I (silently) set myself the challenge to sew one garment from each issue of Burda magazine (aka BurdaStyle) in 2012, and I’m proud to say I completed it! I’m not the sort of person to make New Year’s resolutions, or proclaim lofty goals to everyone who’ll listen – I’m more the sort to quietly commit myself to something, and see if anyone notices what I’m up to before the completion… I do know that Kristy has also been keeping up with the Burda challenge this year, and it’s been fun to see which patterns she’s chosen from the same issues (and on occasion we selected the same pattern!).
There were some roaring successes, a few fails (both my fault and not), and some that I changed my mind on only after months of wear. So I thought it was worthwhile to have a look through all the projects from this year, and my thoughts on each looking back from now…
Link to original post: Great Basic – Grey Flannel Trousers
At the time I said: There’s nothing particularly earth-shattering about this design, but I just thought it looked nicely versatile, and something I could wear to business meetings as well as just team with a teeshirt if I fancied it.
My thoughts now: I don’t think these look as nice in the photoshoot as they do in real life. I genuinely love and adore these, and have worn them pretty much nonstop, at least once a week to work, since I made them a year ago. I wouldn’t change a single thing about this pattern, and the silk pocket linings fill me with glee everything I slip my hands inside. I really do need to make some more of these!
Link to original post: The Blue and Black Burda February sheath dress
At the time I said: But really, I just love this dress! It’s so comfortable, and I’ve gotten so many compliments even in just the two occasions I’ve worn it in the past week. I also like it because it reminds me both of my beloved September dress pattern but also of traditional cheongsam dresses…
My thoughts now: I think the pattern is fabulous, but the fabric I chose was too thin, and the upper chest is a bit lumpy where Burda tried to tell me to have a facing when it should’ve just been sewn closed. I wore this a few times a month over the summer, but the short sleeves keep it from being in all-year rotation. I’d really like to sew this pattern again in a ponti jersey, like my other favourite dresses.read more >>
This is definitely turning into The Year of Lycra for me, and it’s barely halfway finished, so I hope you’re not too bored yet (wonderfully, I’ve even inspired some of you to start running Running has been a part of my life for about 8 or 9 years now, but training for a marathon is now really upping my enthusiasm to sew cute clothes for the approx 5 hours every week I’m actively running (wow that’s a lot!).
I’ve had the Jalie multisports skirt (2796) pattern in my stash for several years now, but English summers are never particularly hot anyway, and I usually run in the early mornings, meaning it’s rarely too warm for running tights. But I’ve got some mid-day races coming up, and sometimes it’s warm in the evenings for Run dem Crew, so while I was ill in the latest bout of hot weather, I made up what will be the first of many running skirts!
There’s lots of mix & match options in this pattern- briefs or compression shorts on their own (with either wide or narrow waistband), or you can have the skirt with either briefs or shorts underneath (again with either a wide or narrow waistband). I do not run in shorts normally (or wear them outside the boat, to be honest) but I went for the shorts under the skirt, with the wide waistband.
I’ve loved every single Jalie pattern I’ve ever sewn, and this is no exception. They’re fantastic to sew, but what keeps me coming back is that these are equally fantastic to wear – Jalie totally “get” exercise gear.
The pattern itself is great – tons of sizes, great instructions (I love that they’re available as pdfs so you can view them on your computer or tablet, though I used Jalie’s excellent iPhone app to read them this time around). They’ve really thought about how they’ll be worn when moving, too – the constructions steps mean that seams that might chafe are concealed as much as possible.read more >>
This skirt was featured in the May 2012 edition of BurdaStyle magazine, but it’s one of the few that’s also available for purchase as a downloadable pdf if you missed this issue (a really great one, IMHO!).
This is quite an interesting pattern because of its simplicity – it’s only one pattern piece (the same for the front and the back), with a bunch of radiating pleats on one hip, and just two side seams to sew. There are three hem lengths suggested on the pattern, and I went with the shortest, Hem length A, which ends up right at my knees.
And that’s it – no zippers, no elastic, no nothing. So it’s a really quick and easy skirt to sew up in one evening!read more >>
Remember my my pinup sheath dress? Well, I made good use of the remaining 2 meters of so of the ex-designer charcoal grey flannel and made a midi skirt with it!
I used this vintage New Look/Maudella midi skirt pattern I bought in Sheffield not long ago:
I made View 2 (seen in my attempted tech drawing above), and the pattern pieces for it and View 1 were already cut to size 18 (my size, judging by the pattern, eep!), which made it easy to just lay on the fabric and cut. There are only three pattern pieces (skirt panel, yoke, and waistband), so it was a really quick skirt to construct, though the hem sat ready to be handsewn for a week or two before I had time to do it!
At first I was concerned that the front and back pieces were exactly the same, but I haven’t noticed any problems in the fit while wearing it. I think this might be down to my pancake butt, but someone with a more pronounced derriere might have issues.read more >>
The number of posts I want to write is piling up at an alarming rate, and I have no time to do anything about it, what with work being crazy busy (I hate all of you who get tons of time off at Christmas – I only get 3 days off in total! And my days have mostly been solving one problem, and having five new problems pour in while I was fixing the one, then moving on to the next in a To-Do list which never, ever gets cleared.) and us spending all our weekends working on the boat (last weekend we spent 15 hours building the subfloor down there. No, don’t feel jealous – the boat blog is being neglected, too).
So rather than stress about the amount of things piling up, I’m going to present my pile to you in pictorial form.
This is what James’s desk looked like this morning. It’s supposed to be my temporary cutting table while we’re building in the hold. How can I possibly cut the bias Ruby Slip or Holly’s maxi-dress fabric on this?? I’m pretty sure Bosco isn’t responsible, though he does look a bit shifty there…
I sewed a little waistcoat for James’s nephew out of this Tardamask fabric on Spoonflower. It’s got hidden pockets inside! He’s 7, and the biggest Dr Who fan ever, so we’re excited to see his reaction on Christmas.
My next two sewing projects to share with you both use the fantastic, charcoal grey, ex-designer poly/viscose/lycra flannel that Neighbour Helen gifted to me just before they set sail for the continent. If I didn’t have the fibre content tag still attached to the fabric, I’d assume it was a cashmere or wool flannel, it’s that lovely!
The first use of the flannel is actually already finished and could’ve been spotted in the swankier parts of Spitalfields on Saturday night – an amaaaaaaazing sheath dress from Burda magazine:
I’ll avoid a long story to explain the Why, but you’ll have to wait til next week to see the photos. But trust me when I say it is a truly stunning va-va-voom dress!
Then this weekend I decided to jump right in and use up the remaining ~2m or so of the flannel and make the vintage Maudella midi skirt pattern I bought in Sheffield a few weeks ago:read more >>
If you recall, it’s a two-part suit, with a draped, collar-less jacket and a pleated pencil skirt:
I’ve been sewing both of the pieces in parallel, so I’ve finished them at the same time. I like a lot of aspects of this suit, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not totally in love with the overall resulting look.
The jacket and skirt together!
Things I really like:
- The lapel-less shawl collar construction
- The asymmetric drape
- The three part, bell shaped sleeve
- The two-tone, piped lining
- The folded and seamed facing on the draped side
- Pretty much everything about the skirt
The drape makes for a rather elegant side view, too:
Things I don’t like:read more >>
There’s been only slow and steady progress on my draped suit (Burda September 2011 #126 and 127) this week as there’s been little time to sew, but I did get a few hours of “me time” in on Sunday evening after my insulation work was done for the day.
Those few hours were enough for me to finish the entire shell of the jacket and skirt, but I needed a clear surface to cut out the lining fabric, so that was delayed until last evening (since my running group was cancelled). Since the wool suiting has stretch, I didn’t want to negate the benefits of that with a non-stretch lining, so I pulled out one of the few stretch wovens in my stash – a blisteringly hot pink stretch satin I’d bought from Fabric.com last year (and came across in my mom’s suitcase before the wedding). Despite it being polyester, it actually feels wonderful and it was worth the price to be such a high quality lining.read more >>
I’ve finally finished Vogue 1259! I don’t regularly sew Vogue patterns (or any envelope patterns, for that matter), but like plenty of other people, I just loved this design as soon as it appeared online, and I just couldn’t wait to sew it up!
I used this mushroom-coloured viscose/cotton/lycra jersey from Tia Knight on ebay, and it was perfect for this pattern. You really need something lightweight and drapey, because there are a LOT of gathers that would get bulky very quickly in anything heavier. Vogue don’t give combined yardages for making the top and skirt, but 3m was just enough for me to make both, in size 16, using their recommended layout.
This pattern is marked as “Advanced”, and I think the top definitely qualifies, both for construction, as well as the cutting and marking, and the following of their instructions (which certainly don’t make things easier!). The skirt, however, could easily be made by a beginner. So if you’re intimidated by the “Advanced” label but like the skirt, go for it!read more >>
I’ve been talking about making this skirt for months now – I really liked it when it first appeared in the September 2010 issue of La Mia Boutique (#26), and then I thought I’d make it this winter, but my chosen fabric seemed too summery… But finally, its day has come and I’ve made it a reality!
It’s hard to see in the magazine photo, but there are pockets integrated into two of those pleats, too, which I really like!
And then someone on Pattern Review was asking for a pattern suggestion to knockoff this Karen Millen skirt, and I realised that my LMB pattern was really very fashionable indeed!
My pattern has more pleats, plus the added pockets, so I think it’s a better design, but I still appreciate seeing similar clothes in high end RTW, especially if I already liked the design anyway!read more >>
I started work on this lace skirt just before we left for France, when I was finally over my post-March wardrobe exhaustion and finally ready to get stuck in on some more complex and fiddly projects. So I got all the layers cut out and basted together before I left, so this I only had the fun stuff left to do last week! Hooray for me!
The luscious purple lace is all dark purple on one side, but with added chenille texture and lighter, printed flowers on the other side. It’s from Ditto fabrics, bought by Pip as part of my Christmas gift, and I made good use of my 1m!
Since it’s lace and more sheer than I’d like for a skirt, I underlined this with some fabric I bought on Karen’s big Walthamstow meetup – it’s a poly stretch woven, with a bengaline-feel on the light purple side, and a wine-coloured, satin reverse. The purple side matched my lace perfectly and the satin reverse just meant I didn’t have to line it because it’s already slippery inside! Score!
While the colour match isn’t perfect with either my bamboo tulip top or my purple boots, it was close enough for me to wear them together yesterday!read more >>
It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was first laying out my initial plans for this mini wardrobe, but now I’ve had some time to step back and have a look over what I managed to accomplish last month. I made this wardrobe mostly for myself, to use some luscious fabrics from my stash in combination with patterns that really appealed to me, but I also kept one eye on the contest requirements running over at PaternReview.com to make sure I remained within their rules, too. Here’s my entry into their contest, or you can just read on below…
I started with a blue viscose, draped knit top that I’d bought from ASOS and really liked, but I wanted to wear with both casual and dressy bottoms.
To coordinate, I sewed:
1. Jalie jeans – I’d made a muslin but the waistband was horrible so I had my work cut out for me on this pair using great quality stretch denim from Mood in NYC, plus some London streetsign fabric for the waistband facings and pockets. I used my vintage hand crank Singer machine for all the topstitching, plus I got to use my vintage buttonholer attachment and high quality rivets for the first time! I fixed all the waistband issues in this pair and these are now my favourite jeans. Read more…read more >>
I’ve now finished the fourth garment in my March Mini Wardrobe plans and I think you’re going to love it as much as I do!
I bought some utterly luscious grey leather when I was in New York in September, and I’d thought about a few different patterns (even going so far as muslining one I never showed you), but I finally settled on the long, slim pencil skirt from the August 2010 Burda magazine (#128).
Since we’re talking about leather here and you cannot unpick any stitches once they’re sewn, I made a muslin, which revealed a few minor fitting issues which needed fixing in the final skirt. Other than that, I shortened the length to make it above the knee (which also eliminated the back vent) and removed the centre front seam to improve the look.read more >>
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!read more >>
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.read more >>
(Dutch readers – who is Odette Simons, anyway? Dutch celebrity? Fashion designer? Stylist? She’s appearing in most issues these days and it’s bugging me…)
I just loved the shape of the yoke and pockets on skirt #7 from the January 2010 KnipMode. Essentially they’ve just drawn a bunch of lines onto an A-line skirt pattern which you then cut apart to be the wide yoke, the main skirt body, the pocket backing, and the pocket facing. All that pattern piece reusing means you actually only end up tracing 3 pattern pieces (front, back, and pocket) because you cut up the pieces as you go along. So the top of the skirt back pattern gets cut off for the facing, the skirt front gets cut apart for the yoke, the pocket back, and the facing, etc.read more >>
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!read more >>
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.read more >>
Now that all the 2009 projects are out f the way, here is the first of my sewing partnerships I dreamed up around the end of the year! This skirt & top partnership consists of an “egg skirt” from the April 2009 Manequim magazine…
…and a cowl-neck sleeveless blouse from Simplicity 2580 (which is a dress pattern that I modified before to become a very versatile top).
I always pictured these two fabrics together, and I am loving the resulting outfit! I really think I got it right in matching both the fabrics and the patterns! I originally saw it as club/party wear, and it turned out that I finished it just in time for a big party on Saturday night!read more >>
I’ve had this flowered black and red denim I’ve since I was 13 or 14 year old. I remember being so inspired by the “sewing machine driver’s test” we took in Home Ec class that I got my mom to buy me this at JoAnn’s Fabrics and I made a really simple tote bag out of this using her old pea-green Kenmore sewing machine. The bag fell apart soon after (let’s just say I wasn’t big on following any “rules”), but I just attached the straps back on with some safety pins and continued to use it as my school bag for the rest of the year.
I honestly had no idea this fabric even still existed, but my mom found it lurking somewhere in my old room at their house and brought it with her this summer. I looked through my pattern magazine archive (made so much simpler by scanning each of the index pages into an online album) and #113 from the July 2008 Burda WOF magazine jumped out as the prime contender.
There wasn’t much fabric left, but it was plenty enough to make this skirt. I’d definitely keep this one in mind if you’ve got a metre or so of heavyweight fabric you want to make use of!read more >>
(I fear I’m a few days too late for a “Trick or Tweed” post title!)
I’m starting to get into the Fall/Winter sewing mindset now (having almost entirely missed this summer, it’s a bit of a stretch), so what better says cold weather than a nice tweed skirt? After browsing through my pattern magazine archive, I finally decided on the rather recent Skirt 110 from the September 09 Burda magazine.
I chose this skirt because I really liked the big front pleat that conceals the two single welt pockets, and having that large pleat means there’s plenty of walking ease. I tend to walk really fast and with a large stride, so I always need a walking slit or pleat in my skirts. The fabric is a great wool (with a bit of synthetic thrown in, according to my burn test) tartan with lots of earth colours and even a thread of blue running through it, which is great for classic Fall and Winter looks. I mentioned before that this fabric was also a gift from my neighbour Helen, who had kept it from her fashion school days and thought I’d make better use of it than her spare room storage!
I already wrote about creating the single welt pockets, which took as much time to sew as the rest of the skirt combined, but here’s the end result!read more >>
I’ve sewn as far as I can now on the KnipMode Weekend Bag without the extra laminate – I’ve finished the lining, the three exterior pockets, and joined the two main pieces, but the next step is to attach the zipper to the long strips adjacent to it, and those are the bits I ran out of laminate for (oh, I decided to be lazy/cheap and forego the piping, btw).
So rather than twiddle my thumbs while I wait for the postal strike to run its course, I thumbed through my fabric stash instead to get some inspiration for some “me sewing”, after making so many christmas presents (which I can’t show you til December since the recipents visit here, sorry). Funny, but the two fabrics that jumped out at me the most were two I didn’t buy at all – a browny tweed tartan wool and a royal blue tartan sheer silk. Both are remnants, and both were gifted to me by my neighbour Helen.
My next step was to go through my pile of pattern magazines and find suitable patterns for them both, and I ended up with:read more >>
I didn’t get much sewing done this weekend, but I did catch up on photoshoots for my finished garments from last week, at least. First up is an A-ine, faux-wrap jeanskirt from KnipMode March 09 issue, #12:
It features the very last of my super heavyweight Levis denim that also bore the Thames jeans and the recent KnipMode boyfriend jeans. And stylistically, it’s also got a similar idea, if not construction, to the KnipMode kilt-styled jeanskirt I made a few years ago.read more >>
And now, the finale in my tweed and satin three piece suit, the flirty kick skirt, BWOF 08/2006 #103! Yes, it’s all business in the front, and sex appeal in the back with those curvy seams and slim pencil stylings…
The back view is where the fun starts!read more >>
My tweed and satin three piece suit is finally finished! One day for the construction, and a week to get around to do the hand sewing! Here’s a taste…
More on the individual components this week…
Read more about…
This has got to be the quickest ever turnaround for a fabric purchase. I bought a remnant of taupe big wale corduroy on Thursday at Goldhawk Road for a pound, sent it through the washer on Friday, hung it out to dry overnight on Friday, and had sewn it up into a new skirt by Saturday dinnertime! It didn’t even see my stash box!read more >>
It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had a pattern that just did not work for me at all, but strangely, I’ve just had two in a row that I’m giving up on entirely.
I fell in love with the chic styling of the Hot Patterns Monaco Top – the slit opening, the slim lines, the angular bib, the pieced bottom, and all sweetened by the cute gathered sleeves. At least, that’s what I thought the pattern was for…
I should have really listened to the earlier reviewer of this pattern (who also didn’t make it past the muslin stage) and just cut my $18.50 losses and run far, far away.read more >>
Phew! It’s been a very busy week, both in my sewing room and elsewhere on the boat. Parties, film nights, more deck grinding, music selection for a friend’s wedding, gardening, broken water pumps, gifts, muslins, and BIG shopping, but to name a few!
The deadline for the finished instructions and my bio for the “Pillowcase Challenge” book were also due this week, so I devoted a big chunk of Sunday to getting that perfect, and then the rest of the weekend was spent making a twin blue KnipMode shirt for my mom:read more >>
I’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!read more >>
I ponied up the $1.50 (76p) for BurdaStyle’s Alexis 7945 skirt on Monday. On Tuesday, I printed out all the sheets, taped them together, then trimmed them down to size 42. On Saturday I got out some offcuts of grey summer wool leftover from my Mouret Galaxy dress and some assorted bits of lining, and sewed it up right then and there.
And then on Sunday we dropped a fridge on my foot. Oww. So pardon the fact that I’m barefoot, but at least the X Rays say it’s not broken.read more >>
I started this kilt-inspired jeanskirt from the February 2007 issue of KnipMode magazine not really knowing how long it would take me to power through…read more >>
…it was just before closing time and there was some cute fabric I wanted to grab (and the boy wanted some pear cider from the Swedish shop) so I allowed myself to be dragged into the 9th circle of hell, just this once. Across the warehouse-wasteland expanse of the store, a bold red print called out to me. But on further inspection, the print belonged to just some pillowcases. How disappointing!
Or, what if I could somehow turn those pillowcases into something wonderful? It took an evening, but out of two pillowcases and a bit of bias binding, this skirt emerged (and because the pillowcases each had a zipper, I’ve got an extra now!):read more >>