Burda 109-10-2015

Burda’s having a good streak lately and the October 2015 issue was a case in point. It normally takes me months to get around to sewing up patterns that catch my eye, but Burda 109-10-2015 was traced, cut and completed within a few weeks of the issue arriving. This is a loose-fitting top pattern designed for heavy-weight knitted fabrics. It has a big collar and a shaped hem. Unusually for a knit pattern the body is cut on the bias, so it’s great for showing off fabrics with a stripe. My fabric is striped silver and black but the pitch is so fine it doesn’t show up in the photos.

Burda 109-10-2015 line art

This is a very quick pattern to sew. As it’s for knits you wouldn’t even need to bother finishing the seams if you didn’t want to, although I did for this one because the overlocker happened to be threaded in black. The only difficult part is inserting the zip. Not only are you inserting an invisible zip on a heavy and stretchy fabric, it’s positioned in a curved seam. Don’t skip the interfacing around the zip. Burda recommends Vilene bias tape; I went for strips of Vilene F220 because that was what was to hand but it was probably a little on the heavy side. You could omit the zip entirely of course, but with it in it’s possible to wear the collar in different ways. Here it is zipped up and folded over.

Burda 109-10-2015 front view

On whole I prefer the collar unzipped. The back hangs a bit strangely when the collar is zipped up and folded over, and my fabric’s a bit too floppy to look good with the collar zipped and unfolded. It’s not just the way I’m standing in the picture either; all of the pictures we took of the back had strange wrinkles with the collar folded over.

Burda 109-10-2015 back view

Unzipping it allows the back to hang much more naturally.

Burda 109-10-2015 back view

I found the sleeves on this one came out strangely short. They’re definitely bracelet length on me, whereas on Burda’s model photos they come well over the hands. On my version they align nicely with the shaped hem which Burda’s don’t either. I am pretty sure I forgot to add any extra length or hem allowances when I traced the sleeve piece and so the shortness is my fault not the pattern’s. Next time I’d definitely make the sleeves longer.

Burda 109-10-2015 left side

This top is proving a firm favourite. I think it’s a pattern that will only work with exactly the right fabric, so I doubt I’ll be making it again soon, but I’m enjoyig the one I’ve got.


  • 1.8(ish) metres of mystery silver and black knit fabric
  • Size 90 universal needle
  • 9″ invisible zip. 8″ would have been better.
  • Vilene F220 interfacing around the zip. No other interfacing used.
  • Added 2″ to body, forgot to add any length or hem allowance to sleeves

Vogue 1247 front view

This pattern is Vogue 1247; a Rachel Comey design that’s been on my mental to-sew list for a while. I’ve seen so many great versions of this made up that I expected Vogue would be selling the pattern forever, so it was a big surprise to see it in the “out of print” section on Sew Direct recently. Here’s the line art.

Vogue 1247 line art

I hastily bought a copy before it became completely unavailable, only to discover that it calls for finishing all the seams in the skirt with bias binding. At first I thought I’d ignore such fiddly nonsense and overlock the seam allowances instead, but then I noticed the right angle internal corners between the pockets! Attempting to feed those through the overlocker sounded like a recipe for disaster, so I reluctantly dug out a roll of black cotton bias binding and set to binding seams. I couldn’t even use my faithful binding foot as it doesn’t work well on sharp corners. I did manage to save myself one bit of extra work by cutting the waistband edge on the selvedge of the fabric so at least I didn’t have to bind that edge. And it does look really nice inside if you don’t look too closely at the corners.

Vogue 1247 insides

This skirt is seriously short. I added five inches to the length and made a one inch hem instead of the two inch one in the pattern. I’m tall, admittedly, but I wouldn’t want it any shorter than it is. I also think this one is a bit more true to size than some Vogue patterns; there’s not a lot of ease built in. If like me you’re in the habit of always going down a size in Vogue without really thinking about it then make an exception for this one. Luckily I checked the finished garment measurements before cutting; I ended up making my true size for once.

Vogue 1247 back view

I really like this pattern. Unusually for me I’d worn the finished object quite a few times before taking photos. The pockets are huge and it’s very comfortable to wear despite having a high waist. I can cycle in it (with thick tights or leggings underneath) too. And for once I’m pretty sure I will make it again because I’ve already cut another one out.

Notes and changes:

  • About a metre of heavy weight green/brown cotton twill; the same fabric I used for my Burda 115-12-2009 trousers
  • Size 90 denim needle
  • Black cotton bias binding for seams
  • 8″ invisible zip
  • Skirt hook
  • Vilene F220 interfacing for waistband
  • Added 5″ to length, made 1″ hem
  • Added hanging loops in black poly satin ribbon
  • Top-stitched hem

Vogue 1247 sitting

Vogue 9112 3/4 view

Do you wash fabric as soon as you’ve bought it, or only when you’re about to use it? I’m firmly in the latter camp, which meant that my sewing plans were abruptly derailed when my washing machine broke down recently. However I did have the remains of a length of silver polycotton twill which I’d already washed and made three garments from. You’ve previously seen as trousers, a jacket, and a skirt. It’s from Truro Fabrics and at the time of writing is still available.

I’d bought Vogue 9112 in a recent pattern sale, intending to make it out of black cotton poplin at some point in the future. It’s a very asymmetric, trapeze-line design that looks as if it needs a crisp fabric. Here’s one of the envelope pictures.

Vogue 9112 envelope photo

Cutting this out was a big job. The design means that everything has to be cut single layer, and I was slightly short of fabric as I’d lengthened the pattern and I wanted to cut two of the collar and make it double layered. It took me a few goes to fit all the pieces in without messing up the grain. My fabric had a small discoloured patch which was impossible to cut around, but I managed to get it on the back and fairly close to a seamline. I can’t see it in any of the photos.

This pattern is very short out of the envelope and has no adjustment lines. It’s probably easiest to add length at the hem but I needed to add a lot and didn’t want to mess with the proportions so I slashed and spread in two places: just above the bust point and between the bust and waist. All the curved and slanted seams made that more difficult than it normally is and I messed up repositioning few of the notches. That made the dress a little harder to sew but I’m glad I added the length as the hem is mid-thigh at the shortest points even with the extra. (Actual measurements for anyone who’s making this: I added two inches and I’m 5’10”.)

Vogue 9112 back view

One thing I love about this dress is that it has roomy pockets. You can just about see them in the picture below. This is also a good shot of the gathered panels. As usual my gathers are a mess if you look at them closely – I just can’t get fabric to gather evenly no matter what I do. I don’t think it matters here though.

Vogue 9112 left side

I made the collar double-layer (cut two copies, make the collar pleats in both, sew them right sides together around the top edge and ends, turn out) and added sew-in interfacing to one collar piece to make absolutely sure it would stand up. Otherwise I sewed the dress up exactly as the pattern suggested: bias binding finish on the armholes and at the collar-neckline junction; top-stitching around the neckline; and narrow hem. The lack of closures mean it’s quite a quick sew despite all the curved seams.

Vogue 9112 right side

This is a very comfortable dress to wear – unsurprising given how easy-fitting it is. It’s an interesting style and I think the pockets will mean it gets a lot of use. I’m definitely tempted to go back and make it again in the black cotton poplin I’d originally intended. Or maybe black taffeta? I think it would be good in any fabric with a little sheen to show off the seamlines and gathers.


Burda 116-12-2009 front

I don’t often make a pattern twice, despite my best intentions; and fabric that lasts more than a few months in my stash rarely gets made up. So this make is doubly unusual in that it’s a repeat of a pattern I made earlier in the year and fabric from deep, deep stash. So deep that I actually gave it away to my mother at one point, but she gave it back! It’s a very heavy cotton twill in a greeny brown colour. It’s definitely the sort of fabric that sews better with a denim needle.

The funny thing about this fabric is that the colour is impossible to match. I couldn’t find a remotely matching thread in the entire Gutermann range. I ended up sewing it with dark brown thread, overlocking in beige, and top stitching in a lighter brown. If you can’t buy anything that matches you might as well use what you’ve already got. The zip is green and the button is grey. But they look all right together.

The pattern is a mixture of Burda 115-12-2009 and 116-12-2009. The line art below is 116. The two patterns have the same basic pattern pieces but 116 has a lot more detail, including top-stitching, belt loops, thigh pockets, and flaps on the inseam pockets. I skipped the thigh pockets and the flaps, not wanting all the extra bulk.

Burda 116-12-2009 tech drawing

I kept all the top-stitching. It’s not too clear in the photos but there are three rows down the back leg seam. I failed completely to get the spacing even, but both legs are wonky in the same way so it looks intentional.

Burda 116-12-2009 back

After my previous attempt at these, which came out a bit tight, I added quite a bit to the pattern at the side seams. But I failed to take into account that the previous fabric had stretch and this one very definitely doesn’t, so they are still very slightly smaller than I intended. The pockets are gaping a bit even after letting the side seams out. They’re also a bit tight over the front of the thigh. I’m very glad I didn’t add the thigh pockets.

Burda 116-12-2009 side

I think I’m done with this pattern now. The fit is good enough to be wearable, but there are a whole bunch of niggles that I can’t be bothered to go back and make a third version to sort out. It was an enjoyable sew and I’ve got two perfectly wearable pairs of trousers out of it but now it’s definitely time for something new. You’ll be seeing the fabric again in the near future though.

Burda 116-12-2009 front

Burda 107a-04-2014 front

This jumpsuit was inspired, although in the loosest possible sense, by a visit to the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A earlier this year. One of the models on display was a beautiful black evening jumpsuit with an asymmetric draped lapel detail. While I couldn’t come anywhere near reproducing the inspiration, seeing it did remind me that I’d put a slightly formal jumpsuit pattern on my to-sew list a while ago and that I had some black crepe in the stash.

burda 107-04-2014 tech drawing

So this is Burda 2014-04-111 made up in black poly crepe. In recent years Burda has taken to labelling certain pattern in the magazine as ‘masterpieces’ and this is one of them. It’s not clear whether ‘masterpiece’ is meant to mean it’s difficult to sew or takes a lot of time or both. This one certainly took forever to make, but I couldn’t describe it as my best ever sewing. On the other hand it’s my first attempt at a notched collar and it came out reasonably symmetrical, so I’m delighted with that. And I made it using only Burda’s instructions. They seem to make more sense these days, or perhaps I’ve finally tuned my brain in to the less than idiomatic translation from German. It always amuses me that they say things like ‘stitch again close to seam’ instead of simply ‘understitch’.

It’s come out a bit baggier than I expected. It’s meant to be a loose-fitting style but the version on Burda’s model looks a bit sleeker than mine. Once again I think I’ve made the legs too long which contributes to the effect. I think I took most of the length I added in the legs off again before hemming, so I can safely say this one runs long. But I hate trousers that are too short; one of the reasons I started sewing my own clothes was in order to have things where the legs and sleeves are long enough. At least there’s no danger of revealing my woolly socks. Here’s me with Mrs Burda below for comparison.

Burda 107A-04-2014 front full length

Burda 107A-04-2014 model photo

Her jumpsuit is a lot better pressed than mine. I had been wearing mine all day when the photos were were taken and I don’t think this crepe holds a crease all that well. I doubt I’ll bother pressing the creases back into the back legs after I wash it. They certainly don’t seem to have survived for the photos.

The pattern comes with two views, one of which doesn’t have the creases pressed in, so I may claim my version is View B whereas Mrs Burda is definitely wearing View A. The other differences between the views are that A has a modesty panel and closes with snaps instead of buttons. I skipped the modesty panel as it’s easier and safer to wear a tank top under this. I did use snaps though.

Burda 107A-04-2014 back

I’m not entirely sure what shoes go with this. It’s an evening style, but realistically the place I’m going to wear it is to work on days when I want to look a little smart. This means reasonably comfortable footwear is required. The wedges I’m wearing here are about the limit of what I can manage at work. If anyone has any better ideas than the wedges I’d like to hear them!

Butterick 3108 front view

Can there be a more 1970s fabric than orange polyester suede? I found some on a trip to Goldhawk Road a couple of years ago and something possessed me to buy a couple of metres. Whatever plans I had for it then didn’t come to fruition and it’s been sitting in my stash ever since. The day finally came when the stash overflowed and the suede had to be matched with a pattern or else given away. But what pattern to choose?

I was vaguely inspired by the lines of the Louis Vuitton Fall 2014 collection: dresses with big pointy collars, front zip closures, and a-line skirts. Look 23 from the collection is a good example of the sort of thing. Unsurprisingly the most suitable pattern I could find with those features was a vintage one: Butterick 3108.

Butterick 3108 envelope front

Pattern envelope pictures sometimes lie, but this one is a pretty accurate representation of the finished dress. The collar is just as large and pointy as I was hoping for. The skirt is nowhere near as short as the Louis Vuitton dresses, but as I’m hoping to wear this to cycle in that’s not a bad thing.

I added top-stitching on the princess seams for a bit of interest. I also made patch pockets. I’m not entirely happy with those. They have come out too close to the centre front despite my best efforts to choose a pleasing position.

Butterick 3108 front full length

Luckily I was able to get a copy of the pattern in my size so I didn’t have to make a lot of adjustments to the beyond adding length. The main change I made was to redraw the top of the sleeve pattern piece to remove all the sleeve cap ease. I didn’t fancy my chances of setting in the original sleeve without wrinkles as the suede has no elasticity at all. I’m pleased with the fit on the body, but the sleeves are very restrictive. Whatever I did to the sleeve caps obviously wasn’t quite right! And now I look at the pictures it could do with a touch more width at the back hip.


I made a couple of other small changes to accommodate the unforgiving fabric. I pleated the sleeves into the cuffs instead of gathering them. And the hem is faced rather than turned up. The hem allowance on the original pattern is two inches and isn’t tapered at all so there would be a lot of extra length to ease in if you tried to turn it up. I doubt that would work well even in cotton or wool fabric, never mind unshrinkable polyester.

The zip is brown because the orange is impossible to match and brown continues the 70s theme. The neck and hem facings are finished with some brown satin bias binding I had left over from another project. Unfortunately I didn’t change thread from orange to brown when sewing the zip in and the orange stitching shows up a bit against the brown zip tape, but I did remember for the binding. Not that you can see the stitching in the pictures anyway so I doubt anyone will notice.

Butterick 3108 side view

I’ve made the fabric sound awful but it does have some good points: it’s easy to sew, it’s machine washable, and it’s very warm to wear. I’ll be glad of the insulation when autumn arrives.

Burda 115-12-2009 front view

I’ll admit I’m mildly obsessed with making shiny trousers. Up until now my experiments have all been skinny jeans made from Burda 103-07-2010. This however is Burda 115-12-2009, a pattern for wide legged trousers with interesting curved seams. Sadly I can’t find it in the Burda online pattern store or I’d link to it. The technical drawing will have to do.

Burda 115-12-2009 line drawing

What you can’t see on the drawing is that here are no side seams; the side front panel wraps round the back to the inside leg seam. I always think trousers look better with a bit of detail on the back. The curved yoke seam on these is much faster to sew than back pockets but has the same effect of breaking up the expanse of backside. And I never use back pockets anyway. Instead there are nifty little inseam pockets in the front yoke. They look lovely but they’re unfortunately a little on the small side. OK for keys and cards but I wouldn’t get my phone in them.

Burda 115-12-2009 back view

The trousers are made from yet more of the metallic stretch twill fabric I got from Truro Fabrics recently. Technically speaking it’s not a great choice for this style. The shine means that every single wrinkle is hugely visible. I swear they’re not too small – they feel fine on – but in these pictures they certainly look a bit clingy. I think the pattern was intended for a sturdier fabric. The pattern instructions simply say ‘trouser fabrics’ (thanks for that insight, Burda!) but the finished garments in the magazine are made from gaberdine and corduroy; ie heavier weight than my twill and lacking stretch. This all sounds negative, but in fact I like my version a lot. I was going for a practical style with a twist; a colleague described them as looking ‘industrial’ which on reflection I think is a success.

Burda 115-12-2009 side view

One thing I still haven’t got the hang of with Burda is how much length to add to their trousers. I know exactly how much length I need to add to bodices for Burda, and based on that plus the difference between my height and the height they design for I should be able work out exactly how much length to add to the legs. But it always comes out too much. I took an inch off these before hemming them and I’m wearing them with platform boots here. Still, better too long than the opposite. I know I should just add less to the length, regardless of calculations, but I’m always paranoid that the next pair are going to be the ones to come up disastrously short.

Burda 115-12-2009 side view on climbing frame

These seem to be passing the wearability test with flying colours. I’m keeping them for work because of the pockets – I still don’t have enough clothes with pockets – but I’d happily wear them at the weekend too. I might make this pattern again one day. There’s an alternative view with combat trouser details (side pockets with flaps, bellows pockets on the thighs, belt loops) which I’m quite tempted by, to the extent that I’ve traced off the extra pieces. Might have to go up a size though!

Burda 115-12-2009 on climbing frame


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