Tight Midi Dress BurdaStyle 01/2018 #118 #burdachallenge2018

Here is another dress that I like to call my “Go Bold or Go Home” dress. Its bright neon orange colour – the sort of orange that doesn’t blend into the background. Its a crepe jersey that I picked up at The Shuttle in Shipley for my SWAP2017 capsule. I found a better alternative for my SWAP and this had been chilling in my collection since.

When the Jan 2018 Burda dropped – I immediately knew that the orange crepe jersey would be perfect for the midi dress. Here is the style picture that hooked me:

Tight Midi Dress Burdastyle 01/2018 #118


I got excited that I didn’t fully check the recommended fabric part. This pattern actually calls for viscose crepe with elastine. My crepe jersey has fourway stretch and though more substantial than t-shirt jersey, it does have a lot of stretch. SO much so that I didnt include the CB zip.

I really struggled with sewing this dress. My initial ardour was dampened by an inability to comprehend the instructions. AT one point I put it aside and moved on but when I saw @AllisonCSewing’s version on Instagram, my ardour was renewed.

I tackled it with a single minded focus. Though I still did not get the instructions I just pinned it out. Using the magazine pictures I tried to pin it to best achieve what my eyes were seeing. This is what came out of it. The inside is a hot mess and its supposed to have a lined bodice but mine doesnt.

BurdaStyle 01/2018 #118


Internal Back
Hot mess.
It was hard to capture the vividness of the orange because of all the extra light from the snow but this picture is the closest.



I really like this dress and I wore it layered with a roll neck top. I will be trying this again with a viscose crepe. Ideally I’d like to have a patterned fabric for the skirt and a solid for the bodice so it looks like a 2 piece. And I hope that the second time around the instructions will make sense to me!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Until next time, Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,


This was a planned make for my January #burdachallenge2018.



Flounce Dress BurdaStyle 01/2017 #112A


I will preface this by saying how much I love this dress! So I will go right ahead and show the pictures before all the talking.

Burdastyle 01/2017 #112

BurdaStyle 01/2017 #112


Now, the talking bit.

The flounce dress includes a bold flounce to drape in front – which piqued my interest. Initially, I was going to use a cobalt blue crepe, however, at the last minute, I remembered this bright pink wool fabric that I had bought from Fabworks. It is a lightweight wool fabric, similar in texture to pashmina shawls. I found it washed well in a cold water wash and low tumble dry.

Sewing it up was a treat. The fabric is a joy to work with and responds beautifully to a steamy iron. Since the style doesn’t have a zipper – it sews up quite fast. The only tricky bit is when cutting out the pattern. The pieces have to be cut single layer and it is important to mark the seam numbers.

The pattern is a Burda Tall size which is drafted for taller persons. I selected my size based on my bust measurement which put me on size 76. I didn’t change the length of the dress but I did reduce the sleeve length by 2″ to maintain the bracelet length sleeve.

My favourite part of this dress is the flounces at the front. My least favourite is the back fastening. I am considering redoing that back closure and inserting an exposed zip instead. I wore it quite a lot these past 2 months but the back wasn’t an issue since I always wore it layered over a roll neck top. The other annoying thing is that the wool has started pilling where my coat would rub against it :-(.

I definitely want to make this again and do some contrast blocking with the flounces.

This was one of my January #burdachallenge2018 planned makes.

Thanks for stopping by!


A Q&A with Lori Beckstead of Clothes Making Mavens Podcast

One of my favourite sewing podcasts to listen to is Clothes Making Mavens co-hosted by Helena Ashbridge (GrayAllDay.com) and Lori Beckstead (Frivolousat Last.com).

Helena and Lori are two women who love to talk sewing but have exhausted the good humour of their non-sewing friends and family, so they now talk to each other! From across the continent they Skype to discuss their obsession with garment sewing. They also interview other like-minded sewists and delight in the wonderful international sewing community.

Lori shares her own experiences, motivation, inspiration and even her most used swear word!

What was your lightbulb moment for starting Clothes Making Mavens ).

I responded to Helena’s call on her blog GrayAllDay.com for a potential co-host. I had actually been thinking it would be good to start up a podcast but oftentimes my perfectionism or fear of failure gets in the way of jumping into something, so I think if it hadn’t been for Helena’s call I would never have done it on my own. And it turns out we make a great team! It’s like it was meant to happen.

What makes your podcast unique?

I think when it comes to sewing podcasts, it’s hard to be absolutely unique within that genre. Our main goal is for listeners to feel like they’re hanging out with their sewing friends having a chat. I like to say it’s like throwing a sewing get-together in your home except you don’t have to tidy up and bake banana bread! We try to highlight sewists from around the world. And, we make sure the audio quality is always high so it’s a great listening experience.

Is there anything you would go back and do differently?

I cringe a bit when I hear myself on the first episode — I can hear in my voice that I was nervous. But I think that’s perfectly normal…it’s the same when I think back to the first garment I sewed and wore out in public. It wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty proud of it. (It was a black crushed velvet jumpsuit, by the way, with awkwardly short legs which I had very badly attempted to modify to be flared.) Overall there isn’t anything I’d do differently with the podcast. And the great thing about a podcast is there’s always a chance to do another episode if there’s something you want to try or something new you want to talk about.

What has been your proudest moment so far on this journey

I think just actually DOING this podcast makes me proud. It’s a ton of work: researching, networking, writing scripts, organizing recording times around multiple time zones, helping guests set up the right technology, and then I spend hours editing each episode. So I feel a great sense of accomplishment with each new episode we release. And of course, I always feel very proud when someone takes the time to let us know that they enjoy listening.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a podcast?

I have two pieces of advice, which may actually be contradictory! One, if you’re wanting to give it a try, go for it! I absolutely love doing a podcast, so I’d recommend it. But two, do your research so you know what’s involved. It’s a huge commitment, and there’s a lot to know about equipment, software, web hosting, how to do effective interviews, etc. Reach out to other podcasters for advice if you’re thinking of starting one up. Podcasters tend to be a pretty helpful bunch, which I discovered when I did my share of reaching out for help and advice. And if you happen to be near Toronto, come join us at the Toronto Women’s Podcasting Network! I recently started this group up to provide support and networking for women interested in podcasting.

How do you balance producing a podcast with a full-time job, a sewing blog and actually sewing?

I have no idea! Lol. I guess it’s a labour of love, and it’s part of how I like to express my creativity. I put a high value and priority on exercising my creative muscles; I think having the right creative outlets in one’s life adds immensely to overall quality of life and happiness. Sewing is a great creative outlet but so is creating media about sewing: photos, blog posts, podcasts. I enjoy doing it all. I am also very lucky that my full-time job is being a professor in a media production department at a university. So being an actual producer of media allows me to keep developing my own skills and understanding of media, to stay on top of new developments in media platforms and production software, and to bring all that to my students. So I get to do this creative thing that I love but technically it’s also professional development! Lucky me!

How do you switch off and relax?

I knit. I can really get into a zen state through the regular rhythm of knitting. And knitting is so portable so I can do it just about anywhere, including at meetings at work (where I am most likely to be in need of a little zen calm). And I drink wine. But I’m not allowed to do that at work meetings, unfortunately. ;-).

What does the future hold for Clothes Making Mavens?

More chatting about sewing! We don’t have any big changes in the works; we just hope to keep putting out episodes that we enjoy producing and that people hopefully enjoy listening to. Helena and I are always trying to dream up ways to get more people’s voices on the podcast, so I hope listeners will keep contributing their stories and comments. My favourite episodes are always ones in which listeners have sent in a recording or contributed a voice message for us to play.

What are your other interests/hobbies?

I am an avid volleyball player, both indoor and beach, so I play year-round. I like to do yoga. And I like to bake tasty things that are also healthy to eat (well, mostly!). I love to travel and am lucky/privileged enough to have been to a LOT of different places around the world. I dabble in jewellery making and have made various pieces of silver jewellery, but silversmithing is pretty involved and not quite so easy to do as an at-home hobby. I love birds and would probably be an avid bird watcher if that didn’t necessitate me getting out of bed before 9 am on a weekend! Lol. I read a ton of fiction. But in general, I’m pretty sure that if it weren’t for external expectations and obligations I would just spend all my days lying around napping with my cats. 🙂

What is your most used swear word when sewing?

Most used is “fuck” but actual favourite swear word is “clusterfuck”. I swear so often I don’t even realize it when I drop an F-bomb around my much-more-refined mother. Lol.

Dogs or Cats?

Cats. I love dogs, too, but I’m far too lazy to deal with having a dog. Maybe if they breed a new species of dog that knows how to use a litter box and can lick itself clean, I’d consider it. 😉

Scary movie or happy endings?

Scary movies with happy endings, of course!

Can you share your favourite quote with us?

“Better is the enemy of good.” I think of this whenever I feel perfectionism start to creep in and spoil my good time. :-).

Thank you so much Lori for taking the time to answer these questions!

The Mavens are hoping to bring lots of different voices to the podcast by allowing you to record your own answers and send them along to us to share with the sewing world! So if you fancy having a go at being on a podcast click here .


Clothes Making Mavens podcast: clothesmakingmavens.com
instagram: @frivolousatlast
pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lbeckste/

FrivolousAtLast.com (Lori Beckstead’s blog)

GrayAllDay.com (Helena Ashbridges’s blog)


Swishy Yoga Skirt BurdaStyle 01/2016 #113 #burdachallenge2018

This project is something of a fail. More specifically, a fabric fail. The pattern is a yoga skirt from the 01/2016 issue of BurdaStyle. The style caught my eye with the overlayered skirt, the ruched waistband and I am sucker for high low hemlines. Here is the line drawing and style picture:


Burdastyle 01/2016 #113

I like the idea of building up my yoga wardrobe. I traced this pattern way back in 2016 when I received the magazine. This is the second time I made this. The first one was sent to my little sister. She never reported back on it so I can assume all is well with the skirt.

The design calls for a side zipper but I omitted this because I couldn’t be asked (perhaps I subconsciously realised that this was headed for the fail category). The instructions were quite good with this pattern (translates as no head scratching). Its a  bit of a fabric piggy on account of the overlays.

To cut a long tale short – the fabric – a four way stretch viscose jersey – did not like being overlocked. This picture succinctly captures the issue. 

I have been wearing it despite the imminent disintegration. I quite like how it moves – very swishy. I tend to alternate between a saunter and a sashay when I am wearing it.  So its worth making it again but I need a better quality fabric. The fabric has been in my collection since 2014 – I picked it up from a closing down sale in Bradford. It cost 50p per meter. Pictures –

BurdaStyle 01/2017 #113


Back to pattern. So taking out the zipper means that I cant get the snug fit shown on the model so I am playing with the idea of inserting elastic in the waistband for my third try. Wish me luck 🙂

This was one of my January #burdachallenge2018 planned makes. I need to get better at blogging my makes sooner 🙂

Thanks for stopping by and until next time Happy Sewing!

Peace and love,



Burda 06/2016 #101C Wool Jersey Dress

This is a dress I made for my February #burdachallenge2018 project. It wasnt a planned make – I reacquainted myself with the dark blue wool jersey that I bought from Fabworks in Dec 2016.

When I bought the fabric I recall that I wanted to make a Talviki sweater. Alas, with only 1 meter, it was not enough. Enter Burda 06/2016 #101C dress. Here is the line drawing which shows the simplicity of this pattern.



Since 1m was not enough for the mini dress – a fact I realised after cutting out three of the four pieces; inventiveness meant that I used a navy ponte for the front yoke – a design feature bourne out of necessity.

For the neckline, I just folded it under and zig zagged. I think this is a finish you can get away with when the fabric is of a more substantive weight like the wool jersey.

The picture shows how I wore it most of the time- with tights and boots and sometimes with a roll neck as well. Wool jersey is very warm and cosy which served me well for the colder days. The pictures were taken during the big snow days that ground Britain to a halt.

Burdastyle 06/2016 #101


This is quite a versatile pattern – it works for summer with a lighter fabric like this one that I made here and can work for winter with a thicker fabric.

Thanks for stopping by!


Spring into Wool Festival

It seem I have yarn on my mind. This weekend I was lucky enough to have a friend ask me to join her on a trip to the annual Spring into Wool Festival. With the offer of free tickets, I could not resist.

This was my first time going to a show of this kind. It is held at the Grammar School at Leeds. There was decent parking which is always a good thing.

I wasnt sure what to expect but my friend (who had been there on the Saturday as well) was a great guide. She is very knowledgeable in the yarn and fibre arts – it felt like I had a personal guide to explain things to me.

And wow! Did I learn a lot of new things – what blanks are, spinning, acid dyeing, plys, yarn weights, felting, etc. There is so much more to learn. 

The yarn was varied; I was dazzled by all the beautiful colours and textures. I got overwhelmed actually – which I suppose is good for my wallet :-).

All of my knitting thus far has been using aran weight yarn (or chunky). The exception has been the Holsten which used DK. Some of the most beautiful yarns were 4 ply or lace weight which scares me!

There were some colours I couldnt resist buying though – a modest haul for me. I am going to try and knit these up by the end of the year and we will see.

Wool Silk blend yarn from The Knitting Swede – I love the magenta tones. 

Sock yarn from Yellow Door Yarn Company
Cards from Amy Butcher
Mountain Pass Fingerless Mittens Knitting Kit from The Woolly Tangle


I enjoyed myself immensely. Can’t think why I haven’t gone before! Never mind. I was quite impressed by the number of men there on the stalls selling their goods and knitting. Made me realise my assumption that knitting is a women’s craft is false!

And here I am with a baby (not mine)!

Wore my Holten top with my DP Studio Fashion skirt.


Thanks so much for stopping by!

Peace and love,




SWAP2017 Pt 5: Ansterick Holsten Sweater and an Experiment in pre washing yarn

Last year I was working full steam on a SWAP2017 wardrobe. You can read some of the previous SWAP2017 posts here <link here>:

For one of my uppers – I opted for a  knitted item. The inspiration was based on a Bella Freud 1970 Jumper . This jumper retails at £300.

The pattern I used was the Holsten jumper by Anstrick

Once I had selected the pattern the next challenge was finding the bright red yarn colour. Someone on Ravelry recommended Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton DK yarn. The yarn has a lovely lustre to it and it had a lipstick red shade that looked promising. I ordered several balls of different reds from various brands but this was the one that nailed it. Luckily they also had the black and white of the same yarn.

The next challenge was how to prevent bleeding. From the many posts that I read where people had knitted with red and white or black and white – there was a bleeding issue when the garment was washed. After ruminating on the issue for a while I thought that maybe I could try pre-washing the yarn before knitting to reduce any bleeding potential in the same way we prewash fabric for sewing.

Luckily the yarn comes in skeins. My first attempt was a bit of a travesty because I didnt do anything to prevent the yarn from tangling. On my second attempt, I loosely tied the skein at 4 different points so that I could easily reconstitute the skein.

The prewashing process involved filling the sink with hot water and soaking for about an hour, gently wringing the water out and repeating until the water ran clear. For the red this took approximately 4 soakings, the black took 6 soakings to run clear. I also did the white twice because I needed it to have a similar texture to the black and red.

After drying out the skeins I then had to wind them into yarn balls. There were a lot of online tutorials to help. I used a kitchen roll tube and spent several hours balling up the skein. It was tedious but I think it was worth it in the end. 

Dryng the prewashed yarn

Pre washed and un washed side by side
Prewashed on left. Has a ‘fuller’ look and feel. Unwashed on right.


I swatched with 3.75, then 3,5 but it was 3,25 that got the correct stitch gauge. I should have done some mods since the pattern calls for fingering 4 ply but my yarn was DK. However, I still do not understand these things so I went on ahead with the proviso that I would be trying it along the way to see what I need to change. On the whole this worked, I think I managed to get away with it :-).

This pattern knits up quite quick since it all stokinette stitch. It was also a great opportunity for me improve my Portuguese knitting skills. I think the fit is quite good. Yarn feels comfy against my skin.

The prewashing seems to have worked. When I washed this there was no bleeding.

And here I am wearing it last year.

The pattern instructions were very clear and well written. I learnt some new techniques like the saddle stitch for the raglan sleeve. It may not be the best but I had a great time knitting this. I’d have liked to do add in a HILA motif on the white section but my skills are not yet there. I am still very happy with this jumper.

Finally, I used just under 5 skeins of red and less than 1 skein each of black and white. The total cost of the yarn was £50.48. Not bad considering the inspiration retails at £300. Win!

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internets. Until next time, happy knitting!

Peace and love,










Thanks for stopping by this corner of the interwebs.

Peace and love,


Offset Jersey Tops BurdaStyle 02/2018 #107 #burdachallenge2018

When I received the February issue of BurdaStyle this pattern immediately jumped out at me. I could see this working well for a beautiful multi colour fabric that I had bought with no particular pattern in mind. Here is the line drawing

BurdaStyle 02/2018 #107

The line drawing doesnt the top much justice so here is the fashion photo

The front and back pattern pieces are nearly identical but you have to absolutely make sure to note the seam numbers on the fabric for when you have to put it together. Otherwise, like me, you might get into a bit of a muddle. But once you have everything properly marked (and traced – when I traced out the pattern pieces I forgot to put on the seam numbers so when the instructions said to sew seam No.1 – I had no idea where it was) its actually a very easy garment to sew up.

I made 2 of these tops. The first one was not as successful because of incorrect fabric selection. I used a medium weight 2 way knit fabric. I felt that it was didnt have enough drape for the pattern and given that the hip is snug on this pattern it wasnt what I envisioned. 

The hips are snug on this, which would have been fine in my much younger days 🙂

It better when I move the hem up to my natural waist.
Its a shame because I really liked the fabric but this was totally wrong pattern for it.


Not to be deterred I immediately dug into my fabrics and found a grey 4 way stretch viscose jersey that I thought might work better. Having learnt my lessons before – it took less than an hour to cut and finish this top.

BurdaStyle 02/2018 #107

As you can see this fabric was more suitable for the pattern. I love this top and I have worn it so many times already. By the time we did this photoshoot (indoors because it was the big snow week) it has been washed about 4 times already. Here I am wearing it with my DP Studio Skirt

This is a pattern that I will definitely be coming back to. I need it many different colours. It makes a nice alternative to a normal T Shirt. This was one of my February #burdachallenge2018 makes.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time – Happy Sewing.