Colour Clash Top

This spring has been so busy that I failed to post anything in April! But I am happy that one of the reasons why I have been busy, is the sewing hobby itself, not just work!

I actually have several items to show by now, but lets start with a simple top I made in record time of about 24 hours from tracing the patterns to the finished object, including packing and preparing for a 10-day trip in the meanwhile!

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I am not so fond of cowl necklines or gathered details, so I really went through all my pattern stash to make sure that model 130 from Burdastyle September 2012 is the one to go with.

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Surprisingly, I am happy with the result! I think it has mostly to do with the fabric, there is something so happy and summery about those colours!

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I didn´t make any alterations to the pattern, although I was sure I would have to, when I cut the pieces out at first – due to the gathers on the sleeves on one side seam, the pieces are extremely long! Eventually I think it worked out just fine.

I used a 5mm wide elastic tape for the gathers, sewing them under tension onto the seam allowances. Because my fabric is quite elastic, I used a twin needle throughout the project, making sure that every seam that had to be elastic, would be so. For more stable knits, I usually use twin needle only for the hems, but the side seams etc work fine with the regular needle, too.

I don´t know the exact composition of my fabric, but it seems to be prone to pilling. However the random print of the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower in patches of bright colours was appealing and the top was easy to sew, which makes it ok, even if I don´t get that much wear out of it.

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Overall, I think the top is a nice thing to wear during summer evenings, but I already made use of it in the cold conference rooms in Singapore, which is the destination I was packing for while making the top! More about that in the next post!

Still Life Top in Amsterdam

I spent the last few days of 2014 in Amsterdam, which was a totally impulsive decision but I love to take advantage of great flight deals whenever possible.

This short trip was all about wandering around the canal side streets and fabric shops, admiring van Gogh and struggling through the crowds at Rijksmuseum, so all in all, pretty perfect!

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Right before leaving for Amsterdam, I had managed to finish a simple top, which is another version of the Wavy Top I made back in the beginning of 2013, using the pattern from Burda Style September 2012, model 123A.

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Since it is allowed to take photos in Rijksmuseum, I thought the flower pattern of the front side of the top would be cool to get photographed with a still life with flowers in the background, but probably due to the end of the year and increased number of tourists in Amsterdam, the museum was so crowded that we just saw the highlights and taking photos was out of the question.

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The flower fabric is from my holiday trip to Portugal in September and the faux leather pieces on the shoulders are about the last leftovers from a 2-meter piece of wonderful feel and quality faux leather I got from Athens just shortly before leaving Greece in 2012. The rest of the material has been used on a dress, but since I made a mistake while sewing, it seems too much of trouble to start fixing it, so every time I´d rather pick a new project and the dress is currently in a dormant phase.

I actually used the facings on that top, as the pattern calls for. Just skipped the back slit once again, but sewing the neck hole facing with a tight zig-zag stitch gives a lot of extra stretch and more comfort while wearing the top compared to the bias tape method I used on the previous version.

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While in Amsterdam, one of the main attractions for me were the fabric shops, of course. I try to bring some fabric with me from every trip and of course I wanted a piece from Amsterdam as well. Thankfully it seems that most of the fabric shops in this lovable city are gathered at the biggest street market of Holland (as it is advertised), named after the Dutch painter Albert Cuyp – Albert Cuyp Markt.

You can find pretty much everything on that market and the fabric shops have set out only samples of their goods, just to lure you into the shops where the rest can be seen and bought.

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I think I must have been to six or seven fabric shops on that market, some selling also expensive silks and wools and some nothing really noteworthy.

In the end I only shopped at one of the stores, since they offered stretch lining at a very good price, plus I found a gorgeous beige/golden linen with a Giorgio Armani tag on it, for which I think I paid a bargain price.

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The most impressive thing about Amsterdam were the canal-side houses. I´d love to live in any of them, they look so cosy, especially at night. And definitely Amsterdam and Holland in general deserve a longer stay to explore more and deciding by the few days I spent there, I most probably will return. Besides, I didn´t make it to the famous Kantje Boord, which Cidell from Miss Celie´s Pants has written passionately about!

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Poodle Blouse in Istanbul

I spent the last week in Istanbul, or as Greeks still call it, Konstantinoupoli!

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The aim of the trip was a work-related scientific conference with a rather full program – from 7.30 AM to 6 PM and this from Monday to Saturday, but nevertheless, I managed to see some highlights of this amazing city.

I was especially lucky because I had a very helpful local guide (and his friend who actually works as a tour guide!!) who showed me and one of my colleagues around after the conference sessions. The local guide was a former PhD student from Turkey whom my father, who is a professor at the university, supervised several years ago in Estonia and I had his contacts after he came over for dinner in my parents house once. We had chatted maybe a few times during the past years over social media, but when the conference was confirmed, I told him I would be in town and he turned out to be extremely hospitable.

I didn´t go to Istanbul empty handed, I wanted to use this opportunity to take some photos of my lates sewing project in a more exotic environment than usually.

Do you remember this fun poodle print silk crepe de chine from my trip to Helsinki?

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Just in time for Istanbul, I turned this and a scrap of plain black crepe de silk into this:

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I have used this pattern (model 16, Patrones No 318) once before, and also wore it at the conference:

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As you can see, this time I omitted the sleeves, the result of a long debate with myself – since after my first fabric shopping in Helsinki and pre-shrinking the fabric, it lost exactly enough length and width to forbid me from cutting the sleeves, I bought somemor on my second trip….. just to decide against the sleeves in the end.

Since the shirt is so easy to make, having no darts whatsoever, it was a good project for my first ever silk sewing. To my surprise, the fabric behaved well during the process and I am especially proud of the buttonholes, that are perfectly in line and equal in size. I don´t know if and when I will ever be relaxed while sewing them!

I used French seams for shoulder and side seams and at the armholes I just folded the fabric over twice and sewed.

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Some close ups back at home:

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Of course I looked around for fabrics in Istanbul as well, but I wasn´t so lucky with this. Some of my colleagues had randomly wandered around and reached a square somewehere between the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, which was surrounded by fabric shops and actually a bronze statue of a fabric merchant unfolding some fabric was standing in the middle of it, but I didn´t manage to find this wonderland.

Instead, I found a well-kept outlet at Grand Bazaar, selling Ikat silk and silk/cotton mix. Also some other traditional fabrics, but after a lot of thinking, I ended up with 1,6 m of hand-loomed silk ikat, which is exceptionally wide  – 80 cm. You can see me holding it in the next photo:

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As you can see, the decision wasn´t easy, but I am very satisfied with the result. Believe it or not, but this is the only fabric I bought on this trip!

Walking down on Mahmoud Pasa street, I discovered some shops selling all kinds of crazy lace and glittery lycra, but I did not really stop by there. Then there were also countless shops for buttons, ribbons, bias tape and whatever you can imagine, but I cannot buy these notions without a certain fabric and pattern in my mind, so no shopping here, either. I guess there will be a moment where I will regret it, though 🙂

ImageImageImageGenerally, the whole experience of the city, as much as we could see it besides the lectures, was wonderful. The traditional tulip festival (tulip is the national flower of Turkey) was in full bloom with unreal color combinations and thanks to the local friends, we managed to drive around even at night, when, I dare say, the historic city center looks even more impressive.

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Plaid Peplum Bustier

Hi from Helsinki (and Happy Independence Day to all Estonians!)

It has been quite a while since my last post. One of the reasons is the increased work load due to my promotion and getting used to it, but more importantly I would say it is the northern light conditions in winter, which do not help with taking presentable photos at all.

A good camera helps a bit, which is why I immediately took advantage of my friend Triin while visiting her here in Helsinki for a few days, although as Finland is even further North from Estonia, there is not much light here either these days.

So this is the latest project:

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It is the peplum bustier from Burda 10/2013, model 109 (photos from burdastyle.com).

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I cut my regular Burda size 38 and it fit without problems, apart from having to take in at the back center seam because as I cut my fabric on bias, it stretched out a little and the pieces became wider than necessary. I guess I lost some length due to this as well, but luckily no problem with that. The fabric is the plaid cotton I got from Denmark in late autumn.

Burdastyle has made a very annoying change in their pattern selling policy recently, which caused me some trouble sewing this bustier up. Until recently, all the instructions files were available for free downloading and as I sometimes could not find BurdaStyle magazine in English, I got it in Russian or German instead, just to get the patterns. And when my high school level Russian or German failed while sewing a project, I always knew I could use the English instructions from the website.

Although this bustier has detailed illustrated instructions in my German BurdaStyle October 2013 issue, I still needed further help while sewing it and was really disappointed to realize that the party is over and the instructions are not available anymore. On the other hand, I was already halfway through the project and it was funny to feel how only when the instructions were not available, my brain really started working, trying to find a way to finish the piece. I managed in the end and satisfaction was even greater 🙂

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As you can see, I have made some alterations to the original pattern. I really planned to make it according to the pattern, gathering the peplum with an elastic band and all, but when I tried it, it looked ridiculous on me, so I quickly changed the game and went with a more flattering pleated peplum instead.

It is amusing that when I was about to cut my fabric, I realized Meg from burdastyle.com had already finished her version, also in plaid fabric! I thought, ok, I will make mine at least with the gathered peplum, so it is still different. And then I got to the part where gathered peplum was not an option for sure 😀 I wonder if this was the process in Meg´s case as well….

I lined the bustier with the wonderful navy stretch lining I got from Poland in summer. It is not attached at the bottom of the peplum, so the peplum is basically double layered. I did quite a lot of hand sewing to attach the hook and eye tape and the lining around it.

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Since I tried to do my best matching the plaids up, cutting the fabric was also unusually time and energy consuming. I wanted to make sure things would line up in the end and in my own opinion, the front part looks ok, but there is some mismatching happening on the back side. However, nothing tragic.

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 I still have one more day here in Helsinki and of course I have done some fabric shopping already, but there will be an extra post about this.

Happy 2014!

It is about the last minute to wish a very happy 2014 to all of you!

I have seen some nice overviews of sewing projects of 2013 by other bloggers and since I enjoy reading them, I thought why not to sum up my own sewing year as well.

I am only including items that were completed in 2013, so no Out Of The Closet items here, although in the posts of 2013 you saw a few of those.

So, as I was going through the projects, I realized I am more into rose prints than I would have thought! Just look at this – a corset top and a matching skirt, another top and finally a dress:

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And the rest of the dresses I made:

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Just two tops (the rose print one you saw above) and one blouse made in 2013:

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Two skirts (the rose print  is seen above) plus a pair of pants:

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If I had to pick the most worn item I made, it would be the Wavy Top, but I also wore the Tribal Print Skirt and Princess Jasmine Pants quite a lot over the summer.

I still have some nearly finished items, that I spent a lot of time working on and for some reasons didn´t finish in 2013. Once they are done, I will post them as well.

This year I also made two dresses for friends and I still owe one to a third person, too!

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And finally, there is one more dress that should be added to the 2013 count, because I finished it on New Year´s Eve! Unfortunately the light conditions are so poor in Estonia in winter, that although I tried my best, I couldn´t get good quality photos of the garment. This is why I am showing only a teaser of the dress here and once I get a chance to take better photos, will write a proper post as well.

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Cross Stitch Rose Top

Hello!

For the past one month I don´t think there has been a day where I didn´t do anything sewing-related.

I have several half-finished projects and some finished ones too, it is just the matter of taking the photos, which, given the limited daylight in winter in Estonia, is the most complicated task about the whole thing.

This is also why the following photos may give you chills – I had to take them outside in order to have better light conditions. But surprisingly, for those few minutes outside in snow, it actually did not feel cold at all!

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I used the Burda Retro Blouse pattern, available on burdastyle.com. As far as I know, it is only available there and has not been recently published in any BurdaStyle magazine.

The photos are from burdastyle.com:

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I cut my regular size 38 and the changes I made were: omitting the side seam zipper, adding a lining and hemming the sleeves. I used French seams that have quickly become my favourite technique for lightweight fabrics.

I didn’t need a zipper because both of the fabrics I used are slightly elastic. I got them on my trip to Poland in summer, as well as the Gütermann thread I used, so it is kind of a nice souvenir from Poland for me!

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There is really nothing much more to tell about the top, it was easy to sew and fits well.

Some details and my freshly committed sin – new shoes,  here:

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Other news include that my dear friend Liise from Spain is here for a few days and brought me two issues of Patrones magazine! I am super happy for it, although one of them is full of great coats and jackets and since my Stardust coat is totally on hold, I will not even think of starting a new coat project before this one is finished.

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The Blue Rose Skirt and Top

This is sort of Out Of The Closet series of post, because the corset top was finished last summer in Athens! The skirt was also cut out while still living in Greece and laid all winter in my drawer until I finally got to it again a few weeks ago.

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It all started with using Simplicity 4070 for Stefania´s dress. It was the first time I made a strapless top and the first time I used Rigilene boning. As the project turned out well, I got excited and decided I needed a corset top in a similar style.

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I found this beautiful cotton stretch in Athens and bought it heavily discounted as it was the last 1.7 m on the roll. Sometimes I really miss the fabric shops in Athens, where the salesmen generously cut more fabric than asked and drop the price if you know when and how to ask!

If you are interested, I found the same fabric online here.

Anyway, the top was pretty straightforward to sew after the experience with the dress. I also could use the leftovers of the lining for her dress, although it would have been better if it was slightly stretchy as well.

Nevertheless, the most difficult task was finding a zipper in suitable shade and length. This is also the reason why the top is a tad longer than I wished – I was not able to find an open-ended zipper of perfect length.

You can see some “gathering” on the upper edge on both sides  of the zipper. I added a strip of elastic between the lining and the fabric as I was afraid for gaping. I don´t know if it made a difference or not, but the top feels comfortable and I don´t feel like I am losing my clothes as it sometimes happens with strapless tops and dresses.

The only downside are the horizontal folds when worn. I think it has to to with the fabric being elastic and the lining non-stretch. I am trying not to pay attention to this, though!

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For the skirt I used Burda 05-2012 model 118/119 pattern. I have a similar ready-to-wear skirt from Zara and love the style, I really enjoyed sewing one up myself, especially as the fabric is great to work with.

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The technical drawing is for model 118, with the welt pockets on the back, but I omitted them as my fabric would have disguised them with the big print.

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As always I did not follow Burda directions for the front fly, but relied on the tried and tested tutorial video instead. You cannot go wrong with this technique!

The sequined details on the front side of the skirt are not simply the result of trying to personalize the garment, but a try to cover up for bad pattern placement. Although the fabric looks heavy with flowers at first glance, I wasted a lot of it, because I tried to “catch” as many dark blue roses as possible. And still, when I looked at the skirt, it looked a bit empty, plus one rose was cut in the middle for the front center seam and I could not leave it like this.

So I got the idea of creating a fun effect by cutting out several roses and flowers from the fabric, use sequins to add interest and sew them randomly on the skirt. Of course, there is nothing random about the placement, but I tried to make it look as if I threw them there accidentally, while they are actually strategically placed to cover up and emphasize the flower print. I love the result, the contrast between the fringed edges of the details and the sparkle of the sequins.

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I had exactly enough of lining left from Stefania´s dress, to use it for the pockets of the skirt as well! So the two garments make up a nice set that can be worn as separates and also dress up or down according to the occasion.

Yesterday I chose to wear wooden platform heels for dinner downtown.

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The Roberto Venuti shoes were also bought from Greece back in 2010, but are basically unworn, although I love the style. I could find a photo of dark brown version of them on internet. I must say I prefer mine!

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As I started the post with reference to Stefania´s dress, there is an old debt I have to pay – I never posted photos of her actually wearing the dress as she didn´t like the idea of being up here without make-up and her hair done as she was when she came for the dress. After a long time she finally gave the permission, so here they are (sorry for the quality, they were taken in a rush, using a phone):

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And last but not least, I need your help! Any fabric shop recommendations for Poland, namely Warsaw and Krakow? Thank you in advance!

Chain Print Blouse

A while ago I showed you my favourites from Patrones 318, among them the following blouse, model 16:

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I liked it, but at the same time thought that it would be slightly boring to make. That was until I found a fabric that immediately brought this pattern to my mind.

At first I wanted to be ready with the project by my colleague’s birthday party, but traditionally was short of time and finished the last buttonholes and sewing the buttons the day after the party. This is the result:

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As there are no darts and no princess seams, this blouse was really easy to make. Once again a pattern from Patrones fits me perfectly, I cut my usual Patrones size 42. Due to the simplicity of the project and the type of the fabric, I decided to give French seams a try. It does require some extra work, but I really like the result. The garment looks very tidy from outside as well as inside. Here is a good tutorial that gave me assurance for finishing the armholes with the same technique.

The hardest part was the buttonholes. Not because I wouldn’t know how to use my sewing machine, but I was hoping to finish right before the party, started to rush and as a result messed up a few times.

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The skirt I am wearing is from summer, more details here.

I also tried to style the blouse for a more casual look. I am not really sure about the 70’s style jeans, but decide for yourself.

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As you can see from the photos, the sun is really intense. We have had some really nice days here in Estonia, I can feel spring approaching and the days are longer and longer. It is nice to wake up and see the sun rising. The darkness of  November and December seems like a bad dream now.

Another piece of good news is that thanks to a tip from a cousin of mine, I got myself another sewing dummy! It is actually a decoration mannequin from a shop that is moving to new premises and they are selling their mannequins for 10 and 20 euros (20 for a tall stand). As normally they only sell clothes and accessories, I didn’t take the tip very seriously. Especially because although it is a chain of shops, the mannequins were allegedly for sale only in Narva, the easternmost town of Estonia, where the majority of inhabitants are Russians.

But a colleague of mine has an adventurous mind plus we have two curious Austrian students practicing in our hospital right now and they also got excited of the plan. So we basically drove more than 300 km to Narva and back to get the dummy. Of course we did a lot of sightseeing as well, but the whole idea started off the tip from my cousin.

A few photos of the trip here:

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The dummy is a female shape in proportions of a Barbie doll. The waist circumference is 50 cm while the bust is nearly 90! But in order to photograph my projects it is just fine.

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And finally, the shoes you see here are both Nine West, first the Pugnose, and secondly the Oh Dear wedges:

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The Wavy Top

I have completed the first item of 2013!

It should be a few hours’ work normally, but it took me a few days because I worked very slowly, bit by bit after work and when my friend Sirli came over for the weekend, I excused myself for a moment to finish off the sleeve hems so that she could take the photos.

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It is the popular Burda September 2012, model 123A top.

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Burda september 2012 model 123a

I remember seeing the design and the first idea was to make it with faux leather shoulder details. I was a bit surprised seeing this sewn up in many ways, but no one made it with faux leather, until one very nice version showed up on Burdastyle.com, it should be visible here.

The fabric I used is a lighter type of ponte knit, I grabbed it just a few days before leaving Athens. It was available in three colourways, blue, grey-black and red. The blue seemed to be the most popular by far, it was selling out fast and I managed to get the last 1.7 meters off the roll. I regret not getting the red version as well.

I also regret not thinking ahead and making it into a dress, using the same pattern. I cut the top a bit longer to see, if I would go with the view B of the pattern, that has gathered side seams and only then did I see the potential for a great dress, but the fabric was not enough anymore. In general, due to the stripe match-up, I spent more fabric on the top than I would normally have. Now I am debating whether to try and make a skirt that would combine the faux leather and the remnants of the fabric, so that I could wear the two separately or as a set. I am not sure, because I don’t have much of the leather left and I might want to use it for some other projects as well, so if the skirt will not be a success, I will end up with two wasted materials. We’ll see.

So, I used ponte knit and after reading some reviews, decided not to make an opening on the back. I used bias tape instead, which made the neckhole a tad less elastic than the ponte knit would have allowed, but it is exactly large enough for my head to pass through and at the same time will probably not stretch out. In order to use this technique, I had to sew through the faux leather details as well, which only gave me one shot to get it right, because if I had to rip the stitches afterwards, the details would have been spoiled.

Another issue was that if the faux leather is facing towards the metallic plate of the sewing machine, the teeth of the machine ruin the material completely, as it gets stuck there. In order to avoid that, I placed some scraps of pattern paper under the leather parts and everything went smoothly!

The sleeves and lower hem was finished with a double needle stitch for stretch and more professional finish. I remember reading a review saying that the sleeves are too long and this was also the case with me. I had to shorten them approximately 4 cm, so basically I didn’t have to add any seam allowance. My regular Burda size 38 was fine this time as well, no other adjustments were necessary.

Burda September 2012 model 123A

Burda top

Burda September 2012 model 123A

Burda September  2012 model 123A

I am very satisfied with the result, I think it a versatile item that can be combined with many other things in my wardrobe and it is also very comfortable. Also, I have spoiled some striped projects in the past, but this one is lined up, even the sleeves are exactly the same!

Some close ups and a casual look:

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Burda Wavy Top

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For those interested in the footwear, the boots are super-comfortable Gabor Rinkata, the latest addition to my beloved collection. It seems I have a thing with suede leather…

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The blue suede shoes are Nine West Tariko, another grab from Athens just before coming to Estonia.

Nine West TarikoIn addition to the satisfaction of a new garment, I had a very nice weekend, chatting non-stop over a bottle of wine on Saturday evening and having a relaxing time at the local pool today, finishing it off with the best cakes on Earth from a tiny coffee-shop in Haapsalu. I thought to take a photo, but when the freshly made cakes were served, everything else was forgotten!

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Out Of The Closet: Little House On The Prairie Tunic

I haven´t mentioned it here, but although I currently live in my homeland Estonia, I don´t live in my hometown. My home at the moment is in a tiny seaside town with a population of 11 000 people. Coming from the overcrowded city of Athens, the change is really huge. It has its downsides as the variety of restaurants, bars or entertainment is really small. On the other hand, I walk to work and in 10-minute walking distance from my house there is a nice swimming pool. No squeezing in the midst of the crowds in the metro, no heavy clouds of exhaust to inhale! In spring and summer I will probably enjoy living here more, because I can then use my bicycle for getting around and for getting a workout. I really LOVE cycling!

Another downside, though, is that I don´t have any old friends or family in this town and everyone I know right now is from work. Immediately it brings about the problem of taking photos for the blog!  I have arranged with a colleague to take some photos if I am really in trouble, but I don´t want to make it a burden on anyone, so I´d rather wait until I visit my hometown and have someone take the photos then.

I spent this weekend in the capital, Tallinn, for a change, since the past 2 weekends I didn´t go anywhere. I had a good time, ate out, went to the movies and had some photos taken!  And because the Stardust coat is not proceeding much (I am afraid I still have to ask a friend to send me more fabric from Athens), once again I am showing you something I made before starting this blog.

It is the tunic from Burda Easy Fashion autumn-winter 2009.

The photoshoot was not an easy task, as the weather has been gloomy for the past days (weeks actually!) and a good light is really an issue. The following photos were taken during approximately 10 minutes, which was the lucky 10 minutes of sunshine we got on Saturday, believe it or not!

I need a special mood to wear it, because as you can see for yourself, it is a bit of a hippie-style or little-house-on-the-prairie-style, if such a thing exists! And honestly, I don´t feel like this very often, but when I do, I enjoy wearing the tunic a lot! And as my friend Taavi, who took the photos, pointed out, it is an investment piece for the future, if I decide to get pregnant 😀

Once again I am surprised at myself, since this is one of the first things I made when I started sewing again, and it is not exactly an easy project with the buttoned front, lots of gathering and plaid fabric.

I cut size 38 as nearly always with Burda patterns and didn´t make any alterations. The wooden toggles are from a dress I bought, but didn´t like them there, so I removed them and used them for the tunic. The fabric is some kind of a cotton mix, I believe, it is nicely lightweight, but wrinkles quite easily.

The boots are a cheap pair of a Greek brand called Hunter, but I loved them for the colour.

And last, but not least, remember this? :

The basic pattern is the same for these two items! The bodice part is the same, but the front yoke has pintucks and bow tie, the sleeves are different and there is remarkably less gathering on the blouse, but the bodice part is exactly the same!

The technical drawings once again:

Generally I would say that Burda Easy Fashion used to have more complicated patterns than they do now. I still buy the magazine, but they haven´t been able to  beat the 2009 issues, both spring/summer and autumn/winter.