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.

Simplicity 2846

My good friend and muse, Miss V, gifted me a length of printed batik from Cambodia, where she lives, studies and connects with every person she meets.  You may remember the red dress I made for her a couple of years ago (has it been that long?!) from the same type of fabric, and, yes, the same pattern.  The fabric comes in a set length/width, and is usually stitched together to form a continuous piece.  One then steps into it and ties it sarong style at the waist or upper chest if you’re tiny.  I decided to keep the dress idea alive and well.

S2486 front

There is nothing much to say about this pattern.  I did my usual FBA of about 2.5cm, and did a 5cm short-waist adjustment (which works better than the popular sway back alteration with my shape).  I left the fit a bit loose through the underbust and waist.  I’m starting to get self-conscious about the middle spread phenomenon that seems to be my lot in life right now.  Wanna see the best part of this dress?

Simplicity 2846 back

The BACK!!! Isn’t it awesome?  I love that it’s so average from the front, and then when I turn around, hello!

Here’s the stamp on the CB seam allowance.


I lined it with cotton batiste, and put in an invisible zip down the centre back.  I used the selvedge as the hem.  I’m glad it’s summer.  The sun and bright colours are wonderful to see after the long dreary drab winter.

Cambodian batik

EuroCup 2016: Team Portual Bomber Jacket

Back in the fall of 2015, I participated in the 2015 PR Sewing Bee.  The last challenge was making an Olympic team uniform, and this was part of my submission.  I thought it would be fun to blog it now that Portugal is playing in the EuroCup semi-finals today.

I made the skirt, trousers and top as blogged in my previous post.  This is the first bomber jacket I’ve made, and I thought it would be fun to pull out all the red silk and linen scraps in my stash to make up this John Richmond bomber-style top from Burda September 2013.  And it is not the most simple with a gazillion pieces, but it worked perfectly with all my little pieces of red.

Burda 09-2013-130I used red linen from my jumpsuit for the front bands and collar; a cotton-silk voile for the lower jacket, upper front and sleeves; and a rayon plisse (a double-layered fabric where the pleated fabric is loosely attached to a flat back) for shoulder and side constrast sections. The centre back panel and elasticated sleeve and bottom bands are made from silk taffeta.  Here’s the front. You can see the contrasting fabrics with the piping.  The single welt pockets are silk taffeta, too.

Burda 09-2013-130 piped

Here’s the back view.

Burda 09-2013-130 back

The sleeves have a pleating detail, which is just beautiful.  I made the lining for the sleeves separately instead of pleating all layers together as one.

Burda 09-2013-130 sleeves

I did a double row of piping around each section using gold and green silk shantung.  Labourious, tedious, and quite satisfying, for sure, once it was done.  This is a close-up of the back shoulder (from L, clockwise:  silk taffeta, rayon plisse, silk-cotton voile).

Burda 09-2013-130 piping

I’m not a big bomber jacket fan, but this is so luxurious to wear, and doesn’t advertise it’s patriotism too loudly, which suits me.  Back view, waving my flag.

Burda 09-2013-130 and 02-2006-137

Here’s the interior. I fully lined the jacket.  The body and sleeve linings were sewn as separate pieces.  I put the sleeve lining/fashion fabrics together, added the sleeve elasticated cuffs, and then stitched the sleeves to the jacket body.  The armscyes are bound with gold and green silk shantung.  The facings are linen.

Burda 09-2013-130 interior

Here’s a side view.

Burda 09-2013-130 side

If Portugal wins this round, we’ll be downtown at my MIL’s in Little Portugal on July 10th, cheering frantically for them to win.  If they don’t, I have some pieces to wear when I feel a bit Portuguese.  🙂