Archive for the ‘MbC 2010’ Category

White Shirt No. 3

December 22, 2010

Finished last weekend: White Shirt No. 3. Or rather No. 2 1/2, because I am not quite happy with this shirt, see below for details.

I used this simplicity pattern from the 1940ies:

I like this pattern a lot, it is versatile and I love the little bow which is also included as a pattern piece. A historically interesting detail: the pattern contains a tutorial how to cut it out of a men’s shirt, a wonderful example of the “Make Do And Mend” philosophy of the WWII years. a side notion from the author: Of course I had to try this with a discarded shirt from my personal Prince Charming and it is not feasible in size 20.  The sleeves of the blouse are wider than the sleeves of the men’s shirt. Conclusion: if you’re fat, you need an even fatter guy in order to make use of his old shirts 😉 .

Here should be the picture of the cutting tutorial, but I can’t find it anymore, I probably deleted it by mistake. I’ll post it as soon as I am back home over Christmas. .

I made view 2 (the yellow shirt). Only alteration: I to made the sleeves wider according to the method described by Nancy Zieman in “Pattern Alterations with confidence.

And here are the reasons why I don’t like the shirt so much:

1. I liked the fabric very much when it first arrived. The woven pattern is nice and it appeared perfect for a shirt. In the end it didn’t show in the finished product: The fabric from a German mailorder dealer is very thin but at the same time feels stiff and hard on the body. Not very comfortable to wear.

2. The button facing is cut separately and it turned out very stiff due to the many layers and seam allowances. Probably I also used too heavy interfacing for the flimsy fabric.

3. I have thousands of buttons but not a single one in pure white, can you believe it? They are all cream or have a yellowish tinge, so I opted on the extreme opposite and chose black buttons, but this is also not working for me. If I were happy with the rest of the shirt I would replace them.

4. My own stupidity: I made the sleeve plackets upside down. Technically they turned out perfectly as you can see below, but they are sitting in the wrong place (on top of the sleeve) and opening the wrong way (the overlap is on the back side).  Gaaah, silly me!

5. The collar has no collar stand, it is just stitched on right sides together and the seam allowance inside of the shirt is covered with bias band. Originally I did not like this solution, but in the meantime I don’t think it’s so bad, only downside is that you cannot leave the uppermost button open, it looks strange as you can see the bias band.

The fit of the shirt is good, the bodice part is even a little bit too wide, which was a surprise as the pattern is designed for a 38″ bust and I have a 42″. I took in the width at the waist with a few tucks. The shoulder width is perfect.  The alteration à la Zieman worked out very well, the modified sleeve fit perfectly into the armscye.

Conclusion: Not a complete failure, the shirt is wearable but it is certainly not one of my best works. I am not going to make the originally planned detachable jabot for this one, but I will make another shirt from this pattern, with better fabric, better buttons and the plackets in the correct position. And this one will get the jabot.

I also want to make a version from a men’s shirt, but I’ll have to work out a two-tone strategy to make this work.


Burda Style 10/2010 – Blouse 118 A in knit

December 22, 2010

Knit. Again.

I am totally enchanted by knit tops at the moment, they are quick to make, comfy to wear and perfect for the winter. (You may ask, why I always make them short sleeved if they’re intended for winter? Our office is not air-conditioned and tends to be overheated during the winter months, 5 people, 5 computers pluse heating can get a bit warm sometimes so a bit of fresh aire on the arms is desirable.)

But somehow I always end up making knit tops from patterns which were not originally designed for elastic fabric. This one is Blouse 118A from Burda Style 10/2010 (the one with the smaller bow).

Pattern Description

Short-sleeve blouse with gathers at the front and a bow tie collar.

Pattern Sizing

European sizes 36 – 44 for non-elastic fabric. I made size  44 from elastic fabric.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope after sewing it?

Not exactly. The bow tie on the blouse in the magazine looks much smaller than mine even though I cut the collar exactly to the indicated measures. I like the larger bow tie, though.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Um, no. Burda sometimes explains things too complicated and I often catch myself not bothering with the instructions at all. Like in this case. And obviously, the bow tie was supposed to be only attached on the back up to the shoulder seams but I sewed it on right to the front slit which I only understood this morning after having made the top and after having read the pattern review by Heather on SEWspicious Minds. Funny, she had quite similar problems.

How is the fit of the finished garment?

After a few alterations very good. I shortened the hem and took in the waist a few centimeters due to the stretchy fabric, but the sleeves and shoulder width are perfect.



  • an interesting, unusual top
  • easy and fast to sew.


  • the bow tie is too heavy and pulls down the slit in the center front. I think this is due to the weight of the heavy knit, the pattern just wasn’t designed for that sort of fabric and furthermore, had I followed the instructions
  • That the blouse has a slit in the center front can not be seen on the photo neither on the technical drawing in the magazine. This is one of my major points of criticism for Burda style: they often photograph the garments in a way that no details can be seen, the models slouching  or sitting down. It may have some artistical value but to make a decision whether to sew a garment or not, it’s not helpful.

Fabric used

Orange Polyester Knit from Stoffkontor. Looks nice but it is an electrostatical desaster. Therefore, the sweater will not have a long life expectancy in my closet. As a last resort I’ll soak it in fabric softener, if this isn’t helpting it’s “Adios, orange sweater!”

Pattern alterations or design changes

Hem shortened by 5 cm, Sleeves lengthened by 10 cm, Waistline taken in slightly; knit fabric instead of woven fabric.  

Would I sew it again? Would I recommend it to others?

Sew again: yes. I’ll make it from knit again and choose a fabric which is not shooting sparks 😉 .

Recommend: Yes. It’s easy to sew and looks nice, so make it!


  • Time for sewing: approx.  2 h
  • Fabric requriement/cost 1 meter of knit frabric, 150 cm width, approx.  4.50 Euro (Stoffkontor)

40ies Jeans

December 21, 2010

Sometimes my theoretical musings turn out well inpractice. Yesterday I labored over a yoke adaptation to make a pair of 40ies Jeans from the Evadress 9016 pants and made some theoretical assumptions. And, oh wonder, my theory was right! I sewed the jeans yesterday and everything went really smoothly. I had to make the original pattern a little bit smaller around the waist but all in all, my new 40ies jeans are a very good fit and really comfortable.

Originally I wanted to make a button closure, but I was too lazy to bother with over- and underlap and lots of buttonholes, so I just put in a metal zipper and some hooks at the waistband.

The only thing I am not completely happy about is the topstitching. It looks very good on the outside, but on the inside the topstitching yarn made little loops. I played a bit with yarn tension but  didn’t find a setting that avoided the loops completely. Ah well, if somebody is in a position to see the little loops INSIDE my pants, he better have different things on his mind than the topstitching of my jeans anyway.

Patter: Evadress 9016

Time for sewing: approx. 5 hours

Another knit blouse

November 30, 2010

Because I am so happy with the yellow blouse and because I have finally found a great way to use up all the knit fabric in my stash, I made another knit version of Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing Blouse.

On the detail picture you can see the structure of the fabric. It is a firm but soft knit, probably cotton, with a light shimmer.

For the hem I tried something different: serge, fold up and stitch down the hem with the tricot stitch (the “3-stitch zigzag”). It is stretchable and looks nice.

And heres a picture on me. You can see that I am feeling a little bit better, but my nose is still clogged (and red).

I really want to post more pictures with my clothes on me, but I have to get used to seeing so many pictures of me as I don’t find myself particularly photogenic  😦 .

Hooray for Underlining!

November 29, 2010

Now here’s a new (new to me) technique I love: Underlining. 2 weeks ago I read a blogpost about underlining (sorry, can’t remember where). It was linked to this tutorial on PR and I was very keen on trying it.

You’ll notice that I am procrastinating a bit on my white shirts, as the next pattern first needs to be copied from the Burda magazine – this is the only part of sewing I hate with all my heart. If I were a millionaire, I would hire a person to copy patterns for me, honestly.

So the idea of an underlined skirt offered the perfect distraction. It’s winter and I need a warm skirt, so forget about White Shirt No. 3 and make a skirt, yay!

Contrary to my original plan to try the technique with an unloved fabric first, I was very brave and used my best wool fabric instead. No risk, no fun and what could possibly go wrong anyway?

The pattern is a 40ies 6-piece skirt, easy to make, easy to fit, so let’s go.

The fashion fabric is cut according to pattern. You see that I gave some allowance here as well, this is, because the original pattern is not in my size.

The lining pieces are cut with an additional seam allowance of 1.5 cm on all lengthwise seams.

What you see here is an innovative multicolor designer lining. In other words: I used scrap pieces 🙂 . The plaid part is in the center front, the center back is beige and the 4 side pieces are copper. I’m a thrifty girl and I am always happy if I can use up every little scrap of fabric. The wool fabric was 2.5 m and I did some puzzling and piecing and managed to cut the skirt and a complete jacket out of it (sans skirt waisband, here I used contrast which you’ll see further down). I can’t for the life of me remember why I only bought 2.5  m of this gorgeous fabric. Is wasn’t even expensive. Whatever was I thinking …

Oops, I digress. Back to business: the fashion fabric pieces and the lining pieces are sewn together and turned over individually.

Put fashion fabric piece and corresponding lining piece RST and sew together, use your presser foot as edge guidance. The lining piece is now intentionally larger than the fabric piece.

Turn over. Now the lining will wrap around the cut edge of the fashion fabric. Iron the edges.

Do the same for all skirt pieces and then continue to sew the skirt in the usual fashion. Both layers are treated as 1 fabric. The edges are bound nicely, giving the impression of a Hong Kong seam finish.

Sew in the zipper and the waistband in the usual fashion, through both fabric layers.

I made a bias band hem: I stitched on a bias band on the RS of the fashion fabric, through both layers.

Then, I turned up the fabric to the inside and fixed the bias band invisibly with slip stitches through the lining.

And heres the perfect winter skirt. I never owned a skirt which is draping so beautifully and the feeling while wearing it is really comfortable. The 2 fabric layers make the skirt really heavy and also warm. Sorry for the sour face, I am coming down with a cold and even red lipstick doesn’t help to make me feel good.

Conclusion: this technique is a little bit more time consuming than making an unlined skirt, but I absolutetly wholeheartedly recommend it for everyone. Try it, it’s really worth the effort.

A fitting lesson learned on the side: girdles REALLY make you waist slimmer. I fitted the skirt without wearing a girdle while in my weekend slouchy gear and it fit. Pimping myself for the office I of course put on proper undergarments and – no surprise really – the skirt is considerably too wide at the waist.

So on to a happy ripping session (yes, ripping something to make it smaller IS a happy feeling)! I am really curious how long it will take me to not overestimate my size. Somehow I am always scared to cut pieces in the right size, I always end up with too large garments. The most beautiful thing is that I DID loose some weight recently since I am consuming very few carbohydrates. But my self image is still fatter than the real me. Well, better than the other way round, isn’t it?

“Smooth Sailing” Winter Edition

November 24, 2010

Saturday night I had the idea to make a blouse from knit fabric and I knew I had the perfect knit lying around. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to have a large fabric stash? There was this very “vintage-y” mustard yellow ribbed wool knit which would be just perfect.

Unfortunately the fabric width was only 80 cm and I had to fiddle with positioning the pattern pieces. It only yielded sleeves with 3/4 length and wasn’t enough for the collar and facings, but I made those from a scrap piece from my White Shirt No. 2.

Pattern: Wearing History “Smooth Sailng” Bluse

Pattern: ribbed knit wool

Time for sewing: approx. 4 hours

I like the blouse very much, it is warm and comfortable and looks great to skirts AND pants and I think I want to make more vintage style knit tops. However, working with a a very stretchy fabric and a pattern designed for non-stretchy material has some pitfalls. The blouse was way too large at the first fitting. I took in 8 cm and it is still a loose fit. I thought about going down a size or even 2 if I want to make another knit piece, but I will have to be careful about the shoulder width in this case.

McCall’s M6035 – White Shirt No. 2

November 23, 2010

Pattern Description

Shirt with princess seams, collar stand and differen sleeves.

Pattern Sizing

2 Multisize sets:

AA:  6 to 12

E5:  14 to 22

Each with cup sizes A, B, C and D

I made size 20, Cup C; the blue view with the gathtered sleeves

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope after sewing it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

I only read the instructions for the drawstring tunnel on the sleeves and this was not easy to follow for me. I still don’t know how they want you to make the tunnel; is it by stitching down the seam allowances? No idea. I came up with my own solution, stitching a bias band over the seam allowances of the front sleeve seam.

How is the fit of the finished garment?

Very good. After many trials with the BMV patterns I finally learned my lesson: I need one size smaller than the measurement tables say and I also need one cup size smaller than indicated. This is the first time I trusted my gut feeling and acutally dared to startout  with the smaller size and the result is perfect: the shirt is fitting well without any alterations.



  • Very good basic pattern for a shirt with many variation possibiltieis.
  • perfect fit


  • confusing description of the gathered sleeve, but it’s not a big issue

Fabric used

very lightweight wool-cotton mix

Pattern alterations or design changes

Instead of 2 drawstrings on the sleeve I only inserted one string in the tunnel while sewing on the bias band.  I gathered the sleeve and fixed it with a few stitches on the hem. Perhaps not my best idea, the sleeve will probably be no fun to iron after the first wash 😀 . 

Would I sew it again? Would I recommend it to others?

Sew again: yes. This will be one of my basic patterns

Recommend: Yes. But not for unexperienced people. The collar with the stand requires some sewing skills and experience.


  • Time for sewing: approx. 4 h
  • Cost:
    Fabric: 5 Euro
    Buttons, bias band, interfacing: approx. 2 Euro (everything from my stash)

Come along, Winter!

November 22, 2010

Originally, I wanted to make another skirt on the weekend, trying out this underlining technique described on Pattern Review. However, we had a very chilly Friday morning here and I wanted to make something cozy.

Pattern: a 40ies swing coat pattern I copied from a good friend. Unfortunately I did not copy the envelope picture, so I don’t know the pattern number and company any more, but it’s 40ies, that much I remember.

The fabric is a sort of boiled wool jersey which has been lying around a while in my stash and a scrap piece of plaid wool. I always wanted to make a skirt from the plaid, but it was only 1 meter and with the size of the plaids I never would have gotten matching pieces out of it anyway.

I couldn’t find any fitting buttons in my collection, so I covered large shank buttons with the wool.

And since I was so hooked on the underlining technique, I tried to do it with the jacket – it’s always a good idea to learn a new technique on a difficult piece 😉 .

It went surprisingly well. It’s certainly easier on pants and skirts where you only have lengthwise seams, for the jacket I had to close the shoulder seams and the collar seam by hand, but it really paid off. The result is a very lightweight, non-bulky but warm and snuggly winter coat.

Time for sewing: approx. 8 hours.

Becoming a skirt person

November 14, 2010

Well, I don’t know what’s happening to me, but after 25 years of wearing almost exclusively pants I’m experiencing a “mutation” to a skirt girl. I’m probably just fed up with wearing black pants to business day in and day out, or maybe I am getting the hang of the vintage style finally.

Whatever the reason, I changed my weekend sewing plans: I put the shirtdress on hold for a while in favor of a second skirt and I started a winter jacket, because I really NEED one and because it frees up a lot of space in the stash closet to make something of heavy wool.

Here is the black skirt from a 50ies pattern that was planned. You cannot see much details on the picture, but there aren’t many anyway just a few belt loops at the waist. Very basic and very versatile.

On Friday a gorgeous green plaid fabric from a German mailorder company arrived and I really wanted to make something from it right away. I decided to make a very flared skirt. It’s still way too long and I have to make the hem but I let it hang a few days and my neighbour the tailor will help me to get a straight hemline. I am not sure about the look of the very flared style on me, I’ll give it a trial run in the office. From a scrap piece I made a little bowtie which really makes it look like something Peggy from MadMen would wear, doesn`t it? Very Fifties, somehow.

I also finished White Shirt No. 2, as planned. It is fitting me very well and is featuring here in the skirt pictures already. I will post some detailed images and a pattern review later this week.

Another companion for the white shirts

November 9, 2010

Model No. 105 from burda style 10/2010

Pattern Description

Pleated skirt with front button closure

Pattern Sizing

European sizes 36 to 44 are in the magazine

I graded size 44 up by 2 sizes

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope after sewing it?

Yes, although my pleaats are hanging straighter than Burda’s 😀 . I actually thread-traced the foldlines, something I rarely do, but I wanted to play it safe and get really crisp straight pleats .

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes. Burda sometimes has a very complicated and awkward way of describing things – at least in the German issue. But the skirt was not difficult to make and the instructions were easy to understand this time. 

How is the fit of the finished garment?

The skirt was too wide, even though I would have needed size 48 according to Burdas sizing tables. Again, again, again and again the same thing, each and every garment I make is too large at the first fitting session. Maybe I am overestimating my fatness 😉 . Anyhow, fitting was easy: I took in the side seams a little bit and let the front parts overlap a little bit more – done. Burda patterns come without seam allowance, and I just made a note not to add additional seam allowance when cutting the skirt next time, that should be about precisely what I had to take in this time.



  • The finish without a waistband adds interesting detail
  • The high waist is slimming
  • Versatile pattern: Made from fine wool, like I did here,  it is a perfect business skirt, but I can also imagine a more casual version, perhaps made from denim or corduroy
  • Suitable for a modern look as well as for vintage styles.
  • I just love the look of this skirt, it is so neat and chic. Feminine but not frisky.


  • absolutely nothing

Fabric used

A medium weight blue-grey wool.

Pattern alterations or design changes

I added more beltloops. The pattern called for 4, but I made eight, one over each pleat. I just looks neater to me.

At the waistline, I made 3 buttonholes instead of one and sewed on a smaller version of the buttons which close the skirt down the center front. I was worried, that the skirt might gape over the belly when sitting down, and I also like the look.

Would I sew it again? Would I recommend it to others?

Sew again: Yes, yes, yes! I am very happy with this skirt, I want more!

Recommend: Yes, absolutely. It is a good pattern for beginners with some experience, it is easy to make and easy to fit.


  • Time for sewing: approx. 4 hours
  • Cost:
    fabric: 5 Euro (Dutch fabric market)
    buttons: a few cents, the came from a large e-bay lot
    bias binding for the seam and the waist facing, scraps of interfacing for the waisband, yarn and misc. : approx 3 Euro. I mostly buy this stuff in bulk at ebay, it’s a lot cheaper than buying notions for each project indi vidually.