A woman wearing a grey sweatshirt and cargo trousers stands in front of a green fence

What’s in a name? Grey sweatshirt: Burda 121 02/2016

A woman in a grey sweatshirt

I’ve called this grey top a sweatshirt but I have a feeling it’s not quite the right word. It sounds entirely too sporty and energetic. But it’s definitely not a sweater, and has no hood so not a hoodie. Maybe the line art will help?

Line art of a sweatshirt
Burda 121 02/2016 line art, burdastyle.ru

This isn’t part of any of my wardrobe plans, but it was made to fill in a wardrobe gap. I made the grey cargo trousers in the pictures a couple of years ago, but I lack cold weather tops that go with them. I wanted something with some detailing to echo all the bits and pieces on the trousers and this one from Burda seemed to fit the bill. I’ve made it in grey scuba from Minerva. The zips, drawstring cord, and cord stops were from eBay. I went for silver hardware to match the zips on the cargo trousers. The eyelets were some gunmetal coloured ones I had left over from another project, but they aren’t very visible.

The main feature of this top is the high collar. It’s two layers of fabric but no interfacing. I was a bit concerned it would collapse completely, but the drawstring helps a lot in giving it some shape.

The zip detail on the collar was a lot of fuss to sew. The exposed zips are set into section seams so there’s the bulk of a seam allowance to deal with at the bottom of the zip slot. Burda provided unusually detailed instructions for using scraps of lining to face the end of the slot, with pictures, but I’m not entirely convinced by their method. You use a scrap of lining to face the slot on each side of the seam before actually sewing up the section seam. This means you have to match the bottoms of the slot perfectly or the lining shows. I did an OK job but one side is off by about a millimetre and it annoys me. Next time I’d sew the section seam first, to just above the end of the slot, and then face the slot. No danger of mismatched ends that way.

A woman wearing a grey sweatshirt pulling the collar up

One slightly unexpected feature of this garment is the padded sleeve hem bands. I didn’t notice them on the line art or the model photos, and missed that wadding was on the notions list. It was only when I got to the bit on the instructions where they tell you to stuff it into the bands that I realised. I had some wadding scraps so I added the padding, but I’m not really sure what its purpose is. It gives the rather skinny sleeve bands some dimension, but that’s about it.

A woman wearing grey stands with her back to the viewer

This is a Tall pattern so I didn’t lengthen it. I probably should have done; according to the size chart I should still be adding a couple of centimetres. But it was so nice to trace something out and not have to hack it about. The sleeves do feel the tiniest bit short but the body length is fine. Next time I think I’d make the sleeve bands a bit wider and that would be enough.

A woman wearing a grey sweatshirt and cargo trousers

This fills a long-standing wardrobe hole. Unfortunately I don’t think I have much else it will go with other than the cargo trousers. Maybe my silver Vogue 1247 skirt or the silver Vogue 1347 trousers. It’s a bit too casual for most of my other trousers.

Thanks to my husband for the photos.

The end at last: Burda 113 2/2010 blouse

A woman in a black blouse and black jeans

Here it is, the very last item in my original wardrobe sewing plan. This blouse is Burda 113 2/2010. It’s a replacement for Vogue 9299, which was my original choice for a black blouse. I had fit problems with the Vogue and I don’t wear it much. I’m hoping this one will be more of a wardrobe staple.

Here’s the technical drawing. I normally find Burda’s line art very accurate, but I’m not convinced this one gives a good idea of the finished garment. The blouse in the line art looks a lot more boxy and the exaggerated collar and cuffs don’t come across. I like my version, but it isn’t quite what I was expecting to end up with.

Technical drawing of Burda 113 2/2010, burdastyle.ru

I did make a few alterations to the pattern: I added my normal amount of length and did a broad and square shoulder adjustment. This had the handy side effect of removing all the ease from the armscye seam. My books say I’m supposed to add it back by making the sleeve cap higher, but I dislike easing sleeves so I didn’t. My arm mobility is still fine. Admittedly I probably overdid the shoulder adjustments and the shoulders have ended up a bit exaggerated, but I like that look, so win-win. I also did a concealed button placket and added a yoke.

The fabric is a polycotton poplin from Minerva Crafts. I was deliberately looking for a polycotton blend for the crease resistance; as it’s black I don’t have to worry about it discolouring.

The buttons are old ones from my button box. This blouse uses a lot – thirteen in all. Amazingly I managed to find a set of thirteen that matched before I started sewing. As I knew I definitely had enough buttons I sewed the buttonholes and added the buttons on the collar stand which I wouldn’t normally bother with. Then when I came to deal with the cuffs I realised a button had gone missing at some point, probably when testing buttonhole sizing. And just before we took these pictures I found another one had dropped off the blouse and had to replace it with a slightly different one, so my matched set is now two down.

Back view of a woman wearing a black blouse and jeans

The cuffs are pretty dramatic with those points. They are the style that needs cuff links – the buttons are just joined in pairs to make links – so I could always get proper cuff links and use a cuff button to replace the odd one out on the placket.

I added a yoke to the design because I like having the extra structure that comes from the double layer at the upper back. Then I had a moment of doubt: all the shirts in the house with yokes have back pleats, not darts. Maybe having a yoke and darts is some kind of offence against traditional shirt styling. Too late now anyway.

There’s an interesting little detail in this pattern that isn’t visible in Burda’s images: a small triangular gusset in the side seam where it runs into the curved hem. Not a lot of trouble to sew and reinforces a stress point.

The side seam of a shirt with a gusset

I’m wearing it with my flared jeans from the plan here for a slightly 70s look, but of course there are several other combinations. My husband has been patiently photographing the various outfits from the sewing plan so I’ve got some more blog posts planned on how well it all works together.

However considered on its own I think this is a success: the basic shape is good and the slightly exaggerated details add a bit of interest. I’ve never been much good at accessorising so it helps if clothes have interesting features.

Thanks to my husband for taking the photos.

A woman wearing a black blouse and jeans standing in front of a green door

Burda 112 11/2015 sweater

A woman in a black sweater made from Burda 112 11/2015

I’m on the home stretch now. This is the penultimate garment in my vague wardrobe sewing plan, Burda 112 11/2015. It’s a close-fitting sweater with French darts and a fairly cropped length. Here’s the line art, strangely with one arm cut off.

Technical drawing for Burda 112 11/2015 sweater, burdastyle.ru

This is the ‘extra pattern in pink’ for the 11/2015 issue of Burda. There are detailed illustrated instructions and the pattern pieces are supposed to be extra easy to trace: they’re shaded to make them easy to find and they don’t overlap. And it’s a simple pattern to start with: only five pieces. Should have been straightforward, right? Wrong. Perhaps I have developed the Burda version of Stockholm Syndrome, but I had more problems with the easy to trace pink pattern pieces than I do with the regular ones. Having the pieces not overlap meant I had two giant pattern sheets to iron and wrestle with instead of one, and somehow I managed to trace the wrong hemline on the front piece despite the shading. I didn’t discover that mistake until after I’d cut out the fabric, and had to hastily make a hem facing from the leftovers, or this would have been a very cropped sweater indeed. I normally take care to check patterns after I trace them but I must have skipped that step this time.

The pattern is designed for fulled loden fabric, which doesn’t fray at all. No seams to finish! Mine’s made up in a gorgeous wool/polyester blend sweater knit from Minerva Crafts. Now I look at the website again I think I used the official ‘wrong side’ of the fabric as my right side. It has a smooth side where you can see the knit stitches, and a brushed side which looks like fleece. I didn’t want a fluffy jumper so I used the smooth side.

Like fulled loden this fabric doesn’t fray, but I suspect it’s stretchier. It sewed up very nicely on my regular sewing machine with a 90 ballpoint needle and a slight zigzag stitch. I didn’t use the overlocker at all. I hemmed it and caught down the neck facing using the sewing machine stretch blind hem stitch; it’s such thick fabric it was very quick and easy to do.

Here’s the back view. That centre back seam provides a lot of the shaping.

Back view of a woman wearing a black sweater

I had a bit of trouble with the hem flaring out. Maybe I stretched it out when sewing on the facing or perhaps it was a side effect of whatever went wrong with my tracing, but I had to unpick and take the bottom in a lot at both the side and back seams. Otherwise the fit is great. This is my usual Burda size and the only pattern adjustment I made was adding my usual extra 5cm length. I did debate going down a size because of the extra stretch in the fabric, but I’m glad I didn’t.

I think I’m going to be wearing this a lot. Thanks to my husband for the pictures as usual.

A woman in a black sweater and black cocoon trousers

Cocoon trousers: Burda 106 02/2020

A woman wearing black cocoon trousers and a black t shirt stands in a garden

This is the last of the trouser patterns from my vague wardrobe sewing plan. It’s the one I was least confident about because I’ve never worn cocoon-shaped trousers before and part of me suspected they might be rather unflattering. However the pattern’s attractive model photos won me over.

The pattern is Burda 106 02/2020 and it comes in two versions, both made in very lightweight and summery looking fabric, which is odd for a February issue. However on the Russian Burda site there are some versions made by fans in denim which looked much more practical.

Here’s the line art:

Burda 106 02/2020 line art, burdastyle.ru

Now I look closely at the technical drawing I realise I didn’t make the waistband closure on mine the way Burda did: my overlap finishes at centre front like a pair of jeans would. I wasn’t really following the instructions while sewing though. I prefer a different order of construction for trousers than Burda’s standard method because I find it easiest to sew the fly closure as early as possible in the process. Burda tends to leave it almost to the last.

I made them up in a black mediumweight 100% cotton denim from Empress Mills. I was a bit concerned about how the pleats would look in denim, but they seem fine. I did the top-stitching in a light grey shade: Gutermann 40, mainly because I had a couple of spools of it around and wanted something contrasting to highlight the section seams. In another case of not reading the instructions carefully I’d got the impression these were meant to have a self fabric belt, and made one up despite the puzzling lack of any pattern piece for it. In fact it turns out the ‘belt’ in the magazine version is just a length of purchased ribbon.

The welt pockets have come out well. I normally make a sample out of scraps before tackling welt pockets to remind me how they work and to figure out any issues with the fabric. But I’d managed to cut these out so efficiently I didn’t have any decent sized scraps left to use, and I didn’t want to cut into the leftover yardage for a throwaway sample. So full speed ahead without a test run it was, and luckily it worked out.

Closeup of black denim trousers with welt pockets, self belt, and pleats

One thing I’m not very keen on with these is the back view. They have a real case of coffin back. Maybe patch pockets would improve things. The original Burda version doesn’t even have a top-stiched hem to relieve the montony, but I had plenty of thread left and thought it might add some interest to top-stitch mine. I’m wishing I’d top-stitched the back ankle darts now too.

On the subject of the hem, these are unusually short for Burda trousers. When tracing the pattern I added more length to the leg than I normally do, and still ended up sewing the hem facings with the tiniest seam allowance I could in order to squeeze out extra length.

They’re very comfortable, being so baggy. I can see these being a go-to for days when I have to go into the office and do something physical. Thanks to my husband for the photos!

Burda 105 04/2018 blouse

Burda 105 04/2018 white blouse front view

Here’s the latest item in my sewing with a vague plan project: a white blouse made from Burda 105 04/2018. I never used to wear shirts or blouses at all, and then I realised that a white shirt collar is surprisingly flattering. Something to do with reflecting light onto the face, maybe? Any shirt pattern will do, but this one has got some particularly nice details: the radiating darts on the front, the slanted waist seam, and the big sleeves.

Burda 105 04/2018 blouse line art, burdastyle.ru

I changed the front to have a hidden button placket because there’s enough going on there already with all the darts. I also did a wide shoulder adjustment after my disappointing experience with Vogue 9299, which has a similar shape, and added my usual extra 5cm of length to the bodice and sleeves. I didn’t try to move the bust darts down, but I’m thinking I probably should have – or maybe done a full bust adjustment? But there really ought to be enough room in my regular Burda size without that.

The fit still isn’t quite right, with a bit of pulling over the chest if I raise my arms. I think to some extent that can’t be avoided in a very fitted style like this, and it certainly sits OK when I have my arms by my side.

Burda 105 04/2018 blouse in white cotton poplin, front view closeup

This pattern has a really high sleeve cap and a narrow upper arm. It also has an absolute ton of sleeve cap ease which I lazily didn’t remove, and then regretted when I had huge difficulty setting in the sleeves. As you can see, I did not succeed in getting nice smooth sleeve caps.

Burda 105 04/2018 blouse in white cotton poplin, side view closeup on shoulder

The hem was a pain in the neck too because it’s so curved. Pretty, but I burnt my fingers a few times turning it up! It’s not very even either; I should have gone for bias tape. In fact this whole project wasn’t my best ever sewing. The mess I made of the collar stand is fortunately invisible with the collar turned down.

Burda 105 04/2018 blouse in white cotton poplin, side view

I like the back pleat. It gives the back view a bit of interest, and the extra mobility is welcome. And this is a nice shot of the sleeves, which have come out surprisingly subdued given how much fabric there is in the lower half.

Burda 105 04/2018 blouse in white cotton poplin, back view

The fabric is 100% cotton poplin from Croft Mill. Being pure cotton I’m hoping it will wear well and not develop that yellow tinge that cotton blends often seem to. I interfaced the collar, cuffs, and front band with Vilene F220 and sewed it with a size 80 universal needle. Pictures courtesy of my very patient husband as usual.

Burda 105 04/2018 white blouse front view

Flared jeans: Burda 118 04/2009

I picked this jeans pattern to make because I thought the shape was refreshingly different to anything I’ve worn in recent years. I remember having a pair of blue denim trousers from TopShop in the early 2000s with this style of leg. The pattern itself dates from 2009. I could have sworn bootcut jeans were over by then and we’d moved on to skinnies. Anyway it’s Burda 118 04/2009, which has great reviews online. The technical drawing is below but I think the real thing is much tighter on the thigh and lower on the waist than the diagram suggests.

Burda 118 04/2009 technical drawing, burdastyle.ru

I was aiming to reproduce some jeans I’d seen in a Dior ad, so I altered the shape and placement of the front patch pockets and added back ones to match. I found I didn’t need to add anything to the length of the pattern, which is very unusual for me. I added 2cm as insurance anyway and ended up removing it again by making slightly deeper turnips. I also went down a size because the fabric I used has a lot of stretch. It’s Empress Mills’ 7.5oz premium denim. It was a pleasure to work with despite the stretch. The colour is called black but it’s really more of a charcoal. I didn’t have any black top stitching thread and used a very dark grey I had lying around, which turned out to be a great match. And once again I’m baffled as to why top stitching thread is sold in such tiny reels. I always need two to do a pair of jeans.

They haven’t come out much like the inspiration garment; they would need much more ease and a higher waist for that. The style is also different from the bootcut jeans I remember wearing twenty years ago which had a very low rise. These are much easier to wear.

This is the third garment in my vague plan to sew some things that go together and although I’ve managed to stick to the list of planned garments, all I’ve made so far is trousers. So definitely a top next.

Thanks to my husband for the photos and the quarantine haircut. The UK is back in lockdown with only essential services open so it was clippers or nothing. It feels much better to have it short.

Unusual jeans pockets

I’m making flared 70s style jeans right now. The inspiration for these came from a weird coincidence. I bought the April 2009 issue of Burda off eBay to fill in a gap in my collection, and when it arrived style 118 caught my eye.

Technical drawing of Burda 118 04/2009 flared jeans with front patch pockets
Burda 118 04/2009 flared jeans with front patch pockets, burdastyle.ru

It has a definite resemblance to these Dior jeans which I’d just seen featured in a big glossy ad in a recent issue of Vogue. Something about these really attracted me, although I have to say I wouldn’t pair them with a matching denim sleeveless jacket.

Flared cotton jeans, Dior.com

Well I was looking for an interesting trouser pattern to go with a piece of black denim I have, and the Burda pattern has excellent reviews, so it had to be done. The pockets on the Dior jeans are much larger and lower than on the Burda style, but the basic lines are much the same. Both are high waisted with back darts instead of a yoke. The Burda has turn-ups and the Dior has an ordinary jeans hem. I think the Dior waistband is wider, and it has additional patch pockets on the back. It’s possibly also baggier in the thigh area.

Luckily the Dior site had some good photos of the style laid flat which give a good idea of the size, shape, and placement of the pockets. Here are the back ones.

Flared jeans, Dior.com

And here’s where I’ve got to so far.

That’s the really fiddly part done…just need to sew up the seams and put the waistband and belt loops on now. I’m probably keeping the turn-ups from the Burda style too. Maybe next week I’ll have something finished to show.

Burda 108 07/2018 pleated culottes

Here’s the first new item from my wardrobe sewing plan. These pleated culottes are intended to be a more wearable version of hakama (traditional Japanese pleated trousers) which is a look I’ve always liked.

Here’s the technical drawing. The pattern is 108 07/2018.

Technical drawing of pleated culottes Burda 108 07/2018
Burda 108 07/2018 pleated culottes technical drawing from burdastyle.ru

Burda’s version is made up in pale blue and styled with a matching letter jersey and striped sandals for a very prim and preppy look. However I’m aiming for something somewhat more samurai than Sandra Dean! Despite this I didn’t need to make changes to the pattern other than adding length: the 5cm that I always need to add to Burda trousers and then another 4cm on top. All the difference is in the fabric and styling.

Woman in pale blue pleated culottes and letter jersey
Burda 108 07/2018 model photo, burdastyle.ru

The fabric is a cotton drill from Empress Mills. This is quality stuff: really sturdy, blackest black, and stable. It’s such a pleasure to sew with well behaved cotton.

Cotton isn’t the ideal thing for pleats because they won’t stay pleated after washing. I’ve edge stitched mine to try to make them stay put. The process is a bit different from Burda’s method. I first basted the pleats down the whole length of the leg, pressed them very well, then pulled out the basting and edge stitched all the folds from the top edge to just above where the hem would turn up to (of which more in a moment). To keep the pleats stitched down over the hips I then top stitched them down over the previous edge stitching to the point where they’re supposed to release. My edge/ditch stitching foot worked overtime on this project. I spent a whole evening just on the main pleating, and most of another folding and stitching the pleats at the hem after doing the hemming. It would have been easier to make the hem before pleating, but that relies on knowing exactly how long you want it to be in advance.

They’ve come out well though and they make some great shapes when in motion.

The culottes fasten with an invisible zip at centre back. I thought I’d done a pretty good job putting it in at the time but there’s a bit of pulling in the photos – see the drag lines pointing to the bottom of the zip.

The back view on these is very plain. Real hakama would have additional overlapping pleats at the back, but I have an office job and I imagine back pleats would look less than great after being sat upon all day. Hakama also fasten with ties around the waist and have long triangular gaps at the side waist; they’re intended to be worn over a long top so the gaps don’t reveal anything. Burda’s version has a conventional side seam instead, which handily allows for inseam pockets. There’s also a self fabric belt, which cleverly hides any slight mismatching that may have happened when sewing the innermost pleats, which are supposed to meet each other exactly at the centre front seam. Again this isn’t right for real hakama, where the centre front pleats should overlap.

I initially only lengthened these by my usual 5cm, but when I tried them on I realised I wanted them longer. I managed to squeeze out some extra length by facing the hem instead of turning it up. In the highly unlikely event I make these again I’d add even more to the length.

I’m very pleased with how they’ve come out. I have nothing else like them in my wardrobe but they go with most of my existing tops and I like the unusual shape. The eagle-eyed may have noticed that I’m wearing trainers in some of these photos and ridiculous heels in others, and I think they work with both. The top is my Rick Owens knockoff from a couple of years ago. Time will tell how practical these really are; they’re comfortable to wear but the real test will be how much effort they are to wash and iron.

Thanks to my husband for immensely patient and creative photo taking as always!

Virtuous sewing: Burda 120 12/2018

I announce a grand plan to sew a mix and match wardrobe for myself, and then my very next post is about a project that’s not on the list. But I haven’t deviated from the plan yet (that’ll doubtless come later) because this one was sewn a couple of weeks ago. It’s Burda 120 12/2018, a hoodie for my husband.

I made this up once before and found it ran a little small. I sized up for this version and it is a much better fit.

It’s very satisfying bashing the eyelets into place with a hammer, and the finish definitely improves with practice.

The fabric is a grey poly fleece from Tia Knight. It’s tricky to photograph! The one below gives the best idea of the colour.

And now back to sewing the wardrobe. The pleated culottes are nearly done and the 70s flared trousers are next up!

Child’s silver bomber jacket: Burda 133 4/2017

Normally the person wearing silver clothes in this household is me. But not this little jacket. This is for my pre-school aged son. One of his heroes is Andy Day, the lead singer of Andy and the Oddsocks, who wears a silver bomber jacket on stage. My son was rummaging through my fabric box and found a piece of silver foiled lycra exactly like the fabric Andy’s jacket is made from, so it had to be done.

The pattern is Burda 133 04/2017, somewhat simplified. No way was I making welt pockets in stretchy lycra fabric.

Technical drawing of Burda 133 04/2017
Burda 133 04/2017 technical drawing, burdastyle.ru

It’s fully lined in white mesh fabric. Seems like overkill for a costume but the lycra is pretty flimsy. I ended up bagging the lining so no hand sewing required.

Inserting the zip looked like it might be a challenge. I used strips of interfacing along the front opening and sewed really carefully. It’s come out quite well.

But I’m kicking myself for not trimming the seams closely enough around the collar. I could open the lining back up and fix it…but I won’t. And I didn’t top stitch the zip either.

Back view for completeness. I’m pleased with the colour of the ribbing against the silver. The ribbing and the zip had to be bought online and colours are always a bit of a gamble when you do that, but this time it worked out.

Incidentally I think there is a mistake in the pattern for the ribbing pieces. The measurements given in the magazine for the cuff piece are far too small; you’d have to stretch it an amazing amount to get it into the sleeve. Luckily I noticed when tracing, and made them quite a bit longer. Other than that it’s a good pattern. And I swear Burda’s instructions are better than they used to be. I had no problems making this up.

I’m very pleased with how it came out. But despite measuring my son and making a size up from what I thought he needed, it’s still only just big enough. I swear they grow when you’re not looking.

This isn’t our first Andy homage. Previously we made the Gizmo prop from his TV show Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures…and then we made the one from Andy’s Wild Adventures too. I just need Andy to branch out into literature now, as that way I’d have the dreaded World Book Day costume covered well in advance.