frankenpattern top

I love fall. I love all the colours as they change, and the different shades that the changing light provides on the same tree throughout the day. They make me happy!

My top is a mix of Vogue 1412‘s front bodice, the back bodice from Burdastyle 09/2019 #111, and the sleeves from Burdastyle 09/2010 #136. I didn’t know what to do with this fabric, so I draped it around my sewing area on and off for what seems like a good 12 months, trying different ideas, laying out different patterns (not enough fabric), trying to work around a pattern repeat that I ended up completely ignoring, and generally second-guessing myself until I was struck by lightening (or courage), and laid out the pattern for the front bodice and started cutting. I would have preferred to use Vogue 1412’s back bodice, too, but I didn’t have enough fabric and wanted a more fitted back.

Burda 10-2013-140 back

This is the third version of Vogue 1412 that I’ve made. I really like the front neckline, although this iteration, due to the slightly dropped shoulders of the back, and because I didn’t stabilize the shoulder seams, required a shoulder pleat, extending from a dart in the upper back through to a pleat in the front. It’s quite hidden with the busy pattern, but if you look closely, you can see it.

Vogue 1412 frankenpattern top

The fabric is a treat. It has a very fine herringbone weave, which just makes this that much more luxurious.

modal-wool-cashmere challis detail
a modal-wool-cashmere challis

And it goes with so many different items in my wardrobe, just because of all the wonderful colours.

Burdastyle 01-2016-135 jeans
these are not the shoes to wear with jeans

This is probably my fifth pair of Burda 01/2016 #135, the skinny jeans with the interesting seaming details. I have worn this brown pair to the point of the colour fading, so I over-dyed it with Rit in my front loading washing machine and couldn’t be happier with the result. They don’t look faded and yucky! 🙂

Have you ever re-dyed a garment?

vogue 2923 tops

Vogue 2923 woven top

My youngest, DD3, loves tank tops of all kinds and varieties, which makes for fun use of shorter lengths of fabric. Enter the gathered top from OOP Vogue 2923, a DKNY design.

The first version is in a polyester pebble crepe, which I purchased from Fabricland. Every now and then there is a winner of a fabric to be purchased from my local store. I also made a second version of this top with this fabric. Arctic icy blue is DD3’s favourite colour.

Vogue 2923 top woven back

And another version in red rayon jersey from EOS, which is worn very often, even now that the weather has changed.

Vogue 2923 Burda 10-2013-140

And here’s the back. The pattern directions call for jersey, but there is so much ease that it works just as well with a woven fabric. Confession: I salvaged a wadder cardigan project to make the red top, and had to piece it together down the CF and the left back. Funnily enough, the piecing isn’t noticeable when DD3 is wearing it, unless one looks hard for it.

Vogue 2923 top back

One caveat for this pattern: when made up in jersey, the straps, which are supposed to be cut on the bias (I cut them on the straight grain) stretch out like crazy. For the red version I ran a length of piping cord through in order to keep it at the correct length.

And that is the last of the summery tops for this year. On to garments suited to the cooler weather.

Tell me, do you have a favourite go-to tank or tee or top pattern for 1m lengths of fabric?

vogue 1247 summer tops

I’ve used two lengths of silk from my stash for a couple of new tops for late summer wear. The first is a silk chiffon, but it’s a bit more opaque than chiffon. The lack of weight to the fabric makes this floatier than the second version, if there is such a thing. (Spell check says no, there is no such thing.)

Vogue 1247 top pink silk
It was so nice to wear these wedges today!

The second is a lovely silk crepe – exactly what the pattern calls for – and the drape of it justifies the fabric suggestion on the back of the envelope.

Vogue 1247 top green
The top is supposed to have a CB seam, as per the pattern, although I prefer to cut it on the fold.

This pattern has been sewn, reviewed and posted about hundreds of times in SewingBlogLand, so I have nothing really new to say about it except for the following:

This top can be squeezed out of as little as 1.2m of 140cm wide fabric, which is less than what the envelope recommends. Speaking of which, when I learned to sew using Vogue patterns, I was taught to always purchase a little less than what the pattern envelope recommended in order to avoid having small almost-useless leftover lengths of 10 or 15 cm (instead of cutting scraps). I don’t follow that advice anymore, for some reason, but I can manage to finagle garments out of shorter lengths than what the patterns call for, pattern matching excepted, of course. Do you do this, too? I must admit it sometimes make a project more work, more involved, more mentally challenging (exhausting?) that it need be. Sometimes I wish I just had enough fabric to lay out the pattern pieces without trying to make it a perfectly-fitted puzzle, eking it out of whatever I have decided should work. On the other hand, it is very satisfying to use up an entire length of goods.

Vogue 1247 top back
I thought this top would be rather twee, but it’s so pretty. And I didn’t need to seam the centre back on this version, thank goodness. I like it better without the designer’s CB seam.

Anyway, these two tops have several adjustments:

  • Centre front has been raised 4 cm
  • Each of the seam allowances under the arms have been taken in by 1.5cm.
  • The front has been shortened by 2.5cm in length, along the hem, grading to nothing at the side seams.

Also, for reference, the lower centre front panels (triangles, really) of the green top have not been cut on the correct bias grain, in order to maintain as much of the horizontal dashy design of the fabric.  I had cut it out as instructed, but the bias grain looked completely absurd with the fabric’s design. I’ll spare you the photos. Here’s the amended, altered version. Truth be told, I was quite displeased when I took photos of this top the other day, so I dismantled the centre bottom panels, turned them around and put it back together so the fabric’s green dashes were more or less running horizontally.

Vogue 1247 green
much more pleasing to the eye, trust me….

Each of the necklines has been finished by hand because I feel like I have more control over the outcome than with a machine, as carefully as I know I am capable of stitching. Besides, it’s good practice. 🙂

The pink top’s understitching along the neckline was also done by hand because I just felt like sitting at my sewing table quietly stitching by hand.

Both hems have been hand rolled. 

Left: hand rolled hem. Right: pick stitched neckline.

Honestly, every time I try to do a narrow hem on a silk top with the machine I hate how stiff it feels, so I just do them by hand now and don’t bother with machine stitching.

hand rolled hem shown step by step, counterclockwise from top left

Both these tops have seen a lot of wear over the last few weeks.  They’re comfortable and a nice alternative to a T-shirt. And I love how they’ve been made from roll ends I’ve collected over the years.

Are you making up anything from little ‘ends’ in your fabric collection?

burda 8680 denim skirts

It’s been my goal to work through my stash as much as possible, instead of buying new fabrics to only have then sit and wait to be made into wearable garments. These skirts for DD3 have put two lengths of denim into her closet for wear, and gotten them out of the dreaded stash! Yay! DD3 doesn’t really wear a lot of skirts, but I think she’s probably finished growing, so making up these two made some sort of sense. I have purchased various sorts of denim in a variety of blue shades for DD3 over the years because she prefers custom jeans to RTW. She is short-waisted, but her waist-hip length is 5cm longer than the usual 23cm RTW typically is drafted to accommodate, so every pair of trousers or jeans or shorts or leggings rides low, which she dislikes.

Burda 8680 black back

However, skirts never seem to present a fitting problem. Hopefully she will wear these as a casual alternative to shorts next summer season. She wanted a plain ‘jean’ style skirt, and so I pulled Burda 8680 out of my pattern stash.

The first version is the View A from a black stretchy denim from EOS. I initially used this denim to make a pair of capris for DD3, but didn’t cut them in a single layer, and the grain of the right front was off and caused a lot of twisty annoyance during wear, so they were thrifted. I suppose I could have made them into a skirt back then, in perfectly 20/20 hindsight as I type this, but I didn’t. Someone else is wearing them; hopefully, happily.

Burda 8680 black front

It’s a rather plain, utilitarian pattern. I added the belt loops and didn’t bother to add back pockets for her phone.

She was nonplussed about the omission, as the front pockets on this pattern are plenty deep. I finished the interior with gingham scraps leftover from a Dorothy costume I made for her three years ago.

Burda 8680 black back waist
No back pocketses….

But I did add the pockets on the second shorter version in blue denim.

Burda 8680 blue pockets
yes, it’s truly a dark navy, despite how it looks in this photo!

And, for a lark, because I felt like hammering studs, I added studs for all the pockets. It was a very simple make, and the fit is really good on this pattern.

Burda 8680 blue front

loss & (re)discovery

bias binding

I don’t know about you, but I am so often genuinely surprised at the quality of work when I look at some of the garments I have made over the years. Take, for example, this jumpsuit, made in 2017 and worn perhaps three times: once for a family Christmas, and couple of family events. The fabric is rather a heavy-ish crepe from EOS. You can find more of it here. It comes in a myriad of colours. I ordered a few lengths way back when: this gorgeous shade of wine red, a moss green, which ended up as a version of DKNY’s dress courtesy of Vogue 1351 (a disaster project that looked horrible on me, although the dress was beautiful), and some yet-to-be-sewn yummy chocolate brown. But I digress.

I have changed shape significantly over the last year or so, and, going through my closet one day looking for things to wear, pulled this jumpsuit out and tried it on. It’s BurdaStyle 04-2016-130.

It didn’t fit properly anymore, and would have required a complete dismantling in order to alter it properly. But here’s a photo from when it fit. I don’t have any photos of the front, probably because I didn’t like any of them and intended to re-shoot the garment, which never happened.

Burdastyle 04-16-130 back
This is actually the true shade of the fabric. Isn’t it rich and gorgeous?

As someone who has a tiny lower back and relatively large hips, this pattern fit perfectly out of the magazine. I was very impressed. But, again, I digress. Because I will never wear it again, I thrifted it. But I wanted to write about how each garment that I gift away (unless I really hate it) brings on a sense of loss, sometimes, and regret. Regret for the time ‘wasted’ in making something that didn’t actually get worn. I realize this is actually a negative voice speaking, from the last couple of decades of my life. In actual fact, each garment is a learning opportunity, and the hours spent making are practice and will end up giving me more proficiency and skill in making. When I check over the garments to make sure they’re in good condition, after cleaning them, to give away, I inevitably am surprised (why?) at the quality of work.

lined trousers

And the attention to detail, like lining trousers. I really do not like wearing unlined trousers or skirts. I think it’s because my mother taught me to sew, and, having sewn herself all her clothing when I was small from Vogue or Simplicity designer patterns, she was a stickler on quality of workmanship. I recall going RTW shopping with her, and every single garment she purchased was lined; she would not have ever worn an unlined garment, much less spent the money on it. Funny story. I recall strolling through a Chanel boutique when I was in university, and looking through the RTW garments for sale, and was shocked – shocked, I tell you! – to see that neither the skirts or jackets in that small boutique were lined. And $1250 in 80’s dollars for a 100% polyester blouse. Polyester. Bubble popped, I assure you.

hem finishing

So, needless to say, I line everything. It gives me tremendous pleasure to make something well, and finish it well. It’s like a mental health perk-up to wear a garment I’ve made that I have taken the time to carefully construct.

side zip

Slow careful sewing, and making the interiors of garments pretty, is something that I really enjoy doing. I hope whoever purchases this garment from the thrift store enjoys wearing it and appreciates the workmanship, too.

What do you do with garments you no longer wear? I see so many IG feeds about sewists making and making and making, and I wonder how on earth do they every wear everything? I don’t have a very large closet, and I have many garments that are in pristine condition. Do you feel a sense of loss when you see garments you’ve spent time with walking out the door?

vogue 8379

V8379 blue stripe

This is an old make. It dates from 2017, and I confess I have never worn it except to take photos… well, perhaps I wore it once? But I absolutely love the dress, so why haven’t I worn it? I don’t know. I tend to reach for the easy and familiar in my closet which usually doesn’t mean a dress like this. I need to just decide to wear it.

Who hasn’t seen a version of the classic Vogue 8379 pattern?

image patternreview.com

I purchased the fabric specifically for this dress from EOS, at least 10 years ago. It was one of my first purchases from Linda, and one of my first forays into sewing knit or jersey fabrics. This is a printed rayon, and it behaved beautifully while I was working with it: no curling, no stretching out of shape. And despite hanging in my closet for three years, it hasn’t stretched out, either.

V8379 blue stripe skirt movement

The dress is a fabric hog: just over 3 metres of 150cm wide fabric. It’s the skirt, of course, and I don’t begrudge it a centimetre because it moves and hangs beautifully.

V8379 blue stripe back
I love the back of this skirt!

I love the sleeve cuff detail. It isn’t perfect pattern matching, but, if you look at the first photo, you can’t really tell. I actually had to rip these cuffs off, not once, not twice, but three times (!) because I put them on wrong. So much for accurate markings; and by that time, I was so sick of trying to get the cuff on correctly that I couldn’t be bothered matching the patterns perfectly. But I love the split cuff.

Vogue 8379 sleeve detail
split cuff, not perfectly turned or pressed

Some construction notes: I serged the seams for quick and stable construction, and simply turned up the hems and used my knit zig-zag stitch. I love using this stitch for knits, as it is strong and yet has enough give for the stretch in a knit.

Vogue 8379 hem
It looks like a loose sloppy stitch, but the stretch zig-zag stitch works so well!

vogue 8888

V8888 front

This is the second silk dressing gown (because it seriously looks like a dressing gown with that rolled collar) that was made from stash because…. well, because my girls need robes for walking around the house.

The pattern is Vogue 8888, a well-loved much-made pattern in all corners of the sewing online world. I made View A for DD3.

The sleeves were a lot longer than they look on the model. I had to trim off 15 cm from the length so they would not drag through breakfast. Definitely more a ‘dressing’ gown, not an all-around-the-house robe with the longer sleeve length.

V8888 silly

DD3 chose this purple silk charmeuse from deep stash that I had purchased several years ago with the hope of purple silk pajamas for myself, but I have no regrets sewing this up for her. It has gotten a tremendous amount of use.

V8888 side

The pattern was sewn up out of the package with the exception of a 3cm square shoulder adjustment, as DD3 is a swimmer, and her shoulders bear testament to that. As a note, I made the garment two sizes larger than what Vogue’s size tables recommended at my young client’s request. It fits her well with room for swanning.

V8888 purple silk

Since handing it over, finished, it has not come off. And I have to say I am so pleased to meet DD3, walking down the hallway, in a pretty purple robe rather than her schleppy tank top and fleece Christmas print pajama bottoms. I’ve got two more of this pattern in the longer length scheduled, selfishly both for me, and am hoping there will be another one in her future, perhaps in a Liberty tana lawn print or some other stash-busting fabric choice.

Have you made any robes or dressing gowns?

silk kimono robe

B2-2012-116 front

I have a goal: to work through as much of Mezzo’s Fabric Store as possible, hopefully using most of the goods for other people, not myself. Here we have the first completed garment that meets the goal! Yay!

My DD3 and DD1 like to lounge about the house in shorts and tanks or crop tops, and, in my opinion, have been sorely in need of ‘grown up’ robes since outgrowing their fuzzy cute childhood versions. Enter the tote full of silks with the instructions to find one or more lengths to their liking, preferably for robes. DD3 chose this gorgeous silk charmeuse. Here’s a closer look.

paisley silk

This is Burda 2-2012-116 again.

image burdastyle.ru

I actually sewed this version for DD3 up prior to my linen version. I was so impressed with the fit and simplicity of the design and how little time it took to make (even in fussy, slippery silk charmeuse!) that I had to make one for myself. The pictures do not do this fabric justice. It is a stunning robe in person.

B2-2012-116 back

I have nothing interesting to say about this, except that Burda’s instructions do not include details like a hanging loop at the centre back or belt carriers at the side seams. There are pockets, but I didn’t have enough of this silk, and DD3 didn’t want them, anyway. I left them off my version, too.

B2-2012-116 paisley silk

Here’s to swanning around in silk kimonos instead of schlepping around in scruffy shorts and crop tops!

linen pajamas

I have been in sore need of decent summer pajamas for a while now, and finally made some up from old stash linen, using cotton scraps from this old pair for piping and the shoulder straps on the tank top.

I used the Sewing-Universe-Famous Carolyn Pajama top, which I haven’t yet worn – it’s just too hot! But I see this getting a lot of wear in the spring and fall. The bottoms are Burda 12-2014-135, which I’ve made several times for myself and DD2.

B12-2014-135 PJ bottoms

I have a pair of Bedhead pajamas and like how the front facing is stitched down to keep it from flopping around. I did the same on this top, although the instructions did not include this step.

carolyn top

And to keep cool during the summer, I made a linen version of Burda 5-2013-101, which is also comes as a dress pattern.

image burdastyle.ru

As far as style goes, linen isn’t the best choice for this top: a drapey silk or viscose would be a better choice. But it’s cool and comfortable and plenty roomy for pajamas.

B5-2013-101 linen

And, just for fun, I added little ‘tags’. Actually, they have a practical use in the tank and bottoms, as they indicate which side is the back!

fabric tags

And because I needed one, I made a quick kimono robe from some printed linen that I’ve had lying in stash for a few years. The pattern is Burda 2-2012-116. Honestly, trying to find pictures on Burdastyle.com is such a hassle. Whoever designed their new website should be fired, because it’s absolutely terrible. The Russian site is far superior, imho. You can search images and issues all the way back to 2004. They even have the year 1987 listed!

And here’s my version. I’m not modelling any of these, because, seriously! I am past putting pictures of me in my pj’s up for public consumption. Be thankful.

B2-2012-116

mccall 6696 in linen

I must be an idiot, because I really hate the new WordPress block editor. I don’t want to add a block. I want to type and have the option of embedding photos without clicking on a plus sign.

M6696 bark linen front

Ok. My frustrated little rant is done, and now on to the reason for this post: a shirt dress made last summer from a lovely cross-dye medium weight linen. I confess I have so many fabrics. My stash is an embarrassment of riches, and I really loved this linen when it arrived in the mail a couple of years ago. I originally had planned to make summer linen trousers with this, but I had two lengths, one of which wasn’t quite a metre, so trousers were out.

What to do with it?

I decided on the very popular shirt dress pattern from a few years ago: McCall 6696, dictated by the lengths of the two pieces of linen. It was my version of a muslin, although this is definitely not a muslin. I wasn’t sure I would look good in the style or be comfortable wearing it. It’s a little more ‘office attire’ than I had intended, but that is a result of the fabric. And, typical of how I work, when I make the dress again, I will change a few things: raise the armscye 5cm, and forgo the short waist adjustment. These will both be necessary in a sleeveless version, which I would like to make.

My favourite part of the pattern is the blousing in the back.

M6696 back linen

And I used up some bemberg from a previous project for lining the skirt and binding the armscyes. I always like a lined skirt, and it helps the linen to not be too wrinkled by the end of the day.

M6696 interior

I added extra hooks and thread loops to where the waistband and the front band intersect to help it lie closed, instead of flipping (or straining) open.

M6696 front band interior

I like to finish the interior of my garments as nicely as I possibly can because it makes me happy when I put them on, and when I wear them. And bemberg feels so amazing to wear. I know people prefer crepe de chine or, in the case of a linen garment, cotton voile or batiste, but there is nothing that feels cool and slippery in the heat, or keeps wool from sticking or itching in the winter, like bemberg, imho.

M6696 lining

I’ve only had a chance to wear this dress once, but I am very impressed with the quality of this linen. The photos were taken after wearing for the day, and you can see for yourself how little the linen creased. Oh, and as for the rant about the WP blocks, a little reading soon made my life easier. Ha!

M6696 bark linen