Floral Riot, Burda 6849 from Mood Fabrics NY

On the side, I’ve been suffering from a quiet obsession with shirts… this one I’ve made as my Mood Fabrics NY project, using a lovely Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile.

I took two lots of pictures – one just as a storm was hitting at lunchtime – then about 24 hours later on the beach… this winter has been ‘all over the place’! I decided to use a few from both as the stormy backdrop really did make the colours jump off the screen – I habitually roll up my sleeves – fortunately I managed to get one photo before the sleeves assumed their ‘normal position’, half way up my forearm.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C – yes it’s mid-winter here…

When I unpacked this fabric I immediately thought of making a shirt. I think voile would be one of my favourite fabrics. It’s not as fancy as silk or wool but it’s one of the most wearable and washable fabrics I’ve encountered – which means that it passes my ‘lifestyle’ test with flying colours.

According to the Mood Fabric Dictionary (this always helps me when I’m stuck wondering what some mystery fabric is in BurdaStyle!) Voile is: “Plain, loosely woven. Characteristics: A thin semi-transparent dress material of cotton, wool, or silk. Sheer and very light weight. Usually made with cylindrical combed yarns. To obtain a top quality fabric, very highly twisted yarns are used. Voilé drapes and gathers very well. The clear surface is obtained by singeing away any fuzzy yarns. Has a hard finish and crisp, sometimes wiry hand”

This fabric is not loosely woven and is not semi-transparent as I would expect with a voile. It strikes me more as a lawn than a voile. A fabric of this nature is perfect for shirtmaking – I found it an exceptionally easy fabric to work with to create finishes such as flat-fell and French seams, rolled hems and more. It’s remarkably easy to cut out and iron. In short, it’s a dream to sew with.

Shirts have a few tricky elements if you have never sewn one before – I confess my first few shirts gave me several heart attacks during construction. Perhaps that is part of the addiction, conquering the challenges one by one. There is no doubt for me that sewing with a lightweight fabric with high thread count certainly makes those tricky elements much easier to handle.

Burda 6849

The insides – no overlocker required! I flat felled the centre back seam and then French seamed the sleeves and side seams.

Shirts are a staple in my wardrobe. I tend to wear dresses to work however my out-of-work uniform tends to be denim jeans/skirts with t-shirts and button-up shirts.

I decided to wanted a feminine, slim-fitting shirt and Burda 6849 delivered. It has a shaped centre back seam, four fish eye darts at the waist, shaped side seams and a curved hem. The sleeves are also quite slim fitting.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C

Due to the nature of the print and the weight of the fabric, the seams, darts and pockets just disappear and you focus on the silhouette created by the sewing pattern. And this fabric just sings, it’s so pretty!

Burda 6849

Pocket and buttons

As this lawn was so lovely and fine, I flat-felled the back seam with a neat 4mm seam. I also decided to French seam the sleeves and side seams. These types of seams are so easy to achieve in a high-count light-weight cotton.

Burda 6849

The cuffs

I did add a slight curve to the cuff edges. The placket is a simple one and while I thought about adding a tower placket, I decided not to as I liked the light nature of the fabric and how neatly it rolled up at the sleeve end.

Some techniques used:-

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C

Pattern: Burda 6849
Fabric: Pink Carnation Cotton Voile, Mood Fabrics NY
Also see: Creating in the Gap – gorgeous shirt by Margo. I’d like to steal it 🙂

Buttons: the buttons were a surprise gift from Vicki Kate Makes – which were also perfect on my daughter’s Japanese shirt. They just seem to go with everything! Thank you xo.


I think shirtmaking is a long journey, I have many miles to go. I love making shirts, I find them methodical and precise – it’s like sewing yoga to me – I really relax when making them.

I decided to invest in a few resources including both David Page Coffin books (read GingerMakes. review of The Shirtmaking Workbook). I’ve made a couple of shirts (sorry behind in blog posts), stalked menswear stores for inspiration (just the shirts I promise!) and crawled my way across Pinterest.

So I hope there will be more shirts to share in the future.

Out & About

Busy times coming up with three weekends away. This weekend it’s Newcastle for dancing mum duties, then Melbourne for Frocktails, followed by Brisbane for the theatre – Dracula! Somehow must find time to sew.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C. Sometimes I get demure and cover my wrists…

Drop Waist: Take 2, Papercut Saiph inspired Burda 7056

So while the jury is out on SBL vs the drop-waist look. I decided to try another ‘Saiph inspired’ make. Yes, another drop waist and a circle skirt.

I wanted to try out another drop-waisted look, this time with a more fitted bodice.

So I turned to my bulging pattern & fabric stash to see what might be a contender.

Burda 7056

Burda 7056

I chose Burda 7056, described as “No-frill dresses for the confident woman, being the focus. All slightly flared, fitted at the back waist, shoulders left exposed“. I liked the more fitted but slightly a-line shape, with fitting provided by bust darts and back fish-eye darts. I added this pattern to the stash quite some time ago, I love the maxi version, and I also love the combination of high neckline and cut-away shoulders. There are not too many blogged versions out there – except for the lovely new-to-me blog bernie and i who has made it several times!

The fabric is a cotton sateen from a Spotlight bargain table for a princely $3 a metre. I adore the vivid blue & white. The large regular pattern is fun but not easy to sew with as you will see later!

Here’s what happened…

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification. It was blowing a gale on this day we had to find a headland out of the wind (almost impossible to get out of the wind anywhere some days – so the dress looks slightly distorted in this picture and my bra strap has popped out – that’s life. And yes, it’s TOO SHORT! My waist is at the ‘ellipses’ travelling horizontally around the dress.

I cut the dress pattern off at about ‘Saiph’ bodice length. I sewed the bodice together, attaching the facings, which are great and don’t flip out at all due to the style of the dress, and put in the zip. The zip is a long centre back invisible zip.

To draft the circle skirt piece, I measured the finished bodice circumference. I then simply googled ‘circle calculator circumference, find radius’. Low and behold a little box popped up and I was away. This provided the radius & I used my daughter’s school compass to draft the dropped waistline of the circle skirt piece.

I simply pulled out the Saiph skirt pattern piece and used that as my guide for the outer hemline. I know, string, fishing line, makeshift compass, la la la – the pattern piece was there and a circle is a circle is a circle.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification. Not sure if it’s looking ‘hippy’ possibly yes. or if the cut-away shoulders help balance it out.

Now clearly it’s a little short. Actually no. It’s a lot too short! Despite the ‘frisky’ length I’m pleased with the make. It was an interesting process… and that’s why I sew, to experiment and have fun. I could have not blogged it due to it’s length – but it’s part of my current obsession with shifts, shapes and more – I’ll just run the risk of you thinking me a ‘tart’. At some point I’ll reach the caboose of this sewing journey so forgive any hints of SBL caboose in the meantime. It’s part of the success/disaster of sewing.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Apart from the length, I’m not in love with the only front bodice shaping being the bust darts. Probably because this is a slightly heavier cotton sateen, I don’t like how the dress lies between my bust and the skirt – which you can also see in the white feather hem version on the pattern envelope. I don’t want this to be super fitted all through the length of my body but I think some waist shaping at the front of the bodice around the waist would be nice. That said, I think it’s great as is if it made up as just a shift dress, in fact I think it’s rather a terrific pattern for a shift.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

Burda 7056 with Saiph-inspired drop-waist and skirt modification.

If you are wondering about pattern placement… with a pattern this big it was always going to be challenging… and probably why this fabric sat in my stash so long. I love the vivid blue of this fabric but those ‘flowers’ and ‘leaves’ were challenging. I actually attached the skirt, removed it and reattached it… and I think you will agree the second try was much better!

Pattern placement = hilarious.

Pattern placement = hilarious.

so pleased to have provided a moment of mirth for you…

Like the Saiph, ELH rather likes this dress . He said “I think you should wear that dress… a lot”.

I’m now planning SBL & the Drop Waist No.3… why not… I’m having fun!

Oh and I forgot to mention last post… we have a new addition to the family… meet Midge…

Midge - the new bubba. Yes that's a Chihuahua.

Midge – the new bubba. Yes that’s a Chihuahua. Yes he is the same colour and has the same markings as Banjo – he’s twice as feisty though!

I’m betting you have now forgotten I made a dress. LOL. This post came so fast after the last post because I was pinned to the lounge by the sleeping puppy (he’s a genuine lap dog this one) so typed it up on my iPhone and read Japanese sewing books!

And here is a beach…

Photos taken at the northern headland of this gorgeous beach - Shelly. One of my favourite places and views in Port Macquarie.

Photos taken at the northern headland of this gorgeous beach – Shelly. One of my favourite places and views in Port Macquarie. Many of our beaches are ‘in town’ yet you don’t see a house – I love that.

Pattern: Burda 7056 with Papercut Saiph inspired modifications.
Fabric: Cotton Sateen from Spotlight (about $5 worth of fabric here!)

Christmas Skirts for my Girls – Burda 9489

I’ve always wanted to make something for my kids for Christmas and this year, despite being busier than ever – I managed it!

Burda 9489 Christmas Skirts
Christmas Skirts for my girls

I chose Burda 9489.

Burda 9489 - skirt & dress

I really love the Burda catalogue for kids. Their designs are modern and not too cutsie. Once your kids get to a certain age they are really not interested in wearing frilly, flouncy princess-style dresses.

Not much to tell you about this skirt. I made View B. It’s got curved hip yoke pockets with contrasting fabric trim. The skirt is gathered onto a waistband with a back zipper closure. The waistband has belt loops.

I made a size 7 with added length for Zoe. Zoe is 10 but tall and very lean for her age – just like her dad. Zoe’s is the owl skirt. It’s a quilting weight cotton, trimmed with red polka dot poplin. She was VERY cranky the afternoon we took photos so I don’t have too many of just Zoe – she’s a gorgeous tween when she’s not scowling LOL. I fear she is going to be a heartbreaker…

Burda 9489 - Zoe Rose
Burda 9489 – Zoe Rose

Giselle is my youngest daughter, she’s 8. I cut her a straight size 10. I added some lace trim out of the stash to her hem and got a piece of grosgrain ribbon for her belt – she has been dying to star on ‘Mummy’s blog’ for ages! We took some photos late one evening in town under the big Christmas tree. The light was not great but they do capture her personality beautifully, she’s a funny little soul with an old-fashioned air about her. So here she is… my little Giselle Violet…

Burda 9489 - Giselle Violet.
Burda 9489 – Giselle Violet.
Burda 9489 - back view
Burda 9489 – back view
Burda 9489
Burda 9489

They have had lots of compliments and I’m so pleased to managed to squash these into my sewing schedule.

Burda 9489 - my gorgeous girls!
Burda 9489 – my gorgeous girls! Big Sis and Little Sis as they call each other, such different little personalities but great mates.

Celebrate your Christmas with the joy of a child…

Giselle - my crazy little munchkin
Giselle – my crazy little munchkin

Pattern: Burda 9489, view B
Fabric: Christmas prints from Spotlight

I’ll be back on Monday with my Minerva make!

Running hot & cold… Burda 7401

aka The Jacket of Poo… not

Burda 7401 - a modern-day trench

Burda 7401 – a modern-day trench (OMG I’ve got my sunnies off – note I do wear my sunnies whenever I am outside – it’s an Aussie beach girl thing.

Oh, it’s not so bad… now I’m finished… I feel this sense of impending DOOM as I sewed.

The construction was an epic battle and at one stage I desperately hated it and banished it to the wardrobe. Funnily enough now I’ve fallen in love with it, it’s rather like the artful trench that wasn’t (hey, I’ve never claimed to make much sense).

Burda 7401 front view closed.

Burda 7401 front view closed.


I sewed like a woman possessed. Then fell outta love. Hard. I tweeted and bemoaned how this project had morphed into The Jacket of Poo. And I hated it. With a passion. I even banished Betty and the jacket to the wardrobe for a week. I got up on Saturday and pinned the sleeves on… and it restored some balance and I felt better… and nearly missed my weights class as a result… ah the sacrifices!

WARNING… dangerous sleeves ahead…

Yes, they are kimono sleeves. No setting in a sleeve. Hooray I hear you cry… however they have a gusset under the arm… and it is hell on earth to sew. A straight piece of fabric curling around a sharp curve… it’s like driving on buttered bald tyres on an icy road… you desperately try to hug the curve but it just doesn’t play nice… and you have to sew it four times… oh how the drunk monkey howled in mirth

Burda 7401 - sleeve gusset... so much harder than it looks.

Burda 7401 – sleeve gusset… so much harder than it looks.

Most of this jacket I did not find technically difficult however the sleeve gussets are a nightmare. I tried pinning, basting, hand-stitching… regardless of my approach they are just incredibly disagreeable and that one step makes this jacket an advanced project in my opinion.

SHHH… secret pockets!

Yes, it’s got pockets. Where??? The front panels are also pockets. They open at the side seam and are the full width and depth of the front panel. I personally would not use them to stash things in as it would ruin the drape of the jacket – however they are excellent when slouching around town.

Burda 7401 - concealed pockets
Burda 7401 – concealed pockets

CONSTRUCTION… embrace it…

This is not a lined jacket.. and I don’t believe everything needs to be lined… I know, shock horror, I’m a sewing radical.

It’s a very modern jacket, with interesting design lines, pockets hidden in the seams, softly folded lapels, standing collar, an angled flared peplum. I think seeing the seams is interesting and also the reverse of the fabric, it’s all part of the feel. I didn’t really want to see fraying or neatened seams… so I flat felled many of the seams… excluding the sleeve gussets and the peplum. The sleeves and peplum I attached as usual and then sewed the seam allowance down through all the layers so every seam had a secondary line of stitching as per a flat felled seam.

TIES… the closure that nearly wasn’t…

I added the ties – which I thought were epic cool – I created them from the furry selvedge as I discovered that there is a Million Shades of Beige and no ribbon would match. They matched perfectly and… I hated them. I tried creating the wrap ties like Carolyn did on her beautiful jacket for her daughter – but I disliked them crossing the smooth peplum at the back and pulling on the drape of the front.

Burda 7401 - deciding on the closure... can you tell by the slouch of my shoulders I'm feeling dejected at this stage?
Burda 7401 – deciding on the closure

I almost cut off the ties and replaced them with a hook and eye…. almost. Then I simply trimmed off the furriness (as suggested by ELH) and suddenly things looked much better. The overall feel of the jacket and the fabric is just too slick for any soft textures.

Burda 7401 - how I love the back view of this jacket....

Burda 7401 – how I love the back view of this jacket….

I found this fabric – this rather amazing shimmer twill at the Alannah Hill outlet in Melbourne. It’s only downfall… it is epic beige- not my favourite shade. I was so delighted when I found similar fabric on the Minerva site – shimmer twill. I’ve now got some in raspberry and green… I may have just purchased some more in ice blue… I highly recommend this fabric. It’s absolutely perfect for jackets – make a Sewaholic Robson in it! It’s the perfect weight, practical sturdy fabric that doesn’t fray badly and has a lovely soft metallic sheen – trust me – you will love it.

OH THE IRONY… I made a Shiny Beige Jacket… *face palm*

‘Beige’ is the disparaging colour I apply to people I find dull. Beige People come in many forms – people who are so righteous it’s tedious, people so lacking in real opinion they talk without saying anything, people who never really say what they mean for fear of offending, people with no opinion but the opinions they spout of others.

I also have an aversion to Shiny People. I probably loathe Shiny People more than Beige People. Shiny People are those people impressed by appearance and stuff – what lies beneath doesn’t matter as much as the surface and the price tag that it came with. They never really seem to have ‘friends’ so much as impressive people in beautiful clothes that they hang out with because they are the right sort of people to be seen with. The type of people that you never really feel you actually know…

Burda 7401 - side view

Burda 7401 – side view

Life should be lived, in all its colour spectrums (the odd moment of beige is OK, and heck Shiny can be hellishly fun… Shiny can be like eating three courses of dessert with loads of grog – let’s be honest) and a little bent around the edges… because life is like that if you open your eyes and really look… imperfection is what makes life interesting and beautiful. Shiny Beige jackets and all… perhaps this is in fact my very own flak jacket against the army of Beige/Shiny People that live out there… and a reminder of who I’m not going to be…

SewNotABeigeShinyPerson (most days I hope).

Inspiration: Handmade by Carolyn (beautiful gorgeous make) & Pretty Grievances (Anne scared me off this pattern for a while with her tale of woe!)

Pattern: Burda 7401. This appears to have recently gone out of print. I think it may still be in Australian stores.
Fabric: Beige Shimmer Twill from Alannah Hill outlet, Melbourne – purchased on the Frocktails trip. Similar fabric from Minerva Fabrics… on clearance!
Location: Port Macquarie Town Green… a block from where I work… I know… life’s tough… shot in my lunch break…