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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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…..
When you live in trousers, they’re not simply a wardrobe basic, they’re an essential item! I decided to add some pleated trousers to this year’s Autumn/Winter wardrobe, and have finally made something from one of the Burda magazines from this year. Burda have, unfortunately, not exactly been exciting this year. Only a couple of patterns have caught my attention, and until August, none caught it enough for me to actually bother to trace. But this pair is different, it’s 119 from August 2021. What caught my eye was the small pleats on the front, the neat waistband and tapered leg.
I traced the 44 and 42 and made an adjustment to the height of the waistband. While I liked the neatness of it, I also knew I’d prefer a slightly deeper waistband. I toiled the 44, but started grading towards the 42 from the hip down. The toile was successful, I only had a couple of adjustments to make.
Not making my usual shorten the length adjustment – this style should be slightly cropped, but it’s heading to winter and I don’t want cold ankles!
Altered the CF line – straightened it a bit so it was 5mm further out at the top, giving me an extra 1cm overall.
Took in the inseam by 1cm front and back from crotch to knee.
Made the waistband 1cm deeper.
The adjustments have worked well, I like the fit on these, so will be making another pair soon. I will, however, make them a little longer. The length looks good, and while it’s not freezing, they’re fine, but I want a longer pair! So the next pair will be 3cm longer. Looking at the photos, I think I need to take in a bit more on the inseam, it looks a bit baggy there, but I also need to remember that these are not supposed to be skintight!
In toiling, I realised there’d be a lot of bulk at the waistband from the pockets, so I cut a pocket facing for the back pocket piece and rifled through the stash of scraps for a lightweight bit of pretty cotton. I found I had just enough to cut the rather-large-for-Burda pockets from the pretty stuff, and only tiny bits leftover to head into the stuffing bag. These inseam pockets are a really good size, phone in one and mask and card wallet in the other, with space to spare for hands!
The trouser fabric is a cotton twill in Mocha bought from the Rag Shop in August, I don’t think they have any of that colour left now. It’s Kobe cotton twill, and it’s also one of those fabrics you need to be sure to wash inside out. I washed the trousers after the first wearing without turning them inside out and the creases formed while washing have lost a bit of colour. This means that all folded edges will lose colour too. I wouldn’t mind if it was a cheap, £7/m fabric, but it wasn’t. I haven’t bought a Robert Kaufman fabric before, and it might be joining Lady McElroy fabrics in the “avoid” pile due to colour fade. It’s beautfully soft though, and lovely to wear. Just watch the colour fading.
I wore these for the first time on a long weekend trip to York, they were very comfy to wear traipsing round the city all day. They’ve since been worn a few times and I really do like the pattern. I know Burda don’t have the best sizing these days, they used to go from a 34 to a 46 in the “everybody” section of the magazine, but these are just 36-44. I feel they are trying to save money by reducing the sizes available, the number of patterns in the magazine and the quality of the magazine paper itself. It’s a shame, as the old magazines were fabulous! Perhaps a revisit of those older magazines is in order.
In the mean time, I’ve traced a jacket pattern from the August issue to toile, I have a retro (90s) pair of Burda trousers to show you and I have Lander pants to make for both girls – not to mention a VikiSews blouse for daughter no1 and a Bellatrix blazer for each of them. Thank godness the garden and allotment have stopped shouting for my attention!
Here we are, almost two weeks into September and I still haven’t shown off the last pair of linen trousers made – last month! I have to admit to being in a bit of a sewing funk, but I hope I’ve turned that corner this week! More on that later, I thought I’d pop in and let you all know that I’m still here, and back to sewing. I suppose I also need to admit that I haven’t made those shorts for the other half. August was not shorts weather – so no need!! I will carry on with the sewing for him though, at some point!!
Right, this is another pair of the trousers from Burda July 2009, number 102. I made a pair in reddish linen back in April that have been on constant rotation this year. I love the leg width and length, they’re just so darned comfy to wear! Anyway, in June I bought 2m of a beautiful silvery blue stretch linen from Rags and Rolls on the Seven Sisters Road in Holloway and knew I’d be making another pair.
This time I’ve not used a contrasting fabric for pocket linings or waistbands. Having a stretch content, I sized down from the hip up because otherwise they’d be sliding down by lunchtime! I acutally could do with nipping them in a little more, or making the belt loops and finding myself a belt to wear with them! Again, so nice to wear!
I guess there’s not much more to say about them really, but try to track down the pattern if you want a comfy pair of trousers for the summer (and winter tbh, I’ve made them in wool and lined them before).
In other news – I made a good start to my Autumn sewing this week!! Since Friday last week I’ve cut out and sewn a pair of jeans, a shirt, two sweatshirts and a top. I suddenly got all inspired and have traced a whole load of stuff too, so tomorrow I’m going to try to get some photos of the stuff made so far and get some toiles done. I’m feeling all seasonal!
Remember weeks ago I said I wanted to add green to my palette? Actually, it might even be a month ago! Back in May I bought a stripe olive and ecru tee, which prompted me to buy a few pieces of olive/khaki fabric to create a mini capsule wardrobe that would also fit in with the greys, black and blues of the existing wardrobe. I got a 2m piece of cotton linen from Truro Fabrics and decided to make a pair of Burda trousers with it.
The pattern is style 107 from Burda March 2021. I started with the size 44, but traced the 42 as well, just in case! Knowing I wanted pockets and to move the zip position, I started with the pockets. I drew up a pattern for inseam pockets that would be supported by the facing seam, I don’t like the way the Teddy Pants have flappy pockets, the one thing I have changed on the pattern. I made them deep and wide enough to fit my phone and other items and not have them fall out when I sit down.
Then I needed to play with the front. I decided to have a front fly zip with fly bearer the way some men’s trousers work. It’s the best way to have a fly zip when there’s no waistband and button. The front detail needed to be operational, rather than purely decorative, so it has working buttonholes for the buttons. It means there are a lot of buttons to faff with when you need to go to the loo, but it works.
To minimise bulk I used some cotton fabric from the scrap box for the facings, reverse side of the front flap detail and one layer of the pocket bags. The toile showed the 44 at the waist was the right size, but I needed to shave off a little at the hip, so I switched to the 42 and followed that down to the hem. I shortened the crotch depth by 2cm and took 3cm off the overall length of the leg as well. Looking back, I could probably have left this last adjustment, or only taken 1-2cm off.
I made the toile “wearable” using a pintucked cotton duvet cover that I’d dyed black. I thought it would give the right amount of body. I actually prefer it to the linen version! And I think it’s because it has more body than the linen. So technically I have two new pairs of trousers, and I haven’t wasted the toile fabric, which is nice.
As you can see, I omitted the buttoned outside leg detail, that wasn’t the look I was going for, so this isn’t a really good review of the pattern! I’ve changed too many things! But I do like the width of the legs, and I don’t think it makes me look too short, which is always an issue with wide leg, cropped trousers.
I’ve worn both pairs quite a lot since making, and I have to say just one thing. As I don’t tuck my tops in, that cross-over detail in the front doesn’t get seen… So if you tuck, you’ll be good! One other thing – with the addition of the side seam pockets, I’ve removed the taughness/stability given to the cross-over pieces and they can get a bit wavey. So maybe the answer is to just have back pockets, but not patch pockets. A welt would work better, neater.
After a successful winter making terracotta/parika/rust coloured trousers to counter the denim, black and grey, it was time to do the same with the summer wardrobe – assuming summer is actually on the way (along with getting out of lockdown)! I bought a little pile of fabrics from Rainbow Fabrics in the Autumn, one of which was a piece of viscose linen in what I thought was rust, but turns out to be more a red brick/terracotta colour. No matter, I still like the colour, and it will still work with my summer wardrobe!
Having already decided on using a tried and tested pattern, Burda 102 from July ’09, I thought it would be a straightforward project. But it seems I’ve done a lot of scribbling on the traced pattern in the past, jumped around with sizes and shortening locations, and generally just made a mess. So I retraced the pattern, the 42 and 44 and toiled the 44, straight – no alterations. I prefer to do that with a pattern I’m using for the first time, then I can see what I need to alter. Given the different cuts and styles, you can’t really assume too much before-hand. I knew I’d need to shorten the leg, guessing around 6 or so cm, and that there would need to be some sort of fiddling with the crotch depth/length. And possibly some faffing with the waist….
In the end, I took a total of 5.5cm out of the leg length, 2.5 in the area between hip and knee and the remainder at the hem. The waistband fitted just fine, but I felt the crotch depth was too short. On measuring the crotch length, and comparing it to the length of the Teddy pants, which are really comfortable, I realised I needed to add 4cm to the overall length. So I lengthened the crotch depth 1cm and added another centimetre to the depth of the waistband. This made all the difference and the pants are now perfectly comfortable to wear!
Finding a suitably coloured zip was impossible, so a red one has sufficed. I used some African waxed cotton for the inside waistband, which helps with stability (no stretching out of linen on my waistband!) The insides are all overlocked to keep them neat and tidy, and found the right button in my stash.
I love the richness of the colour and I just hope it doesn’t fade. This is one problem I’ve been finding with the terracotta coloured fabric. This particular piece is lovely, there’s something devine about a linen and viscose blend. So much so, that when Rainbow Fabrics released new fabrics last month and I saw they had more – I bought more!! This time the colour is more paprika/rust, and I have 3m… I need to decide whether to make another Zadie Jumpsuit or the Wildwood Wrap Dress from Sew House Seven! I bought the dress pattern when it came out – even though I’m not a dress person – because I just loved how it looked on everyone! I have yet to trace and toile the pattern though!
Better late than never with this post!! I have a very quiet time on IG and here in the lead up to Christmas time because I was busy making presents! Then we had the announcement that Chirstmas wasn’t happening the way we’d all planned and I had to post everything. I waited for the mad rush to be over before I sent mine, I really didn’t want my handmade items getting lost or going missing in the huge pile the post office had to deal with all of a sudden. Which all means getting photos of said items was heavily delayed. But I have some now!
I’d decided to make luxurious pjs for the girls for Christmas – proper, grown-up pjs! I looked at all sorts of fabrics; double gauze, flowing viscose, tencel and cotton lawn. I knew Daughter No1 would want hers in a plain fabric, and I tried very hard to find a terracotta or something that looks like it’s been dyed with avocado. In the end I decided I really wanted tencel, it would give the luxurious feel I was after, would be lovely to sleep in, and not get hot! But budget constraints hit hard, tencel is expensive! In the end I found some tencel twill in suitable plain colours from The Fabric Room, minimum order was 3m per fabric, which is fine for a pair of pjs!
I ordered two samples and waited. They were quick to come and I was perfectly happy with both. The colour, handle and drape were perfect, so I jumped in and ordered 3m of each of two colours. They were realtively quick to arrive, given the pressures the postal service was under at the end of November and beginning of December.
The pattern for Daughter No 1 was going to be the Carolyn PJ pants. I chose a couple of sizes bigger in the width, to give the baggy look she was after, and an oversized shirt pattern from Burda. She wanted the “I’m wearing my bigger boyfriend’s shirt” look. The pj trousers were to be simple, no piping. I should have found a way to get her leg length correct though, I need to go back and shorten the trousers! The tencel sewed so beautifully, creases steam out quickly and, when pressed, it stays in place. I used French seams throughout to give the pants a high quality, and double turned the trouser hem. There are no raw edges here!
The top was chosen a, because it was nice and big but proportionally still worked for a small size, and b, because it was long enough to be able to be worn without pants if wanted. It has a shirt hem that is longer in the back than the front. The pattern is shirt 120B from Burda October 2016, link to the German site, as the other one is as useful as a chocolate teapot. The shirt has a front button band, small collar and stand and a back yoke that comes forward to the front with angled seams. The sleeve is nice and wide and inserted on the flat, pleated into a buttoned cuff. I’ve liked this pattern for ages, so when Daughter No1 hinted that she wanted an oversized shirt for pjs, this was the first one I thought of!
Again, it’s French seamed throughout and has double turned hems, lightweight fusible interfacing on cuffs, buttonband and collar pieces. The buttons are from my stash of mother-of-pearl buttons. I only use these for special projects, and when that project has reached the end of its life, the expectation is that the buttons are returned to live again on another project! I really love the sky-blue colour of this tencel twill, and the sandwashed effect it has.
The pyjamas were met with delight, once they were posted! We had hit a snag with the sudden announcement of level 4 restrictions in London before Christmas, and again when Christmas travel was severely restricted, so we were unable to deliver in person. However, thank goodness for WhatsApp and video calling! The pjs have gone down a treat and I know she’s happy with her proper, grown-up pjs!
You’ve seen the three tops in the form of Tee-shirts that are required in the challenge, but I have another! I wanted to make a top from the February Burda, top 119. I bought a metre and a half of grey marl sweatshirting with French terry back from Fabworks and boy was it the right fabric!! Lets just say that I’m wearing that top whenever it’s clean and dry. I traced the 42 and didn’t do a FBA, which, in hindsight, I really should have done. There’s definitely upward pulling going on which a FBA would have prevented. Ah well, next time! I lengthened the body by 5cm and am definitely happy with that decision! It would have been way too short otherwise.
The fabric is perfect for the style, it holds the shape really well. The only thing I’d change for the next time would be to reduce the height of the collar. I’m wearing it folded over all the time – for me it’s just too high, so could do with 2-3cm shaved off on each side. But apart from that, this is a great top! I love with my 3/4 sleeve Uvitas, I like the colour and pattern popping out of the sleeve and just below the hem. Looks like I’m talking myself into making another…
Now for the pants… These are the one item I’m not that sold on, and mightwill have to find a replacement for. The pattern I chose is 107 from August Burda 2019 – which states it’s designed for fabrics with and without stretch, and which, in the magazine, they’ve made in ponte. So I bought 2m of viscose ponte in pistachio from Fabworks and set to work. Making a fly front, hip yoke pair of trousers in ponte was an interesting project. I like the colour, but I wonder if it shouldn’t have had a little more oompfh. Nevermind, as it is, I don’t think this pattern wasn’t necessarily designed for ponte fabric.
I cut the 40, as the previous pair I made in wool in the size 42 are too loose. But still I needed to take these in an extra 2cm on each side seam and 4cm in the back. The waistband was interfaced with stretch interfacing, and still halfway though the day I’m having to yank them back up into place. If, and this is a big if, I make this pattern again, I’ll remove a centimetre or two from the crotch depth, and make a 38 in a knit, possibly the 38/40 in a woven. I love the pleats at the hem, that detail is just fabulous, but the rest of the garment just isn’t working. It’s such a shame!! I think I’m going to have to open the waistband up and insert some elastic, or possibly even grossgrain ribbon. It just needs to stay up!!
So, three successful tees done, one sweatshirt top and one pair of dodgy trousers. I have toiled the “topper” part of the challenge and have identified at least another 3 pairs of trousers that would fit the bill for the bottoms. They’re all Burda patterns and will need to be traced, but at least I’m finally finding something in the latest magazines that I want to make!
Hellooo! It’s been a little quiet on this front lately, but rest assured, the sewing has continued! The cashmere coat is finished, I just need to get photos that do it justice! Standing in my sewing room with my phone propped up on a pile of books just isn’t doing any good. And, there’s another coat to show you now! I’m making good progress on shrinking the coating pile – at last! Again though, I need some nice sunny weather and a helper to get some decent photographs.
With the coat and jacket sewing, there’s good focus, but I need little, quick projects to break it up a bit. That’s partly why I thought signing up to Stef’s #SewYourWardrobeBasics would be a good idea. There’s no pressure, you participate in that month’s challenge theme if it suits you, and don’t if it doesn’t. So far, so good. This month is stripes, and if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know that that’s my favourite sort of pattern!
I decided to splurge on Tees for the challenge and bought some cotton lycra from a proper fabric shop to make a Basic Instinct Tee, and a couple of pieces online from Montreux Fabrics for a Stellan Tee and a Lark Tee. This will top up my summer tee pile quite nicely, but I wanted to squeeze in other projects too.
There’s an interesting pair of trousers in this month’s Burda that I’m keen on and might make in a linen, I’ll have to check the stash to see if there’s anything suitable. I also rather liked one of the tops in the magazine. However, when Fabworks posted on Instagram that they had a pistachio viscose ponte as their fabric of the month this month, and that was just £3 a meter, I gave in. I knew right away that I wanted some for another pair of the trousers I remade last year, 107 from August 2019. I imagine they’d be perfect secret pjs! And to go with them? That top from this February’s issue! Under it the stripe tees, and over the top, one of the coats still on the list! Sounds like an outfit on the way to a mini wardrobe – yes?
This is when I decided I might sign up to a bigger challenge, The Great Module Sew Along. The idea is to sew 2 bottoms, 3 tops and a covering/jacket. So far I have plans for all of the garrments, and don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to make the deadline for the challenge. And best of all, it gives me focus to make those quick projects in between the bigger coat and jacket projects. Oh, and there’s also the sewalong challenge in the Facebook sewing group I’m part of. This month is bottoms, so two pairs of trousers it will be! 🙂