Tag Archives: pattern

US Fabric and Pattern Online Shopping: Any Tips?

Unfortunately it’s not me who’s going to travel to the States soon, it’s my husband, and he’ll only go for work. However, that gives me the chance to do a spot of online shopping in the US.
Normally the cost of shipping and customs is so high that US shopping makes no sense for me, but now that I have a chance to have stuff shipped to my husband’s hotel in Vegas and have him bring it over, it seems a much more attractive idea.
Which brings me to my questions:

  • Do you have any tips for me as to good quality/value online shops? I’m looking for good quality natural fibre fabric, but because I will have to make a choice only based on a web picture I will probably go for classics rather than anything “out there”.
  • Where would I go to buy patterns?
  • Any good sales etc that I should know of (hubby will fly out end of Feb)?
  • Any brilliant places to go for quilting fabrics?
  • How do I make my husband to save all his luggage space for my shopping?

As ever: Thanks so much for you advice! I really appreciate it!


Any Advice for the Georgia Novice?

20140123_103436 Look what’s kept me company during my coffee break this morning! Yes, it’s my copy of the By Hand London Georgia pattern which arrived in the post this morning! I’m so excited about this – my first ever independent pattern! So before I start on this project I wonder if those of you who are already proud wearers of the Georgia could give me some advice.

  1. I want to make version 2 (the one in the middle on the envelope – knee lenght and skinny straps). I am thinking a little black dress, maybe with the raspberry lining in the picture. Is that very naughty? And, more importantly, did you have issues with the lining gaping out? Because in that case I might play it safe and go for a boring black lining.
  2. Also, what are your experiences regarding sizing? I generally wear a UK size 12, but bust-wise I’m more a 10. Did you find the cups were drafted for the Big4-type B cup, or for a larger cup? In which case I might have to size down by quite a bit.
  3. And then the undergarment issue! Pushup bras are my friend (see point 2 🙂 ) Is the bra situation tricky with the bodice? It looks to me as if the straps are very far out on the shoulder – does that mean strapless bra or did you find ways of covering the bra straps?

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this! I truly have Georgia on my mind!

Burdastyle 2/2014 #135: Drapey Top – or Muffin Top?

This is my first attempt at spring sewing and I chose this out of the latest issue of Burdastyle:

I was intrigued by the asymmetric drape – someone in blog land (I will update the link if I remember who…) called it “Burda’s answer to the drape drape books” – and I like the fact that it is something different while still being wearable. However I spotted one problem: the undraped side seam is very short indeed, if you look at the picture it hits the model just above the skirt waistband, right in muffin top territory (on me, not on the model, of course 🙂 ).

So I decided to lengthen the undraped side seam, but leave the draped side as is. First I slashed and spread the back:

IMG_6723To most of you this will not be exciting, but for me it’s the first time I have ever used the slash and spread method for adapting a pattern and I just played it by ear. I added 5cm to the side seam:


and then taped everything together again:


My husband even made a “Making of” picture…


The front piece is very asymmetric, Kathy has provided the perfect guide to making sense of it all.

Again I slashed and spread the shorter side – first the before picture:


IMG_67295cm more length to the seam

IMG_6730This made a crease appear in the middle of front bottom seam which I just folded out and retaped:


The pattern came together no problem, so at least I didn’t make a mistake with the adaptation.

So this is it:

IMG_6736As you can see it is still really short on the undraped side! Also the neckline is a little lower than I’d like, but I guess that is Burdastyle for you.

Readers of a sensitive disposition please look away now: I am wearing zero make-up – and I should have… But it’s all about honesty here, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?



I still have to get my head around the draped side but I think it  quite like it.

The short side looks fine when I stay still:

IMG_6740But when I don’t – and I rarely do – this happens:

IMG_6742Ooops, muffin top alert!!! I can just picture myself at work in front of a class of  20 year olds flashing my tummy – not! So this will definitely be worn with a cami underneath – but given the sheerness of the fabric that is no bad thing anyway.

So final thoughts on this pattern:

hmm, still not sure. In some way I really like it, and the drape even swishes when worn, so that must be a good thing.

It’s quite cleverly drafted and making it up is really easy – just one seam for the drape and then you just have a standard raglan construction.

This version was meant to be a muslin. The jersey is gorgeous, but I think the colour does not do me any favours, even discounting the no makeup issue. But should I make up a real version? What do you think?

La Mia Boutique 1/14 (German Edition): Hello Sailor-Peplum Top

Recently I came across a sewing magazine that is new to the German market: La Mia Boutique in a German version. It does not seem to be the same as the Italian edition – at least my news agent’s had a different version in Italian. I was a little wary about trying their patterns as my measurements make me fall in three different sizes on their size table (while with Burdastyle I may need to grade between two sizes for a tight fitting dress, otherwise I can stay within one size with no or minor alterations).

But because I had the magazine and I wanted to give the peplum trend a try before it goes completely I made up this little number:


Although my version looks quite different:

IMG_6435I made up their size 44 at the bust, grading out to a 46 at the hips, which corresponds to the German sizes 40 and 42. I normally wear a 40, but the measurement chart put me into this size, so this is what I made. Turns out I would not have needed to grade out at all, the top is plenty big enough as it is in a size 44/40.

IMG_6438I obviously put some sleeves on the top, they come from a dress in the same edition which has practically the same arm scythe as the top, so there was no problem there. I also lengthened the peplum by about 4 cm, and looking at the pictures I think it could have done with even more length.

I think the top is quite sweet and I am definitely going to wear it, just because I love the sailor look anyway. But I think I have got the peplum look out of my system now – I think it really looks better with something really formal and quite structured – and that’s something I am rarely going to wear.

Parents’ Duty

You know how it is a parent’s most sacred duty to gracefully accept the handicraft of their child for birthdays and holidays? How they must feign enthusiasm even in the face of the most feebly attempts at glueing, cutting out or sewing? How they must keep in mind that it is the thought that counts?

Well, if you have children then obviously you know!

But did you know that it never stops? That you still have to accept your children’s homemade presents when you are well into your 70s and feel you have the right to something nice from the shops? When your daughter is in her mid-forties and has a family of her own?

That’s what my parents might think come this Christmas – because they will be getting hand-quilted table mats from me, that have turned out just a slight little bit too colourful:

Whoho, I hear you saying, that is bright! Not at breakfast, please! And I fully agree – what is fine individually is a bit too much together. Look at those blocks separately:


They look great, don’t they? They are all from Tula Pink’s 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. I have to say that my work her isn’t doing the book justice – it is a great resource and I have started another project in more muted colours which I think will showcase what the book has to offer much better.

In order to give the option of simple turning round the table mat I added a neutral backing:


Ahhhh, that’s better. This is the “Have a quiet relaxed breakfast” side to the “Breakfast on acid” side with the pattern.

One thing that is a real achievement for me is the free motion quilting which I managed to execute for the first time ever:


View from the bright side:

IMG_5995Clearly there a lot wrong with the quilting. The stitch length is in no way uniform, there are unquilted patches, the curves are sometimes edgy, not curvy – but still it is by far the best free motion quilting I have ever done. In fact it is the first time I have ever finished a free motion quilting project rather than just throwing it out in tears and frustration. So I am sure those table mats will score highly on the “It’s the thought that counts” front.

IMG_5993And case my parents suffer from memory loss I have even put my name to it ;-). At least they have the option to slip those mats into a drawer and quietly forget about them, given that I come to their house only very rarely.


So how about you: Are your craft projects received gladly? Do you like to receive craft presents? What to do if they are not to your taste?

Tearing My Hair Out: My First PDF Pattern

It all starts quite innocently: I want to sew a pair of jeans. I always thought that jeans are not for the home sewist, but I have seen so many great results amongst your blogs that I thought I should give it a try. Now if you look at my blog you will realise that I sew exclusively from Burda sewing magazines. I am a subscriber and have around three years’ worth of subscriptions and quite a few back issues at home – so finding a pattern for the jeans should not be a problem. I thought.
Because I realised that in all the issues that I have there is not a single 5-pocket back yoke jeans pattern that is not petite or plus size. Can you believe that? There must be hundreds of patterns but not one jeans pattern! Not one!
But not to worry, I thought, pdf patterns is the answer. I surfed around a little and read good things about this pattern. It’s a Burda pattern again, from an issue that I don’t own and because Burda trousers fit me quite well I thought going for this might be good. No experiments with jeans, ey?!  It was bought and printed quickly – and now I have been cutting and glueing for about an hour!

Without any doubt this has been the most annoying sewing related task I have done in a long time (and that includes ripping the quilting out of half a full size quilt!). Tracing the patterns from the most convoluted Burda pattern sheet would have been accomplished in half the time – and I have not even cut the pattern pieces yet, I have only glued the sheets together.

So I wonder: How do you stand it? So many of you seem to be really into online patterns – is there a secret? Am I doing this wrong? Or is just me? Is my tolerance for papercraft unusually low?