The Burda meets Armani coat – muslin FAIL

I absolutely LOVE the Burda magazine September 2010 issue. Loved it from the first second I saw the technical drawings, and now, several issues later, I’m still not seeing much that tops it. I literally have 11 or 12 must-sew patterns from it, and one of them is the Tall coat, #118.

As you recall, when I was in New York, I saw an eerily similar coat in the window of the Armani 5th Avenue store, and this sealed the deal – I must make this coat using my super thick, ex-Burberry dusty teal coating that’s been in my stash since last winter!

I don’t make muslins for a lot of things, but when the fabric is expensive, or can’t easily be resized (like leather), or if there’s a lot of work involved before a fitting can be made, then I’ll grumble and moan and make a muslin first rather than waste my nice fabric (and time!) and get any fitting issues out of the way first.

Let’s get down to the instructions first – Burda’s instructions aren’t too bad on this one EXCEPT for the zippered inseam pockets – they are absolutely nuts, and account for a good third of the instructions for the entire coat. But the instructions are besides the point, because if you jam your hands into your winter coat pockets when you walk like I do, you really don’t want metal zipper teeth digging in to the backs of your hands! So leaving off the zippers not only saves you time, but makes for a much more usable coat.

Manequim April & May 2010

Are you ready for some exquisite eye candy? Remember when I showed you my one and only Manequim magazine last year, and I raved about how amazing the designs were? Well, Susannah from Cargo Cult Craft came over for Crafternoon and brought not one but two issues of Manequim with her that a friend recently brought back from Brazil!

And she is WAY nicer than I am, because she actually let me borrow them! I can’t believe she let these pretties out of her sight for a week while I scanned and traced like a mad woman… I actually only ended up tracing three patterns, but I scanned a lot more so I could go back and draft others in my size when the inspiration strikes. Manequim may have an amazingly talented design team, but the sizes offered are really limited – usually only one size per each design, with a few patterns being offered in three sizes. Not to mention that the roadmap pattern sheets are crazy to trace from. They make the new Burda sheets look like child’s play…

So thanks to Susannah, we can all have a few minutes of total escapism, as we marvel at the inventiveness in these designs (no really, some of the pattern shapes are mental!).

Manequim April 2010

I actually rather liked the dress shown on the cover, until I saw in the tech drawing that the ruffles extend from the shoulder down to mid-thigh, and are only being held in by the belt. As far as I’m concerned, belts should never be required for a dress to look good!

Christmas Present – yellow leather & tweed handbag

While my mom was staying with us over the summer, she absolutely fell in love with my mustard yellow handbag and called dibs on something (anything!) made from the remaining leather. Since I didn’t have enough to make another Nairobi bag, I started looking through my stash and fashion mags to get some inspiration, and lo! from the Feb 09 Burda WOF “Australia The Movie” accessories feature (not on the website I’m afraid), there was the perfect handbag, already in yellow even!

There were only two pattern pieces to trace – the main bag body (I doubled the paper pattern so it was the full size rather cut than on the fold to make it easier to lay out on the leather) and the small flap. All the other pieces were rectangles of various dimensions that Burda list in the instructions – the only one I actually used was the piece for the side and bottom of the bag.

Mustard yellow leather bag

This bag was long overdue, so I finally managed to squeeze in another HotPatterns Nairobi bag this weekend, made for about the 6th time now(?) I think!

It was originally a download-only freebie pattern, but it’s been long discontinued until a few weeks ago, when they started selling it again in paper form for a limited time! I highly, highly recommend getting this pattern if you don’t have it already!

I find it’s really difficult to photograph bag linings once they’re done, so I’ve taken some photos of the lining before assembly so you can clearly see my pockets!

A sunny bamboo top and matching headband

I don’t buy fabric very often, but I recently fell headfirst into a few sales of shops which stock one of my all-time favourite fabrics, bamboo jersey! So my stash has been replenished and you can expect to see quite a few bamboo jersey garments over the next few months. But first to hit my machine was some sunny yellow bamboo jersey from Lamazi Fabrics. The “mustard” colourway appears to be out of stock now but they have some other colours in the Allure bamboo jersey range.

I absolutely love wearing the bamboo teeshirts I’ve made over the years so I only bought 1m, thinking I’d probably just want to sew a standard teeshirt again. But I had been tempted by the unique, pleated sleeves on the Forget Me Not Patterns “Iris Tee” since it came out, and I thought it might be a nice way of adding a bit of flair to an average tee.

Ramie shorts and a mint ribbed top

I’m sorry guys, it’s my fault! I turned the weather to freezing, non-stop rain by sewing a pair of shorts. 😭 (insert jokes about English “summers” here)

But I was inspired by some recent fabric shopping at both Textile Express and Lamazi Fabrics and I really wanted to make this set as soon as possible – and hoped the weather would rise to the challenge, but it did not. In any case, the garments have thankfully turned out better than I’d hoped, and I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of both as soon as it warms up and dried out.

Tokyo-inspired cycling bib shorts

You heard all about my three-piece cycling set as a whole yesterday, but today I want to talk specifically about the bib shorts that I wore to ride up the virtual Mont Ventoux on Saturday.

For these I used our very own Rouleur Leggings pattern using the shorts option and the bib waist treatment (so essentially it’s View B). I wanted the Tokyo-inspired print from Funkifabrics (on their Life Recycled base fabric) to be the star of the shorts here so I used that for most of the pattern pieces, but I used the Discovery Fabrics’ Yoga Stretch in “Rust Berry” for the leg band and the bib for a nice bit of contrast.

Black linen Pietra trousers

I bought the Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants pattern when it came out last summer, and even had it printed up in A0 shortly after, but only just not got around to sewing it up for myself, and I have no idea how I managed without them this long!

I decided to make them up in a black washed 100% linen from Textile Express (bought at the same time as the yellow ramie for my Cielo Top). My friend was like “linen trousers – in winter??” but this linen is a really nice, hefty weight that is perfectly warm enough for English winters. Absolutely not the thin drapey stuff you’d wear on a tropical holiday!! I’ve been trying to buy more sustainable and/or recycled fabrics and linen is one of the best sustainable fabrics out there. The downside, of course, is that linen = wrinkles! So please forgive that these are wrinkly in the photos purely because I’d been sat at my desk in the office for half a day before we took these!

A reflective wool jacket

Buckle up, because the story of this jacket starts four years when I received a remnant of Dashing Tweeds “Urban Shadow” tartan coating from a friend for Christmas. Now, if you’re not familiar with Dashing Tweeds, they’re a really cool company who’ve revived old tartan and twill patterns and modernised them with great colours and even some reflective threads woven in. The remnant I received was one of these “Lumatwill” designs, and has reflective threads running along all the horizontal yellow lines in the design.

A steel grey Zadie jumpsuit

I’ll admit it – I thought jumpsuits were going to be a passing fad when I started seeing them popping up a few years ago (Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim was definitely at the forefront of this!). But it’s been several years and they don’t show any sign of stopping, and I even made myself one a few years back. I didn’t wear it much, though – not for being a jumpsuit, but for having an overly long crotch that irritated my thighs – and it’s since gone into the great charity shop bag in the sky.

I share all this only to illustrate that I’ve got a checkered personal history when it comes to sewing jumpsuits. But when the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit pattern was released, I knew I wasn’t done with jumpsuits just yet. It had all the right details – a flattering wrap-style bodice that made it easy to get in and out of, big pockets, and a casual-yet-dressy vibe that I just couldn’t shake. And that my girl Sanchia was the model for it was just the cherry on top!!

So I bought it, followed quickly by some fabric earmarked for it – this heathered rayon/viscose twill from Mood Fabrics, which I brought back in my suitcase from the States last month. In total this fabric cost me $50 (about £40), which seems reasonable considering the final garment and the wears it’s gotten already.