September Burda dress 122 09/14


Burda 09/14

Hi there:) Since the last post I’ve been knitting furiously on my City Cape from Purlsoho in a tweedy grey yarn. Unless Halloween costume-making takes over, it should be finished soon!

The dress pictured here was one of my favourites from the September Burdastyle magazine.  It has very interesting seam lines and not too many pieces to trace. I started buying Burda magazines over 15 years ago and once I faced my fear of using them (took about five years!) I found their sizing worked well for me. 



I made this from some lightweight (poly mix) suiting. The grey was a remnant bought in Fabric Select in Dublin and the black was leftover from an old project. I traced the size 36- but as my waist is the larger size, I cut it with 2cm side and center back seam allowances. All other seams were cut at 1cm to make it easier to sew the curved pieces accurately. I then assembled the front and backs and pinned the sides to fit my shape.

I traced a neck facing instead of lining it


Inside view showing neck facing

I understitched the facings and also held them with a handstitch to the inside seams.


I also needed to leave slits in the shoulders to allow for proper arm movement.  When the seams were fully stitched, it meant the entire dress lifted when I raised my arms. I suspect it was a combination of my straight shoulders and narrow sleeves which caused this.


Split at shoulders

I used a centered zipper


I also omitted the center front panel on the skirt by just extending the center front line on the pattern piece and drawing a new hemline.

It was a pretty quick make as I didn’t make any muslin and fitted as I went along which usually works out ok. I rarely spend too much time adjusting patterns unless I think I will be making more than one of it. My to – sew list is so long that I rarely make things twice!

Blog Hop

A big Thank you to Raphaelle at Deux Sourcieux for the nomination!! –   here’s my contribution to the Blog Hop that has been weaving its way through my blog feed for the past while :)


Burda shorts – one of the first items I shared on my blog


Why do I write?

I had been reading and following various sewing and knitting blogs with a few years and would comment occasionally, but didn’t feel like I was fully part of the conversation.  I studied Textiles in college and loved the interaction with other makers, getting inspiration and giving and receiving advice on our various projects.  I don’t live near many people who share the same interest and passion for fashion and textiles so I decided to start this blog as a way to engage with other makers online.  I started with a sock KAl hosted by Kristin in December last year and it all kicked off from there .


First handknitted pair of socks

First handknitted pair of socks!


I also love seeing peoples finished makes, it helps me decide if a garment will look flattering on me. As well as knowing any pitfalls that might arise ( like being warned if a hemline is super short … or way too long.!)  I’ve found blogs to be very useful in helping me make up my mind to tackle a project. Hopefully my blog will be of some help to others too.

But mostly I blog to talk about what I’m making – no one around here wants to listen to me drone on about the amazing details on a dress pattern or the perfect (or not so perfect!) finish to a zipper! Basically all of the things that fellow makers can relate to !


What am I working on?


Right now I’m working on a few things!     Knitting wise I’ve just finished making a Wurm hat for myself using some leftover yarn.

wurm progress pic

Wurm Hat in progress


I’ve been holding off on starting a big knitting project until I find a pattern that I’m sure I will be happy not just knitting, but wearing aswell.  I’ve been too quick in the past to jump into a new knit project without considering if I’ll really like and wear the finished piece.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the lovely finished pictures on ravelry or on blogs. But as luck would have it the new pattern released this week by Purl Soho seems to fit the bill:

It’s the City Cape pattern available for FREE on Ravelry!

City Cape Pattern by Purl Soho

City Cape Pattern by Purl Soho


And sewing-wise I’ve been working on a dress from the September BurdaStyle Magazine : ( I will be blogging more pics soon !)


Side section of my latest Burda make


How does my blog differ from others in its genre?

Ooh tough question! I’m not sure if it differs much.  In terms of blogging , I’m still finding my feet.  I like to post about a mix of crafts – sewing, knitting , machine knitting.  I also hope to share some other textile related items, like manipulating fabric using stitching, dyeing, printing etc.

I’ve been saving a lot of pictures lately of ‘out-of-my-price-range’ fashion that I would love to recreate on a budget.   Like this skirt on net-a-porter that I have been drooling over:


Good use of fabric scraps!

So I think this blog is still evolving, but I have been enjoying it so far and have lots of ideas for where I would like it to go from here


How does my writing  process work?

aaah my process….! I don’t think I have a process yet! I aim to post a few times a month, but I don’t want to set targets just yet. I have so much going on with work and family, that I want my blog to be fun instead of another item on the never-ending to-do list.  So I tend to photograph items as I’m working on them .   I then upload the photos and narrate around them.   Not very innovative I know!! But writing was never my strong point, so I’m hoping that interesting projects will make up for my lack of technichal skill with words!


So all that’s left is for me to pass on the baton…!

Firstly I’d like to nominate the lady behind a great blog I found recently called The Overflowing Stash, written by Pia.  I Love her style, and she has been inspiring me with her skirt block project. Her sewing is beautiful, and I like that she infuses her blog with some runway fashion inspiration Check out her Martin Margiela inspired jacket – so clever:)

Next Helen From Cut it out stitch it up. Her sewing is beautiful, she has amazing patience for pattern matching and she also knits. One of my favourite posts is this great explanation of ‘Bagging out’ or lining a sleevless bodice.

And then also Cheryl from Redknits.  Her blog is a lovely mix of sewing and knitting. Her sock -making skills are unreal!

Ladies ….no pressure if it’s not something you would like to do:)  And readers ( if you’ve gotten this far!) Thanks for stopping by and commenting or pinning or liking or just following along xxxx

Beginner machine knitting – swatch it!

Hi there:) I want to start with a thank you to Raphaëlle who blogs over at Deux Sourcieaux, who has nominated me for the blog hop that you’ve probably seen popping up in your blog feed the last while.   Raphaëlle’s blog has a lovely mix of sewing,  some machine knitting and spinning ( one of the few textile pursuits I have never learned!) Her blog is a lovely source of inspiring kids clothes makes.  So I will be posting my answers this coming Monday and passing on the nomination then, so do stop by again if you can !

Any other Machine knitters out there? I am slowly teaching myself to Machine Knit using a Knitmaster standard guage machine and I thought I would share some of the things I’m learning along the way.


Swatches - varying in tension

The most important thing I’ve learned is that swatches are an absolute must!  Unlike handknitting it isn’t possible to judge as you knit.  This is because in machine knitting, the fabric is stretched across the needle bed and changes shape dramatically when it’s removed.

Below are some swatches that I made up after I purchased some new cone yarn from Yeoman Yarns in the UK. I bought some Cashmilon 4ply and Panama 4ply ( I used the Panama to knit my slouchy cardigan).

The contrasting dots of yarn are used to mark the stitch width and the contrasting stripes are marking the row count.


panama swatches


I knit them in a continuous strip to save on casting on and casting off.  I used a different tension for each section.


long swatches


I then cut them apart and overlocked the top and bottom to stop them coming undone.


cashmillon close up

Overlocking visible on the top edge



After washing and blocking them to dry, I was able to measure them.  A handy tip I learned from one of Diana O’Sullivan’s videos was to make little holes in the swatch that correspond to the tension used  ( this one was knit at tension 5 )


tension holes

Number of holes is the tension number used


I now store these swatches together in a binder with all the relevant measurements on them – it will maker it easier to plan future projects.  Especially if i want to avoid any further cardboard -like jumpers :)

And to finish here are just two of the links I have found useful for Beginning to Machine Knit:


If anyone has more machine knit resources to share please do add them in comments . :) Chris

Invisible Zipper finish sewing tip

*Hi there new visitors & welcome. If you find this tip helpful be sure to follow Make&Wear for future posts :)*

Sometimes invisible zips worry me that they will come open. Especially when they start at the waist of a skirt. Instead of a hook and eye (which can be difficult to see). I use a fabric loop and button – on the inside.


Before the facing goes on, I catch a loop of lining fabric onto the zipper tape as below-


Then attach the facing as normal :


And all that’s left to do is sew a small flat button onto the opposite side of the zip :) That should save any wardrobe malfunctions! ! Happy sewing, Chris

Cheap & Cheerful ….. a new top from an old dress

Do you end up with bag-loads of other peoples clothes because they know you can sew?  I do!! No one ever sends their clothes to the charity shop without letting me have a look through first !! That’s how I came upon the dress pictured below on the left:

before & after

Old dress into new top


It was a dress that was no longer being worn and I was drawn to the bright colours on it.  The fabric was 100% cotton and I knew I might just squeeze a sleeveless top from it!  I used this Simplicity pattern ( which I’ve made up before )

simplicity 2599

Simplicity 2599


** just a little note if you plan to make this** – I cut mine about 5cm shorter than the pattern as I found it was a bit too long for my taste.

I started by checking if the pieces would fit using the lower portion of the dress:

1checking pattern

sizing up the front pattern piece




It was clear that the top would extend into the other panels on the dress – but the waist section was a heavier fabric that had piping so I wasn’t too keen to use it.  Instead I decided to patch together the pieces of the dress that I wanted to use. and avoid using the piped waistband piece.

I started by cutting apart the dress and the cut out the main back piece :


Back on fold

Which looked like so:4

I then added a dark blue strip along the top, stitching right side together and overlocking the seam:


And then finished cutting out the back piece:



I approached the front piece in a similar way, fitting as much as I could on the fabric:


Adding a piece to the shoulder:


How it looked after adding shoulder pieces:


I bound the neckline and armholes with bias fabric strips:

blue top armholes

It came together quickly and here’s the finished top!

front on hanger

with jeans