Monthly Archives: July 2014

Burdastyle 7/2013 #130 and #105: The Barcelona Collection

Barcelona Collection – that sounds rather big, doesn’t it? Well, let me explain.
First of all I will be travelling to Barcelona soon, it’s our school’s end of year trip. So clearly I need new clothes to wear to a country where summer actually means – er – summer.

Secondly I recently found a piece of fabric again which I had “lost” in my stash for years. I first bought the fabric in – yes, you guessed it – Barcelona three years ago, made one sofa cushion with it and promptly lost the rest in the depth of my stash. I had been looking for it on several occasions and never found it, until I came across it the other day when looking for something unrelated.

And thirdly the stars all align for me in July, because The Monthly Stitch is having us sew only in black and white. I normally don’t wear a lot of either colour, but somehow this motto has opened up the floodgates for me and I have been raiding my stash and sewing like crazy.

So enough talking, what about the clothes?

Here we go:


Yes, you are right, I might have called this the “Summer for the Medical Profession” collection as well, but I think Barcelona Collection is much more evocative, don’t you agree?!


The shorts are Burdastyle 7/2013 # 105 – I made them twice last year and because I still have been reaching for them regularly this summer I decided to move a piece of white denim out of my stash that was too small for the jeans that I originally wanted to make.

But it is the top that I am most excited about. It is from the same edition of Burdastyle, 7/2013 #130.

IMG_8796I used a bit of linen leftover from my Barcelona dress for the front, and the eyelet fabric I bought in Barcelona and lost for the back and sleeves.


I shortened the original pattern for the top by 8cm and ended up with quite a boxy shape which is emphasised by the rather rigid lace – it really has no drape at all. I am not a great fan of boxyness normally, but on this I love it. It is kinda my version of this season’s cropped look that I normally am too self-conscious/wise/old for, but on this you only really get an occasional peek of tummy.

IMG_8787There’s me trying to be flirty – maybe it’s as well I don’t do this “look” very often 😉

I have to say that the top is very restrictive around the sleeves, so if I made this again I need to do something about this (I didn’t make a muslin… sorry, I almost never do. I know, bad Chris). But right now I think that when wearing shorts and white lace I might as well just lounge around trying to look decorative rather than moving around.

Oh, and yes, your eyes don’t deceive you, I made the shorts in black too. I have used the same pattern than for the white ones but did not do the turnups. No special reason, just because I could. And another 75cm of “I don’t know what to do with this black piece of I don’t know what” moved out of the stash – win win!


And for a bonus pattern I made up a little top, Burdastyle 7/2013 #104. Burda make it up with a sequined front (which is an inspired idea), but didn’t have sequins but a strange kind of special effects chiffon in my stash (which, just to keep the international angle, made its way from the States to me). It looks as if it were covered in feathers, so I call it my raven fabric.


My family laugh at me, but I think it’s a fun idea for a little summer top.


I assure you that I have not had any kind of alcoholic beverage yet, although the pictures suggests differently (it is the World Cup final as we speak, and while I am not a football fan normally we are watching this match, so there is some nervousness around) – maybe that’s me thinking about the Cava I might be having at the playa in Barcelona in just a couple of weeks.

Wherever you are and whatever you are drinking: Enjoy your day!


Burdastyle goes Frankenpattern: The Barcelona Dress

I never thought all over white was for me, I always pictured white on rather more tanned skin that I am able to get. However, somehow this year I have thrown all caution to the wind and for the first time ever made an all white dress.


Before we discuss this any further, let’s agree that linen creases delightfully not disastrously, doesn’t it? Because my ironing simply isn’t up to keeping this crease-free…


I frankenpatterned my synchronised swimmers blouse and the skirt ot my northern beach dress. Because both these items of clothing have beach references and because I will travel to beachy Barcelona soon, I’m calling this my Barcelona dress.


It’s even got pocketses, so while I am in that queue outside the Sagrada Familia at least I know what to do with my hands.


I did not line the dress, because – can you believe it – I had no suitable lining in my stash! Now you know that I don’t believe in stash diets, in fact, the fabric industry relies substantially on my trade alone, so I was quite shocked not to be able to line my dress. My husband thinks it looks ok – otherwise I’m working on the assupmtion that noone will look at my behind for any length of time. Anyways, I think I need to do a lot more fabric shopping. Not having any white batiste or something similar is just not on! Well, Ribes y Casals, Barcelona’s largest fabric store, I’m looking at you.

Accidentally, this dress also fits with July’s motto for The Monthly Stitch: July is all about sewing in black and white! Two birds with one stone!

Lizzy’s Jeans in June & July: Jalie 2908 Bootcut Jeans Finished

First of all I would like to thank all of you who gave such lovely comments on my Dress That Almost Was Not to Be! It’s been so nice to hear you like the dress – the online sewing community is, indeed, the best!

Having finished the dress with all the fiddling that entailed, I thought making jeans was a remarkably simple and relaxing project. Strange but true…

IMG_8600So here are my first bootcut jeans in a long time. I have got used to the slimmer silhouette so much that I wasn’t sure whether to try the bootcut style at all, but as these jeans are meant to be a wearable muslin I thought I might as well try.

IMG_8608What do you think about the look? Worth  exploring, or better to go back to the straight leg?


The jeans turned out a little bit tight across the hips and thighs, although I made them in the right size for my measurements. I suppose different fabrics have different rates of stretch and this denim isn’t all that stretchy. I hope they will relax a little, otherwise I will go up one size when I make these next.

IMG_8601Now with some trepidation for the booty shot. If you have been following this blog for any length of time you will know that the state of my VPL is under close surveillance. I think I’m not doing to badly this time (although, Mia, look away now, I’m not wearing my thong is these pictures):


I added 2,5cm to the hight of the CB and in principle it was a good idea to give a little more booty room. This way the jeans stay up much better, because the back rise covers the – well – backside all the way. What this has done though is destroy the proportions of the back yoke. It is attached almost horizontally now rather than by making a V-shape as it should be. Next time I will hopefully remember to divide the extra hight between the yoke pattern piece and the back crotch.


So altogether I like what I see. Clearly, there is room for improvement, but I think for a first muslin these turned out well. The Jalie pattern works really well for me, however, I did not look at the instructions as I supposed these would be made up like the other jeans I made.

So thank you Lizzy for inspiring me to try a new jeans pattern! Originally I thought I would make these up only to honour Lizzy’s challenge. However, it is pouring with rain at the moment and has got really cold, so the jeans will make their first proper outing tomorrow.

I’m even thinking I might try another new pattern. I have seen a few versions of the Named Jamie which I really like (although Lizzy points out that she isn’t feeling the love) and I found a Burda pattern that seems similar enough:


This is Burdastyle 8/2012 #129. It is meant to be a trouser, not a jeans, pattern, but the treatment of the front leg is quite similar to the Jamie. I have a lot of denim left, so if I get the time I might give these a try.

In non-sewing news: The One with the Dirndl

363 days in the year, I’m a “Home is where the heart is” kinda girl. As long as I have my family with me I think I could be happy anywhere (well, maybe not ANYwhere, but you know what I mean). But for two days a year, the two days where my town celebrates its local parish fair, I’m fiercely patriotic. In honour of St. Kunigund, the local patron saint, I put on my dirndl and throw myself into the celebration:


Why have only one ice cream when you can have two, I’m sure you agree!

The procession is mainly horse-drawn carriages, music bands and kids groups (all the local primary school kids get the day off in order to attend!) and it’s just a lovely occasion full of local pride and great fun.




Well, that’s all very well, but enough of that, I hear you say. Let’s talk about clothes, shall we?!

Well, I have to admit I didn’t make my dirndl, I simply went to the shop and bought one. Shocking, ey? But I thought I might show you the workings of an originally Bavarian dirndl all the same:

IMG_8700The actual dress has a princess bodice. Before dirndls became a fashion item the bodice would have a built in corselet function so that the dress could be bound more or less tightly in order to accommodate more or less breathtaking work. In my version the chain is only decorative, the bodice as already fitted as it is. Interesting detail: You always buy your dirndl one size down from your usual RTW size, how else are you gonna get your boobs to spill out of the top otherwise?  😉


The bodice finishes about 5cm above (!) the natural waist, basically just a little below the rig cage. This means it can be quite tight without being restrictive because most of the tummy is below the bodice. That’s also the reason why muffin top is not existent in a dirndl and why  larger women actually look better in a dirndl that skinny ones. You get the vavavoom of the decolletage but you don’t even look below.

My favourite detail is the trim: it’s called “Froschgoscherl” which means “sweet little mouths of frogs”.

IMG_8703I already love the word!

A dirndl gets worn with a blouse which, in the olden days, would have been the only item to be laundered, together with the apron.

IMG_8705You get blouses in all styles, mine obviously is a festive style. And this is how you wear it:


The blouse finishes just below the bust in order not to interfere with the dress that goes over it. If you go for the full on dirndl look you can get special bras which are basically extra-extra-exaggerated push up bras to fill that neckline. I kinda felt that would have been a step too much for me, so I am going with the “subdued look”. 😉 .

Of course I’ve been checking out the competition.


As you can see, some of the nubile young things wear their dirndls a lot shorter. I might have done too, 25 years ago, but fashion dirndls didn’t really exist at that time. As it is, I’m happy with my longer length.

While Bavarian women are rated according to their neckline, a proper Bavarian lad is meant to have big calves bulging out of his leather pants. What do you think about this specimen:


And because it’s not too long since the 4th of July I thought I might end this post with a little nod across the pond to my American friends.

A red, white and blue greeting from Bavaria to the States!



In the next post, normal service shall resume with a post about my finished Jalie jeans!


Burdastyle 2013 # : The Dress That Almost Was Not to Be


Is it a dress? Or just the thought of a dress, vanished into thin air?

Well, a little while ago, this could have gone both ways. This was, without and doubt, the MOST frustrating, difficult make I’ve ever made and not given up on – see, there’s the silver lining.

Not that the dress has a silver lining, it is actually lined in blue!

IMG_8547So there, see I made it in the end. This is Burdastyle 5/2013 # 123, a dress that generated a lot of interest in blogland but one where I have seen A LOT of versions that did not actually turn out as the original pattern intended. It will not surprise you that mine didn’t either (cue ominous laughter…)

I made one intentional change to the original. Look at the line drawing:


As you can see, the dress is VERY low cut. Given that I don’t have a lot to fill it with I thought I might be a good idea not to make this lack of vavavoom too apparent and consequently I raised the neckline by about 5cm by widening the straps at the CF and sewing them together for those 5cm.

IMG_8550Constructing the bodice parts was tedious, but not difficult as such: You cut two pieces of each pattern piece from the lining and one larger piece for draping over it from the fashion fabric. The fashion fabric is gathered until it fits the lining pieces, then it is underlined with one of the lining pieces and then lined again with the other lining piece. I found this a little fiddly, as the printed fabric is a jersey and the solid blue a woven and to work with the different ratios of stretch was a little difficult.

But assembling the bodice with the straps was the real clincher.

You see, you only realise is the bodice will fit once everything is assembled! Burda do tell you to baste everything together as a first step to determine the correct length of the straps. Which I dutifully did and which made me shorten the straps by about 4cm.

What I did not realise was that I should have checked for width as well! As I didn’t it turned out once everything was done, that the bodice was far too tight around my ribcage. No way of doing up the zip!

“Stupid woman, why don’t you make your clothes big enough then”, I hear you ask. Isn’t that one of the joys of sewing that you can make clothes that actually fit? Well ……

Turns out what while my bust measurement corresponds exactly to the size 40 that I cut for this dress, most of that measurement seems to be ribcage and not a lot – well – the actual bust. Of course I kinda knew that, that’s what they call an A-cup. But I only realised this with due force when making this dress, which is really tightly fitted at the ribcage: I have small boobs , but a wide ribcage!

After much fiddling, ripping, thinking and throwing the dress into a corner and myself into several tantrums I decided not to re-cut everything in one size larger. What I ended up with is this:

IMG_8551Yep, I just winged it! Rather than making the straps meet at the CB I cut only the back horizontal band wide enough to actually fit around my body and decided to be done with it. As it is I think this looks ok, and it could have simply been intended like this – but it still annoys me that I was not able to make the dress as it should have been…

IMG_8552Otherwise it’s a really nice dress, I think. I wonder if it doesn’t look a bit maternity, but then maybe that’s because I am quite self-conscious about a little bit of tummy roll that I have been growing in recent years, so maybe I see maternity where it doesn’t really exist.

IMG_8548I tried several versions of pattern matching across the back and all of them had some potential of silliness, but I think what I ended up with is okay and I avoided most of the “weird  shapes exploding from my bum” problem.

IMG_8557So am I glad I have this dress? I think so – I wore it out once already and got quite a few compliments and it’s nice to have a maxi that is a little different.

Am I glad I made this? Not so sure – maybe I need to forget a little bit before I can truly forgive the dress.

Lizzy’s Jeans in June and July: Jalie 2908 Bootcut Jeans, First Attempt

I’m sure you’ve heard of Sew Bussy Lissy’s Jeans in June and July challenge.

Jeans in June & July 2014 Basically you get what it says on the button: Lizzy will make a pair of jeans in June and July and so will I, because basically I will do whatever Lizzy tells me to do.

I’ve finally managed to get my hands on Jalie 2908 aka the jeans everybody is making. Yesterday I bought four metres of lightweight denim (online, to my absolute delight it was in the post today! That’s what I call great service!), today I speedwashed and dried the denim, traced the pattern and off I went with the first version.

I made the Jalie size V, which corresponds to a size 31/ German size 40 (on the slightly small side of a 40), but chosing the size according to my hip measurement.

I think it’s not going too badly:

IMG_8576The sideseams and inseams are only basted and I haven’t done the zip yet, but I think the crotch is going to be alright. There is a little tension just below the fly yet, but I’m  hoping that will relax out once I’ve worn the stretch denim for a while. It has the recommended 4% lycra and though it did not seem too stretchy when handling it I can feel it relaxing now as I wear the jeans.

IMG_8580The back seems okay too. Obviously I haven’t placed the pockets yet and  I think that bum really needs a bit of breaking up, but the fit seems okay. A few wrinkles here and there, but as I don’t know what to do about them and they don’t annoy me massively, I will declare them “normal”.
I lengthened the back rise by 2.5cm in the CB tapering to nothing at the side seams via slashing and spreading, but I think I overdid this a little bit. I didn’t add anything to the front rise, but should have done there. I used the low rise version of the Jalie pattern, but that might well be a bit too low for my taste/age/state of muffin top. We’ll see once the waist band is on.

IMG_8581IMG_8579Side seams seem okay, more or less perpendicular to the floor. There is a very slight curve, but I don’t think I will be able to improve on what I have here with my limited understanding of pants alterations.

I haven’t worn bootcut jeans for absolute ages and even considered altering them to make them straight, like most people who use this pattern seem to do. But then, I have my TNT straight jeans pattern, so I thought I might as well go for the whole Jalie look. I do kinda like it, in fact, although it will take a while to get used to boot cut jeans again.

So all in all I am encouraged. The fit is good enough for me to want to continue with this construction, so hopefully I can announce mission accomplished soon. Wouldn`t want to disappoint Lizzie, would I??!! 🙂