How a magnetic little thingumy took the sewing world by storm…

There’s nothing like a bit of international post to brighten up the day!

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This lovely item comes from Australia. One of my favourite countries!

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway hosted by Sew Well

(yes THAT OTHER Amy, of Burda Style and Mood Sewing Network fame!).

She teamed up with Hollie (the inventor of the Seam Allowance Guide) to share an amazing sewing tool.

What is it?

The seam allowance guide is genius in its simplicity; like I said it’s a magnetic thingumy that “sticks” to the side of your scissors with an adjustable rubber band.
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Wait it gets better…

When you come to trace those fiddly Burda patterns that don’t include seam allowance you don’t have to worry about adding it on. Just trace it as it appears in the magazine!

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Then what…?


Pin your pattern piece to your fabric. Set the band to the required width (or your personal preference) of seam allowance. Then cut lining up the edge of the guide with the edge of your pattern piece.

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Wahey!!

The pack comes with two guides. One for sloping scissors and one for non-sloping.

Perfect for:

  • Burda Style Magazine patterns = that you’ve laboriously traced by hand while screaming to the sewing Gods “why are you punishing me?!
  • Bought Pattern books = ahem, see above
  • Copying your own clothes = as in Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit (which I just happen to receive as a Christmas gift)
  • Creating patterns from scratch = of which I’m just dipping my toes in to like a terrified kitten
  • Altering patterns = well hello, it’s hard enough measuring the right fit and then having to calculate ease, and THEN having to add seam allowance

Two thumbs up from me.

I’ve put it to work 7 hours after receiving it.

It would have been sooner if I didn’t have work today!

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Twinkle twinkle little star…

I’m currently working on one of my Winter sewing plans laid out in the last post.

The BurdaStyle Twinkle skirt is offered for free on the Burda site as part of a collaboration with Whenlan Chia, to promote her line Twinkle By Whenlan and her book Twinkle Sews.

For a free pattern this is quite a lovely garment. I was really quite surprised. It’s almost too good to be free!

Now that I’ve said that, I’ve got to list the things to take the shine off the niceness.

Firstly the pattern pieces. Printing at home is terrible to do when there are 10-20 pages. But this pattern had 50 pages!!! FIFTY!!

Phew. I started by cutting out the pieces on the train home from work on Friday. Best way to make my hour commute fly by…. Though you attract looks like you’re a nutter.

All the waste makes me sad. I understand from a logistical perpective you need a border to ensure the pattern pieces are matched properly. But does it need to be such a big margin?

I decided the taping of the pattern was a Saturday daytime task. I made such a pest of myself to Mr Almond Rock. Oops, apparently my butt gets in the way when taping on the floor in front of Soccer Saturday.

Matt Le Tissier looks disgusted at how big this pattern sheet is

They had to put the skirt front out in full to show the pleat instructions. I get that. But why but the skirt back and lining pieces out in full? They could have been cut on the fold couldn’t they? Am I missing something special about them? Wool doesn’t make a difference surely.

*Edit: Since writing this I tried cutting wool on the fold. It’s almost impossible! So I take back what I said about the skirt back. Burda/Whenlan you were right. I still stand by what I said about the lining pieces though!!*

Well I got over it in the end and went shopping for some muslin fabric. I wanted and still want a red wool skirt. Something not too tomato coloured but warm and bright.

I felt sure Samuel Taylor’s would have something gorgeous and perfect… NOPE. NOTHING. NOWT.

I went to the market… NADA, NIL, NONE… ZIP (had to get the sewing related  one in)

Then I fell in love with some navy wool with a sort of waffle knit pattern. But there was only 1m left and this pattern calls for 1.6m. Sigh.

Then I spotted a blue wool suiting fabric and laughed. It’s pretty much the same shade as the sample picture! Well at least I knew how it would look.

And I think it’s coming along quite similar!

I agonised over the pleats because the instructions made NO sense. The diagram in the instructions made them look like inverted pleats but the sample photo shows folded pleats. Turns out the sample photo was more helpful than the careful created line drawing.

The other problem I encountered was the sizing. There is a cautionary note on the Burda pattern page that this pattern uses Whenlan’s sizings. And it’s true they are on the 5th page of the instructions but they refer to 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 sizes….

THE PATTERN PIECES USE DIFFERENT NUMBERS!

Epic fail.  0, 4, 8, 12, 16 on the pattern? No chance of keeping it straight unless I’m a size 4… Or a 0. I struggle with American sizes already but I know I’m not a size 4.

I’ve already worked out I need to take 3cm out of the width.

*Blows raspberry*

But overall I’m pretty happy. I’ve cut out some midnight blue satin lining so it feels gorgeous against my skin and worked out the placement for my invisible zipper with the size alternations.

(On a funny note Whenlan’s instructions say “install the zipper using your favourite method”. Good job I know a couple of ways right Whenlan? Cos you’re not telling me any!)

I still need to decide on whether to hem this with a visible stitch (Whenlan calls this the “sporty” look) or use pretty lace hemming tape.

I’ve never used hemming tape before but imagine I’d get crabby about the state of my handsewing as I catchstitch it into place. I don’t think the suiting fabric is that bulky so it isn’t really necessary but I love the idea of my skirt ruffling in the wind and showing a peek.

Should I build up my handsewing skills? Should I go for the sporty look? Or can I form some hybrid using wonderweb?! All thoughts welcome.

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Bookended by Burda

This post starts and ends with Burda.

First I want to shout “I bought a Burda Magazine”!! I finally got the courage up to buy one. I know it’s only £4.75 but I’ve never seen more than one pattern in there to make it worth buying and the lack of seam allowance/crap instructions scared me off. But this one is chock full of patterns I’m eager to make!

Mmmm lush red cape, long-sleeved skater dress and sweet little cap sleeve/gathered skirt dress. I’ll kick ass when autumn comes around

All to be picked up AFTER a couple of current projects.

I’m trying a new zen approach to sewing. I do a little bit at a time and stop when I start to get irate or stressed!

So my fishy dress is progressing slowly and surely.

I tried to put pleats in the front. I swear I did. But they just would not go in straight or neat or even sized or anything. Blerrrrgh. So I ditched them.

I’ve also been deliberating the best way to attach my collar and performing little trials is helping me learn.

All this work and NO photos. Well I put a sneak peek on Instagram the other day but I want a big reveal!! I was a bit gutted my reveal wasn’t yesterday to coincide with Oona’s promaballoona. But I’d rather reveal it next weekend instead than have it be out in the world too early.

It’s my precious and I’ll reveal it when I want to!!

In other bratty news…

Have you seen the subject of this year’s Tessuti Awards? I only saw it thanks to Julia Bobbin but in a way I wish I hadn’t! This is like my dream competition!! A spots and/or stripes dress contest with an unbelievable cash prize that I could use to get back to Oz!! I love Australia and want to go back desperately. 

The thing that is getting to me (and it’s a perfectly reasonable thing for Tessuti to ask) is that you can only use Tessuti fabric. But it’ll take 10 days to deliver worldwide and cost $30 just to ship the fabric!

With the deadline of Sept 19th and me going away the 7th – 14th of Sept, I’ll end up with no time to sew if I have to wait 10 days for delivery!

OH WHY DIDN’T I SPOT THIS EARLIER!?!?

(even the pun hasn’t perked me up)

Finally a bit more Burda….

I’ve been downloading the free Friday patterns from Burda Style. Rather impressed a major company like them would give away patterns, though obviously it’s not every Friday. Is there a pattern to their giveaways? No pun intended, the word I need is ” pattern”!

I got the Sadie pattern and thought ooh this looks simply and sweet and a great trial into the world of Burda. I also smiled because I have a friend called Sadie.

I’d not been very successful with jersey in the past. I tried to reproduce this Modcloth dress months ago by mis-aligning the stripes and using red top-stitching. Lets just say my finished product was super sloppy.

Sexy Sadie

It was my first attempt though and the jersey was £1 a metre from my favourite place that I’m sure you’re all sick of me mentioning.

 I hacked up my efforts for Sadie but kept the misalignment of stripes and top-stitching down the centre front and back.

I used the same jersey to make sleeve binding but attached it a) in the wrong order and b) with the wrong technique so it sticks out a bit more than anticipated.

I kind of like it though. It’s like I rolled up the sleeves when I put it on.

I attached my neck facing correctly thank goodness.

I then realised it was rather short for my tastes hence the weird regular stripes at the bottom that creates that big black wedge on one side and the top-stitching stops abruptly.

Sigh…

I’m proud of the top-stitching though. And I’m not going to be afraid of jersey in the future (Sergei the serger handled it well). Plus I’m going to make a Sadie again but definitely add a few inches to the bottom of the pattern.

Is it worth uploading to My Projects on Burda style though? I think not.

Maybe when I make my awesome red cape I’ll upload that instead!!

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