Burdastyle 8/2016 #126: A Good Bye to Summer

Summer has been late around my parts, but it’s still continuing well into September. That’s why I’ve found the motivation to muslin camisole tops – I’ve some really nice silks waiting to be made into replacements for the rather ratty contents of my lingerie drawer and I really want to get this right, hence the muslin.

This is exhibit nr 1:


It’s Burdastyle 8/2016 # 126. I dug deep into my stash to find this yellow poly-something. I’d thought I’d never make something wearable out of it, both because of the colour and the sweatiness of the fabric – but in fact I now love my new top! It’s breezy enough not to stifle me and the colour goes a lot better with my (new) darker hair than with the previous lighter blonde. And the whole top is just frothy fun, imho.


The ruffle goes round all the way, but I could well image having it only at the front and catching it in the side seam, that would make it easier to layer for autumn.


And guess what: I can bend forward wearing this top! I just thought you need photographic evidence to believe something as incredible as that.

But there is something ENTIRELY incredible, and in fact shocking about this: The skirt, an RTW skirt that called me from its sale rack, has the most shocking lack of pattern matching! I didn’t realise when I bought it, because it was calling quite so loudly – but honestly, look at this:


We wouldn’t let have ourselves get away with this, would we?! Just goes to show that RTW (even nice RTW as this, the skirt wasn’t cheap at its original price!) isn’t all that perfect.

Another One for the Category “Stupidest Mistakes Ever”

Stupidest? Is that even a word? Does it have to be “most stupid”? Or can it be “stupidest”?

Grammar questions aside let me show you what I did:


There is my almost completed shirt. No, it’s not even the unbalanced button holes that I would regard as particularly stupid. But look what happened when I cut open the button holes using a brand new and unexpectedly shrap seam ripper:


Yep – I cut right trough the button hole!!! Duh – facepalm moment of the highest order. Made worse by the fact that this was the last task on this otherwise finished shirt.

So here I am, cutting another collarstand, counting my blessings that at least this happened on the collar and not on the main body of the skirt.

Sewing can be so annoying sometimes!!

Unfaithful to Sewing: Another Mosaic Table

We’ve finally started the summer holidays around my parts which finally gives me some time to potter about and concentrate on some creative pursuits. Normally, this would of course mean sewing, but right now we’re having an exchange student to stay and he feels a bit lonely if I don’t spend time with him, so hiding myself away in the sewing room is out of the question at the moment. So I decided that my patio table needed sprucing up and started making another mosaic table top (table 1 is here – I had pains in my elbow from using the tile cutter for about six months afterwards, so my turnover of mosaic tables is about 1 every three years.)

I started playing around with shapes:



I plan on having a marble border around the perimeter of the table:


The marble already comes glued to netting, so it’ll be a quick and easy job installing it. The only actual mosaic will be the inset. I’m hoping for two effects, apart from ease of installment: I think a whole table filled with a busy mosaic (which is the only kind of mosaic that seems to come from my fingers) is not going to be very restful to the eye, so I hope the border will tone this down. In addition, the ready made border is likely to be more level than my mosaic, so any plates will sit better on this border than on the inset. Plus I had the marble in my stash, back from my first mosaic phase, so that’ll finally have to go.


So the next thing is an explosion of my mosaic stash on the patio table. All meals to be taken indoors for the time being… I am fully able to chat along while working on the mosaic though.

IMG_3731For the first time I’m following the indirect method of laying a mosaic. This means (I might sound as if I know this, but in reality I read about this for the first time a few days ago) that the mosaic is first layed on paper face down, then it is installed on the final surface as the completed mosaic paperside up and then the paper removed, thus revealing a beautiful and smooth mosaic. So much for the theory – apparently, even the Romans used it.


Here you can see that the tiles are glued on face down. I’m using glass mosaic which has the advantage of being almost the same colour face up or face down. Ceramic tiles are white or brown on the bottom, so using the face down method you’d have no idea about your motive. I’m already finding it difficult with glas mosaic, because the bottom isn’t smooth and that changes the brightness of the colours and the overall effect, so I don’t know how proper mosaic artists do this working with ceramic tiles. I just hope it’s all gonna work out for the best.


I’m following the famous Said&Done No-Pattern-method. I just don’t have the skills to visualise and plan out an overall look first as a pattern, so I simply decided I would follow a loose flower meadow design and call this artistic­čśë

Let’s talk again when the whole thing is complete, ey?!



Tour of Ecuador: Fabrics in the Making

I recently went to Ecudador in order to visit Child 1, who spent an exchange year there. But as she decided that she didn’t really have a lot of time for mum (teenagers, ey?! Eye roll…) I went on a combined language course/trip through the Andes and I LOVED it!

I won’t bore you with my stories of the well trodden path of my journey through the Andes, but I went to a tour of a local weaving mill which might interest you.
It started off quite touristy, but when the owner realised I was really interested in their craft rather than seeing the tour as one step on the tourist trail she spent a lot of time with me explaining everything.

IMG_3211This is the llama wool fleece before it’s spun and the plants and berries they use for dying the fleece.

IMG_3212Natural dyes can be a bit gruesome I learned – one picks the fungus off the cactus in order to generate a dye, so an indigenous weaver can’t be too particular about yucky things.


The fleece has to be combed in order to clean and prepare it for spinning. It’s a process that is A LOT of work – so I completely understand why fine wool knitting yarn is so expensive.


I was particularly excited about seeing the looms in action.

This is the fabric she was producing:


The gap in the middle of the fabric between the blue and the beige part, is there on purpose: it helps the resulting ponchos to fold over on itself so it will drape around your body more easily.

IMG_3216This loom is used sitting on the floor. The lady told me that normally this job is only been done by men, but she’s a bit of a feminist, so she has learned the craft do (at least I think that what she said, my Spanish is improving, but it’s a process…)


Normally the weaver know the patterns by heart, especially as they produce traditional pattern over and over again. But this lady decided she wanted to preserve these patterns for her children and grandchildren and therefore she created these charts.


Of course I also went to the indigenous market in Otavalo, the village that is most popular for its Indian crafts


I did buy a few things there, but to be honest most of the fabrics and ponchos, sweaters and cardigans weren’t really to my taste. It’s all very traditional and really a little boring, for me at least. It’s such a shame, given that the crafts people are so talented and work so very hard.


I think if they updated their products a little they could make a fortune on the European or US market, but I also guess they don’t need to, they seem to be doing well enough as is.

This leg of the journey was really exciting: My Spanish teacher Vanessa took me to a local market. This one is not geared to tourists at all, so you really see Ecuatorian life as it is in the Andes.





If you are in the market for a llama …


or some sheep, you are in the right place.

If you don’t want to commit to buying a whole animal, you can buy fleece too:


Mind you, it still needs to be washed…


Alternatively you can buy almost anything else there. And yes, the red hair on the left hand side belongs to Child 1, there are no red haired Ecuatorians, at least not indigenous ones!

I was all excited about the food market as well:



Ecuatorians eat a lot of carbs, mainly in the form or rice, but they eat a lot of pulses as well. In the market you buy them by the pound.

Oh, and bananas! So many bananas!


In Cuenca I also went fabric shopping. I only bought a little bit, much of the fabric was a little too glitzy for my taste, or too sombre (a lot of dark wools)


Most of the prices weren’t great, I could probably get similar fabric at similar prices and Germany and of course a lot cheaper in the right places in the UK. And again, like in Barcelona there wasn’t much that struck my fancy.


Though if you like drama in a wedding dress you’ve come to the right place! Or indeed if you need golden tresses. I should have bought some in order to brighten up the Russian General Coat, but of course I only realised after I’d come back home.


All in all I can say that I loved Ecuador. It’s been my first time to South America and I was really nervous before going, but everybody was so nice and welcoming and I really hope to be back one day.


Well, I’ll leave you with the sight of my behind in the Andes – special treat, you know?!

And if you need to recover now, take heart from these wise words: “Refresh your day with a Pilsener in your hand!”



The one where I went to Barcelona and came back with no fabric

Well, that’s it, end of post.
Yes, I really did go to Barcelona (end of year school trip, me and 22 students, so don’t envy me too much­čśë ) and I really did buy no fabrics. I went to the huge and trusted Ribes y Casals in Carrer Roger de Lluria and spent a happy hour perusing the many many fabrics on offer, but nothing really struck my fancy – and I guess noone will be surprised if I tell you that I really, REALLY didn’t need anything.

So there – shortest post ever! But keep your eyes peeled for my next post with all my fabric-y exploits from my recent trip to Ecuador. There will be lamas and all!

I’m officially obsessed!

Living in Bavaria, every summer is dirndl season. Normally, I never wear my dirndl, with the exception of one time per year for our local town festival.

This was from two years ago:


So one would think that for one wear a year one dirndl would suffice.

You know where this goes, don’t you?

Avid readers of Burdastyle will know that every September they publish their dirndl edition (to coinicide with the Oktoberfest in Munich) and I’ve always wanted to sew (but not wear) one. And then came the Great British Sewing Bee’s International week and with it African wax prints. And I’ve always wanted to sew with African wax prints.

Well, I thought, couldn’t one sew a dirndl using a wax print? A quick poll of my family concluded unambiguously: NO, one couldn’t, what was I thinking??!!!

But guess what google says: It’s already been done! (Never mind all the waffle in German – look at those pictures!!!)

So needless to say, I’m now officially obsessed with sewing a wax print dirndl. So much so that I ordered some wax print already (oh, the choice!!! How can I possible chose??!!)

But chose I did and came up with this from Middlesex Textiles. So now for a pattern. Ironically, the only edition of Burdastyle since 2010 that I DON’T own is the one whose dirndl I like best (September 2015).

So I might have to buy this issue too – serves me right for daring to let my subscription lapse…

I hope this all comes together and I will have a dirndl-with-a-twist to show for all my obsession.

In the meantime and while I wait for my fabric order to arrive from the UK I’ll be keeping myself busy with sewing camis from the slipperiest silk ever, which I recently ordered from Ebay. Did I say I wasn’t going to buy that many fabrics anymore??

Well – obsession, ey?!



More Print Craziness – But Without a Peplum!

I’m so pleased to hear that many of you liked my bees-on-acid-garments. I’ve since gone further down the print-craziness route, but have diverted from Drugs Lane and am now firmly down Folksy Avenue.


Forgive the washed out pictures – I normally have all of two minutes for a “photoshoot” before my photographer gets bored and my facial expression too forced and painful for publication. Plus I have zero photo edit skillz, so keeping it very real is what you get…


This is the same pattern as the Bees on Acid Peplum jacket, but clearly without the peplum. I had every intention of sewing it with the peplum, as that was what had attracted me to the pattern in the first place, but somehow on this jacket it was just too much. So off went the peplum and I added a border to the bottom of the bodice. It’s a touch short for my liking, but that was the height of the border on the print.


You can see a little more detail her. The sleeves have turnups using the same bit of border. I quite like how the yellow line marks the end of the jacket almost like a piece of trim.

Of course, the fabric is the star in this jacket!┬á I bought it last year in spring from Butinette, a German craft store that you really wouldn’t look to for stylish fabrics, so this was more of a surprise find. I started a different project immediately, made several stupid cutting errors, because the print isn’t symmetrical across the grain and the border runs down the centre of the fabric, not down one side, and both portions on flowers on white background on either side of the border aren’t the same and aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh – you have to think around too many corners to get a regular print placement. Had to reorder fabric, could only get 1 more metre, got annoyed and everything landed in some forgotten corner of deep stash.

But in my recent print frenzy (shortly after firmly declaring that I prefer solids┬á – oh the irony!) I was reminded of the fabric and pulled it out again.


This time, too, I couldn’t get my head around the print placement, so it isn’t symmetrical across the front, but I don’t even notice that myself with all that is going on on this fabric.


I didn’t line the jacket as I want to be able to wear this now and I do get hot very easily. A lined jacket would end up in a crumpled mess in my handbag in no time. The side seams are just overlocked. I thought of binding them just like in the Bees on Acid Jacket, but then I felt that the one strip of binding around the front facing and the arm scythe seam is enough.


I have to say while I’m easily excited by new and shiny makes I REALLY love this jacket! I think this is one of those items that will stay in my wardrobe for a long time to come. That means a lot as I’m quite ruthless and not sentimental at all when it comes to parting with me-mades…

If you want to have a better look at this gorgeous fabric and a wonderful make (and A LOT better potography), go and have a look at Sea Of Teal’s make using the same fabric. Just wonderful, isn’t it?

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