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.