White shirt: Burda 10/2008 #113

Sunday 29 November 2020

 woman wearing a white shirt, black pants and red lipstick

A white shirt may never go out of style, but it can certainly get grubby and stained beyond repair which is why I make a new one at least once a year. I wear a lot of sunscreen, and that tends to turn the cuffs and collars quite brown that even bleach can't remove. Usually I make a simple fitted button up shirt, but this time I decided to try something a little bit different with some cool details. This pattern is from Burda in 2008 when they were still Burda World of Fashion. I've made this shirt once before for my mum, and have been meaning to make myself one for at least the last decade.

This shirt pattern not only ticks all my boxes - three quarter sleeves with a button tab, raglan sleeves, vertical darts for fitting - but it also offers a little bit more with a looped tab down the front covering the button placket. It certainly adds quite a lot of interest to an otherwise simple shirt. The pattern is 10/2008 #113 which I can't see is available for download, but if you ever see this issue for sale I can highly recommend it, there are quite a few good patterns in it.

Burda sewing pattern

That looped strip was really quite simple to make - it's essentially just horizontal lines sewn to the shirt halfway between each buttonhole, and then press the fabric downwards towards the hem.

white shirt close up of buttons

close up of white shirt front

I did mess up the sewing order though - the strip should have been added before the collar, so that the top end of the extra strip would be enclosed within the shirt stand. I added mine after I had sewn the collar on, so I've done a dodgy fix of just topstitching it close to the collar stand seam line - it's clearly visible in the photo below but I doubt anyone else will get close enough to notice.

close up of a white collar shirt

The fabric I've used is a thick textured white cotton that is probably a bit too stiff for a shirt, but it helps give the looped front and sleeves a bit of structure. It means the back puffs out a bit, which I could fix by making the vertical darts a bit deeper, but I think I'll leave it because it's not too bad.

the back view of a woman wearing a white shirt

I also find the way the raglan sleeves meet together as a point on the shoulder very satisfying - it's those little details that people who don't sew will never see but it makes me happy.

close up of a shoulder seam in a white shirt

I found the sizing of this shirt to be quite generous - I made my usual size 34 at the shoulders and grading out to a size 40 at the hips. There is a lot of excess fabric around the arms - the armscye sits quite low and the sleeves are very wide. I think in a softer fabric with more drape this would be fine but it does feel a bit bunchy in this thicker fabric.

woman wearing a white shirt

I think this is a fantastic pattern, and I can't believe I waited so many years before I made it! I think the loop strip could be added to almost any shirt pattern, and ribbon could be used instead of the shirt fabric so possibly another one of these style shirts is in my near(ish) future.

woman posing in a white shirt and black pants

Shoulders that will poke your eyes out: New Look 6013

Wednesday 11 November 2020

One of the great things about sewing is that you're not limited to what's available in the shops - you can make what you want. One of the less great things is not finding out until after you've put in some time and effort that what you're making really isn't you!

I do like my work jackets to have a bit of interest about them - either a bright colour other than navy or black, or an interesting cut like a shawl collar rather than a standard notched collar. Which has led to my recently finished jacket - a shawl collar, a minty textured wool and formerly some crazy shoulders:

New Look 6013 mint green wool shawl collar jacket

I say formerly because I ended up pulling off the crazy sleeves and re-sewed on some normal fitting sleeves which is what you seen in the photo. This is New Look 6013, a pattern that is now OOP. I made the dress once before in 2018 from a polka dot linen which I still wear thanks to it being not too fitted. 


New Look 6013 sewing pattern www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The sleeve heads have an inverted pleat at the shoulder head which looks good on the model and on my dress form but just looked ridiculous on me. They shoulder head sticks out quite high above my natural shoulder level and to top it off the sleeves were quite wide and baggy too:

New Look 6013 mint green jacket shoulder www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

New Look 6013 mint green jacket pleated shoulder www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Instead I used a standard sleeve off another New Look pattern to cut out some normal sleeves to sew on. You can see the difference in shape in the photo below.

New Look 6013 sleeve comparison www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

Even though the sleeve head of the new sleeve eased nicely into the shoulder seam, I can see there are terrible drag marks on the sleeves indicating that I need to reshape the shoulder slightly. Well I won't fix this, but it's good to know for the future.

New Look 6013 mint green jacket www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

For the back view instead of cutting on the fold I added a centre back seam so I could shape the seam better to suit my curves. This together with the princess seams means I got quite a nice fit in the back:

New Look 6013 mint green jacket www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I made faux welt pockets because the jacket is so cropped it's unlikely I'll ever put my hands in them and the pocket bags would be so shallow anyway. The welts add a bit of interest to the front and even though I was worried they sit too close to the hemline I think overall they still looked balanced.

New Look 6013 mint green jacket www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The final change I made to the pattern was to insert a lining. The pattern is meant to be an unlined jacket, but with several layers of interfacing in key places like the shoulder area, princess seams that need to be clipped to be pressed open and the messiness of welt pockets I think a lining is really necessary to cover up all that internal structure. Plus being a wool jacket it will wear better with a slippery lining.

New Look 6013 mint green jacket www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

This fabric was a total bargain - bought from the Sewing Basket charity fabric store earlier this year for a few dollars. When I spied this fabric in it's beautiful minty loveliness, I was reminded of one of my favourite costumes from the movie The Dressmaker:

A photo from the movie of The Dressmaker

All I need now is some cream wide leg pants and an awesome hat and I'll be set for a glamorous return to the office when it reopens! After all these months of casual wear whilst working from home I'm actually quite eager for a bit of dressing up on the few days a week that I'll be in the office.

So my final thoughts: if you like a bit of drama then I can highly recommend this pattern to you! The shawl collar is easy to construct, the princess seams make it easy to fit and overall it's quite a nice little jacket. If like me you prefer your clothes to be a bit more subdued, the sleeve is easily interchanged and you can still have a great jacket without the wow factor.

New Look 6013 mint green jacket www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com


Brain busting dress: McCalls 7429

Tuesday 15 September 2020

I don't often sew with knits but other sewists rave about how quick and simple they are for projects. So I thought I would whip out a quick long sleeved dress whilst it is still cool here in Sydney, not that I have any where to wear it or any compelling reason for making a new dress other than for the fun of it!

white lady posing in a blue dress with red shoes in a lounge room

However, the joke was on me because this dress was not quick, simple or fun to make. At all. I like to think I'm pretty experienced and skilled - I sew Burda regularly and manage with their befuddling instructions after all! But this pattern - McCalls 7429 - took all the brain power I could muster to get it finished. It's a fairly plain straight dress with a twist in the front:

front cover of a sewing pattern showing four different versions

The pictures in the instructions and the text telling me to "pleat in fullness on lower portion of the front to fit between large circles on upper left front" just did not click for me.

sewing instructions and diagrams for making a dress

Thankfully Brittany Jones  has done two blog posts and a video on how to construct this dress which was really helpful, but it still took me several attempts to figure out how to gather the fabric in the middle and sew the right seams together. In fact I had to unpick the seams a few times before I finally got it right - is there anything more tedious than unpicking a lightning stitch in a knit fabric? Happily once the front bit of the dress is sorted everything else is pretty easy to finish.

It's also not very often that I don't recommend a pattern, but this is one of those times. Other people seem to like this pattern, but there are a few things that annoy me.

Firstly, the wrap part of the lower front dress is not very wide and tends to flap open when I walk. Luckily the under layer extends almost the whole width of the skirt so you aren't flashing too much leg, but it is annoying having it flap around. Also, my fabric is white on the wrong side so it's pretty obvious when it flips to the outside: 

white lady wearing a blue dress holding the front wrap portion open

I also don't like how the gathers from the centre waist seam tend to bunch up between my breasts and form a pleat in the front. Maybe that's caused by my rather flat chest and the fabric not needing to be stretched open across the bust, but I feel that the gathers in the front just sit weirdly. 

white lady posing in a blue dress with a twisted front

The gathers and twist at the front of the dress create a bit of bulk over my stomach, which is one area I don't need to add any bulk to right at the moment. The fabric I've used was advertised online as a ponte, but it's rather thin and more like a double knit. I think a thicker fabric like a firm ponte would be even worse, and it's probably best to stick with thinner fabrics for this pattern.

a side view of a white woman wearing a blue dress

Finally (as if all that above wasn't enough moaning!) I find this dress to be really short. I'm only average in height, and I was surprised when the raw length of this dress without the hem turned up barely reached my knees. The pattern envelope (I know, I know - you should always be sceptical about those!) shows the model's dress hitting her knees so I expected the dress to be a little longer on me. 

So all in all, this is not one of my favourite patterns and I probably won't make it again. I'm sure Burda have done a similar style, and while their instructions are probably just as likely to be as confusing I'd rather take a chance with their drafting than use this pattern again if I feel like I need another twist front dress in my wardrobe!

white woman posing in a blue twist front dress wearing red shoes standing in a lounge room

Ready for summer - wide leg linen pants

Sunday 9 August 2020

I had absolutely no reason to make a pair of summery linen pants since we've had torrential rain and cold weather lately (which is great, because we need all the rain we can get!). But since I'm at home going nowhere with more clothes than I currently need why not make whatever takes your fancy? Plus I know the warm weather is only just around the corner and this time I'll be ready if I ever go back to working in an office, going out with friends or just doing anything other than working from home.

pink linen wide leg pants Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

These are Burda 10/2016 #113, which I first made as one of my Burda of the month challenge projects:

Burda 10/2016 #113 wide leg pants

After years of wearing skinny pants, it does feel strange but also freeing to wear wide leg pants. Thankfully these aren't too wide - more just a straight leg from the hips down.

pink linen wide leg pants Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

A few years ago I was on a mission to perfect pants fitting and used a whole 10m bolt of calico making multiple muslins and I still didn't make a pair I liked. I've realised that wide leg pants like these suit my lumpy legs best the fabric just hangs straight down, but still every time I make pants I continue to make fitting adjustments.

This time I used the crotch curve of the largest size but the leg and waist sizes in my normal size, and I also increased the height of the back rise by adding a wedge and spreading the dart open to keep the crotch curve correct - I didn't do this properly last time and it made the pants gape open at the back. I've read so many resources on pants fitting I can't remember where I learnt this from, but this is what it looks like:

pants fitting adjustment to increase the height of the back Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I do love the wide curved waistband - it's quite comfortable and sits over my mum tum because these are high waist pants (well probably at the natural waistline which feels high to me!).

pink linen wide leg pants Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

And how nice is this white top? I bought it from an op shop without even trying it on thinking I could salvage the fabric for a refashion but it turns out it fits perfectly and looks smashing with these pants:

pink linen wide leg pants Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

The only thing I'm not sure on is the length of these worn with heels - these days I tend to wear flat shoes most of the time so that's the length I hemmed these to. They are perfect when worn with sneakers and flat sandals, so I guess that's what I'll have to wear with these pants

pink linen wide leg pants Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

pink linen wide leg pants Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

It's not often that I make pants and like how they look, but this pattern is a winner in my books. I've made these two times previously - firstly in 2016 in a white pinstripe cotton that sadly no longer fit and then again in 2018 in paprika linen which I do still wear frequently.

white wide leg pants Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

paprika linen wide leg pants Burda 10/2016 #113 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I never thought I'd be wearing and loving a pair of pale pink linen pants but it turns out that pink is a neutral that goes with just about any colour. As much as I love winter and the cold weather, I'm slightly looking forward to summer now so I can start wearing these pants out more than just the quick dash to the supermarket I did today!


Cozy winter dress - Simplicity 8014

Saturday 1 August 2020
It's the middle of winter here in the southern hemisphere, although it doesn't really get that cold in Sydney which means anytime of the year is the right time for a new dress! Especially when it's made from a brushed cotton / flannelette (are they one and the same?)

black and white check shirt dress simplicity 8014 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

It's not very often that I make all the versions of a pattern, but Simplicity 8014 is firming up as a favourite pattern for both of its styles of shirt dresses. I've made two versions of view A/B with a full skirt and now I've made view C. Literally I have made view C - even using the same fabric as the illustration!

I wasn't sure how this pattern would turn out because I know with my wide hips and smaller waist that patterns with a waist seam work best and look the most flattering on me. So I cut the pattern out a size larger than I needed below the waist to make sure that it would flow and drape around my widest part rather than strain across my hips and thighs. So it's a little wider than the pattern illustration but still not as wide as the full skirt version of this pattern. 

black and white check shirt dress simplicity 8014 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com
Without a belt it doesn't look too frumpy, but it does have serious night gown vibes so I think I'll stick to wearing a belt with it.

black and white check shirt dress simplicity 8014 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

black and white check shirt dress simplicity 8014 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

I really like the button tab on the sleeves to wear them folded up - it makes it look a bit more casual. 

black and white check shirt dress simplicity 8014 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com

And even though I intended this as a casual dress I couldn't help but match the plaids - it makes my eyes twitch when it doesn't work out but thankfully on this dress it did. After pre-washing this fabric it was really off grain so I had to iron it back into shape which I'm glad I did because all those seams match. Not on the shoulder seam though - matching sleeves to the bodice is super super hard!

black and white check shirt dress simplicity 8014 www.loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com
I think I've really got my money's worth out of this pattern, especially since I would have bought it during one a pattern sale. I can definitely see a few more of these dresses in both versions in my future.

So simple: Tessuti amara vest

Friday 24 July 2020
After finishing that tailored green jacket I needed to make something really quick and simple - the Amara vest by Tessuti patterns was just the thing. It probably took me longer to print out and assemble the pattern than it actually did to sew it!

A woman modelling a plum coloured vest worn over a white shirt

It's a very shapeless and boxy style but still drapes quite well so it doesn't make me look like a child in adults clothing. I made the smallest size and while it's quite wide across the body which is only really noticeable when my arms are up, but luckily I don't need to use my arms robot style too often:

A woman lifting her arms to show the width of the wool vest

The fabric I used is a felted wool bought from Addicted to Fabric in Canberra last year on a road trip with some Sydney Spoolettes to see an exhibition on the costumes from movie The Dressmaker. This pattern is exactly the project I had in mind when I bought this fabric, I just had to wait a while for someone to draft a pattern for me! 

Because the wool is felted I knew it wasn't going to fray, so I've left the bottom hem unfinished and instead of binding the neckline and sleeves I just sewed on strips of the fabric and left them on the right side. I was going to turn them to the inside and topstitch them down, but I quite like the look of the bands even though they are roughly cut so I decided to make a feature of it instead.

a close up shot of a neckline of a wool vest

a close up shot of the sleeve of a plum wool vest and a white shirt

The shirt I'm wearing underneath is one I made a few years ago but never blogged for some reason. It's made from a vintage Simplicity pattern:

photograph of an old sewing pattern cover showing four different styles of shirts

Given that it's a learn to sew pattern it was super simple. The fabric is a crisp stretch cotton, and I found some black and white buttons which is just perfect for the fabric.

a lady wearing a white and black polka dot shirt

I even managed to find some photos from three years with the same jeans - they are a bit blacker than they are now, I'm about 5kg lighter and I was still taller than my children. The good old days!

a lady wearing black jeans and a white shirt standing in front of a wrought iron door

a photo of a woman and two children in front of a colourful wall mural

So all in all a lightning quick but great project. It's surprising warm wearing a wool layer even though it's sleeveless. It might be my inner nanna coming out, but I do like a comfy vest so I can see a few more of these vests in my future.

woman standing beside a fence