Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ready for Frocktober: Dress with Pleated Neckline

I made it! It’s half past nine on the 31st of October and at the eleventh hour I am able to show you the second dress which I made for Frocktober. Again, only with dressfrom pictures – my husband is away and the attempt to make a 10 year old my photographer was aborted at an early stage ;-).


The dress is a Burda pattern a few years back and is originally sleeveless. Personally I don’t subscribe to the  “You can wear any dress in winter, just wear a cardigan over it”-school of thought, so I decided to put some sleeves on. I simply added sleeves from another pattern that seemed to have the same arm scythe dimensions as the dress.


There was a lot of umming and aaaing about whether to line or underline the dress. In the end I underlined it, because I did not have a separate pattern piece for the front bodice and I did not want the pleats of the lining gape out at the front neckline. I underline it with – something slippery from the stash. I have no idea about fabric composition – in fact the fabric was originally bought to line curtains, but I think it has worked out decently in this project.


I love the pleats on the neckline:


Without the gratuitously placed corsages:


But I am afraid the dress looks rather better on the dressform than it does on me. Somehow the neckline seems to come a lot higher on me than it appears on the dressfrom, so this is something I might need to change.

I won’t even begin to apologize for the shoddy state of my ironing – if you have read my blog before you will know that if I have any talents then ironing is not one of them. But the fabric does crease horribly – just saying.


So this is the first project made from my massive fabric haul earlier in the month. You see, I am being good, I don’t just shop, I also use up my purchases. I think that gives me full licence to go back the the lovely and oh so soft knit I saw in the shop the other day 😉 ! Although I really like the fabric for this dress it has to be said it is very subdued, especially if you wear it head to (almost) toe. So to make up for this I have started work on a bright orange skirt – we are talking hi-vis bright orange here! It’s all about the contrast, don’t you think?


Prepping my Chiffons

I give you my latest sewing accessory:


No, I am not sewing with cake (not even using a Cake pattern ;-)), nor am I eating cakes whilst sewing (although that sounds like a thoroughly commendable if a little messy option). No, I am going baby steps towards sewing the chiffons that have been in my stash for some time and that I have always been to scared to sew.

Ever since Sewbusylizzy wrote about taming the fabric beast with the use of some gelatine I have wanted to bathe my chiffons in diluted gelatine. Then life happened, but now I have finally done it:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAApparently, the gelatine makes the fabrics less slippery, easier to cut, less frayable (is that even a word?) and generally better behaved. I just hope it works, because my last attempt at sewing chiffon many years ago ended in tears and tantrums.


At least I am going some way towards sewing a season-appropriate wardrobe – see how well I am coordinating my fabrics with the surrounding environment. Now you see them, now you don’t ;-).

One thing I have been wondering about: What happens if I don’t manage to complete these projects soon? Can I put the gelatined fabrics back in my stash? Or will the gelatine somehow “go off” and so I have to wash it out of any unused fabrics? Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated!

Why Bust A Stash, When You Can Build One?

Stash busting is a very commendable enterprise! There are whole contests out there about who reduces their stash the most. But one the other hand that means no fabric shopping. I mean, NO MORE FABRIC SHOPPING!!! So that’s where I fall off the band waggon of stash busting. I love fabric shopping – and I think my stash is in no way big enough! There are even fabrics which I’m sure I don’t have!

You can see I am working up to a confession… Yes, I went to the fabric market in Fürth, which takes place twice a year and is the largest in my region, again. And when I say I went, I did really go!


Foto0923This is after about an hour. The trolley was already filled at this point.

So what did I get?

Foto0924All useful stuff, don’t you think? A new cutting mat, lots of serger thread for increased efficiency, assorted notions – not an indulgence in sight!

Foto0925Orange and navy wool cloth – you can’t go wrong with orange and navy wool, don’t you think? Especially not at 4 € a metre. And the black and grey satin I needed because it is Frocktober and I need to make a dress! And cream lining – everybody needs cream lining in their lives!

Foto0926Some quilt fabrics. Now, with a couple of babies in my life (not of my making I hasten to add) I clearly need quilt fabrics, that goes without saying.

Foto0929A couple of metres of printed knits – ok, around 20 metres. Well, I might have got carried away slightly on the laser prints, I have to agree. But then they are all so colourful…

Foto0930The “I really don’t need this but I have fallen in love with it” purchase: Butterfly upholstery fabric. I might make this into a statement A line skirt – do you think the statement I am making might be “I am mad?”. Alternatively maybe a bag?

Foto0931So this just about sums it up: a few hours very enjoyably spent!

Do you ever go (slightly) overboard when fabric shopping? Or do you shop what you need when you need it?

Tearing My Hair Out: My First PDF Pattern

It all starts quite innocently: I want to sew a pair of jeans. I always thought that jeans are not for the home sewist, but I have seen so many great results amongst your blogs that I thought I should give it a try. Now if you look at my blog you will realise that I sew exclusively from Burda sewing magazines. I am a subscriber and have around three years’ worth of subscriptions and quite a few back issues at home – so finding a pattern for the jeans should not be a problem. I thought.
Because I realised that in all the issues that I have there is not a single 5-pocket back yoke jeans pattern that is not petite or plus size. Can you believe that? There must be hundreds of patterns but not one jeans pattern! Not one!
But not to worry, I thought, pdf patterns is the answer. I surfed around a little and read good things about this pattern. It’s a Burda pattern again, from an issue that I don’t own and because Burda trousers fit me quite well I thought going for this might be good. No experiments with jeans, ey?!  It was bought and printed quickly – and now I have been cutting and glueing for about an hour!

Without any doubt this has been the most annoying sewing related task I have done in a long time (and that includes ripping the quilting out of half a full size quilt!). Tracing the patterns from the most convoluted Burda pattern sheet would have been accomplished in half the time – and I have not even cut the pattern pieces yet, I have only glued the sheets together.

So I wonder: How do you stand it? So many of you seem to be really into online patterns – is there a secret? Am I doing this wrong? Or is just me? Is my tolerance for papercraft unusually low?

Peter Pan Collar: Yay or Nay?

I finally managed to get some pictures of the Peter Pan dress in the flesh as it were.

Please excuse the creases and crinkles! I asked my husband whether there were any creases and he said it was “absolutely fine”. Well…


I think I might have to make the whole dress a little bit tighter in order to avoid the creases in the upper back.


But most importantly: What do you think of the Peter Pan collar on me? Before my recent sewing activities I would have never even considered that the words me and Peter Pan collar could be mentioned in same sentence, let alone in one outfit.


So should I take it off again? The dress is as yet unlined and if I line it I have to take the facing off anyway. Taking off the collar wouldn’t be a big deal then.

Or do I leave it where it is and go for the “a little bit different look”?

Any thought and opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Burda Easy Fashion A/W 2013: Dress with the Peter Pan Collar

This is the third garment I have made from the current issue of Burda Easy Fashion – given that there are only 6 patterns in the magazine I definitely think I got my money’s worth!

I decided to make the colour block dress:

3C HW13 B

Thanks to my ever growing stash (no stash busting for me!) I did not have to look long for suitable fabric and came up with this:


I sewed the pattern without alterations apart from the length and I used the 3/4 sleeve option.


The pattern came together without problem. I used the pinless sewing method from the Craftsy course and so the body was finished after a couple of hours.

IMG_5050I am even happy with the way the zip went in.

IMG_5051I quite like the colour block effect. It looks as if it pulls in this picture, but it really doesn’t. I did not even notice it before taking the picture. I topstitched along the seam lines of the bodice.

One thing I am not sure about is the Peter Pan collar. I absolutely fell in love with it on the model and I like the look of it on my version. I even like the contrast of the masculine colours and the girly collar.


I am just not sure it is quite me… I don’t have any pictures of me in the dress as yet – my husband takes my pictures and with the days getting shorter we have not had a chance to take one during daylight hours. But as soon as I have pictures I will ask your good selves for opinions: Peter Pan collar yah or nay.

Almost an Epiphany: Sewing with a Twin Needle

I really thought I had cracked it! As promised I put my October resolution into practiced an sat down with my sewing machine, a brand new twin needle


and my most concentrated teacher face (no picture of said face – there is a limit to what is bearable!) to learn once and for all how to sew with a twin needle. I mean, it can hardly be that difficult, can it??!!!

Everything started off encouragingly! I realised that, in contrast to what works for many sewists in blogland I had to turn the tension right up rather than down.

Here is a sample sewn at a tension of 2: Hardly a zig-zag on the reverse side.


Now tension setting 3:

IMG_5058Bit better already. Now 4.5:

IMG_5061You can already see the zig-zag emerging on the left side.

Now 5:

IMG_5062Yep, I realise I should have used contrast thread for these shots. Live and learn, ey!

Anyway, I decided I was happy with this setting. The highest tension setting on my sewing machine is 6, so I thought 5 would be fine.

So I went to make a trial piece, a simple top from an older issue of BurdaStyle. I used plain white cotton knit and the serger for all seams and the twin needle for the finishing.

Everything went without a hitch and the topstitching worked perfectly:

IMG_5063But oops, can you see what I see? Some gapeage at the collar bone? No surprise really, I usually get this for this type of top (I think it wants a little more vavavoom) – I should have known! But I was so engrossed in my twin needle taming that I did not even think to try the top on before topstitching.

So how much excess is there?

IMG_5065Not really  a lot, making the front of the raglan seems a little tighter should no the trick. So out came the seam ripper and I opened up my lovely topstitching again.

IMG_5066Ahhh, that’s much more like it!

So, that’s looking good, I hear you ask, why did you call this post “Almost an epiphany”?

Well… Buoyed by my success I started the next knit top – on the same day – with unchanged settings on the machine – using a viscose jersey that seemed to have the same weight and hand as the cotton jersey used in this top – and the topstitching went all over the place!!! There were lots of skipped stitches AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY!! Isn’t that so infuriating?

Is that normal? Am I mad? What do you do to make the twin needle work for you?