It’s the 90s again!

Waistcoats. All the rage in the 90s and now back again, the perfect example of circular fashion. I made two for Daughter no1 back in the summer to wear as tops, and have now made another two for Daughter no 2 to wear over shirts – as a “proper” waistcoat. This is pattern I used for myself “back in the day”, making the waistcoat and trousers. Luckily I never cut off all the un-needed sizes, so everything was there. The pattern is a long out of print Burda 2889. I love the shape of this waistcoat, especially the cut of the armholes.

I started with a toile in the size 10. Thankfully there were no adjustments to be made, we were both happy with the fit and the length was just fine too. I had thought I might need to lengthen it, but not this time! The fabrics chosen were from the stash, leftover from my Assembly Line V-Neck dress and the Sienna Maker Jacket. Linings also came form the stash, and were also leftovers.

The finer, rusty coloured wool waistcoat has a front and back neck facing, as well as armhole facings, which is not the way the waistcoat is drafted. I didn’t have enouth wool to cut four fronts, two of which would be the facings. I like how it’s turned out, the finish is really good and at least the lighter coloured satin lining doesn’t poke out! I kept the faux pockets on this one and found suitable buttons in the stash, again.

The black windowpane wool is much thicker than the other, I used it to make a coat. So this time there are no facings and no faux pockets, it would just add far too much bulk. I was worried cutting this one, there was only a small amount of fabric left and I really wasn’t sure whether I could pattern match properly, but I was lucky and it all only just worked out! There is now so little of this fabric left that it really is scrap and I can happily use it to fill another Closet Core pouf or maybe a draught excluder!

I posted the waistcoats and got promises that photos would be taken soon this time. I had to wait a little while, but the promised photos have arrived and so you get to see them. Daughter No 2 is very happy with her waistcoats and they fit into her 90s feeling wardrobe really well!

I’m still waiting for photos of a pair of Lander Pants also made for Daughter No2, and a pair of wool trousers made for Daughter No1. I also still need to get cracking with the 70 jacket that I toiled at the beginning of November. December is going to be a busy sewing month! I thought I might make some Christmas presents too, if there’s time. Is anyone else making gifts for Christmas?

A Quick Sew

This is one of those, “Quick, sew!” projects! A friend of mine let me know this week that she’s heading to South Africa at the beginning of September, and would be able to take something non-bulky/lightweight over for me. I immediately thought of the fabric I’ve been hoarding for making tops for my mum. She has a favourite pattern that we’ve been using for years now and thankfully it really is quick! If you want to know which one I’ve used, it’s Burda 134, March 2004.

Burda 134, March 2004 in cotton from Rosenberg & Sons
Lawn from Rosenberg & Sons

The pattern in the magazine is from one of their designer collaborations, and if I remember correctly, was all in white with a skirt. The top had bias strips of fabric stitched diagonally across the front. That wasn’t going to be staying for a practical top for Mum! It also had no hems or neckline treatment, which I have definitely changed! The hems are 1.5cm and I added an allowance in order to have a bias trimmed neckline.

Cotton fabric given to me by a friend

Slightly thicker cotton, great for cooler weather

I pulled four pieces of cotton of different weights from the stash, one being a piece of Liberty lawn. The two lightweight fabrics were bought from M Rosenberg & Son (Stitch Fabrics), the purple and teal fabric was given to me by a friend, and the pale blue and grey thicker cotton was bought a long time ago from one of my trips to Sewing For Pleasure. The two thicker fabrics will be worn in cooler weather. The climate where my mum lives is hot and humid in the summer. The top is a loose fit, bias cut, short sleeve with a simple bias strip neckline treatment, which works brilliantly for her. I have honestly lost track of how many of these tops I’ve made since 2004! They’re completely different in all the different fabrics and colours I’ve used. I’ll be making more of these again next summer, I’m sure!

Doctor’s Orders

Back in the day when the doctors wrote their prescriptions, I can’t believe the pharmacists actually knew what was written!  The squiggles on the fabric remind me very much of those scribbled prescriptions.  😀  I give you my latest Olya Shirt, pattern from Paper Theory.  The fabric is a piece of cotton voile from Croft Mill fabrics, as mentioned in my last post.  It’s a very good price, and the fabric is the softest, drapiest ever!  It’s going to be lovely to wear in the summer….  But I will wear it now, just with a cami underneath and a jumper over the top – especially as I’m determined not to have the heating on unless I’m a shivering wreck!

olya 1
Paper Theory Olya shirt

olya 4

Most of the modifications were mentioned in the Work in Progress post, so this post covers the last minute changes in design direction, and of course, it’s for showing it off, all nice and finished!

collage olya squiggle 3
All the details

The selvedge has a lovely coloured edge, and I wanted to incorporate it into the top in some way.  I used the strips down the edges of the fabric already cut and added them to the collar stand to start, I thought it looked quite nice, giving myself the green light to do more.  So I cut a shorter piece and sewed it into inside seam of the buttonstand on the button side, just from the collar to the yoke joining seam.  I really like the way it looks!  It might be a monochromatic print, but there’s colour in there too!  I like this little bit of fluff, it makes my shirt even more personalised, and that’s what sewing is all about, right?

olya 2

Buttons are all from the stash, reused from one of hubby’s shirts that fell apart.  I had toyed with adding more of the selvedge to the cuffs.  For now they’re plain, but I might add a bit later as there’s plenty left!  I have about half a metre of the fabric leftover, I hope I can use it productively in another project, it would be a same to waste it.

olya 6
I love the pop of colour!

Next on the cutting table are two vintage projects for the girls.  One is a 70s jacket in chocolate brown fine whale corduroy, and another a pair of 80s pleated trousers in grey wool flannel.  I’ll let you guess which project is for which daughter!

Work in Progress Wednesday 2/2022

Well, what do you know!  A progress report on a Wednesday – and only the second of the year…  Oh dear!  Nevermind, progress is progress.  Today’s project is one that I cut out about a month ago, thinking that at least with it already cut, I might get on with it quickly….  Yeah.  It’s another Olya Shirt from Paper Theory, this time in black and white squiggle print cotton voile bought from Croft Mill in August.

Continuous bias strip for the sleeve placket

I’ve cut the 14 again, like I did for the first three.  I went down a size for the linen version but I actually prefer the bigger one, it feels better in the length especially in the arms.  The fabric is just lovely, so soft and light!  It was possibly something I should have got on with in August, it’s more of a summer weight than an Autumn/Winter weight!!

Back pleat

I’m changing the sleeve placket detail, just keeping it simple this time with a basic bias strip instead of a tower placket.  I’ve added some reinforcing stitching the the back pleat, something different.  Today I’ve got the majority of the work done, it look like a shirt!  Tomorrow is buttonstand, collar and cuffs, the hem, and buttonholes and buttons.  I hope I have suitable buttons in the stash.

It looks like a shirt!

I do love this pattern, and I have another black and white cotton print waiting to be made into another Olya!I don’t think you have have too many black and white shirts, can you?  Just like classic plain white ones, they’re always useful!

Work in Progress on a Thursday

Hello to anyone who might be lurking around, waiting for a blog post from me. It’s been ages…  I had two in the pipeline over the summer but didn’t have photos, so they’re still in my drafts!  This post should have gone up yesterday and been a Work in Progress Wednesday post but, as I’ve become less used to blogging and what needs to be done, I forgot to take adequate photos of the process….  Anyhow, I have something, which is always better than nothing!!

Waistcoat patterns

The waistcoat I’m making is a Burda pattern from the 90s, one I made for myself when I was in my 20s – Burda 2889 for those who might be interested in tracking it down.  Over the summer, daughter no 1 requested a waistcoat to wear as a top, rather than over a tee or shirt.  I made her a black cotton twill version and an off white one in linen.  I don’t have photos of them on her, but have been assured that they fit fine and have been worn.

Roll on to Autumn and daughter no 2 would like waistcoats to wear over shirts – preferably  shirts with some sort of interesting (big) sleeve.  And yes, I’ll be making those too…  So I toiled the size 10 in the same pattern and she likes it.  I like it because I didn’t need to make any adjustments!  I had some leftover pieces of wool in the stash from other projects, so we decided to use these instead of buying more fabric.  Thankfully the linings have also come from the stash, so that’s made these waistcoats very economical!

collage waistcoat lining
Facings and linings, front (left) and back (right.

Version one is using a windowpane wool I used for my Assembly Line V-Neck Dress.  The left over pieces were akward shapes and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to patternmatch anywhere, which almost prompted me to cut some panels on the bias, just to be obviously different!  But there wasn’t space for that either.  In the end, the front and back pieces match, but I couldn’t get the side seams on the right lines.  It’s disappointing, but I hope it won’t be too obvious.

collage waistcoat sewing
All sewn together, seam allowances layered and clipped, ready for turning.

The pattern as it comes doesn’t have facings and seperate linng pieces, you cut double fronts and the rest all in lining, but the lining is a very different shade and I didn’t want any of that to roll out and stick up over the edges.  So I traced the pieces and made facings and linings, only just having enough of the wool to cut them all out. It sewed up well and I’m pleased with it, even the faux welt pockets.  I’ll be leaving these off the next version because the wool I’ll be using is thicker and it’ll just be bulky.

Faux welt pockets, cut on the bias

Little brown buttons with a fleck of white from the stash will do nicely.

I’ve hand sewn the remaining lining side seam and actually managed to find buttons in the stash (that’s a miracle in itself!).  I had hoped to use some bronze or brass metal buttons but, as luck would have it, I didn’t have any of a suitable size and number.  I found something in the brown buttons section in the stash that will do the job just fine.  I want to get it all done today so I can start on the next one, and then a pair of Lander Pants for the same daughter is on the list.  I also have a Paper Theory Olya shirt for myself cut and ready to go – but first, waistcoats and Landers!  And I will nag and nag and nag for photos on a person so I can show you want the waistcoats look like on a human!

My new sewing room helper. The great distraction in my life since the beginning of September!

In the mean time, I have to keep my sewing stuff under supervision these days, since we acquired a British Shorthair kitten at the beginning of Septermber.  She is at once cute, cuddly and a little terrorist!

Sunflower Terra Pants

I’ve had this post in drafts since the end of April, not quite sure of whether or not to post it.  I’m not raving about this pattern – but I think it’s just because it doesn’t suit me the way I was wanting it to.  It’s a case of great pattern – but on someone else!  Anyway, here it is, with all my doubts.

My first foray into using Pattern Fantastique patterns – I’ve liked the asthetic of this company for a while, but only bought some patterns this year!  I jumped for the Terra Pants and Phen Shirt just after the Phen was released – I love how they look together!  When I was finally inspired to make something for me again, I thought I’d start with the pants.  I also thought these would be a good idea for Daughter No2, I’m sure she could carry these off with ease!  She’s already given the nod to the shirt.

First attempt at photos, back in March

Going by the measurement chart, I traced the 12 and 14, and toiled the 14 with no adjustments.  I used some cream curtain lining, thinking the pattern needed a fabric with body to hold the shape and the pleat.  I’m not sure whether it was the colour or the body of the lining, but I suddenly wasn’t quite so sure I liked the pants when I was finished with the toile!  Feeling a little blah, I put them in the naughty corner and faffed around with other things.

Terra Pants from Pattern Fantastique

But I couldn’t get them out of my head – there must be a way to make them work – I still really liked how they looked on other people.  Putting them on again, I thought that perhaps I could go down a size on the legs, that would narrow them on each side seam by about a centimetre.  I also made an adjustment to the centre back seam which improved the fit across the bum.  But still not 100% certain.  I really didn’t want to waste fabric on something I might not like afterwards.

Sunflowers on the pocket, a reminder that when I made these, Europe had just gone nuts.

Eventually, it was at a sewing session with a couple of friends that it all came together.  I was faffing with the pattern, reducing the side seams down to the 12, when I thought I’d pu the toile on again and ask their opinions.  To my complete surprise, they all liked the pants!  The colour needed to be looked past, but they all assured me they looked good and just go ahead!  So I took a deep breath and went for it!  My fabric is a very dark lightweight stretch denim that I bought from Truro Fabrics many years ago.


The pattern is easy to follow and the instructions clear.  The fly zip is inserted in a manner I’ve never used before, but it’s not confusing (just read the instructions carefully!) and results in a good finish.  I just need to reverse the instructions so that the opening is on the other side.  I cannot get used to the zip and button being on the “wrong” side.  Aside from the adjustment in the centre back seam, I made no other changes.  This version has the patch pockets on the back and the turn-ups.

I made them to sit on the waist, but apparently if you size up, you can make them to sit lower on the hip.  That might be an idea for next time, I find they’re a little on the snug side!  Which contrasts massively with the fullness in the leg – which is something I just can’t get over.  They just don’t look right on me.  I think it’s the combination of the balloon legs and the cropped length, round pants…  Possibly in a fabric with even less body, and maybe if I size down in the legs and up in the waist I’d get something I prefer, but I’m not sure I’m willing to waste fabric to find out.  I know the girls would look brilliant in these – but is that just because they’re slim?

I’m keen to hear from someone else who’d make the 12/14/16 size and who is around 1.6m tall – have you made them?  Do you like them on you?  I’m honestly thinking of unpicking these and making something else from the fabric, saving and reusing the pockets – of course!


I fancied this pattern when I saw it in the Burda magazine, August 2021.  It’s pretty straightforward except for the neckline.  And was what I liked – and was wary of at the same time!  I had a feeling that this would be one of those patterns that made a cool looking garment, until the first time it was washed.  Then it would be a royal pain in the butt to iron and get to sit properly again.  I figured fabric choice was going to be key here.

orange 5

So I left it for a while until I found some organic cotton jersey at Croft Mill which was nice and sturdy when it came, has stretch but not masses of drape, had body but wasn’t thick.  I thought this is it, I’ll make that top with this stuff.  I thought about doing a FBA for about 5 minutes after tracing the 44, looked at  all the odd shaped pieces and then decided not to bother…  Lazy.  So there are no alterations on this.

orange 4

orange 2

It wasn’t overly complicated to put together, but the fabric wanted to roll to the right side all the time, which was annoying, and irritating when I needed it to sit still and stay put!  The instructions have you insert the sleeve after the s ides are sewn up, but with jersey tops you usually put the sleeve in on the flat.  The head on this pattern is very high which has lead to some makers getting a nasty poof s tthe top.  I took one look at it and lowered the head height a bit – completely by eye.  It’s better than some look, but really – it’s unneccessary to have a sleeve head like that on a jersey top!

orange 3

The asymmetry of the neckline is cool, worked ok when flat.  But my prediction was right – it is a pain in the butt to iron after washing!!  But I love it so much that as soon as it’s back in the wardrobe, it’s out again.  I’ve worn this top so many times since making it back in December!!  I hadn’t realised it was that long ago – apologies for the extremely late blog post!  I will make this again, and in this sort of weight fabric.  A jersey with more drape than this would go straight into the bit at the first attempt at ironing the neckline and a stiffer jersey would be too thick.  Perhaps a thin viscose ponte would be nice.

orange 1

Summertime Sewing

Still with me after that break?  Sewing has been a little on the slow side, and most of it has been for the girls, which means that photos are few and far between!  I haven’t anything earth shattering to show you, and still haven’t sorted that post for the Terra Pants.  Why?  Well – I’m not convinced that they were right for me.  Looking back at the photos and knowing how I feel when wearing them, the shape just isn’t me.  So instead I thought I’d play things safe, and reverted to a favourite pattern of mine, the Teddy Designer Pants from Style Arc.

teddy 1

This is version number 6!  I had a length of viscose linen in the stash that I’d bought from Rainbow Fabrics Kilburn last summer, is was a beigey-ivory colour that I knew wasn’t going to stay that way!  It was instantly dyed Pewter Grey, but then found itself back in the stash.  I had bought another piece of the viscose linen in rust and made a Zadie Jumpsuit with it, only to discover that it was too heavy and had too much drape to be a jumpsuit.  That garment is still waiting for me to take the top of and turn the whole thing into something more suitable.  So I was concerned that the fabric was too drapey and needed to be sure I’d got the right pattern next time.

teddy 2

In the end I decided on the Teddy Pants because the drape would be fine and I could interface the waistband sufficiently to control any movement there.  It was a good choice!  I made the 12 with only a leg length adjustment that I’d made way back when I made the first pair.  I have also already adjusted the inseam pockets to be caught into the waistband – otherwise they flap around and drive me nuts.  I have fancy pockets in these, using up scraps of Liberty to reduce bulk and make it easier to iron!

teddy 3

There isn’t much to say about these, they’re so comfy to wear and I love the relaxed fit and big pleat.  They will not be my last pair.  Not something I can say about those poor Terra Pants…

teddy 4

Work in Progress 1/2022

Woohoo, first Work in Progress of the year!  This time there’s no tutorial or how to, just me trying to hold myself accountable to the ongoing list in my head!  Sooo…  In progress are a couple of projects for the girls and some projects taking care of the growing mountain of scraps in the corner of the sewing room.

Starting with the girls’ projects.  Waistcoats – or vests for my American friends.  I have been informed that those delightful fashions of the 90s are back in vogue, and top on the list of those fashions are waistcoats.  Daughter No1 is particularly keen on a waistcoat as top, so I trawled through 5 years of Burda magazines from 1996 to 2000 and found two patterns she liked, also found a pattern envelope in the pattern drawers and another that was the same as one of the magazine ones, but available in more sizes.

collage 6943

collage 2889

I’ve toiled Burda 2889 and New Look 6943, and I think she’s gong to prefer the fit of the Burda.  I need to post these now and I hope there won’t be too many fitting adjustments to be made.  She’s wanting one in black and another in white, so as soon as I know one of them is the winning pattern, I’ll get buying fabric!

Waistcoat patterns

Daughter No 2 is also on a 90s vibe, and fancies some of the long, flowing viscose dresses we used to wear.  Again, the Burda magazines have come up trumps and I have a pattern to toile this week.  It’s number 129 from the April 1994 (South African edition) magazine.  We had a video call over two boxes of magazines and there are a few other things she’s after, but I won’t list them all now!  I’ll start with the dress and trace the others after it’s toiled.

Dress 129 from the April 1994 Burda magazine – South African issue

However, I have made another toile for her, a pair of shorts from what I’m sure is a very late 80s pattern, although it might be early 90s.  New Look 6009 has three shorts offerings, we’ve gone with the longer length with turn-ups.  Again. toile is done, just need a fitting done.  Fingers crossed, because I really like this pattern!!

New Look shorts 6009

So that’s what’s on my sewing table for the girls, looks like summer is on the way!!  Do you have summer sewing plans?  I can’t say I have a pressing desire to sew anything massively summery for myself just yet – I’m sitting here with thick socks and a chunky jumper on to keep warm!

Little Black Jacket

Way back last year in November, I was making a little black jacket – one I had hoped would be the warmer version of my little navy linen jacket that is so useful in the summer.  The pattern is 111 from the August issue of BurdaStyle magazine, 2021.  I’ll have to link to the Work in Progress post – it’s so long ago now!!  The details of what I needed to adjust for fitting are in that post, as well as a tutorial on how I do my in-seam pockets.   I took photos not long after the jacket was completed, but wasn’t entirely convinced with it.  Why?  Well, I wasn’t happy with the way the fabric behaved while sewing, for the most part.

lbj 5
Burda jacket 111 August 2021

Despite being washed, dried and ironed well before use, it shrunk again in the construction process, something I only discovered when I put facings to the shell, and tried to mark the positions of the snaps.  However, despite those initial misgivings, I have to say I rather like this little jacket!  It has been used on those days when I don’t need a coat, and is nice and roomy so a thick jumper can fit underneath!

lbj 6

lbj 3

Lets get into the details shall we?  The body is not fitted, the boxy shape allows for the addition of snuggly jumpers and rolled up scarves.  I also love the back pleated into a yoke, plenty of movement in this.  The sleeves too are not fitted.  They are constructed in three pieces and have a balloon shape – again with the jumpers, you don’t feel like the michelin man with your jumper bunched up in a too-tight sleeve!

lbj 8

lbj 1
Lining leftover from the rust corduroy Burda jacket made a couple of years ago

The texture on the fabric stops the black from being plain and boring, and the use of the patterned black and white viscose lining lifts the interior.  I went with plain black snaps, uncovered, to give a more sporty look to the jacket.  The only criticism I have about the jacket is the pockets.

lbj 9

They’re too high up and too far round in the side seam to be comfortably used.  You really cannot put anything in there that you wouldn’t want falling out either, they don’t scoop much and I definitely don’t put my phone in these.  And in the making up – the pocket bags are in the way of the sewing up of the hem!  The lower opening of the pocket lines up directly with the turned up hem edge.  I had to so some serious detouring around the pocket bags.  Next time I’ll make a patch pocket with a welt opening, similar to that of the Pepernoot coat from Waffle Patterns.  If I even bother with a pocket at all, the jacket is quite short, so hands in pockets means elbows out and bumping into things.

lbj 7

lbj 2

But – with all the pocket palava – I still like this jacket.  I have reached for it often and I really like the shape.  I still have that pile of old holey jeans waiting to be magically turned into something fabulous, and I’m getting quite keen ideas on using some of those to make another of these little jackets – unlined and with patch pockets!!

I’ll recap those items I’ve made and not “reviewed” during April, and try to keep up with the new stuff.  I think this year will be slow sewing for myself, and quicker sewing for the girls and the other half.  I seem to recall I promised him some self drafted shorts last summer…..

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