Minerva Blogging Network: Burda polka-dot trousers

This month’s Minerva project sprang from my wish to make a pair of trousers that involved no topstitching whatsoever. It was also inspired by the totally awesome pairs that Rosie from DIY Couture makes, and these overpriced Moschino polka dot trews.

Here’s the result:

polkadot trousers 1

You can see more about the project and the fit changes I made on the Minerva Blogging Network here.

These trousers have caused no small amount of controversy within my household. My husband thinks they look like pyjamas. I do own a pair of pyjamas made from extremely similar fabric, so I can see where he’s coming from, but hopefully the fabric is sturdy enough not to look like I’ve just woken up and strolled to the corner shop in my loungewear.

spottytrousers 3

The pattern is from Burda magazine 11/2013, available on the Burda site here, and it’s pretty good, with a shaped waistband and well-drafted pockets. I didn’t bother making a muslin, just compared them to my existing jeans pattern, and the fit isn’t bad, if a little bit tight.

If I’m totally honest, the main reason I chose this pattern is because there are four pieces to trace, and no welt pockets. Although this doesn’t help to support my ‘not pyjamas’ case.

They also have a turn-up cuff thing going on which I like although it’s not that noticeable in this fabric.

polkadot trousers 2

I’m not sure if I’ll be wearing these much, but I’m glad I made them. They might be more use in the spring.  I’m not convinced this is the most flattering style for the pear-shaped of us. Also, I think this pattern might work better in a slightly heavier wool fabric, as the knees tend to bag out a bit.

Still, I’m counting these as my first win for 2014. I made a wearable pair of non-jeans trousers! Hooray!

polkadot trousers 4

Read my Minerva post about these trousers here.

You can buy the polka dot stretch fabric here – I think it would make an amazing fitted dress.

Or buy the full kit with zip and fastening is available here.

Download the Burd pattern (11/2013 #110A) from the Burdastyle website here.

(sorry for the terrible photos. This is about as light as it gets in Britain at the moment.)

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Man’s (failed) shirt: Burda 7045

Here’s a cautionary Christmas tale.

If you offer to make a shirt for someone else, you need to make a muslin first. Yes, muslin making is tedious beyond belief, but if you don’t do it, you might spend hours making something like this:

photo

Only for it to be received like this:

shirt too big

I handsewed 12 buttons for this shirt, which I believe is the dictionary definition of ‘labour of love’, so I’m pretty gutted that it didn’t work out.

The pattern is Burda 7045. If you want to make your own version, heed my warnings:

  • Collar A looks normal on the envelope, but in reality is a monstrosity of David Frost proportions.
  • The sleeves are also massive, and the cuffs would fit round the upper arm of most men.
  • There aren’t any back pleats included in the pattern.
  • This shirt also doesn’t have a rounded bottom hem. I had to wing that.
  • However it DOES include neck measurements on the pattern instructions. Of course I found this out after I’d sewed this whole shirt. I didn’t even realise men bought shirts by their neck measurements – it never comes up in womenswear…
sleeve too big
Demonstrating the muckle sleeve

The back doesn’t look too bad. I did a narrow shoulder adjustment, but think it might need even more – are men’s shirts supposed to sit slightly off the shoulder?

gingham shirt back

It’s a real shame this didn’t work out, as the fabric was sent to me by Terry’s Fabrics and it’s a lovely, medium weight woven gingham. The small checks mean you don’t have to match up the side seams, and it feels really substantial. Tempted to buy more to make myself a blouse for the summer.

It’s nice to find a source for gingham in lots of different colours, as I find the stuff you get in fabric stores is often nasty polycotton.

So anyway, as Alex wouldn’t wear this, I tried to give it to my friend (also confusingly called Alex) when he popped round for a visit. He seemed to enjoy the shirt at first:

alex busting some moves

But 5 minutes after this he was saying the shirt made him ‘look fat’, so I fear it will never be worn (I made him take the shirt home anyway as it was depressing me to look at it).

There are two things I learned from this experience.

1. Always make a muslin first, as already discussed. I’m making my second attempt in this gorgeous Paul Smith cotton which can’t be wasted on another failure.

photo (1)

2. There is a gap in the market for a modern men’s shirt pattern! Every guy I see on the street in London is wearing a slim-cut checked shirt of some kind, but there aren’t any perfect patterns to make them.

This pattern needs to have back pleats, a yoke, a small collar with the option to button it down, and normal sized cuffs (with a cutaway edge). It should explain all the professional RTW methods like sleeve plackets, flat felling and the proper way of sewing the yoke.

Yes, I know I could collate all this myself, but wouldn’t it be handy to have it in one envelope? Colette have done a good job with their Negroni, but I don’t see many guys wearing this style of convertible collar, whereas the standard shirt is everywhere. Indie pattern designers of the world, I challenge you to come up with this holy grail!

Bright blue stretch skinny jeans: Burda 7863

I made some more jeans! You know what they say about third time lucky…

bluejeans1

These are definitely my best pair so far. Once again, the pattern is Burda 7863. The fabric is bright blue stretch twill from Mandors in Glasgow.

I’m really happy with the fit on this pair. I widened the outside hips and that seems to have eliminated a lot of vertical wrinkles in the front. Also, it’s my flattest fly front yet!

jeans fly

The topstitching on this pair of jeans has taken years off my life. If there’s any sewing task worse than double-needle topstitching with heavy thread on stretch twill, I never ever want to try it. I should apologise to our neighbours for all the shrieks of frustration coming from our flat as the needle jammed AGAIN or the thread got caught in a tangled mess.

After a lot of trial and error I did come up with some ways to make it easier – if anyone’s interested I’ll do a post.

I also added rivets (from Jaycotts) which were v satisfying to hammer in. The inside pockets and fly facing are made from a scrap of black and white floral cotton I had lying around:

inside jeans

One curious thing about this pair. The leg seams are incredibly twisted. The inside seam is almost at the front of my foot. This happened with my brown pair too, but it’s much more noticeable in this one.

At first I thought it was something I’d done when altering the pattern, but after reading this blog post I’m wondering if it’s because of the stretch twill fabric I used. The first (denim) pair I sewed had no problem, and I don’t think I’ve altered the legs enough to cause this much distortion. Or possibly I cut the fabric off-grain. Anyone know about seam twisting in twill fabrics?

Anyway, it’s not that noticeable in this colour, and if anyone comments, I will pass it off as a homage to the early 2000s.

jeans 2

I’m happy with the back fit too. There are some wrinkles but they feel comfortable and allow for movement, rather than being constricting.

Hooray for new jeans! The pain of topstitching these is fading from my mind, and I’m already planning another pair in black stretch denim with a flared leg…

jeans 1

Mustard and navy stripes – Burda Feb 2013

So, I am obviously ripping off channelling Zoe with my latest sewing efforts. She has just posted a rather delicious outfit with exactly the same colour scheme as this one.

In my defence, I did sew this skirt about 4 months ago, but winter has thwarted my photo taking efforts.

Honestly, how do other bloggers do it? All these smiling outdoor photos. I reckon I spend a maximum of 2 hours outside per week at the moment. Most of that is spent bundled up in an enormous coat, hat, gloves, and scarf, walking briskly from bus stop to house/office, so photo taking is minimal. (My vitamin D levels are also very minimal at this point.)

 
skirt and top
 
This pleated skirt is made from a vintage pattern and sewn from the huge Peter Jensen haul that I’m still working through.

I’m not convinced about this pattern & fabric together. It’s a lovely colour but an odd weight – doesn’t pleat well, just crumples like old paper instead. After seeing these photos I’m tempted to remove the pleats and turn it into an A-line. It looks so sad and droopy.

I used some lovely wooden buttons, actually sent to me by Zoe (told you I was stalking her). The pocket flaps are fake, which I normally hate, but they’re so cute and 70s I couldn’t resist adding them.
 
skirt 3
 
The top is from Burda February 2013. Melissa made a great version here.

You may notice my, ahem, design detail of an extra stripe down the front. All I can say is, if you’re running short of fabric, double check which pattern piece is the front and which is the back BEFORE cutting.

There’s no use in feeling smug about how well you’ve matched up the stripes on the back, if that smugness gives way to a sinking realisation that yes, that’s actually the front piece you’ve cut in half and sewed back together.

Ah well, I think my solution basically works. I just cut out a single stripe and top-stitched it over the join. And it meant I could make this top out of just one metre of striped jersey from Tissu Fabrics.
 
skirt and top 2
 
Incidentally, Collins Wonder Tape is the best thing ever for stripe-matching on slippery jersey. Just stick the pieces together and sew away! I bought a roll a year and a half ago in the US, and I’ll be stocking up when it runs out (it’s also amazing for zips, hems, and blind top-stitching facings).
 
laughing
 
In other news, I have GIANT HANDS.

I might also be going slightly crazy from lack of sunlight. Please send cod liver oil tablets, and/or a 2-week Caribbean holiday.

Burda 7863 version 2 – brown jeans of glory

I made some more jeans! Hooray!

Once again, I’ve totally struggled to get any decent photos of these. I couldn’t wait any longer to show them off though. Hope you can get the general idea.

brown jeans 1

Burda jeans

They’re made of brown fabric from Mandors in Glasgow. According to the label it was used by Burberry to make jodhpurs, and it really is ridiculously stretchy. It’s almost like a cross between a jersey and a woven, with great recovery.

Top-stitching on fabric as stretchy as this was what you might call an interesting experience.

pattern pieces

My pattern pieces look so terrible. I must get them traced off. I am embarrassed to admit I used brown parcel tape in desperation when I lost my scotch tape. Do you trace off your pattern pieces? I didn’t even realise that was a thing people did until this year. Shameful.

I made a few alterations from last time, including scooping out the back curve a smidgen, shortening the crotch by 2cm both front and back, and attempting a tiny bow leg alteration at the knee.

brown jeans 3

brown jeans 2

You can see I’ve still got a few folds under the bum but generally I think the fit is a lot better. Not sure what those drag lines are on the back thigh but I’ve decided not to worry about it.

trousers and hair

I used a new find, a double jeans needle, to do most of the topstitching. These jeans were total THREAD HOGS. I used up two and a half spools! Of course I managed to sew over the metal zipper halfway through construction and broke my lovely and expensive new needle, but it was fun while it lasted.

Like last time, I sewed them in a different order to the pattern envelope – first the inside legs (and topstitched), then the fly, then the outside legs (and topstitched down to thigh level), then the back seam.

I copied the pockets from my RTW Uniqlo jeans again and I’m super happy with them.

brown jeans back

I wasn’t sure if these jeans would get worn or not. It’s all because of my school uniform which was brown and ‘camel’ (ie. sickly yellow). If you made it to A-levels, you could wear any clothes you liked, as long as they were brown, white, or cream. I’m sure you can imagine how uplifting we all looked sitting in the sixth form common room. Truly a rainbow of beige.

Anyway those two years put me off brown for life. I think the last time I wore trousers of this hue I was 16 and off to see Blur at Bournemouth International Centre dressed in my best corduroy flares.

But times have changed! Damon Albarn is not nearly as fresh-faced, I can buy a pint without any fake ID, and I no longer have to worry about revising for my maths GCSE.

So I think these jeans have broken the curse. It helps that they’re unbelievably comfortable. I’ve already planned the next version in bright blue stretch twill. And this time I’m thinking RIVETS. Oh yes.

Burda 7863 jeans – all the details

So as promised, here is the epic post about the jeans I made, with all the stuff I can remember. Be warned, it’s pretty boring if you’re not interested in making this pattern, so you might want to go and read something more interesting instead.

Now they’re not perfect, but I’ve been wearing them loads. Here I am enjoying the many and varied delights of Basingstoke station in the rain, and in my jeans.

jeans on station

One thing – I’m sorry, but the pictures for this post are still pretty rubbish. We haven’t seen the sun here for 6 months, it feels like winter in the Game of Thrones universe, and quality photos are a distant memory. Also these are all from my phone so they’re slightly crap. But I was fed up with waiting to get this post up, so hopefully you can put up with it.

Pockets

jeans pockets

I lost the pocket piece that came with the Burda pattern, so I just copied the ones on my favourite Uniqlo pair. They’re very tapered at both sides, especially towards the back seam. This seems pretty common on skinny jeans – these Acne ones have the same shape.

In terms of pocket placement, I relied heavily on this informative post about avoiding ‘long butt’. The basic theory is that you sew the pockets right at the curve of your posterior, avoiding the illusion that your bum is ridiculously long and drawn-out, which is not a good look on anyone.

You can see that the back seam is a bit puckered. This is because I tapered it in too sharply at the top. I’ve drawn in a smoother curve for next time. Next time I’d also sew the pockets a bit closer together.

Fabric

jeans4

It used to be that sewing your own jeans would always result in a tragically handmade look. How would you get the fading and whiskering at home, the rivets, the weird embroidery?

Luckily, following 8 years of despotic rule by our skinny jean overloads, these things are TOTALLY UNCOOL. In fact they’re so uncool, they are starting to come round the other side and wearing a faded 90s pair of light blue denim will gain you massive style points in Dalston. For normal people though, I reckon the solid-colour/minimal embellishment style will stay in for a good few years.

The denim I used was this one from Tissu Fabrics. I think it’s actually a bit too heavy and high quality for the type of jeans I was trying to make. When I look at my Uniqlo jeans, the fabric is very thin and stretchy, and black on the underside.

It’s hard to buy stretch denim and stretch trouser fabric in UK shops. I managed to get some from Mandors when I was up there at Christmas but they don’t sell online, annoyingly. Another good option looks like the Fabricland website. I know it’s insane-looking but if you’re not epileptic you should check it out, they actually have a lot of nice stuff. Check out this page for stretch denim, and this page for stretch cottons in loads of random colours including ‘mango’.

Altering the pattern

So basically I just sewed and hoped.

I did take a customised trousers course a few years ago at the now sadly defunct Oh Sew Brixton, where they took all your measurements and plugged them into a programme that spat out a personalised trouser pattern. Unfortunately, the style was not really my thing (wide, straight-legged trousers), but I did compare the crotch curve on the Burda pattern with the curve on the personalised pattern and tried to make them look similar.

I also narrowed the legs right down, again using my Uniqlo jeans as a guide (just measured each leg and then transferred that to the pattern, plus seam allowance).

I added two inches length to the legs, but it turns out that most of my height must be in my torso rather than my legs, cos they were too long.

jeans 2

The fit is pretty good, but not perfect. I have folds underneath the bum, and they are a bit too high-waisted. There are some wrinkles at the crotch, as you can sort of see in the photos, but they come and go with movement so I’m not that worried about it.

For my next version, I’m shortening the crotch-length by 3cm, which I hope will solve the folds (you can see how to do that here on Sunni’s website). I have also ‘scooped’ out the back crotch cuve a little bit, but I’m not going to elaborate on that because I probably did it wrong. Search patternreview.com for ‘scooping’ and you’ll find loads of baffling information.

Sewing the pattern

So the fly instructions, as usual with Burda, were incomprehensible. They might as well have been in Spanish for all the sense I could make of them. Instead, I used this excellent jeans fly tutorial by Stitches and Seams. You need to draft a fly shield as there isn’t one included in the pattern.

I added a little coin pocket, and sewed the legs up in a slightly different order – inside seams first (then overlocked and top-stitched), then the crotch seam, then the zipper, then the outside legs, and finally the back. The great thing about this pattern is there is a seam in the back waistband to make fitting easier. Thank you Burda! But not for your fly instructions. They were awful.

The strange world of trouser fitting

I will say this about trouser fitting. Researching it online is a short slide to an endless vortex of confusing fitting wrinkles and weirdly-named pattern adjustments (‘clown-butt’, ‘fish-eye’). There is no escape.

Sewing trousers forces you to closely visualise in 3D areas of your body you never gave a second thought to. You’ll start to diagnose yourself with knock knees, bow legs, short crotch, flat bum, high seat, etc etc etc. You’ll find yourself frantically googling weird search terms, peering closely at blog photos of disembodied legs wearing muslin and denim, and combing online shops to examine images of models wearing trousers.

Try and stay strong. Remember, that weird wrinkle you’re obsessing over is unnoticeable by 99% of the population.

Stupid mistakes

Here is a list of dumb mistakes I made, in the hope that others can benefit from my stupidity.

  • I forgot that if you add a fly shield, you need to make the waistband longer to match. So, don’t be like me. I didn’t have any fabric left so I basically stretched my waistband to fit, which made it a bit ripply.
  • The waistband pattern piece includes the facing – you interface it then fold it in half lengthways. This is great, except that I forgot that if you taper the back seam and waistband in, you need to have a waistband facing that tapers out to match it. Handmade by Carolyn explains this better than I can here. Next time I will make a 8 piece waistband (two fronts and two backs, plus facings for all of them) to make fitting easier. I could do with taking in the side seams a bit.
  • I installed a rivet button on the wrong side….TWICE. It took a lot of messing around with pliers to get it off, I can tell you that.
  • I sewed the buttonhole vertically – it should be horizontally, obviously.

Miscellaneous

jeans1

I used a plastic zipper, but next time I’m using a metal trouser zipper for sure. Apparently you can shorten them by removing teeth with a pair of pliers if you can’t get the exact right length. I will report back.

I sewed the pocket linings in a very thin cotton.

The pockets have extensions that reach towards the fly front. However Burda tell you to trim one side down, for some reason to do with their strange fly installation method. Don’t do this – just incorporate both extensions into the zipper when you sew it. It’s like built-in Spanx!

I got my button here from Jaycotts, along with some rivets that I hope to use in future. I am wary of sewing that involves hammering after my last experience, but the neighbours will just have to put up with it.

Haircut – not actually jeans related

You may also notice I’ve had a big old haircut. It was done by Rockalily on Kingsland Road, and they were lovely, and I’m really pleased with it. However I was a bit disconcerted to realise it’s exactly the same as the haircut I had from ages 6-12. Evidence:

katie haircut

I guess classic ‘dos never go out of style (not sure about dodgy coral smocks though…)

Giveaway results and Burda looky likey dress

Thanks to everyone who entered the DIY Fashionista giveaway! I was going to rope in my boyfriend to do the whole numbers-picked-from-a-hat thing. Unfortunately I’ve caught a disgusting Christmas cold and feel too feeble to organise anything that involves getting up from the sofa. So it’s good old random.org to the rescue.

random number

Comment number 18 was from Not Found. I’ve emailed you to get your address, Sarah – hope you enjoy the book! If you haven’t seen Sarah’s blog before, you should definitely check it out for some beautiful photos and musings.

In other news, take a look at these two dresses.

burda-and-biba-dresses

On the left, we have the cover dress from Burda Dec 2012. And on the right, we have this Biba long sleeved ‘Mirren’ maxi dress from House of Fraser. The drape is reversed, but otherwise there’s quite a resemblance.

I really like the look of the HoF dress, although I’m unconvinced by the ‘Biba’ Revival. I certainly don’t think it’s worth three hundred quid, especially as it’s made from polyester and lined with nylon (mmm, sweaty).

I’d love to make a dress like this, using the Burda pattern and a shimmery, drapey gold fabric. Unlikely to happen any time soon but the idea’s there if anyone else wants to have a go…

Giraffe print blouse – Burda 10/2011 #118

What kind of print do you call this then?

I think it looks like a blue and white giraffe, or a super-magnified lizard skin, or some seriously wonky tiling.

It’s made from this pattern. Just a very simple blouse with just two bust darts. The instructions were short and cryptic (of course, it is Burda after all) and I totally ignored the construction order. Much easier to sew in the armholes flat, then do the sides and the sleeve seams all in one so you can take it in if needed.

This fabric is lush, a very drapey but sturdy vintage crepe, from The Shop on Cheshire Street, AKA my favourite shop on Brick Lane. I can spend ages in there rummaging. All the fabric is folded up on shelves but they don’t seem to mind me pulling it all out and making a huge mess. There are wooden drawers full of lace and trimmings, and everything’s pretty reasonable too. Think this was less than a tenner for 2 metres.

I do think covered buttons look look very polished on a blouse like this, but is there anything worse than making them? So I was lucky to find these at the Peter Jensen sale.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m all about the finished result when it comes to sewing. I love day-dreaming about what I’m going to make – it all looks so perfect in my head. I’m not that interested in construction for it’s own sake. In fact I tend to skip reading sew-alongs and detailed technical instructions on other people’s blogs.

Ironically this always leads me to rush the actual sewing part to get to the wearing, which naturally leads to things I make looking a bit crap. For example, the buttonholes on this are rubbish. Too short and skimpily threaded. (tho luckily I only need to undo the top one to get the blouse on and off).

There’s some kind of life lesson in there somewhere, but it’s probably too late to change my slapdash ways.

I think this is why I hate most things I make immediately after I’ve finished them. They just don’t match up to the vision I had at the start. I usually come round to them in the end (I also made the skirt I’m wearing, I never blogged it because I didn’t like it but meh, actually it’s okay. Apart from the zip at the back.)

Overall I’m pretty pleased with this blouse. It looks great tucked into things, but don’t think I’ll be wearing it loose. There’s a distinct early 90s vibe, I can just see Elaine from Seinfeld rocking it with a massive boxy jacket on top.

(I know the 90s are supposed to be in fashion, or at least a version of them, but it’s not for me. All I can think of is ‘The Rachel’ and oversized Nirvana t-shirts. I seem to remember wearing brown corduroy flares for much of the decade and I don’t want to go back to there.)

Leopard print lovely – Burda 9/2011

So guys, I hope we are all aware of the fact that leopard-print is the new neutral? If not, it’s time to get on board. It’s the beige of the 21st century! (yes, I am aware that beige still exists).

Bearing that in mind, I have taken the gorgeous leopard print fabric I got from lovely Claire at the Brighton swap meet-up, and made the simplest/most boring t-shirt pattern in the world, the kimono sleeve jersey top from Burda 9/2011. Previously made and blogged here.

Leopard print kimono sleeve t-shirt, Burda 09/2011

This fabric is so nice. It’s super drapey and soft, but with great recovery. I did the whole thing on my overlocker, apart from stitching down the neckline seam and hemming, both of which I sewed with the stretch stitch on my normal machine.

Nothing fancy about this, it takes about an hour to cut and sew (less if you don’t keep stopping to try it on, as I compulsively do with everything I make. I even drape fabric pieces awkwardly over myself when they’ve just been cut. I hope I’m not alone in this). The only changes I made were to shorten the sleeves and add a double sided cuff, and to reinforce the top of the shoulder seam with some stay tape.

THRILLING REINFORCED SEAM CLOSE-UP!

You can see that my overlocker thread is looking a bit loopy and rubbish, but whatever, it worked. I think it’s because I’m using one different kind of thread on the left spool, having run out of white I probably need to adjust the tension or something? Any tips?

Leopard print full length kimono sleeve top

Here I am looking smug because not only did I make this awesome top, I also grew the immense tomato plant you can see to my right there. It’s a total beast, taller than me!

This top hass had a slightly sceptical reception from some people, but I love it. The print is extremely leopard-y, but if you’re going to do animal print, go big or go home, that’s what I say. I really like the other kimono sleeve top I made, but the fabric is sort of cheap and nasty whereas this stuff is bloody amazing.

No idea what gave me the hugely innovative idea to match up this fabric and pattern. I’m sure it has NOTHING to do with the fact that Zoe has a very similar top made from the exact same fabric. Or that Burda put this doppelganger example in their magazine.

Nope, don’t see the similarity. Ahem.

Here is an interesting history of leopard print which you should read! Are you a fan of animal print? Or is it all a bit too much?

New Burda plaid skirt – 104/02/2010

I wear a lot of skirts. But somehow I hardly ever sew them, which creates a problem. I did have a try with my blue pencil number, but it’s a bit too formal for everyday wear.

With Me-Made-May coming up, I needed to even up the skirt balance a bit, so I made this simple A-line from Burda (104 from 02/2010- many good reviews on Pattern Review here). I sewed a version in denim first, which is wearable but a bit rubbish. This second try was more successful.

The fabric was another awesome score from the Brighton swap meet-up. It’s a sort of thick, wool-like plaid cotton, and I added a lining of American D-Kripp from Ultimate Craft in Stoke Newington (still no idea what the hell it is, apart from 1.50 a metre. Some sort of polyester?). As you can see, I made no attempt to match the pattern on the back, which I’m cool with.

Not much else to say about this – it’s a great basic pattern and a minimal amount of tracing. Burda sheets are such crazy illegible messes now that anything more than 4 pieces will give you a free nervous breakdown along with your new pattern. I was tempted by the drapey jersey dress in this month’s issue until I saw that there was FOURTEEN pieces to trace. Maybe I should get an intern just to do my Burda tracing (‘exciting new position in the fashion industry!’)

I cut the pocket pieces and the waistband on the bias to make the most of the plaid, and I used the Sewaholic brilliant zip insertion method, on Tasia’a blog here.

Sorry about my usual awkward posing. Bonus points if you can name any books/items of furniture from IKEA in the photos!

Kimono sleeve jersey top: Burda 09-2011

I started buying Burda magazines in 2008, when I discovered a local newsagent stocked them. (I’m not telling you which one in case somebody else nips down there and takes my copy. Don’t even think about it. He only stocks two.)

But I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of clothes I’ve actually sewn from them.

This isn't all of them. They hide round the house.

It’s such a gigantic pain, and I am very lazy. Cutting out is already my least favourite part of sewing, and now Burda want me to trace off the pattern as well??

But where they win out is if you need a simple pattern for a top or a skirt. You’ll find it somewhere in a back issue for free, rather than having to pay 6 quid or more for a brand new pattern. So my 2012 sewing resolution is to make the most of my Burda stash.

I haven't quite got the hang of 'I'm a little tea-pot' yet

This top was a pretty easy start, it’s only got two pieces so it wasn’t too hideous to trace (using a spiked wheel, as explained by Melissa of Fehr Trade. Please do not risk your sanity by trying to actually trace the patterns with blank paper on top.)

It’s from the 09-2011 Burda issue, which I nearly didn’t buy as I have little use for a dirndl and/or traditional folk-style waistcoat, which make up the bulk of the issue (see paunnet’s post for an amusing overview).

I do, however, love jersey tops with kimono sleeves.

I’m also obsessed with sewing tiny little useless triangular pockets. I once bought a t-shirt with this detail from M&S (the glamour never stops round here), and since then I’ve added an identical pocket to every knit top I make. They are totally pointless, unless you need to store some loose Polo mints or perhaps a single pound coin, but I like them anyway.

This fabric is from Ultimate Craft. The stripes are a little bit too close together and it hurts to look at it for a long time, the whole thing starts to flicker like one of those Magic Eye pictures.

So to break up the eye-hurtiness, I lowered the neckline and used this brilliant tutorial from CraftStylish to add a finishing band. I sewed the whole thing on my overlocker, except for the hem and sleeve finishes (twin needle).

I’ve noticed that in most RTW, the grown-on sleeve only extends to the elbow or above, and below that a tube of fabric is sewn as a little sleeve extender. This is probably to save fabric, but I like the way it looks with stripes so I used it here (the pattern as written has a grown-on sleeve all the way down to the elbow).

I’m definitely making another one of these from the lovely leopard-print fabric I got from Claire at the Brighton swap. Two thumbs up for Burda.