Monthly Archives: January 2014

US Fabric and Pattern Online Shopping: Any Tips?

Unfortunately it’s not me who’s going to travel to the States soon, it’s my husband, and he’ll only go for work. However, that gives me the chance to do a spot of online shopping in the US.
Normally the cost of shipping and customs is so high that US shopping makes no sense for me, but now that I have a chance to have stuff shipped to my husband’s hotel in Vegas and have him bring it over, it seems a much more attractive idea.
Which brings me to my questions:

  • Do you have any tips for me as to good quality/value online shops? I’m looking for good quality natural fibre fabric, but because I will have to make a choice only based on a web picture I will probably go for classics rather than anything “out there”.
  • Where would I go to buy patterns?
  • Any good sales etc that I should know of (hubby will fly out end of Feb)?
  • Any brilliant places to go for quilting fabrics?
  • How do I make my husband to save all his luggage space for my shopping?

As ever: Thanks so much for you advice! I really appreciate it!


Burdastyle 12/2013 # 105: The First Long Then Short Blazer

When I started making #105 out of the December issue of Burdastyle I fully intended to make it a long and oversized blazer as in the magazine:


But when I first tried it on half way through the making process I didn’t like the length at all, I felt swamped and not stylish at all. What is more, my daughter hated, just HATED it. So who am I to wear a blazer that my 14 year old hates?

So it got chopped off:

IMG_6682aaah, much better already! The double welt pockets are in the wrong place now, they should really sit a bit higher up now, but I am happy to live with this. I will, however, amend the pocket placement on the next version.

IMG_6684I think it looks much better cropped like this, a bit closer to the By Hand London Victoria blazer, which I think is fabulously stylish.



I added cream lining, just because I could 🙂


The blazer is meant to have a hook and eye closure, but I only had silver ones in my stash, when I wanted black. So I left off the closure for now – I doubt I am going to wear this closed much anyway:

IMG_6691But that’s what it would look like.

During assembly I used a new technique for setting in the sleeve: Rather than gathering the sleeve before setting it in, you sew a stripe of bias tape to the seam allowance, stretching slightly as you sew. This slightly gathers the sleeve and gives you a sleeve head at the same time.

I half – followed this tutorial from Lolitapatterns. The tutorial calls for the use of tie interfacing for the bias strip, but somehow my husband was not amenable. He said, he wanted to keep all his ties. Shocking lack of cooperation, don’t you think?


I must admit I didn’t fall in love with the technique on my first attempt. Maybe I did not stretch the bias tape enough, or maybe it was too stiff because I used the fashion fabric rather than a thinner material, but anyway I did not manage to get the sleeve in without a few tucks and creases:


So a little bit of ripping and re-sewing was in order, nothing drastic, but I need to experiment with this method a little more.

Overall the blazer is a really nice pattern which I am sure I’m going to use again. In fact I already have tentative plan for a spring version using some IKEA fabric.

How about you: Have your thoughts turned to spring sewing yet? Or autumn sewing, as the case may be?

Burdastyle 9/2013 # 103: Early Indications Show This Could be a Winner


Like some sewists out there I hear voices. Not all the time, but I do hear them when out fabric shopping. “Look at me, look at me”, I hear fabrics calling. “Don’t buy her, buy me – who knows what wonderful things you could make me into”, fabrics call out enticingly, waving their fold at me shamelessly.

So far, so normal, at least for me. But the other day, something unusual happened: A fabric bewitched me by not only telling me to buy it, but also by demanding which pattern to use! Yep, I walked past a bolt of powder pink wool coating with not a thought in the world, because actually I was checking out a new delivery of linen silk blends, and it stopped me in my tracks telling me: “You will buy me and make me into a little spring jacket, you know the one you saw in a Burda magazine recently. Resistance is futile”.

So I took this as fate, went home, found the jacket the fabric wanted in last year’s September issue, checked for fabric requirements, went back to the shop the next day and now I am making a powder pink little spring jacket…
And while there was no powder pink little spring jacket anywhere even in the most tentative corners of my sewing plans, I love what is turning out!
The pattern the fabric chose this #103, a cropped jacket with a Peter Pan style collar:


In true Burda style you can’t see any of the design lines on the modelled version, but it’s actually very clever. The jacket has raglan sleeves, but they continue to the front and back forming a yoke.


I really have to praise Burda for this pattern: everything came together beautifully, all seems matched, the amount of easing between front and side pieces is perfect and although there was no hand holding with the instructions and I could not really visualize what they wanted me to do a few times I just did as they told me and it made sense in the end.

Here is the sleeve/yoke detail:



I have even remembered to cut the undercollar a little bit smaller so that the seam is not visible on the side:


Now I need to ponder which buttons to choose – unfortunately none of the buttons in my stash have spoken to me yet. Maybe I will have to take the coat to the shop and wait which buttons volunteer? Or should the ask the coat? It is the brains in this enterprise anyway.

Am I alone in this? Am I the only one who has her sewing choices dictated by fabric? Or do you have similar tales to tell?

Any Advice for the Georgia Novice?

20140123_103436 Look what’s kept me company during my coffee break this morning! Yes, it’s my copy of the By Hand London Georgia pattern which arrived in the post this morning! I’m so excited about this – my first ever independent pattern! So before I start on this project I wonder if those of you who are already proud wearers of the Georgia could give me some advice.

  1. I want to make version 2 (the one in the middle on the envelope – knee lenght and skinny straps). I am thinking a little black dress, maybe with the raspberry lining in the picture. Is that very naughty? And, more importantly, did you have issues with the lining gaping out? Because in that case I might play it safe and go for a boring black lining.
  2. Also, what are your experiences regarding sizing? I generally wear a UK size 12, but bust-wise I’m more a 10. Did you find the cups were drafted for the Big4-type B cup, or for a larger cup? In which case I might have to size down by quite a bit.
  3. And then the undergarment issue! Pushup bras are my friend (see point 2 🙂 ) Is the bra situation tricky with the bodice? It looks to me as if the straps are very far out on the shoulder – does that mean strapless bra or did you find ways of covering the bra straps?

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this! I truly have Georgia on my mind!

Making My Own Jeans: Two For the Price Of One

Just like for mad housewife Lisa, one of my Resewlutions for 2014 was to make my own jeans and I am glad to say it’s mission (partly) accomplished – not just once, but twice!

First up I sewed up my favourite TNT trouser pattern Burdastyle 11/12 #107. But to be honest they have a similar pattern in every other edition, so it was simply a case of which issue I had on hand when I decided to choose a simple trouser pattern.

IMG_6449I put some jeans style topstitching on the pockets.


I must admit would prefer the standard jeans style with a back yoke – somehow that anchors the pockets better. So I will not use this pattern again together with jeans elements such as topstitching.


And the front is plainer. I think I made a mistake is choosing a very stretchy stretch denim for this project, because the trousers really grew after a few hours’ wear, so now I have to rig them up with a belt and really they are too loose for jeans. On the other hand it can’t be that much of a problem, because I have worn and worn and worn these jeans, they are in almost constant rotation 🙂 .

After that I tried my hand on a proper jeans style pattern, Burdastyle 4/2010 #124




This pattern is meant to be for a stretch woven, but I used it with a very stable, very non-stretch corduroy. In order to make up for the lack of stretch I cut a size 42 rather than my normal 40. That kinda worked, but clearly is not an ideal solution. I had to take in the waist by quite a bit, but the top of thigh/saddleback area is still quite tight.



Now, the waist is still looser than I like and because there is a bit of pulling across the thigh, just underneath the zip they never sit as securely as I would like. I’m not so sure about the creases across the crotch: are they a sign of me having done something wrong? Or are they a design feature of jeans? My RTW jeans certainly have the same creases as a feature and so do my daughter’s.

Lessons learnt:

  • To be honest, sewing jeans was half as bad as I thought. In fact the only time I got slightly unnerved was when putting on the belt loops on pair 1. I broke three needles on the last loop. While technically I did not have any problems (apart from said belt loop) I found the fitting more difficult than with “normal” trousers. I think because jeans need to be tighter fitting mistakes show more clearly.
    What I want to try next is to cut my normal size 40 and make some extra room at the upper thigh area in the side and inseam. I also will try to scoop the crotch curve a bit more so I get a little more room in the back. I hope that in this way I will get the waist shape that fits and only add extra room where I need it. Do you think that will work? I have never actually adjusted a trouser pattern, so I am stumbling around in the dark here 😉
  • Also I need to pay closer attention to choosing the right fabric for the pattern. So if the pattern wants stretch fabric, I will use stretch fabric and no questions asked.

So altogether room for improvement, but a positive vibe. I have lots of denim fabrics in my stash, so the jeans sewing fairy has not seen the last of me.

Burdastyle 2/2014 #135: Drapey Top – or Muffin Top?

This is my first attempt at spring sewing and I chose this out of the latest issue of Burdastyle:

I was intrigued by the asymmetric drape – someone in blog land (I will update the link if I remember who…) called it “Burda’s answer to the drape drape books” – and I like the fact that it is something different while still being wearable. However I spotted one problem: the undraped side seam is very short indeed, if you look at the picture it hits the model just above the skirt waistband, right in muffin top territory (on me, not on the model, of course 🙂 ).

So I decided to lengthen the undraped side seam, but leave the draped side as is. First I slashed and spread the back:

IMG_6723To most of you this will not be exciting, but for me it’s the first time I have ever used the slash and spread method for adapting a pattern and I just played it by ear. I added 5cm to the side seam:


and then taped everything together again:


My husband even made a “Making of” picture…


The front piece is very asymmetric, Kathy has provided the perfect guide to making sense of it all.

Again I slashed and spread the shorter side – first the before picture:


IMG_67295cm more length to the seam

IMG_6730This made a crease appear in the middle of front bottom seam which I just folded out and retaped:


The pattern came together no problem, so at least I didn’t make a mistake with the adaptation.

So this is it:

IMG_6736As you can see it is still really short on the undraped side! Also the neckline is a little lower than I’d like, but I guess that is Burdastyle for you.

Readers of a sensitive disposition please look away now: I am wearing zero make-up – and I should have… But it’s all about honesty here, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?



I still have to get my head around the draped side but I think it  quite like it.

The short side looks fine when I stay still:

IMG_6740But when I don’t – and I rarely do – this happens:

IMG_6742Ooops, muffin top alert!!! I can just picture myself at work in front of a class of  20 year olds flashing my tummy – not! So this will definitely be worn with a cami underneath – but given the sheerness of the fabric that is no bad thing anyway.

So final thoughts on this pattern:

hmm, still not sure. In some way I really like it, and the drape even swishes when worn, so that must be a good thing.

It’s quite cleverly drafted and making it up is really easy – just one seam for the drape and then you just have a standard raglan construction.

This version was meant to be a muslin. The jersey is gorgeous, but I think the colour does not do me any favours, even discounting the no makeup issue. But should I make up a real version? What do you think?

Georgia on my mind…

Look, look, look:

bhlI did it! I finally purchased my copy of the By Hand London Georgia dress! My first ever independent pattern! I was umming and aahing about this ever since Georgia appeared in November and when Lizzy showed us her version I knew I had fallen in love and it was only my stack of Burdas with shouts and screams of “Make me, make me” stopping me. But today I saw Oona in her swishing Georgia and well, what can a girl do… Resistance is futile!

So now for the Georgia sew along which starts later this month. Is any of you taking part in this?