Blue silk cocktail dress

This dress has been in the works for quite a while now, but yet again I find myself with a new cocktail dress just in time for all the Christmas parties! I first noticed BWOF 09/08 #114 when the issue’s preview came up on the website because the seaming was exactly like a Versace dress worn by Kate Moss in the Fall 2007 Versace ad campaign. Besides being a great designer knockoff pattern, I simply just loved the seaming details, though I’m not terribly keen on Burda’s styling of it as a jumper (in the American sense of the word).

Un-petiting the Burda September cover dress

While I wait for the weekend to photoshoot the Lekala ribbed top (either you all are too smart or I’m too predictable!), I’ve started work on creating the cover dress from the September Burda magazine. It’s a really cool, curved seam design with no side seams and designed for knits, but it’s one of Burda’s Petite patterns.

I am in NO way petite – at 5’8” (172cm), I am closer to Burda’s Tall height (180cm) than I am to the petite height( (160cm). I have a sneaking suspicion that my torso is quite compact and my height is mostly in my legs, but in any case… I’ve made a few of Burda’s petite patterns before with good results, namely, my 30th birthday dress and the blue silk cocktail dress, so I wasn’t totally scared off because it’s for petites.

I made up a muslin of the top half of the dress (the half I’m most concerned with) on Wednesday night and I’m happy with my alterations so I thought I should share what I did.

First of all, lay out pieces 1 and 2 so that their folded edges are aligned, taping the pieces together loosely. Then lay out pieces 8 and 9 so that their folded edges are aligned, and that these meet the front pieces at intersections 7 and 8. Don’t worry that the shoulders are far apart or that some of the curved seams don’t meet up whilst flat.

My alterations are the white pieces shown below:

Pink guitar pyjamas

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the boat, all the creatures were stirring, especially Melissa at her sewing machine and Bosco with his catnip mouse!

We were invited to breakfast on Christmas morning at a neighbour’s and she kept saying how we should all just come in our pyjamas for some bucks fizz, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, so I thought it’d be fun to whip up some brand new pyjamas to wear! Christmas has always meant new pyjamas to my mom in particular – growing up, she and her brother and sister would always wake to find a new pair at the top of the stairs which they’d then be expected to change into so they were wearing new PJs in the christmas photos! I didn’t take it that far (I changed into the blue silk cocktail dress in time for dinner!), but it was awfully nice to wake up and put on new, comfortable clothes!

Manequim December 2010

What a wonderful surprise to find this in my postbox just after Christmas – I’d subscribed at the beginning of November, but I wasn’t expecting my first issue until January. This arrived in a strong paper envelope with the magazine inside wrapped again in a clear plastic film, so it was well prepared to stand up with anything the international postal service could throw at it!

With Brazil in the Southern hemisphere, they’re in the height of summer now, so just let your mind wander on this cold, rainy, and dreary winter day and think of summer sunshine in Rio… ahhhhh….

First up is a very versatile bathrobe / dressing gown pattern. I’ve seen the perfect towelling fabric on Goldhawk Road, and my robe is starting to wearing out after a good long life, so I’m keeping this firmly in mind.

Most Manequim patterns are only offered in one size (go up one size from your Burda size), but this black cocktail dress is one of the few that are offered in multiple sizes!

Patrones 294, 296, 297, & 298

These issues of Patrones are a few months old, but I only just received them so I thought it was worth a brief whirlwind tour of my favourites (even if it’s only to jog my memory later when I’m looking for patterns to sew)!

(Top: 297, 296. Bottom: 298, 294)

First up is a surprise summer issue – James’s parents visited Portugal in December and I asked if they would keep an eye open for Manequim or Patrones while they were there, and despite looking everywhere, they only found this copy at the airport on their way home! Considering it’s 5-6 months old, I have no idea how it was still around!

Patrones 294

This issue is nearly entirely wispy summer dresses that can’t really cope with our bold and brash English “summers”, but I do think this Hilfiger-esque shift dress would work well in our climate. With a cardie.

Embroidery and bunting

I seem to be pretty lucky so far to have escaped the constant chemo nausea I was told to expect. I’m on two different chemo drugs now until Sunday when I switch to a third on its own, and so far one of them has had zero affect on the way I feel, and the other seems to be giving me wildly different comedy afflictions each day (first fever & headache, then the next day a weird bumpy rash like mosquito bites all over my body plus breathing problems, then tonight it just seems to be a 2 hour long sneezing fest. weird.). In any case, it’s so far much easier than I was expecting (knock on wood), so it’s given me some time to do some crafting in amoungst my tv and film watching.

Yesterday (Day -7) (in bone marrow transplant land, the day you get your stem cells is Day Zero, so right now I’m counting down to that, 8 July. After I receive them, I’ll go into the positive numbers!)

Yesterday I did a bit of ham-fisted embroidery, finishing up a bit for a baby present, which I’ll reveal when it’s totally finished, as well as finally finishing that Sublime Stitching apron kit I’ve been working on here and there over the last few months (remember this from the al fresco sewing day?).

Patrones wool trousers in progress

I’m only a hem away from finishing a pair of high waisted, wool trousers from the fabulous Patrones 272:

I’ll leave the fine details for the final photoshoot and review, but I’m just so proud of my very first welt pockets. Progress on my wool coat has been stalled for the last few months because the thought of doing the bound buttonholes has just intimidated and overwhelmed me, so I thought I’d make my first attempts at welt pockets first since they’re essentially the same thing, but on a less tiny (and fiddly) scale.

There are tons of instructions on the internet for welt pockets, but I used the supplemental instructions from the Aug 2008 BWOF since I could just have it lying open on my ironing board as I worked. The diagrams were particularly useful, and I think my first attempts turned out great!


Due to popular demand, the latest addition to my FW/07 Collection is the Go Patterns little black dress, 4001. This dress is not one to be taken lightly, as you’ll remember from my fitting session – it’s much more of an exercise in couture techniques than a quick dress you can whip up in an evening. At several points I got a bit frustrated with my glacial progress and the amount of hand sewing, but the end result is just… breathtaking.