Posts Tagged ‘ burdastyle ’

Conquering silky fears

Clearly I’m scared to cut the purple silk dress because I keep inventing other things to do instead of it.

Like posting this fitzfab tracing technique on Burdastyle. Drafted some more posts about all the red and white dresses I thrifted for spring, how to fix a brown print dress so it looks like me. Totally getting stuff done. Just not the one thing I should be doing.

Now I tell myself Mister’s taking up the kitchen — the only spot in the house where I have enough space to cut —making chili.

How do you conquer your fear of ruining fabric and just dive in?

Wrapped up in purple, vol. 2

No wonder I couldn’t find this post! It never got published, and I made this little top from the purple wrap story, what, the summer before last?!

desira purple finished

I remember buying this purple geometric fabric at another Joann close to where I used to work on a winter weekend when it cost $1 a yard. Silly me didn’t know what to do with it and ponied up just one dollar. (Yes, I now know better and buy at least 2 and usually 3.) Within the week, I knew one yard wouldn’t make anything, so it sat and sat and sat.

Desira to the rescue — a yard proved enough for the main body, and cobbled together the edging with scraps of black and white polka dots from two other projects.

desira purple arm facing

I had to make my own wide seam binding for the front.

desira sew facing from pieces

desira make facing from pieces 2

desira make facing from pieces

desira facing made from pieces

And I nixed the belt and inside snaps for a set of ties, all cut from scraps, pinned and sewn to the spots where you’d have stuck the snaps.

desira purple tie1

desira purple tie2
Burda Style got me hooked on bias strips, something I never really used before. Their techniques for finishing armholes and necklines – essentially before you finish sewing the garment together – makes for really clean insides at the end. I sew French seams whenever possible – and now use French bias tape so nothing frays or looks all 4-H.

How to…sew French seams (and why bother)

French seams encase the raw seam edges securely inside two seams. They’re necessary for delicate fabrics, because two seams are stronger than one and the two lines of stitching prevent fraying. But French seams also are fabulous for garments with simple, straight lines because they’re beautifully clean and neat, and need no more finishing. I’m hooked, mostly because I hate finishing edges.

Here’s the center back seam of BurdaStyle’s Minna top.

Take the seam allowance of the seam and divide it into two whole numbers. So a 5/8″ allowance becomes 2/8″ (1/4″), plus 3/8″.

1 measure seam allowance measuring seam allowance

Pin the pieces together wrong sides together.

2 pin wrong sides together pinned wrong sides together

Sew the smaller number first – the 2/8″ (1/4″) seam allowance. I’ve done so by using the 3/8″ guide, and setting the needle placement to the right.

3 sew 2 8 first first seam always should be smaller

Trim the raw edges, leaving 1/8″.

4 trim close trim so threads don’t poke through finished seam

Push the raw edges to one side, and press flat.

5 iron edges flat ironing while sewing’s a must

Now fold the fabric over at the seam, so the right sides are facing each other. Press and tack with a few pins.

6 fold fabric over and press take the time to press

Back at the machine, sew your remaining 3/8″ seam.

7 sew 3 8 sewing the bigger seam second leaves more room to catch edges and threads

Voila! A 5/8″ seam with no rough raggedy edges.

8 finished french seam French seam from wrong side

9 finished from right side And from right side

Check out the how to on Burda Style here.

Anda, anda everywhere…and nowhere

I spotted several Anda bastardizations in Old Navy ads lately, which prompted me to finally make one already:

And so I’m spending a day with myself (while the Mister works a nightshift), mocking up an Anda in light purple poly fabric I got from a kind Chicago Freecycler, since it’s fabric I don’t love love love, but could totally live with if the pattern fits and flatters. Other beauty of the solid color is that it’ll totally cry out for freezer paper stenciling once it’s done, and I’ve been thinking about evil eye designs for only the last decade or so. Such a charming, basic dress. Here’s hoping. I don’t use Burda Style patterns enough, though I’m beginning to look at them more.

Might have to mess with the neckline a la Old Navy ads, though, since that high Anda neck doesn’t flatter a bust such as my own. Let the experiment begin!


Ugh. Anda that matches my measurements is an awful tent.


I’ve since pulled in the sides considerably. Instead of putting in elastic, I experimented with a purple sequined belt at different “waists”: high, natural, drop. They’re all terrible. Might have to face it.

Anda just might not work for me.

minna… finished!

This Minna #6007 (shortened to a top) is an ancient refashion. It’s my first completion of a BurdaStyle pattern, and I like it a whole lot. I cut it short, and changed the neck trim to a lined fabric facing.

To cut the dress into a top, I pretty much used the double lines marked on the pattern around the hipline for lengthening or shortening. And instead of using a fancy trim to finish the neck, I used the cutting guide to make bias strips. The print is already so fabulous it doesn’t need any sparkly help.

I had bought a fluorescent print maxidress at the Salvy during my later high school years. Think 1993. I wanted to chop off the skirt and the top of a pair of thrifted overalls and make a kind dress the kids were wearing then (I promise!). Chopped the overalls, chopped the dress, got caught up in something else, and then realized what a ridiculous trend it was. My sister (10 years my junior) then raided my sewing stash and pilfered a strip of the skirt. I remember throwing a fit, but not what she made, it was that long ago.

It took some doing, but I managed to cut out the front and back so the pattern goes the same way, and the back pieces nearly match. Only enough fabric remained for one set of bias strips, so I cut another set to line the neck piece out of plain black synthetic fabric. Sewed the fabric pieces together to form a V, ditto for lining, sewed them together along the top, right sides together. Then I popped in a movie to handsew the bottom side of the lining invisibly.

When I make another Minna – and I certainly will – I’ll gather the front and back tighter to leave more room in the armholes. I’ll also copy the neckline since I liked the smooth, neat finish inside. (Will post the steps on BurdaStyle – this time was too trial-and-error to photograph.)

Next on the list: Ellinor #8516, using brown clearance cotton from a Joann sale, and brown sparkly eyelet from the Hobby Lobby clearance wall. Not too late, I think, to Sew Along With Nikkishell on the BurdaStyle site.

my friend Minna

The thing I like about this Minna pattern from Burdastyle is that it gives a girl a little shape.

Can’t stand the preggers-chic of all the babydoll tops and big blousy things that just make me look like a whale. I have a bosom and hips, so once my waist is lost, so goes my self-esteem the way of the blob.

I have this chunk of fabric (feels like the stuff of a real Hawaiian shirt) from an ancient high school shopping trip to the Roxborough Salvy. Think 1993.

I bought the maxidress it was part of wanting to chop off the skirt and the bib of a pair of thrifted overalls and make a kind dress the kids were wearing then (I promise!). Chopped the overalls, chopped the dress, got caught up in something else, and then realized what a ridiculous trend it was. My sister (10 years my junior) then raided my sewing stash and pilfered a strip of the skirt. I remember throwing a fit, but not what she made, it was that long ago.

Finally, I pulled out the remnant with Minna in mind. Ignored the directions to use something fancy on the neck, since the print is already so… fabulous.

The mockup using Freecycled fabric seemed to work. The size I cut fits me. Style works, too. No bulges.

I’m ready to take the BurdaStyle plunge.