October Burda

My last post on Burda has provoked a lot of interest, it seems I am not the only one who likes the magazine.  This month, again, there are a number of things I can imagine making (if I ever have the time!).

First of all there is this ruched t-shirt (114) which has “sewing lesson” instructions.  They have made it up twice.  I’m not sure I like the pastel pairing of it with the full skirt but I can see the potential, particularly with the Missoni type fabric.  The main problem with this pattern might be finding an interesting fine knit to make it out of.

I also like this skirt (121) a lot.  Clean lines but interesting details.  The pockets are slightly unusual, and I wonder if they might gape a bit which could be really very unflattering.  The bronzey coloured skirt is made out of a techno-gabardine.  I’m not sure where you’d get such a fabric but it looks exactly my sort of thing.  The white shirt (122) is nice too, with an unusual collar.

Talking of white shirts.  I like the look of this one (117) with it’s unusual pleat at the neckline. I notice that blouses made a bit like short dresses (i.e. with invisible zips to secure them and with a bit more structure than a traditional blouse) are around a lot this year.

Pattern 118 is a case in point being made into both a dress and a blouse.  This looks to be very similar to 117 but with a cowl neck rather than a pleat.  Both patterns have gathers at the waist line which might make them a bit awkward to tuck into skirts or trousers.

Lastly I liked this jacket (113) which is also made up into a waistcoat.  The jacket, however, has sleeves made out of a knit fabric which makes it look like a layered garment.  I can’t see the point of having sleeveless clothes in winter and this looks like it would be very cosy.  I like the stylish asymmetric front and clean lines, I can imagine using it to smarten up a pair of jeans on a cold day.

Did you enjoy this issue?  Which patterns did you like?



I sometimes wonder why I buy Burda every month.  Each issue seems to have at least one thing (and usually several things) I want to sew and as it takes me forever to complete the simplest garment I am constantly getting more and more behind.

I know several bloggers have expressed some dissatisfaction with Burda but I love it.  A lot of the clothes are exactly the style I would like to sew and wear. Some months are better than others but for £4.75 a month it’s very good value and even if I don’t want to make anything in that month’s issue I know there will be something good the following month.  Personally I haven’t found the instructions too difficult to follow, they are quite sparse but even as a novice I can see that most garments are made up in roughly the same manner so once you’ve made a few clothes you can sort of work out what’s coming next.  Having said that I haven’t made anything really complicated as yet and maybe once I get around to doing so I will find them more difficult.

One of the things I love about Burda is the way you can see the full potential of a good pattern as they will often make up the same garment a number of different ways i.e. in different fabrics or lengths.  Making minor changes can give a completely different look. Another thing I enjoy is looking through the instructions and checking out the pattern shapes.  I find this really helps me understand how some of the more obscure shapes are created.

I was going to use the post to review the October Burda magazine but it seems to have turned into a bit of a love letter.  I’ll try to find the time to post details of what I liked in this months edition next week.

Evening classes

I love spending a Saturday afternoon in Islington. To me it’s the perfect small town within London. There is a good mix of shops with high street chains interspersed with independents and some interesting restaurants. My favourites are Loop – the best knitting shop in London, Ottolenghi’s for divine food, Twenty Twenty One which sells beautifully designed furniture and gifts, Bill’s also selling divine food, a French clothing company whose name I can’t remember and Raystitch.

Raystitch is at 99 Essex Road and sells a wonderful collection of fabrics, patterns and haberdashery and last night I went there for my first Pattern Cutting evening class. I have signed up for four classes, yesterday’s involved making a personalised skirt block and next week we use it to draw up some basic skirts. The next two classes are similar but about the upper body. I am hoping I can also sign up for trouser classes at a later date. Originally three people had signed up for the first class but two of them dropped out at the last minute which meant I had private tuition

Alice, the tutor,  runs a business making bespoke clothing and she was wearing a beautiful red silk and linen suit she’d made for herself.  She also designed clothes for the Tootsie Rollers who I saw in action a couple of weeks ago at the open air cinema in Kew.

We started by looking at a number of skirts Alice had made using her own block and discussed some of the basics. We then moved on to drawing out a block to my measurements on calico. This was stitched up, a few tweaks were made to get a perfect fit and then it was unpicked and separated into a back and front half piece. We then copied this on to dot and cross paper to give me my block. After a quick sandwich and glass of wine we sat down to discuss the principles behind moving darts etc. to get different effects.

Next week I’m taking in a couple of patterns so Alice can show me how I can use the block to check fit prior to making up. I’m also going to hunt out some pictures of skirts so we can practice making some mini calico models using the blocks as a starting point.

I can heartily recommend this course as I learnt a lot and am keen to start using some of the principles.  Alice is very knowledgeable and is a good teacher.  I see the bodice workshop still has some places open if anyone is interested.

The “C” Word

Sorry to be mentioning this so early, it’s really not my fault, all the blame should go to the lovely Gilly at  Knit and Yarn who held a Christmas Balls workshop today.

The balls were easy to knit; starting was a little fiddly but no more complicated than starting a sock toe.  I used 2.5mm DPNs and a small amount of sock yarn. It is stuffed with a polystyrene ball and finished with a little bell.

Whilst this was a quick project I can see I have built a rod for my own back as one on its own looks a little lonely. Fortunately I have Arne and Carlos‘s book to guide me in making some more.

In other news I took a trip to Brighton earlier this week primarily to have lunch at Terre a Terre (so good and don’t worry if, like me, you aren’t a vegetarian I promise you won’t miss the meat). Whilst walking around the Laines I spotted this fabulous knitted ferris wheel in the window of a cafe.

Making Life Difficult……

I’m making a second Easy Kimono Dress (Pattern Runway). This one is in a black and white polka dot chiffon from Sew Over It and I’m hoping it will be suitable to wear to work.

This is a really simple pattern but, of course, I decided to make life difficult. Rather than just make a second dress out of lining fabric and sew it into the dress made of the shell fabric I decided to sew the facing pieces on to the lining like this.


To to do this I firstly drew myself some new pieces for the lining and carefully cut them out, only realising once I started to sew them together that I hadn’t added in enough fabric for two sets of seam allowances! Actually this was quite easy to solve and I managed to sew the pieces together with a 0.5cm seam allowance rather than the 1cm I thought I should have.


The next thing was sewing around all those curves and right angles. I just about managed it, it’s not perfect by any means but it will do.

So I now have the lining already to make into the dress. Next time I’m going to make the whole lining out of lining fabric and not bother with facings and so on. They look nice but are far too fiddly for something that’s not going to be seen by anyone other than myself.

It’s a lovely day today so we are going to Kew Gardens for a picnic and the open air cinema in the evening (Grease!).


These lovely lions an be found outside the Natural History Museum until 9 September. They were crocheted by Shauna Richardson and represent Richard the  Lionheart‘s crest. They are made entirely out of wool from the Peak District.

Being in a glass cage they were difficult to photograph but I rather like the way you can see the museum reflected onto the lion above.

A few knitting bits and pieces

For some reason this year has been a bit slow on the knitting front. Last November I started a summer cardigan which I had planned to wear during my trip to New Zealand in February. Progress has been very slow, so slow in fact that not only did I not wear it during the antipodean summer but I also didn’t wear it during the UK summer. In fact I only finished it last week (well almost finished it still needs some buttons).

The pattern is Gabriela and comes from Whisper by Kim Hargreaves. The lacey, cabled stitch was remarkably simple to remember and it should have come together very quickly. I think the reason it took so long is that I don’t really like knitting with cotton, I find it a bit tough on my hands and prefer the elasticity of wool. The yarn I used was Rowan Siena and the colour is Tandoori (although it looks very unlike any Tandoori I have ever seen). I think this will grow on me and I will probably get quite a lot of use out of it. At present I’m just feeling a bit fed up with it because it took so long to knit.

After the cardigan I needed a quick and simple project to get me back in the swing of knitting again so I picked up my Toft Alpaca Giant Bulb bag kit. I had seen this kit for sale several times but it was only last year, at a show in London that I got around to buying it. Toft not only make lovely yarn but they also make very stylish patterns, they apparently only sell items they would use or wear themselves which I think gives them the edge on other specialist yarn manufacturers.

The bag is knitted on 20mm(!) circular needles. There usually isn’t much call for 20mm needles and shops don’t often stock them so my lovely friend Gilly at Knit and Yarn ordered me a set from Addi. Unfortunately I broke these about a third of the way into the project, so Gilly lent me her set. These also broke but by then I had mended the first pair with some superglue so all was not lost.

I have finished the knitting but now need to sew the handle onto the bag and then felt it. I am not sure how my washing machine is going to feel about this.

Having my knitting mojo back I then started a third project. This is the Netherton Cardigan shown on the front cover of the first issue of Pom Pom Quarterly. It’s proving to be a very simple and quick; I’ve almost finished the body despite only starting on Wednesday. The entire cardigan is knitted in one piece starting at the top and working down. Most of it is stocking stitch but it has nice detailing around the bottom, on the ribs, the button bands and raglan shaping. There is the option of putting buttons at the bottom, as shown in the picture, or at the top, which most people on Ravelry have opted for. I have decided to go for buttons at the bottom

My original plan was to knit this in a Rowan yarn but for some reason they don’t have any decent reds in their range. Debbie Bliss makes a lovely red in her Rialto yarn but I decided this was too solid. In the end I opted for Shilasdair Luxury DK (the yarn recommended in the magazine) in Rowan Berry. The website doesn’t really do justice to the feel and depth of colour in this yarn (but then what website does?). The red I selected is very subtly mottled with shades of Autumn. I don’t really go for self-striping or hand-painted yarns much but I do like a bit of flecking or dappling. At 300m in 100g I only needed 3 hanks for this project which struck me as being a bit of a bargain.

It feels as if we are moving towards Autumn at present; we’ve had some pretty atrocious weather in the last couple of weeks (and also some nice days). September reminds me of the new school year and seems a good time to start to pick up knitting again. I don’t want to hurry the winter in but I am looking forward to needing a good woolly jumper again soon.