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.

What not to do on Valentine’s Day, and Vogue 8921 to the rescue

I love Joy the Baker’s blog. She suggested a recipe that couples could cook together on Valentine’s Day. I thought yes, brilliant idea! Who wouldn’t want to prepare shrimp etouffee risotto (spicy Cajun stew with prawns and risotto) together and then eat it?

He who Cooks was much less enthusiastic. He was right that the recipe was more winter than summer. He was right that we’d need to go shopping for ingredients – and how romantic is grocery shopping?! He was right that it was Friday night and this didn’t sound relaxing.

What he didn’t say was how annoying it was going to be for him to have me, the unskilled amateur, in his kitchen. Much better when I’m perched on a stool with a drink and out of the way.

I pushed on and made the risotto part of the recipe whilst telling him what to do with the prawns. Who even am I?

Here’s the risotto part way through, after he had interfered and taken the thyme leaves off the stalks. What are you doing I said? Joy doesn’t tell me to do that! At this point I’m sure he wanted me well out of the kitchen.

But he’s such a darling that he just smiled sweetly at me.

It was delicious. The risotto was gloriously creamy and the etouffee had fabulous depth of flavour. Perfect winter food. Yes he was right about that too. At least we were having a slightly cooler spell from the very hot summer weather that’s normal in February in Adelaide.

Eventually we got to relax on the front verandah. A squeeze of lime and we’re back to summer food I said. He was unconvinced.

The day after Valentine’s Day I got it right.

I sewed. I kept out of the kitchen. We went out for dinner.

This is what I sewed – a glorious digital viscose print from Emmaonesock made up as view B, Vogue 8921. This pattern seems to be OOP now – I’ve purchased it a few years ago after seeing excellent versions on other people’s sewing blogs.

Image result for Vogue 8921

I cut out a size 16 and almost entirely ignored the instructions. Have the instruction writers at Vogue patterns not heard of overlockers and stretch stitches? And why would you ever think a zip was a good idea in a light weight stretch fabric? And what about stabilising shoulders? Seriously. Someone needs to rewrite the instructions!

I used a straight stitch for the pleats and most of the rest of the construction, followed up with overlocking the seams. I stabilised the shoulder seams and side seams with a ribbon. If you buy fabric online from Tessuti Fabrics, you’ll recognise this.

I know. Not all the threads from basted the pleats have been snipped off. And probably never will now I’ve worn this!

For the neck edge I overlocked the edges and folded in the seam allowance to the inside, sandwiching a light weight iron-in strip of interfacing between the outside and inside. I fused it with the iron and then stitched it with a straight stitch. This gave a very secure and non stretchy neck line. It is drafted ‘date night low’ so I hate to think how much it might gape without this stabilisation.

I can’t believe I am posting an image of my cleavage on the web! It does show the neckline stitching as well though, especially through the lavender flower and white leaves.

the dress was a bit loose through the waist and perhaps a bit long through the back bodice. I stitched elastic the length of my waist measurement (80 cm) into the waist seam stretching as I went. Slightly wonky stitching as a result. You can also see the ribbon stabilising the side seam below.

The elastic has made the dress a bit blousy. I might take it back out.

See what I mean?

You can also see the side seam (through the large lavender flower) isn’t hanging true but is pulling towards the front. I don’t know if it’s a fitting issue or a design fault . The front drapes are stitched into the side seam and might be pulling the seam? Perhaps I should go back and stabilise this seam with ribbon too.

So the morale of the story? I need to remember that he cooks and she sews.

Orange dress: BurdaStyle 09/2010 #122

Despite the fitting woes with sewing stretch fabrics into garments for me, I’ve had a success with sewing for Felicity.

This dress is made from a very orange viscose based ponte and BurdaStyle 09/2010 #122: one of Burdas best patterns, IMO.

Look at all those fabulous style lines!


Pretty good IRL too

I made a size 20 with a 2 cm FBA. Not so easy to work out how to do it with this pattern. I winged it by sticking the upper front pieces together, pretending the gap out to the side was a dart, did a regular FBA, then redrafting them again as single pieces. Clear as mud? Mmm, not so much to me either. Wish I’d taken photos. Luckily this was stretch and there was some negative ease, so it all worked out okay

The sleeves have a bit of a Star Trek vibe to them. And they are not sitting as well as they should on the right side. But we love them anyway!

This is a very cute dress. Felicity is wearing it here with a RTW roll neck sweater, tights and ankle boots, but its also good on its own.

In other news, I’ve had a business trip to Spain. And managed to squeeze in a tiny (tiny =  less than 10 metres worth) of fabric shopping.

This is my haul from Barcelona

Clockwise from left:

  • An embroidered navy viscose woven
  • A red polyester jacquard border print
  • A light grey embroidered prefaded cotton woven
  • A darker grey woven linen with a coated surface.

Aren’t they lovely? They’ll likely have to spend some time in the stash until I’m ready to sew for summer again though.

I love souvenir fabrics!

Third time’s a charm? BurdaStyle 02/2014 #141

Not a very accurate title, as fourth time may be the charm. But whatevs

Diagonal Panel Dress (Plus Size) 02/2014

I really like this pattern. Have wanted to make it for a long time. Finally it made it to the top of my to sew list.


As I was drafting it, I realised how fabulous it would be as a simple sheath dress for border prints. And I had a laser cut faux suede in my stash that would be perfect.

I could not get this idea out of my head.

I know the fabric has absolutely no stretch (its backed with some sort of black synthetic layer).

I know sheath dresses are uncomfortable in fabrics with no stretch. Ask me how I know. African wax fabric cut on the cross grain, I’m looking at you.

I know I’ve put on weight and am probably not the same size. Perimenopause, its all your fault, not my diet or lifestyle.

I went ahead anyway.

You know how this ends.

The style was fine.

The cut outs on the hem worked really well.

It has a lovely darted sleeve head.

But the sizing, not so good.

Sadly it’s too tight through the upper body and sleeves. So tight I can’t move my arms to even try and zip it up. Once zipped up it dreadfully uncomfortable and reminiscent of sausages. I’ve spared you the photographic evidence.

The dress is now waiting for me to lose weight. Or turn it into a skirt. Now that’s an excellent idea!

But I still saw possibilities with this pattern. I added width to the pattern and made another version in a scuba print.

I know.  I’ve both sized up and used a fabric with stretch. Not the cleverest move.

This scuba print has the best pattern (also I love my strawberry thief background).

I finished the neck with bias binding. And scuba meant no zip and easy zig zag hemming. Colour matched of course!

It’s a very comfortable dress to wear, but this ridiculously busy print hid the fitting issues.

It’s too big through the back and the bust darts are too low.  But I only know that because I made third version. I don’t notice any of this with this fun dress.

The third version was made with a ponte and another stretch woven from my stash, both with LOTS of 4 way stretch.

Look at all that extra fabric through the back!

I really am not winning with my fabric choices!

But my children are delightful.

Bottom line is that

  • I love this pattern
  • I wish I had been smarter with adjusting the fit
  • A fourth version, that fits perfectly, with some of the width taken back out, needs to be made

A dress for Granny’s wedding: Burdastyle 12/2014 #112

Back to regular sewing posts!

Felicity needed a new dress for her Granny’s wedding. Isn’t it lovely that her Granny was getting married again? Love is wonderful at every age.

Felicity had great ideas for an outfit, but we didn’t manage to find any suitable fabric in time. I was also too busy gallivanting around the world traveling for work, so time was limited.

So a compromise was struck. A stretch woven cotton jacquard in pale blue was purchased. A previous dress pattern was used.

Technical Details

Pattern: I based this on BurdaStyle 12/2014 #112 that I’d used recently for the hot rocks dragon skin dress. This time I omitted the triangular inserts at the front and back neck, the godet, the zip and shortened the sleeves.

The line drawing would look more like this:

Size: 36-44, I sort-of-made a 40 with a FBA. I say sort of 40, because I cut the pattern pieces out without barely any seam allowances, apart from the sleeves and armscyes and neck. Why? I didn’t have quite enough fabric and it had lots and lots of stretch.

Fabric: A stretch cotton jacquard from Catwalk Fabrics– a local, small but well curated high end fabric shop.

I drafted a neck facing from a remnant of silk twill (actually the sleeves from a failed project due to not prewashing fusible interfacing). A little piece of lace was added as a back label, and for prettiness.

It was a sunny day, but not yet spring-like enough for the dress to be worn on its own. So, she borrowed my jacket.

How did that happen? Not so long ago she was a sweet little girl with a baby brother! Now look at them!

Clearly I didn’t get the memo about pink and blue. I also ran out of time to make a new outfit, so I’m wearing a Burdastyle dress sewn a year or so ago and a Burdastyle jacket sewn even earlier.

Doesn’t He Who Cooks look smashing? That double pocket square perfectly matches in with his tie. That was made possible, at the last minute, by my large fabric stash.

You know I’m going to bring this up every time there is a raised eyebrow about me adding to that stash!

Such a happy day.

Not cold weather clothes

“Yeah I like my new skirt. But do I have to take my jacket off? It’s too cold to take my jacket off.”

“Do I really have too?”

“Ok if you insist, I will show my new Nettie body suit, even if it is freezing.” Freezing, Adelaide style is 10°C.

Isn’t she gorgeous??

“The scoop neck is just goldilocks.” Goldilocks = not to high, not to low, just right.

“The sleeves are a bit long, but I’m not complaining.”


Technical Details

Body Suit: Closet case Nettie Body Suit, front scoop neck, back high neck and long sleeved version.

Size: 2-18. I graded from a size 12 shoulders to a 14 bust, then 10 waist and then out to 12 hips. I normally do an FBA for her, but I thought I try just grading out to her bust measurement and seeing if that would work. She’s short waisted so the torso length should still be okay. That was my hope anyway, and it seems to have worked. Gotta love stretch fabric!

Others have said that the pattern ran small but I purchased the pattern after Heather redid the sizing and it seems good to me.


Cotton lycra knit with 100% stretch width wise and 80% lengthwise. This is an awesomely stretchy lightweight fabric from Gorgeous Fabrics last year. The bodysuit needs 50% stretch both ways, so it seemed like a very safe fabric to try this pattern out!


Skirt: Based on Burda Style 03/2013 #109

I pinned out the darts and squished the pattern piece flat and then elongated to about 100 cm in length. I cut the hem straight along the stripes, rather than curving. I omitted the zip and made an elastic waist.

Fabric: Poly Cotton knit from last winters sales

“Time to kick of these shoes and put my dressing gown on over top” she says as she heads indoors out of the ‘cold’.

How flattering is that? New clothes that are as comfortable as pajamas!




Seafoam striped skirt with a repurposed zip gives new life to an Oscar de la Renta denim jacket

This denim jacket has been languishing in my wardrobe for about ten years. It was made with an Oscar de la Renta Vogue Pattern and a stretch denim bought in Tampere, Finland (my brother worked for Nokia for a while, and we visited them; fabric and notions have been my souvenir of choice for a long time!)

It’s a boxy shape that didn’t seem to work with the rest of my clothes. And I seem to have more black than navy. But it had nice metal buttons and it was me-made, so I didn’t donate it.

The skirt happened because I *had* to go to my local fabric store for something else, and this seafoam striped remnant needed a new home

The metal zip used to reside in a pair of shorts of He who Cooks. Now it’s an exposed zip feature to match the grosgrain ribbon waistband. Yes, that button is on the wrong side of the waistband.

It doesn’t look quite as wrinkly in real life, but the fabric is very stretchy woven and probably should have been lined (and interfaced down the zip). I used a double needle for the hem, because of the stretchiness.

Technical details

Jacket Pattern: Vogue 2518 (now out of print) Vogue American Designer Oscar de la Renta (2001)

The pattern envelope describes it as a loose-fitting, fully interfaced, unlined, above-hip jacket. I used no interfacing anywhere, even where I should have, like in the facing. I think I have progressed a little in my sewing skills over the years!

Size: I made 14. Looking at it now, I think it’s a bit big. It used to have shoulder pads. At some time in the last ten years I took them out.

Why is it pulling up in the front in the side view? Any ideas? Forward rolling or rounded shoulders? I’ve had this before with boxy jackets.

Skirt Pattern: BurdaStyle 04-2010-125 without the flounce in a size 42 waist 44 hips, same as this one. This has become my go to simple skirt pattern.