Wool & Tencel Jersey Tops

I love winter.

I freeze in the winter.

But the cold air is so much easy to breathe and the sunlight is crisper than in summer, somehow.

So I love winter.

Crave winter.

I usually wear cashmere turtlenecks with down vests in my house during the winter.  We keep the house deliberately cool – around 19C – which means that it feels cold in my double-brick constructed insulation-free 1950s build of a house.  So imagine my pleasant surprise when my local Fabricland, of all places, had bolts of wool/tencel jersey.  IN SHADES OF CHOCOLATE BROWN!!!  I bought enough for three tops, but ended up with enough to make four. I’m so in love with this fabric I’ll probably buy more when it goes back on sale….  😀

First up, the Sewaholic Renfrew.  I must be the last person in the sewing world to make up this pattern. As it turns out, I really like it. I didn’t at first try-on.  I thought it was shapeless and completely unflattering.  But it has grown on me.  It’s comfortable and has a lot of room in its rather straight cut, and that is just perfect for me these days.  This is a beautiful rusty orange.

Oh! Before I forget, remember those made-a-few-years-ago-worn-almost-every-day brown jeans I mentioned in my Jalie jeans post? Well, they feature in all these photos despite their front fitting issues.

Renfrew front

I made no changes to the pattern other than making the back in a double layer of the jersey, as it is rather lightweight. It washes and dries beautifully, too, although the Tencel in it tends to make it a bit prone to wrinkling.

Renfrew back

The next pattern was Burda 6838 I love draped tops.  This replaces an old RTW version that got worn and washed so much it started to look ratty.

B 6838 front

I made no changes whatsoever to this pattern.  WYSIWYG straight out of the envelope. Surprising.

B 6838 back

Next up: Burda 11/2014 #114 in a lighter brown. I love the back yoke with the integrated draped front.

Burda 11-2011-114 back

I made two changes: shortened the sleeve and, instead of doing an FBA, I lowered the attachment points of the drape at the side seams by 8cm so they fell under my bust instead of above it. And I left all the edges raw. The sleeves on this needed to be shortened by a whopping 8cm. Seriously.  I’m not 100% in love with this.  The dropped shoulders aren’t particularly flattering, and it could be taken in a little through the waist/hips, but I’m shying away from snug-fitting clothing these days.  And I think shortening it about 2cm would be a good plan.

So!  Make, wear, photograph and learn.  It’s cozy for living in my house in the winter, and that was the point!  And it’s also getting a lot of wear these days…

Burda 11-2011-114 front

And lastly, this bi-coloured two-layer top from Burda 7/2010 #137.Пуловер It’s a plus-sized pattern (44-52), which I can use because I make up size 44 in Burda.   Lucky me – I can choose regular or plus size patterns in their issues.  😉

Burda 7-2010-137 front

This is my second BurdaPlus knit top pattern, and as flattering as they are in pictures, they are not fun or easy to wear.  It’s a very flattering look through the shoulders – which is probably the point in a plus-sized garment… drawing the eyes up and away from the goods… but keeping those shoulders in place is a nightmare.

Burda 7-2010-137 back

I ended up running elastic through the neckline to the CB and CF points to snug it up a bit and stitching layers together the below the centre points to keep the shoulders from sliding off, and the CF and CB settling into a lower meeting place.  Of course this is just lazy non-fitting, but after seeing this in photos, I’m not crazy about the use of the different browns, anyways. And it’s not very warm, which was the point of the wool jersey, precisely because the neckline is so wide and open.  So, like this earlier BurdaPlus make, it’s been donated.

Plaid shirts: Burda 02/2013 #101


DD3 has wanted big, oversized plaid shirts for a while, but we’ve not been able to find any that both fit properly and that she liked.  And, since she’s taller and much more shapely than most 13-year-olds, it just is a whole lot easier to make clothes for her.  Initially she was going to do the sewing after I did the cutting, but that wasn’t happening as the weeks passed, so I just decided to get on with the project and let her finish them by sewing on the buttons.

She shopped my pattern stash and decided on the boyfriend shirt from Burda’s 2013 February issue.


I asked if she wanted interesting touches like a bias front binding, or bias cuffs or a bias back yoke.

No.  Plain as day. Nothing interesting fancy. Thanks, Mom!

But I cheated.  I deliberately offset the front bands on both shirts, although it fit the check pattern perfectly in the blue.

Burda 2/2013 #101 front placket
play “find the pocket”…

And added a bias pocket to the blue check.

Burda 2/2013 #101 blue check

From these photos you can see how much wearing ease there is in this design. I did a 2cm FBA by cutting away the seam allowance spreading the front armscye, hinging at the outer shoulder point.

And I decided on a bias yoke simply because it meant no matching stress.  Lots of room in the back. The red fabric is a rayon, and it hangs beautifully.  The blue is a cotton flannel.


I’m stating the obvious, but this is not a fitted shirt, so DD3 usually wears it open over a tee or tank.

Burda 2/2013 #101
I’m so pleased with the CB matching!

I have nothing special to say about this straight-forward pattern.  The sleeve plackets are a simple bias binding, not a fancy placket.  I must say, though, as someone who is used to the very precise markings on a Vogue collar/stand pattern, Burda leaves a lot to be desired.  These collars took a lot of checking and double-checking because there was no point on the collar stand marked where the collar edge should be.  Just a personal (slight) annoyance.  Vogue spoils their sewists with their markings, that’s for sure.

Burda 01/2016 #114: Boho Blouse

Burda 01-2016-114
Jeans: Jalie 2908

Remember my discouraging post about overthinking? How elusive and brain-numbing playing with a patterned fabric can be?  Well, I got over the hurdle and jumped into this blouse from Burda’s January 2016 issue.


The gorgeous silk is from EOS, and when she first posted it I started drooling.  She’d suggested the purple denim as a coordinating fabric, and, since I needed new jeans, thought I would happily splurge on the combo.  I am so happy with the colours in these fabrics.  So gorgeous!!

I cut the sleeves out first, because I wanted them to be symmetrical.  They don’t get in the way even though they are incredibly full.

Burda 01-2016-114 sleeves
first sunny day in a month of Sundays…

The next cutting challenge was the back. The design is printed in a slowly squiggling line, so centering the design took some effort. One of the yokes was cut slightly off centre, so I used it as the yoke lining.

Burda 01-2016-114 side
not sure about the tucked-in-at-the-front look

The front of the blouse has a slit opening. I disregarded Burda’s suggestions and used a strip of fabric cut on the straight instead of the bias and finished it by hand. And for the life of me I couldn’t find a button I liked, so I made one using a strip of bias tubing and the instructions from Vogue 1107.

Burda 02-2016-114 neckline

The neckline and the sleeves are bound in a narrow bias binding.

Burda 02-2016-114 binding
no, I didn’t remove the gathering stitches…

And the yoke has little interesting bias ties that serve no purpose whatsoever. I don’t even think you notice them much in this fabric, but they’re a unique decorative touch.

Burda 01-2016-114

Did I mention I really love this fabric? I had a little less than 1m combined  of various-sized pieces left over after cutting and matching, and I just couldn’t bear to see it sitting in my trash bin. So I pieced together a tank top using Burda 4/2015 #103.


In order to make some sense of the fabric design and to accommodate an FBA, there’s a seam down the centre front, one side front, and the left shoulder is pieced to the depth of about 8cm.

pieced tank front

I wasn’t sure when I made it if I would ever wear it – I just wanted to use the gorgeous fabric for something!  But, as summer is around the corner, who knows?  I’m sure it will get worn.

Yes, you’ve seen these pictures before… in the Jalie jeans post!

Jalie Jeans x 3

I’ve made three new pairs of jeans using the unbeatable Jalie 2908 pattern.  It’s not the only pattern I’ve used to make jeans in the past, but I think it will be my go-to for now. You see, when I decided I needed new jeans, I had three different styles in my wardrobe: the Jalie’s, a GAP 1969 pair and an unblogged indigo BurdaStyle pair based on this pattern.  I love the fit of the GAP and the BurdaStyle pair more than the Jalie pair, mostly because I made the low-waisted version way back when.  And in order to decide which I wanted to make three times, I took pictures of myself wearing all three pairs.  To see which was the most flattering….

Jalie won, hands down.  Maybe it was pocket placement, but I just liked the fit of them from all angles better than the GAP or the BurdaStyle pair.

I made the “mom” style (waistband sits at my natural waist) with the following adjustments:

  • lengthened them by 4cm so I can wear heels, or mules.  Nothing bugs me more than when the back of my jeans catch underneath my heel while I’m wearing mules.
  • +1.5cm full inner thigh adjustment
  • lowered the front waist by 1.5cm
  • 1.5cm high hip adjustment on both front/back side seams
  • add 3cm to side seams as fitting insurance, particularly on the black and purple pair as the denim has less stretch than the teal pair

Just a note on styling: I won’t be wearing them with tucked-in tops, but I wanted to show you what they fit like through the hips/waist for this post.

First pair was made from a glorious Italian black denim from EmmaOneSock.

Burda 04-2015-103 front

The denim wasn’t pre-washed, but it hasn’t shrunk and it doesn’t bag out.  It’s the most-worn pair so far.

Burda 04-2015-103 top

The next was a purple Italian denim, again from EmmaOneSock. It’s a bit on the stiff side, but it doesn’t bag out after a day’s wearing, either.  And I love the colour.

Jalie 2908 purple front

But I forgot to lower the CF – you can see the front crotch depth is too long – so I have removed the waistband and will re-attach it later. Thank goodness I didn’t use any rivets on this pair.

Jalie 2908 purple back
Here’s a view of the inside, with some batik (EOS, again!) salvaged from an older project. I love putting these on because of this fabric!

Jalie 2908 purple pockets

And lastly, a dark teal blue pair using a cotton blend denim from…. you guessed it! Emmaonesock, of course. These are straight legged.

Jalie 2908 blue front

These are the stretchiest of the three, so I didn’t need to make use of the ‘fitting insurance’ 3cm extra width down each side.  The fabric is amazingly soft and comfortable.

Jalie 2908 blue

I love the length of all these new jeans. I have to turn them up when I’m wearing slippers around the house, but they are the perfect length for my heeled boots. So far, so good! The old GAP and BurdaStyle pair were sent off to the thrift store, but I still wear the original brown jeans. The fabric was from EOS again… a designer denim from somewhere in the States.  I have worn these jeans constantly since I made them, and they are still looking good, as you’ll see in my next post.


I often see patterned fabrics and fall in love with them enough to bring them home with me.  It doesn’t always follow that there is an instant happy marriage between the fabric itself and a specific garment pattern or design, but eventually, with thought, I come up with an idea that I think I would like to wear.

Then I lay out the fabric, and stare at it for a while.yardage

And drape it this way.

crosswise – perhaps a bell sleeve?

And that way.


And end up, at the end of a few hours, having not cut even one piece, and a long way back from where I initially started because so many possibilities for the use of the fabric placement come to mind as I play with it, I have accomplished nothing.  I cannot commit, usually out of fear of ruining/wasting such pretty fabric on an imperfect design.

And another block of sewing time is gone.

Miss V’s Wardrobe 2016

I was looking through my blog posts and realized I had made a collection of new clothes for Miss V only just last year!  Amazing how time flies and yet seems so far away at the same time.

Miss V was here visiting home from Cambodia for the last 6 weeks, and she wanted new clothes.  So, for a change, we went fabric shopping together at the Fabricland closest to her and bought fabric for 3 tops, 2 trousers, 4 dresses and a cardigan.  I was all ready to start sewing two weeks ago, and then everyone under the age of 18 in my household got sick.  I still don’t know what they were ill with, but it was miserable for a while.  Needless to say, there was no sewing when there should have been sewing.  But I managed to get everything done, and reasonably well enough (considering how little fitting opportunities there were), and off on the plane in Miss V’s bags earlier this week.  This is more of a catalogue for my (future) self, but I thought you’d like to see what she chose this time.

Variations on Vogue 9595 (OOP). The pink is a stretch polyester brocade with a self-lined bodice. The cotton has a mock sarong overlay. Both of them have in-seam pockets (which I hate). She prefers gathers in the bodice to pleats.

Vogue 9595 variations

Vogue 1415.  I’ve actually made the trousers from this pattern twice for another client this summer.  It’s a gorgeous pattern, and there is so little fitting to be done. Of course they look dreadful pinned to the dress form.  They’re made of a polyester linen-look, lined with poly-cotton broadcloth (her choice).  Considering how hard it is to keep white white in Cambodia, these should be easy to clean.Vogue 1415 trousers

Vogue 2064 trousers in a woven, not the called-for knit.  It fits so well as a woven for Miss V. This is the same pattern that I used for her upcycled sari and purple trousers.  You’ll see the front needs some alterations, but, in my defense, Miss V requested that I make things a ‘bit small’ because she was going back into the sauna of Cambodia and would shed the extra that made these fit poorly through the waist/high hip.  They’ll sit at her natural waist soon enough!  🙂

Vogue 2064 trousers

I copied a Vera Wang jersey top that she had worn to shreds.  I was, thankfully, allowed to cut it all up so I could use it as a pattern.  I traced the pieces and trued them up.  It’s an interesting mock crossed drape front.  Miss V was so funny when I cut the pink striped one out for her to try as a muslin (unhemmed in the pictures below).  She danced around singing, ‘My top!  My favourite top!’  I made three iterations of this, and, unfortunately, didn’t have time to tweak the fit to make it perfect. But she was sooooo happy with them that I’m not going to sweat all the things that irritate me about these.  I’ll just make notes/adjustments on the pattern for next time.Miss V draped top

Marfy 1913.  This is such a gorgeous pattern.  Why haven’t I made this for myself yet?  Even DD3 wanted one for herself after seeing the pink paisley version on my dress form.

Marfy 1913 dresses

I also managed to get a cotton/silk top out of it for her wardrobe.

Marfy 1913 top

And I copied a cardigan that she loves.  It’s a waterfall  cardigan – well, a large rectangle (2 x .70m) with sleeves added at equidistant points from the CB fold, with enough fabric in the front to throw over one shoulder as a wrap.  I cut the sleeves on the bias, using the Vogue 2064 pattern. The fabric is a mystery jersey of some sort that(surprisingly) washed well.Miss V Cardigan

I sewed all long weekend to get this done, which I never do.  I always hold weekends sacrosanct for family time.  But it was so lovely having all my DDs and my DH around cooking, cleaning and planning while I just sewed.  I need to make an excuse to have that kind of sewing weekend without interruptions again.  😀

Burda 05/2016 #115: Bat Sleeve Top

Burda 05-2015-115 top

This ensemble is more of my stash sewn up.  It makes me feel good making up what I already have in store instead of buying yet more.  It’s nice to have a library of fabrics from which to choose, but at some point it begins to feel burdensome.  These couple of projects lightened my mental load a bit.  Does that happen to you, too?  I don’t like it when fabric starts staring at me askance when I walk into my sewing area.Burda 02-2006-114

Anyways, both these fabrics are from the fabulous EmmaOneSock. The lime green skirt is a cotton blend stretch denim. I used Burda 06/2006 #137 again, since it fits so well and I’m loving it these days. I left off the pockets on this version and the Team Portugal one.  And I cut the CF panel on a fold this time around. The only other adjustments made were lowering the front waist by 1.5cm and grading down a size through the back waist. I have another version of this skirt pattern planned, which will hopefully get sewn before the end of summer. But now, the top.

I made mine of a feather printed rayon/lycraBurda bat sleeve top jersey.  I really liked the sleeve detail, but this top has proved to be a little problematic.  I cut a straight size 44 (my upper chest measurements dictate this in Burda sizing), and did a 5cm short-waist adjustment by folding out 5cm across the waistline.  I found the instructions simple and easy to follow.  The markings on the pattern made the overlapping of the sleeves at the shoulders simple to find.  The neck binding is wide – about 2cm – and I cut it about 5cm shorter than Burda suggested, and I’m glad I did.  I also raised the CF neckline by about 2cm.  I’m at the age of being over showing a bit of bra when I bend over.

lime green and feathers

I made a deep 4cm deep hem instead of the 1.5cm one suggested by Burda.   And the bottom of the top was HUGE.  I ended up folding out 4cm on each side seam and stitching them up into an inverted box pleat about 6cm deep at the side seams.  Did you read that?!  A total of 8cm extra in width at the bottom of this garment.  I was surprised, because I usually need to grade up a size over my hips.

Burda 05-2016-115 back

And let’s talk about these lovely bat sleeves, OK?  They were the selling point in this pattern for me, and I really do like them.

bat sleeves

Quite the bat’s wings happening. Burda also refers to the top as a “cape sleeve top”.  Definitely!  And they are a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen.  If the camera was at the right angle while I was standing with my hands on my hips, you could see all you wanted to see – and probably more.


Hmmm…..  Moving on! How to correct this?  After playing around with pinning the sleeve hemlines in various places, I decided to stitch them down to 10cm from the neckline, creating a dropped shoulder effect.  It keeps the overlaps in place and there’s not a chance of flashing anyone.

Burda ensembleI may make this up as a dress.  I’ll still make my short-waist adjustment, but I’ll experiment with making it under the bust instead of at the waistline to see if eliminates the need for stitching those shoulders down.