A Drape Drape winter tunic

I found myself on New Year’s Day wanting to sew something fun and just for “me” rather than my blossoming business. So I looked through my patterns (helpfully online so I did this part while still under a duvet!), selected a pattern then proceeded to trace, cut, and sew this up in an afternoon. Definitely fun, definitely me!

I appear to be the first person online to make this tunic, from the third Drape Drape book, number 9. Sizes were S/M or L/XL and since it’s Japanese sizing and I’m like a 2XL, I made the larger size and crossed my fingers it’d be ok in a jersey. It was!

A yellow Drape Drape dress

From the first time I flipped through the first Drape Drape book, this dress really grabbed my attention and I knew that I’d eventually make it. Like most of the patterns in the Drape Drape books, this one has both unusual, 3D seaming and lots of gathers (or tucks). This is the third pattern I’ve made in the series, after the asymmetric teeshirt (twice!), and the gathered tunic dress.

Unlike the Pattern Magic books, in the Drape Drape books the patterns are included in several sheets at the back which you trace off, a’la Burda magazine. But though the lines aren’t packed as densely as in Burda’s, the lines aren’t coloured nor do they have different dashes or dots, so it’s not as easy to trace in my opinion! Because the shapes are often wraparound, the pieces can be quite big, and you have to trace them in a few different parts.

Manequim draped collar sweater

There came a point about midway through the construction of this where it suddenly dawned on me that I was creating my second draped collar sweater with pieced sleeves of the month. Clearly the sweater knits in my stash were calling out to me, and I’m naturally drawn to drapey styles. Though I really must remember when I’m in fabric stores that 2m really isn’t enough for long sleeves and a big collar!

This the Michael Kors-inspired, collared sweater from the June 2011 Manequim magazine. Last week I showed you details on the construction of the various pieces and altering the size “Small” pattern to my basic knit tee pattern.

The only problem was, when I was laying out the pattern pieces onto my awesome, ex-Versace sweater knit from Ditto in Brighton I realised that yet again, I didn’t have enough fabric to lay out the sleeves without piecing them, argh! I didn’t want to back down since I’d tried to use this fabric for something else last winter, but 2m of a really narrow fabric really limits your possibilities. So I carried on, introducing two seams in the lower arms. Frankly, sleeves tend to bunch up so much around the sleeves that I find the seams kinda get lost visually around that area anyway.

In the end, I was forced to cut the collar on the bias simply because the fabric was too narrow to place it on the cross grain!

Draped collar winter warmer

Paco Peralta is a Spanish couturier who has recently started making some of his designs available to buy as patterns. Late last year I purchased his “Draped Collar Tunic” pattern when he was having a special offer, and I’m so glad I found time to sew it already!

It’s an oversized, hip-length tunic with dropped shoulder and large, draping collar. All his patterns are hand-traced by him, with Spanish and English markings on the pattern tissue, but no included instructions – he’s got good photo instructions for this pattern on his blog though. I made size Medium here according to my measurements, though I could’ve easily gone done to a Small, as there’s a lot of ease in this style.

Bonus – All Paco’s patterns are 10% off right now with the coupon code here!

(Sorry, there’s no tech drawing provided and I’m too lazy to draw one!)

I had a 80% wool / 20% polyester purple sweater knit I bought at Ditto in Brighton last winter that was SO lush and soft and I just had to use it for this! Funny that Tany also chose to make this in a sweater knit, though she lengthened hers into a dress!

Burda magazine November 2015

I’m slowly working through my pile of magazines (another four more to go!) but I wanted to share my picks from the latest Burda magazine before it becomes outdated and off the newsstands. But the short version is that this is another pretty good issue, and a fantastic one if you’re in the Plus size range!

I really liked the choice of orange and camel in this feature, but for me the standout is this pullover, made in felted wool, which also has the colour illustrated instructions this month. It’s paired with an interesting skirt which was colourblocked in another example, really showing off the V panel. On the right we’ve got a cape, which is really similar to Seamwork’s Camden cape in the current November 2015 issue (except the length, obviously).

I’m not quite sure how I feel about the top on the left with its unsusual, gathered collar area, but the trousers look just a bit too 1970s to me. It’s easily overlooked, but the cardigan on the right has a really interesting construction that isn’t apparent from just the front tech drawing or the photos. Check out those pattern pieces!

Burda magazine January 2014

I’m quite behind on my magazine posts – I’ve received this Burda and two Manequims while I was deep in the frenzy of launching my sewing patterns, so they got pushed to one side with all the activity. But for those of who who decide whether to buy the issues based on my reviews, here are my picks from the last Burda of (now last) year!

The most noticeable garment here is a truly horrible one-sleeved caftan dress, but hark! Is that a men’s tuxedo jacket I spy?!

Here the ladies get patterns for a bustier and an interesting draped skirt. Nothing groundbreaking, a definitely more of Burda’s “young fashion” when paired together, but definitely wearable and fitting with the New Year’s Eve party theme. But what do the blokes get? Yet another button-down shirt, identical to the ten others Burda have published in the last few years! It’s so lazy of them to just reprint the exact same shirt over and over… No wonder more men don’t sew.

Here we get a better look at the fantastic cover teeshirt/tunic with gathered side seams, paired with a great pair of narrow-legged leather trousers. The cover shirt also has the colour, illustrated instructions for this issue, too. This is definitely my Most Likely To Make for this issue, and the few versions that have popped up on the sewing internet already have looked great.

Morphing the Manequim sweater pattern to my size

If you remember from earlier in the week, my next project is to make this collared sweater from the June 2011 Manequim magazine:

Since the pattern is only in one size, “Small”, my strategy was to take an existing long sleeved teeshirt pattern that I know fits me well, trace that, then trace the neckline area from the Manequim pattern overlaid onto it and morph the two together. For simplicity’s sake, I wanted to keep the collar piece as unaltered as possible.

Here’s that wonderful diagram again showing how the Manequim pattern fits together, so we all have an idea in our head of what we’re aiming towards:

While overlaying the Manequim pattern onto mine, I wasn’t quite sure what I should use as the “frame of reference” to align the two patterns together – should I use the Centre Front & Centre Back? Or the shoulder seam/armscye corner?

In the end, it turned out that sorting out the Back first was the key to making the bigger changes on the Front piece work, since the Back of my teeshirt and the Back of this pattern were much more similar.

I’ve shaded my final pattern shapes in blue here to try to make it clearer. The original teeshirt pattern is (mostly) at the cut edge of the paper. Ignore the red lines – they were misaligned tracings!

Before New Year's…

… I want to make:

  • Clover jeans – I love the fit of my Clover trousers so much, but I don’t like the pockets or side opening. I’m altering the pattern to be more like jeans! (oh yeah – I did fix the zipper in the end…)
  • Ruby Slip – The pattern is printed and taped, but not yet traced. I have the perfect silk in my stash, and I bought some to-die-for wide lace at MacCulloch & Wallis on Friday
  • Paco’s Drape Collar Tunic – This is already traced and I’ve got the perfect purple sweater knit hanging around from last winter. This should be a quickie on the overlocker
  • Holly’s maternity maxi-dress, Burda 08/2008 #125 – The bodice is traced, I’ve done a first muslin, and the fabric is ready to go. Her birthday’s on Boxing Day, so I’m aiming early!

I’ve got to go into work on the 27th-29th, but I’ve still got a lot of days off to hole up in my sewing cave. Most years I end up making a coat over the Christmas break, but I don’t really have much need this year so I thought I’d focus my attentions elsewhere instead.

Incoming Ditto stash fillers

After sewing through my two Ditto fabrics I received at Christmas in record time, I’ve gone and ended up with five new fabrics from them! A few Saturdays ago we drove down to Brighton (via Lewes) with friends so I had to stop in at their shop in the North Laines, and then last weekend Pip gave me two more fabrics for my Christmas pressie! Yay!

Here they are:

From L to R above:

  • Mauve bamboo lycra jersey (2m at £9.99/m) – this coordinates nicely with my dark green stretch lace from Paris so I’m thinking I might use these for that Patrones pleated turtleneck
  • Dark grape lace (1m as a gift) – I’m feeling this is crying out to be a luxe skirt, but I need to find a good, beefy knit to underline it or it’d be very chilly indeed!
  • Deep purple ex-Prada wool/poly sweater knit (2m at £8.99/m) – I’m thinking I’ll use this to make the cowl tunic from the Winter MyImage magazine after seeing GlobalMom’s version on PR.
  • Grey ex-Versace wool/viscose rib knit (2m at £8.99/m) – James picked this out for some winter pyjama bottoms so he has some to wear that aren’t covered in Christmas Homer Simpson (poor man!)
  • Cherry red bamboo lycra jersey (2m as a gift) – so many options for this, so the jury is still out.

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.