Pattern Review: Burda Family Fun Shorts

B 6-2011-111The first installment of shorts is done and wearable.  They fit perfectly.  I just measured and measured and measured again so they’d fit without a fitting.

B 6-2011-111Pattern:  Burda 6-2011-111 view C with side ties in sizes 34-44.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes – 100%.B 6-2011-111 pockets

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Hmmm…. well, I read through the instructions and understood where they were going, but I disagreed with the theory, so to speak, so struck out on my own.

First, the pockets are in-seam side pockets.  I completely disregarded Burda’s instructions for the right side.  They suggested sewing the side seam above and below the pocket opening, pinning the pockets to the opening and then stitching them into the seam.  WHAT?!  My tutoring by Vogue Patterns during the 80’s told me that was not the way to do it.  Here’s what I did:

  1. Stitch one pocket piece to front and back with right sides of fabric together, matching markings.  Use a narrow 1/4”  (6mm) seam.  Press seam toward pocket.
  2. Stitch side seams, continuing around the pocket, pivoting at the corners.
  3. Turn pocket toward the front, clip the back seam allowance above and below the pocket.  Press.

B 6-2011-111 rear viewSecond, the shorts have a invisible side zipper inserted into the left pocket.  I did follow their directions for this step, which were straightforward.  It did the job, but the execution was rough.  I may try a different method for the second pair awaiting stitching.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  DD1 really liked the ties.

Fabric Used:  printed cotton voile from my stash and stretch cotton poplin for the waistband as there wasn’t enough cotton voile.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made no designB 6-2011-111 side back changes, although I did change how I put the pattern together, as already noted.   And I left off the back patch pockets – there wasn’t enough fabric to match the print, and I didn’t want to make them look schlapped together with mismatched patch pockets.  I know it’s a very casual style, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to have mismatched patch pockets on the back…..

Conclusion:  These are kinda cute.  DD1 thinks they’re wonderful, and is awaiting the second installment.  It’s an easy pattern to put together, and they look comfortable to wear.  I’d recommend this to anyone wanting a simple pair of shorts to sew tonight and worn tomorrow!

Pockets of all sorts

DD3 requested a pair of utility pants this summer.  Actually, it was my idea.  “You need a decent pair of khaki’s that go with everything.  It’s just a wardrobe staple you should have,” I told her when she was making her list of clothes for the summer.  This is what she chose:


I was sort of hoping for something more classic, if you know what I mean, but hey!  She has to wear them!  Anyways, after getting into the sewing of them today, they’ll be fun to put together, anyway.  The front pockets went together brilliantly, and then I started on the double-welt pockets for the back.

I do not like welt pockets, let alone double-welt pockets.  Ah well…. slowly, carefully, meticulously, I said to myself.  And then I read the instructions:  Do not use lining fabric for the pocket bags.  Huh?  Oh, great!  I don’t have anymore fashion fabric.  What to do?  After panicking for a minute or two, I cheated.Instead of a double welt pocket, I made a single welt and used the two extra pieces cut for the double welts as the facing on the upper half of the pocket bag.

B 3-2011-132B back weltB 3-2011-132B back welt inside

Left photo: basted voile and stitched fashion fabric on the outside of the pants.

Right photo:  turned to the inside.  You can see that I need to join the bottom of the voile to the bottom of the facing strip, which I’m holding.  It worked beautifully, and the lining is a pretty touch in an otherwise boring garment.

B 3-2011-132B back pocket finishedB 3-2011-132B back welt 2

In Me Made June news today…

MMJ 14 Day 14 – Outfit:  My first repeat this month:  the green linen skirt from MMJ Day 8, and a new top from Burda’s Mamma Mia collection (February 2011).  I’ll post the review tomorrow

Activities:  running errands, sewing, and dance classes – again.  Wow.  I had no idea how much time I spend at the dance studio for my kids until documenting my daily activities for MMJ.

Thoughts:  I like this skirt, and the top is in a very lovely print, but it’s really short!  It’s got a self-lined bodice, which is nice, and the fit is good, but it could use some tweaking.

Diana’s Dresses

diana rose dressJust a couple of observations about the dresses that I saw yesterday at the Design Exchange.  The exhibit runs in Toronto until June 10th, so you’d better hurry if you don’t want to miss it!

The purpose of the exhibit is to raise money for Princess Diana’s charities.  I thought it would be interesting to see them close up and personal, as it were.  I couldn’t get fantastic pictures of them all, but I thought I’d share the interesting things I noticed with you anyways.diana rose dress embroidery

First, this rose silk twill dress with exquisite embroidery.  This is just amazing beadwork with embroidery underneath the sequin details.  Since I love needlework so much, I thought I’d share a picture of it up close.  I couldn’t see inside the garments, of course, which I would have preferred, but I did notice a couple of things that were of interest to me as a seamstress.  The first was the intricate work of embroidery on this jacket and bodice on the first gown in the exhibit.  There was a teal gown that was covered with hand-sewn sequins, too.  I could not imagine having to sew on enough sequins to cover a long-sleeved full length gown.  Incredible work.

The second thing that struck me was the hem on many of the dresses.  I don’t know where I learned to press hems flat, but I’ve always done that.  Then I read recently in Vogue Sewing that hems don’t necessarily get pressed flat all the time, especially if diana rose hemthey’re underlined or reinforced with horsehair braid.  That was a new idea to me.  And then I noticed the hem on this dress.  It’s not flat.  It’s just folded under and stitched to the underlining, I would guess.  There were a few silk crepe gowns that had the soft turned-up-and-stitched hem.  I liked the look of it, and so, if I ever have the need to sew a full-length gown, I’ll be sure to underline the skirt so that I can do such a hem.

Cavalli Part VI: Collar & Cuff Details

cutting fur

I thought I’d share some details regarding the collar construction of this coat.  The picture above shows how one cuts fur – with a very sharp blade.  My furrier gave me two, and it’s amazing how nicely they cut.  They also dull very quickly.  I’ve used one on just my little bits of collar and cuff and it’s lost it’s extra sharp edge.

underside of cuff fur cuff fur

Here’s the wrong and right side of the pelt I chose to use for one of the cuffs.  I wanted my cuffs to be about 3” wide, so I’ve trimmed the pelts in order to get all the spots and not so much of the brown back fur.

collar pattern

As mentioned in a previous post, there are no seam allowances when working with fur, so you have to create them with twill tape.  I used selvedge from medium-weight muslin.

adding selvedge to fur

The trick is to keep all the fur away from the edge of the pelt so that it will lie free from the seam.  A zigzag stitch is perfect, as it catches the edge of the pelt and tape and can also lie relatively flat when opened or stitched to the garment.

hand understitching

After stitching the fur to the undercollar, I really needed to understitch it.  So I used a bold overcast stitch to keep the twill tape in place.

turned undercollar

Here is the undercollar with the fur fully attached.  You can see the twill tape edging, but I’m not really concerned about it since the fur is long and will cover this up.  I’m also not too worried about it because I can see the about 1/8” of the twill tape where my furrier attached the fur collar to my leather jacket.  All that matters is that it’s secure and not visible through the fur.

I decided to attach the fur directly to the sleeves for the cuff as this would eliminated a lot of fabric bulk.  And I wanted the fur to be secure, not moving around.  I would probably have to tack a lined fur cuff to the sleeve to keep it in place, so why bother with the extra work of lining it?  Simple and effective is good in my sewing books.cuffs pinned to sleeve

I measured the width of the pelt between the muslin strips and marked the corresponding measurement (3 1/4”) from the cuff.  Then I carefully pinned the muslin strip to the sleeve, making sure that all the fur is away from the seamline.  I wanted the muslin strip on the bottom of the cuff to actually turn to the inside, as I intend to make the lining flush with the sleeve edge.

inside of cuff

Then I turned the cuff down, folded the remaining muslin strip over the sleeve bottom, and securely stitched it into place on the inside of the sleeve.

Et voilà!

cavalli cuff

Now all that’s left is the hem and the lining, which still has not arrived. *Sigh* However, I shall finish up the outer shell for this and go onto something simple for a palate cleanser!

Cavalli Part V: Attaching the Collar


Whew!  The collar and front facings are attached.  I’m pleased with it!  It’s not as spotty as I’d like, but I intend to make the spots “thicker” on the cuffs, which I’m hoping will make them all stand out a bit.  And the pattern is perfectly matched down the centre front.  Yay!

Now on to the cuffs….

Cavalli Part IV: Playing with fur

cutting fur

I finally got up the courage to try cutting into the fur.

bad furThere’s a lot of pelts in my piece, and some are really ratty and falling apart, so I used them to get used to the techniques for sewing fur.  It also gave me the chance to play with the collar pattern to determine what works best.

tape fur

The first thing I did was remove the cotton twill tape that was blindstitched to the hemline of the fur.  Remember I’m working with the bottom 12” of a coat that’s been restyled.  When I checked my mink, the lining is actually handstitched to twill tape so that it’s flush with the edge of the pelts at the hem.

zigzagged tapeYou can also see the tiny overcast-type stitches on the wrong side of the fur.  Pelts are “let out” to length them or to make them wider and therefore get more area out of a single pelt.  Seams are also done in the same way, in effect eliminating all allowances – exactly like a butted seam.  So I trimmed all the seam allowances on the collar pattern piece.

collar patternThe seam “allowances” are twill tape zigzagged to the edge of the fur.  The fox collar on my leather jacket is attached to the leather using this technique.

tape pinned to undercollarOne other thing:  sewing fur is like having a cat constantly rubbing itself against your legs – fine hairs are everywhere and stick to everything.

Trousers lining: Burda 1-2011-134

Well, how to line these darn things with the fly zipper….

Just a side note:  I am not using the facings as per Burda, but am following Making Trousers idea that petersham ribbon (or grosgrain ribbon) is a thin and excellently stable material for either interfacing or actually BEING the waistband facing on trousers.  It makes lovely and simple sense to me, so I’m going to be facing these trousers with petersham.

But that still leaves the “how to line trousers with a fly zipper and a zipper shield” question.  Well, here’s what I did.

NOTE:  I have not stitched up the centre back seam at this point.

Trim the fly facing from the LF lining, mark and staystitch the curved stitching line on the RF lining.  Staystitch and clip the RF lining, turning and pressing in the seam allowance on both RF and LF openings.

clipped RF lining

Turn the fly facings along the foldlines to the outside, right sides together and pin baste.  fly facings turned inStitch and trim the seam allowance, leaving about 5/8″ of the front extending under the facing.

fly facing stitched trimmed

Turn the facings right side out and press.

fly facings turned

Staystitch the waist.

staystitched waist

Try on pants for fitting through the waist, making any adjustments as needed and marking the centre back seam allowance.  Then stitch 1 or 1.5 inch wide petersham to the waist.  The top of the petersham will sit just under the staystitching.

petersham stitching petersham stitched

Stitch up the centre back seam.  Press it open.  Turn down the waist seam allowance over the petersham, press and baste into place.basted waist allowance

Sew up the lining.  I didn’t bother drafting my own seamless lining for the trouser fronts.  I used the same two-piece fronts as the fashion fabric.  And, because I hate bemberg strings everywhere, I serged the pants seams.finished lining seams

Staystitch and turn in the waist seam allowance on the lining.  Press. Pin baste to the top of the waistband (petersham ribbon).

pinned lining

Fell stitch into place.

fell stitched lining

Zip up the zipper, lay the pants flat inside out and pin the linings to the fly opening.

pinned fly lining

Fell stitch into place.  I left the fly shield loose and stitched the lining securely underneath it.  You can tack it into place at the bottom of the fly opening and fell the lining over the end of the fly shield if you wish.  I may do this next time, but this is what I did for this particular pair of trousers.  Here’s the fly zipper finished, exterior and interior shots.

finished fly finished lined fly

Last, but not least, I sewed through all layers – lining, petersham and fabric – at both back darts, side seams and side front seams to ensure the lining stays in place while being worn.

Well, that’s how I lined these pants!  Now I have to hem them, decide on a button or hook/eye closure and take some pictures of me wearing them so you can see the fit on someone that is not as tall as a Burda model.

There’s a lot of hand sewing putting the lining in like this.  If I didn’t care so much about not seeing seam allowances from the inside, I would have done this very differently…. maybe next time.  I’m happy with the finished interior look of these pants!