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!

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How to stay warm in winter

After getting a rather alarming gas bill for December, I decided to go with an old-fashioned solution – flannel nightwear. No, bear with me.

I’m not talking about winceyette floral sleeping gowns, or the red petticoats they use in the Railway Children to stop a train (much as I love the concept of averting a railway accident armed only with fabric remnants). Just some pyjamas.

brushed cotton plaid pyjamas

I bought 2 metres of this plaid fabric from Fabrics Galore for about a tenner. It was marked as being from Jack Wills, so not only do I have some lovely toasty pyjamas, I also have the smug satisfaction of knowing I saved £49 by making my own, without having to give a penny to a shop that uses the word ‘loungepants’.

Plus, mine have pockets. I used to be sceptical of the value of pockets in pyjamas, and I’m still not 100% sure what you’re supposed to put in there (Your glasses? A biscuit? Some light reading material?) but I like the look of them.

They’re super easy to add, whether you’re using a professional pattern or a self-drafted one like me. I just traced a suitable looking line onto the front pattern piece, then cut out pocket linings from one piece of fabric folded in half.

With the left-overs I made this hot-water bottle cover, another satisfyingly thrifty way of keeping warm. When I was a student I spent a whole winter in Brighton sleeping in a room with no central heating. The only reason I still have fingers and toes is because of the existence of hot-water bottles, so I’m quite attached to them.

The back's made from an old cardigan I accidentally felted

There is no shot of me modelling these as I am reluctant to appear on the internet wearing pyjamas, in case I decide to run for Prime Minister sometime in 2032. But here are both items being modelled by my bed, which does a great job for an inanimate object.

Just lounging. Nothing to see here.