Tag Archives: tops

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?


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!


Tops, tops and more tops! A mixed entry for #burdachallenge2018

Ever since I started my sabbatical in August my dressing has become incredibly basic. I think I’ve worn a dress maybe a couple of times, and that’s though I love wearing dresses. But when I’m pottering around at home it just seems more appropriate to wear trousers/jeans/tracksuit bottoms (I shudder to admit it!) and a top.
So in a drive to make at least my top half look presentable I’ve been making tops that are easy to wear and still a little more interesting than a basic T-Shirt.

My favourite is this little number from Burdastyle 11/2017. It’s a normal relatively fitted T-Shirt pattern on back and sleeves, the front as a little cowl and the knot detail.

The knot detail is actually simple to make, although when reading through the instructions I did the usual Burda-head scratch. There really should be a dedicated emoji for that!

Basically, you finish the know side (on the left in this picture) like you would a cowl, enclosing the seam of the shirt in both sides of the cowl. The bow part is just an appendix to that – it really does make sense when you have it in front of you, I promise!

I had lots more of the same fabric, so I made this Burda off-the-shoulder-type top (from sometime earlier in 2017) This one is a lot looser – I traced the smallest Burda size, which might have been 36 rather than my usual 40 and you can see it’s still plenty roomy. I feel Burda overdoes it a little bit when it comes to their oversized patterns, so I usually go down at least one size, especially when cowls are involved. And irl this tops boils down to a cowl top, because of course the carefully arranged collar slips up and into a cowl as soon as you move your arms – which I do do sometimes, which may come as a surprise to Burda designers! I’m not a shy girl, you know, but flashing everybody with not just my bra but also my belly button when wearing a Burda cowl is not exactly my idea of a good time!

I’ve had those two tops in my wardrobe for a couple of months and they got worn loads – in fact I’m wearing the first one as we speak. Simple, but effective!

I also make this basic sweatshirt Schräge Herta, by German company Echt Knorke. The fun part about it are the design lines of the front – which completely disappear into this wild pattern. Silly me – when I make the pattern next I’ll post some more useful pictures! But if you have a look at the link there are some more informative pictures. All instructions for this pattern are in German, but basically it’s a raglan sweat, so if you’ve a little bit of experience you should be able to work it out even without any sewing German.

My other recent tops are this one

and this most recent one

I have a couple more fabrics waiting, so hopefully my wardrobe will look exciting enough (only top half considered 😉 )!

It’ a Wrap: Knipmode Top

Everybody likes a wrap top, don’t they? I do too – but somehow I never seem to be able to make one that stands the test of time, so I keep trying.
A case in point is this Knipmode top. I was so inspired by my sewing pal Marianne’s birthday dress, that I wanted to try the top version – until Marianne informed me that the dress does in fact not have a top version. I had come across another Knipmode wrap pattern that I had confused with the one Marianne had used. An easy mistake to make, as no issue of Knipmode seems to be without a wrap or two…

As you can see, I’m learning remote controlling the camera via the mobile – this whole photography thing is stressful!

Anyways, I’m really pleased with the wrap portion of the top. The wrap holds its shape well, no gaping and no exposed underwear even on those small of bust. I helped myself a little bit there by adding a binding strip to the neckline. I believe the pattern simply has you turn over and topstich the neckline, but that’s a technique I don’t believe in.

The top has a wrap/knot detail at the waist that looks complicated, but in the end of the day I just followed the instructions and it was fine.

The top does have one problem though that makes it unwearable for me right now: because there is a little bit of tension at the knot and because the “peplum” part is fairly short and consequently not very heavy, the top pulls upwards and both front parts spread open, so much so that my belly button is exposed if I don’t adjust the top constantly. That might be fine to some, but for me this is SO ANNOYING that the top has gone straight to the refashion pile after the first wear. I might have  enough fabric to recut a longer peplum with a larger overlap, but for now I need to gather strength to consider unpicking all the layers of overlocking at the center front.

Having said that, the pattern would be great as a dress, because I suppose the heavier skirt would sort out the issued I was having with the top version. Maybe I’ll get back to the pattern for spring!

None of my posts is complete without one of my “great” modelling shots: there you are!

Burdastyle 1/2018 #116: Dramatic Sleeve Blouse

I’ll be the first to complain when Burda is churning out the same few bomber jacket or sack dress patterns issue after issue. But equally, I’ll say if I love what they have to offer, and at the moment I LOVE Burda! November 2017 was probably my most widely used issue ever (yes, I know, all still unblogged…), and when January 2018 arrived at the news agent’s I know I had to buy the issue.
The first thing I made was the dramatic sleeve blouse #116.

Look, I brought a friend to keep my company while trying to remote control the camera. If she’s good I’ll even sew her some clothes!

Let’s address the elefant in the room:

The  pattern placement on the back is just atrocious! I felt really angry at myself for not giving pattern placement any thought whatsoever and not checking before the blouse was half sewed up. But then I clearly was not angry enough to re-do the back, even though I still have fabric. I promised myself I was going to make the rest into an Ogden cami, so I let myself off for the back.

Other than that I absolutely love the blouse. It makes it possible for me to sew into the dramatic sleeve trend without the sleeves getting into the way of actually doing stuff. I did change the normal buttoned cuff to a elasticated cuff because I like my sleeves up, and of course I couldn’t ruin a dramatic sleeve by rolling it up.


The sleeves are the star of the pattern of course. They are incredibly full, which isn’t quite so apparent in the very light and drapey viscose I used. They are tamed with four pleats at the sleeve head and additional gathering  to top of the sleeves. They were a bugger to set in, I won’t lie, but if you look at the line drawing I almost find it surprising that they can be set in at all. The rest of the blouse comes together very easily. I made one change to the facings. Burda give you a very small facing just around the neckline and whatever other way of finishing the back slit (I didn’t read the instructions re that step, so I couldn’t say what method they suggest). Instead I enlarged the back facing to go down beneah the slit.

PSA: I am able to fit the blouse over my head easily enough without unbuttoning it, so if you wanted to go without the slit it would likely be fine.

The blouse if going to be my Christmas blouse – no Christmas dress for me, ever since starting my sabbatical my dressing habits have become so casual that making it out of tracksuit bottoms fells like an achievement. There are two dresses in the January edition that I want to make too and a couple of other things that I just ordered fabric for – all in all I’m delighted with the issue, so much so that I’m prepared to overlook the carnival costumes without even passing comment!

I guess this will be the last post before Christmas, so let me take the change to wish you all a very happy Christmas or a great time off work if you are not celebrating. May all your wishes come true! xxx

Burdastyle 10/2017 #119 and 9/2017 #121: Lemons in the Lady Garden

One of the problems with my lack of regular blogging isn’t a lack of sewing, but a lack of taking pictures I’m happy with (and my standards of happiness are clearly very much lower than other bloggers’ anyway).
But looking at things realistically, happiness isn’t really achievable in the world of my blog photos anyway, so I ‘ll just post this as it is rather than delaying even further.

These are two of my favourite recent pieces: The trousers are Burdastyle 9/2017  #121, which, following a suggestions from Ali , I’ve named the Lady Garden Trousers, because, of course, there is a lot going on in the lady garden area, as Ali helpfully suggested.

There is actually a lot I would normally not like about these trousers. They don’t have pockets for starters. I hate clothes without pockets as I always have stuff to carrry around with me. So I added a small front welt pocket to at least accomodate my phone. Secondly, they have a side zip, which again I wouldn’t usually chose and which I normally convert into a front zip opening.  Of course I could have changed all that, but I was short on fabric and didn’t want to experiment with a new pattern. And thirdly the fit isn’t great, they came out a bit large and large quantities of elastic were used in the waist line (I did use my usual size 42 in Burda, but I might have needed to size down).

But, but but – I just love them! The fabric just makes these trousers and it makes me feel happy every time I put them on, so they are a big win in my book.

Patternwise I’m in fact more excited about the top Burdastyle 19/2017 #119.

This is a pattern I thouroughly recommend! It’s as comfortable as any regular knit top, but is just elevated a little bit about the standard top. Admittedly you won’t wip this up in an hour, there’s a bit of precision sewing necessary around the waist area and for setting in the sleeves that personally I couldn’t have done on the overlocker. So I used all three machines: the regular machine for precision sewing, the overlocker for the rest and coverstitch for the neck and bottom seams.

I sized down one size to a 38, which I usually do in Burda knit tops and it turned out just right. I used a very hefty ponte and that was a good choice, I this the waist belt wouldn’t sit right in a flimsier fabric. Oh, and I managed to get this top out of 1 metre rather than the 1.3 metres specified. I had to shorten the arms by about 2cm, but that was all.

Regular readers of this blog will know that one of my modellig special skills is walking up and down, so I wouldn’t want to leave you without proof that I’m still at the top of my game!

See, told you so, exemplary stuff!