Tag Archives: outerwear

Burdastyle12/2012 #104 : The Russian General Coat

Let me show you my last project of 2015 – and probably one of the favourite ones of the entire year – I would not be surprised if this made it into my top 5 of 2016 as an early starter. May I introduce: The Russian General Coat


I have to add a little disclaimer straight away: I have no idea at all what Russian Generals actually look like, but I fancy myself all War and Peace in this. Do you think I make a convincing impression of surveying the length and breadth of the Russian taiga?



Wait, the Russian taiga needs a scarf (disclaimer again: I have no idea as to the usual temperatures in the Russian taiga, nor am I really sure where or what exactly it is, but the clichee in my head has it it’s coooold out there):



And off I walk into the distance! Watch how I disappear into the fog with only those shiny gold buttons to be seen…

Do you know those cool big city bloggers who position themselves in front of some crappy half derelict walkway and shoot the coolest photos that make that crappy walkway look urban chic and somehow really enticing?

Well – this is not working for me:



Yep, still just looks like a crappy derelict gate – but at least I tried 😉

But enough of this frivolous talk, here comes the science bit:

I used Burdastyle 12/2012 #104, a pattern I had fallen in love with when it first came out but didn’t have the confidence to try an make it at the time. Three years later  and with a lot more sewing experience everything went really well.


Of course the main feature of the coat are the shiny gold buttons which took forever to find. There is only one large button shop (that I know of and that does not price the buttons according to their weight in gold) in my area, so I went to buy those online after more search time than it would take to march through the Russian taiga. At least I was really pleased with the result, though. They are really heavy and very shiny indeed.


There is also a little bit of piping around the lapels and collar. I also make bound button holes that I forgot to photograph. But at least there is an inside shot


Inside of the bound botton holes on the right and the facing to cover them on the left.


I made my own shoulder pads and because they turned out a bit less substantial than I had wanted I added quite a hefty sleevehead. At the moment it’s a bit robust, but I think it will wear down a little bit over time and then be just right.


As an afterthougt I added an inside pocket, which was a bit of a nightmare to attach, because the lining had to be partly sewn on already. It did all end well in the end, but it was a bit of a long job. But then, a march through the Russian taiga would be long and arduous, so there’s a metaphor for you!

With this make I bow out of 2015. In fact, I had a very productive holiday break with lots of sewing, to if I get a chance to write some posts, I can show you a few more things hopefully really soon.

Update: I just checked: the Taiga seem to be largescale woods that do indeed exist in Siberia. So yes, it would be coooold there. Whether Russian Generals would waste their shiny uniforms in order to march through hundreds of miles of woods or indeed whether Russian Generals march at all I don’t know, though…

Burdastyle 11/2011 # 111: Glittery Parka


I might look a little doubtful in this picture, but I actually really like my new(ish –  it was made in July) parka!

It’s based on Burdastyle 11/2011 #111, the same pattern that I made my duffle coat from. No hand-quilted lining crazyness this time, the parka (apart from the hood) is unlined, so I french-seamed all the inside seams.


I made the hood quite a bit smaller than in the pattern, but as you can see it’s still quite big. I also made the back hem dip down a little bit. The whole parka has a tunnle around the bottom hem that holds a cord.

IMG_2424I put in a zipper and  poppers to overlap the zipper. I like the variety of closing optings this gives plus I like the look of it.

IMG_2436The hood is fully put-upable and will keep off a little rain, something that came in pretty useful when I first wore the parka on a recent London trip.

I put two generous patch pockets on, however, the chest pocket flaps are just for decoration, there are no pockets underneath them. I figured that I wouldn’t put any contents in there anyway, so decided to leave off the pockets.

All the hardware is really really shiny gold which goes well with slightly glittery material (I’m talking Twilight vampire shiny here) and with my recent theme of bling. So all in all I’m really happy with parka, my first one for many, many years.

Now both Child 2 and 3 want one of their own, so I better hurry up!

Burda Easy Style A/W 2014: Leather and Sparkle


Well, there you go: I sewed with leather for the first time! It’s only leather accents, admittedly, but I was quite excited about the whole concept of little Chris actually sewing with leather (like – LEATHER!!) .

This biker jacket was a loooong time in the making, in fact it was staring at me accusingly 75% finished for about a year. As is so often the case, finishing only took a few hours and afterwards I didn’t even remember why I hadn’t finished it months ago.


This is the biker jacket from the Autumn/Winter Edition of Burda Easy Style 2013 or Spring/Summer 14 (I don’t quite remember and don’t seem to be able to find it online right now). Or rather, it isn’t quite: The original pattern doesn’t feature the collar, but I decided that my head somehow is too big for collarless jackets with a rather high neckline. It sort of makes my head balloon out from the jacket, if you know what I mean, so I decided to add a collar to frame my head.


IMG_2412The fabric is a boucle – type fabric in all shades of blue and was the most expensive fabric I had over bought until the Siena dress came along. And it glitters! For real, I had never ever EVER even thought about glitter or sequins or any of the fancy effects that I always thought were not me at all. But in my old age I fell myself drawn towards fabric that “only teenagers should wear”, as Child 1 so thoughfully put it. Well, what can I say…


I fell in love with those elbow patches!


I just want to walk sideways all the time, just to show those elbow patches!

I’m pleased with the fit (a straight Burda size 40, my usual size) although the sleeve head looks a bit funny in this picture.


Maybe that’s because the fabric is a little stiff: I block interfaced the whole fabric even before cutting (I had boucle fall apart on me before and decided I would interface this one into submission!), so maybe that’s what causes the slight bunching. I guess I will have to do without the “Lift me up and carry me away” pose in this picture.

It took me forever to decide on how to cover the zipper band. According to the instructions it is just sewn on top of the jacket on the one side, but come on, I’m not gonna sew a semi-exposed zipper on glittery boucle! I think  my solution to cover it with strip off fabric works quite well. It’s covered with a strip of leather on the other side.


IMG_2472Also, remark those elbow patches! 😉

As I mentioned this project has been in the making for quite some time, I seem to remember I bought the fabric in March 2014. I did notice that my tastes have changed somewhat in the past 18 months, because I find the lining quite boring now.


If I were to start over again I would chose a flashier lining, something “fun”. Maybe that’s all to do with the sudden liking for glittery fabric. Child 1 would have a word or two to say about this. It’s as well she’s spending a year abroad and won’t find out about my wanton ways!

I still haven’t had the courage to add the metal snaps to the waist band. Firstly, I can’t find metal snaps the exact same colour as the zip (I bought gold ones, but now I don’t like the look of them) and also: snaps in leather??? Scary stuff! So scary that I have worn this jacket with a floppy flappy waistband for weeks now.

I did get to use the golden snaps on a parka (grey with gold glitter 🙂 ) but that is a post for another day, so I leave you on this cliff hanger!


Cheater’s Bound Button Holes

Who doesn’t love a nice bound button hole, almost the holy grail of home sewing? I certainly like looking at them – not too sure about making them though.
Of course there are number of ways of making bound button holes, most basically follow the instructions for making a double welt pocket hole on the right side and a window in the facing. But there is one method that uses interfacing to glue the opening in place. I used the tutorial by lolitapatterns   which is very clear – I’ve just always had a slight wobble at the end when attaching the lips so I made up my own way in the end. So, in case you are interested, I’ll give you a quick walk-through of the process of making bound button holes on my new spring coat.

All starts with marking the button holes on the wrong side. Note that the whole coat is block fused, so no extra interfacing around the button hole!


Interfacing is placed on the button hole site on the right side – with the sticky side facing up!  Then you sew around the button hole. I did this from the wrong side where I marked the hole.


The button hole is cut open with the usual y shape towards the corners and the interfacing pulled to the inside


Then the interfacing in carefully fused into place, thus glueing down the welt opening.


That’s it from the right side, both holes in front and facing already completed.


Both lips are attached at the same time. The stripes for both lips are basted together along the middle ad then pressed open

IMG_0769The lips are pinned so that they sit nicely in the centre of the window.

IMG_0770Now of course you can’t attach them in the usal way because the opening flaps are glued into place. So basically I just sewed around the button hole from the right side.

IMG_0772The lips are now attached by that line of stitching.


This is what it looks like from the facing side of things. Of course I have not hand-stitched the facing around the button hole yet.


So there you go: cheater’s bound button holes. I don’t think they are much faster and of course there is a line of stitching around the button hole that would’t be there if they were done the proper way. Also that stitching might be unsightly on bulkier fabrics, so this easy method is definitely not for everyone and every project.

But what I really liked is that because the interfacing glues the hole in place there is a lot of control over the final look and no puckering that sometimes occurs when I attach the lips to the flaps.

Otherwise the coat is coming along nicely too, so hopefully I’ll have something completed to show soon.

What is your favourite method of bound button holes? And tips or tricks? Do tell!

Burda Vintage: Rosa – Not pink but black!

It’s all very confusing: Burda have decided to give their patterns in the Vintage edition names rather than their usual soulless numbers.


While that’s all very well, the pattern Rosa got me hopelessly confused. You see, in German, “rosa” means light pink. But I did not intend to make the jacket in light pink…  I had white bouclé in mind, from the stash, so that was my good deed for the day.

IMG_0682I have not managed to get proper pictures of the jacket so I’ll wait for those for a  further post. But believe me that I like the jacket a lot, so much so that I decided to make a top of it too.

IMG_0668This is the same cut as the jacket but without the buttoned front.

IMG_0667For me and my non-fashion ways this is on the edgy side of edgy: coated bouclé for the front and back and pleather for the sleeves and facing. I got the materials from Stoff and Stil, and I have to say I was delighted with their fabrics. I got the bouclé in the sale for a great price. Their normal fabrics are not exactly bargain basement, but I was pleased with the service and will definitely order from them again.

IMG_0665I have to say that I really love it – but I got so many comments on the fashion-ness of the top that I wonder if it might be a bit out there for my usual me  ;-). One thing I noticed was that the pleather is very very not – not sure whether that is just me or whether all pleather garments are quite so sweltering. I certainly couldn’t wear full on pleather – just the thought of those oh-so-fashionable pleather leggins makes me shudder – I would be a climate change inducing factor all by myself!

IMG_0678Here you can see the fabric blocking a bit better. I really love the pattern with the little darts across the elbow. Although they are only small they do give a little bit of sleeve shaping which I think makes all the difference on such an unfitted top.


I finished the neckline with a pleather facing. As you can see I did not quote manage to get in on without creases (the pleather has stretch, the bouclé most definitely not…) but I trust you’re not gonna tell anyone. This is our secret!

Having no fashion-consciousness whatsoever I would not even have thought that Rosa really is a vintage pattern. But Burda do a whole lot of blurb in their magazine about the “history” of each pattern, and lo and behold, there are some proper vintage pictures of Rosa:

IMG_0697So there you go, I’m sure I look just like that! And yes, I did go and buy some light pink fabric to make Rosa in rosa. What can I do,  I just like following instructions 😉


Burdastyle 11/2011 #111: The ” I Quilted My Own Lining” Duffle

Peeps,  I thought I was going mad (and maybe I have, some might say the jury is out on this), but I did it: I quilted my own high-viz night-glo lining for a duffle coat, using Burdastlye 11/2011 #111:

IMG_0355Yep, metres of shiny, slippery, SLIPPERY; S:L:I:P:P:E:R:Y: orange satin were painstakingly quilted to form the lining of this duffle coat, because I can!

IMG_0350So I can do my English Farmer on Acid impersonation whenever I feel like it.

Which is more often than one might think …


No, no, all quite harmless, I was just going to cut the Christmas tree (yes, observant reader, this make has been finished for a while, but we were not going to mention my lack of blogging discipline, were we??!!!)

IMG_0352It’s quite roomy and I had added a waist drawstring, but then I decided I like the roomy version better, so I ripped it out again.


IMG_0349I made my own toggle thingies, from leftover bits of leather and brown cord. This, and the buttons and the fabric and lining all came from the stash, so I feel mighty proud of myself (and justified to buy a whole load of other fabrics…)
I have since added press buttons as the toggles will not sit straight and distort the stripe matching across the CF.

IMG_0386This pictures does more justice to the neon-ness of the orange! When I put up the hood I am almost blinded by the orange inside it. It feels as if I’m walking around on Cloud Orange all by myself.

IMG_0385So with my hands in those oversized pockets and my head in a cloud of orange I might just about make it through winter!

Burdastyle 8/2013 #143: Start as you mean to go on – The Russian General Coat

I hope that 2015 finds you all in good spirit and health and you have been able to celebrate in style. I have had a rather quiet time of it, much as I like it.

Now admissions first: I haven’t blogged for so long I am beyond embarrassment now! I’ll cut out on all the apologies, seeing that they are futile anyway and just turn over a new leaf, if that’s okay with you.
And what a leaf it is, if I say so myself. I started 2015 sewingwise with a selfless sewing project, a coat for Child 2’s 12th birthday. Now you must promise me that you are NEVER going to show him the model picture. I used Burdastye 8/2013 #143


which is modelled in the magazine like this:


Of course, if Child 2 knew I sewed him a girl’s coat, he would never wear it again. Given that he doesn’t know he rather likes it (forgive the crude editing, I don’t yet know how to make faces blurry other than by drinking copious amounts of alkohol. But it’s still the morning, so I’m resorting to black boxes instead):


IMG_0563As you can see it’s a bit slouchy, but I thought I’ll leave a little room for him to grow into.



I must admit I’m a little bit proud of this coat, first of all because Child 2 really likes it, and what better could there be for Mum than to have done good? And also because it is like a proper grown-up coat, with welt pockets, and two-part sleeves and shoulder pads and lining and everything.

IMG_0561Child 2 calls it his Russian General Coat. I’m not sure he knows his uniform code, but I think it might be the detail that creates this impression for him.


IMG_0568IMG_0570Both the fashion fabric and the lining came from my stash, so that’s a winner already, given that I decided I need to work on reducing it (but more on that story in another post…).

All the difficult bits such as the pockets or the button holes went in like a dream this time, so maybe the stars aligned on this make.

So: Quite a good start to the sewing year, don’t you think?
What’s on your sewing tables right now? Have you started the first make of the year?


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