Monthly Archives: February 2014

Miss Bossy, are you skirting the issue?

Maybe you know that over at The MOnthly Stitch we get a new sewing challenge every months. In March we are to make a pattern that has been in our stash for a while but has never been made – but to make things a little more interesting we have you decide which pattern we get to make. After February, which was Pants Month, I thought I might make March Skirt Month, so I would like to propose three skirts patterns:

1. Burdastyle 2/2014 #106 and pastelly lemon coloured wool


I like the skirt for the pleated detail around the waist – unfortunately the magazine pictures doesn’t even show the unique selling point of this skirt. Burdastyle layouters, what’s up with you?
The picture doesn’t do the fabric justice: it is a very light pastel lemon colour which I originally wanted to make into a blazer. But because it makes me very washed out right next to my face I think it might work better as a skirt.


2. Burdastyle 2/2014 # 109 with strawberry denim

This is basically the long version of the Moss mini skirt, just a simple straight jeans-style skirt. I think it would be very versatile and could be made up in different length, although for Miss Bossy I would make the just above the knee-length like on the picture:

IMG_685020140102_152423I would pair this with my most favourite fabric at the moment, strawberry on white stretch denim.

3. Burdastyle 3/2014 117 #  with crazy triangle Ikea fabric

IMG_6815This still has the front zip and button closure but is pleated at the front for a more elegant look:


While elegance is great, my result might be more mad than great, because I plan to use this fabric from Ikea’s home section:


So Miss Bossy, what’s it to be:

I’ve tried my best with the poll, but if it doesn’t work for you for some reason, please just give your vote in the comments and I will add it to the end result. The poll is open for one week, until 1 March.


Update: Progress on the Jeans Front

First of all, can I thank all of you for your excellent advice regarding my Big 4 pattern question. I have taken it all on board and have researched my favourite patterns on Pattern review, so now I come primed with a list of interesting patterns to order while my husband is the States. You are the best!

“Progress, not perfection” is our mantra over at The Monthly Stitch where February is the months to tackle pants. This gave me the chance to work on version 2 of my jeans (version 1 is here). I tried to tweak the fit, with mixed results.
Anyway, today I am wearing version 2 for the first time:


IMG_6837I made these from a very light grey denim, too light for the still cold weather, but I can feel spring around the corner so I’m happy to put up with a few shivers.


Even my husband was worried about the gratuitous display of VPL – and he does not even know what VPL is! Sorry about that, styling is not my strong side, I know…

Now for the science bit: construction v. finished result:

IMG_6828IMG_6843I was able to remove a little of the extra fabric at the crotch by deepening the crotch curve slightly, but this was far as I was able to get.


I took a lot of width out of the leg, both on the inseam and on the outside seam. In fact, all the extra room I had added to the inseam in order to accommodate my full thighs was taken out again, and maybe even a bit more. I did keep a little extra at the top of the thigh in the outside seam (around where the V of the pockets ends). There is still a little something strange going on across the seat, but I have a feeling this will stretch itself out with wear, it already seems a bit better than when I made these photos this morning.IMG_6842


Not much as changed here, only the leg is slimmer.

Many of you commented that you thought version 1 fit just fine and did not need changing.


Looking at the comparison pictures I have to agree – version 1 actually looks better than version 2 with the fit changes, but I think that is mainly because version 1 is so very, VERY tight that no wrinkles have a chance of appearing. Also I realise with a degree of shock how much more forgiving the thicker, darker corduroy of version 1 is in comparison to the very light denim of version 2. I guess that’s why people wear black… Unfortunately (for your eyes at least 😉 ) I can’t be bothered with my looks beyond a certain degree, so that’s why you are getting the “warts and all” VPL pictures.

So for the summary:

  • fit wise I don’t really know what I am doing. Most of the changes I undid again when making up the final version, especially as far as the width is concerned.
  • One adjustment that is probably not even visible but that feels an unqualified success is adding a 2,5cm wedge to the seat. It makes the waistband come up a bit higher in the back without having to make the trousers high-waisted and it fits a lot more snuggly and feels MUCH better. In version 1 I often had the feeling I am loosing my trousers, just because the waistband sat on the seat rather than closer to the waist. So I will definitely be making this adjustment in the future.
  • I think I will continue to cut a size 42 and then take the seams in as required. In this case I could have cut a 40, given all the width I took out, but it makes for much more relaxes sewing to know I have some wiggle room.
  • I have now come to a stage where I feel confident about all parts of the construction and sewing trousers is a joy rather than a slightly scary thing. And that is something that pleases me most of all! So I am happy to end this post on a positive note!

Progress on the Jeans Front?

February is Smarty Pants Months over at the Monthly Stitch and I have been busy trying to improve my jeans fit.

Over Christmas I made my first pair of jeans and I had ended up with this:IMG_6718


There weren’t any major fitting problems, but I still tried to improve on version on. I took loads of measurements, looked at a number of fitting books and websites, got a lot of advice from fellow bloggers about fitting and arrived at the conclusion that I should alter the pattern for full thighs and a protruding seat (I wish they could think of nicer terms…).

So I did the following:

  • add a wedge of 2.5cm in the back crotch via slash and spread to accommodate the protruding seat
  • take out a wedge of 2cm in the front crotch correspondingly
  • add a 1cm wedge to the back inseam to accommodate the full thighs
  • add a little to the thigh line of the outside seam, as with my pear shape my biggest measurement isn’t actually around the hip bone but around the top of the thigh

This is what I got (first fix after basting all seams):



IMG_6831To me, real life looked a lot better than in those pictures. Sad case of wishful thinking? To be honest, I don’t think I have improved anything!

  • Clearly I need to take in the outside seam a little more.The leg is too wide, even though I am going for straight rather than skinny.
  • The crotch isn’t any better, I think I might have added a little too much to the backside, but that should be easy to fix by taking in the seam any more.
  • Those wrinkles under the seat really annoy me, but I have no idea to get rid of them and my fitting books are quite shaky on this issue.
  • The front crotch still has me puzzled. There still is a little too much fabric, so I wonder whether I have to shorten the front crotch more or whether the thighs need more room and that’s what’s causing the ripples in the crotch.

In future I almost think I might continue sew the patterns without alterations other than lengthening the leg. While clearly it’s not perfect it’s as least as good as the efforts of my alterations…

What to look out for in Big 4 patterns?

I have mentioned before that I will have a chance at some US fabric and pattern shopping, because my husband will be travelling to the States shortly and will be able to bring me stuff (normally, shipping and customs costs make it uneconomical to order from the US).

Many of you gave me tips re: fabric shopping – thanks so much! I have well-filled “Maybe later” lists with a couple of online shops now 🙂 .

So now I have been going through Big 4 pattern selections online and have a few things lined up I am thinking of buying. However, I have never used a Big 4 pattern, so I wonder if you have any advice or considerations for me.

I have heard that

  1. Big 4 patterns run large/very large. Is that true? I am shaky with the whole inch thing anyway, wrecking my brain to work out what 5/8 actually means etc, so if in addition to that the patterns run larger than expected I’m in trouble.
  2. Big 4 patterns are cut with a straight, relatively broad body shape in mind.
  3. they all include seam allowances, don’t they? Is there a standard seam allowance or is it likely change between patters or companies?

My comparison point is Burda patterns, just because that’s what I have experience with – do you think I need to look at Big 4 patterns with different eyes?

And finally: Any ideas and recommendations for good patterns? Some of those fashion photos on the Big 4 websites are so off-puttingly old-fashioned that I find it hard to look beyond them at the pattern as such. So are there any gems hidden underneath the pictures?

As always: I am grateful for any advice. Sound off in the comments!

By Hand London: Georgia Finished!

If you have read a few posts in this blog you will have realised that I get excited quite easily, maybe a bit too easily. Usually, the excitement wears off after a while – but not so with the Georgia, I absolutely love, love, LOVE it!

The By Hand London girls are doing a sewalong at the moment, so there is no need to give any construction details here, so tadaaa: the photos.



I am not usually confident with bust-hugging dresses – I feel I lack the vavavoom to pull them off. But a quick check confirmed that the girls are still there:

IMG_6806Phew, thank God for that!


A few thoughts about the dress:

  • I made up the bodice in a 10 (my measurements put me in a 12, but that would have been the first time I could fill a 12 😉 ) and graded the skirt out to a 14, again as per my measurements. The skirt is quite loose now, so next time I would probably only grade to a 12. I still might take it in a little bit, but it is actually quite comfortable as loose as it is.
  • I added about 5cm to the knee length as I did not know what height the pattern is drafted for. I think I could lose those 5cm again, but I will wait to make up my mind when I have worn it a few times.
  • Obviously, the best thing about the dress is the bodice, but in fact the thing I like best are the straps. They are just the right compromise between skinny and supportive and they give complete bra strap coverage with out the  need for any speciality undergarment, a definite plus I think.
  • Another version in a light denim is already in my queue – can’t wait for weather that actually makes it appropriate to wear it.
  • I’m already imagining other version: a longer babydoll version like on the BHL blog, maybe a version with godets between the skirt seams to make the bottom wider, in a knee length or even a maxi? Or maybe the bodice until the waistline and then a gathered skirt? Or a tulip skirt? I think all of those would look great. And because the bodice comes together really quickly (there are only three parts and not darts or other fiddly bits) it is a really fun project.
  • I added ready-made piping to the straps and bustline, which gives lots of scope for extra ideas:


So altogether the Georgia is a complete win for me. My first ever independent pattern (I’ve only ever used Burda otherwise) and I thoroughly recommend it to anybody.

So have you made a Georgia? Or are you planning to?

A quick review of Burdastyle 3/2014

I am still too excited to write a post about the Georgia dress that could be in any way intelligible, so in the meantime I thought I post a quick review of the latest issue of Burdastyle, which arrived in my letterbox today, one day ahead of the official publication date here in Germany. So you might well hear it from me first 😉 .
There are quite a few nice patterns in there, have a look at this:
# 108


I really like this, it looks like separates on the front but is a dress in the back. Adds an extra little something to a simple shift dress, I guess this could look intriguing as a colour block dress. They made it up as a simple wedding dress too.

#101, 102, 103

IMG_6812IMG_6824This is right up my street, especially this boucle version! They have three different lengths, two blazers and a coat which actually looks really nice in the magazine as well.

# 120

IMG_6816IMG_6820This  I am properly excited about! I love the wrap style top and the pencil skirt, I think this could look really good, even in a solid. I am not so sure about the pleated sleeves, I think making up these pleats is an accident waiting to happen, but the pleat detail could easily be folded out. I’m not sure I need a dress like this in my life, but the pattern certainly gets a lot of love from me.

#117IMG_6815IMG_6821A great basic, I think. I like the pleated front on simple pencil skirt, makes them a bit more every-day-wearable than a very tight pencil skirt. Also the just below the knee-length is my favourite length, so I wouldn’t put it past me to make this very soon.



I kinda like the line drawing of this, a simple dress with a little bit of interest. The made up dress does not tell you anything because the fabric is so busy – please, Burda people, let us see what those garments actually look like!! I am on the fence re the elasticated waist, so I am not sure whether this might be an actual option.


IMG_6814Some simple track suit bottoms (which, ridiculously, they style for three different looks in the magazine! What silly kind of idea is that?) But I need new track suit bottoms (of sporty purposes rather than fashion apparel, I hasten to add, so this pattern comes in handy.

There are another few good patterns in there, for example some properly skin-tight skinny jeans which my daughter made nice sounds about, but LOOK AT THIS: This has me make all sorts of undignified squeaking and squealing noises every time I look at it:


Crochet bunnies!! The pink one is full child size!! And aren’t I in luck: I am a new aunt, so I WILL crochet a bunny! Not the full size one, my niece’s mum would kill me, but the little one is darling, don’t you think?

So what do you think? Have you seen anything that interests you in these pictures or anywhere else? Do tell!

Burdastyle 9/2013 #103 : Don’t Tell the Sewing Police

Pssst, don’t tell anybody!! I only went and machine washed my dry clean only 100% wool fabric – after it had been made into a garment with all the interfacing and everything. And psssssst again: it went absolutely fine.

IMG_6793And I even dared to wear this out to a dinner date my husband took me out to. Believe me, after 17 years of marriage and three kids there haven’t been too many of these over the last few years. So of course I needed new clothes – obviously!

The jacket is Burdastyle 9/2013 #103, made from the fabric that spoke to me in the shop.

P1070887IMG_6804Look, it’s got self-covered buttons! I was prevaricating on the choice of buttons until Marianne set me straight and told me the fabric wanted self-covered buttons. And she was so right! So off I went and bought my first ever set of cover-your-own-buttons and I can fairly say I am hooked!

IMG_6803And the buttons do really work! 🙂

IMG_6801No buttons in the back, I am afraid.


I guess it’s not the kind of jacket that I would wear buttoned up a lot – it really isn’t all that warm anyway with the three-quarter sleeves, so it’s more like a blazer. Overall I really like the jacket, even though the thought of making it came out of the blue for me. If I made another one I might change the collar slightly – really want it to have a collar stand when it wants to be a Peter Pan collar, so to avoid that kind of schizophrenia I might add a more square collar next time.

IMG_6800I lined it with a turquoise paisley fabric that my daughter brought back from India last year. It is impossible to photograph (at least for me), but those paisleys have a metallic thread in them that exactly matches the hue of the wool fabric, so I am mighty proud of having such a copious stash.

And in case you were asking: yes, it is the Georgia dress, on the way to its first outing. More pictures really soon, just as soon as I can contain my excitement enough to actually writes a post that at least aspires to making sense 😉