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Surf to Summit Top Pattern - Out now!

Inspiration

On sale now - Surf to Summit Top pattern for men and women

12 December 2014, 16:54

It’s finally here! After months of hard work, dozens of pattern revisions, ten sewn samples, three athlete-models, and meters upon meters of spandex, the Surf to Summit Top is on sale now!

Both the men’s and ladies’ versions feature princess seams, side panels (so no side seams!), your choice of long or short raglan sleeves, optional sleeve mitts for keeping your hands warm without fiddling for gloves, a tall integral collar to keep your neck covered, and your choice of two hem lengths. An optional half zip and back cycling-style pocket are also included.


Click any image to make it bigger!

This pattern truly does cover all seasons and a multitude of sports – everything from a rashguard for surfing, to a winter base layer for skiing! Plus you can make a traditional cycling jersey with it, and I absolutely love it for winter running.

I’ve also been asked if women could wear the men’s version and vice-versa – absolutely! If you’re a lady who prefers straight-cut tops, you may be happier with the men’s version, and likewise, if you’re a guy who prefers his workout tops to be form-fitting, you may be happier with the ladies’ edition (albeit with a Small Bust Adjustment!).

As usual, this pattern comes with fully illustrated instructions, including a Common Fit Alterations section showing you how to alter the pattern pieces if you want to increase or decrease the waist and hips, have square shoulders, need an FBA, plus loads more! The pattern comes with both Print at Home version, compatible with both US and A4 printers, as well as a Copy Shop version sized to fit within 36in wide and A0 printers.

As promised, my newsletter subscribers have been sent an exclusive 15% off discount code, but if you’ve been holding off buying one of my older patterns until this release, you won’t be disappointed, as you can use the code 10OVER20 to save 10% off any order over $20 before Boxing Day (26 Dec 2014). Note: This code is valid only on shop.fehrtrade.com and not my Etsy Shop.

So you can use it to buy both versions of the Surf to Summit Top, or maybe buy Surf to Summit and my PB Jam Leggings for a great winter medley, or if you’re in the southern hemisphere, Surf to Summit pairs nicely with my best-selling Duathlon Shorts pattern for hot weather exercise.

I want to thank you all again for all your support over the past year of FehrTrade Patterns – I launched my first two patterns right around Christmas last year, and it’s been a fulfilling year of design and a fantastic learning experience! I’ve got some fantastic photos to show you of my athlete-models for this pattern over the next few weeks, too!

$10.99
buy!

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Comment [5]

Patrones 343

5 December 2014, 14:02

What a nice surprise! I wasn’t expecting this magazine at all, but my in-laws were visiting Spain recently, saw it on a newsstand, and grabbed it for me. I’m so glad they did, too, as not only is it a great issue with a bunch of wearable separates (much better than dozens of holiday dresses), but it also sees the return of the designer names!

Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve had a Patrones magazine (18 months by the look of things??), and to be honest, I’d gone off them a little bit. But this one has me excited again that they might be turning things around and getting back to their heydey of a few years ago… But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – let’s take a peek inside, shall we?

There are a ton of button-down shirt patterns in this issue – some traditional, some more blouse-like for flowing fabrics, and some more unusual, like this one with the attractive yoke panelling, dolman sleeves, and unusual centre front invisible zipper. I’d need to do a muslin first, of course, but I’m keeping this one in mind for the unusual Liberty lawn I bought earlier this year, especially since this shirt needs less than the 1.5m I bought.

To run the risk of sounding entirely predictable – ooh! A short coat! Yes, I know I’m consumed with short coat/jacket patterns right now, but this one is a good example of a design I rarely see outside Patrones (and the seamlines are really similar to the grey tweed jacket I made a few years ago that I’ve worn to death!).

There’s a fantastic feature in this issue which contains a ton of designer dresses and jackets, but ones that would be not only quick to sew, but could easily work for office attire. First up is this Joseph sheath dress – quite plain in the front with only two horizontal seams, but the back features a flounce from shoulder to knee. Also shown here is a Zadig & Voltaire jacket, which has a pretty traditional tech drawing, but made more interesting for leaving some of the edges unfinished to fray.

There’s an Alexander McQueen dress (an incredibly basic knit sheath), Dries Van Noten jacket, plus dresses from Marni, Just Cavalli, Lanvin, and French Connection, but I just adored the back view of this Alberta Ferretti dress. The pattern pieces for this dress are crazy as the sleeve is partially incorporated into the back, and all that gathering distorts the back pieces, but wow. What a show-stopping back view!

The next feature creates patterns from high-end RTW garments which are shown alongside the designer catwalk photos they’re copying. So I guess we get a copy of a copy with our patterns? Regardless of the inspiration, again we get some very wearable separates with a lot of long sleeved blouses and shirts, office-appropriate trousers, and some nice skirts, too, like this one from Comptoir des Cotoniers with a single, central pleat.

The Plus feature is a bit dressier than the rest of the magazine, and includes patterns for several tops, a pair of trousers, dress, and bolero, but I liked the lace placement on this blouse and skirt best.

And finally, the kids section in this issue is for babies, and includes an adorable little hooded jacket (plus another one with knitting instructions), plus this tunic and pair of trousers. It’s not like the pockets will actually get used for one so small, but they’re a cute detail anyway, right?

If you like this issue, too, I see that the Dutch shop Sewingpatterns.eu (aka Naaipatronen.nl) has this one and many others available to buy. Oh, and I just realised that the Extra issue #41 contains reprints from two of my favourite issues ever, #272 and #285! (The “Extra” issues reprint old patterns, but the higher issue numbers are all new)

In other news, I’ve succumbed to the Funkifabrics 20% off sale this weekend! Is it sacrilege that I actually bought some solids to coordinate with my crazy prints??

The turquoise solid lycra should pair nicely with the leftover bits of triathlon fabric I have in my stash, too!

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Comment [4]

Burda magazine December 2014

27 November 2014, 12:29

It’s the last issue of the year, boo hoo! Oftentimes Burda have some easier projects (including menswear) you can make for gifts in their December issues, but this one’s just for ladies and girls. I initially wasn’t that impressed with this collection, but the more I looked through it, the more I found myself drawn to a few…

I’ve often admired the sequin tops other sewists have made, but I’ve never quite gone as far as to buy some sequin fabric for myself. This boxy jacket might change that, however!

This dress is the Tall offering this month, and even though the shorter, peplum top versions works fairly well, I pulled this out because the simple act of adding a straight skirt onto the curved seam means the model looks absolutely pregnant. Not really a look anyone wants, and it seems like a good idea drafting-wise. But in practice? No!

I’m really not a fan of the dress (square neckline, yes, but the puffy sleeves and awkward pleat at empire waist? Urgh.), but I love the little girl’s coat! Like the trench cape a few issues ago, I’d totally make this if it were in adult sizes!

This little boxy jacket for girls feels like the sister to the ladies’ sequin jacket above. They’re both for special fabrics and have a similar fit and seam lines, without feeling too “mini me”.

I utterly love the asymmetric collar on this coat, plus the off-centre closure, and (though it’s hard to tell in the garment photos) the hidden pleating just above the pockets would really give this some wonderful shaping. They’ve gone one step further and appliqued fancy lace over a portion of the wool coating, which I just love. Two thumbs up for this one, Burda!

Half of the details are hidden inside this cape, but a look at the pattern pieces shows there’s been a great amount of thought and detail gone into this. The shaggy fabric isn’t to my liking (too Fozzy Bear!), but that’s easily remedied.

This tube dress seems like a bit of a cheat – yes, it’s technically a little different from the one I made from the April 2014 issue but not really enough to warrant another pattern only a few months later, surely!

Hurrah, a designer dress pattern, from JC de Castelbajac (whom I must admit, I’d not heard of previously). I’m not entirely sold on the big side pockets, though they feel a bit Maison Martin Margiela, and on closer inspection they’re actually an integral part of the dress rather than just patch pockets slapped on, which makes me warm to them more. I also like that they have openings cut in at the sides for your hands to go (rather than from the top, as you’d expect.)

I love it when Burda do pyjama patterns, and this time around we get some truly wearable ones, including a camisole, nightgown, shirt-gown, and… bra and french knickers! Now, the bra is only a “bra top” so it couldn’t really be adapted for lingerie use, but it’s definitely a start (though I’d leave off the girly ruffles, personally).

I also really liked this more classic pyjama combo – a short sleeved shirt and capris made up in flannel with nice piping accents. There’s another pair of wide-legged pyjama trousers included, too, if that’s more to your liking. Lots of options for mix & matching amounts the different variations, too. And those little ballet slippers get an additional pattern, along with a sleep mask and cloth organiser.

This Plus dress with the geometric panels is just stunning. Fabulous design, flattering lines, and a great look for the party season. You could make it coolourblocked like Burda have here, or even alternate the shiny & matte sides of a satin like I did for my swirl sheath dress if you wanted a subtler look.

Now then. The addition of shiny fabric bands to one’s Plus-sized backside is a questionable fashion choice to begin with, but direct your eyes towards the upper right of the page…

WHAT?! Who doesn’t have panties “to hand”? Ever? But would have panty hose to chop up?! This just boggles my mind.

It’s been suggested that perhaps this was a translation issue but a) when confronted in the past, Burda have vehemently insisted they use native English speakers for the English translations, and b) two pages previously the “Extra Tip” box suggests wearing shape wear under the geometric dress, so it’s not like they didn’t know the term!!

And finally, we get a little online freebie from Burda – a cute little wristlet pattern. You need to go to BurdaStyle.de and use the code “Handbag2014” at checkout, and you’ll be allowed to download the pdf for free. It takes some wrangling if you’re not familiar with German, and you need to be a registered user, but it does work. But the pdf has German sewing instructions, so I’ve included the English instructions below.

This is the final Burda magazine for 2014 (boo!), but hopefully I should have a few Manequim magazines yet to arrive. All us international subscribers received some Taylor Swift teenybopper magazine instead of the October issue (which Abril tend to do in a mixup about once a year, thanks guys), so I’m still hoping to receive a replacement for that, and they always do two November issues, too.

Oh! And if you’re as fed up with browsing Burda’s official websites as I am, take a look at Burdavisor.ru. The website is in Russian, but if you download the .zip file, and open up the resulting .htm file in your browser, you can view all the patterns going back to 2004! You can filter by issue, garment type, fabric type, size, and see the tech drawings right alongside the fashion photos without having a bunch of extra clicks. The .htm file is in Russian and English, and it’s so much easier to use than even my own cataloguing method or Osinka.ru. Merry christmas!

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Comment [10]

Burda magazine November 2014

30 October 2014, 14:57

I received this issue a good week ago, but I hadn’t been overly enthusiastic about this one, even though there are a lot of interesting designs going on. There are noticeably fewer patterns included this time, too, which seems to be related to there being some huge gown patterns which take up more space than usual on the pattern sheets.

So if you’ve got a formal occasion coming up over the holidays, you’re about to become very excited, but there’s plenty of casualwear included too…

There are some great separates in this issue, but I personally don’t rate either of these! The top is made for lightweight wovens, but that hem is just far too wide, in my opinion, and really gives the sort of “is she pregnant?” look even when teamed with slim trousers (not to mention that deep neck pleat which will look terrible on large busts!). In this case, they’ve teamed it appropriately with leggings, but delving a little deeper into the pattern, these leggings have: a) interfaced waist facings, and b) an invisible side zipper. On a knit. Errr. The pattern itself looks fine, just not the finishing!!

So are these cigarette trousers any better then? Well, I personally think the inset leather pieces would be more flattering slightly curved rather than straight, but that’s just drafting preference. The zipper on the side though – if you read the instructions, you do 80% of the work of creating a zippered welt pocket, only to seal it up with a facing to make it utterly useless! Otherwise, it looks like a decent pattern for stretch wovens, with a back yoke and nice front pockets.

I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot of this knit top across the sewing world in the next few months! It’s what Burda does best – a great knit top with interesting details and great fit that can be made up in a thousand different fabrics.

This lightweight coat is super flattering with the wide, dramatic lapel collar, nipped in waist, and hip-length hem. Burda have styled it quite vintage, but I think this could be flattering on a wide variety of body types- much moreso than the longer version (which has illustrated instructions).

You wait ages for a transitional “car coat” pattern and then two come at once! I’m not entirely sold on the gathered, wide portion on the bottom nor the weird patch pockets, but with a bit of tweaking I think it could really work. Since the bottom is just a gathered rectangle, I’d attach it 1:1 with the front to make it flatter, and shift all the gathering to the back instead!

And now for something completely different (and feeling more like something Manequim magazine would do!) – Burda have printed patterns for five iconic gowns! My favourite is probably this gown similar to the one Eva Green wore in “Casino Royale”. I just adore the back view, and the sleek silhouette.

I love that this asymmetric gown with an overskirt actually could become something really quite modern just by leaving off the overskirt, and shortening the hem to cocktail length (and saving you about 5 meters of satin, too!). Even though the design is over 50 years old, it’s something I’d totally wear.

And as a teenager of the 90s, I totally love that they’ve knocked off Julia Roberts’ red gown from “Pretty Woman”! The neckline looks quite dated IMHO, but I never realised before how similar the draped skirt is to that green “Atonement” gown (this could totally save you some time if you’re recreating the latter).

The children’s patterns this month are for babies, with onesies, teeshirts, little trousers, and even a pacifier holder. All very useful if you have a bunch of friends having babies that need gifts!

And finally, the Plus section this month features cozy jersey patterns, the highlight of which are these sweatpants! I love the yoked seaming, integrated pockets, and front fly so much I’m actually considering drafting my own in my size! Edit: As pointed out by Lauriana in the comments, what’s with the fly? I totally just assumed this was a mock fly, but I’ve looked in the instructions, and ermagod, they actually want you to do a fully functioning fly and button. Even though it’s a knit and has an elastic waist…!

Flip past all the scarf-collar tops and dresses and you may have missed that there’s also a super-flattering, super-useful jersey sheath dress here, too. It looks like the perfect winter dress, as far as I’m concerned!

So not really anything this month I’m on fire to sew ASAP, but plenty of interesting designs to pique my interest. What was your favourite?

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Comment [14]

Return to the set

27 October 2014, 13:55

Remember last April when I told you all about my day on set of the Great British Sewing Bee? Well, that was at the very end of Season Two, and I must’ve made a good impression on the production company because by the time that post went live, I had already begun work behind the scenes on Season Three!

Over a span of about four months, I spent a lot of time working on the Bee with a team of fantastic people, including the Thriftystitcher herself, who heads up the entire behind-the-scenes sewing team. Most of it was involved with the pattern challenges (the first portion of each episode, where the contestants are given a mystery pattern to make). I can’t discuss details of how we produce the patterns, but just trust me that a lot of work goes into each one before the contestants ever see them! A lot of this work was done in the production company’s offices – which are a pretty normal looking workplace, except at my desk there was a sewing machine and ironing board instead of a computer, which was quite funny!

My work involved a lot of sewing, fitting, digitising, but also illustration, too. I did the latter together with Rosie from DIY Couture (whom I’m not afraid to admit is way better at these than I am!). This proved to be great practice for my own pattern line, as the more I did these for the Bee, the better I got – it was especially helpful for someone to say “ugh, that one looks weird, do it again!” Seriously, this helped up my Illustrator skills immensely!


The Haberdashery, empty and quiet

I was super chuffed to see some of my drawings made it into the final tv shows, too! Here I thought they’d only have an audience of ten, at most!

I wasn’t actually on the set at all for the third series (which will air sometime in 2015, I believe), which I was ok with as I’d heard enough about the super long filming days, and because I’d been on set before.

Once the third series finished filming, however, we had to start work almost immediately on the BBC Children in Need specials which were commissioned using celebrities who had never sewn before! This was a big challenge in both making the patterns easy enough for absolute beginners, but also spelling out e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in the instructions. Even though the CIN specials were only three episodes, they probably took nearly as much work as the full season, since we had to make a huge number of revisions to make sure the challenges ran to time and were easy enough for beginners.

To make everything go smoothly on the day, each celebrity was given an afternoon’s very basic sewing lesson, too, so that everyone was on a level playing field. I personally got to teach five how to sew, and they were all honestly absolutely lovely and enthusiastic about making the simplest of items. I don’t work with absolute beginners much so I’d almost forgotten how magic those first few steps can be.

I was also thrilled when I was asked to make the “perfect” version of the Men’s teeshirt pattern challenge – this is the one which is paraded on tv as the one the contestants should aim towards. Sewing a “perfect” version of something to be scrutinised on tv in front of millions of viewers – no pressure then!!


I love the Pudsey ironing board covers, which you can buy for a tenner!!

Because one of the pattern challenges involved using the overlockers (sergers), I was asked to be on set during the filming of that challenge, both to help out should anything need re-threading, but also to assist the celebrities and the crew. I soon found out that filming is another world – I was soon crawling on the floor like a combat soldier to get to the other side of the set without getting in shot of a camera filming behind, then contorting to take out a sewing machine to thread up in the right thread colour and drop back in without interrupting. I even got an overlocker working that 5 separate people couldn’t get to stitch properly. So proud!

It was that day on set that I was given the moniker “the overlocker ninja”. I may have to put that on my CV (resumé).

Really, I had a brilliant morning on set, but it was utterly exhausting – I had to be on my feet and thinking and reacting the whole time, so much that I went home and had a nap afterwards!

When I started work on the Great British Sewing Bee, I was warned that it’d ruin the show for me as I’d know everything that was going to happen before it went on tv, but actually, it hasn’t at all. In fact, I love the show even more now for knowing all the work, care, and love that goes into each episode, and that the people behind the cameras are as skilled as the people you see on tv. And by only being on set for one third of one episode, I figure it’ll still be a surprise to see exactly what the contestants do with the challenges we’ve devised for them, even if I already know what those challenges will be.

And holy crap, my name is actually in the end credits!!

Bring on Season Four!

UK residents can watch all three Children in Need episodes on iPlayer right now, plus donate to the Children in Need charity and bid for items made on the show via the official eBay shop. Please give generously!

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Comment [19]

Free Running Armband Pocket pattern (and new Shop!)

17 October 2014, 17:23

I promised you earlier in the week that I had a free pattern on the way, and it’s here!

Please welcome the FREE Running Armband Pocket pattern, a super quick pouch to wear on your arm that takes way under an hour to sew (10-15min for most!) and uses scraps you’ve probably got lying around anyway.

This armband has a pocket on one side with a simple fold-over flap for keeping things like a phone, keys, travelcard, etc tight against your arm while you run. There are no closures – the band just slips over your arm and the stretchiness of the fabric holds it in place.

Now the astute amoungst you are probably thinking “Wait – didn’t she do a tutorial for this already?” and you’d be right. You’d also be correct if you tried to follow said tutorial and found it a little bit confusing! I know I sure did when I went back to it a few months later and struggled to follow what Previous Me was talking about…

So I’ve taken the same concept, regraded it into five different arm sizes, created illustrated step-by-step instructions, and released it as a free pattern. If you’ve never bought one of my exercise patterns, then this is a really great way to see what they’re all about! It’s got the same pattern frame size as all my patterns, and with the same instruction layout as my latest Threshold Shorts pattern. There are also instructions included if you’d like to change the height of the pocket (say, if you’ve got a really big phone!). And it’s only four pattern pages to print out!

I’ve also taken this opportunity to create my own shop – I’ll still continue to sell my patterns on Etsy for the foreseeable future, but shopping directly with me means that:

My shop accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Paypal, and downloads are automatically sent you you upon payment (or in the case of this free pattern, when you complete the checkout process!), so you’re still able to get your hands on the patterns any time of day without waiting around for me to wake up in my time zone or anything.

If you’ve got any questions, or notice any problems with the new pattern or the new shop, please drop me an email or leave a comment below.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments and support over the last year. I’m hard at work on (full) Pattern Number Six right now!

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Comment [8]

Why pdf patterns?

15 October 2014, 14:33

There’s been some discussion around the internet lately about pdf patterns and their ability to stand the test of time, and it’s one that I’ve felt very strongly about. I’ve worked in technology for over 12 years, and have created and run my own websites for 20 years now (seriously!). I’ve seen the world move from owning cds and taking photos to be developed, to ripping cds into mp3s and printing our own digital photos, right through to streaming music subscriptions and purely-digital photos in the cloud. The idea that digital patterns might somehow die out seems absurd when you think of it in this context.

Think of photos – which is more accessible when you want to look at them, the photos in your album on the shelf at home, or the ones backed up in your cloud account you can view from anywhere, share, and search by date and keyword? Frankly, I’m terrified that my 10 year old collection of Burda magazine patterns might be ruined in a fire or flood, because they’d be gone forever. But my digital patterns are backed up in several places, ready for me to re-print at any time.

But all this is from a user perspective. As a business owner, why would I not want to offer my patterns in every format possible? Why only pdf patterns?

In short, time and money. It’s grossly inefficient (not to mention extremely eco-unfriendly) for me to print a pattern and ship it halfway around the globe to customers when printing places exist closer to you. Adding on the cost to print the patterns, to package them, and then my time in posting them, I’d quickly end up with a price point that not very many people would be willing to spend.

Making the choice to only sell pdf patterns means I can keep costs low for my customers, and spend my time developing new patterns instead of fulfilling orders and walking to the post office. You get the pattern instantly, without having to wait for the post, too. There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a project then waiting two weeks before you can even get started!

“But assembling pdf patterns takes forever!”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you’re probably doing it wrong. Earlier this year I watched some people put together some pdf patterns who’d never encountered them before. They sat down with their scissors and diligently cut off all four sides of every pattern page, then laid everything out and taped every single join along its entire length. My eyes boggled.

If you’re doing this, definitely have a read through Sewaholic’s post on quickly assembling Print At Home pdf patterns – it’s very close to the way I assemble pdf patterns, and it takes me roughly 1min per page (so a 15 page pattern takes me about 15min to trim, assemble, and cut). And I assemble a lot of pdf patterns during the development process!

A few more tips for assembling:

Or if you’ve tried the above and still really don’t like assembling patterns (which is fine!), most pattern companies offer a large format version of the pattern which you can take to a copy shop and get printed onto a large sheet of paper. I’ve always offered these “Copy Shop” versions, but I’ve recently changed to include copy shop versions in all my purchases by default rather than by request to cut down on the time delay for you all.

If you’re having trouble finding somewhere near you to print these out economically (they really shouldn’t cost more than about £5/$8 for the average pattern), then you may want to read this Pattern Review discussion on finding cheap places to print large format pdfs. It’s US-based, but a lot of the tips (like asking for engineering or architectural prints when getting quotes) are applicable anywhere.

So, after all this – it doesn’t necessarily mean I will never offer printed patterns for sale – just that the current infrastructure and price isn’t there to support it yet. I would consider selling printed patterns should there be a company which handles the printing and order fulfillment for local customers, for example. Or if I were to have a stall at an expo and sell patterns in person. Or should drone technology advance so that I can have an automated way of delivering direct to those in my local area (am I the only one who sees the potential good in drones, like the Harry Potter owl postal system?).

But I do definitely see that digital patterns are the way the industry is headed, and for all the reasons outlined above, I vastly prefer them both as a customer, and as a patternmaker.

Oh, and I’ve got a freebie pattern coming out very soon…

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Comment [19]

Manequim magazine September 2014

13 October 2014, 13:13

It may be turning blustery and cool here in London, but in Brazil it’s just starting to heat up – what better reason to look into the latest issue of Manequim magazine while I mentally warm myself in the Rio sunshine…

The first to catch my eye in this issue was in the “designer style” feature, which this month looks at Paco Rabanne. It’s mostly separates (with the exception of the pleated party dress on the right), but I love the asymmetric shell top seen here on the left! It’s got pleating on one shoulder, and on the other, a leather panel which wraps over to the back with no shoulder seam. I can’t think of a better way to utilise a small piece of silk and a scrap of leather (let’s face it, neither are getting thrown in the washing machine anyway!).

I’m having a bit of deja vu on this sleeveless, crossover top, and I realised it’s because there was an almost identical pattern in the May Burda magazine (seen here on the right for comparison’s sake). I’m guess they’re both inspired by the same runway look…

There’s nothing groundbreaking about this shirtdress, but it really looks like something I’d just live in should I find myself in a hotter climate. Great cut, great print, and easy to wear.

Manequim often have interesting trouser seaming details, but the ones I like will inevitably be in a different size. So I like to keep my eyes open for basic trousers in my size so that, with a little bit of slicing, the basic pattern can be transformed into the fancy one. These linen trousers are a great basic shape, and offered in the full set of Manequim regular sizes, score!

This teeshirt design is quite striking for its colour blocking, but it’s quite a simple pattern concept. It’s a flat front and back piece, with a black cap sleeve, and a triangular black panel in the side seam to give some shaping. Simple, yet effective.

Manequim usually only contains two or three Plus-sized patterns per issue, but twice a year they have a full Plus feature, like here. Not only do we get six Plus-sized patterns, but we also get the Brazilian comedienne Fluvia modelling again. I love it when she models for Manequim, because she just makes everything she wears look fantastic and you can tell she’s having so much fun!

In other news, it’s Spoonflower free shipping day right now (by the time you read this, anyway)! So go stock up on FehrTrade x Laurie King exercise fabrics and save yourself a few bucks!


More on the fabrics and how to use them over here!

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Comment [3]

Dates for Your Calendar

10 October 2014, 13:09

There are some big things happening in my sewing world over the next month or two you should know about (no, not another pattern release just yet though I am working on the next one already!). So get out your calendar and take note of these…

Monday 13 October


Spoonflower have announced another free shipping day (international shipping, too)!. This is a perfect opportunity to try out our Fehr Trade x Laurie King exercise fabrics if you haven’t already. The fabrics coordinate perfectly with my sewing patterns so you only need to buy one yard of wicking fabric to get coordinating colours and prints.


Seen above, the VNA Top and Duathlon Shorts (booty length) in the coordinating “Maps” citrine & black colourway.

For UK buyers, this means you save $9 on shipping, and if you buy one yard of the Performance Piqué it should fall under the HMRC exemption and you won’t get hit with nasty surprise customs charges.

Thursday 16 October


Next Thursday evening I will be teaching the Slouchy Breton Tee class at the Thriftystitcher studio in Stoke Newington (London), and there’s still space for you to join!


Me in my Purple & green Slouchy Breton Tee

This class uses a pattern drafted exclusively for the class, and has the magic ability of fitting everyone I’ve taught so far without needing an FBA! Magic. Stripey fabric is provided just you just need to turn up and enjoy learning the stretch fabric basics, and go home with your own tee and exclusive pattern.

Tuesday 21 October


OMG, it’s the return of the Great British Sewing Bee, but with a twist! The first of three charity specials for BBC Children in Need airs at 8pm, featuring celebrities who have never sewn before, going through a set of three challenges. Dum dum DAH!

I’m super excited for these to air because, well, I may have spent half my summer working behind-the-scenes on these (there’s a blog post ready for when I’m able to post it!), so I can’t wait to see the finished episodes!

Also, I can confirm that these Pudsey ironing board covers are super cute! Serious bargain at £10 (for charity!), if you ask me.

Sunday 26 October


Stretchtacular Day! Come to the Thriftystitcher Studio and learn to sew your own leggings in the morning and a slouchy Breton tee in the afternoon! You could indeed wear both home, should you be so inclined (I’ve had many students do just that…). Or you could choose to do either class individually, too.

There are nice cafes and pubs just round the corner for a break at lunchtime, or if it’s a nice day you can pack a lunch and eat it in nearby Clissold Park, too.

Wednesday 29 October Sunday 2 November


Edit: the workshop has been moved to 2 Nov to better accommodate 9-5 workers!
Cult running magazine Like the Wind are holding a week-long popup in Shoreditch (London) with a series of workshops, talks, films, and… a sew-your-own-leggings class, taught by yours truly!


My Acid-trip leggings producing “an effect”!

This class will have a running focus, so I’ll talk about things like wicking fabrics, chafing, seam finishes, and other design considerations specific to activewear, and you get to choose your own fabrics, too.

Thursday 6 November


Leggings! Everybody loves leggings! Come and learn how to deal with stretch fabrics and sew your own in an evening with me at the Thriftystitcher Studio. You get to choose your own fabric and use the overlockers (not-so-scary “overlords”, no!), and come home with your very own pair plus a pattern to make as many as you want at home.

Sunday 16 November


If teeshirts and leggings seem too daunting, perhaps dainties hold more appeal? In this class at the Thriftystitcher Studio, you’ll learn the basics of lingerie sewing, including a clean-finish crotch lining, applying lingerie elastic, and using different types of lace.


A detail of a turquoise Lacey Thong I made last year

We’ll be using my Lacey Thong pattern or a new Lacey Brief pattern I’m developing from the Runderwear base pattern, so you have your choice of style!

Phew! And… I think that’s everything. Happy weekend everyone!

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Burda Easy magazine Fall/Winter 2014

6 October 2014, 13:24

While we were off holidaying through Bohemia, I didn’t really get a chance to do much fabric or haberdashery shopping. There are tons of fabric shops all over Budapest, but we were definitely more concerned with the street food and thermal baths while we were there. In Vienna I really meant to stop in at Komolka and Stoff und Faden (thanks, Shannon!), but we were short on time and all I could manage was a peek through the windows of the latter while they were having a class at night. I didn’t see anything sewing-related in Prague, but I spotted a few fabric shops in Berlin along the marathon route (sadly, not really the time to be stopping to shop!), so my lone sewing souvenir this time around was a copy of the latest Burda Easy magazine, which I was happy to pick up!

If you’re not familiar with Burda Easy, it’s published twice a year in several languages (German, French, English, Italian, and Russian, I believe?), and has fully illustrated instructions. Sometimes the designs are simpler, but in this issue they’re happily on the more advanced/interesting side and not too difference from what’s in the monthly magazine. The patterns come on tissue and are printed in such a way that they don’t overlap each other so you could cut the out rather than trace if you’re that way inclined. They don’t contain seam allowances, which is the norm everywhere except the US.

The last time I bought an issue was two years ago when we were in France but I think I prefer the designs in this one even to that. Burda Easy really only provide four base patterns, then spin a huge amount of variations off of those, so you can get a pretty wide variety of looks (also helpful if you need to do things like an FBA, you only need to do them once!).

First up – I’ve cooled off the peplum look rather a lot by now, but I really like the paneled pencil skirt (either with the asymmetric godet or not).

I thought this foldover clutch with the bow detail was really cute – it’s explained in a series of colour photos on the facing page, and it’s only rectangles so doesn’t require any tracing, either.

Here’s another variation on the seamed pencil skirt, but this time it’s shorter and with more godets inserted to give it more of a skater skirt shape. I also like the look of the colourblocked tee, but not being a sweetheart neckline kind of woman, I’d personally smooth out the point so it’s just a curve over the bust.

Love this coat! The colour, the cut, the shoulder shaping, the collar, everything!

The jacket from the cover is the same base pattern as the coat above, but with a great cutout panel from the waist seam. I can’t stand the clichéd Chanel jacket, but I think this would be a much fresher alternative, made up in bouclé or tweed.

Here they’ve taken the diagonal-seamed base pattern, lengthened it into a dress, and really gone crazy with the geometric cut-outs at the neckline! I really like the cut-outs, but I think I personally would get more wear from a top than a dress – the nice thing about the patterns here is that it’s easy to swap in details from different variations and build your own.

There were a few inspirational articles included in the magazine, too – an article on Berlin vintage shops (much more useful to me while I was in Berlin!), plus this feature on a Dutch designer would has a really cool scribbly style (enlarge the photo to see the jacket in the bottom right!).

Burda Easy doesn’t have a nice “At A Glance” page to scan for my records like the monthly magazine, so I created my own from the overviews on each of the tissue sheets. The advantage here is that you can easily see what styles are included on each sheet without unfolding them all, but the downside is that the tissue is so thin you get a lot of bleedthrough of other lines.

And finally, I wanted to show you an example of the instructions, which all contain coloured illustrations and make it much more easy to understand (even if you don’t speak German, like me). These are similar to the illustrated instructions in the glossy part of the monthly magazine that Burda have been including over the past year or so.

This issue of Burda Easy is available to buy now, in English from GLP in the USA or Newsstand in the UK or you can have a look at all the designs on the Russian BurdaStyle site.

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