Monthly Archives: March 2014

Burdastyle 2/2010 # 128: Another White Jacket

I’m not really quite sure why, but I made another white wool jacket. Earlier this year I made my winter trench coat jacket – my first foray into coat making. Then I got another cut of wool in  an absolute, incredible, mind-boggling bargain from (my husband’s American haul), but due to weight restrictions (and my stupidity in trying and failing to convert yards to metres – I know, it really isn’t hard at all) I only got 2 yards of the fabric. Note to self: 1.8 metres is not enough to make a full length coat!

So I make a blazer-type jacket. The pattern is Burdastyle 2/2010 #128.


IMG_7584The front looks a bit doubtful on this picture – I think it looks a lot better in real life. Hope it is the way I’m standing 😉 . Or have I sewed on those buttons at different heights and never noticed? Hmmm…

IMG_7592I can put my hands into the pockets, but they really they sit a bit too high up to do that comfortably. I did not even consider that when deciding on the pocket placement. In fact, I did not really decide either, I just placed them where the pattern wanted them. So maybe this is not a hands-in-pockets jacket.

IMG_7585It’s a very straightforward oversized/boyfriend type blazer cut. It has bust darts as its only shaping which I would not usually consider, but because I already have a white jacket I thought I might as well experiment with the looser cut that I don’t usually wear. I quite like it at the moment, but I keep looking for a belt to cinch it in. The looser cut is definitely something to try and get used to.

IMG_7591It’s lined with a light green lining and on this photo you can really see how thin the fashion fabric is. This makes the choice of making two white jackets a lot more sensible (or so I’m telling myself at least): the winter trench is for colder weather, this jacket is for cool but not cold weather. Not that this is much help to me at the moment (North American readers who have been suffering in what must the longest winter since the beginning of time, scroll down now in order not to get completely frustrated)…

Well, the coat is not much use to me at the moment, because the warmest winter ever has just given way to the loveliest and most consistent spring I remember and I don’t need a wool coat of any description any more. It’s very early autumn sewing, I suppose 🙂 .

The construction was very simple, but I made my own shoulder pads using this tutorial. I’d always thought this would be really complicated, but in fact it took about half an hour to make those shoulder pads from scratch and they sit much, much better than ready-made ones. So certainly for a coat or blazer I am going to continue making my own – the garment is a joy to put on now because the shoulder pads really mould to the garment and feel supportive but don’t get into the way.

How about you: Are you sewing season-appropriate garments at the moment? Or are you or have you ever been too early or late for the season with your projects?


Burdastyle 3/2013 #102 : My First Blazer

I started working on this pattern when it first came out last year – and it ended up in pure disaster due to a combination of poor choice of fabric, lack of skill and too much said&done-bravado.


So after sitting on the blazer naughty step for the best part of a year I tried again and made it through to the finish line this time:


I would only really wear a blazer to work (it’s not warm enough to be worn as a jacket unless it’s really warm, and then I kinda get … too warm to wear a jacket…), and because I like to avoid chalk stains at the bottoms of my sleeves when I work on the board in the classroom I often turn my sleeves up. So I thought it might be a fun idea to add contrast lining for the turn ups. I regret that choice a little bit now as I prefer the lining for the body, but it’s in and done now. I have however now changed the button to a simple blue button.


I used a wool mix twill which sewed up beautifully but it creases like a terrible thing. My rubbishness at pressing is well documented in so many photos on this blog, so having a creasy fabric is not a good thing for me…

IMG_6696Onwards and upwards – love that lining!

IMG_6704This is probably a bit silly, but I just love my labels, and this one got special treatment. So I can never wear this blazer buttoned anyway because I need to look at my label 🙂

IMG_6699Overall I am quite pleased with my first real blazer. I have worn it a few times now and I like it enough to think about making a summer version of the pattern. In fact I had the fabric waiting to be cut when April’s Burda threw this in the ring:

It is a little shorter than the version I made and the back has a split vent which I rather like, so I might make this one next.
IMG_6702In the meantime I am enjoying the beginning of spring – see, I got too hot for wearing a blazer already 🙂

London Fabric Shopping: Useful Advice?

Life is treating my kindly these days – I will have a chance to travel to London very shortly and while the main purpose of the trip is to show my daughter the delights of London together with a visit to the O2 to see the inimitable Miranda, rest assured that some fabric shopping will be done.
So this is where I would like to ask your advice: Where should I go?

So far I know of

Do you think there are any other/better places to go and visit?

There are a few restrictions:

  • I’m flying Ryan Air, so I can’t buy huge amounts
  • I don’t really need anything, strictly speaking, so I might want to “concentrate” on summer dress type fabrics
  • no long travelling as daughter will have to tag along – and you all know how strict she is with me. So were are looking at Central London shops I guess.
  • If I only have time for either the Goldhawk Road or Walthamstow Market, which one should I pick?

So if you know of any super special London fabric shops I would love to know!


Chris x

McCalls 6833 Wearable Muslin: Do My Boobs Look Pointy In This?

Remember I told you some time ago that my husband would do some sewing related shopping for me in the US. Well, he’s back and I have loads of new fabrics and also (due to the throes of indecision) the grand total of one new pattern: McCalls 6833.

Many of you were kind enough to give me some advice regarding Big 4 patterns as this is my first time of using one and the biggest point was that Big 4 patterns tend to come up rather large. Taking this to heart I took my measurements, ended up as a 14/16 up top and 16 for the waist and decided to cut the 14. I used a ponte knit just to be on the safe side in case the 14 would have been a little tight. Turns out I need not have worried, the 14 was plenty big enough – in fact too big around the bust by far, so I took it in back to what a 12 would have been.


I made view D, the version with short sleeves and the semi-fitted skirt.


Because this is a wearable muslin I left the collar off – it really is the feature that drew me to the dress in the first place, but I did not have a suitable contrasting fabric in my stash and figured I could wear the dress as is a few times just to see how I get on with it before I cut into the intended fashion fabric, a rather lush linen silk blend paisley jacquard. I did not line this muslin and only finished the edges by turning over and finishing with the coverstitch machine.




No peeps, I am not pregnant, not at my age! It must be the way I am standing. I will suck my tummy in next time I have my picture taken. I must have concentrated so much on pulling a face that tummy control went the way of all earthly things… 😉


All in all I’m happy enough with the dress, but not overwhelmed so far. The pattern did not cause any problems, the instructions were delightful I am sure – but as a committed Burda user I did not really look, the amount of pictures almost overwhelmed me. For my final version I think I might make the sleeves a touch longer and I am thinking of making the skirt a tulip shape rather than the half-and-half pencil style of the original.

I ended up with one problem, though: Pointy boob syndrome:


Somehow the placement of the dart is wrong, or the bodice is too large over the top of the bust or some such thing and I ended up with pointy darts.

What looks like a little problem on the picture (and certainly nobody commented on my pointy boobs when I wore the dress this week, and I spend my working day with 20 year olds who are VERY outspoken) seems like a problem of Himalayan proportions to me. I have to point out that the dart still has the size 14 position because I stupidly cut it open before checking for fit on the finished dress so I can’t change its placement anymore. For future versions I will use the size 12 placement of the dart and I also think I need to lower it a little as my boobs don’t seem to be quite as perky as the dart placement has them.

But does anybody have any advice as to what I could do to amend the problem on this muslin? I kinda tried to change the dart stitching line in a rather haphazard fashion, but none of that did anything to make things better. Any advice is – as always – greatly appreciated. And if you want to make any pointy boob related jokes in the comments, feel free as well 🙂

Burdastyle 2/2014 # 109: Strawberry Skirts Forever

Miss Bossy over at The Monthly Stitch told me to make this skirt in March – but she also added  that after I had finished my homework I might use my favourite fabric of the moment to make another skirt. And so I did!


Yes, it has strawberries all over! It might not be wise, but I love it.


I had originally thought to make a pencil skirt, but over since Burda came out with this denim style skirt I knew this was the one for the strawberries.

There is not much to say about the pattern, Burdastyle 2/2014 # 109:

It’s a straight forward jeans style skirt, Burdastyle has several length and I used the longest length, just above the knee (I achieved this by lengthening the standard pattern by 5cm, my usual “alteration”). I cut a size 40 and graded out to a size 42 over the hip and upper thigh area. It came together without any incidence and after all my good jeans sewing practice of the last few months I did not even have to look at the instructions. I made the waistband using pre-cut interfacing, do you know the stuff that has the seam allowance and centre seam already perforated? I have to say I was not thrilled with this. The interfacing would have resulted in a 5 cm high waistband that is very stiff and inflexible and I found this uncomfortable and just a bit out of proportion. So I just reduced the height to about 3cm and I am much happier with this. I still think I will cut my own interfacing in future, even for a straight waistband as I don’t like the stiffness of the pre-perforated stuff so much.

The sewing of this skirt turned out to be very timely as we have had an unusally early and warm beginning to spring and I was able to wear the skirt twice already!

Here is me looking into the middle distance, as suggested by my teenage daughter:

IMG_7479Well, what would she say about this picture? Something like “Stop trying mum”, I think. How about you? Are you a natural when it comes to having your pictures taken? Or is it only second to going to the dentist like it is for me?

Burdastyle 2/2014 #106 : The “Are You Happy, Miss Bossy” – Skirt


In the recent poll of The Monthly Stitch you voted for me to make the skirt with pleated waist detail, Burdastyle 2/2014 # 106. It was pretty clear from the start that the skirt would be the winner, so I cheated a little and started sewing it on the 28th of February :-).

So are you happy now, Miss Bossy?

Still being a bit shy…


Should I really show you from the front? Well, I better keep my new favourite jacket securely buttoned up…


I’m not drunk! I am just doing my Bavarian folk dance impression. Cue yodeling from the top of the hills 😉


But now seriously, where is that pleat detail?


O come on now, you tease. You are not Burdastyle, it’s not your job to HIDE the interesting design detail like they do in the magazine:


Well, yes, exactly my point! Now show us!

P1070980All right, there you have it. My daughter (who took these photos) said: “Oh, that’s very interesting around the waist. But, boy, it does make you look fat.” Nothing like a 14-year-old to tell it like it is, ey?

P1070979“But come on”, she helpfully added, “throw your jacket over you shoulder and try and look stylish.”  Yes Ma’am! You see, I have lots of practice being bossed around 🙂

The obligatory “Does my bum look big in this” shot:

P1070985Daughter’s unsolicited advice was: “Can you make your bum be less big now please”  I have nothing to add, apart from wondering where those bubbles around the zip come from. I think inspite of following my new mantra of “That’ll steam out” that I copied from lladybird, I might have steamed these bubbles IN as everything was perfectly flat and normal until I took to it with the steam iron. I am going to wash the skirt first and then see what happens. (Yes, you are right in assuming this might be another one of my mantras – this time all of my own making).

Bum questions aside the skirt was actually really easy to sew. The pleat detail is constructing by pleating a rectangular piece of fabric and then overlaying it onto the normal front yoke pieces, basting both together and then cutting the pleated piece the same size as the front yoke. So while this takes a little time it is really easy to do, no complicated moves at all. The rest is then just a front and back skirt piece, pleated and sewn to the front and back yoke.

I cut a size 42 rather than my usual size 40 because I had gained a little bit of weight and did not want to end up with too little at the top, but I think I should have make it a little tighter so it sits a little higher up on the waist. But again, I will reserve judgement until I have worn the skirt a few times.

One thing I found really hard was to find ways to style it. Wearing it with a blouse it looks a little too much like “on my way to church on a Sunday” (nothing wrong with that of course, but it’s just not my scene) and not enough like the fluid elegance of “The Great Gatsby” that I envisioned. And almost all of the tops I have are too long to show the pleating. So I ended up now in these photos with the only top I possess at the moment that kinda works. Just as well I sew, isn’t it?

How are your Miss Bossy projects coming on ?