The Parisienne Dress, Burda Magazine: 8-2009 #128

I was talking with my girlfriend Julia this week about what women are supposed to wear in the winter. She went shopping and everything and she meant everything was sleeveless.

This dress is great for winter as you can wear the long sleeves! After seeing Elaine’s and meli88a’s and knew I was going to have to make it up. I noticed on the French site for Burda the comments thought the model was a perfect Audrey Hepburn. I was thinking of this dress as very Jackie O. Funny, right?


I started this dress over the long MLK weekend with two yards of a beautiful teal wool from the Carol Collection. This isn’t a color I normally wear. But, I actually get most of my fashion advice from you guys. You always tell me to wear more jewel tones and better shoes🙂 So, here I am in a jewel tone I wouldn’t normally pick and in a new pair of Mary Janes! I’m so susceptible to peer pressure🙂

Luckily, the dress isn’t too poochy around the stomach. I don’t know how I feel about the tulip shape on me per se. But, I do like the gathers.


This pattern was a first for me. Burda includes facings that are meant to be sewn to the lining. Well, first let me say Burda’s lining instructions are just for the bodice — not even the sleeves. I lined the dress throughout using their facing and I LOVE how it looks! This is the way Ready to Wear dresses look (I think they do. It’s been so long since I’ve bought a lined dress from the store). The lining is from my $1 a yard buy at Jomar in Philly. Trena says it’s noisy. And, it is noisy like taffeta. You can definitely hear me coming! I bought 10 yards of it and I’m down to the last one.

I also bagged the lining on the sleeves — so to speak. I was so thrilled to finally accomplish this in my coat that I wanted to try it again. It’s nice not to have two layers shifting about.


  • 1/2 inch FBA. I really need to get better at these when they aren’t princess seams.
  • 1 inch swayback adjustment
  • I traced the 40 and graded to the 44 at the thigh and gave myself a 1 inch seam allowance
  • Added 7 cm to the width of the sleeve. I don’t think I have large arms, but it’s a given that I’ve got to bump up with Burda.
  • Took almost 2 inches of length out from Center Front. The skirt was totally drooping on me — making the pleats incredibly unattractive.


Zipper. Which despite a 100 zippers, I didn’t have a teal. I bought this one from Sew True.  While zippers are invisible, I find that I can still see bits of them, especially at waist seams. So, I prefer them to match as closely as possible


This one is purchased from ASOS. I find the ribbon darling, but didn’t have any on hand and haven’t made it to the store. Plus, I need more cinching than I think the ribbon can allow.

I’m tempted to take another inch or so off the dress and peg it a hair more. I’ll see how I like it by the end of the day. My goal in 2011 is to SHOW MY KNEES! There are so many ways to accessorize this dress! You can rock the pearls for a Jackie O look. Brooch is perfect for business. Big earrings make it fun.  Plain belt keeps it classic. Chunky belt to modernize. Nice, basic dress. Perfect for work!

My JacketCoat: Burda Magazine 10-2010-107

While sitting at my desk wearing my Jacket/Coat, the scheduler says, “Oh, you still have your coat on. I guess your not planning on staying.” Hillarious. Yeah, it kind of looks like a coat. But, I’m wearing it as a jacket!! The fabric is really not that thick, but it is fulled so it appears to be thicker than it is. Later, she told me the contrast shawl collar looked like a scarf to her. Ha!

The pattern calls for wool velour. I’m not quite sure what that is. And, I honestly didn’t check the fabric suggestion before deciding to use this plum wool. I purchased it with Carolyn and Metro Textiles back in November 2007 at my first PR Weekend. Holy cow. I’d never spent so much money in my life on fabric. Hmm, happy to report that I’ve sewn all of those knits. And, now — just one of those wovens.  Oy.

My roots are awful. I swear I'm coloring them this week.

The pattern calls for a split collar. I’m not sure the design feature is noticeable enough to pursue it in future. I made mine in a contrast wool from the Carol Collection as I was short on material.

The entire coat is interfaced with a light knit fusible interfacing. The pattern called for the pockets, fronts, underams and upper sleeves to be interfaced.

Ha! I look like a flasher.

I did line the jacket. It’s not pretty (up close) but it’s done.  I don’t often make jackets nevermind line them. Mostly because of this hot mess. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me two years to try another.

The shoulders were too long on me by one inch. I reduced them 1/2 inch. That’s about the only alteration I’ve made (and could have taken more out of the right).

I made a two inch swayback adjustment.

From the side, it’s clear you are all right and I need to add length back to the bottom.

Carolyn is right. It’s so warm and cozy. Yet professional looking I don’t care if it looks like a coat or not🙂

Pattern Review: Burda Magazine 2-2010-127

Considering I started this Burda 2-2010-127 dress well over two months ago, it feels like a joke that I’m *just* finishing it this morning! Yeah. So, here’s the thing. I traced it during the big snowstorm. Then, things got busy and I would work on it every so often. Then, the sleeves were too small and the collar lopsided. After I recut the sleeves and re-sewed the collar, it started warming up and I figured I wasn’t going to wear long-sleeved blue-grey wool dress in summer. I mean, it was 90 degrees last week! Well, today — barely 50 and it was 30 something overnight. So, this morning I got up and figured I could insert a zipper, hem the skirt and sleeves all before leaving for work and wear my wool shirtdress one time before the season was over.

I LOVE THIS DRESS!! But (yeah. There is always a “but”). I didn’t line it because I was lazy and wanted to finish up faster. That means it wrinkles much easier than something lined would. And, when I recut the seams, I caught some moth damage on both sleeves. I didn’t realize it until way too late. And, it’s on both sleeves. I’ll back it with some interfacing tonight and make this a dry clean only dress.

The dress has a side zipper, which I’m starting to love. I can’t tell you how often I get to work and someone tells me my dress isn’t zipped up.

Of course, there is my NOTCHED COLLAR. My FIRST. I’m shouting, because I’m tooting my own horn so loudly over a NOTCHED COLLAR that I can’t hear myself think.

I did my usual swayback adjustment. Which was perfect for this since it already had a CB seam. I also was lucky enough to use fabric from the Carol Collection. So, this dress was pretty much FREE!!

Here it is without the belt. I do think it needs the belt for shape (unless you are very slim / straight on the bottom. Which, we all know I’m not). I don’t have a skinny belt.

The pattern calls for elastene fabric. I did cut a 40 — which I think is pretty much my new mid-30s size. IT fits. It’s snug across my rear. But, well, everything is. Seriously, this summer I need to learn a better adjustment for my thighs. Again, I shaved the hip curve down. But, still need more depth at the thighs.

Whew. Two finished projects in one week! What is the world coming to? Now, seriously. I have to sew for some other people. At least that  boring duvet cover for a friend.

The Pink Kimono

Can you believe I was STILL waiting for my June 2009 BWOF when Trena sent me a photo of her muslin of 6-2009-110??  Seriously. Sometimes I think the women at the post office are thumbing through that and my US Weekly before they deliver it to my house.

For this project, I used a light pink suiting from the Carol Collection. It’s darker than it appears in the photo, but is overexposed in today’s SUNSHINE. YES!! My friends, there is no rain today and we finally have SUNSHINE in Baltimore!  But, I digress. To break up all the pink, I made the bands in navy blue. This way, it would coordinate with the navy plaid silk tie fabric I was making the #151 obi from.

The dress is unlined so I serged the inside seams. Because the fabric is see through — and opaque with two layers, I left out the pockets. Also, on me, the pockets didn’t seem to hit at the right spot. I had no interest in lining this dress. None.

I should also mention that I struggled with the facing. It was several inches too small. So, I cut it out a second time and added several inches.

There are four snaps at the top. These came to me courtesy of Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics. I made a plea on PatternReview on where to find HUGE snaps and she answered!  I also needed two more snaps lower on the dress or you could see my vajajay when I walked and sat. For those, I used used light plastic pink ones from NYC. The plastic ones are about a quarter each, hard to open and close and feel like they might break. Ann’s are strong yet lightweight and retail for $3 a pop.

I did start to cover the snaps, but realized it was a big hassle and it didn’t bother me for them to not be covered with lining fabric.

In the photo below, you can see what I mean when I say the obi is too big. The dark solid navy are the side pieces, and clearly start in the middle of my back. I’m not motivated enough to alter it — yet. But, when I make another, I could easily take three to six inches out of the obi. I, um, also forgot to leave a slit for the belt to slip through in the back.

The other thing to be aware of is that the armsyce is super low to accommodate the kimono style. It will also cause some natural blousing of the upper bodice (see above. that’s why my skirt looks crooked) over the belt.  Because of this the, belt rides low, and this hikes the skirt up higher than you might think. Even though I added the correct length to the dress, it’s still a wee bit shorter than I’m comfortable with for work.  So, you want to make it longer initially for safety.

When I tried it on yesterday, it felt a little like a robe. But, I think that’s the nature of a kimono-style garment in the west. I QUITE like it and feel very chic and extremely retro. It’s not as baggy as the #107 dress. I’m working on a new Japan related project in the office, so I should fit right in during the next few weeks!

Just Skirting Around

“Every now and then your wardrobe needs an injection of something, new, trendy and fun.  That was the thought when we spied the pencil skirts shown in the large graphic prints and florals in the June 2009 issue of Lucky Magazine.  These skirts provide a great way to update a classic…so with that photo spread and a little conversation…we were ready to create our own versions.  Following are our individual interpretations of an updated yet classic pencil skirt.”

Inspiration:  A feature in Lucky Magazine highlighting the pencil skirt done in large scale prints/graphic prints.

The ChallengeCreate a pencil skirt that works on our own body and use a bold print.

Participants are Carolyn, Diary of a Sewing Fanatic;  Me, LindsayT, Lindsay T Sews (Again); and Marji Fiber Arts Afloat. (Marji proposed the challenge after reading Carolyn’s post of May 9 and asked a few fellow sewists she emails and talks to regularly if they wanted to participate.)

For me, the challenge is in just making a skirt. I never really made them and seemed to skip to far more complicated garments years ago. So I am generally uncomfortable with my skirt fitting and construction issues (discussed below) for skirts.

The skirt:


Pattern used: ‘vintage’ BWOF from June 2002, #104 (6-2002-104)

Fabric / Fabric source:
White waffle weave pique from the Carol Collection with graphic red and black flowers. It’s bold and graphic, but not necessarily a LARGE scale print.

Construction details:

I have loved this skirt since it first ran seven years ago. I’ve said before that I don’t make a lot of skirts. Mainly because I don’t have tops to go with them and the vicious cycle of no separates continues. I also don’t make a lot of skirts ‘cuz I think a lot of what I see is b-o-r-i-n-g. So, when I make a skirt, I do it for the details.

On this one, it was the side button placket. First, it provides visual interest and second, it prevents me from having to work with a slit which I still have not mastered.  It also appears that I need to learn the ‘my skirt hikes up in the back’ adjustment due to my swayback and my Jamaican caboose. A syndrome I see all over the streets of Baltimore.

I will be looking for some different buttons though. These blend in a bit too much. If I were making this same skirt again, I would have worked the buttonholes in a different  color than  white.

Because the skirt is white, I chose to underline with white cotton batiste and line it with a tan Bemberg Rayon — rendering it Princess Diana proof. And, I’ve finally got a handle on the blind hem function of my Kenmore!

Here’s the back (All my RTW tops look like this H&M one with pooling at my waist). My version has a CB seam so I could take a horizontal tuck for my swayback.

Skirts also sit higher on my front than on my back (another swayback issue) — which causes some not pretty pulling across the front.

** In the photo above, there are two less buttons. I took photos Monday morning,  wore the skirt to work and decided to add two more buttons after I got home. I wore the skirt to work on Monday and have compliments from the first three women I saw. A success I say! But, I really need to master some basic skills for skirts. I never like making them because of lining and fit. I want to be like my girl Trena with her 50+.

** Pay no attention to the junkyard grass in the background. I was going to mow this weekend, but cut my hand slicing that  baguette I just *had* to have on Sunday and I was too cheap to submit to the THIRTY DOLLAR extortion the kid across the street  wanted to mow my 20 sq ft of grass. That, and I hate yardwork.

Well, Hello Sailor!

Well, I didn’t want to wait another week or more until I get it back. And, I’m sure I’ve built this dress up so much it won’t live up to expectations, lol.  So, let’s just pull off the band aid? I know this is a simple garment and I wouldn’t think twice about having whipped it up from a straight pattern. But, I am so proud that I took this class and finally ‘get it’.   I’m really looking forward to making garments with more design elements and feeling confident enough to copy RTW.

So, without further ado, here’s the dress on a school dressform (I don’t have one). It’s a size 8 dressform but is lacking my curves. But, it was due and I just took pics at school. I probably should have used a 10. This was the first time I understood why someone makes a small bust adjustment! I also took advantage of the huge bay windows on campus so I could get enough light to get the camera to focus.

All outer fabric is from the Carol Collection (yay!).

Original Garment

Front w. belt

Front w.out belt

Back. There is a problem in my draft in that the bottom of the skirt swing out. Like slightly too much fullness. You can also kind of tell from here how curved my back is compared to the dressform.

Close up of belt and ruffle. Ruffle is 3 inches wide, graduating to 6 inches wide. So much starch there is a new hole in the ozone layer.

French dart at side seam. Excellent info from Els at The Sewing Divas

Lining. Poly silky from Joann’s. $4 a yard on the red tag table. I, love, love, love this lining. Summerset used it for an awesome vintage dress (check the link). We are both polka dot and red fiends.

The best zipper finish I’ve ever had

Silk organza underlining.  This, the twill tape and poly horsehair great recommendations from Ann.

Twill tape along ruffle insertion to keep the ruffle line straight.

Polyester horsehair braid along the hem to prevent wonkiness

I’m going to enter this in to the ‘My Pattern’ contest. I know at the end of the day that this is a simple garment, but I am so proud of myself I’m bursting at the seams. You know I’ve been dying to do something with red, white and blue for a over a year now. Maybe I’ll build a summer wardrobe around these colors? When I took my project in, I talked to my instructor about my sloper fit issues. When I get back from Portland, I’m bringing in all my muslins and we’re going to work on a new draft! It’s gonna be a great summer!

I won’t be blogging while I’m gone, but I’ll be tweeting. My updates are protected, but you can find me as BaltoCidell on Twitter.

Don’t make this skirt

** Blogger and I are fighting today. First time I posted the photos were ginormous. Now, they are small on screen but will open up big. We regret the trouble.

Ugh. Alright. Here’s the thing. I tried making this skirt about seven years ago when it first came out. The pleat was wonky and I pitched the whole project.

Same issue in 2008. But, the wool was from the Carol Collection and I was not going to let it go to waste! I had to decrease the pleat in the skirt by half to get it to lay right and not splay open. I must have cut it off grain because the left side (your right) keeps bulging out and then charmingly dipping in. Or maybe decreasing the pleat screwed it up. I don’t know but I spent hours yesterday futzing with it before giving up and wearing it to work today AS IS.

Maybe next winter I’ll take out all the stitching on the sides, reinforce it with interfacing and put it back together. This skirt shouldn’t take more than two hours to make. I spent about five on it piddling around. I could REALLY like this skirt if that side wasn’t acting a fool.

Also, trust me, it only works on my body with a cropped sweater. Hence the American Eagle henley (I think I’m too old to shop in there now). Can you believe this shirt is an XL? Crikey.

The one thing I like, I did a great swayback adjustment using the BWOF method. Just slice through the tip of the dart and overlap how much you need. I have to say I like how perky my, er, assests are in this.

Thank you ALL for the help on the knitting. I started a simple scarf with just a lot of purling and some stripes. I decided my knitting should be limited to socks and scarves. Those are manageable projects, right? It’s slow going and I need to order circular needles. My wrist is killing me.

You guys rock! Thank you for the generous comments on the white tuxedo blouse. I am very pleased with it. It’s one separate I’m glad to add and I’m sure I’ll be making one of these on a regular basis.