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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.


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!


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.


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?


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!


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!


Asymmetric Plum Lace Top

16 February 2011, 13:16

The latest installment in my post-coat winter sewing plans is the asymmetric pleated turtleneck, Patrones 296 #14.

In this design, you’re given the pattern pieces for a turtleneck top, where the front has been cut diagonally across the front. So if you’ve not got this issue of Patrones, just go and draw a curvy line across your favourite turtleneck pattern!

In the magazine photo, the sleeves and upper front piece are pleated and underlined, but I chose to overlay lace on mine instead. Patrones provide the pattern pieces for the post-pleated fabric (allowing you the fun of working out exactly how much fabric you’d need for whatever size pleats you choose!), so it was super simple to just use those finished pieces to cut out the lace overlays instead.

The plum fabric here is a gorgeous bamboo/lycra jersey that I bought from Ditto in Brighton last month, and it’s so unbelievably soft, and with a nice, beefy weight and good stretch. I loved Wazoodle’s bamboo years ago, but this stuff is even better as it’s thicker and doesn’t wrinkle anywhere near as readily. I am utterly in love with this fabric! I’ve got another of their bamboo/lycras in red and I’m itching to make something from that now, too. The green stretch lace I bought at Tissues Dreyfus in Paris last summer, and I love how the two together give a bit of an antique look….


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!


The Winter Coat

10 January 2011, 13:41

Hooray, my winter coat is finally finished! As you may have seen with all the coat sewing activity going on around the internet lately, making your own coat is no mean feat! While you’re perfectly able to take some shortcuts, it’s still a several week time investment no matter how you look at it. It’s for this reason that lots of us chose to sew them over the holidays, as it doesn’t feel like quite such a long ordeal if you’ve got several full days to devote to it at one stretch.

If you remember, I used Patrones 285 #29, but with the collar from #28 and major changes to the pockets so that I can easily put my hands inside while I walk to work (which I did today wearing it! yay!). After a muslin, the main changes I made were to lower the waist seam to match my natural waist, shorten and widen the front darts, add walking ease to the lower centre front, and change the pocket design.

I’ve already made a lengthy post about the coat construction and hair canvas interfacing, plus tons of HAWT handstitching action, so if you’re interested in the couture techniques I used or some interior shots of the coat shell, please click through before reading on…


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.


The Winter Coat - construction

4 January 2011, 13:10

About a year ago I bought some gorgeous, ex-Burberry wool coating fabric from Ditto with plans to eventually make another winter coat. The muted turquoise wool has a patterned herringbone weave on one side but it’s also very thick and un-drapey but has the advantage of not fraying at all (almost like a boiled wool or Melton).

The fabric is so thick that I knew had to choose my pattern wisely, leaving out coats with lots of pleats or gathers that would’ve meant lots of bulk here.

As soon as I saw the Armani knockoff coat in the September Burda issue, I thought I’d found the match for my fabric, but as you recall, that pattern was just downright awful. So I started looking through my coat patterns again for something suitable, and Claire (Seemane) suggested I combine Patrones 285 #29 with some elements of the other coats in that issue, which is more or less what I ended up doing (though I need to change my tech drawing here to show the applied welt pockets I finally decided on rather than buttoned welts).


Happy 2011!

1 January 2011, 00:15

My favourites of 2010:

Standout moments in sewing land:


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.


Black Beignet skirt and a bias cowl top

23 June 2010, 13:56

It feels like I’ve been talking about sewing the Colette Patterns Beignet skirt for ages now, but it’s mostly because I’ve just been so busy with life (running, socialising, wedding planning, the boat, and my garden, mostly) right now that I’ve been sewing in tiny increments here and there! But it’s finally complete, and I even managed to sew up the bias cowl top from Patrones 292 (#19) to wear with it!

Even though these go so well together, I’ve actually got no shortage of other things in my wardrobe to wear with either, so there’s no “orphan coordinates” here! And I managed to sneak some mustard and navy into my wardrobe a bit earlier than I’d planned, too!


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…


Patrones two-tone jeanskirt

4 June 2010, 13:21

When I first saw the tech drawing for this skirt (#13) in Patrones 292, I assumed the curved upper back section wrapped around seamlessly into the angled front pockets, and it’s what initially drew me to this design.

But on closer inspection of the pattern pieces, I realised this wasn’t the case and that there were side seams on the upper portion as you’d expect in most skirts. So after tracing the pattern, I went about transferring the curved side seam “dart” into an area that would be hidden by the pocket, went so far as cutting out the piece…. and then realised it seemed like a kinda stupid amount of faff just to remove a seam line on a colour-blocked skirt where the seam would be so overshadowed by the overall colour-blocking anyway. So I reverted everything back to the pattern as drafted, recut the nude fabric pieces, and made the skirt as intended.


Summer sewing shortlist

24 May 2010, 15:36

Last week you got to see the newest Patrones that Aisling sent over, but you all have been far too good to me, because last week I also got a surprise parcel from Daisy!

She did some awesome detective work and worked out my size and style and picked out Simplicity 2754 and Butterick 5317 for me! And she did a great job, because I really like them both! I always have a hard time seeing the potential with the Project Runway patterns because the pattern covers are so horribly done that you can’t see any details at all, and Simplicity’s site makes it really awkward to browse by technical drawing (what I do as a general rule with Burda magazine previews). Anyway, as it turns out, I really like the details of this one, and doing some research myself, I remembered that Trena made it a few months back and I absolutely loved it! And she’s so got the right idea with those back view enhancements! And the Butterick Maggy London dress is just screaming out for a border print, as far as I’m concerned – the skirt is just a rectangle with pleating, so anything with a border or lace at the edge would go perfectly as you don’t have any cut, curved hem or side seams. So it actually is as easy as it’s labelled, seeing as how you’re really just making the bodice…

These patterns all came at the perfect time, because not only did I finish the second bridesmaid dress this weekend (photos coming later this week), but London has stumbled into a mini-heatwave which always gets me raring to sew! After spending the last two months solid on these dresses for my girls, I’m more than ready to sew for myself now, and I’m not scheduled to start on my wedding dress muslin until July.

Sooooo, how much can I cram into the next month, eh? Granted, I’ll still want to make a few things here or there while I’m working on my gown, but I thought it’d be a good idea to get all the things I want to sew together in one place. I’m not calling it a wardrobe or SWAP since they don’t all go together, and I don’t want to commit myself to ALL of these since I tend to get bored easily, so let’s just call this a shortlist so I can choose from these at will…

The FehrTrade Summer 2010 Sewing Shortlist!

From the top:


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!!


Double take!

13 May 2010, 15:15

Fashion has always been cyclical – we reinvent ideas from decades past and give them a new twist. But with everyone playing off similar influences, sometimes two designers independently come up with very similar ideas. So it’s really not a surprise that you can sometimes find very similar pattern designs across companies, too.

As I found out, once you start looking for “pattern twins”, suddenly you start seeing them everywhere!

Patrones vs Knip tops

It all started when reader Hilde pointed out in my Patrones 289 review that this Plus top looks an awful lot like an older KnipMode design, so I decided to investigate further by comparing the shapes of the pattern pieces side-by-side:

(This KnipMode top was previously neglected because it was in the same issue as the fabulous swimsuit pattern…)

While the tech drawings look different, when you look at the pattern pieces you can see that most of that is just down to artistic interpretation and the pieces are very similar indeed!

Knip vs Burda blouses

Then I noticed in my review of the March 2010 KnipMode that their ruffle-collared blouse was incredibly similar to one Burda released last year!


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.


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:


Silver tweed jacket

17 February 2010, 08:48

It’s time now to turn our attention to the upper half of this silver tweed Planned Partnership, the little boxy cropped jacket (#18) from Patrones 272:

You saw the jacket as part of a classy suit, but how does it work with jeans?, I hear you ask.

As it turns out, even better!

I actually prefer this jacket hanging open instead of buttoned up (which is why I left off the button loop at the very top of the collar stand and the small button hidden under the collar that the pattern suggested).


Silver tweed suit

15 February 2010, 21:23

Last week I finished the first half of my second Planned Partnership, so I think that makes me exactly one half finished (right, Sharon, resident maths professor?). Though I suppose if you’re counting individual garments, I’d be slightly over halfway finished…

But I digress. You remember the silver tweed fabric and my plans to make a cropped jacket that I could wear with either a matching skirt or with a nude sheath dress (yet to come)?

Well, I’m so delighted with the way both the jacket and skirt turned out that I couldn’t wait to show you! So in the tradition of that other tweed suit, you get a sneak preview!


Silver Tweed beginnings...

31 January 2010, 22:03

With the first Planned Partnership done & dusted in the form of my techno skirt and sequin top, it’s been time to start concentrating on another pairing – the pale silver tweed to go with the nude stretch suiting…

I decided to go with the bottom jacket seen above, so I traced all the pieces of it and the skirt pattern, playing it very carefully and was able to fit BOTH the cropped jacket and the skirt out of the 1.5m of tweed I’d bought! Woohoo! It was by no means certain, but my powers of fabric Tetris prevailed and I’m rather proud.


Champagne silk yoked blouse

20 January 2010, 21:47

Believe it or not, this blouse is my last project from 2009, and I wanted something both simple and silk, which isn’t a common combination! But the cover blouse from Patrones 276, #3 was exactly right:

Apart from being a really nice easy-going top, this pattern only has three pieces – lower front, lower back, and a yoke that’s got a slit opening at the back and goes over the shoulders seamlessly to the front. So not only is it great for <1/2m cuts of coordinating silks, but the yoke is perfect for prints you don’t want to interrupt with seams. And if you’ve got a healthy trim stash (which I’m strangely not really into), then the ribbon across the front provides the perfect showcase.


Planning Sewing Partnerships

26 December 2009, 22:49

In an attempt to get myself to focus on pairing up the lovely (and overflowing) fabrics I’ve got on hand with the lovely (and overflowing) patterns I’ve got on hand, I did a bit of mental and virtual pairing using my scanned catalogues of fabric and patterns and a bit a Photoshop wizardry. I don’t particularly like doing SWAP wardrobes as they’re so rigid they end up feeling like a chore by about the third garment, so instead I wanted to focus on partnerships of fabrics and garments that could go with each other.

The first is the most straightforward: a skirt and blouse combo.

The skirt is one from last October’s KnipMode and features two big chunky zippers on the wide waistband. I just took the plunge and bought two fantastic brass teethed ones with big ring pulls from Zipperstop’s eBay store, only to find out that the brown colour in their photo was actually bright purple. They’ll now definitely be a “feature”!. The blouse is from my beloved August issue and is the Marni catwalk clone – I’ll be sewing that in some pewter silk charmeuse from Goldhawk Road that really brings out the blue in the skirt’s wool flannel.


Patrones pals!

27 November 2009, 18:25

Remember that wool, collared Patrones top I made recently? Well, I’m so happy to report that my overly detailed instructions for it weren’t in vain, because Kim’s made this top, too! It’s fitting, really, since she’s the one who hooked me up with this issue in the first place… ;)

Doesn’t she look great? In her own words:


Prada meets Patrones

18 November 2009, 12:13

Ahhh I finally get my designer fix! Patrones may have stopped attributing designer names to their patterns, but it hasn’t stopped me from adding my own glamour to the mix… This short sleeved top with an interesting gathered and buttoned triangular collar is no1 from the latest issue of Patrones magazine, #285:

So where does the Prada come in? Well, the fabric is a gorgeous ex-Prada olive wool interlock from Ditto Fabrics in Brighton. I’ve only ever sewn wool jersey once before, and after the struggle I had to keep that from rolling onto itself in both directions, plus having to use double layers to keep it from being see-though, I wasn’t overly keen to sew with it again.

But oh my god, the difference between these two fabrics is like night and day! This wool interlock is just beautiful – it washed up a dream, behaves beautifully in the overlocker and sewing machine, presses and molds the way you want it to, and is just SO soft you’d never guess it was wool at all. Honestly, this stuff is just amazing to touch.

If you remember, I had some difficulty visualising how the pattern pieces fit together in this top, partially down to my not speaking Spanish, but also due to the 2D nature of the technical drawings and the one limited magazine photo. So I made a paper model to help figure out that the collar actually is detached from the neckline in front (the neckline being bound by a bias strip) and the sleeves have pleats on the upper arm where they meet the sleeve band. If you’re interested in the construction of this pattern, I recommend you open the earlier post in another tab now to refer back to while you look at the perty photos!


Tricky pattern? Build a paper model first!

8 November 2009, 22:11

After a weekend of tracing patterns and sewing kids clothes (some you’ll see later, but others are Christmas gifts not to be ruined), I finally got a chance this evening to cut out the fabric for the wool jersey top from the latest Patrones, #285, that I wrote about last week:

I came across some gorgeous ex-Prada wool jersey at Ditto Fabrics (you’ll remember them from earlier in the summer when I visited their Brighton shop) and knew I was destined to pair fabric and pattern together! (NB: if you’re planning on making this top with this fabric, buy 2m instead of the 1.5m called for in Patrones as it’s ever-so-slightly narrower than Patrones’s and I had a real tricky time fitting everything into 1.5m!) I also bought some dark turquoise ex-Burberry coating, some I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-silk ex-Prada polyester jersey with trompe l’oiel sequin print, Paul Smith grey marl jersey with stars, and some black stretch denim (all pictured at the bottom of my fabric stash gallery if you fancy a perv!). Honestly, I’m beginning to think the owner Gill is a bit like the UK version of Gorgeous Fabrics, she has such an eye for quality ex-designer stuff!

The funny this about this pattern is that on first glance, it looks like a really easy garment – just a basic blouse with dolman sleeves and some horizontal seaming in the front and back, topped off with a triangular collar with a bit of gathering detail and a covered button. Or so it’d seem. Look a bit closer at the pattern pieces and start chucking bits of the instructions through Google Translate, and it all starts to become a bit more interesting…


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!


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.


Patrones spring coat

29 May 2009, 07:15

By now, you should be fully familiar with Patrones #261-17, the spring duffle coat I’m making in turqouise basketweave wool…

After all, first it won the public vote, then you heard about how I bulk fused the tricky wool, then you saw all about my muslin and the resulting fit alterations, then you saw how I dealt with the tricky hood seam allowances and finally, last week you got a chance to see the bound buttonholes and the finished shell.

I’ve been concentrating on assembling the lining (and the lining pocket) all weekend, and finally finished all the handsewing at Monday night’s moorings crafty club!


Patrones spring coat - finished shell

22 May 2009, 12:37

Are you thoroughly sick of the sight of the Patrones spring coat yet? Well, too bad, because it’s taking me forever!

The good news is, I sailed smoothly over the speed bump that caused me so many headaches and delays in making my winter coat – the bound buttonholes. I’d already decided that with such a thick, loosely woven fabric that’s so prone to unravelling, that I’d use the satin bias tape I’d bought for binding the hood seam allowances to also make the bound buttonholes.

So I pressed the satin bias tape flat, cut it down to 1/2 inch wide strips, then folded these in half (right sides out) to make the buttonhole “lips”. After basting my ladder stitches on all the coat tabs, I did the usual technique of sewing these lips to the right side and cutting open the buttonholes.

But here’s where I deviated a bit – since my wool unravels so much, I knew that trying to stitch those tiny triangles at the ends would just be an exercise in futility, so I pulled out some lightweight knit interfacing and cut out a tiny strip. I then pulled the triangles to the back and fused the interfacing over top to keep them out of the way:

(It’s a bit hard to see but the mesh white interfacing over the left and right ends is there!)


Patrones spring coat - hood and more...

19 May 2009, 09:59

On Saturday I went shopping for supplies with Johanna Lu while she was holidaying in town, yay! We hit up Goldhawk Road and MacColluch & Wallis so I was able to get the rest of the supplies I needed for the spring coat, as well as stock up on a few things I knew would be difficult to get online for the rest of the year, like quality interfacings (I knows it when I feels it, okay?). She had the forethought to bring a camera along shopping, so you’ll have to stalk her blog for the next few days to see us giddy in fabric mecca!

I was very disciplined on Goldhawk Road and only bought three fabrics (at the end of the list there) – grey corduroy, since I adore the cords at one particular shop there and I don’t think I’ll be able to go back before Fall, a red & white cotton poplin with stylised flowers that’s already earmarked for two projects, and my one impulse buy – a very cool lycra jersey with tons of overlapping stripes going every which way. Oh, and the lining for my Spring coat.

Speaking of that Patrones spring coat:


Patrones spring coat - muslin & alterations

13 May 2009, 12:25

Since I’m not entirely confident of how Patrones patterns fit me, and I’m equally not confident that I am a size 44 anymore (well, I was when I traced it 18 months ago, argh), I decided to play it safe and make a bedsheet muslin for my Patrones spring coat before cutting into the basketweave wool. If you remember, this is the coat:

And this is how the muslin looks straight off the pattern sheets:


Prepping for Patrones

9 May 2009, 13:08

Now that I’ve finished all my other spring projects (the Colette dress is coming, sorry for the delay!), I can now devote all my available energy toward making my spring coat, Patrones #261-17, as voted on by all of lovely you!

Also sewing along with me are Zoe (whom I borrowed and traced the pattern from originally!) and Houkje, who’s also tracing and joining in a bit later on, creating our own London-Patrones micro-Sewalong!

First off, Zoe says:
I took a quick photo this morning of the fabric I’m using for the coat.

The wool on the left is a remnant from the cloth house and not enough
for the whole coat. The velvet on the right is for the hood, button
tabs and possibly the collar if I don’t have enough of the wool for
that. I bought some great brass toggles on Walthamstow market (couldn’t
find them a 6am without waking the family up), but forgot about the tabs
on the sleeves so I need to get back soon to get some more. I’m looking
for a two tone lining in beige and turquoise to match the stripes in the
wool, but no joy so far. Need to find time to get over to Shepherd’s
bush I think.

Whereas for my coat, I’ll be using that great, soft teal basketweave wool, bulk fusing it with lightweight interfacing, before cutting, then overlocking all the cut edges to prevent fraying and unravelling.

I’ve got 4 yards of the wool, but only ordered 3 metres of the Vilene H180 lightweight interfacing. Only I forget it was super narrow, so by the time I laid it side by side on the wool, I only had about 1.5m of the wool covered. So I’m waiting to see if I can lay out all the pattern pieces that wouldn’t normally be interfaced onto the bulk fused section, and the pieces like the collar, facings and button tabs onto a section that I’ll cover with heavier interfacing to avoid having to buy more. Confused? Don’t worry, this plan might fail anyway…


Upcoming spring sewing...

17 April 2009, 11:23


  1. The KnipMode jeanskirt:

  2. The KnipMode pink knit day dress:

These both just need photoshoots this weekend! (Actually, I’m wearing the former for the second time today…)

In Progress:

In some vague order…
  1. The Colette Patterns “Eclair” dress in gold silk crepe (with aubergine silk ties), being sewn for Iain & Steve’s wedding in early May:

    I beta-tested this pattern back around Christmas so I know my muslin fits perfectly, but the silk arrived too late to sew it for holiday parties!

  2.

    Spring coat choices

    14 April 2009, 17:26

    I’ve got lots of turquoise basket weave wool coating that I bought from Fabric.com on a deep discount the same time I bought that gorgeous faux fur, and I’m envisioning it as a great spring coat (believe me when I say it’s the perfect weight for London springtime, okay?). But I’m torn between three different coat patterns, so maybe you all can help me decide?

    1. Patrones #261-17 – Pros: It has a hood, and big pockets, and it’s already traced, since it from an issue I borrowed from Zoe ages ago! Cons: I’m not as confident on Patrones’s sizing so a muslin is a must, and it’s not got any pockets (Wtf?) so I’d have to add on some patch pockets.


    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 silk Patrones blouse

    29 December 2008, 13:44

    What better to round out my current purple and grey kick than by using up the silk charmeuse leftover from Pip’s purple pyjamas! I used the Toypes top pattern, #76,
    from Patrones 261 (borrowed and traced from my Patrones benefactor, Zoe), which I’ve had languishing in my pattern catalogue for nearly a year now.

    I had just enough fabric to make this top and a full lining, though I opted to leave out the tie waistband and instead just lengthen the bottom by two inches to compensate…


    Patrones wool trousers in progress

    18 December 2008, 11:14

    I’m only a hem away from finishing a pair of high waisted, wool trousers from the fabulous Patrones 272:

    I’ll leave the fine details for the final photoshoot and review, but I’m just so proud of my very first welt pockets. Progress on my wool coat has been stalled for the last few months because the thought of doing the bound buttonholes has just intimidated and overwhelmed me, so I thought I’d make my first attempts at welt pockets first since they’re essentially the same thing, but on a less tiny (and fiddly) scale.

    There are tons of instructions on the internet for welt pockets, but I used the supplemental instructions from the Aug 2008 BWOF since I could just have it lying open on my ironing board as I worked. The diagrams were particularly useful, and I think my first attempts turned out great!


    Mini me!

    29 October 2008, 11:31

    After the success of my green Patrones hoodie I thought that I’d make something similar for my nephew Logan’s birthday using the same fabric. I liked the look of #7 from Patrones Ninos 271 (Patrones magazine is normally all womenswear patterns, but they have two special childrens issues each year).

    Even though it’s modelled on a girl here, it’s definitely a unisex style, and I thought the dark green sweatshirting was definitely more of a boy colour anyway, and this was much nicer than the other styles for boys his age in this issue. So I sewed this up on my overlocker in a few hours, and now it’s off to the post office in time for the big day! Unfortunately my would-be model neighbour girl has gone away for the past few days so I’m limited to a flat photo until Logan wears it himself…


    Crafting for Christmas

    22 October 2008, 12:17

    It may only be mid October, but preparations for Christmas are already well underway at Chez Fehr. The electricity feeding my sewing room was out all weekend due to a bunf junction box (fixed by James’s dad yesterday, hurrah!) so I took the opportunity to do all the non-machine prep possible while that was out.

    The craft table in the saloon is usually pretty clear as it’s where I do my cutting (conveniently, I can stand down the steps at the end so I’m not bending over too much) but right now it’s full to bursting with upcoming Christmas gifts:


    The Patrones haute hoodie

    13 October 2008, 11:57

    Finally – the sun was shining, the coats came off and the Pimm’s very nearly came out! This weekend was strangely summer in October here in London, and we finally got plenty of sunshine to showcase my green Patrones sweatshirt. As you recall, my impatience kept me from finishing this sooner, but the Halhuber jacket from Patrones 272 finally came to be:

    AllisonC made a beautiful traditional interpretation of this jacket if you’re interested to see it more in keeping with the original design. I opted to go a different route entirely (as you can see!) though I made surprisingly few alterations to the pattern. I lengthened the sleeve cuffs by a few inches as the sleeves came up pretty short, and I cut these and the waist band in ribbing on the fold to nicely finish the edges. And apart from adding the hood and pockets, that’s pretty much it!

    It’s funny how fabric choices can make two creations with similar “bones” look so different!


    The Sweatshirt of Impatience

    7 October 2008, 12:03

    You’ve heard of the Bluebird of Happiness, right? Well, this is my Sweatshirt of Impatience. It’s not the sweatshirt’s fault that I got a bit over-eager and impatient to finish it and wear it out, and everything can be fixed, but seriously, this would’ve been properly finished sooner if I hadn’t been so impatient.

    I’ll save the construction details and pattern changes for the full, finished roundup, but let’s take a little time now to go through the lessons I’ve learned here.


    Couture sweatshirt update

    2 October 2008, 11:35

    Despite having an incredibly busy week with something on every night, I’ve still managed to make some good progress on my “couture sweatshirt” interpretation of the Patrones Halhuber jacket…

    I’ve really only got to do the hood, which involves interfacing and attaching the eyelets for the drawstring, making the drawstring, sewing the hood edge with a twin needle, and attaching it. All that sounds like way more work than it actually is, and will probably only take an hour or so. And then I’ve just got to attach the zipper to the centre front panels…

    But then I decided that I really like front pockets on sweatshirts (and I’ve always got tools, keys, my mobile, and/or tissues in them!), so I’ve drawn up some suitably angular ones to add on.


    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!


    Refashioned Ikea Patrones skirt and bag

    8 April 2008, 12:26

    I’m no stranger to repurposing Ikea – so far I’ve turned two pillowcases into four placemats, a shower curtain into a dress, and a pillowcase into a skirt. I picked up some blue, pre-hemmed table runner fabric back at the same time I bought the shower curtain, but it’s just so narrow that I couldn’t really think what to do with it and it’s languished in my stash ever since.

    But I’ve been in the sewing doldrums lately, waiting for the weather to warm up, so I had another look at the table runner and saw the potential for a cute, flirty skirt using this Patrones skirt pattern from the October 2007 issue (#261, pattern no. 22). Big, big thanks to my generous Patrones benefactor, Zoe, for letting me borrow her past few issues so I don’t go broke on German eBay!

    Because the Ikea table runner fabric was so narrow, I had to get out my seam ripper and unpick one entire hem in order to make the skirt as long as possible. I kept the other side hem intact to use as the bottom of the skirt to save myself a construction step!


    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).


    The Hunt for Patrones

    24 January 2008, 15:14

    Patrones is a Spanish sewing magazine similar to Burda World Of Fashion or KnipMode in that every issue comes with a ton of patterns included which you can sew up for yourself. Patrones is a bit different in that they include a lot of patterns direct from the big name fashion houses, though, so in the current edition (#264), you’ll get designs from Jil Sander, John Paul Gaultier, Gucci, and a whopping 90 others. There are twelve issues each year, with each one dedicated to a different topic (vacation wardrobe, basic wardrobe, special occasion, etc) or size (children, youth, plus size, or regular).

    Sounds great, huh? The only problem is that buying an issue of Patrones outside Spain is damn near impossible.