 2008, 12:22

The new September Patrones that’s on sale now is quite possibly the best they’ve ever created. Almost everything in it is wearable, and made with normal fabrics you can actually buy without having a couturier’s budget and contacts – entire sections full of classic winter coats, tons of CUTE capes and cropped jackets, and a plethora of wool trousers. One whole feature is JUST high waisted skirts and trousers, and another is entirely vintage dresses! Even the maternity section is styled in such a way that every piece can be worn by the breeding and non-breeding alike (showing two photos of every piece).

I’m actually feeling overstimulated and giddy just flipping through it. #264 used to be my favourite issue, but this one has totally trumped it.

(Or click here to see it in a new tab/window)


We have a winner!

1 August 2008, 14:13

Today is the end of the competition to win a Patrones magazine, and since I don’t have a cute kid to draw a bit of paper out of a hat, I’ve instead turned to the cold, indifferent statistical knowledge of a random number generator to decide the winner…

And comment #27 was Julia!! So congratulations to her and thanks to everyone who entered. If I get any other bits of serendipity I’ll share the love again in the future…


Patrones 270 preview and 269 competition

25 July 2008, 11:39

I’ve had another bit of good luck from the kindness of Patrones-enabled strangers! After borrowing so many issues from my lovely Patrones benefactor and sending James’s parents off to search for me on their holidays, Madrid local Cintia has very kindly offered to send me some issues as they come out! So with very special thanks to her, I can now show you some of my highlights from Patrones 270!

See the thumbnails of everything in #270 here (image opens in new window). I personally get a lot more information from technical drawings rather than photos, but unlike the other pattern magazines, Patrones doesn’t do a collection of tech drawings that’s easy to scan, so these thumbnails are the next best thing!


Pattern magazine bonanza

10 July 2008, 12:23

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!


Like mother like daughter

4 July 2008, 15:52

You may remember that a few weeks ago I gave in to my mother’s pleas and made her a her-sized version of my blue KnipMode shirt, in the same fabric as mine, but with shorter sleeves for the hotter Pennsylvania weather…

Well, it arrived and she did me proud with a photoshoot!


Shopping Time

24 June 2008, 16:11

First of all thank you to each and every one for you for all the congratulations on our engagement! I should be getting the measurements and detail photographs for my Granny’s 1949 wedding dress in a month or so and I’ll share them then…

Meanwhile, I actually made a big purchase earlier last week, before I got the ring!

Yes, it’s a Bernina 800DL serger/overlocker! I have been lusting over this exact model for well over 9 months now, waiting for a still-delayed bonus, when I saw one come up on eBay for £100 cheaper than the cheapest retail price here in the UK. It was being sold by a lovely sewer who was selling her overlocker and coverstitch machines since she upgraded to a combine machine, and she kept ALL the original packaging and accessories – even the Bernina-branded needles!!


True blue

6 May 2008, 11:16

I had a busy weekend of sewing, but it was mostly alterations and some beginning work on James’s linen shirt, and not terribly exciting. I’m finding recently that sewing is a useful bartering tool – in the span of two days last week I managed to trade some alteration work for several technical CAD drawings of our bedroom and lounge renovations, and also for the installation of new tongue & groove wall boards in our captain’s cabin bedroom! But amongst all the DIY work over the long, Bank Holiday weekend, I managed to sneak in a quick knit top I’ve been coveting from the April KnipMode magazine.

I had my eye on this ever since I saw it on the cover of the magazine, but I was recently asked questions about its construction over email, and thinking about it and dissecting the pieces got me REALLY excited to make it and I felt I needed a break (and a boost) from all the technical work on the linen shirt, so I just had to sew it up right away! So thank you, Linda, for inspiring me to make this even sooner!


A fine tightrope

24 April 2008, 13:17

A few months ago I was devastated to find that all the big London haberdashery shops suddenly stopped carrying Gutermann thread and switched to Coats Duo. I’ve had awful experiences with the cheap and nasty Coats & Clark thread they sell in the States and it wasn’t a good sign that Coats Duo is the same price as Gutermann, but for less length on a spool. Questionable quality for high prices? No thanks, I’ll stick to Gutermann, which has never ever once failed me. It’s quality stuff and I appreciate quality after having sewn with terrible thread – life’s too short for random breakages, inconsistent thicknesses, and frayed edges.

So I was very interested to hear from my friend Alex that the haberdashery shops by him in Cheltenham still stock Gutermann, and since he’s coming to visit us this weekend anyway for one of our charity dinners, I sent him off with a shopping list.


La Mia Boutique

3 April 2008, 11:53

I had an optician’s appointment which brought me into the center of town last evening, so I took the opportunity to see if Borders or Oxford News had the April issue of Burda World Of Fashion magazine yet. It turned out I was a bit too early, but Oxford News did have one copy of the Italian pattern magazine La Mia Boutique left, and since it’s one of the few pattern magazines I haven’t tried yet, I couldn’t say no!

I’ve already compared Burda WOF vs KnipMode vs Patrones magazines so I thought I’d give you a peek of La Mia Boutique, since there’s not much information online about it, and I can’t even find an official site anywhere!


How to trace a pattern

29 March 2008, 18:36

I often see other sewers complain about tracing patterns from magazines like Burda World of Fashion, Knip Mode, or Patrones, and I thought I’d share my method for tracing patterns. I don’t have a big window, and carbon paper is just way too messy for me, so I’ve gradually come up with this method and it’s quick and easy enough that I trace out all my patterns this way – even the tissue envelope patterns.

Step 1 – Gather your materials

You’ll need a big roll of paper – I buy a big roll of (usually brown) craft paper from Staples, but you can also use rolls from the post office or doctor’s surgery paper or anything else similar. You’ll also need a serrated tracing wheel (found in haberdashery shops), a marker pen, a pair of scissors, and a few weighty objects to keep the layers from slipping around (not shown).


Do You Speak Sewing?

6 February 2008, 12:13

I finished hemming the Pendleton wool tuxedo-inspired trousers last night, using the very, very last of my navy blue thread, so we should hopefully be able to have the photoshoot tonight and you’ll see the completed suit tomorrow!

In Patrones news, I’ve been very busy tracing off a bunch of patterns from the December and October 2007 issues that my wonderful East London benefactor has lent to me. So far I’ve traced off 6 patterns and scanned and cleaned up images for 11. My Type A personality is really shining through here, but what I’ve done is put the traced pieces (I usually use brown kraft paper but for some reason the same paper in green was half price so who am I to argue?) plus a scan of the fashion photo plus a scan of the technical drawing and instructions all into a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Hopefully this means I won’t lose pieces or forget what I have when I go to choose a project…

Going through all the instructions made me yearn for something like Naaipatronen’s Dutch sewing terms list that I’d be able to use for all these Spanish sewing terms. I don’t really need much, but I found it necessary to at least know the type of fabric required before starting off, so knowing things like punto means knit is invaluable. Using a variety of online sources I’ve managed to cobble together a small list of Spanish sewing terms, but it’s nowhere near comprehensive and, not being a native speaker, probably has a bunch of errors in it. But I can keep it as a work in progress, so if you speak Spanish and have any corrections or addition, PLEASE send them over and I’ll update the file.

Download my Spanish – English sewing terms translation list (in pdf format)


The Patrones Charm

30 January 2008, 12:53

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).


Un-English Update

1 March 2007, 21:19

I bought a ton of sewing magazines! I managed to pick up the February and March issues of Knipmode magazine (March was a special double issue with a full supplement of sailing-inspired clothes! Perfect!), plus the Dutch language version of the March issue of Burda World of Fashion magazine. I figure I never read the instructions in the English versions of Burda anyway, so it didn’t matter much if it was written in Dutch as long as I could see from the photos what sort of fabric to use…

target=“out”>February and March issues of Knipmode magazine (March was a special double issue with a full supplement of sailing-inspired clothes! Perfect!), plus the Dutch language version of the March issue of Burda World of Fashion magazine. I figure I never read the instructions in the English versions of Burda anyway, so it didn’t matter much if it was written in Dutch as long as I could see from the photos what sort of fabric to use…

I’d only just vaguely heard of Knipmode before, but I had a chance to thumb through a copy in the supermarket before I bought it and I was delighted to discover it’s very similar to Burda WOF – about 40 patterns, all very fashion forward with glossy model photoshoots showing the finished products, plus one pattern where they go in-depth with lots of step-by-step diagrams, a plus section, and a few fashion mag-esque pages on how to accessorize what you’ve sewn. One thing I really liked is that Knipmode show a technical drawing next to the glossy photoshoots so you can see what it’s like right there without having to flip to the center section. And Knipmode’s step-by-step pattern has the largest diagrams ever!

If you’re not familiar with Knipmode (as I wasn’t until the weekend), here’s a few of my favourites from the February and March issues to give you a feel for their style… a hooded, zippered sweatshirt with kangaroo pockets, a denim skirt with a kilt-inspired styling, a perfect wrapdress for woven fabrics and a button-down shirt and khaki cargos for men, a knit long-sleeved top with an assymetric neckline, a v-necked, half-surplice top with a collar, a pair of sailor trousers with the button-up flap in front, and a woven shirtdress with a belt and band collar.

And in other non-English language news – my arse is famous! I was approached by a nice woman from IKEA’s head office in Sweden asking if I wouldn’t mind if they used the skirt I made from an IKEA pillowcase in their in-staff magazine. I was delighted and sent them some hi-res photos and answered their questions about why I hate IKEA (answer: I love their goods, I just detest everything about their store experience), and I got a copy of the newsletter today. Not only am I featured inside, but my arse is on the cover!