La Maison Victor magazine Sept/Oct 2016

The Belgian pattern magazine La Maison Victor is usually something I hunt down while we’re in France (the Eurotunnel Calais newsagent being an reliable stockist!). But LMV expanded last year into translating in German (on top of Dutch/Flemish and French), meaning it’s available in Germany now, too.

It wasn’t quite as easy to find as the many flavours of Burda, or even Ottobre, but the major train stations in Berlin seemed to stock it, and it was the only pattern magazine I purchased during our trip. Boxing up all of my pattern magazines when I moved into my new sewing room showed me how many I have already, so I’m a bit more judicious in buying them these days – there’s got to be at least one “Must Make!” in an issue for me to buy it.

Luckily, I know La Maison Victor always has a good range of patterns, excellent illustrated instructions (you really don’t need to speak the language, honest!), and beautiful presentation, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Burda magazine July 2016

Burda definitely keep up with the seasons, but I still kinda miss the reliable rhythm that the issues used to have back in the day – January had loungewear, March was always the wedding special (the only one they’ve reliably kept!), some menswear in April, May had tons of dresses, August was the Fall fashion previews (and usually maternity, too), cocktail dresses every November, and evening gowns in December. But my least favourite was always the summery beachwear in the June and July issues, because there was pretty much nothing I could wear in an English summer, where it rarely gets about 70-75F (25C)!

But in recent years Burda have been mixing things up, and the old scheduling has given way to more unpredictable features, which I think gives more variety and appeal to a wider rare of sewists. This issue certainly has a lot more than I’d usually like from a July!

Sewing jeans against the world

Sometimes you have to just close yourself into your sewing room, try to block out the world, and just make. This weekend I closed myself in my sewing cave and emerged on Sunday with a new pair of jeans and a teeshirt.

Let’s start with the jeans – I’ve lost track, but these are probably at least the 10-15th pair of jeans I’ve sewn myself, so I pretty much know what I want and how to achieve it by now. I usually try to make at least a pair a year, as they seem to live for just over a year of hard wear before the inner thighs inevitably start to wear thin and they’re relegated into “boat work jeans”.

Sewing Bee Activewear week! (and Flash Sale!)

Before you read any further, if you haven’t watched the latest Sewing Bee episode yet, I just want to inform you that there are screenshots from the challenges in this post, but I don’t reveal who won or who lost any of the challenges, so you’re safe to read on!

This week’s episode was all about activewear, and I’ve been SO excited ever since the theme was revealed in last week’s preview. I mean, how could I not be excited! The pattern challenge this week was to sew a men’s cycling top, and it was revealed that none of the contestants had much experience with sewing lycra, either!

“Perfect”, I thought, “what a great opportunity to show the 3 million viewers that sewing activewear can be really accessible, even on your first try!” But Patrick and Esme had other ideas, pretty much talking nonstop about how difficult and fraught with peril sewing activewear is. Umm, guys, it’s really not that hard! I’ve taught loads of people to sew their first leggings and they practically dance out of the room!

Tessellate Tee pattern – on sale now in pdf format!

The response to my Tessellate Tee pattern and accompanying Add On Pack over the past few months has been wonderful, and I’ve loved seeing so many finished versions! But many of you around the world have expressed a desire to buy it digitally rather than as part of the magazine…

So I’m pleased to announce that the original teeshirt pattern which appeared in issue 23 of Love Sewing magazine plus the digital Add-On Pack are now available as a single pdf, available now!

Burda magazine March 2016

I know this issue is a bit old now (replaced by the April issue which I’ll be reviewing shortly), but it’s got some really great designs in it and I didn’t want it to just drop by the wayside because I was ill. Besides, I’ve even got the German edition, too (scroll down to see why!).

This cover makes me pine for Spring already!

First up is a pattern for a dress which looks like separates. I like that it’s both casual and can hide a large dinner underneath, which makes it pretty practical, too.

This dress cleverly has an integrated side tie like something out of Pattern Magic. I’m super excited about this pattern because I’ve kept a note of a very similar dress from the July 2012 Manequim magazine that I’ve been wanting to make for several years but frankly, I trust Burda’s drafting more, and I like the raglan sleeves on this one better than the sleeveless Manequim one, too. Definitely high on my To Sew list!

Burda magazine February 2016

Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and excitement over my Tessellate Tee pattern and Add On Pack! I’ve got so many different versions of this top to show you, both casual ones and workout ones, too. I’m really behind on photoshoots due to us sailing our boat to a new mooring (for the first time in 9 years!) and the associated stress making me vulnerable to some nasty bug that’s going round. But I’m hoping I’ll feel well enough to take some photos this weekend, and you’ll get to see some new backgrounds to the photos as well!

But in amongst all the moving melée (plus some added fun in sorting out a new gift subscription), the latest Burda magazine arrived so I thought I’d share my picks with you before it’s out of date!

Burda tend to have their style feature types they run at least once a year, and apparently this is the issue for the “done to death” urban safari styling for 2016. I’m really bored with the concept after so many years of subscribing, but there are some nice patterns here if you look beyond the khaki. I particularly like this boxy blouse, which I think looks fantastic made up in silk or any other soft, flowing fabrics. The wrap skirt isn’t terribly practical if you live in a windy city since that wrap is fully open in front and not just a deep pleat.

They’ve crammed a lot of safari separates into a single page here – a long sleeved blouse, trousers with an interesting silhouette (these two are also offered together as a jumpsuit), plus a dress version of the boxy blouse (funny how lengthening it just turns it into a big ol’ sack!) and a really tragic belted men’s safari jacket. Just… no.

Announcing the Tessellate Tee pattern!

After many months in the making, I’m super pleased to announce the arrival of my first printed pattern – but not as you’re expecting!

The Tessellate Tee pattern is a collaboration with Love Sewing magazine for a stylish teeshirt pattern which can work for either casualwear or activewear, depending on your fabric. The geometric seamlines continue on the back, and you can either choose to colourblock the pieces with three different fabrics (as shown in the magazine), or sew it all up in one fabric, or even just use two fabrics to accentuate the middle triangle or diagonal line.

Photos courtesy of Love Sewing magazine

Looking for your perfect long sleeved teeshirt for these cold winter days? The Tessellate Tee has a banded neckline and generous ease in the waist and hips, plus flattering geometric seaming on both the front and back making this top ideal for colourblocking. It can be made in a variety of stretch jersey fabrics, such as cotton jersey, wool jersey, ponte roma, sweatshirting, French terry, or supplex lycra with at least 20% crosswise stretch. 1cm (3/8in) seam allowances and 2cm (3/4in) hem and sleeve hem allowances are included.

This pattern is only available in Issue 23 of Love Sewing magazine, and is included in the printed supplement sheets with fully illustrated instructions printed in the magazine itself.

How to buy

If you’re in the UK, Love Sewing magazine is widely stocked at WH Smiths and most of the bigger supermarkets. If you live outside the UK or prefer online ordering, you can buy issue 23 here direct from the publishers, or alternatively, you can buy issue 23 from Newsstand (while it’s the current issue) may work out cheaper for some shipping destinations.

Love Sewing have posted the Size Guide & more model photos here, though if you’ve sewn my patterns before then you’ll probably already be familiar with my sizing (there’s no change here, though the top has a little more ease through the waist and hips than my XYT Workout Top or VNA Top patterns).

The Add On Pack!

Annnnnnd, if a colourblocked long-sleeved teeshirt isn’t enough for you, then you can make your tee even more workout-friendly with my Tessellate Tee Add-On Pack which is available to buy for only $2.99 (about £2)! This is less than the cost of a coffee (or a pint!) and the small pieces mean there aren’t very many pattern pages to print either.

This expansion pack for the Tessellate Workout Tee pattern allows you to add thumb cuffs onto the sleeves (without any hand sewing!), a hood with a special opening for your ponytail, and a zippered back pocket – perfect for cycling and hiking. Choose to add just one, or even all three onto your Tessellate Tee!

Manequim magazine September 2015

This Manequim magazine arrived a few weeks ago but got a little buried under the others in my magazine pile, to be honest. There are a few interesting patterns in it, but nothing that particularly screams “Make me!”, though some of that may be just seeing lots of shorts when we’re thinking about winter in this part of the world.

I’m digging the Frida Kahlo-influenced cover though!

In the celebrity style section I was drawn to the surplice-back shirt – it’s a look I’ve seen a fair amount of in RTW this year, but not very many patterns have used this detail (apart from the other view in the Sew Simple pattern I sewed recently, of course)

There’s only one page of Plus patterns this month, but you get a shift dress, some basic shorts, and panelled skirt that is so similar to Muse Patterns Tahi Skirt pattern!

I’m not sure I quite understand the point of a “blazer cape” hybrid, but the double exposure photo is cool I guess?