Best Sewing Patterns of 2013

Have you seen’s great annual article on the best, most flattering patterns? It’s such a fun read; here’s the link:

Best Patterns of 2013

Much like the Academy Awards, I never fail to have an opinion, but usually have failed to see most of the movies!!  Of course I voted, but have never sewn any of these up, although I do own 3 of the patterns.  One of which I just purchased from the latest Vogue patterns sale:


Despite the emaciated model (what WAS up with the spring 2013 models anyway?) this pattern seems to suit just about every body type! Hopefully Fabricland will get some nice stripes in this spring!

Speaking of Vogue sales, they seem to be on sale all the time; I hope this is not a case of desperate times and all that….

On the block…help me decide!!

I’m undecided about my next project, should it be this OOP pattern? in a great printed poly charmeuse? BTW, why is this OOP so fast?  Style Arc just came out with a similar style to view “C”, which in Canada is a style I still see in stores!

Or this, a classic French jacket in a lovely red & metallic boucle? I bought a Craftsy class for $14.99 over Christmas


the pattern for this!!

boucle and pattern

You can vote here:

Fashionary – the Best Christmas present!

I was super excited to see Holt Renfrew (a high end Canadian department store) was carrying Fashionary!

If you haven’t heard of Fashionary; it’s a fashion sketch book with very faint croquis of fashion models so you can design or sketch with ease. Here’s a video that will give you an idea of the concept (sorry wouldn’t imbed, you’ll have to go with the link)

It was the perfect gift from my kids; here is the cover:

fashionary 2

And here are some sketches of my new pants, knit tops and a line drawing of the Burda jacket – my sewing machines are peeking out in the background!

Fashionary 1

A sewing Miracle!

Holy Moly – I have actually traced, sewn and finished an actual project from the current month’s Burda!! I finished Jacket 132 from the plus sized section; (finished photos to come later) but here is a sneak peek:

First the jacket:

burda jacket 1

Then the fabric – it’s a woolish feeling ponte in a rust orange; from my stash. In this photo you can see some of the ribbon trim has been sewn on – I bought the ribbon at Mokuba and found a perfect match. The two zippers had a fight and the python won (natch):

burda jacket 2

The finished jacket went together superbly except I put an exposed zipper on. Loads of topstitching – I topstitched ever seam with a triple zig zag, and the ribbon trim was all stitched in place with a regular zig zag. I will try and post pics in the next couple of days!

New Spring Vogues

As soon as Christmas was over, up popped the new spring patterns! Not much caught my eye from McCalls or Simplicity; but I did pick up a couple of Vogues on sale:

This Ralph Rucci with lovely quilting details:

The set of Rebecca Taylor blouses; I love the metal tips on the drawcord in the short sleeve version, they are called “aglets” on shoe laces, and you can find them on line, or make your own!!  I must find some lovely silk crepe to do it justice.

And surprisingly, a Butterick pattern from Katherine Tilton (not purchased, but it’s the first Butterick pattern I’ve liked in quite a while):

So a few more to join the sewing list!!

Simplicity It’s So Easy 1849

This is a pretty, but complex knit pattern that’s been hanging around my stash for a couple of years; I thought the lines would make it flattering – here is a photo so you can see the technical drawings because my fabric is so busy it’s hard to see:

s1849 envelope

And here is my version, in a poly knit remnant left over from Fabricland days, the knit has a sueded feel to the hand. If you look closely you can see the twisted front detail:

s1849 front

Here is the back, although I see it’s hitched up a bit:

S1849 back

The unique thing about this pattern is that the front piece is comprised of 3 layers of fabric, so a thin knit is required. The body, the two twisted bits are overlays and the front neckline is finished with a facing that extends to under the bust. The back neckline is finished with a band that forms a facing.

My fabric is printed, and the pattern calls for the area where the twists are to have the seam allowance folded back without being stitched down. This was not too successful, so I had to tack down the fabric with a bit of fusible web to keep it in place. I did that after the top was sewn, it would have been much easier to do it before the twist was constructed. Not sure if I would make it again, it was a lot of work for a knit top!

Vogue 7881 – Claire Schaeffer Pants

Using my fitting block that I created a while back, I used V7881 to make a pair of office dress pants.  I used the non-couture construction methods, but with the couture waistband.  Here are my previous pant fitting adventures:

Pant Fitting Woes

Pant Fitting Musings

Pant Fitting 2

Pant Fit Adjustments

Final Pants

These pants are pretty wide legged and high waisted, but the overall fit is good and they make a nice, comfortable pair of dress pants for work.  The sewing time is actually pretty quick; and I used lining for the inside of the waist as an experiment to cut bulk, it would a much more impressive technique in wool; these pants are rayon/poly/lycra blend, or RPL as it’s commonly referred to in the sewing world.

Here is the photo from the pants pattern:

Vogue 7881

And here is my version, front and back – my only alteration besides using my pant block was to lengthen them about 4″. This is a size 16:


V7881 back

As you can see, my pant block does a pretty good job of eliminating any wrinkles on the back side; other than my VPL :) I am wearing a top I made to co-ordinate with it, an It’s So Easy pattern from Simplicity. The fabric and pattern were in my stash leftover from my Fabricland days!!

You have seen the fabric before in this dress, and I still have some left:

NL 6123 (1)

Disco Ball Top

Like many busy bloggers, I’ve been well, busy! November was spent doing some real estate courses as well as helping a few clients purchase homes, then planning for the holidays!

Finally the holidays are over and things are getting back to normal. For those who live elsewhere, Toronto – like much of North America was caught in the Polar Vortex. Also the -40 degree weather was preceded by a nasty ice storm just before Christmas; plunging much of the city into a multi-day power outage. Luckily our power was only out 3 days, returning Christmas Eve. Our garage became our fridge, gas fireplace our furnace and the turkey stayed frozen! Some of our friends had power out for a week, so we counted ourselves lucky. Our Christmas Dinner was planned for Boxing Day anyway, so all was well. I did manage to squeeze in some sewing; here are the results! First the top I work on New Years Eve; aka the Disco Ball Top:

McCalls 6841

McCalls 6841

This is a drape-front top with a very deep cowl & cut-on sleeves. The pattern also includes two sleeveless variations.

Technical Drawings

I made view C in a 14 and lengthened the sleeves 2″. I should have widened the sleeves a bit as they are a bit towards the hem. The cowl is sewn up in the centre; it’s a bit plunging – I sewed the centre front seam up about 1 1/2″ higher than the pattern after trying it on. The fabric is a very drapey rayon knit in a metallic silver from Fabricland, Toronto. It was $4/m!! contrary to the appearances, the pattern is not too much of a fabric hog, it takes 2.2 meters, but I think I used less. I like the pattern, DH thought it was ‘freaky’ but it’s very flattering, and I’d like to sew a casual one. It does require a very drapey, light & fluid fabric!!

I have a few more projects to post about in the next few days!

New Look 6228 The Wipe Clean Skirt


Another quick, easy & satisfying wardrobe builder!  The perfect skirt for lunch a la desk, the pleather panel wipes clean!!

The front panel is pleather and the sides back are ponté, same fabric as my previous post. The only glitch was the pleather did not like my twin needles, so I did a double row of top stitching with a Teflon foot on the pleather panel only, and used my twin needle to hem the ponté.

This is a 16, with some length added. If I make it again I will taper the middle panel about 3/4″ on each side at the bottom to peg the skirt slightly.

The back view, which has a middle panel as well – which can be made in a contrast if you choose; although I used ponte for the entire back:


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