I have been sewing–slowly–but not many new patterns, and I’m not someone who likes to review patterns I’ve already reviewed unless I did something substantially different. And there’s not a whole lot of gaps in my wardrobe to fill right now, so not much need to sew.
One thing I have been trying to make more of lately is pants for work, hence these:
They are swishy, they are magenta, they are linen/rayon. In the magazine they made them up in cashmere, but I thought it best to try it out in something a little less expensive (but still wearable) first. This is the second pair I made; the first version, in rayon twill, is just a smidge too stiff for the pleats. Also, since the pattern has a belt, I made the whole thing up in a size 40 thinking I could just cinch it in. And I can, but it doesn’t look right or feel right with everything hanging from the waist tie, so I don’t recommend that. The twill pants I do still wear, but not as much as I would have liked to.
The linen/rayon blend is much drapier, and I cinched in the waist by about an inch on this version, so it can actually stay up on its own without hanging off the belt, and that helps. The linen/rayon is from Needlework; the magenta was pretty popular and went fast but I think this was the only cut to end up as pants.
The pattern goes together well; it’s a side zipper rather than a fly, so it’s not time consuming, as pants patterns go. I stabilized the pocket edges with selvedge from a scrap of pink poly chiffon, so it is both very thin and very stable. And I did my now-standard buttonhole-on-the-inside-of-the-pocket trick to make it more functional to wear with an insulin pump.
They’re … not slimming. That would be my one cautionary note, if it matters to you. Otherwise it’s a good pants pattern that makes work-appropriate and comfortable pants with a few fun details. I’m not sure if I’ll use my cashmere on these (are they too trendy? Will the pleats and bow be unwearable in a year or two?) but I enjoyed making these ones.
In Burda, according to the their body measurement chart, I should be making pants up in a size 40/42. For the first pair, I made a straight size 40, which was too big in the waist. For the second pair, I made a 38/40; this is my usual Burda size, and it fit just fine.
I did it. Thirty-one days of me-mades, no repeat outfits. The hardest part was that Frances had uptillion doctor’s visits (more on that in another post), and on those days I worked from home, and I just don’t have as many homemade casual clothes as I do clothes for work. But I still did it!
As promised, here are links to all the blog posts about the projects including patterns, sizing, adjustments, and fabric sources. Here we go:
Burda 02/2017 #111 (unblogged). Love this sweatshirt pattern, not least because of the pockets! in the front. Sweatshirt fleece from King Textiles.
Sewaholic Renfrew t-shirt; Vogue 9155 view C pants (unblogged. Mini review: Should be a 16/18 based on their body measurement chart, but as always, tons of ease so I sized down to a 10/12. The fabric is a Fabricland ponte. Because of the knit I omitted the front fly closure and these are pull on, and it works, but in retrospect it would have been better to keep the closer and use woven interfacing in the waistband to eliminate the stretch because they do bag out over a day of wear).
Burda 6910 t-shirt (unblogged and out of print! Mini review: rayon jersey from Fabricland here. It’s been so long I don’t really remember this one anymore but it looks like I cut out a 10/12 on this one. I seem to remember taking in the waist a bit because the gathering at the waist adds a lot of extra space), Burda magazine bomber jacket.
You can barely see it, but the shirt I’m wearing is a Jalie Mimosa t-shirt without the sleeve ruffles.
Vogue patterns t-shirt, Burda magazine pants (New and unblogged so far, but hopefully I’ll get to it. Rayon twill from Needlework. I went with a straight 40 on this one reasoning that I could use the waist tie to cinch in the waist, and while yes that kind of worked, it would have been better to alter the waist down to the 38 and not have everything hanging off the tie).
Burdastyle magazine leggings and an unblogged Burda sweatshirt. I even made myself a practice veil from a poly chiffon bought during a Fabricland members’ sale.
Incidentally this is the best pattern for dance class leggings ever.
BONUS! Pajamas and lounging about:
Pants from Amy Butler’s In Stitches (never blogged: pattern works fine but not worth the price of the book on its own; fleece from Fabricland, cotton in the short version from Needlework), tops are Grainline Linden t-shirts and Burdastyle t-shirts (unblogged as I didn’t like the way it looked, which is why it turned into a pj top instead of a regular t-shirt)
I think I did good. I definitely proved that I don’t need to make myself any more clothes, so I stopped and sold my sewing machines.
Hahahahaha! … no. Two of the above garments are ones I made this month, another two have been finished and are waiting for a chance to wear them, and I made myself a dress for Hamilton Frocktails.
Sewaholic Cambie in a silk/cotton voile from Fabricland, lined in a white silk/cotton voile. It is the dreamiest, floatiest stuff for a dress, and also pretty fun to dance in as I then wore it out to a dance social which technically was in June so it didn’t count for MeMadeMay. Probably won’t blog this one since there’s nothing different about this one than the first, except that the silk/cotton voile has so much body that I just put in a simple a-line skirt lining instead of the gathered one.
Here’s to 11 months of no daily outfit selfies. Hurrah!
If only I’d sewn these up in July! I could have used them for the Smarty Pants challenge at Monthly Stitch. Alas, these were finished in June.
They are pretty Bananas. I’m not sure about Smart.
And I’m posting them in November. Oy.
These are purple rayon palazzo pants. They’re totally ridiculous. I can’t justify any kind of need for them. But I love them so.
The pattern has an invisible side zipper, an angled front yoke, and some truly roomy front pleats. I needed most of 2m of rayon to cut these out. But they are truly delightful to wear. It’s like having an air conditioner on my butt, they’re so light and cool. This was great in July and August, though it’s not so great in November. Maybe I’ll make these again in something a little warmer? We’ll see.
Slash hip pockets–and I wasn’t as careful as I was with the final version of the pink pants–so there’s a bit of gaping. Sigh. And I think one of the back legs is a bit off grain. They’re pretty swishy so the only time it’s visible is when I’m standing still, posing for pictures.
I can’t even tell you how much time I spent fussing with the hem. I’d press it to what seemed like the right length, pin it, try it on, and one side would be crooked or too long or short. Then I’d do it again. I’d compare one side to the other and mark a line where they should be equal, press and pin, and try it on again, and they’d still be uneven, so I’d do it again. And again. Etc. Hemming pants on one’s self is a PITA at the best of times; and there’s a lot of fabric here to hem. I thought I might spend the rest of my life on that one step. But here we are, hems done and, if not quite perfect, hard to see what with all the purple rayon swaying about my shoes. Good enough, I say.
According to the Burda size chart, I should be a size 40/42; these are a 38/40 (waist/hips) which for me is standard in Burda sizing. I made my standard corrections to the crotch curve and depth; otherwise, they’re as-is.
We’re coming to the end of the summer projects, Dear Readers. I have, I think, one more in the queue, and then it’s off to fall–pretty much just in time for winter. But I haven’t been doing as much sewing this fall as I normally would, at least not for myself; I made one (one!) garment for me in September, and so far in October have nearly completed one (one!) more. They’re both on the complex side, and I’ve been sewing a few things for Frances some of which are also on the complex side, but still.
With all of my newfound free time I’ve been reading up a storm. I’ve read ten books since the beginning of September, including all three of the recent “women and anger” releases, which you may hear about here soon since I am full of thoughts and have a paucity of completed sewing projects. In the meantime, if you’re looking for something surprisingly inspiring, I recommend Coyote America: in which we threw our most advanced biological weapons, poisons, aircraft with guns, helicopters, and scalpers for decades at them, and they largely rolled their eyes at us, expanded their range, and increased their population. I mean if you’re looking for a poster animal for extreme resiliency, coyotes would be hard to beat. The US literally has spent millions of dollars on eradicating coyotes, and they’re basically like, “whatever. We hear LA is nice. See you in the hedgerow!”
Anyway. Summer sewing project: a faux-wrap dress and shirt. I love wrap dresses, but the FBAs for them are such pains in the ass, particularly if your boobs are situated a bit higher up on your rib cage, that I normally don’t bother making them.
And this is a petite pattern, but as I’m a bit short in the torso I thought I could make it work, and the nice wide band on the neckline looked very promising for making a faux-wrap top less scandalous than they normally are.
I tested it out with a very cheap poly jersey ($3/m) from Fabricland in the dress view without doing anything but an FBA. It worked well and went together nicely and has a bit of a waist tilt in the front–not surprising. Otherwise it fits.
And you can definitely see me coming on a dark night. It’s a very bright orange/pink/white geometric print.
The second try was a rayon jersey–also on sale from Fabricland for, I think, $3 or $4/m–with this very cool stripe/botanical combo print. It’s super soft and very comfy. This time I altered the waistline to bring it down just a smidge centre back and about 1 1/2″ centre front. I think it was a bit too much, mostly because the rayon jersey is so much softer and more stretchy than the poly that it hangs farther on its own, without any pattern alterations.
Generally, both garments stay closed centre front and cover a regular bra.
Both made up very quickly on the serger with the coverstitch for hemming.
This is a size 19/20 with an FBA. Petite size 19/20 is equivalent to regular size 38/40, which is my standard in Burda.
I picked up this blouse pattern for the sleeves and simplicity rating, and decided to make it up in a silk-cotton voile I got on sale at Fabricland. Not a normal test fabric, but I bought a bunch of it for 75% off, so I figured it was best to just go ahead and make the blouse with what I actually wanted, rather than doing a test first.
I’m glad I did. It worked out really well, I like wearing it and it’s so lightweight that it’s perfect for super-hot summer days. By the time you read this, we will likely not be having too many hot summer days–at least not here–but I really appreciated it in July.
And there’s so many colours in it that it matches everything.
Everything matched up and went together well. The zipper gave me conniptions in the back; even with interfacing, it did not want to lie flat. We got there eventually.
I love the all-in-one facing. It matched up to the pattern pieces perfectly (note: I did have to retrace the front portion after the FBA) and, once sewn in, stays put beautifully. The facing, incidentally, is sewn in white silk-cotton voile scraps.
There’s not much else to say about the construction. Seams were sewn, then finished with the serger. The fabric pressed beautifully and behaved well.
This blouse is my Burda standard 38 with a 2″ FBA on each side. Body measurements should put me into a 40/44. The only change I would make is to lengthen the sleeve over the shoulder so it’s even front and back.
I’d initially bought this ponte to try out a boxy, unstructured jacket pattern. But I kept running into the fact that I hate boxy, unstructured jackets, so it languished in my stash. Part of it became one of many tries at pink pants, and what was left was just enough to make up this Burda knit blazer pattern. [in June. That’s the size of the project backlog, Dear Readers.]
It’s not hugely complex, so there’s not a lot to say about it. Everything went together beautifully and it only took a few hours using the serger. And it is a perfect match for the pink in this dress, so when I want a nice comfortable combo for work that looks professional, this does it. I’ll be making more.
Standard for me with Burda: size 38, graded to size 40 at hips, FBA on the bodice.
In this case, I traced the shoulder line both back and front out to the largest size. In the back, I scooped it back to the 38 by the bottom of the armscye. In the front, I kept it out, and then traced it back in a size or two from the bottom of the armscye to the waist. I then made the dart bigger at the waist seam to remove the rest of the excess. It worked! I have a bit of excess fabric around the shoulder, as you can see, but otherwise it fits just right.
This shirt pattern had so much to recommend it: the cool twist, the interesting sleeve construction, the simplicity. But in the end I can’t see wearing it much.
The fabric is a lightweight rayon/spandex jersey that is super soft and drapes beautifully.
I can’t comment on Burda’s instructions, since per usual, I didn’t look at them. It wasn’t hard to put together, though, and wouldn’t take more than an hour if you have a serger. No bands so the edges are all hemmed.
And it does look pretty neat when you first put it on, but here’s the problem:
As soon as I move my arms, the neckline bunches up.
You either need to accept it as a gathered cowl-like neckline, or be constantly pulling it back to where it’s supposed to be. But it doesn’t stay put.
Standard for me with Burda: Traced out a 38 grading to a 40 at the hips with an FBA in the front (and that was a fun time with this pattern). Overall fine, though I did end up taking it in a bit through the sleeves to get them to stay up when I rolled them up.
Regardless, in linen, the Winter Skirt is very summer-appropriate. Thanks to Dressmaking Debacles for her recent inspiration. Her version was so lovely, and seemed destined to be made up in this fabric.
(It might not be recent anymore by the time this is posted. We shall see.)
The linen is a Nani Iro from my favourite local fabric store. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s Nani! Iro! Linen! The print is so gorgeous, and it’s a lovely light linen. The only downside is that it is a smidge narrow, so to cut out the front pattern piece I had to go selvedge to selvedge, and so there is a smidge of text from the selvedge on the lower right front of the skirt. Worth it, though.
The pattern went together beautifully, as Burda patterns do. The pockets are high enough to be stitched into the waistband on the inside, which is a nice touch–I try to modify pocket pattern pieces to do that where it’s not included, because it’s a good anchor that means the weight of anything you put in it is hanging from the waist instead of the side seam, which looks and feels a lot better.
I can’t comment on the instructions as I didn’t look at them, but it all worked out. The seam allowances are serged to prevent raveling. The hem is blind stitched.
Happily I have several shirts in my wardrobe that go with the print nicely, so I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of this skirt.
As I usually do, I sized down by one from where the body measurements would put me in Burda: instead of size 40/42, this is a size 38/40, and it worked out beautifully.
You know how sometimes you have a sewing project in which every mistake that you can make, you do?
Dear Readers, this poor skirt. I tortured this fabric to within an inch of its selvedge. That it exists now as a skirt is testament mostly to my stubbornness.
I bought this (mariner cloth? This is a thing? I googled it, and the top four results relate to online games. It seems like Final Fantasy and Allison Glass have a monopoly on the term between them) because of the lovely, textured, colourful stripes, which are made of something like a thick floche fibre that is woven into the thinner threads. It’s a very lightweight cotton, almost gauze-like, but the thicker fibre stripes give it weight and body. And I thought it would be perfect for this skirt, which I made a couple of years ago, back when I was both a bit heavier and hadn’t yet figured out I need to size down by one in Burda. So that skirt is a bit big, though I still wear it.
Regardless, and wordy prologues aside, the point of the skirt was to play with the direction of the stripes: vertical in the body, horizontal on the waist and hem bands.
On the way, I unconsciously decided to experiment with my tolerance for making mistakes on nice fabric, mostly inspired by Burda’s terrible welt pocket instructions.
How do they do it? I’ve sewn single welt pockets dozens of times. Yet, somewhere between the terrible wording and the flat-out inaccurate illustrations accompanying them, not only could I not make heads or tails of how to install the welt pockets in this skirt, but the instructions somehow rendered me completely unable to comprehend any written instructions on welt pockets. I cracked open all of my sewing reference books, and it was as if the English in them had been replaced by Lithuanian. You might as well have told me to shake a unicorn’s horn at the fabric while chanting Grimm’s fairytales by candlelight. And while attempting to figure it out, I sewed the welts on backwards, sewed the large pocket pieces to the welts, sewed the large pocket pieces in the wrong direction, each occasion for seam ripping bringing with it some little fabric tears given how soft and spongy the fabric is, and, for the coup de grace, at one point cut the pocket opening on the wrong side of the welt, creating a five-inch gash in the fabric of the skirt, and inspiring some inventive new curses for the instruction writers at BurdaStyle. I sorted myself out by watching this youtube tutorial. I have no idea who this woman is, but bless you, Diane.
I then patched up the gash with fusible knit interfacing, a lot of handstitching, some more cursing, and then sewed the pockets the right way. Then later on serged a side seam to the skirt front, but thankfully without cutting anything, so it was just a mess of seam-ripping rather than a new catastrophe. (Cutastrophe?) (Ha!)
So the one pocket is a bit of a dog’s breakfast and the inside is super messy (seams finished with serging after sewing because this fabric is super ravelly), but it is so pretty! On the outside! And so lightweight! And I will wear it with joy.
I bought mariner’s cloth in the weight/neon pink colourway too, that I’m hoping to turn into a top, preferably with fewer issues than the skirt presented me with.
In Burda’s sizing, based on body measurements, I should be a 40/42 skirt. This is a size 38/40, and it fits perfectly. Sizing down by one is standard for me in Burda patterns.
Back in my ignorant youth, I would roundly ignore the ends tables at Fabricland. Why would I bother? I wondered. Clearly the ends table was where they stuck all the crap they hadn’t been able to sell previously, and it would be ugly and awful.
I can’t remember how it happened, but one day I found some really nice wool suiting on the ends table for an unbelievably good price, and I couldn’t remember it ever being for sale in the store generally. And the clerk, when I took it to the table for cutting, confirmed that; it turns out that Fabricland regularly gets ends from other fabric suppliers and they just go straight to deep discounts in the ends sections. I’ve found some really great stuff there over the years for really great prices, but my favourite finds have been the silks.
This one, a bright yellow silk noil, was $8/m. And for the fabric illiterate among you, a generally cheap price for silk is maybe $20/m; a standard price for a decent silk is around $40 or a bit more; and you can find good silks at $100/m or more. So $8/m for silk anything is like a new hardcover book for $2. You don’t think about it or look at it too hard. You just get some and trust that you will find a use for it in good time.
I think this skirt was a pretty good use for it.
The pattern uses about a metre, so including the lining and the zipper, this is probably a $15-$20 silk skirt. And it’s yellow! Making it my third yellow handmade skirt, which is probably excessive, but … yellow … and silk … and a pencil skirt.
Also, while this isn’t a faux-wrap skirt, I think this is close enough to one of the projects in my 2018 Make Nine list that I’m counting it.
The pattern was picked up for the very cool seamlines. And one of the things I found out after I got it that made me like it even more is that the separate lining pieces are basically a standard darted pencil skirt, so if you are missing one of those, you can use the lining pattern for a basic pencil skirt.
The silk isn’t the highest quality (but for $8/m, can you complain?). It’s a bit flannely, it’s very soft, it creases easily. You can see the wear from a day or two of office work in the pictures, and you can also see some weird drag lines on the back that were not at all apparent until I saw the photos. I’m going to blame the camera and lighting because I seriously can’t see them in real life.
For the cost (and the colour!) I’m not going to worry about it too much. I’m just going to love it. Also it gives me the best reason ever to wear the blue floral blouse I made last year. Yes?
At any rate, I loved the pattern so much I got some nicer fabric and made it again.
This was picked up at The Wool House in Toronto, which is lovely, and never ever on a deep discount. My conversation with the shop owner went something like this:
Me: I’d like a yard of this one please.
SO: (Unravelling from the bolt) There are 2 pieces of 1 3/8 yards each left on the bolt.
Me: Oh! I’ll take 1 3/8 yards then.
SO: If you buy both pieces, I’ll give them to you for the price of 2 1/2 yards.
Me: That’s tempting, but I really only need one piece. I’m just making a skirt.
SO: Or I could give them to you for the price of 2 yards.
Me: (Quickly calculating in my head if 2 3/4 yards is enough to make a skirt suit) Sold!
It’s a lovely orangey tweed blend of silk, wool and linen. It feels wonderful, sews beautifully, and will make a gorgeous suit for when I need something more formal in the summer. And it’s perfect for a structured skirt pattern. It also means it wrinkles as soon as I put it on; believe it or not I ironed this before I took the pictures. But I can live with that
Both skirts are lined with bemberg.
I highly recommend reading the instructions through on this one. The first time around I did my usual figure-it-out-as-I-go thing and, while it worked out fine, the front dart would have been a lot easier if I’d done it in the order they recommended (which I did the second time around).
This is a great pencil skirt pattern. Highly recommend it if you’re looking for something classic but with interesting seamlines and construction.
And now I need to dig up a nice summery collarless blazer pattern.
The sizing is consistent with Burda magazine; I should be a size 40/42 and this is a size 38 grading to 40 at the hips, and it fits perfectly.
Addicted to sewing since the 70’s – Sewing Blogger since 2013 – Enjoying a #RTWFAST and Creator of #DESIGNINDECEMBER since 2015 – Designing Handbags and Accessories and PDF Sewing Patterns for bags and accessories at #LANYOSHANDMADE since 2018 – Lover of vegan, sustainable, repurposed and up-cycled projects – I want to try everything, learn everything and talk about it with you!