Category Archives: Burda

Quick and easy they said

So after my last wadder and an unsuccessful experiment (I’ll tell you about this one later), I decided to do something for me that was quick and easy.  Everyone one who commented on my tweed travesty suggested that I cleanse my palate with a quick and easy project.  I thought, “Elizabeth, why don’t you make that Burda turtleneck everyone has been raving about on the interwebs!” 


Burda 9-2010-121

I traced it out on Sunday night and would have sewn it too, but for two obstacles. 

  1. It took me forever to trace it out because I couldn’t see the pattern lines on the new Burda pattern sheet.  I even put on my big girl panties and my reading glasses and still could barely make out my three pattern pieces, much less their markings/notches.  Sheesh!  You guys weren’t lying.  I don’t know if I want to put myself through that again.  What if I want to make a more complicated project with lots of markings?  I would for sure miss most of them.  It’s darn near impossible to see all of them.  I have been considering giving up my subscription since I don’t make up a lot of Burda patterns (oh, let’s face it, I’m so slow, I don’t make up a lot of patterns.  Period.), but now I”m definitely not re-upping.  Burda has entered crazy town.  But I digress…
  2. The new show Walking Dead was on and I was too distracted by zombies to sew that night.  Word.

However, last night was a new night and I did several things that ensured this top would end up a wadder. 

  1. I just picked a random vanity size, sz 38.  Because that’s what Karen made, so that’s what I made.  Must. remind. myself. that. I. am. a. Burda. sz. 40. Repeat.
  2. I did not wear my reading glasses and therefore did not realize I was sewing the shirt with the wrong side facing out.
  3. I forgot to stabilize the shoulders.
  4. I tapered the sleeves at the wrist like Eugenia, forgetting that my wrists aren’t fairy-like.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.
  5. I forgot that I don’t like turtlenecks.  To be fair to myself, I didn’t actually forget as much as ignore.  Karen had mentioned that this top wasn’t a true turtleneck since the neck is cut on and not separate.  I thought that meant I would like it better than a turtleneck.  But combine a quasi-turtleneck neck with too tight of a fit and it’s the perfect storm for Elizabeth to hate it.  I hate having my neck covered and don’t like any fabric to rest on my clavicles ever.  Which is why all my t-shirts have misshapen necklines now, because I tug and pull at them to get them off my neckline and clavicles.

The good news though, is now my sister has a brand new brown bamboo knit turtleneck!  I’m sure she’ll like it because she has none of the neck issues I have and she’s a lot thinner than I am.  And hopefully she won’t read this post and find out the fabric’s inside out.  😉  

I’m not going to bother with a review since my viewpoint is all personal about the pattern rather than objective.  In general, it’s a good pattern.  It’s drafted as well as it can be with a cut on collar (i.e., it’s not going to look fantastic because that causes wrinkling at the neck no matter how perfect the fit for you).  Just know that the sleeves are incredibly long while also being extremely slim fitting.  If I were to make this again, I would widen the sleeves in the bicep area and shorten the sleeves by 2 inches.  Oh what the heck, I guess I will review it on PatternReview anyway later tonight.

What’s next on the plate?  Well, I am expecting a shipment from today with, hopefully, better and softer fabric for my surprise.  Sorry to keep you in the dark still; I am not ready to talk about it yet.  And by the time I can, it will probably be a major let down for you all (it not being a book deal and all).  😉 

We’ll see….   Here’s to wadder-free sewing for you all!

Pattern Review: Burda 5-2010-105

I have a fire lit under me of late.  All I want to do is sew.  Did I mention that I’m obsessed?  Tonight I’m taking a little break to write the review for the Burda 5-2010-105 dress.  Here’s what I just posted to…

Pattern Description:  From Burda: “Ute obviously looks happy in her all-round jersey dress! It is so easy-care and uncomplicated that she can easily play with Willi while wearing it.  The cleverly cascading bodice is gathered by elastic at the waist and the cool shade of blue make it suitable for evening as well.”  From Elizabeth: “Drapey jersey dress with elasticized waist and fitted skirt.”

Pattern Sizing:  Burda sizes 36-44.  I made the size 38 with some modifications (see below).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  For the most part it did.  I think my bodice could have been longer and my neckline was definitely different.  Also, I shortened the skirt, and obviously my fabric choice was different as well.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, surprisingly for Burda.  But this was just a one dot difficulty, so I guess it would be hard to be inscrutable at this level. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I loved the simplicity of the pattern and the graceful folds in the bodice.   I did not like that the measurements for the skirt were for someone who has no hips or thighs whatsoever.   More on that later.

Fabric Used:  A gorgeous rayon-lycra knit in a blue ombre from Metro Textiles in NYC.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I changed the neckline a little as I don’t like a neckline that’s too high.  I feel as if I am being strangled if anything lies on my clavicles.  I just traced a curved line lower than the original neckline about an inch and half lower.   I could have made it a little bit lower, but like it at this level now too. 

I made the skirt per the measurements given in the instructions for sz 38 (20 inches, which includes SA’s) and it was so tight you could see the outlines of my internal organs.  The vision I created in this tight skirt brought new meaning to the term camel toe.  Who knew camel toes were even possible in skirts?!?!  (Sadly no pictures survived from this stage of construction – must have been a freak accident.)  So, I added 1.5 inches to each panel, front and back and all is now right with the world and also g rated.  Oh and I shortened the skirt to above the knee as I think it looks more current.

I did not finish the neckline with a facing as directed.  Just lazy I guess.  I just turned over the edges and stitched it down with a narrow zigzag stitch.  Am I happy with it?  Not really.  The unfinished SA’s keep flipping out.    Am I going to redo it?  No.  My perfectionism only goes so far.  Ok, now that I’ve said that, my OCD might kick in and I might unpick those stitches and finish it differently somehow.  But it’s a 50/50 chance at this point.

As I do not have access to Burda’s much beloved Vilene Bias Tape, I used a knit interfacing that I cut myself using the sleeve pattern as a guide.  If you do this as well, please make sure that you cut it slimmer than the sleeve hem allowance as I did not.  Why, you ask?  Well, because I didn’t do that, if one looks inside my sleeves, one can see said interfacing.  So, please don’t look inside my sleeves. 

Also, I did not twin needle anything.  My fabric did not like the twin needle I used.  Admittedly, it was not a stretch twin needle, but I could not purchase one on the fly and really wanted to finish my dress.

The most significant change I made was to add a lining to the skirt.  Per Trena’s advice in her review (she added a lining after the fact) so I added mine during construction.  All I did was baste the lining to the fashion fabric right sides together, graded the SA, sewed the skirt/lining to the bodice right sides together, pressed the SA up towards the bodice, and then finally sewing the SA to the bodice as a casing for the elastic.  This made for a very clean interior.  But adding the lining created a heavier skirt, so I highly recommend using a wider elastic than Burda recommends.  I used a 1/2 inch elastic.  It worked perfectly for the weight of the skirt.  Adding a lining to such a close fitting jersey skirt has a smoothing effect for lumps and bumps, not to mention your undergarments, so I would definitely not go without lining this skirt or wearing a slip.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  While I love my dress, I am not sure I will sew it again as it is such a distinctive silhouette.  Also, I am in a sewing for work phase and this dress is a little too MILF-like for a staid high finance office atmosphere.  I had hoped to be able to wear it to the office, but my arbiter of style (aka my sister) said it was too casual for the office (that’s code for, “the ASSets on your balance sheet are showing too much”). 

If I were to make this dress ever again, I would make only one more change to the pattern.  I would make the bodice about 1.5 to 2 inches longer as it appears that the Burda model has more drape over the elasticized waist than I do.  I am still finding my bearings regarding what kinds of alterations I need to make on a regular basis.  Obviously I am long waisted as is evidenced by the last few patterns I’ve made.  I wish I was also long legged, but, alas, that is not the case.

I would definitely recommend this pattern to any level of sewist.  I think the pattern is easy enough for beginners, but that the resulting dress will appeal to advanced sewists as well.  I definitely suggest adding a lining and checking that the measurements work for you and your body. 

And now for some pictures of the dress on me.  I actually think the dress is much more pretty and flattering in person.  The fabric and drapey-ness don’t come across well in these photos.

As a PS, I made lemonade out of the too tight skirt that I constructed originally following the Burda measurements (with a lining I might add indignantly).  I am making it into a skirt for my sister on whom it fits beautifully.  She and I have such different figures, i.e., she’s a lot thinner than I am.  I am so glad that this beautiful ombre fabric will not be wasted.  And I know she will love the skirt.

Conclusion:   Great pattern, easy to sew, very current but classic.  Make this dress!  You won’t be sorry.  Great date night dress.  I hope I get a chance to wear it on a date really soon.   😉


Ok.  I think I need help. 

Hi, my name is Elizabeth and I am a sewing addict.  Seriously.  It’s all I think about ever.  Every minute of the day.  When I’m at work, I would rather be at home sewing.  Work is getting in the way of my sewing.  It’s really starting to bother me.  I’m almost beginning to wonder if I should make a career change.  But what would I do?  I’m not good enough at sewing to be paid for it and I’m really slow.  Hmmm….  Must think about this some more.

Anyway, I took a nap with Jack today and I dreamt about making a jersey skirt with a shirred waist.  I had seen one earlier in the day and loved it.  After the nap, I thought about the Burda dress that’s been on my mind off and on for the last two months.  It’s 105 from May, 2010. 

I’ve had this beautiful ombre knit from Metro Textiles in my stash for a few months that I have had no idea how to use.  It’s been killing me because I just adore this ombre thing that’s been around for awhile.  Wouldn’t this dress look beautiful in an ombre????

Now I just need to decide how to place the ombre.  Should I have it start with the lighter blue at the shoulders going to the darker blue at the waist?  And if I do that how should I do the skirt?  I want the darker blue to make me look slimmer, but wonder if having light blue at the knees would look funny. 

What if I have the change of color go from left to right instead for the bodice only and then have it change from top to bottom on the skirt?  But then I still have to decide about the light blue at the knees issue.

Thoughts anyone?

Knit Top Patterns

In my last post, Drunk Printing, I mentioned that I was searching for a good knit top pattern to make some tops for my work wardrobe.  One sure way to punch up the volume in your work wardrobe is to have a variety of tops to wear with suits.  Confession time: for each suit I own, I really only have one dedicated top to wear with that suit.  So if you’ve seen me wear my brown suit, you’ve seen me wear my ice blue top from Ann Taylor with it pretty much all the time.  It’s time to change things up a bit, don’t you think?

I did some research on today to find out what different people thought about some of the Simplicity/New Look/Jalie knit top patterns.  I started with those pattern companies for the following reasons…

  1. Because Victoria told me to use Simplicity patterns no less that 3,456,217 times and in bold capital letters no less. (And also, they do tend to have really good directions.)
  2. New Look: because, darn! they’re cheap.
  3. Jalie: because Dawn loves them and I keep hearing how great they are with knit patterns.

After completing my research I came up with the following choices and purchased them from PatternReview because they were cheaper there:

New Look 6807

I like the top the model is wearing the best for under suits.  Super cute.  Second runner-up would be view B or E, but to be honest with you I can’t tell what the difference is between the two.  This pattern is my favorite. 

New Look 6901

Next up is this little cowl neck number.  I loves me a cowl neck.  But as Trena pointed out in the comments of the last post, they sometimes don’t work well under suits.  I’ll have to mull that one over for a while. 

New Look 6940

And the final New Look pattern is this cute knot top.  Love it.

Jalie 2806

I looked at all of Jalie’s offerings and really liked this one.  I have never used Jalie before, so I bought only one pattern to try them out.  Dawn likes them and she’s made some really cute clothes with their patterns, so I thought I’d give them a whirl. 

Of course, after I made this purchase, I saw all the suggestions made in the comments to my last post.  Robin suggested Simplicity 4095 but I am just not feeling crossover tops right now.  Still it’s a pretty top and a good suggestion.  Sue suggested Butterick 5354 which I loved and will definitely buy sometime soon.  Trena suggested Butterick 5283 and Burda 7866.  I liked both of them, so they’re going on my sometime soon list too.

And Marie-Christine wanted to be sure to warn me against making the badly printed fabric into curtains.  Apparently she spoke from experience.  Marie-Christine, I consider myself warned and will not do so!   😉

I am very happy with my pattern choices (current and future) and already feel the warm glow of a great wardrobe descending onto my being.  I can’t wait to receive my new patterns and start the work wardrobe manufacturing pronto. 

Happy sewing everyone!

Burda 11-2009-120 Skirt: Up close and personal

It was a race until the end, but yes, I am wearing my skirt today at work.  I was furiously hand sewing the hem last night at 1am, but I am proud to present to you this picture of me in Burda 11-2009-120. 


Here’s my pattern review a la

Pattern Description:  Burda’s text:  Together again — Getting back together must be celebrated, and that requires the right outfit! Our flared, knee-length tweed skirt with double-layered, inverted box pleat in front is chic and just the thing. 

Pattern Sizing:  Burda sizes 38-46; I muslined it at 38 and it was too small.  The 40 was just right and what I ended up making.  I guess I’m a 40 in Burda.  I would like to be a 38, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen anytime soon, unfortunately.  Another reviewer had mentioned that she thought this skirt ran large which is why I tried the 38 first, but that was not my experience. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes!  I am so pleased!  I even used a tweed, just like the model. 

Were the instructions easy to follow?  They’re getting easier for me and not bad for Burda (even though I am severely disabled in the reading directions dept). I would recommend some changes regarding order of construction though (detailed below).  Burda does leave off most finishing details, so, as a beginner, you might not get a great looking and finished looking garment if you used their directions alone. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I LOVE (dare I say I am obsessed now?) with the pleats.  That is my favorite feature of this skirt.  LOVE. THEM.  I also liked that even though there is a lot of detail interest in this pattern, there’s actually very few pattern pieces and it’s really very simple to put together, if time consuming.  

Fabric Used:  A gorgeous brown wool tweed from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I am in love with this fabric.  It takes a press so well and it’s actually pretty stable with little to no fraying.  I was pleasantly surprised on both counts. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 

  • I added belt carriers to the back of the skirt using the top portion of the pocket pattern piece as my model to echo the pockets/carriers on the front of the skirt. 
  • I decided not to topstitch the yoke of the skirt as it would have been troublesome to do with all four belt carriers getting in the way.  It would have looked messy IMHO.
  • I changed the order of construction to sew the pockets on the skirt in the flat as another reviewer had suggested.  It’s so much easier than trying to sew them on over the hip curve once the side seams are sewn.  Also, make sure you follow Burda’s instructions on how to top stitch the pocket exactly in order to retain the functionality of the belt carriers.
  • Another reviewer found the lining pattern piece (the front piece minus the pleats) was too small.  I did not find this to be the case for me.
  • Finishing touches to add that Burda doesn’t mention:
       – grade the pleats to reduce bulk in the stomach area
       – tack pleats to skirt so that they remain in place as you walk
       – use hem tape to hem the tweed for an invisible hem
  • Thread tracing helps greatly with the pocket placement on the front of the skirt.  I highly recommend transferring the pattern markings to the front of the skirt using this method.
  • If you make this in tweed, consider using something other than the fashion fabric for the yoke facing as it creates bulk and is slightly itchy on the skin.  Ask me how I know.  😉
  • Another tweed concern is how to transfer pattern markings to the fabric on a folded pattern piece.  Obviously you’ll be using chalk as carbon paper won’t work on this fabric.  I also used pins to mark key reference points so when I turned the fabric over to mark the other side, I could be more precise with my markings.  Worked like a charm.   🙂
  • It pays to be exacting in your pleat placements.  The pleats are what makes this skirt special, so they need to be perfect.  It’s especially important to be exact on the top part of both pleats because as you wear the skirt, they tend to pull apart.  I thought I was careful, but if I make this again, I will have to pay extra attention to this area.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I definitely recommend this pattern, even to beginners if they have great sewing reference books or access to a teacher.  This skirt is a timeless staple for any kind of wardrobe.  I probably won’t sew it again in tweed, but maybe another one in a suiting fabric would be nice, like a black gabardine. 

Crazy stuff I did during this skirt making journey: 

  • It took me three attempts to insert the invisible zipper.  It wasn’t matching up placement wise on both sides of the seam.  I finally remember that I needed to mark on the zipper on both sides where the yoke/skirt seam was to get a good placement.  3rd try was the charm thankfully!
  • When attaching the lining to the skirt, I pinned  the front lining onto the back skirt.  Doh!  Luckily I figured that out before I actually took it to the sewing machine. 
  • Unfortunately, my luck ran out there as the next thing I proceeded to do was sew up both sides of the lining forgetting to keep one side open for the invisible zipper.  ARGH!  So after I unpicked the side seam and pinned the lining to the skirt I then realized I had unpicked the wrong side of the skirt.  Double ARGH!!!  So, back to unpicking I went.  Finally an hour later, I get the lining inserted and hand sewed the lining to the zipper.  Phew! 

Skills I could improve upon: 

  •  My hand sewing is not very professional looking.  I need to slow down this part of the process as well as just practicing it more so I get better at the different techniques.  although my hand sewn lining to the zipper tape is one part of which I am pretty proud.
  • I need a little more patience when sewing.  I think my finishing could have been a little better had I not self-imposed a deadline.

Conclusion:  Fabulous skirt.  Easy to make, pleats, tweedy loveliness….  What’s not to love?  I love it and highly recommend it to everyone.  I am pretty pleased with my skirt.  I don’t think it looks handmade from afar.  If you were to examine it up close you might see some wobbly stitching, some lining peeking through on the back belt carriers, but the pleats are too die for, if I do say so myself.  

And now for some down and dirty interior pictures… 

zipper interior with marking at yoke seam to match up


Perfect invisible zipper!


hem interior with hand sewn hem tape


pleats secured with sloppy tacks


lining hem


right side seam with a good join of the yoke seam


What’s up next?  I think a pencil skirt and learning how to match plaids or plaid like prints. 

Happy sewing everyone!


After writing about that four-letter word, budgeting, I have been a very good girl.  However, before I had my budgeting epiphany, I did make some on-line purchases.  Spurred by Caroline’s post about a yummy fabric, I went traipsing to’s site and attempted to purchase that fabric and some others (because why would anyone buy just one fabric when making an online purchase — that’s just not very time efficient!).  I say attempted because apparently I wasn’t the only one copying Carolyn taking Carolyn’s suggestion as it was sold out by the time they processed my order.  😦

I did, however, get some other beauties and here they are in living color…

hexagonal windowpane boucle (?)

silk and cotten blend suiting

rayon jersey print

cotton batiste print

I have no idea yet what I am going to make with these fabrics; I only know that I love them.  The first one is a boucle I think and it’s wonderfully thick and wooly (maybe it’s destined to be a Chanel type jacket???).  The silk and cotton blend suiting has the most gorgeous hand and drape.  I have to find the perfect skirt suit pattern to do it justice.  The rayon jersey will most likely be a summer dress.  And the cotton batiste print is sheer.  Not sure what I’ll make out of that, maybe a blouse?  I’ll have to see what the hand and drape is like after I wash it.

I’m almost finished with my Burda skirt.  I hope to plan on wearing it tomorrow.  I only have the lining insertion and hemming to do.  CAN’T WAIT!!!!  I am really proud of my work on this skirt.  I took my time, made sure to not work on it when tired or after two glasses of wine, and sewed cautiously. And it’s really paid off; I think the skirt looks fabulous.  Sure, there are few things that aren’t perfect, but I’m guessing that no one’s going to notice as it’s worn. 

Here’s a sneak peak…

Perfect invisible zipper!

Until tomorrow, happy sewing everyone!

New Obsession and Impromptu Meetup!

Carolyn’s post  of a few weeks ago catapulted me into a new realm of sewing I had heretofore managed to resist, vintage patterns.  After perusing her friend’s vintage pattern site, The Blue Gardenia, and falling in love with a few patterns there, I succumbed.  So now my new obsession is vintage patterns.  Good thing I’m on a budget now, otherwise I would be  OUT.  OF.  CONTROL!!! 

Take a look at my lovely purchases.  My favorite is the last one… 

McCalls 5021


Vogue 1990


Butterick 4515


And speaking of Carolyn, we met up last weekend in the Garment District.  I brought Jack with me and he was on his best behavior, if a little shy.  Carolyn was on a trim mission for her SWAP; I was there for moral support (remember that four-letter word “budget”?).  I did buy $12 worth of buttons (no pictures of them though), but mostly because Jack was entranced with them.  He loves anything small and shiny.  Carolyn bought him a button too!  I guess I’m not the only one who can’t resist his smile.  🙂 

Then Carolyn introduced me to Mood.  I had never gone before as I had heard that their service was bad and the fabric wasn’t marked adequately.  Well, apparently things at Mood have changed dramatically.  Each fabric section was marked clearly.  There were at least two staff people on hand in each section and all were very helpful.  The only customer service problem I saw was the need for more people at the registers — a small concern considering  everything else.  Oh and let’s not forget the wonderful selection and quality of fabrics to be had there.  I saw a gray suiting with a lavender pinstripe that I was dying to own.  And a wool Challis with a gorgeous abstract purple and gray print that sang to me as I passed by.  I showed it to Carolyn and she took a cut home with her.  *sigh of longing*  I can’t wait to see the dress she’ll make with that piece.  It will be stunning!  So, I am sold on Mood and will visit again when I am not on a strict budget (which should be about 2025).  

I am still working on my Burda skirt.  I am taking it slow; I want to make a very professional looking garment.  Last night I sewed the darts and sewed up the pleats.  The tweed, surprisingly, takes to pressing well and I have really crisp looking pleats now.  I love it!  I thought I would hate working with this fabric, but I am really pleased with the hand, and stability of it, and how nicely it takes to pleating.  Who knew?!  Tonight, I’m on to making and attaching the pockets (they’re lined) and attaching the waistband.  Yippee! 

Happy sewing everyone…