Here’s my “one liner” review of this issue – if you’re looking for Spring sewing inspiration, you probably won’t find it here!
I’ve felt the last few Burda issues were a bit lacklustre and this one is even worse. There are a few nice patterns, but most require alterations in order to make them wearable for most people, or are things we’ve seen before. I’ll leave it to Paunnet to tear apart all the horrible rectangle “patterns” in this issue!
First up we’ve got a retro-style bikini with a cute tie in the front and shirred elastic at the back, and elasticated briefs. I found it a bit strange that this is drafted for wovens, when it’d be much more comfortable in a traditional swimsuit lycra. I also saw an idea online that it’d be really cute lengthened into a dress or top! (PDF Pattern here)
There’s a bunch going on in this page – first a cardigan (rather a lot like Jalie’s new one, but for wovens), trousers that look way too much like pyjamas for my liking, and a quite nice dress (which also has a short sleeved option) if you leave off the cutesy patch pockets. (Cardigan PDF Pattern here)
This twist-top is probably my favourite in this issue, but it looks like it either requires a camisole underneath, or some extensive alterations. And I swear there’s a pattern exactly like this in one of the Pattern Magic books, so it’s hardly original.
Oh god, I’m getting light-headed, having dangerous flashbacks to that awful, awful April cover top from last year with similar floating sleeves and little to no shape in the body… Someone pass me a paper bag!
Happily, Burda have brought back the vintage reproduction pattern after a few issues away (these and the designer patterns seem to be very sporadic – it’s not like they have a lack of back catalogue to choose from?) with this rather sweet 1960s sheath dress. It’s got good lines and some interesting shaping in front, but it doesn’t particularly excite me, I must say. (PDF Pattern here)
Ok, credit where credit’s due – this maxidress is simply stunning, with that deep, contrast V neckline in front and back. It almost makes me wish I wore maxidresses, and had some exotic island getaway to wear it to!
And finally, in the Plus section, I really liked this long sleeved tee with gathered side seams! It’s made with a regular knit underneath and a thin, transparent jersey over top and it’d be really forgiving to lumps and bumps – bonus points that the ruched overlayer continues onto the back, too. (PDF Pattern here)
So these were my picks – were there any others that you liked that I overlooked? I’m in the midst of gathering together my Spring sewing ideas and issues like this are actually making it easier for me to whittle down my pattern choices!
Also, since I keep getting emails and tweets about it – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching the Great British Sewing Bee over the past few weeks! Thank you very much for all your comments suggesting I should apply – I actually did, but was let go after the third round, but told I definitely should apply again for the second season. So we’ll see whether the producers think I’m “British” enough to compete this year, eh??tags: bwof, magazine
Last week I had the extreme pleasure of attending The Salon Project at the Barbican, an event we booked tickets for months in advance and one I’d been so excited for that I was jumping up and down all day in anticipation!
Why, you ask? Because it was essentially playing dressup in amazing costumes and attending a modern equivalent of the salons that the Enlightenment made famous.
Or in in the official blurb, it’s explained as:
The Salon Project Revisited recreates the exclusive meetings at the heart of what was French society’s golden age – an era of change, excess and inquiry. Your evening begins with a transformation into full period costume by a coterie of dressers and make-up artists, before you emerge into a mirrored impression of a 19th-century Parisian salon. As you mingle with guests, pioneers in their fields will provoke discussion, speaking on subjects at the vanguard of 21st-century thought on science, politics, technology and the arts. Revel in the Salon’s splendour, contrast it with the present and imagine what the future will hold in this beautifully crafted night of fashion and conversation.
You can also view a a great, short video of the performance experience here to get a better idea of how it happened.
To start with, each of us sent our measurements to the team about a month ago – and it was rather more than just Bust, Waist, and Hips! But it was all worthwhile, because when we arrived, a costume selected just for us was waiting on a hanger with our name on it, along with shoes, gloves, jewellery, hairpiece – the works!
We each had our our dresser to help us get the dresses on, as many of them involved corsets which tied or hooked at the back, and elaborate draped pieces. I squealed with delight to see a sleeveless, corseted, dark grey velvet, floor length gown had been chosen for me! How did they know!? My dresser also found me better fitting shoes when my first pair were too small, and I tried on no less than four pairs of gloves before they found ones they deemed acceptable! The dressing team really did have an amazing array to choose from (way more than what was needed each night) so they really hunted to find the best pieces for each person. Then it was time for hair and makeup – the hair lady curled my entire head with tongs before pinning it back and affixing the jewelled feather piece. We ladies got a few minutes to marvel at each other before the gong sounded and we joined the men in the specially-built salon room!
The men were mostly in 3-piece tuxedos, which was more than James wore for our wedding! Doesn’t he look dashing?? He brought his own pocket watch, which was the envy of the other gents!
Here’s a better look at my jewellery (clip on earrings!) and feather headdress from the back. I love that my gown has a square neckline back and front, but yet isn’t nearly as, umm, saloon-girl low cut as others’.
All the guests mingled and sipped on prosecco, and we were explicitly told to not put on an act, and just be ourselves, in the 21st century. We were treated to two guest speakers and a variety of performances evocative of the 19th century salon experience, but with a full view of the 21st century. Our first performance was from two “gramophone DJs”, there was a nude tableau where the subjects had various laptops, tablets, and phones in still-life poses, and some video art, too. I found the speakers to be the most enjoyable – the first woman was an actress, speaking on the act of measuring oneself, vanity sizing, and RTW (very me!). The second speaker was a neuroscientist, speaking about memory and the brain’s adaptive pathways. We went up to both women afterwards to speak at greater length!
We had two hosts for the evening who were wonderfully welcoming and entertaining, plus a pianist who read his sheet music off an iPad, which I’d never seen before!
But of course I spent most of the time checking out all the details of fellow guests’ dresses, including this lady with amazing bustle gown and hat with full face net and bird on top! Happily they gave her a bendy straw so she could drink her bubbles without having to keep lifting the veil each time.
Here are some views of the other fellow guests, so you can get a feel for the variety of the costumes, which ranged in styles from 1895-1915, and were actually on loan from a variety of different Scottish theatre companies (I was told mine was from an opera company so I tried my best not to burst into spontaneous arias). Take special note of the lady with a full feather collar! I got some strange reactions when I complimented others’ dresses – usually a person can take credit for choosing what they’re wearing, and it reflects something of their personal style, but here, they were all chosen for us without our input (other than measurements).
James and I both had an absolutely unforgettable time, and we both marvelled at how wonderful it was to have a full evening of conversation stimulated by a) the unusual dress code, b) the wonderful speakers and performers, and c) the lack of any interruptions by smartphones. I’m as guilty of the last as anyone, but it was refreshing to only have people taking photos throughout the evening, and not preoccupied.
All in all, our salon experience lasted about three hours, and I was thankful when my dresser released my corset hooks and I could exhale and relax again! The corset was a wee bit short for my waist so I couldn’t sit down without it separating from the skirt, and I found I was tensing my shoulders and holding my arms in front all night. It makes me appreciate those who wore (and still wear!) corsets regularly!
Obviously, this event is something I’d do again in a heartbeat, so I really hope the concept takes off!tags: vintage
Last week we flew over to the States for a week – not in Pennsylvania where I grew up (no offence, but I’m kinda sick of visiting there!), but to Baltimore, with a day in DC at the end. We got a lot of strange looks from British friends when we said where we were going – “Baltimore? Really? Why??”, and we’ve been mounting our own Baltimore Tourism crusade since we got back, because it was fantastic!
The reason we were over was because James was speaking at a prestigious tech conference, but I took the opportunity to meet up with loads of friends and family, including the chance to finally meet some fellow sewing bloggers!
I’ve been speaking to Cidell & Trena for at least five years now I reckon, and even weirder is that I already knew their voices from their earlier sewing podcasts (please bring them back!), and there was zero awkwardness when we met up for dinner! It really was like we’d known each other for years, which I suppose we have!
Cidell puts me to shame – she posted about our meeting like the same day!! I was also very excited to get more of the Under Armour Cold Gear fabric she’d previously sent, because during the last few months I’d been doing laundry twice a week in order to wear my Cold Gear leggings on both my Tuesday night runs and my Saturday long runs because they’re seriously the warmest leggings I own. Next winter I’ll be much better prepared now!
We both wore running gear we made ourselves – she’s wearing McCalls 6435 adapted for running as her top and the Jalie sports skirt lengthened into leggings, and I’m wearing my disco top and my new self-drafted leggings with that fishnet insertion from Tissu in the front thighs and back calves, which you can see a bit better here:
But apart from the wonderful people, Baltimore has fantastic food (nevermind I was in CRAB HEAVEN), a big craft beer movement, great architecture with the original wharves and old brick row houses, lots of walkable areas with tons of character, a beautiful harbour (and not just Inner Harbour), and a great quality of life. I was amazed to find such a running culture there, but I suppose Baltimore has Under Armour in its blood!
I ended up going on three runs in Baltimore (and one in DC), the first of which was along the harbour, but it was still cold then so my refashioned Paris race vest is underneath my jacket, worn with my Liberace leggings.
Then I bought a pair of amazing/crazy trail shoes at the Under Armour flagship store at Harbour East and I just HAD to try them out since they’ve got these ankle supports that you can wear up or down plus soles made from recycled tires!
So my second Baltimore run was in Patterson Park run (which I then revisited the next day with Kathy), wearing my Team GB replica vest & disco leggings.
Strangely, I actually didn’t visit any fabric stores during my trip (my stash is bursting at the seams already AND most of the stores were way out of town AND my PA driver’s license expired!) but I did hit up three different running stores in Baltimore, and we ended up at an outlet mall so James could pick up a few things on his list at once.
So for a girl who’s been sewing lots of running gear, underwear, and asymmetric sheath dresses, what did I buy??
Umm, running gear (a vest & shorts at the Nike Factory store for stupid cheap), underwear (Victoria’s Secret lets me relive my teenage years! And is surprisingly bang on trend with French lingerie trends), and this amazing asymmetric sheath dress at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet store, originally $200 marked down to $55, and it fits like a freaking glove!
But seriously, Baltimore has such an image problem! My brother and his wife brought the kids up for a few days and they found SO much to do (nevermind the fact that my niece’s favourite thing was apparently our dinner at an El Salvadorian restaurant!), so it wasn’t just us, either. Is Baltimore is keeping itself a secret on purpose??
We’d both been to DC before, but one of the must-do things on our list for this trip was to eat again at Oyamel, because the guacamole we ate there 5 years ago was still haunting us with taste memories. And we were not disappointed, either! I’m still not sure how we managed it, but the day we had in DC also coincided perfectly with peak cherry blossoms, omg omg omg (not to mention 85F/32C heat and sunshine!). I went out for a run in the morning under the blossoms, and then we went back later with the DSLR so James could play around, too.
The cherry blossoms were absolutely spectacular, just sheer magic to be under their canopy and seeing the water and amazing monuments (I swear there are a ton more there than when I was a kid!). We really saw DC at its very best.
You saw the Baltimore skyline in my last photoshoot for my Marie jacket, but there are two more photoshoots we took in Baltimore yet to come, too! (If you’re interested in seeing more of my holiday photos, I’ve plopped them into Dropbox here – James got some spectacular cherry blossom photos with his DSLR!)tags: exercise, reflections, shopping
How often do you feel a little guilty when buying yet another pattern or more fabric? Nearly all of us have big stashes and feel a little guilty about buying more, but we’re hardly going to stop, right?? I’ve just been alerted by Tracy (whom I met on the Morley College Pattern Magic course, remember?) that there’s an ageing sewist who desperately needs help, which you can provide by simply buying more patterns!
Sounds win-win, right? I’ll let Tracy explain:
My friend’s aunt had to go into residential care last year as she has dementia. She was a dressmaker all her life and my friend has inherited her fantastic collection of sewing patterns (about 200), along with some fabrics and her handmade dresses. The patterns are mostly from the 1950s and 1960s and include Vogue Couture, Vogue Paris, “ordinary” Vogue, Simplicity, Style, Maudella – mostly unused. It’s mostly women’s but also some children’s and a few men’s patterns. I did post on my blog about them a while back with some photos – which show the quality of the stuff she had.
Every penny, after we pay for the stall, will go towards her residential care – so if anyone fancies some guilt-free adding to their pattern and fabric stash we’d appreciate it. I’d also like to think she would be happy knowing that her collection would go on to be used by a new generation of sewers.
The stall will be at the Vintage Fashion Fair, at Cecil Sharp House, NW1 on the 14 April from 11-5. Afterwards Tracy will post any unsold patterns onto Etsy or eBay so I’ll try and mention the link to that once it’s up.
Apart from being a great way to help a fellow sewist in need, I’m personally touched because my own grandmother has recently been moved into residential care and is suffering from dementia, and I know how hard it can be, as well as financially draining. That we might be able to buy her patterns and continue to use and cherish them may bring a smile to her face, and that’s certainly a wonderful cause to get behind.
So if you’re in London this Sunday, get yourself up to Primrose Hill!
I’m back from my holiday in the States now with t-o-n-s of photos to go through and post about, so please bear with me! I wore my StyleArc Marie jacket pretty much non-stop, too!tags: shopping, vintage
Greetings readers! I’m still away on holiday, meeting cool people, (hopefully) photoshooting my new Easter makes, and eating my bodyweight in crab cakes, but here’s something to tide you over til I’m back… the latest issue of the Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim!
I think this sleeveless blouse with neck tie looks like a really classy blouse for the office, and it’d be great paired with a skirt and nice jacket, though it’d be a shame to hide that back yoke. I only wish this one was in my size!
Here’s another look at that lace dress from the cover – it’s almost a skater style with that short, full skirt, and a nice surprise V neck in the back.
oh my god, you guys – this cropped trench coat is so me! And it’s in my size!
Here’s a jacket where the zipper teeth extend up the lapels – a very cool effect! (and one that’s easy to achieve with a variety of patterns!)
I’m not sure whether I like this billowy, bubble hem top or not. Especially in this grey marl, it reminds me of the other, billowly Manequim top I made (and didn’t really wear much!)
I don’t think I’d really wear this, but I really like the unique triple sleeve feature and wrap back on this blouse.
Are we over peplums yet? I thought I was, but there’s something about this one that really appeals to me…
Maybe when I’m back the UK weather will have turned Brazilian? I can hope, right??tags: magazine, manequim
Well, it was bound to happen… We’ve had quite a few great Burda issues in a row, but to my eyes, this one’s a stinker. I mean, there are a few patterns that are okay, but an awful lot of ugly that I couldn’t bring myself to even scan. I’ve sifted out what I could from this issue though, so here are my picks…
I’ve never been a big fan of maxidresses, but this one looks nice, if a bit “only to be worn on holiday”-y. There exist maybe two days in the year you could actually wear something like this in London and not look unspeakably sad. Which is why I don’t sew many summer clothes…
Here are two versions of the same simple, boxy top with pleats around the neck (not that you’d know it from the pose on the left!). I like this top (and to a lesser extent, the belt-required dress version), but I swear I’ve seen this design over and over again before. I do kinda like the idea of having an all-lace back, but I’d do it in a teeshirt pattern or something.
This bustier-style dress is quite cute, and I like that they didn’t publish it in Petite sizes for once (something about it just feels like their petite designs!), but again, there’s that feeling that we’ve seen this design a thousand times before…
Ok, this top with the bubble hem and asymmetric drape I actually like, and I think it could be a really forgiving style for a lot of women, especially if you choose a really flowing fabric for that drape, which would also make the high cowl neckline softer. Added bonus that this pattern has the colour, illustrated instructions in the middle of the magazine!
Sigh… Burda, I bit my tongue through all the boxy, dated, hoochie-mama, and just plain ugly designs in this issue (a necklace made from plastic rhinestones and snaps?), but I cannot sit back and have you tell us to chop a sweatshirt and buttondown shirt in half and jam them together. This isn’t fashion, this is dressing like a freaking DIY hobo.
The Plus section is all really ugly, unflattering designs this month, so I’ll skip over that and get right to the children’s patterns, which this month is just for boys, and for men, in some weird 1920s-meets-Mumford & Sons styled shoot.
Wait — what was that you slipped in there, Burda, because that might be important – These men’s patterns are for Tall Men, which, AFAIK they’ve never, ever done before. Luckily, they printed a size chart for Tall Men in the magazine, which I’m going to post here:
Why am I posting it here? Because BurdaStyle.com have already started posting the men’s patterns from this issue, but without any hint of a size chart on the site for this new Tall Men’s sizing! So, once more for those who got here via a Google search, here is a “Burda size chart for Men’s Tall sizes”. You’re welcome, future readers, you’re welcome.tags: bwof, magazine
You’ve heard me mention this book a few times as I’ve been experimenting with various drafts, but I felt it deserved a full review because, frankly, I’m a little obsessed with it right now. My mom surprised me with this when I was ill with shingles and the subsequent nerve damage pain, and it gave me something to focus on right as I was in the midst of
It’s “Patternmaking for Underwear Design”, by Kristina Shin, PhD, and here’s a (pretty bad) shot I took of it’s cover:
It’s primarily a book for drafting your own bras and lingerie (but much more, too), and the biggest difference I’ve seen here in that these bra drafts all start with the underwire shape, and build from there. Every other bra draft I’ve seen starts with a bodice sloper, which is then adapted into a bra shape. The approach taken here makes a lot more sense to me for getting an accurate fit, since there’s so much variation in breast shape and distribution for women who even wear the same size bodice. As anyone knows who’s ever sewn a bra, finding the right size underwire is absolutely key, so it really seems right here to use that as a starting point. And it helps that most women can make a small incision in a well-fitting bra and just trace off one they know fits them!
There’s not really any construction or sewing instructions included in this book, but there are a few pages at the beginning with stuff like tips on cutting lace…
…and the wide variety of bra backs you can use once you’ve got your basic draft sorted out…
…plus several pages of various tables of measurements for different sizes, and exactly what to measure, both for the breasts and the rest of the body.
Here’s an example page from the leggings draft so you can see the style of instructions and diagrams. I personally found these easier to follow than Metric Pattern Cutting and WAY easier than any of the Pattern Magic books!
Here you can see the drawing for the babydoll nightie draft, and it’s nicely detailed on the front and back. The last step of each draft is always a page showing you all of the pattern pieces, and a suggested seam/hem allowance around each, too.
There are instructions here for drafting a full brand bra, partial band bra, sports bra, and a few cup seam variations. There are also drafting instructions for a teeshirt, leggings, boy short panties, G-string, and brief panties. You can then mix and match these drafts to create a bodysuit, camisole, and even an old-school button-down pyjama set!
Here is a compilation I made showing the tech drawings of all the different drafting instructions included in this book! There’s a ton in this book!
Some build on others, so like the frameless bra (“hook-up bra”) is based on the framed bra draft (“basic underwired bra”), and the bodysuit uses the basic t-shirt and brief drafts.
So far I’ve drafted myself the basic t-shirt and the leggings drafts, and both are the best I’ve ever had – the t-shirt is far better than the one I made from the Pattern Magic (Bunka) instructions, and the leggings are vastly better than the one I drafted myself from Metric Pattern Cutting.
Here’s me in my t-shirt sloper, which I actually like so much I wear it around the boat at the weekends, and I used it as the basic for my disco running top!
The next step for me is to attempt the basic underwired bra draft, because I’m pretty happy with the band fit on the Elan pattern now, but the cups are just deeply, deeply unflattering (oh, not dissimilar to a duckbill!). However, on first appearances the basic bra draft doesn’t seem to be as clear to me as the teeshirt and leggings draft, so I’ve emailed the author asking for some clarifications. Mainly, in the bra draft, she uses measurements, whereas the others it was “Hip/4 * 90%” so you could easily plug in your own measurements. I’m sure I’m just missing something, so I’m hoping to update this review once I’ve had a reply and the chance to test it out.
What became apparent to me is that this book and the upcoming “Demystifying Bra Fitting and Construction” by Norma Loehr, are pretty much the most perfect bra-making companions. I’ve had the privilege of testing Norma’s book before its release, and it’s an absolute must buy for anyone interested in sewing their own bras (seriously, there’s one gem of bridge fitting advice in there alone that’s worth the purchase price!).
Kristina’s book gives you fantastic drafts, but no advice on fit nor how to construct the garments. Whereas Norma’s gives no patterns or drafting instructions, but provides amazingly good tips for improving fit and best ways to assemble bras.
I’m happy to announce that Norma’s book finally has a release date of April 15, and I’d strongly recommend buying Kristina’s book now (US & AU & CA) to get your drafts in order, and you’ll be ready for Norma’s by the time it’s released!
EDIT: Norma’s book is out now, for Kindle, which can be read on iOS, Android, Kindle devices, and pretty much everything you can think of!tags: book, lingerie
It feels like I only just spoke about shopping but here I am, back with more lovely things to share! In my mind, it’s important that I have an intended use/project for 95% of the things I buy, and that I actually do end up using it, or (in the worst case) giving it away.
So with that in mind, I tried to make purchases of things I’m likely to use fairly soon, and I’m definitely all set for the long Easter weekend now!
I was approached by the lovely Vicki at Minerva Crafts asking if I’d like to try some of their products. I’m approached fairly often by retailers about this sort of thing and I usually decline unless it’s a) most definitely sewing related (and not just another clothing store wanting to pimp me out for some % off code!) and b) I genuinely think I’d like the product and feel good about recommending them.
Not only are Minerva most definitely sewing-related (and owned by fellow sewists!!) but omg do they stock a gargantuan amount of sewing supplies! Ladies, it took me four days to trawl through the site and actually decide what I wanted. Four days. Not just fabric, but a ton of haberdashery (including supplies I’ve never seen anywhere else, like the stretch/lycra bindings), high end sewing tools and gadgets, patterns, the works. I didn’t even look in the Knitting, Quilting, or Needlework sections!
They’ve also got free shipping on all orders over £20, which is pretty awesome, too, as I’ve seen a lot of places with a much higher barrier than that…
But I won’t leave you in suspense any longer, here’s what I selected!
First up – 2.5m Black and silver heavyweight jersey to make the StyleArc Marie jacket, which coincidentally arrived from Australia the same day (4 working days after the shipping email! Noice!). This feels perfect for the jacket, too – hefty but drapey at the same time, with a nice bit of glam from the silver lurex threads.
Then I also couldn’t say no to 1m of fluorescent yellow poly jersey for accents in running leggings (the whole thing in fluorescent yellow is a bit Too Much, even for me!), too.
And then Vicki also threw in 2m each of their stretch bindings in black and fluorescent orange to try out on necklines and edges of tops. It was hard to choose colours as they have so many! Rachel at House of Pinheiro recently used this as the neck edge in a jersey dress and raved about it, so I’m eager to try it myself.
Heads up, people – they also stock vilene bias tape in charcoal or white, too! This stuff is amaaaaaaaaazing, and I use it for stabilising necklines, bias edges, shoulders, the lot. Burda magazine always advise using it on knits, but I find myself reaching for it on wovens (like my birthday dress), too.
Our Patterned Hand
Some sewists are funny about buying fabric online but the one item I really try to always buy in person is thread, specifically when I’m trying to match a fabric. So that’s pretty much every time I’m not buying black, white, or replacing one where I already have the colour number!
I’m lucky that I’ve got three great independent sewing shops within walking distance of my office (actually, five if you count Bhopal Fabrics and Z. Butt, which I pass on my walk home), and two of those stock Gutermann thread. Some people have brand loyalty to certain foods, clothing, or sneakers – I am forever loyal to Gutermann thread. FOR LYFE, YO.
So anyway, I set out on my lunchtime errands, passing all three sewing shops – Beyond Fabrics is closest but closed this week, and Fabrications are more machines and studio than supplies, but the lovely Our Patterned Hand on Broadway Market (Haggerston/Hackney/Bethnal Green/Shoreditch area) had everything I was looking for!
On my list was: more purple thread for my birthday dress, a black separating zipper for the Style Arc Marie jacket, and a 10m reel of 25mm/1” elastic for legging waistbands (I hate buying 1m lengths and wasting a section each time!).
Whereas Beyond Fabrics is half the distance walk from my office, they only really stock quilting fabrics, a small display of Gutermann threads, and a very limited (and mostly quilting-focused) display of haberdashery. But Our Patterned Hand is definitely more dressmaking-focused! On top of the things I bought, they also stock Liberty fabrics (in silks as well as cottons), genuine Harris tweed, a big wall of buttons, a wide choice Gutermann threads (including the new recycled poly spools), a pretty wide choice of zippers (regular, invisible, and separating), a bunch of books (including all three Pattern Magic books), and some pretty cool kits for handbags, panties, pillows, and clothing.
I had to stop myself from chatting too long and get back to my desk! It’s certainly worth the extra 30min of walking to get up there now that I know what they offer, too, and their prices were very competitive considering you don’t need to pay for shipping.
Top tip for London sewing peeps: Patterned Hand also stocks BurdaStyle magazine now, too! There were a big stack of Aprils at the till. Otherwise, it seems to be hit & miss with the big WH Smiths, I find. At least here you can call and ask first!
I showed you my purchases from Funki Fabrics last week, but I had to email them because the samples I’d ordered weren’t included by mistake. So they shipped those out again, and I’m sooooooo in love!
From the top are the digitally printed lycra samples of: Space multi digiflex (god I love that name, hahah), Short circuit green, Flash malva, then below are Beam multi and also a non-printed sample of Flo orange stretch lace.
I’m interested in the lycras for running leggings, naturally (and I’m most tempted by the circuit boards but I really must sew down my lycra pile a bit more first!), but I love the fluorescent orange stretch lace, too, because I was so inspired by the current Etam Lingerie collection that features all-lace bras and panties in a range of really bright (and some fluorescent) colours.
Birthday dress update
I had an evening alone to sew on Wednesday but I didn’t get as much done as I was hoping. However, I did get all the really tricky bits out of the way – lots of curves to match and inset corners, both of which are notoriously difficult to do well. So it’s no surprise it took me longer than I expected!
In any case, the lining is entirely done now (the curved facings were all tricky to attach cleanly, especially the sleeve facings!), and the front and backs are all pieced together now, too.
The next step is to insert the invisible zipper (I want the dress to be classic and I fear an exposed zipper will date rather quickly), then sew the shoulder and side seams, attach to the facing/lining at the neck and sleeves, flip, and sew the lining centre back seam. Then hem!
Can I finish this before Monday evening’s birthday dinner? Normally it’d be a confident YES, but I’m running 18 miles Saturday morning (in the snow!?!? sob), then seeing friends out of town all day, then off to a film screening on Sunday followed by Sunday lunch with the inlaws… So there’s not much time to work on it!
But as soon as I’m finished it, I’ve got all the supplies I need now to hunker down over the four day Easter holiday weekend and sew, sew, sew!tags: shopping
Wow, the response to my free Lacey Thong pattern I released last month has been immense! Since the beginning of February, it’s been downloaded a staggering 1400 times! That’s a LOT of potential underwear, my friends!
So in no particular order, let’s have a fumble through your underwear drawers…
Lauriana’s pale green/blue pair kickstarted a month-long lingerie sewing binge, with more panties, and bras galore!
Frances Hall sent me photos of her gorgeous red & white pair:
Deborah Foyle sent in snaps of her purple & blue pair, too:
Kris hasn’t revealed any photos of her pair, but very helpfully noted in the comments that she found the XL great for Burda size 50, though a little snug when using non-stretch front & back pieces.
And speaking of sizing, thank you to everyone who sent me comments about how they found the fit – some thought the crotch was too long, others found the sides too wide, and others found the sides too small. To be honest, there wasn’t any strong consensus from the group so I’ll just take that to mean there’s lots of variations between bodies and stretch laces!
Anyway, back to the pretties – Katelyn Allers sent in her lovely burgandy and grey pair:
And Sanne’s gorgeous pink and purple pair is making me want to buy even more stretch lace online now (be strong, Melissa)!
Jodie Kachkar loved her pair so much she made a matching camisole and she’s going to use the pattern to teach her students how to make their own!!
And finally, Cidell’s made a veritable herd of Lacey Thongs, assembly line-style!
Did I miss anyone? If you’ve got yours up online anywhere, please leave a comment so I can add to the list, I just love seeing all the beautiful colours and variations in lace and trim! I especially love that so many of you used these to start experimenting with sewing other lingerie, too, like matching bras or camisoles, or even other styles of underwear!tags: lingerie
My weekend mostly went like this…
On Saturday morning I got up for a 2hr 45min (16+ mile) run in the rain with my two good friends, Chris and Juell. We got soaked, ran along Regents Canal to Camden and then through the heart of the city and back through Shoreditch to home. We were soaked to the bone, but had a great time and I furthered my knowledge of myself, my glycogen storage capacity, and my stomach’s ability to digest medjool dates as a gel alternative. That, and I feel a bit more confident now that I’ll be able to finish Copenhagen marathon now, having dialled back my expectations after being ill for so long.
The above uses the official photo from when I bought the “Ravissant Duchess Satin Plum” from Fabric.com three years ago, but below you can see the actual colour and exactly how much gorgeous lustre it gives off in the light. On the inside, I’m using a lovely floral lining fabric gifted to me from Veronica when I was in Paris last Spring.
For once, I decided to be a good girl and make the lining first, since I didn’t feel up to making a muslin. First, though, I made the only Burda adjustment I ever need – raising the waist seam by 2cm. I love that they’ve provided wholly separate lining pieces for this dress, which just has a waist seam and very simple fitting pleats instead of darts or intricate seams. It did mean there were more pattern pieces to trace (14 in total!), but you end up with a much nicer finished garment.
I tried on the lining, checked the fit (good, though little tight getting the non-stretch pencil skirt on over my hips), then pinned and cut out the satin. Then I fused all the facings, and also reinforced a few of the diagonal (ie: bias, and prone to distort) seam edges and neckline with Vilene bias tape, so it’s ready to sew on my next available free evening, which I believe is Wednesday.
After an acceptably long lie-in, I quickly cut out the leggings I drafted from the Kristina Shin book a few weeks ago (but never quite tested) in a muslin jersey. I quickly checked the fit, and it’s awesome. So awesome in fact, I’ll be keeping these even though they’re in an ugly, thin, canary-yellow rib knit. Though just around the boat.
Then I headed off in the afternoon for a sewing play-date with my friend Sanchia from my running group. She took some sewing courses in the past, but really wanted a refresher on using her overlocker and wanted to be able to make her own leggings like she sees me wearing each Tuesday. Me? I was just up for a fun afternoon and teaching someone who wasn’t a total beginner for once!
First, we measured her up for the leggings draft, which required: Waist, hip, knee, and ankle girth, then waist to hip, waist to knee, and waist to ankle lengths.
Then we unrolled some brown paper on the floor and got to work drafting her a pair of leggings from the Kristina Shin’s book (Full review coming soon!). I guided her but let her do the actual drawing and measuring, so hopefully she might be able to do the teeshirt draft on her own. Drafting the leggings only took us about an hour, though, I reckon, which is time well spent.
Then I threaded up her overlocker (a decent old Toyota she got given!) and got the tensions adjusted triumphantly, but then the cutting blades were either dull or misadjusted so we replaced those, and only made things worse, boo! So off to the shop it goes to have the blades adjusted properly by someone who knows to millimetre precision exactly how they should sit.
But not to be defeated, we pulled out her sewing machine, which ended up doing a great zigzag stitch so we made the leggings on that, using some scrap lycra she’d found stashed away, plus some elastic I thought to bring along. Success!!
The fit was so good she was dancing all over the flat! Her main fitting issue is that no leggings are long enough in the legs, and often look weird in the bum, too. But these are great! A second set of thumbs up for the Shin leggings draft!!
So in one afternoon she gained the ability to recreate her perfect leggings over and over again! I love sewing!
Oh, and James and I made a kick-ass batch of Chicken Haleem in the slow cooker, too.tags: bwof, designer, drafting, exercise