Tag Archives: Burdastyle

A dress for the opera


In the middle of our Spring Break in which all of us were in various stages of hacking colds, my husband and I were able to get away for a night to go to LA and see Lucia di Lamermoor at the opera.  Despite having to cough periodically and generally feeling badly, it was a special treat to be away from the kids and have some time to just enjoy each other’s company.  There was a pre-opera lecture that conductor James Conlon gave which happily launched me to Music History Nerdyland.  We did discover that Bel Canto is not for my husband–the music is not interesting at all to him, so he endures opera only if there is sufficient plot to make it okay.  Wagner–yes…Donizetti, not so much.

I was able to go to Michael Levine and found some really nice nylon tricot and mesh fabric for lining knits.  I got a few random notions and some jewelry at the FIDM Scholarship Store.  The next day I had a wonderful time at Mood and found some really pretty fabrics that I’m really excited about.  For now they are in the stash and I will figure out what to do with them later.

Even though I felt awful during the night of the opera, it was nice to have something nice to wear in the way of Burdastyle 9-2010-122.

Modell Photo

I’ve went back and forth on this dress.  I loved the seams, but I couldn’t get over the flaps, and I wasn’t sure that I’d be okay with where the seams in the bust area landed.  To make sure, I made a muslin so I could adjust things.

I ended up having to shorten the waist section and lengthen the section over the bust.  This way, the waist seam landed at my waist, not below it and the over bust section landed at a more flattering spot on me.

The whole dress was far too long–about 3″ had to go to get it to my knees.

I had bought this blush ponte in Chicago, thinking that I would make pants.  The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that ponte pants aren’t my style (unless I’m pregnant in which case, bring on the stretchy pants).  I’m glad I remembered this dress.  Armed with the knowledge of other reviewers having successfully ditched the sleeve flappy things, I forged ahead.

I underlined the front 2 sections and the back yoke with powernet in lieu of the facings.  All I can say is, no wonder powernet gets used for bras.  It is lovely lovely stuff.  Stable, and strong, it adds structure without any bulk.  This was a much nicer way to finish the neckline and armscye than facings.


I had enough leftover fabric to make a pair of long gloves which I did via My Starbrink’s pattern on Burdastyle.  Turns out that gloves are remarkably simple to make if a little fiddly as you’re sewing on the gussets.

It was pretty gratifying to make a more formal sort of dress in a couple of hours.  Some day I’ll learn to tango more often with woven fabrics, but knits are how I live now, and I’m okay with that.


My full review is here.

Gold Sparkle Rose cardigan


Sometimes I get into the thick of a pattern and realize it’s just not going to work for me.  Such was the case with Ottobre 5-2012-4 that I hinted at on this post.  I love the idea of this pattern–a big cardigan to toss over a dress with a belt.  But as I started tracing it,

  1. Ottobre was unusually unclear in how the thing was supposed to come together.  There were some side seams that you were supposed to sew but from the pieces you were supposed to be tracing, it was not obvious that there even were side seams.  Strange… but really
  2. I realized that this Ottobre pattern was going to be a drop shoulder affair.  Being small of frame, having shoulder seams that drop off my actual shoulder is an enormous pet peeve I have about RTW.  It just looks like I’m wearing the wrong size.

So, as I’ve done before, I took what I liked about the Otto pattern and made it work for me.  I went back to this cardigan and shortened it so that it would hit me about mid-thigh.  What I loved about this pattern is how the shawl collar ends in these pretty darts for added shaping.  It’s subtle, but it makes for some pretty feminine lines that are so often gone in cardigans.

I remembered that I needed to do a narrow shoulder from my 1st version.  It helped, but the neck line is still cut @34, and I’m really a 32.  I can mitigate the tiny bit of extra width by folding down the collar.  As it’s generally a non-shaped garment, I’m okay with it not being perfect here, and it’s still much better than a dropped shoulder cardigan.

Even with the shortening, I was tight on fabric for the sleeves, so I had to piece them (and what I had was definitely not on grain).


It ended up being a decorative element as I added some contrasting stitching with one of the never-used decorative stitches on my machine.  It’s #29–what is this called?

Whatever it is, I used it for the hems too as I liked how it looked with the sweater knit.  It was a good choice for this particular sweater knit as well because it’s one of those rare knits that does fray.  This stitch helped keep the loops from fraying by delicately kind of weaving them back together.

My only wish is that this were a slightly warmer cardigan, but it’s a minor complaint.  If I find sweater knits in my colors, I’ve learned to get them because I won’t find them in RTW at all.  Sometimes this means that they’re not the warmest, but it’s a great layering piece.


I updated my review here.

Orchid Embroidered Inseam jeans


It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and not a lot of output around here towards any end. I did finally get around to finishing my orchid jeans.  It was fun to experiment with some hand embroidery.


My design is more or less triangular running from the knee of the inseam down around to the front and down around towards the back.  I was going for an abstract aster design.  As I started drawing out a design, it quickly became obvious that a random pattern just looked a little off, so using my sewing room window as a light box, I repeated my pattern.  It’s not a perfect repeat, but the spacing and the designs are close to that. I was going to use white thread, but as I looked at the embroidery thread in the store, the contrast just seemed too much, so I went for tone-on-tone. The pattern is Burdastyle 7-2010-104.  The pattern is the same as model 103, but the grain for the waistband is different between the two patterns.  I couldn’t figure out why you would want a straight vs. cross grain cut waistband.  I understand that one stretches more than the other, but the patterns are identical and they call for the same type of fabric.  What were you thinking Burda?  I was reminded of a thread a while back on Jalie 2908 and the bias cut waistband on that pattern.  My friend Linda proposed that perhaps you could cut one straight grain and one cross grain waistband just like you would in a bra.  I tell you what, with the grain going in opposite directions, that waistband is going NOWHERE.  This is by far the most stable waistband I’ve ever made–stable without adding the interfacing which I find abhorrent in waistbands.  And, the contoured pieces add even more shaping.  Win! Also, I really like the 2 part back.


The back seam doesn’t hit me where I need the extra shaping (or lack of perhaps), but the overall fit is better than any other pants I’ve attempted thus far.  I should note that the wrinkles are from the fabric itself–a stretch cotton twill.  I swear, you breathe on it and it wrinkles.  Fresh out of the laundry, these fit amazingly, but walking about all day does have a toll on these things…


My only beef with the fit is that these are more high-waisted than I’m comfortable with.  I thought about lowering the rise, and I’m kicking myself for not bothering to mess around with the pockets.  I HATE extra fabric at my navel.  These are great walking around pants, but that extra fabric makes it uncomfortable for me to sit down in despite the fit being really good. It’s definitely fun having a pair of skinny jeans around to keep my legs warm.  I can stuff my bootcut jeans into my boots, but they do me no good inside the house on the many recent subzero days we’ve had here recently.  I look forward to spring and being able to wear these with flats.  Oh that I could find more pretty colored denim like this.

My full review is here.

Bright and sporty

diagonal fold here is not a fit problem, it’s how I’m standing.

For the last couple of years, I’ve been on a mad hunt for warm winter knits.  It gets cold in our house and having sweaters for layering is always a good idea in CO.  After my last couple of shopping ventures, I finally have a good stash of 5 different sweater and sweatshirt knits that should fill some serious gaps in my cold weather wardrobe.

First up is this sweatshirt from sweatshirt fleece I picked up at Vogue Fabrics (Evanston store).  I’d bought Burda 7434 a couple of years ago but never really came across the right fabric.  I like the sporty ribbon casing.  The pattern has all of these pleats–2 in the front armscye, 2 in each sleeve, and 2 on the front and back that chevron at the side seams (they also chevron on the sleeve, though it’s less obvious).  There’s also a sleeve pleat + topstitching detail.

I kind of see why this pattern hasn’t been reviewed before…finding the right fabric is a bit problematic.  The pleats require some drape so they flow nicely, but the sleeve topstitching seems to suggest a relatively stable fabric.  It’s also a fairly figure conscious top which seems to negate the pleat/drape aspect a little.

The good:  my fabric is delightfully cozy in this pattern.  It’s not too often that you come across a sweatshirt that is figure conscious, but this one is, and it brings the warmth of the fleecy side right next to me which really helps a cold girl out.  Also, the pleats chevroning at the side seams is a cool detail.  The directions in the pattern for the neck casing/tie are excellent.  Most Burda envelope instructions leave me scratching my head, but this pattern’s directions really work well.

The not so good: Not a fan of the pleat detail in the armscye–it really just looks like a gross fitting error.  Bust pleats don’t work if you’re over an A cup.  They just don’t.

The leggings!

I went looking for ITY at Denver Colorado Fabrics a few weeks ago, and for the first time, I came up with nothing (strange given how much ITY they typically have).  So I bought a couple of yards of something labeled “cotton/poly/spandex 4 way stretch knit” in “peach” from Ebay.  Buying fabric from Ebay is a bit of a shot in the dark.  This is slinky, not cotton anything, and it’s not “peach,” it’s nuclear cantaloupe.  BUT, it is comfortable, and it made a shockingly fast version of Burdastyle 1-2011-130.

This will be my TNT leggings pattern.  As you can see in the line drawing, it’s got good shaping below the knee, and the optional skirt allows for a lot of possibilities to mix and match and also just simplifies wardrobe options.  As much as I believe that leggings are NOT pants, the skirt makes these perhaps a little bit more respectable.  Nuclear cantaloupe is good for kicking around the house, but I will be looking for better colors NOT on Ebay in the future.

My review of the sweatshirt is here, and my review of the leggings is here.

A spring skirt for fall + ivory leggings


A while ago Lynne of Wonderfully Made made this amazing green and blue striped skirt inspired by Michael Kors’ Spring 2013 collection.  I loved how she changed the direction of the stripe in the godets and how she made a knit fabric look so dressy.  I filed away the memory of this skirt resolving to knock off hers if I ever came across the right knit.

As it happened, when I visited Needle Nook Fabrics in Wichita in August, I walked away with 2.5 yards of this lovely white and peachish cotton knit (I believe there’s a little poly in this if I remember correctly, but I could be wrong).

Lynne modified a Simplicity pattern for her skirt, but per my now usual process, I won’t buy another pattern until I’ve first gone through all my Burda magazines to see if there’s something there first.  Burda came through for me in Burdastyle 1-2012-104.  I added the black so the style lines show up better:


The pattern is just a simple underlined pencil skirt.  The seams were where I wanted them to be, and the simple addition of godets would get what I was looking for.  Thankfully I muslined this because I missed the fact that this is a below the knee AND high waisted skirt.  I shortened it by 3″ in the body and then because I was making an elastic waist, I used the excess length in the high waist to simply fold over the top of my elastic.  No more high waist!  I also added a little extra width in the side seams so that I would have enough play to gather into the elastic.

My godets are 6″ wide and 10″ tall.  Lynne’s extended all the way to the top of her skirt.  I missed that bit of genius, so my skirt required a lot of stripe matching.  Thankfully, this particular knit had no vertical stretch, so stripe matching was actually quite easy.


At first, I made a full lining out of a stretch mesh, but it puckered under the serger, and the puckers could be seen under the skirt, and the mesh was a nude beige color which dulled the appearance of the white of the stripe considerably.

I had a thin white knit that I could have used for a second lining but 1)I didn’t want to go through the business of making a second lining and 2)I thought that another knit would result in a too-heavy skirt.  It occurred to me that I had an old slip that I could try.  This worked out so well it will be my go to solution for simple skirt linings from now on.

The slip is not only extremely light weight, it’s also completely opaque, allowing the brightness of this knit to shine through without interference.  To boot, the slip is finished at the hem with some cute edging lace.  To sew it into the waistband, I cut off the slip’s elastic, matched the CF and CB to the skirt’s and gathered the slip between those points.  I hand-basted the slip and the skirt together and then proceeded with applying my elastic.  Simple and unfussy.


This time of year, it’s good to have leggings around.  I had this ivory knit in my stash and decided to have a go at Burdastyle 1-2011-130.  There’s not much to say about these leggings except I can see myself making about a million of them.  There’s 3 seams here.  And an elastic waist, and a hem and you’re done.  Ready to go under anything to make it more season-appropriate or to add an extra layer of warmth.

I will review the leggings after I’ve photographed the leggings/skirt combo also in the same issue that I’m wearing as I type, but for now, my full review of the skirt is here.


Vacation dress


In the midst of packing for our trip, I decided that a quick knit dress to toss in my suitcase was really a necessity.  Because it was a last minute operation, I pulled this knit out of my deep stash.  This fabric is not really in my colors, but it feels lovely and it’s appropriately fun for a travel dress, so I was not sad to use it up.

I had this particular poly/rayon/lycra jersey available to me and I took it as an opportunity to try out Burdastyle 2-2013-114.

I like the front drape and it just looks fun and summery in the best possible of ways.

The dress comes together quite quickly, but the drape proves a little tricky.  You’ll want to use a fabric that has enough flow but not too much bulk.  My fabric was definitely on the edge.  It’s a bit like an ITY, with added rayon for a nice smooth hand, but it also has more spandex than a regular ITY, which adds weight.  I really had to tack down the drape on the inside pretty heavily into the facing.  If it wasn’t fitted, I’m afraid that it’d be rolling outwards.

The CF is significantly longer than the rest of the dress; at first I thought this was a fitting issue, but I realized that it’s because the drape will be folded to the inside.  A dress form is the perfect tool for doing this, but I do not have one.  Instead, I tried on the dress with the drape unstitched, and stood by a mirror folding the drape over the CF of the dress and towards the inside until the hem was level at CF.  Then I pinned it in place as best as I could and made tiny invisible stitches between the drape and onto the facing to tack it into place.

If I was a beachy, cruise-going sort instead of the pale, please pass the 100+ SPF please person that I am, I’d say that this is the perfect dress.  As such, my husband and I had a nice night out in NC together while the kids were with family, and I was glad to have something so carefree and easy to toss on.

My full review is here.

Quick shorts for a long vacation


at my husband’s Grandma’s in NC

We’re back from 2 weeks of road tripping out to NC and back again via Chicago.  We had a great time visiting family, having our own bits of vacation, and lots of solid fabric shopping for me.  

With so much time on the road and in the car, I wanted to make up another pair of shorts to give myself some more wardrobe options since we only were able to do laundry once.

So I turned to my favorite shorts pattern (Burdastyle 3-2011-131) made up in this pretty mystery blend fabric from Denver Fabrics.  I bought it as a very generous flat fold of 2.5 yds–so I’ll have enough for a skirt leftover!  It’s some kind of slub linen look fabric.  Awesome for me where travel is concerned it does not wrinkle at all, and the cross dyed texture really hides dirt (wonderful when wearing anything for an untold number of days in the company of young kids).  Usually I shun synthetics in summer, but this felt like it had a high percentage of natural fibers in it and it was sturdy but mostly pretty. 

I don’t think I’ve made a single pair of these shorts with the same pockets, and these were no exception.  I put in zippered welt pockets in front and denim patch pockets in back.  I love that the zippers keep things secure inside the pockets and that they sit perfectly flat.  It will be hard to not put this kind of pocket on everything.  

At any rate, these shorts are my most favorite thing I’ve made in a good long while.   


at the Field Museum with one tired guy