A classic pair of jeans

I know I’ve been recently focusing on sewing for my upcoming Mexico trip but I’ve been wanting to sew these since my FW12 and SS13 plans so it was high time I actually just sat down and made them!

After umming and ahhing for months over which pattern I should use, then muslining two different patterns which were both too small, I ended up making this pair in two days’ flat! As you’ll recall, it’s #120 from the April 2010 issue of Burda magazine (sadly not on Burdastyle.com!), an issue which also had a great pair of men’s trousers I’ve been eyeing up for James, too.


Worn here with my plum bamboo Jalie top

I’m a bit scared that I can sew an entire pair of jeans now (including the front fly) without looking at instructions a single time… I did, however, inspect a pair of James’s RTW jeans once or twice to see which side of the seam they topstitched!


This one has been lightened so you can see the details a little better!

Oh, and remember when I tried on the muslin for this pattern and it was way too small in the waist and hips? Well, I put the muslin to the side in my sewing cave and tried them on a few weeks later and they fit perfectly now! Yes, only I would go and change my body instead of just doing a pattern alteration…

My birthday jeans

It’s my birthday today! And I’m in New York City!!

We usually take a Spring holiday, but not til later in April or May, however this year James suggested we go away to New York over my birthday, since we haven’t been for four years and there were some shows we really wanted to see (we’ve developed an expensive immersive theater habit!). I’ve been needing a new pair of jeans for a while now, so I promised myself that I’d sew some up once the Steeplechase Leggings pattern was released and I’d have a little bit of a breather. And here they are, coinciding nicely as my birthday make this year!

This denim was bought from Ditto Fabrics, labelled as an Italian denim with very slight stretch, so I treated these as a non-stretch denim. It’s super high quality and I love the colour and wash, though like most denims, it’s still bleeding a bit of colour after two prewashes, so I’ll wash it separately for a while before sitting on any white couches.


(Apologies for the iPhone timer photos taken before I left, but I wanted to ensure I had covered the bases and it’s hard to upload images on the road without a laptop!)

I used the same base pattern as my classic pair of jeans made in 2013 (which is #120 from the April 2010 issue of Burda magazine), but my older pair is a bit too big, and also very straight in the leg and I wanted something more fitted and with a slimmer leg this time around.

I essentially made the same pattern (plus the same wedge cut out of the CB as before), but then basted the inseam and side seams to check the fit. I then decided I wanted to take out a cm at the hips and thighs to make the fit closer to “just washed jeans” to allow for some relaxing, then took out a cm from each of the side seams and inseam through the legs for a more skinny-jean silhouette.

Dutch sewing pattern magazine roundup

A few weeks ago J and I took a long weekend away in Amsterdam, but the majority of these patterns actually came from a different trip he’d made for work a few weeks earlier. It turns out that the newsagent inside Rotterdam station is a haven of sewing pattern magazines, who knew?? So rather than do a post on each of these, I thought I’d pull out my highlights, and take the chance again to explain how accessible the pattern sheets and instructions are for non-Dutch speakers…

Burda magazine September 2018

I’ve been away the past two weekends (in Iceland and at the Sewing Weekender, respectively) so I’ve not had much of a chance before now to sit down and really sink my teeth into the latest Burda edition. I know much of the USA is in a heat wave at the moment but in England it’s cooled off considerably so an issue full of Fall fashions is very welcome!

Burda magazine August 2016

The August issue traditionally signals the start of Fall fashions in Burda’s world, and I’m pleased to report that this is yet another great issue! You can probably tell this by the sheer amount of designs I’ve pulled out to show you, ha.

Even in my first flip through the magazine after it arrived, I was so struck by the beautiful and unusual tab closure on this jacket! It’s such a great idea that I feel it must surely be a vintage-inspired detail, but the shape of the 3-piece(!) rounded sleeves really gives it a good balance of modern design, too.

Pleated denim leggings

The three words in the title may not seem like they naturally go together, but it’s all made possible by the super stretchy denim I bought from Mood when we were in NYC for my birthday in March. The weave definitely looks more like a denim/twill than a knit, but strangely, there’s more lengthwise stretch than widthwise (about 50-60% compared to only about 20%). There’s still plenty of stretch there for them to just pull on with an elastic waistband, and the fit is definitely more “leggings” than “jeans”, despite the denim.

I made these well over a month ago, and I’ve been wearing them pretty much twice weekly since then – they’re unbelievably versatile and so much more interesting than just a basic stretch denim legging (or, ugh, “jegging”). They were one of the last items to be made in my old sewing room, and I’m not entirely sure why it’s taken so long to photograph these, because I really do like them!

There’s no pattern to talk about here, I’m afraid – I just opened my basic leggings sloper in Illustrator and made some modifications to fit what was in my head.

In short, I drew some design lines on the Front where I wanted the pleated panel to be, sliced that off as its own piece, then digitally spread it apart again to have twelve 1cm pleats with 2cm in between. (You can do this really quickly by overlaying a grid onto the pattern piece, splitting it apart, then moving the top (or bottom) piece by the amount you want the total spread to be (in my case, moving it 12 × 2cm=24cm). Then just set those pleat pieces to distribute vertically!) IMHO, this is so much easier then getting out scissors and tape and a ruler and trying to draw out all the pleats myself. I truly am a digital native when it comes to pattern drafting now, I swear!


Worn here with my mustard Drape Drape top – still a favourite 2.5 years later!

Manequim April 2015

Wooo!!! It’s the best Manequim of the year – the one with all the Oscars gowns! Let’s breeze through the rest of the issue and get straight to those Hollywood designer evening gown patterns, shall we?

First off, the Plus selection this month is just the usual three patterns, but they’re keeping to the glamourous end of the scale, using singer Adele as the muse.

I LOVE this classic leather biker jacket – it might be slightly too small for me, though (I’m in between 42 and 44, I’ve discovered), but it’d be easy enough to adjust using another pattern as a guide…

I think I’ve discovered the secret to me and blazers – I hardly ever wear them myself, but I’m occasionally drawn to the odd one or two in magazines, like this orange one (Can I just say that I love everything about this image? Wonderful model & composition and art direction!!). I think the main thing is that I dislike the traditional, folded over, notched lapel – so designs like this which are a bit different in that area really appeal to me!

Little shoots of Spring

Like little green shoots poking through the earth as the warmth of Spring approaches, I feel like my sewing productivity and creativity is just pushing through from all angles at the moment. I’m so proud that so many of you love my Steeplechase Leggings pattern as much as I do (and I’ve got loads more to share!) but I wanted to share a bunch of smaller things I’ve been getting on with…

Have you ever heard of Sock Stop? It’s a bit like puffy paint we used in the 90s, but it’s intended to paint onto the bottoms of socks and slippers to prevent slips and falls. I bought
some from Guthrie & Ghani recently to see if it helps keep activewear hems in place without requiring silicone elastic (which can be a bit fiddly to sew on). I’ve tried it out on the hems of my Steeplechase capris (which you’ll see soon) and I want to test them out on my next cycle ride…

I can’t believe my birthday’s nearly here again – it seems like I only just made my galaxy-print sheath dress! I celebrated early with my BFF Pip, and she very kindly bought me this Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book and a metre of gorgeous silk chiffon from Dalston Mills! I’m super impressed by the variety and styles of panties, bras, camisoles, garter belts, and accessories in the book, but I want to try out a few patterns before I post a review.

Burda magazine February 2015

I’m a bit behind on my review due to my emergency trip to the States, but this wasn’t the greatest issue ever anyway, IMHO, but there’s plenty enough to like (and to moan about!).

This shirt is probably my favourite of the entire issue – I love its angular seams, inset corners at the shoulder, and general shape. I thought it’d be the perfect partner for some muted, geometric Liberty lawn in my stash, but the pattern actually calls for jersey. For once I actually don’t want to sew something in jersey, figures! I also quite like the asymmetric skirt it’s paired with. It’s just a basic pencil skirt with some additional, diagonal darts and a drape but I think it works here.

This coat pattern is shown in several guises throughout the magazine, but I like this classic navy version the best (minus the weird patch pockets over the boobs!). It’s also the pattern with coloured, illustrated instructions this month, too.

Here’s that same angular-seamed shirt as seen above, but made in a thicker fabric so it looks more like a sweatshirt than a teeshirt. The skirt it’s paired with here is very simple, but works well to showcase a special fabric, or in this case, just two great colours! (also, bonus points for including a bicycle in the photoshoot, Burda!)

MyImage and B*inspired SS14 magazines AND Giveaway!

It’s been a while, but I’ve got the newest Spring/Summer issues of the Dutch-produced, quadrilingual pattern magazine MyImage to share with you, plus a peek into the second edition of their new children’s pattern magazine, B*inspired, too.

MyImage magazine

I absolutely love the jersey cowl dress on the right! It’s made up in three different prints in the magazine but it just looks so easy to wear for summer – that skirt wrap is an extra layer over a full skirt so there’s no chance of wind-related mishaps, either. On the left, there’s a casual woven shell with deep pleats at the neckline that would be very figure-forgiving, and it’s paired with a basic jeans pattern. I’ve been meaning to sew a pair of MyImage jeans for years now so I really must get on with it…

There are three Plus patterns in this issue – nice basics in the form of a loose, sleeveless shell with hi-lo hem, classic jeans, and this jersey surplice dress. Like the cowl dress above, the front skirt panel overlaps a full layer underneath so there’s no flashing worries, and the shoulder pleats look like they’d provide some nice shaping for larger cup-sizes, too.