Strawberry almond tart

The wisteria is flowering and strawberries are delicious and plentiful. It feels like Spring!

The Weekend Australian Magazine had a very tempting recipe for a strawberry almond tart.

Resistance was futile!

Crustless strawberry almond tart

  • 150g butter, at room temperature
  • ²/³ cup (150g) raw caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g almond meal
  • ¹/³ cup (45g) self-raising flour
  • 200g strawberries, hulled and halved
  • A large handful of flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 170ºC (fan); grease a 23cm spring form tin.

Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, almond meal and flour until just combined. Yes its that easy!

Spoon into tin; top with strawberries and scatter with flaked almonds.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Allow to cool; remove from tin.

Serve with chopped strawberries and cream.

Serves 6-8 (or 10 if you have that many people to feed and you cut thinner slices. Some people will come back for more…)

Recipe adapted from David Herbert’s version in the 25-26 September edition of The Weekend Australia Magazine.

My next version will be made gluten free using either gluten free SR flour or more almond meal plus 1 teaspoon baking powder.

Basics – a Burda pencil skirt and a Forget-me-not Patterns Vera top

This is one of those boring posts about basics. Great for blogs that are mainly personal journals, like mine. Not so good for blogs that other people actually read.

And to make it worse, this post comes with not so great photos of creased garments and tired faces because the photography was done at the end of a day of sitting at a desk. At least I am wearing yellow snakeskin ankle boots. That’s got to count for something!

Feel free to move on to something more interesting and with better images.

Basic 1: The Camel Pencil Skirt.

Camel is supposed to be one of those excellent basics. So are pencil skirts. I’m a fan of pencil skirts. And I’m very taken with pencil skirts that have a teeny bit more interest than normal. Like this one with its horizontal darts.

I used this pattern for one of my gorgeous Linton tweeds but it was not a resounding success. The tweed version may have stretched out, or been traced too big. Whatever.

So this pattern needed a second chance. And what better fabric to use than one I picked up at a fabric swap! This polyester twill fabric was from my dear friend M of Nonsuch, who had already offered her large remnant to me. I didn’t recognize its potential until I saw it again at the fabric swap.

This skirt turned out so much better than the Linton Tweed version.

Changes I made were minimal – I took 5 cm off the length (still plenty long enough for that retro look) and shaved about 1 cm of the side seams above the hips (making this a sort of size 47 waist, I should have just gone to a straight size 46 because its still loose).

Its lined with a lovely bemsilk from the stash, and I love the way my aqua label really pops.

Basic #2: a Black Knit Top.

This is Vera, a free PDF pattern from Forget-me-not Patterns

This pattern is also elevated above basic with its sleeves and subtle high low hem

The V-neck is nicely proportioned, and the instructions for achieving a nice finish for the V neck are terrific.

My first version was a size 42 in a red fine merino wool, and it was a bit too big. I wanted to make the next version in a black merino/nylon blend. The black knit is much firmer than the red 100% merino knit. I also knew that I’d made both into a Papercut rise turtleneck in the same size and the black one was almost too tight whereas the red one was just right.

So, with all that in mind, I went ahead with the firmer black knit cut out in the same size as the red one, but sewed it up with a seam allowance of 10 mm rather than 6 mm.

It worked well! either the fabric difference or the larger seam allowance, or both..

The sleeves really are quite lovely – here’s the red one at work (I made this first version wearable by shortening the shoulder seam by 8 mm and reattaching the sleeves and reducing width through the body of the top about the same).

Lesson (re)learned- stretch and drape and weight matters with knits!

A coatigan to remind me of my grandma’s carpet: Burda 12/2011 #114

I was lucky enough to get 2 yards of this totally glorious fabric from emmaonesock last year. It looks like a fabulous vintage carpet.

It’s a wool fleece with raised areas, a brushed texture, and decorative selvedges. The design seems to be knitted in as you can see below on the reverse.

The fabric arrived and I petted it. A lot. And then it sat in my stash. You know. That too precious to cut into fabric. I had a Pinterest board dedicated to it. Searching for the perfect pattern. Surely what I did with something similar to this fabric several years ago was too simple and wouldn’t be good enough?

Winter passed, before I was smart enough to realise that it was more than good enough. I still wear the coatigan I made in 2013 a lot. It’s the ideal pattern for this fabric.

So I bit the bullet and cut it out.

This is Burda 12/2011 #114 and I made a 44.

For my version there’s no zip, no petersham ribbon trim, no hip length seam or pockets, no lining, just a neck facing and I lengthened the sleeves to be full length.

The hem is simple turned up and stitched by hand. No finishing treatments – it doesn’t fray.

Sometimes simple is best!

I adore my carpet coatigan!

Fabric swap skirt: Burda 01/2011 #137

Fabric and pattern swaps.

A small part of the ‘cotton’ table

What a wonderful idea.

Some of the patterns waiting for a new home

@adelaidesewists organised this swap in July. I took 13 lengths of fabric and it felt good. My no-longer adored fabric was going to a good home and not landfill. Someone else is going to make something amazing from it.

What I took

I come home with 6 lengths of fabric (not as much as I took – #winning), so I saved fabric from landfill too. So much to love!

Fabric swap skirt!

This skirt is from one of those fabric. Thanks Rhoz! And thanks @adelaidesewists!

So happy about the fabric swap.

Also, so very happy with this skirt.

This is a Burda pattern I’ve made multiple time. It’s pegged and it has pockets. Some of my favourite sewing things.

The not-so-useful US Burda site has the pattern here. The German Burda site is much more helpful, even if you don’t read German (and is where I took the line drawing from).

The fabric is a bengaline with good stretch and recovery. I made the skirt up with an elastic waist but without a zip or walking vent or lining or top stitching around the hem.

Do you see a wrinkly waist ?

Does it look like an elastic waist skirt to you?

Do you see a wrinkly waist at the back? No, didn’t think so

It looks very corporate doesn’t it? Especially when I stand more normally.

I love the trickery of using the right fabric.

This is a size 46 waist and size 48 hips (thanks, no thanks, to hormonal imbalances for the size changes – yes I am a woman of a certain age).

This fabric was difficult to cut out because the print didn’t appear to be strictly on grain. I pinned every 5 cms or so and then stretched and ironed to force it into shape. I cut the front in a single layer and the back pieces separately.

The elastic waist was a bit of an experiment. I could have added a waistband to this pattern and inserted or sewed elastic to that, but I didn’t.

Instead, I cut a length of 4 cm wide elastic to my waist measurement, joined it, and then sewed it to my already prepared facing. Yes a nice even circlet of elastic sewn to a curved facing. I stretched the fabric of the facing and the elastic and used a zigzag stitch to sew the elastic to the facing just a smidge under the waist attachment sewing line. (No I did not change the thread in the overlocker to blue. I like the red. And I might be a bit lazy)

I then stitched the facing, with its elastic, to the skirt, using a narrower zigzag stitch and stitching very close to the elastic but not catching it in. Also whilst stretching. Which is why the stitching is a bit wonky.

Then trimmed the excess seam allowance of the facing close to the stitching line

After I turned and ironed, it all looked pretty good! The bottom edge of the facing has a bit of fluting due to the elastic but it’s very smooth from the outside.

Smooth waist! Also this is a classic scissors in the pocket photo with bonus measuring tape in the other pocket

I stitched in the ditch to secure the elastic/facing down at the side seams and centre front and back. So easy!

The hem was also secured with a zigzag. Almost invisible on the outside but pretty obvious inside due to that lovely red overlooking.

The skirt is about 4 cm shorter than drafted.

The orange and blue top is Burda 02/2015 #128 and you can read all about it here.

I’m very happy with this new skirt. It’s super comfortable to wear and just the right weight for the end of winter in Adelaide. Thanks again Rhoz! I hope you like my grey, black and white knit as much as I like your blue and white bengaline.

Linton Tweed pencil skirt: Burda 03/2010 #136

I have thoroughly enjoyed the sewing journey with this skirt. Which is fortunate, because the end result was much less satisfying than the journey to get there.

But that’s fine. This fabric was such a delight to sew.

It is a silk, wool and cotton blend purchased from Linton Tweeds in Carlisle whilst on holiday in the UK in 2017. It was one of their 1 metre remnants at 5 pounds. Bargain! Especially when all the fabrics M of Nonsuch and I purchased that day were shipped to Australia for an incredibly low flat rate of 9 pounds. All of you paying normal prices subsidised this for me. Thanks!

So proud to include that Linton label

The lining is a silky remnant, probably polyester, I picked up last year from a secondhand shop in Yankalilla, a local seaside holiday town. It’s the perfect match for the tweed. The leftovers were made into a scarf.

Lots of good holiday vibes in this garment.

I picked a pencil skirt pattern from my back collection of Burda magazines with added interest of the front darts rotated out to the sides: Burda 03/2010 #136

I interfaced the tweed with a very light iron-on interfacing I sourced from a local dressmaker – Tatiana Light. You can see the side darts drawn in on the interfacing in the photo above – an added bonus!

The combination of interfacing and tweed made a hand stitched hem very easy to do.

I know this premade bias binding doesn’t match exactly but I still like it

I need to do invisible stitching? Super easy!

This interfacing feels like adding butterfly wings but gives that essential extra bit of support to the tweed. Perhaps not quite enough to the waist facing, because that seems to have stretched out a bit by the time I went to stitch it on. This meant I had to take the waist in after construction (unpicking with that tweed? Uggh!). It is still a bit big.

The reality is that the delightful weave of winter white, orange, donkey grey and black threads turns into a muddy neutral grey brown at any normal viewing distance.

So I have a thick, long, pencil skirt that’s too big though the waist and in a boring colour. I feel a bit like I’m back in the 1940’s in an English village. Better weather though. And at least I know the fabric is special!

Colour coordination is a bit limited if I trying to match the colours woven into the skirt.

Orange and black are excellent but almost all my existing grey tops and fabrics are too grey and not brown-grey enough.

Except one mystery piece gifted to me by Jann of JannsFabrics. It’s the perfect match to the donkey grey in the tweed. I think it’s a silk cotton blend – it certainly feels like it.

The V- neck was stay stiched and the facing is interfaced. What are those mini ripples there? Not obvious IRL

I made up Itch to Stitch’s Seychelles top in this fabric in a size 14 out to a size 16 at the hips.

It’s the perfect colour coordinated outfit, but a lot duller overall in colour than is my preference. The scarf helps a bit.

The Seychelles top? I like it. I shortened it by about 8 cm because the proportions looked better untucked with this long skirt, but the standard length would be fine for knee length or shorter skirts. Next time I’ll do a forward shoulder adjustment and/or spread the sleeve gathers out over more of the sleeve cap – they are drafted to just be at the very top of the sleeve cap and when your shoulders roll forward the gathers mostly end up at the back.

Also next time I will either do a ‘proper’ sleeve placket or swap the cuff out for an elasticated cuff. The sleeve placket integrated with the sleeve seam is easy, but annoys me a bit by not being ‘proper’

Bottom line? I loved making this skirt. I’m glad this fabric has moved from too precious to sew to a garment in my wardrobe. Even if it only ever gets occasional wear.

Silver crushed velvet dress: Burda 01/2018 #101

This is a story of going to the fabric store to buy fabric for a specific pattern but buying something we loved that wasn’t really suitable for that pattern. Anyone else do that? When we realised what we’d done, all the Burda magazines came out and Felicity and I spent a pleasant hour or so finding another pattern.

This is Burdastyle 01/2018 #101 in a size 40.

I did a ‘pivot and slide’ 2 cm FBA but it may not have been necessary given the stretchiness of the fabriv.

The waist twisty bit is a nice feature. The line drawing is a bit misleading for this bit (the tucks in this pattern piece end up on the part that you sew to the side seam – but the line drawing shows the side seams smooth). But, as the reviews on Pattern Review said, if you follow Burda’s instructions literally, it might seem nonsensical but it works out just fine.

The fabric is a crushed polyester velvet from Spotlight, and Felicity says its delightful to wear.

I omitted the zip because it is very stretchy fabric.

I wondered about changing the neck facings out for a binding, but thought this might give it too much of a sports look which seems wrong for crushed velvet so I stayed with the facings. Not sure I should have worried about a sports look being inappropriate. This dress is apparently perfect for riding a scooter in the city.

The facings are hand stitched down. But my commitment to hand stitching ended there – the hems were turned up 1cm and stitched with a simple zigzag. This made both the sleeves and skirt 3 cm long than drafted because I’d added a 4 cm hem allowance

So this is a story with a happy ending.

I still haven’t sourced fabric for the initial pattern though.

Monochrome floral tunic: BurdaStyle 08/2020 #125

Experimental sewing. Wearable, but getting close to a wadder. I guess we’ve all been there.

I wouldn’t have said this when this top was fresh off the sewing machine, but subsequent episodes of wearing have led me to conclude that its not quite the right fabric for this pattern.

What is this pattern I hear you say?

BurdaStyle 08/2020 #125 in a size 46 bust and waist and six 48 hips.

Recommended fabrics are light weight blouse fabrics like viscose-rayon crepe

The fabric I used was not the recommended types but is actually quite lovely – a sophisticated monochrome panel print in a fine stretch cotton woven. With a beautiful multi coloured striped selvedge. And it has those special souvenir fabric vibes – bought in Bordeaux, France in between meetings on a work trip, back in the day when that was a thing I did.

I knew the pattern would be better in a drapey fabric, but I thought I would give it a try anyway. Experimental. Did I say that already?

It sewed up beautifully. Lovely fabric.

The interesting faux button V neck thing is good- not too deep but deep enough to be not frumpy. The lack of depth of colour on the underside of my fabric shows though- because there is no button band just a narrow turnback of the fabric edge to finish it. It’s not terrible, or even very noticeable to anyone else, but it irritates me.

The three quarter sleeves are nice but I had the unwelcome discovery that my forearms are larger than the pattern was drafted for. The cuffs only just meet. No chance of an overlap and buttons.

So instead I have ribbon tie cuffs. Design feature? Maybe! And an easy thang to fix for next time.

I used the burrito method for the yoke. It always seems like magic! And I couldn’t help myself with the label. That multi-striped selvedge needed to be seen – even if only by me. The native American blanket vibes are incongruous, but it makes me smile!

So what don’t I like about the top ( apart from the wrong side showing at the neck edge)?

It sticks out – it doesn’t drape. Of course it does. It’s a cotton with body. All operator fault in matching fabric to pattern.

I’ll keep on wearing the top before I judge it better donated, and I haven’t given up on the pattern. I just need to select a drapier fabric.

This photo is not very convincing is it? Its good to acknowledge that not all sewing results in garments you love. All part of the rich tapestry of life….

‘Bib Skirt’: BurdaStyle 10/2020 #118

Bib skirt. Burda. Really? What were you thinking? You have to hope it sounds better in German.

Brooklyn Farm, at which some of this pinafore was sewn, provided the most wonderful backdrop for these photos.

It’s allowed to look great – it was a movie set.

Of course once the pinafore was made it needed a top to go with it. Never mind that this orange top looked great with it. Especially with magical late afternoon light.

So far two tops have been made.

The first one is Simplicity 8982 – a simple long sleeved T shirt in an Australian aboriginal art print. Accessorized with a Venetian mask. Don’t ask me why.

The second is a Wilder top in Liberty tana lawn

Not yet actually worn with the bib skirt. But has been worn with a similar Burda pinafore made a couple of years ago.

So, let’s talk about the technical details.

The bib skirt is Burda Style 10/2020 #118 made up in a mid wale cotton corduroy from Spotlight. It’s a size 40 skirt and size 44 bib and straps (I drafted out to a 44 at the top of the bib pieces from a 40 at the waist – this adds 1.5 cm in length and width to each bib piece). Easiest FBA I’ve ever done!

Flannel Skirt 118|Burda Style 10/20

The skirt is lined with bemsilk and the bib and waistband with a slippery poly woven with a paisley design in a sort of jacquard from deep stash. Because I didn’t have enough of either to do both parts. The buttons are vintage – purchased from a second hand shop in Greenwich, UK, on holiday 4 years ago.

The wilder top was made from Liberty Tana lawn purchased from Liberty in London with Felicity 5 years ago on holidays. I’m seeing a theme here. Holiday purchases and time in the stash.

I added 22.5 cm to the length and 10 cm to the width of the sleeves. Then brought the volume back in with an elastic cuff (turned up 12 mm and then 25 mm to form the casing and inserted 20 mm elastic).

Hardly enough change to qualify as a pattern hack but I couldn’t resist using this label!

And the Simplicity 8982 knit top?

I had limited fabric so I cut this top out width wise (by that I mean with the hems of the sleeves and bodices aligned with the selvedges).

Not really a hack nor was the fabric a holiday purchase or a stash dweller. It’s a rayon spandex knit printed with one of Pauline Napangardi Gallagher’s designs, purchased from Spotlight and sewn up within a month. There’s more about this talented artist here.

Pinafore? Bib skirt? Whatever. It was fun to sew, and has already been worn more than just for the photo shoot. #winning.

And, talking about photo shoots, the Brooklyn Farm chickens weren’t going to let an opportunity pass them by. If their door was going to feature in my photo shoot then they made sure there was also a photo of them at our door.

The spring coat I haven’t made yet: BurdaStyle 03/2010 #101

This was the final pattern I auditioned this summer for the beautiful yellow roses fabric. And it’s a winner.

https://burdastyle.ru/vikroyki/palto/palto-burda-2010-3-101-b/ Yes the Russian Burda site – its the absolute best for BurdaStyle archives

So. Why haven’t I actually made it up? Well. Timing. March seemed the wrong time to make a spring coat for an Australian sewist.

But I do very much love my trial version.

I used an African wax print cotton and made the pattern 5 cm longer than the jacket length (style #102, not shown in the line drawing) but with the coat length 3/4 length sleeves. The largest size is 44 so I drafted out to a size 46. A size 44 probably would’ve been fine

No lining, no interfacing.

Of course I absolutely adore it anyway!

It is the absolute best to wear with a wide and oddly shaped long dress (can you tell I’ve become a woman of a certain age?!) on a night out with my very stylish friend M from Nonsuch.

It’s also been worn to work. More times than is probably healthy.

It’s one of those garments which gets unsolicited compliments every time it’s worn. It’s the print. It’s almost indigenous Australian art like. I get that comment too. And that’s my cue to tell them about African wax prints. Never let an opportunity pass for textile education!

I added patch pockets. Just letting you know in case you hadn’t noticed my hands shoved into them in the photos above. Pockets are always a good idea. It was also fun pattern matching them. Really, they’re stealth patch pockets.

I also couldn’t resist adding one of KATMs awesome labels to the sleeve cuff.

Other important details are that all the seams were flat felled and bias binding was used on the hems and facings

Great pattern. Remind me to use it again in September!

The last of the summer sewing

The season has turned, I’ve brought my winter coats back into the wardrobe. It’s almost too late to be blogging about summer sewing… but not quite!

This top is Burdastyle 06/2016 #129

Crepe Tunic 129 | 06/16
https://www.burdastyle.com/crepe-tunic-129-06-16.html

I’ve even used a similar colour to Burda.

Crepe Tunic 129 | 06/16

Mine is made from a floaty cotton voile that has been in my stash almost forever (9 years – I’ve patted it appreciatively and admired its colour and hand many times since it came to live with me). This fabric is designer deadstock – from Gay Naffine/Lucy Giles.

I made several adjustments to the pattern to get the fit better.

I traced off a size 46, petite-ed the bodice by 2 cm above the bust dart and made a 2 cm forward shoulder – which meant I also brought the tucks in the sleeve head forward. Are you supposed to do that?

The adjustments certainly worked for the shoulder fit, but the bust darts ended up a touch high.

The neck depth is good but it is quite wide though – if there is a next time I’ll consider bringing it in a bit.

I didn’t include the front slit but I did keep the idea of regular tacks down the front band by adding pearl buttons (shining in the bad side light of the image above)

I used a very light interfacing for the neck band and the front bands as well as to reinforce those square seams

A KATM tag on the side seam above the slit because I can.

I promise this is the last ‘touching my hair’ photo!

The skirt is an old favourite made in my new larger size – 46 waist and 48 hips – Burdastyle 07/2012 #134

Yes this is from the Russian Burda Site. I have no knowledge of the Russian language, but the site is more useful than the US based one. https://burdastyle.ru/vikroyki/yubki/yubka-burda-2012-7-134/

I love the quirkiness of the darts at the hem. I didn’t sew the darts to the outside as per the pattern for this version. There was already enough going on with the stripes.

This is a stretch cotton that’s been in my stash for even longer – 11 years. Bought in 2010. That’s deep stash. This fabric is also designer deadstock- from Gay Naffine.

The second summer top is Friday Pattern Company’s square neck top.

https://fridaypatterncompany.com/products/square-neck-top-pdf-pattern

It is the second version I made – the first one was an XXL as per my measurements but with the neckline raised by 2.5 cm. It was too big in almost every dimension except through my hips. It was made up in a beautiful blue shirting cotton but that wasn’t enough to save it. It has already been donated.

The second one was a XL bust out to XXL hips plus 2.5 cm removed in the bodice above the dart and through the sleeve and then the neck also raised by 2.5 cm.

It’s still not quite right – the cap sleeves pull when I move my arms forward. I doubt I’ll make another one unless I use a knit.

The fabric is lovely though – an embroidered linen cotton remnant from my local Spotlight. It is also from the stash, but it has only been marinating for 3 years.

Stash busting, three garments I can wear and two I love!

***EDITED to add how I do a petite adjustment to the bodice***

I’m very surprised to find that I couldn’t easily point Sandra to a youtube or blog post from someone else that explained how I do this. Either I haven’t looked well enough or what I do is different to what everyone else does. Or perhaps both.

This comes with several warnings:

  1. Writing tutorials is a skill that I don’t have – it’s highly likely that none of this will make sense.
  2. Drawing simple diagrams is also a skill I don’t have – it’s not going to be pleasing to the eye.
  3. This works for me but possibly works for no-one else on the earth – try on something unimportant, like a muslin/toile before you commit to this!

The green lines A, B and C are your cutting lines

  • Line A: draw this in starting at the centre front and perpendicular to centre front, at least 2 cm below neckline (if you’re doing a 2 cm petite-ing, more if you’re doing more, less if less) out to just before before the armscye stitching line
  • Line B: draw this in also perpendicular to centre front but start 2 cm below armscye on the side seam (or more or less depending on your adjustment) and stop at about the same position as Line A.
  • Line C: this line joins Line A and B and is parallel to the centre front

The purple dashed lines are the lines you’re adjusting to.

  • Measure up 2 cm (or more or less, depending on your adjustment) from lines A and B and draw in a line parallel to them (this is the purple dashed lines).

The red bit is the amount you’re going to remove.

  • Cut along your green lines.
  • Shift the pattern piece up to the dashed lines and tape it back together

Now do the same to the back bodice piece

Why I do it this way:

  • It doesn’t change the armscye, which means you don’t have to adjust the sleeve. I don’t usually have an issue with where the sleeve joins the bodice being too low so I avoid having to make this additional change.
  • It takes length out only above the bust, which is where I seem to need it to get the bust point in the right spot for me.

This isn’t what I did on the square neck too (I just took 2 cm out from centre front through the cut on sleeves) but it is what I normally do and what I did for the V neck Burda top.

Sandra: Hope this helps and good luck with your fitting journey

Does this make sense? Does anyone else do this? Is there a better way to do this?

Style Arc’s Adeline African wax print dress

I really, really love this dress and I am wearing it, again, right now as I press publish on this post. I’m surprised to have arrived at the end of summer without having made at least one more version. Four Lodos and then distraction in the form of lovely yellow roses fabric might be the reason….

I’m very late to the Adeline party – this pattern has been out for some time and there are multiple lovely versions showcased on sewists’ social media sites.

Better late than never? Definitely!

The Adeline is a cocoon shaped dress with a high low hem.

Adeline Dress Sewing Pattern By Style Arc - Easy Designer Dress
https://www.stylearc.com/shop/sewing-patterns/adeline-dress/

The robust body of my fabric illustrates this shape very effectively!

This is a size 16, printed at 98% by mistake. I made it up in an African wax print cotton bought in a market in Bordeaux, France a couple of years ago as a sewing souvenir. It was a typical wax print length of fabric – almost 6 meters long but only 120 cm wide.

This meant I had to piece one of the cut-on sleeves with the integrated cuffs. The seam is pattern matched but hidden under the turned back cuff. Only noticeable when ironing!

I also pattern matched the pockets – one perfectly and the other one with room for improvement.

It’s a very subtle mismatch (it’s the pocket on my right) – the yellow flowers don’t align. This is because I cut this pocket piece across rather than with the grain. Not on purpose.

I didn’t try so hard with the neck and hem facings- just centered the large teal design – but this worked out surprisingly well.

This dress was sewn at a holiday house at the beach. Yes I am that person who takes their sewing machine on holiday. The overlocker didn’t get to come so the seam finishing is old school zigzag. Which you can see if you look at the image of the neck facing above very closely…

This is the smug look of a sewist who is very pleased with their work and delighted to have another garment that matches these shoes.

Today, like most times I wear it, this dress is being worn with trainers, but it’s nice to know I can dress it up with these shoes if I want too. Shoes only seen on sewing blog posts? Surely that’s not a thing!

Liberty lawn robe: BurdaStyle 01/2012 #134

I’ve made myself a summer robe with Liberty lawn and I love it.

It seems indulgent to use such delightful fabric for clothing I don’t wear in public but

  • I do wear it most days a week, even if only briefly
  • I have a large stash of lovely fabric
  • this is not my only piece of Liberty lawn
  • Liberty lawn is expensive but not rare, and
  • beautiful fabric should be sewn

This is BurdaStyle 01/2012 #134B in a size 48 with extra width added to the front edges and the front bands also a bit wider than Burda intended.

I like my robes generously sized!

@sewover50 put pattern mixing in my mind so I used a coordinating rainbow striped lavender cotton gauze for the front bands, sleeve bands and belt.

This gauze is a long term stash dweller. My initial intention for it was a balloon blind or drapes for my toddler daughter’s room – yes that daughter who is now 22 years old.

Liberty lawn really is the best- lovely to sew, feels delightful against your skin, and beautiful patterns and designs.

Perfect to wear while you’re still waking up with your first cup of coffee on a warm summer morning

Flag Lodo

I‘m up to my fourth Lodo dress this summer. And I don’t think summer coming to an end will stop me sewing this pattern a fifth time. How good would a winter Lodo look with a turtleneck and tights?

This version might be my current favourite – partly because of the fun I had deciding how to use this fabric, purchased a year or so ago from EmmaOneSock

It’s a 160 cm wide stretch cotton with a large plain border along each selvedge and a wide geometric print through the middle. Or I could describe it as a geometric print with a lot of non patterned potentially unusable fabric each side of the print…

The fabric is from Milly’s 2016 Spring Collection. The three garments shown are all cut across the grain rather than with the grain. I like the effect, but it means the stretch is running up and down rather than around the body. Wouldn’t work with Lodo.

The print is reminiscent of a flag isn’t it, but whose? There are more than 20 national flags with red, white and blue stripes, so lots of options.

Previous Liz only bought 2 yards of this fabric. Which is not enough for a dress if you want to run the geometric print symmetrically through the centre back and centre front. Previous Liz probably though she could make it work, for a shirt. When in doubt, buy another metre/yard… Stash accumulation beyond life expectancy? Yes! Drowning in remnants? Also yes!

Back to Flag Lodo. I offset the print on my pattern pieces and cut both the front and back across the width in one dress length. All the white on one side. All the pattern on the other. Asymmetric print placement for the win!

But do I use blue or white thread for topstitching and the hem? Well, no need for this to be binary – I can use both. White on the white sections, blue on the patterned sections and change over from one to the other on the hem.

The facings were cut from white stretch cotton from the previous Lodo and I again added in seam pockets.

A departure from previous Lodo’s was to add a centre back zip. I used a white one. Not sure why I didn’t use navy given my commitment to change threads over if needed but at least it’s an (almost) invisible zip.

A zip is not needed for this pattern – I can pull the dress on over my head – but I prefer to step into a dress. For fabric like this with only horizontal stretch, it’s a simpler dressing experience.

This Flag Lodo dress now joins a growing collections of Lodos: Brilliant White Lodo, Corporate Tulip Lodo and Holiday Red Lodo.

Final word? This blog post is unlikely to be my final words on this pattern. It’s an excellent pattern in so many ways, and one that works well with my body size and shape and my lifestyle.

Pink linen shirt dress: Burda 07/2004 #135

I’ve really gone back to the archives of my Burda magazine collection for this one. Moving up into the Plus size range will do that to you!

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This pattern is so old that the only Burda website that has it is the Russian one: : https://burdastyle.ru/vikroyki/platya/plate-burda-2004-7-136/

I’d learnt from my mistakes about sizing and this time I traced a size 46 with a 2 cm petite adjustment above the bust and out to size 48 hips. I omitted the band on the sleeves and went for the shorter length of style #136.

This dress is wonderfully comfortable to wear. Being made from lovely linen helps.

This is a very beautiful cross dye linen from Emmaonesock in hot pink fibers in the warp and sand in the weft. It has gorgeous sheen IRL and an overall salmon pink colour when you’re not looking at it up close.

I purchased it in 2018 so this particular fabric isn’t available anymore but it looks like other similar cross dye linens are still on the site. Yes I am tempted. No I haven’t succumbed. Yet. Also, I’m not affiliated in any way, just a very satisfied customer.

I wondered about the smallish hip level patch pockets. Would they look like they’d slid down from the bust? Would they add too much of a lab coat vibe? The verdict? – they are just fine.

And all those wrinkles? It’s linen. I’m embracing the wrinkles. These photos were taken after the dress had been worn for most of the day, but it did look almost this wrinkly within about 10 minutes…

I used ‘rescue buttons’ from a shirt of Chris’s that would have otherwise ended up in landfill, and thread leftover from a previous project. I love it when I have everything I need for a project already in the stash.

I didn’t interface the button band, and I folded it to the right side rather than the wrong side. There really is no wrong side to this fabric, and I liked the faux sewn on band effect this gave me.

I love this dress! Beautiful fabric is key. Did I say that already?!

NYC in the snow and rain dress: 04/2010 #108

I still haven’t cut into my yellow roses fabric….

I am often but not always this indecisive – I do sometimes sew up other fabrics from my stash that are irreplaceable or have a back story.

This fabric is the partner to the Paris street scenes fabric. Both were bought on a bit of a whim from Ribes & Casals in Barcelona whilst on holiday. How odd to think we used to get on planes and fly to places like Spain from Australia without any thought of infectious diseases. Seems so long ago.

I fell in love with the Paris street scenes fabric displayed at the end of one of the fabric tables and then saw the NYC version.

I could not choose. So a panel of both come back home with me.

And this spring I decided I’d use the NYC fabric for a Burda pattern that had been on my to do list for ten years: 04/2010 #108

I traced off a size 44, but really should have paid more attention to what my body measurements have changed to since covid baking. A size 46 would’ve been a much better choice.

It might look okay in these images from the front and back, but, really, its a bit snug all over, as you can see below when I’m not standing directly face on to the camera. Luckily the fabric has a teensy bit of mechanical stretch.

All that pleating across the stomach draws attention to my ‘full stomach’ (pot belly) when the rest of the dress is so snug. I should’ve gone a size up!

Shoulders back and pulling that tummy in doesn’t help much with the silhouette…

I do love the print though.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to put traffic lights and a one way sign on their bum?!

Going a size up isn’t the only change I need to make in the next version, I also need to raise the bust darts and neckline. This first dress already has a slapdash version of this adjustment.

Before I put the sleeves in, I tried the dress on to check fit. The bust darts were too low, and the neckline gaped and was a classic Burda plunging neckline. So I sewed the shoulder seams 2 cm lower, adjusted the facing and neckline and scooped out the armscye to make up for some of the reduction at the shoulder. Now it’s much better.

Despite its close fit and ability to spotlight the body part I most want to skim over, I really like this dress. The print is fun, I love the colours, the little puffed sleeves are cute and I like the neckline. And its perfect for Zoom meetings – it’s interesting enough without being too distracting, it looks good under a jacket and no one can see my full stomach.