I’m writing this on Sunday evening for posting on Wednesday, because my part-time teaching has just started up again and I expect to be spending the next few evenings marking piles of past papers. At least, I hope I will be. It’s worse to have nothing handed in at all!

I spent the day tracing BurdaStyle patterns from the excellent new issue (February 2012). I don’t do this often because it involves rearranging half of the living room so I can pull the big table out. But there are two absolute must-sew patterns in this issue so it was worth the effort.

This one is model 117. It is a three-and-a-half-dot rated pattern, which is quite a way outside my comfort zone. But I like the design so much I am going to give it a try. I’ve jumped on the digital croquis bandwagon and I think the style works on me.

This is model 111. Burda has it in two versions, one black all over and one with colour blocking. Much as I love the colour-blocked version, it looks slightly odd on my croquis. I think the problem is the diagonal seam across the chest. It’s not all that flattering on me so I don’t want to emphasize it. I’m going to go for all one colour with this one.

BurdaStyle patterns come without seam allowances. The instructions would have you add them with chalk directly onto the fabric, and I know some people are so good at this they can just eyeball the necessary width rather than measuring. But I much prefer to have patterns with seam allowance included, which means a long extra stage of drawing it onto the tracing. However I recently discovered that if you strap three Tesco cheap-and-cheerful-brand pencils together with an elastic band, you get a 1.5cm seam allowance tracing tool. With two pencils and a little padding you can get a 1cm version as well, which was useful for model 117 which has some 1cm seam allowances.

This saved a lot of aggravation, if not much actual time. I now have four patterns hanging up in the sewing room all adjusted for length and ready to be made up, so hopefully that’s it for tracing for a long while.

12 thoughts on “Tracing-fest

  1. Those are my two favorite patterns out of that Burda issue. I am still waiting for mine to get here. I know your dresses will be fabulous–you have excellent taste.

    1. I followed this tutorial from Lladybird to make the croquis:

      (Although my own tip would be to wear shoes when you take the initial photos – I did ones with and without, and it was amazing what a difference wearing shoes made to the silhouette.)

      Then to get the dress on to it I pasted the line art for the dress (grabbed from Burda’s website) into a new layer in my drawing program on top of the croquis. Scaling it to the right size involved trial and error, but once it was about the right width and positioned correctly at the shoulders I erased and redrew bits of both the line drawing and me until they matched everywhere else. I suspect this will get easier with practice!

  2. I have been trying to find an easy method of adding seam allowance for such a long time, so thank you , thank you, thank you. You have just saved humanity…and I mean that seriously. lol

  3. I’ve been doing a lot of Burda lately too and I just caved and bought a double tracing wheel to try to make it more bearable. Sigh.

    You’ve sewn so many complicated projects! I’m sure you’ll do fine with the cheongsam/qi-pao!

  4. Those two will look great on you, I want to make the second dress too. I don’t think these are outside your comfort zone after all those advanced vogue patterns though!

  5. Honestly, I think your body is amazing with all shapes of patterns you decide to use, which is a blessing. But I must say that I love the two models you decided. Looking foward …

  6. Fab choices and I hope the tracing wasn’t too stressful!

    Don’t you love it when a really simple and cheap solution is found, especially when its easy peasy to use? Brilliant.

  7. I use the three pencil method too. It works well but sometimes frustrates when one pencil slips from the right position.

  8. I really like both of those dresses. They will look fab, I’m sure.

    And thanks for the pencil tip. There are a few things I’d love to make from my Burda mags but I still haven’t bothered because of the tracing.

  9. I love both of those styles too, and I really really hope I’ll manage to make the colour block dress sometime in the next 6 months.

    The double and triple pencil trick is clever. I had a holder for two pencils that also worked, but did drive me batty when one slipped, which happened a lot whilst tracing. I recently got a guide for my rotary cutter and now its so easy- just trace without seam allowances and then cut (almost perfect) allowances on the fabric.

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