Tag Archives: Burda Style

Working Girl: Pure Wool Pencil Skirt

29 Jan

The thing about job-hunting is that it goes painfully slow and then suddenly very fast. After the Crafter’s Ceilidh last weekend I had a second interview on Monday then an offer through on Monday evening, and by Wednesday morning I was in the office for my first day.

During the job search I wasn’t sure what kind of environment I was going to end up in – office, retail, hospitality etc. so it was sort of hard  to start planning the appropriate clothes. Now I know it’s in a smart-casual office (the women often wear dark skinny jeans and smart tops) I can make garments appropriately, starting with this skirt I made for the interview process.

With such a tried & true pattern like Burdastyle’s Jenny this was a very fast make. The fabric is 100% pure wool bought in this stash from Walthamstow Market for £5/m and the lining from the same place for £1.50/m. The lining is my favourite part, like a hidden ray of sunshine.

This version varies from the standard pattern by removing the front darts and instead easing the front into the waistband which is cut on the straight grain rather than the bias. I also eliminated the split at the center back as I find there’s enough room to walk fine. The lining is about 2in wider than the fashion fabric for ease of wear and is gathered into the waistband front and back.

It feels pretty good to be working again and the company is an exciting and expanding one, although it’s pretty nerve-wracking being the new person and trying to read all the personal dynamics. I hope you’ll all bear with me while I adjust to the new schedule, it’s Monday to Friday for the most part and with a whole hour for lunch (in NZ 30 minutes is pretty standard) I’m going to trial posting at lunchtime.

Also progressing nicely, is the new blog design and move to the lazystitching.com domain. Watch this space and hopefully next Monday I can announce the launch!

Sunshine + Storm Clouds

14 Dec

Ah, the infamous hanger shot; often a sign things have gone horribly wrong.

This is the blouse pattern from the new Burda Style Book. It’s a gorgeous pattern and obviously it’s been well tested as they show a dozen examples from sewn around the world.


Sadly somewhere in my alterations I screwed up and it looks dreadful on me. The back fits great but the front is just a horrible ill-fitting mess.

The fabric is a lovely sunny mustard poly and the lace yoke is a scrap left over from my white lace tee. I’m kicking myself for not buying more of it as it’s really lovely to handle and according to the salesman it takes dye well too. Coincidently, it seems Toast must have got their hands on a few bolts because they’ve used this exact lace to make this dress (I couldn’t find a close-up of it but I inspected it in the shop) selling for a whopping £159. I think I paid £4.50 per metre.

So bummed.

Fall Palette Challenge: Double-knit Pencil Skirt, Two Ways

9 Dec

Just a quick post today which is very appropriate given these skirts can be easily whipped up in an evening.

There really isn’t a lot to add as I’ve already sung the joys of both double-knit (Bonus Christmas Dress, Amazing Fit Dress, Gertie Dress) and Burdastyle’s Jenny Skirt pattern (here, here, here, and more).

I found the fabric during this trip to Walthamstow market for £2.20/metre from Classic Textiles which is a stupidly good price.

I bought a metre and a half, just planning on making this classic version (only alterations were addition of a back vent and halving the waistband height) but there was enough left over make the mini version(ok so this counts as mini for me) below.

For the second skirt I used the jenny pattern and all the length of the fabric left over. From the scraps I cut a strip the length of my waist measurement and about 3in wide. I used an invisible zip on both skirts and this double knit has enough stretch that I was able to use it to make a standard waistband. Then on a whim I added little patch pockets to the front.

This is probably the most realistic picture of what I wear most days. It was just a whim to make this version but I swear it has become one of the most worn thing in my wardrobe.

4 hours, £3, 2 skirts, 1 very happy camper.

Ps. Yup, I’m still working on the Colette Pattern Fall Palette Challenge. You can see the details and progress so far by clicking the ‘Fall Wardrobe‘ link at the top of the page.

The Sew Grateful Dress: Vintage Simplicity 4908

6 Dec


The gorgeous and gracious Debi, who I’m sure you all know from her blog My Happy Sewing Place and her work on the Sew Weekly, recently hosted a challenge in celebration of Thanksgiving.

The instructions were to use a piece of fabric or pattern you had won or been gifted or to use a tutorial from another blogger in the spirit of saying thanks to the collaborative community that we are all a part of. And lucky me, the day after reading Debi’s Sew Grateful challenge, I won a blogiversary giveaway of two vintage patterns from Amy of Sewing Through the Motions.

I decided to make Simplicity 4908, which according to the Vintage Patterns wiki is from the early to mid 60′s.


The dress has a princess seamed bodice and kimono sleeves. The front panel and the belt are all cut as one piece and it finishes at the back with a bow. Which makes me feel a little like I’ve accidentally made a bridesmaid dress…

Image via Aeva Couture

I blame Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Still, I think a 60′s vintage dress in coral sounds just lovely so I didn’t let that put me off. Nor did I get defeated by the amount of pattern alterations that were needed.

To start with, I graded it from a 36in to a 41in bust before tackling the full bust adjustment. Frustratingly because of all the angles involved in the side front panel it just wouldn’t come together so instead I created a new pattern from a hodgepodge of ones I already knew fit.

The first pieces I needed were for the shoulder princess-line bodice, so I grabbed my Sewaholic Pendrell blouse. Next the kimono sleeves, which came from the white lace tee I made a few weeks ago.  I fit the pendrell pieces under the bust (it’s usually a loose blouse) then cut the side panel at the midriff to mimic the curve on the original piece. The bottom of the side panel attached to the front piece. The kimono sleeve addition was pinned to the side panel before tracing it off again and adjusting the seam allowance.

The back piece was the only originally graded piece I used, except for the bow. The only change made was to make the neckline scooped rather than V- or bateau necked. I continued the belt from the front piece around the back tracing the outline of that piece.

The skirt I adapted from Burdastyle’s Jenny Pencil Skirt, and the pockets came from another pattern.

You can see the original pieces above and below you can see how they sort of piece together.


In the end, it came together pretty well despite all the improvisations. By the time I’d made all the changes, a muslin might have killed me so I just went ahead and whipped it up but next time I’l remove a little length under the bust and definitely add more ease at the hips.

Still for my first attempt at sewing a vintage pattern, I’m chuffed.


The Brumby-Blue Dress: BurdaStyle 9/2011 #104

22 Nov

This dress is blue. Like, really blue. And you know who likes blue? One of my favourite blogging friends Brumby.

Brumby was the first blogger I got to know after setting up this blog. She writes on sewing, sustainability and a million other fantastically random musings over at utbwb. And she makes gorgeous jewellery like this.

If you’re speedy, you can enter the give-away she is hosting which encourages being good human beings (closes Friday NZT).

As soon as I saw this fabric my brain went directly there, though I think it was all the subliminal messaging of her summer palette pins. And so this dress is now known as the Brumby-blue dress.

The pattern:

We had a few disagreements, this pattern and I. Some parts were delightful like the perfectly drafted waistline pleats that aligned like a dream, and some, like inserting an invisible zipper into six layers of gathers and fabric were not.

The magazine version is made from chiffon so actually has even more layers than my dress as many pieces are double-layered.

I imagine if I’d tried to use chiffon I would still be in a corner somewhere rocking in the foetal position. As it was, the zipper almost killed me  it and I would have given up if not for all the lovely advice from you folks. You’ll have to take my word for it that it does up because it won’t win any contests and I refuse to take a detail shot of it.

Here is a picture of a puppy instead – believe me, you will feel better than if it was a picture of a zip.

via Cuteoverload.com

Once I got over my tantrum, the rest was straight forward and I’m quite pleasantly surprised with the result.

Do you have piles of UFOs or do you diligently finish everything you start?


Temper Tantrums + Invisible Zips

9 Nov

 I considered putting myself to bed with no supper and here is why…

I’m making a dress from the September Burda Magazine. This one to be precise.

Only I’ve graded it up 10in and made a full bust adjustment and it’s not chiffon but it is an equally shifty fabric which I don’t really have enough of.

And it’s been one of those projects where the first step is follow the burdastyle “instructions*” and step two is to use your quick-unpick to undo step one.

But I got there in the end… or atleast almost there. I’ve put the invisible zipper in but that bastard just won’t play ball. With a lot of callous creating effort I can just get it up when I’m not wearing it, however, I’m not dexterous enough to manouver it once I put it on.

Much swearing and scowling, ensued. I may have stamped my foot.

The problem lies at the waistband where at one point there is effectively 6 layers of fabric, gathers and interfacing to bend around.

I’m sending out a plea for help, has anyone found a miracle cure for this? Or will the dress simply fail at the final hurdle?

I’m going to sleep on it before it kills me.

This picture bemuses me…

18 Oct

All images from burdafashion.com

This is a preview image from the November Burdastyle Magazine and when I came across it, I admit I did a double take.

The first thing was the cigarette she’s inhaling. I guess it’s a sign of the times that smoking is so rarely seen in print now that it seemed so odd. When I was 8 years old, a tobacco advertising ban came into effect in New Zealand, so I always find it strange to see cigarette ads in magazines, and whist this, of course, is not an advertisement, for me it fits in the same category. It’s not that I think a child will see this image and be inspired to start smoking, it’s just that it seems like such an antiquated idea to use it as a prop in their annual ‘formal gown’ section like it’s a sign of all things glamorous.

Is it just me who finds it weird?

On to the second confounding thing in the image – it doesn’t show you much of the dress now, does it? It’s a shame, really, because when you actually see it, it’s a stunner.

My favourite pattern in the November issue.

Not really done justice by the stylist making the unclad cigarette lady clutch it to her bosom.

Floral Straight Skirt: BurdaStyle October 2011-136

16 Oct

The Pattern: Burda Magazine October 2011-#136.

Size: 52 – No alterations.

Fabric: Floral Cotton-Sateen remnant from Ditto Fabrics.

I was on the hunt yesterday for something simple but pretty to wear for my sister’s birthday dinner and this skirt fit the bill perfectly. The fabric has been in my stash a little while after picking it up from the remnant table at Ditto fabrics on a trip to Brighton and I was quite happy to put it into use.

The pattern is from the plus section of October’s Burda Magazine is really just 6 panels with a side zip. It is lined rather than using facings and although the back has two vents, the lining is cut to finish above them so you don’t frazzle your brain attaching it.

In fact, the only thing that required creative thinking was the hem.

The skirt is shaped by the curves of the panels meaning the circumference at the hem is smaller than were it’s folded.

In the end, I unpicked the seams between the top stitching and spread them apart so they sat flush before stitching each panel in place which left everything neat and tidy inside.

On to the fit – for the first time I made a straight size 52 without any alterations which fit fine size-wise although I have a small issue with the shape.

Every figure has it’s quirks to work around and one of mine is a large high hip that juts abruptly out as you can see in this picture.

This means that skirts and pants that sit below the natural waist and with no waistband sit oddly on my hips like my Suedette Skirt (A-line skirts are the worst).

For styles like this I definitely don’t tuck in my top and style-wise, high-waisted pencil skirts are a better way to go (this is where I sing the praises of BurdaStyle Jenny yet again).

Computer Croquis + Pattern Illustration Tutorial

1 Oct

Boy, that’s a mouthful but I really wasn’t sure what to call it!

This is a demonstration of how I made the illustrations for the Fall Palette Challenge wardrobe below.

(I just wish to apologise in advance if anyone who actually knows what they’re doing with this stuff is reading. It was developed through true trial and error style so there will quite probably be better ways of doing it)

For the demo I’ve chosen this dress from the July Burda magazine because it has some interesting details to show.

As for the software, I use a free program called paint.net that works for most of the things I want to do. I am sure if you have photoshop that will work a lot better, though. Whichever program you choose just make sure you can do layers with it.

Click to enlarge.

The first thing you want to do is open an image of your croquis. This fabulously curvy one came from Amarina at Ursa Major.

I wanted to have the pattern beside it for reference so I increased the canvas  size {Click Image Menu – Canvas Size – then double the width} and pasted it beside.

Create a new layer above the back ground image {Layers box – bottom left icon with the green plus sign}

Choose the main colour you want the garment to be from the colour box then select the line/curve tool {Tools Box – Third from bottom on right}.

Use this tool to draw the first style line of your garment. For this dress I’m starting at the neckline.

The line is straight to begin with so don’t worry about the shape, just make sure it starts and ends where you want it to.

When you’ve drawn the line, you’ll see four dots appear on it. These can be dragged around in any direction to create the curve.

Continue with this tool until all your outline is marked.

Hint: Make sure all the corners connect up otherwise the next step won’t work.

Now select the paint bucket from your Tools Box and fill in the garment.

In the Colors Box click on “More” then make your shade a smidge darker using the slider marked “V”.

We will use this shade to mark the style lines of the item. To do this you could use the paint brush but I like the irregular effect of the Free-form Shape tool {Tools Box – Bottom Right}.

Now you can use a darker shade to create the shadows mostly on one side of the garment using the Free-form Shape Tool.

Add highlights to the opposite side with a lighter shade.

That’s the dress done but I want to give her some hair. To do that I follow the same process with shadows and highlights.

The finishing touch is to hide the remaining visible croquis lines at the neckline. At this point you can make small adjustments too.

I used the paintbrush tool with white to cover the lines and then used the line/curve tool to lower the neckline a little.

That’s it you’re done.

You can either save the image as a .jpg or .png file which will flatten it to one layer, or you can save it as a .pdn file which retains the layers. I have both and in the next post I’ll show you why (hint: I have way too much time on my hands).

So I hope that explains it, but feel free to ask any questions or suggest ways to do it better :)

xo Alana





Oh, Ugly Pants!

14 Jun

I have some weird obsession with ugly ‘trendy’ clothes. Think jumpsuits, bubble skirts and harem pants… pretty much anything featured on The Man Repeller. It’s not that I necessarily want to add these items to my wardrobe it’s just that they fascinate me… like watching a trainwreck or American Idol. It’s horrific but I can’t turn away.

I say all of this in explanation for the pants I sewed this weekend. I did consider not posting these but then I saw the following comment from someone on BurdaStyle on a similar pattern and I couldn’t resist!

A DON'T like this demands a Black Bar!

“Still dont know whether to make this or not, sometimes these pants look like you’ve pooed a microwave or something but other times theyre cute! hmm :P”

- queenorivers


…….. yup!

(but oh so comfy)


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