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Burdastyle 3/2018 # 114: Desperate Measures (#burdachallenge2018)

If, like me, you’re blogging from Northern Europe you will probably be as fed up with winter as I am. I’m just really, REALLY over it, so much so that I’ve been in full spring sewing mode for about 4 weeks, which coincidentally has been the coldest 4 weeks of this winter. Something does not seem to work quite as it should with my karma…

A case in point is this blouse, #114 from Burdastyle 3/18 in this sherbert coloured cotton lawn.

The fabric was an impulse buy from my local fabric shop, again because the flowers and colours reminded me that there might be warmer temperatures just around the corner.

The blouse has massive sleeves tamed by wide cuffs and a pussy bow.

I’m not sure I like it tied though. It stands up around the neckline, because it’s just a simple rectangle and when tied this becomes more apparent. Maybe that’s a design feature, but  if so, it’s one I’m not majorly keen on.

I made one important change: the bodice is meant to be cut on the bias, but I just cut it on grain.

I lengthened the blouse by about 5 cm, so beware, it is really quite short as drafted. Also I took out about 20 cm of the width around the hemline. I felt it was just too flared otherwise. My instagram has a few before and after pictures, so if you are interested in seeing the difference you might want to look there. I did make one important change: the bodice is meant to be cut on the bias, but I just cut it on grain. So maybe the flare would not have been as pronounced if cut on the bias – I guess this is for others to find out.

Here, I’m wearing the blouse with matching powder pink trousers. They are also Burdastyle, but I don’t remember which pattern exactly. Or better, now I do, thanks to ab, the Compulsive Seamstress, who reminded me that’s Burda 9/2010 #115.

And this one is  just for a quick impression of the proportions of the sleeves.

Because I had time on my hands I made another version of the blouse, this time in a grey and white striped shirting, the antidote to the sweetness of the pattern. I left of the ties this time and in fact I do like it better this way. Sorry I don’t have any better pictures yet and you have to make do with my sligthly faulty mobile picture, but I only finished the blouse today. I think you get the idea at least.

You can see that the arm scythe (do you even say that for raglan seams? But you know what I mean, the sleeve-to-bodice-seam) is a little short and I get some draglines from there. I’m not quite sure what’s happened as I didn’t have the problem on the flowery version. I think I might have made some of the pleats on the sleeves a little too deep thus dragging the bodice seam up too much. I didn’t bother to change it though, as I think this style of blouse is very me in 2018 and so consequently might not be in my wardrobe forever. I’ve already worked out that I can cut an Ogden out of the bodice pieces, so all is well in the world of recycling 😉 .

I’ll take both versions with me on my visit to Porto next week, and when I return from Southern Europe can we agree that then it’s really time for spring to start??!!



Burdastyle 11/17 and 2/18 #108: From Autumn to Spring (#burdachallenge2018)

This skirt should really have been made in the autumn – but then somehow I got distracted and only finished it a couple of weeks ago. Of course it’ll hopefully be far too warm to wear a brushed wool skirt but hey, such is the nature of a-cyclical sewing.

The skirt is from Burdastyle 11/17, my all-time favourite issue! I made/plan to make so many things from this! The skirt has five front panels which are accentuated by topstitching. I did it by hand using knitting yarn, but of course in a finer fabric machine top-stitching will be just as effective.

The back is just a very simple midi A-line skirt, so inspite of the many panels it’s easy to make.

Take another look at the top, which is #108 from the February edition. Another simple make, with cut-on sleeves – or so I thought. In fact, the neck-line treatment nearly drove me nuts.

And I’m afraid you can tell, I simply lost patience and ended up with a very much less than perfect neckline. Basically, you have to gather a strip of fabric onto the rounded neckline pattern part. It sounds simple, but proved very fiddly in slippery viscose on slippery viscose. So now gathering on the strip isn’t quite centered and the neckband doesn’t lie quite flat. It’s not even one of those “nobody else would notice” kinds of mistake, it’s properly conspicuous. But then, I like the rest of the top, so I’m prepared to overlook the imperfections.

I quite like it tucked in too, and I’m planning another one soon. I originally swore that I’d never repeat this neckline treatment, but with the new fabric I have in mind it’ll look perfect, so I’ll have to practice again.

The back is a little lower than the front, which is quite a nice detail, I think. Overall, a simple but effective top which is fluid without being massively oversized. Oh, I sized down one to a size 38, which is my go-to size adjustment for all loose Burdastyle patterns (unless it’s a loose knit, which I’ll size down to whatever is the smallest size available).

Yesterday saw me wearing spring clothes for the first time this year and although today it’s rainy again today I hope that spring is now a more permanent guest.

How about you: are you ready for the change of season?

Brooklyn Tweed: Snoqualmie Cardigan

Baby, it’s COLD outside!
If you’re in the southern hemisphere you might have heard of the polar vortext that has Northen Europe in its grip – and if you are in Northern Europe you are probably as frozen as I am. Mama mia, that was all a bit sudden, wasn’t it?
While I’m waiting for spring with the rest of us long suffering Northerners, at least I’m prepared for the cold clothes-wise.

This is the Snoqualmie Cardigan by Brooklyn Tweed which I knit up in Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

This is the most delicious pattern and might be know even to the non-knitters amongst you, because Heather Lou of Closet Case Files started a knitalong for this a couple of years back.   Check out her finished cardigan too, it’s amazing!At the time I had other priorities, but in fact, I was so taken with the pattern that I got back to it last October, frogged this yarn from a different, rarely worn project and got


Mine came out a little more fitted than Heather’s and I really love wearing it. The yarn is so beautifully soft and cuddly! One thing I will say is that because it’s single ply it pills like hell, so I’ve had to give the cardie a good seeing-to with my cloth-razor. But who cares about pilling when you can envelop yourself into squishy, cuddly softness?

On my Instagramm there were people commenting how complicated the pattern looks. Well, I actually found it quite intuitive and I don’t think I had to frog anything. I am quite an experienced knitter though,  plus knitting cables probably is my favourite technique, so I’m never sure if my feedback on difficulty is any use to anybody else.

One thing I never manage to get right is the button hole size. They are too big, so the buttons pop open in no time. I promise, I will change this – some time.

Once I don’t get hypothermia from merely looking at the cami underneath the cardie I’ll show it to you too, because actually, it’s a nice change to the long line of Ogdens I made recently.

Until then: Keep warm!

Burdastyle 1/2018 #102: Knots, Stripes and Flowers #burdachallenge2018

Thanks to Hila and her #burdachallenge2018 I’ve felt really inspired to look into the recent Burdas more deeply and in fact I’ve found lots of good patterns in each of the three 2018 issues out so far.
A case in point is #102 from the January edition (in fact, January has lots of great pattern, I definitely got my money’s worth from this magazine).

As you can see I made this both as a top and as a dress.

For the top, the back is cut as one piece and you can see how a bit of a swayback adjustment might have been in order. The dress carries the waist seam to the back so it’s very easy to do one there at the construction stage without having to fiddle on the pattern pieces. I think the back sits better for it, I might even make it a little larger once I’ve checked the fit after the first wash.

(On a side note, and not wanting to be over-critical or put myself down or anything like that: it’s the third time IN A ROW that I made the mistake of cutting the back pieces without giving any attention to pattern placement and getting some unfortunate repetition. I like to call it a pattern-stutter. I do wonder if I should spare myself the energy of inventing technical terms for my mistakes and rather think about not making them again… Well, I live in hope. Also, my next project is in a solid…)

Both patterns are easy to sew, although not speedy, because you have to baste numerous pleats. But it’s not difficult to do: the knot is formed by linking two pieces and then sewing them to the front of the bodice. then the whole thing is sewn as any normal knit top. No massive geometrical pattern puzzling going on here.
My dress version doesn’t use the Burda pattern pieces for the skirt by the way. I didn’t have enough fabric for that, so I just eyeballed an A-line shape with what fabric I had. I like the result!
Oh yes, Burda don’t specify knits, just stretch fabric. In a knit a zipper is not necessary, but if you do make it in a stretch it might, because in order for the knot to sit properly you need a bit of negative ease. Because it gets quite tight around the tummy area I prefer a stable knit such as a ponte to a lighter knit.

Overall I really love this pattern, probably the dress even more than the top. It is so easy to wear and yet looks a bit more special than a standard knit dress. And the diagonal knot is quite slimming as well, because it draws the eye up and across rather than right across the tummy. Can’t hurt, don’t you think?

I’ve found one annoying bit about this pattern though: with wear, the bodice tends to slip upwards, thus forming a bit of a fabric bubble above the knot, in unfortunate “third boob” position.

It does not only seem to be me, others have had this problem to. This is what it should look like when the bodice is re-adjusted:

It’s not a massive deal, and maybe simply hand- stitching the knot ot the bodice seam will help the bottom of the bodice stay in place. I haven’t tried this yet, but that might be a quick fix.

Overall, another winner for me. I’ve been impressed with Burda for the last few months, so much so that I’m even thinking of re-subscribing. I loved January, one of the best issues of the last few years imho and even the March issued, that on a first thumb-through I decided not to buy, has niggled its way into my conscience and then into my shopping basket – and now I have plans for three patterns from this issue and fabric on the way. So well done, Burda for a great start to 2018!

Burdastyle 7/2017 and True Bias: The Thailand Collection 

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I went to Thailand where I joined an organised tour of Bangok and the South. I came away from the trip with very mixed feeling, but I guess that shouldn’t stop me from showing you what I made for the trip. No photos from out there I’m afraid, as my mobile selfies are far too crappy to show off on the blog.

Even before I knew I was going to Thailand I had picked up this silk twill remnant from my local fabric store with a view of turning it into an Ogden for next summer. Well, it served me well in the tropical heat and I just love the vaguely Japanese print.

To go with the top I made these linen trousers from Burdastyle 7/2017. Again, from a remnant picked up on the same shopping trip where I got the silk. The stars must have know about my long haul journey, even if I didn’t. Must have been Karma!

The pattern originally has a side zip, but for some reason I hate those, so I put in a normal trouser zip. In the heat, breathable trousers are important for me – for comfort I much prefer them to dresses, because of the dreaded thigh rub issue.

I also made myself a new day pack/hand luggage, the Desmond backpack by Taylor Tailor. In fact, I didn’t take this one to Thailand as my sister in law liked to so much I gave it to her. I then made myself one that is practically identical. (And one in grey for my husband. And then one for Child 1 in navy – this pattern keeps on giving!)

It’s a simple roll top back pack which I pimped by adding a zipper closure to the top and an inside zipper pocket and slightly wider side pockets to accommodate a water bottle more easily. Now it is perfect, so much so that I sent my previous RTW day pack off to the charity shop. If you’re in the market for a simple, easy to make day pack, you could do a lot worse than looking at this pattern. I even took mine on several treks through the Thai jungle and it came away with flying colours. No slipping off the shoulders, easy to mould close to the back and easily sturdy enough to carry provisions for a day. Obviously, I wouldn’t use it for a day’s trekking in the Alps, where all sort of extra clothing is a neccessity, but for a day in the city it’s perfect.

Ever since coming back it turned really cold here, so I look at my Thai fabric haul in despair: there are pineapples and oranges on two of the fabrics and I really could do with weather to match the fabrics!


Burdastyle ca 8/2016: The Otavalo Dress

Remember when I went to Ecuador and bought some fabric at the market in Otavalo? Well, I finally used the fabric and made a dress (to be exact, I’m finally blogging about the dress which I made late in 2016…)

Here I am, clutching my BFF for courage, showing off this dress, but mainly my hair, which, in a deviation to my usual customs, has had everything in the world done to it today. I took the change to photograph any number of blog projects, so you`ll be able to enjoy my upgraded hair style for a few more posts before we go back to normal. I didn’t realise how expensive hair salons are, so I’m making the most of my money!

Sorry, I digress – back to the dress: it’s got pocketses!

The fabric is not a dressmaking fabric, I believe in Ecuador it’s typically used as a throw or a table cloth. It’s quite heavy and rigid without any stretch whatsoever.

I used a Burda pattern, I believe it might be from 8/2016, but I can’t be sure as my Burda collection is in a state of slight disarray right now.

But can I draw your attention to that pattern matching across the CF and CB?


And across the bodice/sleeve:

Now really, if that doesn’t make your heart sing, then frankly, I think you may not have a heart!

Apart from the pattern placement, this was an easy sew. However, the dress is very, very thight at the arms and consequently quite restrictive. If I were to make the pattern again, I’d have to change the sleeves in some way. I’ve worn the dress to work a few times and I love the vibrant look, but in the end of the day it’s just not that practical.

My next blog post will very likely contain my Thailand collection, so I’m staying with the travel theme! And the nice hair! 🙂

#burdachallenge2018: A quick review of Burdastyle 2/2018

The February edition of Burdastyle came out in Germany yesterday and while I know that some of you are still waiting for the January issue (or December – that’s really quite shocking!) I thought I’ll treat you to a few pictures of the February edition to help you decide whether it’s worth waiting for.

First the overview

And now worn (or disguised, as sometimes is the case in Burda) by models:

Technical drawings anyone?

Yep, I thought you might be interested in those:

To be honest, under normal circumstances I would not have bought the magazine on the first day, as there is nothing in it that really screams “MAKE ME RIGHT NOW” at me. I might still have dithered a little bit while it’s in the shops here and considered whether I should buy it. But given that it’s #burdachallenge2018 I kinda felt obligated to commit straight away.
And although 2/2018 doesn’t come close to 11/17 and 1/18, which in my opinion are both stellar editions where I haven’t even come close to sewing to the bottom of what I want to make, this February edition has some useful patterns in it. I’ll show you a few pictures of things I might well end up making.

Top 108 is really simple and I guess could easily be self drafted – but then you get the pattern here so you don’t have to. I’m pretty sure I’ll make this at least once and I probably have fabric for it already in the stash.

I also kinda like this tunic dress (the pattern also comes as a top). I have a lot of a denim style fabric  left which might make a good spring version of this dress.

This blouse gets some big heart eyes from me for the dramatic back. Unfortunately it’s a petite pattern – but the basic blouse is just like a hundred other yoked blouses that I already have in the stash (or in fact the dress from the picture before) so if I find the right fabric I might just steal the back drape pattern piece from this and combine it with another pattern. The drape is sewn to the back piece of the blouse in a snake-like line though, so I’m not sure whether that isn’t a problem waiting to happen.

Some cargo pants might come in useful towards the spring/early summer.

I’m in the market for a loose parka for a cream soft shell that is a lot lighter than I expected and won’t work for the jacket I originally intended it for. Of course, 3/4 sleeves on a parka are an abomination to me, as are the pockets sewn into the side seam as they are going to flap about like nobody’s business, but the jacket has good bare bones.

I have a strange (and possibly misguided?) liking for these trousers with  a wrap front. I have some navy wool suiting that’s been marinading in the stash for long enough now, so maybe I’ll try these out. Or shouldn’t I? Are these a stupid idea? Any thoughts?

I’m definitly not going to make this as my life and this dress are incompatible – but I think it’s amazing. If looking glamorous on a flower market in Amsterdam is your jam, this dress has the picture instructions, so you could do so in this dress.

This blouse on the other hand is really wearable, so I might well make this. I bet my stash would be able to provide some suitable fabric. Not sure about the flirty back tie, I might just leave that off.

The plus size section has this blush trench coat. You must know by now that I love blush AND I love trench coats, so I love this too. Personally, I wouldn’t make a trench coat without a collar, but if you fancy air to your neck you could do worse than choosing this coat.

By the way, have a look at the shirt dress 127 in the overview picture above. It seems nice, but there is some really quite bad pulling across the bust on the model, so maybe an FBA is in order even on a plus size? I have no experience with either plus sizes or FBAs but that seems strange to me – shouldn’t it fit as is on a pretty standard size figure such as the one of the model?

Now, I kinda like these trousers with the wrap to the front leg with dramatic topstitching. However, even on the model here there seems to be something strange going on in the crotch/tummy area, so this is the kind of pattern that I would wait to see made by other, more couragious sewists first before I would attempt it.

So what’s your impression? An issue worth buying? Or will you hold out for March and the inevitable wedding dresses?