Monthly Archives: June 2014

When Sewing and Thinking Don’t Collide…

Egged on my your kind comments I set out to make another version of the Malvarosa. I had a delightful, light aqua linen what would work beautifully and because it’s a really easy sew with essentially just a front and a back bodice piece with a gathered skirt added on, it can be sewn while thinking about other things.

Or so I thought…

Look what I made one step before the finish line:


Do you know what I did?
I sewed the right front side to the left side of the back bodice and the other way round. And I finished everything completely before even noticing!

Dear oh dear… Well, it’s all unpicked now and sewed up correctly now, so no real harm done. But still…

How about you: Have you made any sewing mistakes as stupid as that?




Pauline Alice: Marvelous Malvarosa

IMG_8534I’ve been away for a little while, walking the Alps, which gave lots of time to ponder my next sewing move and I settled for some inspiration from The Monthly Stitch’s Independent Sewing Month: the Malvarosa dress by Pauline Alice.

IMG_8525 I’ve already seen a few great versions around and although I have never tried the drop waist look before I thought I might give it a try now.

IMG_8526This version is made from some Ikea cotton and really is a wearable muslin for me to check out if this look is for me.

IMG_8527Look, the dress even has pocketses!

IMG_8529They are fully functional, even from the side!

I cut a size 40, following my waist measurement, this is also my standard RTW size. I think in this style I might have got away with a 38. But maybe I am just still a little unsure of the loose waist style and it is perfectly fine the way it is. Anyway, the width is easy to take in as the side seams are the last seams to be sewn.

IMG_8531I was surprised to see the dress come out as long as it did. I made the skirt 2cm longer than indicated, 42cm rather than 40 cm, but at 174cm I am quite tall. Normally I have to lengthen skirts by about 5cm  to make them similar to the look on the pattern. I if you are petite, you might definitely want to hunt down the tutorial about how to shorten the whole dress.

IMG_8536I really like the little sleeves. On the inside they are finished with facings. This works perfectly well, but I find that whenever I put on the dress I have to push them back inside, so on a second version I might just self line the whole bodice rather than using the facings. I would like to point out though that this my personal preference, once the facings are in place they will stay put so there is no need to fiddle with them once the dress is on.

IMG_8533After a little indecision when I first wore the dress I think I might make it again quite soon. I am thinking in mint coloured linen for the summer? Or the version with sleeves for the autumn in simple black? Or maybe a Hello Sailor version?

Would you?

Megan Nielsen: Tania Culottes

Probably everyone has made these already, but I guess I have never been an early adopter and so I’ve only now come round to making the Tania.



I don’t know that I can add anymore to the collected Tania wisdom,  but just for the record:

  • these are genius! They are really easy to sew and on a hot day they are heaven to wear.
  • yes, they do come very short. I cut a size M here but with the xl length and added another 5cm to the length and they still are really quite short.
  • On my the waistband comes up very snug (yes, I did measure myself correctly, in case you wonder). So next time I will make the L size.
  • I did not leave them to hang out over night, I hemmed them straight away and the hem is a little wonky as a result. But I was literally sewing them in my underpants waiting to be able to put them on. I’m sure you’ll agree that slightly wonky hems are better than me going outdoors in my underpants.

IMG_8249Look, the culottes have a nautical theme on them. There are boats going in and coming out of my crotch. Not sure what this means on a metaphorical level… Not sure I want to know 😉


IMG_8253And there are cheeky little sailors doing all sorts with their semaphore flags. I have no idea what they are saying, I just hope it’s all in good taste.


By Hand London Georgia: Again!


Following on from my slightly hysterical excitement about my first Georgia I suppose no-one is surprised I made another. In fact I had plans for months, but only got the right fabric a little while ago – which is as well because I can now enter this dress into the Indie Dress competition over at The Monthly Stitch.



I can’t say much more about the construction of the dress than I did last time. I sewed a size 10 grading out to a 12 from the waist straight from the envelope and the only change I made was lengthening the dress by about 5cm.

My husband even did some fancy stuff with the camera!


I just hope the nice weather is going to hold, because I feel with this dress, lots of al fresco cocktail sipping is in order!


So many things to sew, so little time to sew them!!

In an attempt to get my ever growing collection of Burdas under some semblance of control I have started to copy and archive the overview pages with the technical drawings of each edition. I have so far “done” about two years worth of Burdas.

And look what’s happened:

tmp_20140605_1658511586603209I put the pink post-its with every garment that I have definite plans for or that I have at least suitable fabric in my stash. At the top there are the post-its for different versions of button-down shirts that I want to make now I have button holes more or less under control.

I’m thrilled and depressed at the same time!

Thrilled because it seems I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of my Burda subscription

and thrilled because sewing is such a great and varied hobby

but depressed, because most of those post-its will never make it into garments, because I have neither the time nor the need for so many projects.

“First World Problems” my teenage daughter would add her refreshing perspective. ’nuff said, I suppose. But still…

Burdastyle 6/2014 #122: Northern Beach Dress

When leafing through the latest edition of Burdastyle I liked quite a few things, one of them being dress #122.


I don’t even really know what attracted my about this dress – certainly it was not the stance of the model nor her desperate attempt to hide the hemline of the dress with her handbag. I also did not think that yellow might be a good idea on my, I look like death warmed up in yellow and I have never had anything remotely similar to a shirt dress – but still: I saw, I bought, I sewed (as Ceasar said, didn’t he?)

IMG_8148I chose a combination of a navy linen for the solid section and a mid blue and light blue patterned cotton for the body.

IMG_8145In Germany we have a saying “someone looks like ordered but not collected” – that’s the picture to go with this saying.

IMG_8150I cut my usual size 40, but the dress is really quite loose. I did not even grade out to a 42 over the hips as I usually would and it still is plenty roomy. I never realised that from looking at the model picture, but in the end I decided I quite like the very relaxed vibe. It reminds me of a Northern beach, where you go for long walks in the sand and wind rather than sunbathing.

IMG_8159Here is was photobombed by a much more talented model than me. She did try to show me the correct model moves, but I remained a bit awkward.

In the German edition of Burdastyle, this dress is marked as a “Master Piece”. I’m not sure I would go as far as that, but it has some nice details:


The button placket is hidden – you don’t actually need the buttons as it has a side zip – which in turn you don’t need because it is loose enough to be just pulled on. But still: It’s my first proper shirt construction ever, I think I did quite well.

IMG_8172I used French seams where I could, so even the inside looks nice.

IMG_8176Also a first for me: a proper sleeve placket. The outside looks good.

IMG_8173The inside is a bit of a mess. The instructions were unfathomable to me – and I normally don’t have a problem with Burdastyle instructions, but these ones defeated me. I realised after the event that there are a lot of good tutorial around, so in future I will just follow those.

IMG_8140And finally my attempt at an artistic shot. I keep admiring the photographs from you girls from London or New York with your artistic cityscapes. Small town Germany is not quite the same thing, but maybe it’s the thought that counts?


McCall 6833/ Burdastyle 5/2014 # 104 Frankenpattern: The Summer Easter Dress

IMG_8069Disclaimer: It’s a long story!

It all started with my Easter dress which I loved so much I wanted to make it again as soon as possible. At my last visit to the fabric market I came across a lovely aqua cotton with large pink roses and I knew immediately it had to become the summer version of the Easter dress.
However (you felt the however coming on, didn’t you) the alterations to the bodice I made for the Easter dress didn’t work at all on this version and the bodice was a complete loss.
So I thought I could give the pointy boob bodice another try – but in spite of much thinking, redrawing of darts etc it still looked pointy. I think me and bust darts are just not a match made in heaven!
So finally, and only because I was really, REALLY determined I decided to convert the pointy darts into underbust gathers:

IMG_8074This has kinda worked – there is still some slight fullness where it doesn’t belong, but my husband assures me that it would be socially unacceptable to stare at my bust long enough to notice. So there!

You will also see that I added some elastic to the waistline to tighten it slightly. It was still gaping after a lot of minor tweaks and I simply lost patience. But I think I could untighten the elastic a little (it was sewn onto the seam allowance of the neckline), this way I would get less obvious gathering around the neckline. This might have to wait for another day, though…

IMG_8071So on this dress I used the front bodice of McCall 6833 and the back bodice and skirt  of Burdastyle 5/2014 #104 .


I didn’t attempt any pattern matching – it only occured to me that I could have once I looked at this photo. Oh well – there is always a next time.


I lined the bodice with pink linen from deep stash, the skirt is unlined, but the hem is finished with some lovely pink crochet lace and handstitched down.


Given that I only handstitch in an emergeny and that it took almost 4 metres of lace I feel pretty virtuous for having done this!



I made my usual just below the knee length, but I am almost wondering if this isn’t the most flattering length. It hits my leg right at the top of my calves, I almost wonder if it wouldn’t look better if it was a little bit shorter and end on or just above the knee-cap. I am just a little traumatised by the idea of Bavarian teenage girls wearing their mini-dirndls, so maybe I have erred on the side of caution a little too much here.



IMG_8080So that’s another dress done and dusted – as the June edition of Burdastyle arrived recently,  I already have plans for the next one…

What’s on your sewing table at the moment? Any exciting things?