Stick To The Plan

I admire sewists who formulate a wardrobe plan, assemble all their patterns and sew according to that plan! I on the other hand, haven’t been able to stick to my plan! There’s always a new pattern sale to derail my plan! For instance, this Burda pattern I picked up and had to sew immediately! I really love the silhoullette! It has the illusion of separates but it’s actually a dress!

I used a black and cream rayon for the skirt from my favorite local fabric store, Habermans. I used a peachskin from Joanns for the top.




The first one turned out so nicely, I decided to make it again!

For the next version, I had a yard of waxed cotton I bought a few years ago at a sewing expo. I had no idea what to do with it and thought it would be worth the experimentation! I paired it with an orange linen blend for the top. A very unexpected color combo, but I like it!




I forgot to alter the skirt making it straight instead of a-line as I did with the first version. I may redo it later.
This is a nice, easy straightforward pattern. The only mild dislike would be the 2 pleats at the rear hip line area. They seem to call too much attention to that area! All in all, I really like the outcome!


Burda Lovin


Well, I am in love with my latest completed project (insert Cheshire Cat grin). To think, it all started with a downloadable (DL) Burda sleeveless waistcoat pattern! And since Burda DL’s don’t include seam allowance, I thought it wise to make a wearable muslin first! After a little tweaking of the muslin, I was ready to dive into the gorgeous faux shirling I bought at Joann Fabrics with my 60% off coupon! The total coupon price for 2 1/2 yards was $22.00! There’s just something magical about fabric, sewing and coupons! Said like the true addict I am!
So let’s start with the muslin. The fashion fabric used from my stash was from Walmart for a mere $1.00 per yard! Didn’t need a coupon for that! The fabric is a sturdy denim that probably is more upholstery than fashion but it worked wonderfully for this project and if it failed (not I, but it), I would have only lost $2.50 of the $4.00 paid for 4 yards! Piece of cake! The fabric used for the sleeves was also purchased from Walmart for a $1.00/yd. it’s the most awful mystery knit I’ve ever used but perfect for sleeves! Awful because it kept breaking my thread even after many tension adjustments. image
The real star is the faux shirling coat! Since I can’t do much with a sleeveless waistcoat, especially with the winter we’ve had in Michigan, I paired it with upcycled leather sleeves that were originally skirts I purchased from the Salvation Army for less than $10 bucks total!
I originally wanted to go with an animal print lining, but found this instead in the clearance section of my favorite fabric store Habermans for $4.98/yd.



Since the neckline is wider than an average coat, I made a fleece infinity scarf/hood which allowed me to get some animal print in!

And since I had the entire top half of the tan leather skirt leftover, I made a purse with animal print lining!image


I left the skirt zipper and fashioned it into a pocket to keep my cell phone or keys.


For those still reading this rather lengthy post, I say thank you! Now off to continue admiring my handy work!

Burda Leather Odyssey

Burda coat 5

It’s finally done! No more reading and re-reading the instructions. No more hand wringing and worrying about ruining my leather. I finally finished this massive project. So many mis-steps (although minor) along this process…first, I should have completed a FULL mock version of this project first instead of only partially completing a mock. Big, no HUGE mistake! Although, I’ve developed a great deal of patience since I’ve been sewing, I still have no patience when it comes to doing a full muslin. The very steps I didn’t do on the muslin are of course, where I encountered my issues! Like topstitching the side seams too early! All other seams in previous steps instructed (me) to topstitch immediately after sewing. So, of course, I ASSumed I needed to topstitch immediately after sewing the side seams WRONG! Right there in black and white, a few steps ahead, it states to topstitch sides after attaching lining to bottom panels. Then, topstitch all in one continuous seam. Damn! lesson learned! This mis-step created unnecessary bulk where the panels and side seams meet.
Next issue: the pattern piece shows the lining cut on a narrower angle than the leather. This time I should NOT have followed this instruction because my neckline and shoulder edges did not line up. I ended up having to add approximately four 6 inch inserts to the lining!

inserts added to lining

The panels actually look like a design element or at least that’s what I’m calling them! After the panel addition, the neckline and armhole edges are now aligned.
Another issue I encountered: the pattern calls for faux fur but I was using the real stuff so it was difficult to figure out which way to attach it to the lining (right side to right side, right side to wrong side, fur inside out on right side of lining). After attempting all of the above, mom and I figured out it was the last option!

Treading on, I had to decide what to do about the neckline since I wanted the fur collar detached. I didn’t want the raw edge of the neckline showing so I added a facing.

added facing.

In hindsight, I wish I would have left the raw edge because it’s way too much bulk around the neckline.


There’s no way my machine would topstitch that thickness. I took it to a local shoe repair thinking they would have a heavy duty machine but they didn’t. I may take it to an alteration shop next. I think it would give it a more finished look.
In the meantime, I’ve given it a test run and it feels amazing to wear! The fleece (unfortunately, I couldn’t find a brown fleece) provides warmth against the elements and its stylish. I am so full of myself right about now! Fair warming, I will be posting this project on Pattern Review, Burda Style, Sew Much Talent, Face…

A shout out to Cliobklyn for her amazing review on her leather project which I studied like a Holy Grail!

Sewing Patterns – Pattern Reviews for BurdaStyle Magazine Pattern – 07-2010-118 Peplum Jacket – Sewing & Sewing Pattern Reviews at

Burda coat 3

Burda coat_1

Burda coat backBurda no collar

Burda Odyssey Part III

Still chugging along like the little engine that could on this project! At this rate, maybe I’ll be done by next spring! I’m a little more than halfway thru the project but certain parts haven’t been easy! I’m having to read each instruction several times; although they’re written okay, I prefer the slow and steady approach. After all, there are no do-overs with leather!

I already thwarted a near catastrophe – not looking to make another! While sewing the pockets on the lower panels, I unintentionally left a 1-1/2 inch hole between the pocket edge and the horizontal seam which I didn’t notice until AFTER I topstitched the seam!

Poor seaming!

There was some serious handwringing going on! I had to try to hand stitch between the two topstitched layers (yikes!). Surprisingly, it turned out pretty well!

Neatened seams

Still to do:
attach fur to the lining (mom’s job)


Attach lining to the leather

I need to go make something else to curtail my excitement!

Burda Odyssey Part II

I have a new appreciation for the term “patience is a virtue” which I’ve seriously developed since working on this leather project! It took a good 2 hours just to get the right layout before cutting. Some of the skins have imperfections or holes which I had to navigate around for the best layout.

I’ve cut all my pieces out. I’m amazed at the amount of scrap leather left over!

I’m already envisioning small projects from the scrap! Maybe an obi belt, clutch bag (Craftsy has a class on purse making I’m considering buying-perfect timing) and definitely some jewelry elements. I just have to find the time!

Anyway, back to the current project. The leather was not as difficult to sew as I had imagined. In fact, it was a dream to sew! My fear of topstitching has not diminished.

The topstitching really gives it character, aside from reinforcing the seams, of course! Some of my topstitching is not as nice (ok straight!) as I would like it but I’m not going to sweat over it!

Although, I used binder clips to hold the pieces, they still shifted a bit. Thankfully, it’s not a big deal since the lining will be attached to the top and bottom.

So the pattern calls for fake fur, but I decided to use real fur only beause I already had it on hand. My mom and I found two mink stoles at a Salvation Army last year. My mom makes beautiful cashmere/wool capes and adds fur collars.

Mom’s work

Beautiful brocade lining

That was the intention of the $25 (total) I spent on that purchase!

Oh the treasures you find in a good thrift store! I’ve also found very interesting jewelry that I take apart to use in jewelry designs. Brooches and earrings can become pendants with a litte ingenuity! You just have to have an open mind. Besides, there’s a dual benefit in thrifting: the creative aspect but more importantly, the money I spend goes toward helping people in need. Can’t beat that feeling!

The only design element I’ve changed is that my fur collar will be detachable. I figure I’ll get more wear out of this piece with a detachable collar.

Since this project requires such a slow hand and I’m such an exciteable person, I decided to give myself some immediate gratification by making a top

using McCalls 6571

and a bracelet! My creative juices were flowin last weekend! All in an effort to contain my excitement over the Burda project.

What’s left to do: Sew in the pockets, attach the bottom panels, attach the lining, then the fur. Hopefully, I’ll be able to wear it by Christmas! Until next time…