Named Magena Pattern: Bronze Fringe Dress and Galaxy Jumper

Have you seen the Named Magena sewing pattern? It’s a fringed jumper pattern and I adored it at first sight. The only difference is I made it into a dress first. I used an abstract black & bronze jersey for the yoke section … Continue reading

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Groovy 70s Shirt

This was supposed to be a pajama top, but after I began making it, I decided that indeed it would make a great shirt.  I used Simplicity 6436 from 1974.  It is interesting it is shown as a uni-sex pattern.  I think the belt would be a little over the top for me.  So, no belt.

I added two inches to the sleeves and body length.  Otherwise, besides the decorative stitching with my White 571, I followed the pattern instructions.  I serged the seams.   If I made this again, I would probably use flat-fell or french seams.  A quick project called for quick methods of assembly.  After all, this was supposed to be a pajama top.

White 571

Decorative Stitch Selections


Max likes my collar

I am glad I have a huge quantity of this fabric.   It is comfy and looks great.  This was a great thrift store find.

Now I am not sure if I will go back to pajama tops.  The crafting urge is hitting me.  Some appliqué, some embroidery, or whatever hits me.

Thanks for stopping.

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Mr Tailor Man – The Finale!

Hey Guys!

In my blog hop post, I harked back to my series of Mr. Tailor Man posts. You know, the one’s I never finished? For those of you who are having a little trouble remembering, there was a tailor in my town who was retiring, and I basically bought the bulk of his remaining stock and equipment off of him!

So, I thought maybe somebody out there would like to see the final few bits. Ironically, I’ve hardly touched most of it, so they are basically where I left them! But I though some of you guys might like to see!

So the first thing is some tailor’s wax crayons, which are like tailor’s chalk – but wax! They leave a slight mark and I think it irons out of most fabric.

The next thing I got was a bunch of silk thread for hand-stitching. You can pull a single stand out of the packets, and it’s super strong so that your stitching won’t break. Who doesn’t hate that ‘pop’ sound? I picked up one of each of the colours he had.

Then there were some shoulder pads! Not sure if I’ll ever get to use them, but more jackets have some sort of padding in the shoulders than I think I realised!

Then there were some anchor buttons (similar to what we saw in the JPG exhibition) and some braided cord. There was also what I think was seam binding but the picture came out a bit fuzzy!

Now these I loved (and I didn’t really get these for very cheap!) – some vintage spools. I look forward to displaying these properly somewhere!

Then we have some dress shields. These can be stitched into the underarms of a dress, so as to protect the garment from any sweat/deodorant, etc. As most of us know, this can otherwise end up in a beloved piece of clothing being damaged or stained.

I got a bunch of random zip. Strangely they were mostly green!

Then I got a bunch of suit buttons. Some are really beautiful! And I have matching small and big ones for the green buttons which is nice.

Some things I got for free were remnant pieces. These are small pieces of lining. most of it doesn’t appeal to me as its a bit polyester-y but the pink piece at the bottom is really lovely – I wish I had more than the smallish piece!

I also got a bunch of suiting scraps, all smallish pieces.

Then there was the bigger suiting pieces. It appears past Emmie was very productive and measured them all! They are full width and the top few pieces ranged from 44cm to 78cm in length.

Then we have the beautiful velvet remnants. I love stroking these. I have no idea what to do with them but I might make a patchwork cushion cover to stroke. I love the deep red and the grey especially.

Then there were some smaller wool remnant pieces.

This is where I keep the significant fabric lengths I got, a couple of which you have seen before(and I won’t point out), but most you haven’t. On the final day, when he was closing he told me I could have whatever was left in the fabric section for £50. Included in this was a bunch of stuff I didn’t really want, but it was sort of an all or nothing deal! The only thing I knew was missing from the first time I came in was some Harris tweed, but it wasn’t a colourway I was super fond of so thats ok!

There’s more wool, wool blend, and suiting.

 The most “god knows what I’m going to do with this” piece of fabric is this 100% Silk Italian suiting. Not sure how much is there (most of the stuff is a max of about 3 yards), but it’s apparently worth over £300 if I remember correctly.

Then there’s this bumblebee fabric, which I think was used for butler uniforms? Some sort of uniform. Its actually quite a blue-navy and yellow up close. I think there’s a couple of flaws, but he has noted the total length and unflawed length.

Then there were more wool blends.

And of course, where would you be without your own bolt of hair canvas? Everyone needs a bolt of hair canvas in their stash. Like, duh! I use this in, like, every project. All I hear every day is Mr.G saying, “God, I think you really need to think about stocking up on some more hair canvas”.

I think the only thing I left behind that day was a bolt of nylon pocketing, which was ick to be honest. I actually left the hair canvas initially but then Lauren did her tailoring posts and I had to turn on my heel!
SO that’s your lot. No more Tailor Man 🙁
But there’s always more fabric 🙂
Emmie x
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What Did We Learn From Project Runway This Week? Season 13, Episode 12

So many of you had kind, supportive words for me last week about my new gig and the struggle to balance work/family responsibilities/and a smidgen of personal time. I appreciated your empathy and wish I could invite you all over Thursday nights for the duration of this season! So much so, I woke up again too early for a Saturday — which means I have a few quiet moments to reflect on this week’s episode of Project Runway! As always, have your say below.

The most important lesson from this week’s episode of Project Runway can be summed up in one succinct Ron Swanson quote (presented to you here in poster form, created by the Etsy genius Creative Sobriety):

This week the designers were first tasked with creating a new look from one of the previously eliminated designer’s losing garments — while also assigned with that designer as a helper. This challenge was surely designed by devious producers determined to cause some fireworks between Korina and Char. Though Char put on a good front, Korina huffily asked to be relieved of her contractural duties. Tim let her go (thank you, Tim!) and Alexander instead returned to help Char sew her look.

And as if that challenge wasn’t enough, the designers were then asked to also create a look inspired by the streets of NYC — a perennial challenge that usually results in some of the funnest fashion on Project Runway.

But their divided attention (even with the aid of a previously eliminated designer/sewing elf) was their downfall. You just can’t half-ass two things (in the same vein: I am unfortunately half-assing this blog post right now; my family woke up early too and now they won’t stop talking to me, sitting next to me, reading over my shoulder…it’s so hard to whole-ass something when there’s breakfast to be prepared).

Amanda definitely whole-assed her street style maxi dress. I think we can all agree it was her best work so far this season (even though I shudder to think of actually walking the urine-stained streets of New York in a maxi that length):

Her re-do of Fade’s Samsung dress…obviously an afterthought.

Char, meanwhile, paired a printed black and white bustier with a sculptural skirt in Radiant Orchid. I didn’t really get the pocket either. But the ladies do love their pockets, don’t they.

From afar, her re-do was pretty. But up close it seemed to have maternity gathering/kangaroo pouch. 

Emily’s street style look was so Emily. I think it was successful, even if Heidi and Nina would only deign to wear it as pajamas:

Her re-do look….definitely half-assed. The judges said it looked like it wasn’t even her…which I have to agree. That print is amazing though. I may have to stalk the aisles of Mood to secure some for next Spring’s sewing projects…

The judges loved Sean’s street style look, this white structured blouse and skirt with cut-outs and shaping. I thought it was interesting how his inspiration — a man wearing an all-white tunic and loose pants outfit — translated into this unique look. I wouldn’t wear it, but if I saw someone pass me by wearing this in Soho, I would assume she worked in fashion. That’s usually the measure of a winning Project Runway look.

Meanwhile his re-do….what could we expect when he had to refashion Sandhya’s hideous kiddie jumpsuit? That color…more fringe. Ugh. Moving on.

Kini was the one designer who whole-assed the re-do challenge, turning Mitchell’s failed red carpet look into this stunning gown:

His street style look was an unfortunate mashup…a result of taking Tim Gunn’s advice too much to heart. Maybe the coat looks like Michael Kors off-the-rack, but it was so well done, and in an unexpected fabric…the judges loved it. Something spare underneath could have helped him win. 
So what do you think? Which challenge was the more difficult one this week? What happens when you try to half-ass two things?
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Hear my voice!!

A little while ago, Corinne from The Sewing Affair approached me about doing an interview for her podcast. I have to admit, I was really nervous about doing a podcast interview… but I also knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I absolutely l…

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Miss Clara and the Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses: A Sewing Challenge

Good evening, dear ones! Tonight, I have two fun things to share: a new shirtdress and a long promised announcement. I know, you can hardly contain your excitement, right? My announcement is just so mysterious. Yeah, I’m rolling my eyes, too. Let’…

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Knitting and Stitching Goodies

I had a sneaky day’s leave from work today to go to The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London.  I’ve been going to this show on and off for well over 20 years.  I can remember going with my mum and a couple of her friends when I was in my early 20’s and literally spending all day there. 
This year I went alone, got there for when it opened and left around lunchtime.  I prefer to go early as the first hour is normally much less crowded and you can see a lot before it get too busy. 
These are the goodies I came home with today.

Starting on the left, 5 balls of Sublime Luxury Tweed DK, to knit a little pullover top for myself, and of course the pattern book to go with it.   This colour will go well with my Winter wardrobe, and it should be quite a quick knit.

Next we have a dress pattern – the Easy Pull-on Shift Dress from MiY Collection.  Once I’d bought the pattern, of course I had to look for some fabric, and got 3 metres of grey flannel, but I can’t remember which stall this was from!  My husband’s comment when I showed him the pattern is that it looked shapeless, but the sample MiY had on their stand (made in denim – which looked lovely) was really nice, so I have high hopes for this one. It is a loose style, but didn’t appear to be completely shapeless.  All being well, this will be worn with a long sleeved t-shirt underneath, thick tights and boots. 

More fabrics were then purchased.  1.5m of teal jersey and 1.5m of bird print poly/viscose (possibly?) from Simply Fabrics, and 1.5m of black crinkle burnout jersey from somewhere else.  The black jersey has a nice floral burnout pattern which I could not photograph.   The jerseys will both be simple long sleeved tops, the bird print I’m not sure about, but at only £3.00 a metre I couldn’t leave it!

My other yarn purchase was some grey Drops Alpaca Boucle from Nest to knit a cardigan for my mum for Christmas.   I knitted myself a cardigan from this recently and my mum has been trying to steal it from me every time she sees it.  Just hope I can get it knitted in time (and possibly one for my sister too) otherwise it will be a birthday present!
Those were my purchases for the day.  I think I did quite well this time, everything I bought – except possibly the bird print fabric – I have a plan for.  No completely random purchases at all, which I admit I have sometimes succumbed to.   I find it’s so easy to get carried away and buy things just because they look cute or pretty on the stall, only to wonder why you’ve spent all that money on it when you get home!
Oh, and I helped David from GBSB series 2 choose a sewing pattern! 

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The Wrap Dress from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual

My new book has been out for a couple weeks now and I’ve been wanting to show you some of the designs! Here I am wearing the Wrap Dress, a simple short-sleeve dress with a narrow shawl collar, gathers on the shoulders, and a gathered skirt. In the…

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Cat & Doe…

Now that I’ve semi-officially started maternity leave (by which I mean all of my work-sewing is done), I’ve had some time to sneak in some more baby sewing…For this little dress, I used a baby dress I had bought as a pattern. I made it out of that pi…

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The Amelie Cape: Harley Quinn Inspired

I don’t know how I stumbled upon the Amelia & Atticus blog, but it was awesome and I was happy and right away I knew I wanted Thouraya as part of our Sew Geeky fun when I saw her Wonder Woman capelets. It was pretty much a love at first site t…

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The Darlings, the School of Fish Romper and a Giveaway winner

Just before we flew home from our trip down under, we got to meet sewing BFF Veronica Darling and her family for brunch next to the Yarra River. At a quaint cafe called Pony. The weather was wonderful and we had such a … Continue reading

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Inspiration: Track pants

1/2/3/4/5/6/7I love how comfortable ,and easy to wear, track pants are and ,if combined right, how stylish they can look. I’m a big fan of comfort, especially when I’m dressing for work, but I always like to look put together. I think track pants can r…

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Make a Bralette Using Butterick 6031

Hey, remember my lingerie pattern for Butterick? B6031 is a collection with patterns for a slip, cami, and panties.I discovered last weekend that it’s also shockingly easy to convert the slip/cami pattern into a bralette. This is a cute little piece fo…

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Ralph Rucci Coat Vogue 1419: Walking Ease Adjustment

As mentioned, I am working on my standard flat pattern adjustments for the Ralph Rucci Coat, Vogue 1419 to begin my musiln of the pattern. I have completed a Broad Back Adjustment, and now I will be adding an adjustment for walking ease. Q: W…

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my life is really more of the ‘leggings’ ‘jeans and a t-shirt’ kind of grind than the ‘pink jumpsuit’ ‘cocktail dress’ affair I portray on this ol’ blog. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that regard! Don’…

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Ohhh Lulu Pattern Hacks: How to Sew Lace Trimmed Lola’s

This Pattern Hack is a follow up to my post on Lace Edging for Lingerie.  I like to use scalloped lace instead of a twin stitched hem on my Lola’s because it helps to reduce panty lines and is just plain pretty! Here is the way I trim my Lola’s wi…

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Kids Clothes Week Contributor!

Hey guys! I’m a contributor this season for Kids Clothes Week! This is a HUGE honour because I’ve been a mega fan of this sewing series since I started blogging (way back in 2009!). Anyway, this season’s theme is STORYBOOK which is pretty amazing and t…

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Thank you!

I had some wonderful people care for me when I gave birth to Trixie.And a week later when we had to go back for a few days.I wanted to say thank you.Normally I make biscuits, but it was pointed out to me that they may be thrown away!So I…

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Ralph Rucci Coat Vogue 1419: Broad Back Adjustment

To start my muslin for the Ralph Rucci Coat, Vogue 1419, I must start by implementing a few flat pattern adjustments that my figure requires in commercial patterns. First and foremost a Broad Back Adjustment. The coat pattern is rumored to ru…

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Pendleton Tote Bag

I am lucky- I live in a place with amazing opportunities for fabric shopping.  I recently visited the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store during their twice yearly fabric sale, and picked up some of their wool jacquard fabric.  I dove right in and made this tote bag!I wanted to keep it simple- the fabric is so […]

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Sabrina the (occasionally grumpy) dressmaker’s model had been in surprisingly good spirits for weeks, but those happy feelings were beginning to ebb somewhat. "For", she thought as Jorth dashed past her, "who couldn’t be full of felicitous bliss when wearing a dress as floral as this? However, would it be too much to ask for the darn skirt to be attached? Hmm, Ms

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TSA Episode 7: Ohhh Lulu!

This podcast episode is perfect timing to go along with my current obsession of sewing lingerie.  And believe it or not, I didn’t even consciously plan the timing of my interview with Sarah!  I can’t even think about admitting how much time I’ve spent on the internet looking at bras and panties made by others, […]

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Baby Boy Sewing: Kwik Sew 3730 Airplane Button Down

My nephew is about to turn one, and I can hardly believe it! He’s the sweetest, happiest little thing, and we all love him so dearly. For his upcoming birthday, I decided to sew another version of Kwik Sew 3730, this time as a button-down. He loves to …

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Mid Project in the middle of the week

Hello hello! Just a quick post to let you know what I’m currently working away on cause there’s been a lot of sewing going on here and therefore not a lot of blogging or answering emails… sorry about that! It’s a bit hard to get a good balance g…

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OHHH LULU PATTERN HACKS: Lace Edge Finishes for Lingerie

In most of my patterns, I demonstrate how to finish lingerie hems with either a twin needle finish, or elastic finish using either picot or fold over elastic.  Stretch lace trim is another great option for finishing leg openings. Stretch lace adds…

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Ikat Emery Dress and the Tale of the Missing Bodice

Here, against the picturesque backdrop of my neighbor’s collection of broken lawnmowers, is a navy ikat Emery Dress.My first Emery was a cute stripey one I made about a year ago when Christine first released the pattern. I really love it, but sadly the…

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The giant sperm Casual Lady Dress

As much as I am (mostly) enjoying  ewing up my multitude of Coco dresses I don’t want to become a one trick pony. I think sewing the same pattern over and over and over again would be tres dull.  So, I’m always on the hunt for something else …

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Treat me nice!

Remember in my last post I mentioned a Bernina I made my shorts with?  Now that the fiasco is over, I will tell you about it.My pair of shorts was made with a Bernina 1011.  I had this machine only a few days.  It was purchased on ebay. …

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Tutorial: Hong Kong finish + underlining in one step

A slim fit wool skirt such as the Charlotte really begs to be lined.  Adding a layer of smooth and slippery fabric makes a wool skirt more comfortable to wear (especially with tights) and extends the life of the garment. Sewing a lining is fairly simple, however, there’s another technique that serves the same purpose: underlining.  

In general, underlining is used to stabilize fabric, add

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BurdaStyle Plus Size Essentials Blog Tour: Faux Wrap Dress

Good afternoon, crickets! Last month, BurdaStyle approached the Curvy Sewing Collective with a blog tour proposal. They had recently released two plus size pattern bundles, the Plus Size Essentials Collection and the Best of BurdaStyle: Plus Size Collection, and were curious if we’d like to review some of the patterns in a blog tour. As the girl who recently eviscerated a Burda plus size collection, I was excited to sample some of their more popular patterns. If I’m going to snark on a company, it only seems fair that I give their patterns I do like a try. 
And, boy, do I like the patterns in these two bundles. My personal favorite is the Essentials collection, which has some patterns I’ve been coveting for months, including the Short Sleeve Bow Blouse, Contrast V Neck Dress, and the Faux Wrap Dress. All three of these patterns have a mature, sexy vibe to them, like pieces right out of a Sophia Loren movie. 
When it came time to decide, I chose the riskiest pattern of the three, the Faux Wrap Dress. While relatively simple in silhouette, it’s actually a fairly complicated design, with side pleats in lieu of front darts, criss-crossing bodice pieces, and no waist seam. One of the strengths of Burda is their interesting, fashion-forward design aesthetic. They either hit big or miss big, but they rarely release anything I could easily recreate with a sloper. 
They also–Oh, my sweet crepes!–don’t come with seam allowances. 
Thus, in a nutshell, why I have never made a Burda pattern. As a perfectionist, adding my own seam allowances is a nerve-wracking exercise in geometry and chalk dust. There’s so much tracing and measuring and cursing. How I longed for those 5/8th inches! I would never take them for granted again! Honestly, I don’t understand Burda’s lack of seam allowances. I’m sure this is how it’s done professionally or how it’s always been done or some such nonsense, but give the home seamstress a break. Most of us would pay extra money for included seam allowances, I promise you. 
This wasn’t even a complicated pattern–five pieces total–but by the end of the tracing process, I had about lost my mind. When it came time to mark the resulting pieces, it was completely gone. Transferring markings from pattern pieces that are smaller than your fashion fabric is infuriating. There is so much room for error! Afterwards, champagne and a full Brandi Carlile album were the only things that could calm my frazzled nerves. 
The actual sewing process, however, was charmed. Thanks to its lack of separate bodice and skirt patterns, this was a really quick dress to sew up. There are three pleats on the main front, a darted wrap piece, then double pointed darts on each back panel. A zipper, some side seams, and you’re done!
Going a little rogue, I also subbed in a lapped zipper for the prescribed invisible zipper, and finished the dress with bias tape instead of a lining. The gorgeous model’s dress is lined stretch cotton crepe, but I couldn’t get my hands on a suitably stretchy thin cotton. Considering this dress has almost zero ease built in,  a stretch cotton is absolutely necessary. I ended up choosing this autumnal floral cotton from JoAnn’s that’s been in my stash for a few months. It had a slight horizontal stretch that felt perfect for a body-conscious dress like this one. It was also horribly, horribly off grain which necessitated some creative lopping off, but that’s another story entirely. (One that, incidentally, involves me trying to explain fabric grain to a mystified teenager at the Returns Desk who just wanted to go on his lunch break and get away from crazy, wide-eyed seamstresses. Needless to say, already washed fabric is not returnable, even if it’s a foot off grain. Grumble.)

The fit was a bit more challenging than the sewing process. This pattern only goes up to a Burda 52, measurements of 48-41-50.5 inches, which is actually pretty darn small in the realm of plus sizes. That’s about a 24 in terms of the American Big 4’s usual sizing. I started with a 50 at the bust, then graded down to a 46 at the waist, then back up to a 50 at the hips. The result is a mixed bag. I actually love the bodice fit, with its interesting pleats and faux wrap style. It ended fitting me really well, apart from a bit of extra blousing at the non-pleated side seam.

The skirt, on the other hand, is odd. What look like drag lines around the hips in some of these pictures are actually extra horizontal folds of fabric, caused by the dress’ middle being too long. Between the bottom of my rib cage and top of my thighs, there’s an extra two inches of fabric desperately trying to find a home. It lands like ruching throughout the waist and hips of the dress. What’s even weirder about this is that I’m pretty tall for a woman–5’8” without hairspray–so the proportions have to be based on someone much, much taller than average.

Lesson of the Day: fitting is complicated, because patterns are not drafted for individuals. Hardly anything is going to fit you out of the envelope and that’s okay. There are work-arounds for almost any problem! Were this post for any other reason, I would have hacked the dress in two, formed a waistband seam and front darts, then sewn it back together again. Since this is supposed to be an honest review of this pattern, however, I figured it was best to show you my end result without massive overhauling. Having extra room through the torso is probably going to be a common fitting issue with this one, unless you’re incredibly long waisted.

Lapped zipper! Practically perfect pattern matching!
Even with the unintended ruching, I like this dress alright. Yes, the fabric is a giant, crazy sofa print, but I dig it. One of the perks of having Viking Warrior Princess bones is that I can pull off largescale florals like this one. Mine is not a figure that’s easily overwhelmed. Thanks, hearty ancestors! Even better, the colors of this fabric are beautiful.  The oranges and golds of these flowers fairly glow against the dark background. So autumnal! If the leaves refuse to change color, maybe this dress can encourage them along. 
Also, let’s be honest, this pattern is sexy as hell. With the right silhouette, apparently even a sofa floral can be sexy. It hugs my curves beautifully, giving a tasteful bit of cleavage and a retro wiggle vibe. The pictures for this blog post were ridiculous to go through, because I kept doing unintentionally hilarious sexy faces. Scarlett Johansson, I am not
Were I to make this again, I’d probably go for a stable knit. It could be such a wearable piece, with a true stretch knit, instead of just a stretch cotton. There’s such a variation in stretch wovens that they’re not all going to take to this pattern the same way. The stretch crepe of the modeled dress is light and airy, whereas mine is a clingier, slightly heavier fit. A nice ponte, however, would drape wonderfully into those pleats, not require a zipper, and make fitting this one much easier! That’s my recommendation, if you give this one a go.
Be sure to check out the other stops on the BurdaStyle Plus Size Essentials Blog Tour! That’s a mouthful to say, but there have already been some gorgeous pieces made by my CSC compatriots. Have you made a Burda pattern, friends? Tell me the secrets of adding seam allowances without losing your mind.
September 29th — Jenny at Cashmerette — the Jersey Dress

October 1st — Tanya at Mrs. Hughes – the Printed Tunic
October 2nd — Laurence at Quirky Pretty Cute — the Loose Jacket
October 6th — Mary at Idle Fancy — the Faux Wrap Dress
October 7th — Mary at Young, Broke, and Fabulous – the Draped Dress
October 8th — Sophie Lee at Two Random Words — the Cape
October 9th — T at U & Mii — Contrast V Neck Dress

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