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…

URBAN BUTTERFLY – Grainline Maritime Shorts (take 3!)

Grainline Maritime Shorts, Take 3. Size 4

Grainline Maritime Shorts. We didn’t take this deliberately but it’s kind cute with the butterfly wings – now I wonder if there is angel halo graffiti anywhere…!

Here we finally are in Grainline Maritime Shorts in size 4. Sorry, looking a little creased we drove around for ages – it was excessively windy! Paired with my gym shirt at the suggestion of ELH.

I couldn’t stop until I mastered these shorts (previous two pairs are posted here…). Yes, I can be a little bit obsessive. I really love these ones, I confess that I am a camouflage print fan (yup, bet you never guessed that!).

Grainline Maritime Shorts, back view

Grainline Maritime Shorts, back view. How cool – camo pockets – yes they are really there!! The sand is blowing off the beach in this shot and absolutely stinging my skin from head to toe. Ouch. These dunes have eroded due to storm action, high tides etc – hence the safety fencing.

Once again I took a massive wedge out of the back seam and waistband pieces after I tried them on (I think if more men realised how much time women spent semi-nude sewing, they would be rushing out to purchase sewing machines for their wives and girlfriends…. just sayin’). The ‘butt fit’ is pretty good I think. The only change I might make (next time) is tapering in the leg ever so slightly.

I made the buttonhole horizontal rather than vertical. I checked all my jeans, denim mini skirts etcetera (I have a rather large collection of denim) and their buttonholes were all horizontal. I think it makes sense. It provides a little bit of ease, the button has room to slide rather than pulling against the buttonhole. I also double stitched the hems – just because.

Fabric is from the stash (it’s just cotton drill – purchased for $3 and even the zip came from the stash!). My workmate explained that this camouflage colourway is referred to as ‘urban camo’ as it is concrete greys rather than jungle greens. If it wasn’t for the reflective logos on my gym singlet you wouldn’t even know I was there…

Grainline Maritime Shorts

I’m missing my butterfly wings! And I have this weird leg muscle thing going on – maybe too many lunges, burpees and squats at the gym that day…

Here’s one of the things I love about sewing. I would never have even tried a pair of short shorts on in a shop – yet I sew them, photograph them and discover that my legs are not as heinous as I thought. Maybe I am a ‘shorts’ girl after all… ELH agrees.

Nothing much to say – except I love these little fellas. Cute as.

Make ’em – I know you want to…

Pattern: Grainline Maritime Shorts.
Fabric: Cotton Drill from Spotlight, $3

Pattern details & adjustments – check out this blog post…

Now I haven’t made a dress in a while…

SewHolidayLizzy – Grainline Maritime Shorts (1 & 2)

Grainline Maritime Shorts in floral denim

Grainline Maritime Shorts in floral denim – Take 2 in size 6

I’ve never been a ‘shorts’ girl. However after the Archer blast I decided that I needed MOAR Grainline in my life so I purchased the Maritime Shorts, Mini Moss Skirt and the Tiny Pocket Tank. I know, nothing like jumping in boots ‘n’ all.

I decided to make the Shorts first – weird choice as I have never been a fan of me and my legs in shorts…

I had a scrap of denim so I whipped up the first pair… they were… let’s say ‘friendly’ aka rather on the super-fitted side. I think if I had put on Kylie Minogue’s Spinning Around that I could have smacked out the denim version of the music clip. Actually… they weren’t quite that bad… but they were a little frisky for me 🙂

Grainline Maritime Shorts

ahhhhh….. NO….. size 2

I didn’t actually finish these – ie no hems – I’ve just rolled over the raw edges. I knew they were not going to be wearable before I even put in the fly but I just continued on just to practice the techniques. The fabric was about $4 so there were no tears over this failure. ELH (the ever lovin’ husband) said he thought they looked mighty fine (men!) but understood my reluctance to leave the house in them!

Grainline Maritime Shorts - front view

Grainline Maritime Shorts – front view

So then I decided to make them again in size 6 (because going up two sizes seemed sensible after Take 1 fit!) with some floral denim I had stashed (yes this is the stash busting project of 2013!). I basted up the side seams on the advice of Abbey from Sew Charleston – great advice as I took them in by at least another 1/4 inch on each side after trying them on.

I also altered the construction method so it was more like the Sewaholic Thurlow – in a similar manner to Lauren’s Maritime shorts.

I sewed the crotch seam from the bottom of the fly and just an inches into the back pieces. I inserted the fly front and then attached the waistband in two pieces. I sewed the left front band to a back band and the right front band to the other back band. I then attached the left front/back bands and the right front/back bands to their side of the shorts – leave the back seam unstitched (am I making any sense??). I tried on the shorts and redrew the back seam line on the shorts back and band pieces – taking out a massive slice… I mirrored this slice onto the band interfacing back pieces.

This is a really simple way to fit shorts if you have a huge gape at the back – no-one wants to see your builder’s crack – trust me on this one.

Grainline Maritime Shorts, size 6, back view.
Grainline Maritime Shorts, size 6, back view. Still a little baggy – need more junk in the trunk.

These are not too bad – not quite perfect but still very wearable. I really love this denim, it’s stretchy and really quite cute. Looks so much better made up than on the roll… good thing I got three metres for $12…

So I decided I needed to make these in size 4. I don’t know why I went up two sizes. SewStoopidLizzy hoots the Drunk Monkey. So Take 3, the Urban Butterfly, is coming your way very soon…

Where am I in these shots? Yes away again. This time with friends at Nambucca Heads, about 75 minutes drive north from home for the October long weekend. I had the most hideous flu in these shots, I actually spent most of the weekend asleep in the cabin… staggering out for a few hours, having a few beers and then back to bed!

This is a truly gorgeous spot where the river meets the ocean and they have a breakwall – complete with graffiti rocks. I love breakwalls like this, people document their holidays, family reunions, propose, commemorate a loved one’s passing… while it is graffiti, most people ignore the ‘illegal’ element. These strangely beautiful walls are about lives being lived… and there is something captivating and beautiful about that. Ordinary people taking the time to grab a brush and celebrate a moment in a public way. Over time the rocks change, as people paint over a rock and start their own stories where another once was. I love that. There is always another story, another joy, another sorrow. It’s quite beautiful in a magnificently ordinary way. Just like life.

Grainline Maritime Shorts - Nambucca Breakwall

Grainline Maritime Shorts – Nambucca Breakwall

And we saw whales breaching offshore while we took these pictures. Amazing!

Pattern: Grainline Maritime Shorts
Fabric: denim from Spotlight ($4m from the bargain table!)

Also See: Sew Charleston | Boo Dogg & Me | Lladybird | Cloth Habit

Watch this space for Take 3… The Urban Butterfly…

I seriously can’t believe I put two photographs of my bum in a blog post – but there you go… that’s blogging for you…

Sew Bossy… falling in love with (silk) Archer

Like everyone else, I’ve fallen in love with Archer by Grainline Studios.

It was extremely windy - so this looks way more fitted than it is!

It was extremely windy – so this looks hard more fitted than it is!

We took these photos on the way home from Dubbo Zoo (site of the infamous leopard culottes shoot). Unfortunately it was blowing a gale and getting shots where my face wasn’t covered in hair was challenging. I love driving through this country, the colours are so muted, the hills roll away into the distance, the sky seems closer and the grass is soft and brown. I’ve always wanted to take a blog shot in this area – perhaps next time when the weather is more agreeable!

Archer by Grainline Studio, Sewn by SewBusyLizzy

I’ve chosen this as the back view shot – simply because all the other shots, it’s quite creased as I fell asleep in the car!

This make is courtesy of Leila of Three Dresses. Not only did she get me sewing a ‘proper’ shirt, she also got me to tackle silk – thank goodness for the gelatin bath for taming the slippery beast. This make re-fuelled my love of sewing. I certainly had not fallen out of love with sewing (not possible) but I had been feeling flat and weary about most things for a while.

Leila has made Archer – and has great fitting tips.

Once I pulled out the scissors and cut into the silk, I just went bananas.

Not my favoutire shot - however it's slightly less windy and the shirt is sitting more 'normally'!

Not my favoutire shot – however it’s slightly less windy and the shirt is sitting more ‘normally’!

I did not read the instructions – I used Jen’s online sewalong, which is fantastic.
I did get slightly stuck with the burritoed yoke (you attach the yoke without a single hand stitch – love that!) and hopped between Jen’s tutorial and Peter’s of Male Pattern Boldness which helped me get the concept straight in my head. If you haven’t even sewn a yoke this way – I recommend you try it!

I hit an absolute road block with the collar and collar stand. Not because of the pattern or instructions, just my lack of experience and agility with the machine! I put it aside for a few days, realised it wasn’t as bad as I thought and ploughed on. Next time I’ll be trying Andrea of Four Square Walls method – which popped up post my collar horror!

I so enjoyed making this Archer- I promptly purchased the Tiny Pocket Tank, Mini Moss Skirt and Maritime Shorts from Grainline Studio!



I do love long-sleeved, masculine shirts and I think that I will be making a more Archers (I might have fabric queued for two more…). LOVE.

I’m going to wear this with pencil skirt and heels to work – it looks fabulous like that too… for some reason heels didn’t seem so appropriate in this setting…

Thank you Leila. xox

Pattern: Grainline Archer
Material: 100% silk shot with metallic thread
Location: 10 minutes east of Walcha NSW Australia

Also see: True Bias (this is my all time fave Archer) | Did You Make That | Ginger Makes | Sew Amy Sew | Four Square Walls (adore this outfit) | Notes from a Mad Housewife (love the back of this one – great shots & advice) | Handmade by Heather

As for the holiday – it was ‘rad’ – just ask Miss 8… thanks to all our family and friends!

Apsley Falls near Walcha, NSW

Apsley Falls near Walcha, NSW

And if it’s quiet around here… I’ve been at home for a whole four days – so it’s time for another break – this time with friends at the beach (a different one!).

PURRFECT – Tania Culottes by Megan Nielsen

AKA the Cheetah/Cheater Shorts (the shorts you wear when you want to be wearing a skirt…)

So if you were going to the zoo… and riding a bike… what would you choose to make?

Tania Culottes - doing what they were designed to do!

Tania Culottes – doing what they were designed to do!

Bingo! The Tania Culottes by Megan Nielsen. In animal print no less….

Tania Culottes and the odd giraffe

Tania Culottes and some giraffes – I’m looking a little weary – so NOT a morning person…

These are kinda kooky & crazy but you know… I think I kinda love them.

I admit, like the Cascade Skirt of Mulletdom, the Tania Culottes held little appeal when the Breakwater Collection by Megan Nielsen was released – obviously I am a nincompoop – or I just need the right burst of inspiration. I have vague memories of culottes (not on me, I am clearly not that traumatised) and recall them being daggy and knee-length. You know… the sensible wardrobe skirt choice for women who don’t want to risk showing their knickers.

You see, I don’t recall culottes looking like this…

Tania Culottes back shot

Miss 8 asked for the camera and returned it with this shot of “Mum’s butt” she explained. These culottes are kinda flirty and in a strong wind they don’t blow up completely but you do show LOTS of leg – I’ve spare you any risqué shots today 🙂 Note this is Day 2 at the zoo – we had a quick visit and drove the car around – hence the heeled sandals.

I loved wearing these. So comfortable, cute and cool. I suspect they will get a lot of wear – with or without a zoo visit.

Oopsies - obscuring your view of the amazing Galapagos Tortoise - I thought you were here for the sewing?

Oopsies – obscuring your view of the amazing Galapagos Tortoise – I thought you were here for the sewing? Those tortoises live for 150 years!

These culottes are a bit like wearing two circle skirts around your legs. They swing and swish around your legs as you walk. They are so full it’s hard for the untrained eye to spot the culotte-ness of them! I managed to throw my leg over my unladylike bike all day without sharing my underwear choices with the other zoo visitors (I love those townie bikes but in my life the practicality of a mountain bike with suspension/gears reigns supreme – they are awesome to ride). The zoo circuit is only 5kms long but you are forever jumping on and off your bike (I did pack some ‘backup shorts’ just in case… and they were not required).

Tania Culottes and the inspiration!

Tania Culottes and the inspiration!

Tania Culottes and the less than inspiring real life cheetah - these big cats are seriously lazy.

Tania Culottes and the less-than-inspiring real life cheetah – these big cats are seriously lazy. Note: I wore a loose long-sleeved, collar shirt while riding – otherwise I would have been burnt to a crisp!

Whoopsies Part 1: The waistband… I managed to interface the waistband and the waistband interfacing pieces – yeah I don’t know what I was thinking either. Fortunately it didn’t have any impact on the culottes other than a slightly firmer waistband – which might have actually helped evening up the hems as they sit very nicely indeed.

Whoopsies Part 2: The hemming is hard core. I left them to hang overnight and when I put them on, I swear my drunk monkey had been swinging off the raw edges all night long while swigging his beer.
I cut these shorts as XS with the Large leg length. I am fairly confident they ended up shorter than the ‘large’ leg length due to all the levelling of the hem – lots of fabric was sacrificed! I actually convinced ELH to lend a hand (I know he’s probably the LSH at this point (Long Suffering Husband). I have NO IDEA how I would have managed to even up these hems by myself.
After levelling my hems (I can handle the Cascade skirt but I’m not a mullet hem shorts kinda girl), I overlocked the edges and then hand stitched the hems… yes, it took forever but like my rayon Anna dresses, I think the finish of the garment is much nicer.

The Finishing Touch

Tania Culottes Label

ummmm…. it also makes it easier to tell the front from the back…

This was a truly awesome experience – feeding giraffes… these creatures are just so graceful and beautiful – I fell completely in love with them. It was a little unnerving to stand still while their giant heads swooped down, tongues outstretched searching for a carrot.

Feeding giraffes!

Feeding Giraffes! That’s Miss 10 – who is getting far too tall!!

I had a lovely time at the Dubbo Western Plains Zoo – it is the country cousin of Taronga Zoo in Sydney. It’s not as shiny and glamorous as Taronga, there are not so many animals, the views not as grand BUT it’s a wonderful day out, there are fewer people, shorter queues and you really do get close to the animals. Plus riding a bicycle around was a delight and made for one of the most pleasant days at the zoo (OK, I confess a few wines in the park with lovely old school friends afterwards might have added to the fun…).

Seriously cute, flirty and fun to wear.
Seriously easy to make – it’s just the hems of horror that are a challenge, all I can say is find a friend to help (or a husband!).

Pattern: Tania Culottes by Megan Nielsen. It’s very hard to get your hands on a printed copy of this now – I searched high and low for mine and got it from Indie Stitches – it’s now sold out there too, I think it’s now ‘out of print’. Megan does sell it as a PDF.
Fabric: Spun Rayon Challis from Lincraft (available online)
Location: Dubbo Western Plains Zoo

Need more inspiration? Also see: Cirque du bebe | Scruffy Badger | Lladybird | Sown Brooklyn | Four Square Walls | Handmade by Heather B