Go to content Go to navigation Go to highlighted projects Go to contact

Manequim magazine August 2015

3 September 2015, 13:39

There’s a bumper crop of Plus patterns this month – my favourites are this lace-overlay dress, and the top with the lace upper back (paired with a nice but basicpencil skirt).

The patterns aren’t anythng special here, but I like that they’ve made what’s essentially a basic jeanskirt in a luxe fabric. I’m not a fan of the archetypal Chanel jacket, so this would be a way to use up a luxe boucle in a more modern way than a stuffy skirt suit IMHO.

Omg I love this maxi dress with the asymmetric cutouts! Though a bare midriff there is pretty much my worst nightmare, body phobia-wise, I think I still love this enough to wear it anyway! Anyone want to invite me to the Baftas next Spring? I think I’ve found my gown…


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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??


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.


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.


A silky Manequim pleated shell top

8 September 2014, 13:00

Despite my nonstop Work Sewing during the week, I still often get an itch at the weekend to sew something quick and Not Work for myself, often using up some fabric or pattern which I’ve been meaning to make for ages.

A few weekends ago this took the form of a shell top with a pleated neckline from the Manequim August 2011 issue (though I totally failed to spot its potential when I reviewed it!) and one metre of printed polyester satin which I’d picked up at a London sewists swap last summer.

I really liked the colours in the fabric and the abstract quality of the print, and the fabric is nice enough that I had to do a quick burn test to determine that it wasn’t actually a silk! As for the pattern, it was one that I traced some years ago, but then never quite got around to making, so it got folded up in a drawer before I finally pulled it out a few weekends ago.

Worn here with my orange Sinbad & Sailor O’Keefe skirt from earlier this summer!

It’s a very basic shell top with four pleats at the neckline, and in hindsight I probably should’ve just drafted it up myself! The pattern includes a half lining – the back just uses the same pattern piece as the exterior, ending at the waist, but the front lining is a separate pattern piece with bust darts from the armholes so the exterior neckline pleats are held in place.


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!).


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!


A green cropped blazer

9 June 2014, 12:40

I’ve got a wedding rapidly approaching, and for once in my life, I actually bought a dress instead of sewing it (ok, technically James bought it for me when we were in France!). But I couldn’t let this occasion go by without sewing something so I decided I wanted a little cropped jacket to go along with it. Luckily there are a lot of colours in the dress to pick out, and a good friend gifted me this green, ex-Karen Millen piqué specifically for this purpose!

I sifted through my pattern magazine archive (made easier since I’ve got each issue overview online) and decided on a sharp little cropped blazer pattern from the September 2013 Manequim magazine (curiously I’d overlooked it when I reviewed the issue!).

I love that this jacket is short in the body so it won’t interrupt the full skirt on my dress, has got 3/4 length sleeves which are so nice for summer evenings, and best of all – a shawl collar with little tuxedo styling at the bottom. There’s no front closure, either, so it’s a nice one to just slip on over the dress and not have it look like it should be buttoned or something.

Many of you ask how I deal with Manequim patterns that aren’t in my size – the short answer is, I don’t. I’ve got so freaking many issues and patterns to choose from that most of the ones I want to sew either either in a 44 or 42 (this one’s a 44), or if they are significantly smaller, I just graft the interesting features onto an existing base pattern that fits me.


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!


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.


My galaxy-print birthday sheath dress

25 March 2014, 10:50

Happy birthday to meeeeee! I hinted about it last week, but I decided to celebrate the occasion this year by sewing up something special to wear, using a fabric that I’ve lusted over for months even before I broke down and ordered it. My feeling is that if you adore the fabric or pattern (or both!) then the resulting garment is pretty much guaranteed to be a hit.

For this dress I used the Derek Lam-inspired knit sheath from the January 2014 Manequim magazine combined with the most amazing galaxy print ponte jersey which is even nicer in real life, I swear! It’s a digital print on a smooth, white ponte jersey base, and it’s both stable and stretchy, making it the bestest fabric ever (and I have just over a metre leftover! woo!).

It’s been a while since I sewed a Manequim pattern and I’ve dropped in size over the past few months of marathon training to a 42 (Burda 40), so I decided to sew up a muslin of this first to test the fit. The resulting turquoise ponte muslin was very close fitting, and I wasn’t entirely certain at first whether it was too tight, or utterly perfect. So I lounged around in it for a day, decided it was comfortable enough, then cracked on with the final version without any pattern changes.

The final version is definitely tighter than the muslin, though, and I’m fairly certain it’s down to adding the lining layer, even though it’s stretchy! You can definitely see some horizontal pulls in the dress showing it’s a tad too tight, and it’s a struggle to get that waist seam on and off over my boobs, but one it’s on, it’s not uncomfortable, thankfully!

The pattern is really simple – a front bodice with both vertical and horizontal bust darts, back bodice with long vertical darts, raglan cap sleeves, and a skirt pattern with vertical waist darts (the same skirt pattern is used for both front and back). The pattern calls for a long invisible zipper, but as I could easily get the muslin dress on and off without it, I was going to leave it off the finished version, too…

…until I discovered the most perfect purple, metal teeth zipper in my stash! So then I decided I had to use it and make it an exposed zipper feature instead. It was a bit shorter than I’d have liked, but it reached exactly to the waist seam, which worked out nicely visually (though for ease of getting in and out of it, a longer zipper would’ve been much better!).


A sneaky peek of next week

21 March 2014, 13:28

Two big and exciting things are happening next week, and I wanted to give you a tiny peek at both of them so that you’re as excited as I am!

First – it’s my birthday on Tuesday, and I’m sewing myself something special, like I do every year. This year it’s going to be in the form of that Derek Lam-inspired knit sheath from the January 2014 Manequim magazine combined with the most amazing galaxy print ponte jersey which is pretty much the only selfish Me Fabric I’ve bought in six months.

Oh, and I happened to find this perfect zipper in my stash, so it’s going to be exposed in the back!

The second exciting thing is that my next pattern is ready for a launch next week!!

Please welcome the Duathlon shorts into your life! They come in three lengths: Booty Shorts, Biker Shorts, or Capris, and feature contrast side panels with integrated pockets (perfect for your phone, gels, or keys). There’s also optional crotch padding to make cycling more comfortable, and they’re perfect for cycle commuters who prefer to wear skirts but still want some padding (and modesty!), but also for runners, dancers, lifters, and yoga-heads, too.


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!


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!


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…


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.


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??)


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!!


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!


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!


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!


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!


Spring 2013 Sewing Ideas

30 April 2013, 13:52

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my asymmetric Drape Drape teeshirt! A girl could get used to that level of flattery…

It also marks the start of my sewing short sleeves, which means it must finally be Spring, and hence, time to start thinking about marrying up the patterns and fabrics I’d like to sew for the next few months. I really do these only for my own benefit, and so they’re not a “SWAP” in the sense that everything must coordinate against each other (lord knows I have enough clothes that I don’t have problems putting combinations together!).

This is more just a set of ideas towards which I’d like to work, so when I get to the end of a project, I can quickly refer to this image and go “oh yeah, I want to sew that next!”

For the first time I’m also including running/exercise gear in my plans, since I’m wearing lycra as a significant portion of my weekly wardrobe, and I want to contain all of my sewing ideas together. So you’ll find all the running stuff on the bottom row, and the rest of life’s wear on the upper two rows!

Top row:


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Fall/Winter 2012 Sewing Shortlist

30 October 2012, 13:34

A lot of sewers like to “Sew with a Plan” (SWAP), but I prefer to call this a “Shortlist” rather than a “Plan”, so I’m free to still change my mind and add/remove items as I go along! My main goal here isn’t so much to create a capsule wardrobe that can be worn together, but more to use up fabrics and/or that have been in my stash for a while that I’d really like to just wear.

(Click to enbiggen!)

From the top down, in no particular order: