Category Archives: BurdaStyle

BurdaStyle 06/2013 #111A Shorts


These shorts were part of my St. Lucia vacation wardrobe. The fabric was leftover from a failed pair of pants. It’s a lovely fine twill weave of wool and silk in a warm brown with silver undertones. It looks sturdy but is actually rather delicate and doesn’t like to be stressed so we’ll see how long they last. I downloaded this pattern (06/2013 #111A) because of its relaxed look, faced waist, and width.

As designed the shorts have a side zip, faced waist, rear vent pocket, and rolled cuffs. They sit slightly below the waist. I omitted the useless and potentially lumpy back pocket and moved the zipper to the back. I also changed the bulky facing to seam binding and omitted the roll up hem. 

IMG_9859I laid the pattern out over my almost done pants sloper and found that the side seam sits towards the front.  I know this is an optical trick to make one look slimmer from the front but wasn’t sure if or how to translate that to my sloper.  Then somewhere along the way I lost an inch in width on each side!  Must have been late at night.  Hmmm….this is a design opportunity!  I added a 1″ strip down each side using the back side of the fabric which is a grey/silver.  It looks a bit crooked at the top but I won’t be wearing my shirt tucked in anyways.


In the end I am quite pleased with the fit.  I need to work out the bug with the stripe but I will be making these again.  They definitely suit me!



  • Take your time.  Don’t sew under time pressure.
  • My pants sloper already rocks! (Thanks Astrid!)

Burda Style 02/2011 #127 – Ultrasuede Jacket

A “suede” jacket was on my bucket list so I tackled this last fall. In typical Suits Me fashion I only got to wear it a few times before it was too cold. It’s intended to wear casually over a tee or sweater and has a close fit.


Luscious Ultrasuede from B&J Fabrics in NYC. Love, love, love that place! It’s lined with a flannel-backed Kasha lining. Pockets are faced with cotton shirting.



I started with Marfy F1447 (OOP I think) which is designed for leather or vinyl but the muslin got a thumbs down by my ASG buddies. (How could Marfy strike out?) The Safari jacket in Burda Style 02/2011 fit the bill for casual styling with two piece sleeves, two-piece collar, giant bag pockets, snaps, and cuffs. The upper pockets are made in two pieces so they map to the dart shape underneath. The pattern has two back vents which I omitted.


I took a pattern designed for gaberdine, and made it in Ultrasuede with flannel backed lining intended to wear over a sweater. Well, it’s a little snug at the upper arm and chest with a sweater underneath but fine with just a tee. I did compensate for the extra fabric but not enough.
The pattern is designed for petites. I thought the length was fine but when I look at the photos I see I really could use another 2″ in length. At 5′-5″ I’m not a petite.
I also need to work harder on the shoulder slope issue.

Working with Ultrasuede is easy! I followed the construction techniques in Sewing with Ultrasuede by Palmer-Pletsch which worked out fine. I even used a bit of linen for the sleeve head which eased the cap perfectly when installed. There is even some glue stick involved which was fun in a kindergarten kind of way. For the topstitching I used rayon embroidery thread in a similar color and gives it a subtle sheen.


Lessons Learned
Don’t underestimate the thickness of the final fashion fabric and lining when fitting.

Turquoise Jeans Jacket – Jalie 2320 Frankenpattern

This jacket has been in the sewing room for eight months now and I was on the verge of pitching it several times.   It’s not like me to have UFO’s hanging around. Things will often come back for changes or alterations, but nothing has ever sat here and taunted me, unfinished, like this one.


Wanted! Jeans jacket with curvy feminine fit, interesting style lines and details, a yoke, and fitted sleeves. There was an article in Threads #123 on jeans jackets and they compared the fit of several brands. This led me to make muslins of the following:

  • Silhouettes jeans jacket – too plain/simple, boxy fit.
  • Burda Young 7018 – too plain/simple, no pockets!
  • Jalie 2320 – nice style lines with inset front panel, welt pockets and pocket flaps, but a boxy fit with shallow sleeve caps.


For the final pattern I used BurdaStyle 02/2011 #127 (soon to be posted) for the two-piece collar, two-piece sleeves, and shaped fit.  I then redrafted it with most of the style lines and details of the Jalie. I also made a contoured waistband which none of the others had and I think that makes a big difference.

The fabric is an inexpensive home-dec fabric, a cotton twill with ZERO give. Mistake. I think I got it at Osgood’s in Western Mass.

Except for adding a matching lining, most of the construction techniques follow the Jalie instructions. I still wanted the pockets to be accessible from the inside like the Jalie pattern so I did some special sequencing and made it work with the lining. You can see I added a plaid binding to the pocket edge on the inside.  The buttons are typical metal jeans buttons.  I really don’t like the way the collar, cuff and waistband are put on.  It’s all traditional jeans jacket construction with all the visible stitching but I couldn’t figure out a better way.  I added a sleeve head too; I know, don’t say it….


What got me hung up for so long was the topstitching, especially at the collar and placket which was nasty. I ended up doing it four times and it’s still not up really up to my standards. My original plan was to find a heavy top stitching thread that matched the fashion fabric but it was nowhere to be found. I also tried a triple stitch and different needles. I tried a darker thread to see if it would be less noticeable and ended up with a cotton thread a shade lighter than the fashion fabric. Grrrr. My machine just doesn’t like anything over three layers of this stuff. I haven’t had trouble with denim in the past so I thought this would be fine.


Hmm.., looks like I STILL need to slope the shoulders some more, and possibly do a tiny FBA. I can still see some horizontal wrinkles just below the arm on the right side. I could take in the sleeves a bit and narrow the back.

I will definitely be making another one of these now that I have the pattern and fit mostly worked out, but I won’t be using the heaviest fabric in the world. (I think this one could stand up by itself!) I’ve got some linen and am thinking of quilting the yoke. I am also on the hunt for some brightly colored denim, or corduroy.

Lessons Learned: Don’t use heavy upholstery fabric for anything other than upholstery.

Have you had success with heavy upholstery fabric?

Burda Style 08/2013 #130 – Striped Skirt

Yes it’s more horizontal stripes!  I made this little guy in December I think.  I’ll be able to wear it year round.

Fabric: I was on the hunt for blue/camel fabric and found this lovely piece of textured woven cotton at Emma One Sock. It has two shades of blue, tan, black, and white so It will work with a variety of outfits. I think it was a roll end or something as I only bought a yard. I actually didn’t have enough fabric for the back facing which worked out fine as the fashion fabric was a bit bulky.

Pattern: I wanted to make a wrapped skirt and found 08/2013 #130 on the Burda Style site. I would never have selected this pattern based on the website photo which looks like it’s done in a wool Melton, but the line drawing was calling me. This wrap skirt has a zipper in front.
Almost forgot, I ditched all of the pockets. No need for any extra bulk on the hips.


20140321-172253.jpg(I only tucked the sweater in so you could see the snap detail at the waist.)


Fit: I took the waist in by an inch and pegged it 3″. I also shortened it by about 3″, and stitched the pleats down a bit as it was too puffy in front.


Construction: Hmmm….let’s start with the fact that I didn’t bother to get a separating zipper per Burda instructions. This would have made the construction much easier! I also lined the skirt which was not in the instructions. As an architect I’m pretty good at figuring out how stuff goes together, but between the zipper and the lining and the wrap I was stumped for a while there. Note that the slit for the wrap starts at the bottom of the zipper which was too high for me.
Also, notice how the wrap edge is at an angle? I wanted the stripes to be perpendicular to that edge but just couldn’t make it happen with my tiny yardage. This edge is not on grain and you can see where it’s sagging a bit as it pulls at the edge seam where the zipper is. I should have interfaced this part.

Lessons learned: Careful with any fabric even remotely cut on the bias. It should be interfaced if you don’t want it to sag.  The skirt has been back to the sewing room several times to fix this, but I keep sending it back to the closet without making the change.  Argh!

Burda Style 11/2011 #107B – Flannel Dress

I just love the idea of this tunic/dress from Burda Style. It has oversized shirt styling plus has side flaps on the back that wrap around and tie in front. Here I am clenching my fists in the balmy 17 degree weather. I had the idea that this would be a cozy hang around the house or go out on the weekends kind of dress but reality has set in. In winter I’m relegated to tights/leggings with dresses which just aren’t that relaxing. And the flannel isn’t that warm so it doesn’t come out to play as often as I would like. However I’m definitely up for another in a summer fabric. Perhaps a beach coverup?

Fabric: Cheap Cotton flannel from Joann’s. It’s a bit spongy and a bit wobbly. It took some wrestling to get it squared up for cutting.

Pattern: Burda Style 11/2011 #107B. (By the way, I think this was the best issue ever! You know, the one with the red riding hood cape?) The magazine showed this in several lengths styled different ways so it’s a keeper if I can find a way to wear it. It has a funky relaxed vibe to it.

Changes: I added darts in the lower back to give it some shape.

Construction techniques: Nothing special. I serged the seams and did a double folded hem.

Lessons learned: When sewing with fabric that has two identical sides, you STILL need to mark the right side or else you could end up with two left sleeves complete with cuffs and no extra fabric. As me how I know!

Burda Style 02/2013 #129 Pleated Shorts

20140321-172057.jpgShorts in winter?  Not really.  These shorts were a quick make done last fall so I only got to wear them a few times before the snow came.  I’m always a season behind!

Pattern: Burda Style 02/2013 #129 Pleated Shorts.  I  moved the zipper from the side to the back to allow for future adjustments, and I reduced the waistband to a 5/8″ finished width.  They seem to run a bit large as I had to take them in by a few inches.  They have some generous pockets for pocket fans.

Fabric: Cotton?  I had been looking for horizontal stripes and found them at the ASG convention last year in DC.  The waistband is a scrap of Ultrasuede left over from a jacket.

Construction: I used the tutorial by The Sewing Lawyer to match the stripes and it worked like a charm.  They are not lined.

Hmm.  They look better with lighter colored tights than these brown ones.  The outfit needs something bold on top to balance the print on the bottom.  Maybe an orange scarf.

20140321-172117.jpgLessons Learned: Make more!

BurdaStyle #114 04/2010 – The Chambray Shirt

I’m pretty excited about my new make as it’s my first shirt. Shirtmaking had been floating to the top of my list but jumped to first place when my ASG group decided that 2014 would be the Year of the Blouse.


This is Burdastyle #114 from April 2010 which is a classic style shirt with yoke, collar and collar stand, cuffs, and bust darts. I figured I had plenty to learn about shirtmaking without getting too fancy so I went with an inexpensive cotton Chambray that I got from Metro textiles in NYC last summer.

BurdaStyle 04/2010 #114 Line Drawing

The only pattern alterations I made were to fit the yoke and shoulders and move the bust dart a bit. It’s not a very fitted style to start with so it wasn’t that difficult to fit. I also omitted the useless pocket at the bust.  Also, to maintain a clean line under a jacket, I eliminated the loop at the back of the yoke.

To make this I used all of the techniques and instructions from David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking with two exceptions. Mr. Coffin instructs you to remove the ease at the sleeve cap which I did not do since I was using a pattern with a reasonably deep cap. I also inserted the sleeves in the round after stitching the side seams. This is opposite from his recommended sequence in which the sleeves are inserted flat before stitching the side and underarm seam. I even used welt seams to attach the sleeves. I wasn’t sure I could even attach the sleeves flat due to the ease, but I just saw Pam Howard do this in her Craftsy video class with a similarly shaped sleeve so maybe I’ll try installing it flat next time.



IMG_8689[My dressform is a little bit larger than me and in reality there are no strain lines at the bust.]

This make had a whole series of firsts for me which made it a challenge, but also made it quite satisfying:

  • First welt seams. Not too hard if you have the right seam allowances. I would like to try again with a welting foot to see if I can make it a bit neater.
  • First collar stand. Yikes, this is tedious work. There has got to be an easier method out there somewhere. The stand is tiny, and the two sides have to match, and then there’s the topstitching out there for everyone to see, right near your face!
  • First successful rolled hem. I think I finally got the knack of the rolled hemmed foot. Yeah me!
  • First use of a glue stick for basting. Not a bad idea.

I’ve collected a few fabrics that are destined to become shirts so I’m glad that this was a successful introduction. Now I need to decide whether to re-use the same pattern or to fit a new one. I would rank shirtmaking somewhere between pants and jackets in terms of difficulty, and easier than both in terms of fitting. I certainly could have pulled out the serger to speed things up a bit but it might be considered cheating. I found only one RTW shirt with serged seams in our closet.

Lessons learned:

  • Don’t over think the button locations. I shifted them down an inch to align with the bust point but now it’s a teensy bit too low.
  • Front of right armhole needs another 3/4″ or so removed to eliminate wrinkles below the arm. Requires right and left front pieces as well as right and left arms. I wasn’t ready to go there for this make.

Have you made a classic tailored shirt? How did you handle the collar? Do you cheat?