Burda 4 2010 116 shirt dress

Pattern Review had a shirt dress contest recently and I had the perfect fabric for one. I bought this gorgeous Amy Butler print almost 3 years ago, planning to make a McCalls 6696.  My plans rarely turn into reality, so the fabric has waited patiently in a cupboard. Which is not too bad, because I don’t want a M6696 anymore, I wanted something more relaxed like S8014.


I didn’t want to bother toiling the Simplicity pattern so I started with a Burda pattern which I altered slightly to look more like the Simplicity one.

I used 38 for neck, collar, armholes and 40 from the bust down. I usually trace 36 for shoulders but the pattern started at 38. It’s still good and if I ever get to make some shirts using this pattern I will probably leave it as it is.

I did a 1/2″ forward shoulder and for the sway back I just shaved a 1/4 wedge of the back and yoke seam at the centre, tapering to nothing at the armscye. I shaved another 1/4 on the yoke on the armscye side both front and back for sloping shoulder (this actually brought the back yoke seam to the original shape) . This change made my armhole smaller and I forgot to remove some from the sleeve cap, so I had A LOT of sleeve to ease in


I made the skirt 2.5″ shorter than the pattern and faced the hem with a 3″ wide facing. The pattern included instructions for a D ring belt, I like the idea of having more than just a tie  belt/sash so I made one too. I interfaced both sides and did 4 rows of top stitching to give it more body. I like the dress with  or without a belt and I thin it will work with any shop bought belt since there are so many colours in the print.

The fabric has a stripe design running along the length which I have used on the button bands, the collar edge, the sleeve cuffs and the pocket top. I would’ve used it on the belt too but I only had 2.5m and the fabric was narrow so I didn’t have enough left to place the belt on a stripe.

I felt clever and made the buttonholes horizontal. I thought that it makes more sense to have them in the direction the buttons are pulling, but I didn’t think how difficult it would be to make sure the button bands are aligned. The fronts can shift left-right and the underband can be seen, which is very visible with the stripe peeking out.


The print reminds me of a tapestry my grandmother had on a wall in the room I used to spend my summers as a child. I’ve asked my aunts for a picture but sadly the tapestry is gone 😦


The collar stand looks like it’s collapsing. I’ve moved the button 2 times, but I thin maybe the buttonhole should be higher? Do you have any tips for a proudly standing collar stand? 😀


A plaid tailored jacket for PR Sewing Bee round 3

I’m still burnt out after making this in 9 days (mostly evenings), 2 of which were spent on fitting the pattern, but I wanted to share it because I’m extremely proud of it.

There are many details in my PR review so I won’t bore you with more text, even though I could probably write at least 2 lengthy posts about this week.

2 bound buttonholes – one of them is almost invisiblle

Perfectly matching pocket flap

Almost perfectly matching welt

I underlined the bias cut velvet collar with a piece of interfaced light cotton

Insides before lining

Inside out – satin silk lining from the cloth house sale – £4/m

aligned horizontal lines

aligned vertical lines

Could’ve done better on the back

I absolutely love it!

I hope I get through to the final round (will find out tomorrow) and the last challenge is a pair of trousers. I’ve had a gorgeous pair of Burda (again!) jeans on my list for 2 years. 😀

Make the fabric your own – The reveal

I started quilting my fabric on Saturday morning. As I went along, it was becoming more and more apparent it wasn’t going to be a skirt. It couldn’t, it was just too stiff, so I had to come up with plan B. The obvious garment for the fabric was a simple jacket, but I didn’t have enough fabric for sleeves, nor did I want such a bulky fabric around my arms. I stopped half way through the quilting and made a trip to Goldhawk Road, entered the first shop and asked for fake leather, they had a perfect dark brown which I bought and ran back home. There went two hours I could’ve spent sewing, but at least the weather was nice and I got to see the sun.

I wanted to finish the jacket and take the pictures on Sunday even though the deadline is Tuesday night, but it was my only chance to take pictures in daylight. I woke up early and started a muslin on Burda 126-08-2014. No collar, no pockets, just the front, back and 2 piece sleeve. I’m really happy I took the time to test the pattern, there were a lot of changes I needed to do – narrow the shoulders, lift the right side at the shoulder front on the neck side, shorten the armscye and sleeve cap (which I think would’ve looked better if I kept the cap sleeve length and changed only the width to make it fit the new armscye length), lengthen the bodice below the waist, widened the neckline, and I think that’s it. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for a 1 day jacket. Next time I’ll do better.

The front pattern had a bust dart but the fabric was too bulky to add a dart. I gathered the wool at the sides around the dart area and steamed it shorter. So even thought there are no darts the bust area is shaped nicely.

I trimmed the neckline, center front and hem with strips of the fake leather I used for the sleeves. The side seams match and the seam allowances are bound with the silk I quilted the wool on.

This felt like a marathon, I am sew exhausted now. I’ll go have another glass of wine and not sew for another week. Here are ‘a few’ pictures of the end result which make me really happy. I think it was worth it.

Wild flowers spring top

Everybody must be waiting for spring. Are you? I know I am.

I had my eye on this Liberty print since last summer, it was love at first sight. A month ago I finally decided it’s time for us to be together so I ordered 2 meters from White Tree Fabrics.

Initially I wanted to make a shirt, but after my last make in plaid I needed something easier, quicker. And I think this pattern works a lot better with the fabric. The pattern is a mash up of two Burda Magazine tops, both from the 10/2011 issue.

The  big sleeves wouldn’t work with cotton, so I used the more modest sleeve from pattern 114, omitting the sleeve openings. I’ve also decided to loose the ruffle because:

  1. I’m too short to wear so much fabric
  2. Who has the time to iron that thing?

I went up from 38 to 40 in Burda sizes lately, but I found that 38 still fits better on my shoulders so for this top I used 38 above armholes and 40 below. I used 38 for both the sleeve and the amrscye, but the armscye of 114 was longer than 121, so I ended up with a few gathers on top of the sleeves. I don’t mind.

I shortened the pattern only at the bottom, the waist is almost spot on. I wonder how this would work on someone who’s a normal height. I’m guessing the waist would be too high 🙂

Something that wasn’t mentioned in the instructions but I did anyway is to top stitch the ties. I have two dresses with similar long ties that are not top stitched and it’s a pain to iron them after washing.

This print is gorgeous!

FUN FACT (I’m starting to like this 🙂 ) – I’ve entered a competition with this blouse on a Romanian forum and I won! Yay!

FUN FACT 2  – If you’re in the UK and have watched “Cucumber”, you might have noticed Henry wearing a shirt with the same print

And a final P.S. This is not a White tree project, I bought the fabric this time, but you can still use “LIVING ROOM” at check out to get 20% discount and free shipping.

I conquered the shirt. In plaid.

I was watching Pamela Howard’s shirt class on Craftsy and she was saying that you shouldn’t make your first shirt out of plaid fabrics. Or stripes even. Admittedly, this is not my first shirt. I’ve made the JJ before, it had button bands, continuous sleeve plackets and a mandarin collar. I’ve also made an Alder which has a proper shirt collar. See? This shouldn’t have been a very difficult project.

I used a pattern from Burda 03/2015, size 38. It’s the one for the crazy show-me-your-right-hip shirt dress, but quite obviously I chose to make it a basic shirt using the JJ for length and hem shape. The shoulder are dropped – not something I usually go for, but I thought that it’s a good choice for a relaxed shirt. Now, even though the shoulders are dropped, the sleeve head is very curved, I’d say it has the same shape you’d see in a normal shirt. I was too lazy to go back to the pattern to check, but it’s easy to see there’s too much fabric there.

The fabric. The fabric! I think this is what is called double gauze, because it’s gauzy and it’s double. Really, it has two very light layers of fabric held together by crosswise lines of stitching. It’s spongy and it doesn’t behave, not even under steam. I pressed the hell out of it, but it always sprang back to its spongy nature. It’s even more obnoxious when cut on bias. But that didn’t stop me from cutting lots of pieces on bias, trying to center the crossing orange lines where possible.

  • one back placket
  • two button bands
  • cuffs
  • sleeve plackets
  • pocket

Do I have to say that I had to cut each individual piece at a time, just to make sure each is perfectly placed? That applies to the fronts, back and sleeves as well, as I wanted to make sure the horizontal lines match everywhere.

Ignore the thread that pops out of the pocket 🙂

I’ve put a lot of thinking into this and I’m happy with how it came out, but there are a few things that I could have done better:

– interface the button bands. The class and the pattern instructions say you don’t need it, because you already have 3 layers of fabric. But my fabric is light and spongy and totally nasty on bias and the edges curve slightly.

– I patiently block-fused a piece of fabric for the collar and stand. I didn’t realised I placed the interfacing on the right side of fabric until I finished fusing. I used it anyway for the under collar and stand.

– align the obvious black stripes on the collar. The squares on the fabric are more like rectangles, so even though I chose the black line as my center back, the corners of the collars ended up with a different pattern.

– I cut the stand in the wrong direction. See how the black narrow line is on the other side?

None of these bother me too much, but I thought it’s worth mentioning. For posterity 🙂

I’ve never made tower plackets before and I dreaded them. They weren’t very difficult. I can imagine making them in a crisper fabric cut on straight grain would be a piece of cake.

It was a first for flat felled seam as well for me. I’ve done mock flat felled on the JJ before, but this was the first time I’ve done the real thing. I did it only on the armhole seam though. By the time I got to doing the side/sleeve seam, the fabric was too frayed to have enough to flat fell. So I just serged the seam and mocked it again.

FUN FACT! I was in TKMaxx recently and found a shirt made out of the exact fabric, different colors. I loved how soft it was and the shirt was really nicely made, but it was too narrow in the sleeves and chest. At that time I though it was too wide in the shoulders, but they were probably going for the same look I was 🙂

Lots of top stitching on the details and they didn’t dare cutting them on bias.

Soon after the above picture was taken I found my fabric on myfabrics.co.uk. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to order it, as it was just weeks after ordering some other fabrics from them. And then, they contacted me! To ask if I wanted to make something out of their fabric. “Uhmmm, YES PLEASE! I want to make a shirt like the one that didn’t fit me. But better! With matching buttons“.

For all my moaning, this fabric is really great. It is a pain to sew, but what makes it so difficult to handle is making it a dream to wear. And this shirt was just meant to be.

Do you have any sewing coincidence stories? I hope they’re happy stories!


If you’ve had the patience to read all this, you might be happy to find that I have a myfabrics.co.uk voucher for you. You can use LIVINGROOM until the 19th of April to get a £10 discount for a minimum order value of £35.

Burda 6/2010 cuffed shorts

This was the most challenging project I’ve worked on lately. There were so many things that went wrong from the beginning, I’m amazed I didn’t give up.

I’ll make a summary here, using a numbered list. I didn’t count them before, it will be a surprise for me too 🙂

1. Cutting – I only had 60 cm of this black cotton sateen and I carefully placed all my pattern pieces on it to see if I had enough fabric. Lucky for me (or not?) I’m so short that 60 cm is enough for a pair of shorts. Well, almost enough, because there wasn’t enough to include seam allowances in the back legs. But that wasn’t that big of a problem.

2. Cutting – because of fabric constraints again, I had to cut the belt loops separately. sewing the belt loops in one piece and cutting them after is so much easier.


3. Welt pockets – I applied the fusible interfacing for the welt pockets after sewing the dart. The fabric wasn’t laying flat, you can imagine the result. 

4. Front pockets – Burda usually has you cut the pocket facing in one piece from the main fabric. But since I didn’t have enough fabric, I slashed that piece and cut it from both the main fabric and lining. I probably messed up the seam allowances, because the back pocket pieces turned out huge compared to the front ones.

5. Front pockets – I applied interfacing on the right side of the fabric. I realised this soon enough, I was able to rip it up and press it on the wrong side.

6. I remember unpicking some seams, not sure where and why, but you can never forget unpicking seams in black fabric.

7. There is that weird pulling on the right front. I think I used a longer wider allowance when I sewn the waistband to that part of the front, where the drag lines start.

8. I almost forgot this one – the welts are different sizes, one is wider than the other.

I would say 8 is not a  lot, but not too little either. Still, despite that drag line, I see these shorts as very wearable. I think they look pretty good considering what I went through making them. The fly gave me a bit of trouble as well, I don’t enjoy sewing zip flies (is that the plural?), but it turned out ok. I used Jen’s tutorial, but I will try another one next time. I hand sewn the top of the cuffs to the pants, so they don’t sag and/or get out of shape in the wash. 

I had two cuffed shorts patterns in my Burda collection. The other one didn’t have the pleats and were shorter. I chose this pattern because they are very similar to a RTW pair I love. They are the exact same length – they end exactly were my thighs get slimmer 😀

see those drag lines? not visible in every image i have, but very visible here.

I wanted to wear that belt but somebody else had other plans 🙂