The Schwarzwald Skirt Collection Autumn/Winter 2013 – Skirt Two -‘Forest Foliage’

This is the second skirt from my ‘Black  Forest’ skirt collection using Burdastyle 12/2012 #105 skirt pattern. This pattern has only two pattern pieces, is beginner friendly and can be made from less than one metre of fabric which make it pretty fab IMO!

Burdastyle skirt pattern 12/2012 #105
Burdastyle skirt pattern 12/2012 #105

The autumn coloured leaves in the forest inspired me so this skirt is aptly named ‘Forest Foliage’.

The Black Forest foliage, Germany
The Black Forest foliage, Germany

I used a wool knit by Italian designer Missoni bought at this year’s Hollander Stoff Markt in Germany. I love the autumnal colours!

P1280743 I wasn’t sure whether a wool knit would work for this pattern but I didn’t alter anything and it seems fine. Phew!

P1280729 I used the same Petersham ribbon for the waistband as I did for my first version of this skirt. I also lined it with a viscose lining using the same pattern pieces as the outer fabric.


My main concern with this fabric was whether I could match the stripes up at the seams, but I think I just about pulled it off on the side seams!

The misbehaving back seam!
The misbehaving back seam!

The stripes on the back seam with the zip refused to play nicely though! I unpicked the zip a few times but couldn’t get those deviant stripes to behave themselves and sewing invisible zips into wool knits isn’t a barrel of laughs I can tell you! Finally I surrendered to the wonky stripes!

Clingy fit!
Clingy fit!

Overall I’m happy with how this skirt turned out! The fabric is really comfy to wear and importantly for this time of year, it’s also cosy and warm! The fit of the skirt in the knit is a bit clingier than the other two skirts I’ve made from this pattern – as you can see in this semi-action photo above.

A bonus of using the Missoni fabric was that I could use the selvedge edge as the hem which eliminated a step in the sewing process and speeded up the making of this skirt. Much appreciated! Cheers Missoni!

To round off this ‘Black Forest’ skirt collection, I’ll post the final of the skirt trio next week. Until then, here’s a sneak peak of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt’!

'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt'
‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Skirt’



The ‘Schwarzwald’ Autumn/Winter 2013 Skirt Collection – Skirt One – ‘Wild’

Ralph Pink Patterns ran a competition earlier this month to create a mood board for a couture collection. I didn’t enter but it sounded like a lot of fun, so I thought I’d get into the spirit of theme creating for this collection of three skirts using one pattern – BurdaStyle 12/2012 #105.

The theme is the ‘Schwarzwald’ or ‘Black Forest’, inspired by the region of Germany where I live, where France, Germany and Switzerland meet.

BurdaStyle 12/2012 #105
BurdaStyle 12/2012 #105

This first skirt is ‘Wild’–  in German these are the game animals resident in the Black Forest. Such as this critter –

'Wildschwein' or wild boar
‘Wildschwein’ or wild boar

and these!


And if you aren’t lucky enough to bump into these on a forest walk, then you can always eat them in the local restaurants!

BurdaStyle 12/2012 #105
BurdaStyle 12/2012 #105

The beauty of this BurdaStyle pattern in my opinion, is its simple style. It’s the perfect blank canvas to showcase fancy fabrics, such as this wool with this interesting raised animal print texture, bought at the Hollander Stoff Market in Germany.

Petersham ribbon waistband

Petersham ribbon waistband

It is a beginner-friendly pattern that has step by step pictoral instructions in the Burdastyle magazine. The design couldn’t be simpler with only four darts at the back and four at the front and an invisible zip in the back centre seam. There is no waistband to make, just attach Petersham ribbon and add a hook and eye closure to the top of the zip and you’re done!


I lined the skirt with a viscose lining attached at the waist of the skirt. I did this by sewing the skirt and lining with right sides together along the top edge of the waist, then I flipped the lining over to the inside of the skirt, ready to attach the ribbon waistband.


I didn’t need to make any fitting alterations to the pattern either – always a bonus I think!

Stay tuned for Skirt Two – ‘Forest Foliage’ coming soon!

Enjoy the weekend,


Burdastyle #130 10/2013 Coat Muslin

This year I thought I’d give coat-making another go and chose this pattern.

Burdastyle #130 10/2013 coat pattern
Burdastyle #130 10/2013 coat pattern

I chose this because:

1 – The pattern is in short sizes 17-21.

Burdastyle has two pattern sizing charts – size 34-52 designed for women height 168cm and short fitting sizes 17-26 for women height 160cm. I’m 162cm, so short sizing – CHECK!

2 – According to Burdastyle this coat pattern is designed for women with small busts and wider hips – so again – CHECK!

3 – Burdastyle also recommends using a patterned stripe fabric and I’m using this:-

'Chanel' wool coating fabric
‘Chanel’ wool coating fabric

So again – CHECK!

I bought this fabric at this year’s autumn Hollander Stoff Market in Karlsruhe, Germany and the vendor assured me that it’s by designer, Chanel. Not sure if this is really true but the guy who told me this does have designer fabrics so maybe it is, but either way, I really like it.

I’d decided to replace the hook and eye fastenings used in the pattern for a double ended zip because for a winter coat, that just makes more sense to me.

Stripe 'Chanel' wool coating fabric with zip options
Stripe ‘Chanel’ wool coating fabric with zip options

So far so good! I thought I’d hit upon a perfectly designed pattern for me and my fabric.

The thing I was wary about was the gathering on the skirt. How would that work in thick wool, I wondered?

I thought it wise to do a coat muslin first and thanks to a tip from Crab and Bee , this old bed sheet has now been reborn!

old bed sheet used to make coat muslin
old bed sheet used to make coat muslin

But check out that gathering! Words fail me! Next time, I’m going to ignore the model pictures in Burdastyle magazine because on one page the model is wearing the coat for shorties (height 160cm/5ft 3ins) and on the other page she’s wearing a top designed for taller women (height 176cm/5ft 9ins) and she looks good in both! Go figure!

I include the following shot for your entertainment only!


l know, I know, I look like an extra from the Harrison Ford movie ‘Witness’!

And just to tickle your funny bones even more, here’s a back shot!

P1280371So happy now that I only subjected an old bed sheet to this and not my precious wool!

On the upside, the fit of the bodice is quite good so I’ve cut the extra peplum pattern pieces to make this jacket instead:-

Burdastyle #129 10/2013
Burdastyle #129 10/2013

Only question now is, do I still use the same fabric, bearing in mind that I have just less than three metres of it? Or do I use that for another longer coat and if so, which pattern?

I think this wool would be nice as this jacket and maybe I could squeeze a skirt out of what’s left.

What do you think? I’d be very grateful for suggestions, thanks!

BREAKING NEWS – Lebenskleidung Scoops Global Sustainable Fashion Award 2013!

I’m very pleased to announce that one of this blog’s favourite organic fabric suppliers, Lebenskleidung was honoured with a SOURCE AWARD 2013 this week – a Global Award For Sustainable Fashion.

I’ve long been a fan of Lebenskleidung and I congratulate them on this win – they fully deserve it and have more than earned it! To give you a taste of the lush fabrics they offer, I’ve peppered this post with some examples of things I’ve made using their wares.

Minikrea hooded sweater dress using organic sweatshirt fabric from Lebenskleidung

Minikrea hooded sweater dress using organic sweatshirt fabric and organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung

The SOURCE Awards put the spotlight on best practice in the fashion industry, from field to final product.

The SOURCE Award Winners 2013

On Tuesday 3rd December, inspiring fashion pioneers, press and key industry figures met at the House of Lords in London, for the 2013 SOURCE Awards Winner announcements, hosted by Baroness Lola Young, OBE and Founder of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability. Winners were selected by an inspirational judging panel, including: Dolly Jones, editor of; Brigitte Steppitus, Head of Couture at Vivienne Westwood; Summer Rayne Oakes, social activist, eco-model and co-founder of Source4Style; Amber Valetta, American supermodel and sustainable fashion spokesperson.

Burdastyle No. 128 Dress using organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung
Burdastyle No. 128 Dress using organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung

There were 4 SOURCE Awards categories: 1. SOURCE: Design Leader 2. SOURCE: Sustainable Brand (Split into 9 Sub-Categories) 3. SOURCE Retail Award (Split into 2 Sub-Categories) 4. SOURCE Sustainable Supplier/ manufacturer (Split into 2 Sub-Categories) – Winner ‘Lebenskleidung’

Vogue dress using organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung
Vogue dress using organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung

Lebenskleidung, a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified Textile Agency from Berlin, Germany wholesaling fabrics won the fourth category for Sustainable Supplier/Manufacturer. This category recognises pioneering suppliers that are combining real impact in social and environmental terms with outstanding supply or production services.

This award was open to suppliers and manufacturers of all sizes from fair trade groups to production units, factories and fabric suppliers, globally. The award recognizes sustainable practices in the supply chain, both social: empowering workers, sustainable livelihoods, poverty reduction, and community impact, and environmental: from low energy to organic and eco- innovation, combined with a high standard of service.

Organic cotton sweatshirt dress - fabric from Lebenskleidung
Organic cotton sweatshirt dress – fabric from Lebenskleidung

To celebrate this win, Lebenskleidung is offering 10% DISCOUNT on orders placed until December 15th 2013 with the voucher code AWARD2013 (the offer does not appply to linen and leather).

Burdastyle blouse made from organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung
Burdastyle blouse made from organic cotton batiste from Lebenskleidung.

Lebenskleidung have some very exciting new fabrics in their range including organic leather and linen both from Germany.

(Dear Father Christmas, if you happen to read this post, I’ve got my eye on the linen jersey and I’ve been a  good girl this year – just so you know! Thank you!)

Baby, it’s cold outside! Coat Review Burdastyle #103 10/2012

P1280316It’s minus ridiculous degrees here and like lots of other blogging sewists in the northern hemisphere, I’m turning my sewing attention to outerwear and warm and cosy things!

This is a wrap coat that I made last year from Burdastyle pattern #103 10/2012.

Burdastyle #103 10/2012
Burdastyle #103 10/2012

You need a double-sided fabric or at least a fabric with a decent looking reverse side to make this unlined coat because the reverse of the fabric shows on the huge collar. I used a dense, slightly felted wool knit fabric that I found at the Hollander Stoff Market and even though I needed the best part of three metres to make this, the coat is still lightweight.

Coat worn with hand-knitted cowl from
Coat worn with a cowl that I knitted

The construction of the coat was relatively easy. The only challenging part for me was hemming around the outer edge and getting the mitered corners finished off nicely. A quick check of my ‘Reader’s Digest – Complete Guide to Sewing’ on mitering soon remedied that though – it’s easy when you know how!

Side-seam pockets
Side-seam pockets

The pattern has some nice design features such as the side in-seam pockets and front shaping darts.

In-seam side pockets and collar
In-seam side pockets and collar

As is often the case for me with Burdastyle, the sizing was a bit generous. This is the smallest size 36 and the fit is ok on the shoulders, but I feel this style swamps my smaller frame. I didn’t alter anything, although the sleeves need shortening by a good five centimetres – I’ve just got them turned in here.

widen self fabric belt
widen self fabric belt

I’m not satisfied with the self fabric belt either – I think widening it would make it look better, it just isn’t balanced as it is.

I hope I’ll have better luck next time! I’m finishing off a coat muslin that I’ll post later this week.

Have you made a coat this winter? Are you happy with how it turned out?

Collegien Giveaway Winner!

Our resident ‘random number generator’ (read – my eldest daughter!) today selected the winner for the Collegien Giveaway.


A number was randomly selected.


And without further ado, the winner is –


Congratulations Walter Valentine! Keep an eye on your inbox for your Collegien gift that’s on its way to you.

Thanks to everyone who participated and I hope you’ve all been good this year, and get what you’re wishing for in your Christmas stockings!

A Mini European Union and Collegien Giveaway!

We’re jumping for joy here at YoSaMi over this festively-coloured make and our first ever Giveaway!


It struck me as I finished this dress that it’s a micro European union of sorts!

Organic cotton sweatshirt dress
Organic cotton sweatshirt dress

It was sewn by a Brit, using a Danish pattern design ( It’s made out of cotton sweatshirt fabric bought from a German fabric supplier ( and organically grown in Turkey ( a European wannabe!). It’s accessorised with French made tights and slipper socks ( finally so as not to neglect the immigrants to Europe, it’s modeled by my dual nationality British and Japanese daughter!

Minikrea Anorak Pattern - 30500
Minikrea Anorak Pattern – 30500

It’s the Minikrea Anorak – 30500 pattern that I’ve made before. I used my existing pre-cut child size age four pattern and made the dress version again.

Variations of the pattern
Variations of the pattern

I really like the Minikrea children’s patterns because they’re multi-sized – this one is age four to ten, and the pattern envelopes always include lots of ideas for variations of the pattern including optional extra pattern pieces.

Optional cuff pieces
Optional cuff pieces

I made the dress up in organic cotton sweatshirt fabric from Lebenskleidung as before but this fabric is their mid-weight sweaterknit so I decided to line the dress with organic cotton rib knit jersey also from Lebenskleidung. The pattern is lined so it was straightforward to follow the instructions to do this. The upside is,  the dress is now reversible.


I used my overlocker machine to sew most of the seams and then topstitched with my regular sewing machine and a jersey needle around the hem and hood opening.

Topstitching on hood
Topstitching on hood

My only problem now is that I have to sew another one for my youngest daughter, but this size is still a bit too big on her!


We styled this dress with these lovely tights gifted to us by Collegien and which we are very grateful for! They are really great quality, made from long-fibre Egyptian cotton and they are a really nice thickness – warm and robust but not too thick and bulky and they come in the widest selection of yummy colours you could imagine!

Collegien tights and slipper socks
Collegien tights and slipper socks

Which finally brings us to The Giveaway!

Collegien slipper socks - they're French!
Collegien slipper socks – they’re French!

The Giveaway Lowdown

The lovely folks over at Collegien are offering a lucky reader the chance to choose any one item from the Collegien online shop. (I don’t envy you trying to choose only one item though – everything is so tempting in that shop!)

Also don’t forget to stop by Collegien on Facebook too and ‘like’ them if you do!

How cool are these?!!?
How cool are these?!!?  Image courtesy of Collegien

The offer is open worldwide but the postage is only covered within Europe –  you would have to pay the difference yourself to have it shipped outside of Europe.

How to Enter

Just leave an answer to the following question in the comments below:-

What are you hoping to find in your Christmas stocking this year?

I’ll draw a winner at random and post it on the blog on Monday 2nd December 2013.

I wish you luck and have a great weekend,


A Red Etro Silk Anna Dress from By Hand London

Firstly a reminder about the Collegien giveaway.

If all goes to plan, I’ll be posting the Collegien giveaway on Friday, just two more sleeps! So don’t forget to check back for all the details this weekend!

My Second By Hand London Anna Dress

This dress seemed to take forever to finish for no other reason than because I dithered over unnecessary details!

By Hand London Anna Dress
By Hand London Anna Dress

The pattern is perfectly straightforward, it was also the second time that I’ve made this dress and I was following By Hand London‘s Anna dress sew-along so there was no excuse for this not being a super quick make.

So what took you so long, I hear you cry?!


Well I’m blaming my fabric choice! I used a silk twill by Italian designer Etro, bought from Anita Pavani and a nude-coloured viscose from my stash, to line it.

The silk twill feels fantastic and is so lush to wear and was relatively well-behaved and easy to sew but the viscose was much more slippery and challenging. It wasn’t the material though that caused so much strife, it was the design on it.


The red Etro silk twill has this interesting stripe pattern but with stripes you always have the challenge of matching the stripes up at the seams. So for this dress, to avoid not being able to precisely match up the stripes where they meet at the vertical seams of the skirt’s seven panels, I decided to cut the back four skirt pattern pieces in one direction of the fabric and the front three in the other direction. I then arranged the skirt pieces alternately to deliberately mis-match the stripes so it would be obvious that they weren’t supposed to match up.

The deliberately mis-matched stripes of the skirt panels
The deliberately mis-matched stripes of the skirt panels

I also thought that horizontal stripes across the top of the dress would be beneficial because they would give the illusion of broadening my smaller upper frame but I thought it would be better to break up the stripes on the skirt of the dress to avoid this widening effect on my lower body.

Also a quick mooch around Etro‘s website confirmed that Etro mixes and matches their prints as well, in fact, it’s their signature look, so I was confident that design-wise, I was on the right track.

Etro dress courtesy of
Etro dress courtesy of

When I began assembling the skirt though, I started to second guess myself and was certain I’d butchered a perfectly good stripe pattern and ruined the look of the dress.

Disgruntled and frustrated, I set the dress aside while I considered my options, which were limited! I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut the skirt out again and Anita Pavani had sold out so it wasn’t possible to buy more.


What to do, what to do? I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure! Finally I decided to persevere with plan A and now that it’s finished, I couldn’t be happier! I’m so glad I stuck with it! What do you think? Did I mess it up?

Back view of Anna dress
Back view of Anna dress

Lessons I learnt from this experience

– Listen to your gut and don’t second guess yourself! When a decision is made based on sound reasoning, stick with it!

– Always baste seams first and try to avoid unpicking stitches in silk too much because it will eventually stretch the fabric.

– Use sharp pins and as fine needles as you can find when working with silk. Also sharp scissors for cutting out or a rotary cutter are essential.

– Check the garment’s finished measurements on the pattern info before choosing your dress size!

I was reminded when I made this dress again, just how nipped in it is at the waist. My winter body definitely isn’t as comfortable in this as summer me was!

Fitted bodice
Fitted bodice

When you’re making dresses, you’re often advised to choose your pattern size based on your bust measurement and usually this works well for me. There is usually enough ease in the bodice and I don’t have to alter anything but for this dress the bodice has very little ease and so I would recommend checking the finished garment measurements on the pattern information before selecting your size.

Construction details

I used French seams throughout, with an invisible zipper in the back and a hook and eye and finished with a rolled hem using my sewing machine’s narrow hem foot. P1280128Have you made anything that you made unnecessarily difficult for yourself? Do you like experimenting with patterns?  I would love to hear about your pattern hits or misses.



M.M.M.’13 Version 2.1 and Collegien Giveaway news!

My-Maxi-Miette 2013.

This pattern hack of the Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons, was the result of an online search of Miette pattern reviews and a suggestion by the lovely Oonaballoona on her blog to make the Miette into a maxi. I thought this was a great idea and immediately stole it  was inspired to make one myself.

Maxi Miette skirt on tour in Venice, Italy
Maxi Miette skirt on tour in Venice, Italy

It’s really easy to make this pattern into a maxi. All you have to do is lengthen the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces to your desired final skirt length, being careful to follow the angle of the outer lines of the original pattern and remembering to include a hem allowance. Then construct the skirt as usual and voila, you have a maxi!

One more maxi skirt to add to this summer's growing collection
One more maxi skirt to add to this summer’s growing collection

I used a really lightweight and fine linen bought from Anita Pavani online shop ( in the Italian designer fabrics section, to make mine. It’s really nice to wear and has washed well. I did French seams to join the main skirt pieces.

(BTW – Anita Pavani provide washing care instructions for the fabrics they sell and they recommend not spinning linen in the washing machine when you wash it, you should hang it and allow it to drip dry instead.)

Very fine and slightly transparent Italian linen
Very fine and slightly transparent Italian linen

I partially lined my maxi-skirt with more of the organic cotton batiste that I bought at, that has served me so well as a lining for all of my summer makes this year. The batiste is really lightweight so it hardly added to the weight of the skirt at all but just gave me enough coverage and confidence to step out in bright sunlight, safe in the knowledge that my undies weren’t on show! I didn’t line the overlap piece at the back because it wasn’t necessary.

Lined partially with organic cotton batiste.
Lined partially with organic cotton batiste.

I made another Wiksten tank top in a Liberty Art Fabrics cotton print to go with this skirt, which I wore on this day-trip to Venice, Italy during our summer holiday this year. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it in Venice because by the time we’d reached the city from where we were staying, I’d already put my jumper on over the top of it, so here it is on my dress-form Beatrice.

Wiksten tank top and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
Wiksten tank top and Tilly and the Buttons Miette skirt
Wiksten tank top in Liberty Art Fabric cotton print
Wiksten tank top in Liberty Art Fabric cotton print

BTW – If you’re planning to visit Venice, I would suggest getting to the Rialto bridge in time to catch the sun setting over the Grand Canal – the view is spectacular!

The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, in Venice, Italy
The view from the Rialto bridge over the Grand Canal, in Venice, Italy

It gets a bit jammed with tourists though! You wouldn’t believe how many people I had to elbow in the face to get a bit of clearance for this photo!

The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Elbows come in handy here!
The Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Elbows come in handy here!

Of course I’m exaggerating – it wasn’t that many!!

Anyway back to the Miette maxi skirt. It was comfortable and practical to wear for a day’s sightseeing around the quaint little streets of Venice.

Hanging with my kids in VeniceHanging with my kids in Venice

The skirt performed well under pressure, even under the harshest of test conditions, such as when I was hurling my toddler over the bridge into the canal for misbehaving! The back flap of the wrap didn’t budge all day, successfully avoiding any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions!

No wardrobe malfunctions of the back wrapover flap.No wardrobe malfunctions of the back wrapover flap.

Again, only joking of course – MY kids don’t misbehave!!

Very posy looking - I was actually just readjusting the wrap when my husband snapped this!
Very posy looking – I was actually just readjusting the wrap when my husband snapped this!

All in all, Tilly and the Buttons has created a very versatile skirt pattern and I love it!

As I write this, Tilly’s busy finishing off her first book for sewing beginners which is due out next spring. I can only imagine how good that’ll be! I wish her lots of luck with it and I’m sure it’ll be a huge success!

More YoSaMi news – don’t forget to stay tuned for the giveaway soon, it really is worth waiting for! You could win your very own pair of these delightful Collegien slipper socks!

Collegien slipper socks - they're French!
Collegien slipper socks – they’re French!

Also, I’ve finally finished my red silk Anna dress by By Hand London after what feels like f-o-r-e-v-e-r! I’ll be posting it as soon as I’ve had a chance to photograph it!!

Have a great week,


M.M.M.’13 Version 2.0!

My-Midi-Miette skirt 2013.

I made two linen wrap skirts this summer that I didn’t share, so I’m rewinding a couple of seasons and doing a double post review to catch up.

Miette skirt midi-length in linenMiette skirt midi-length in linen

This is the Miette skirt pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. It’s a wrap, front tie-fastening midi- length, A-line skirt. I bought the pattern from Tilly’s website as a downloadable PDF.

Tilly’s designs are simple and feminine and work for a range of body types and her construction instructions couldn’t be easier to follow, especially as she provides visual and written explanations. If you are new to sewing, her patterns are very beginner-friendly and a good place to start your sewing journey.

I made the midi-version of this skirt first which is the original length of the pattern with no alterations. It was straightforward and quick to make and because there is no zip or button fastening, just the tie, it’s easy to adjust the skirt’s fit.

Miette skirt - Tilly and the Buttons and Scout woven tee - Grainline Studios
Miette skirt – Tilly and the Buttons and Scout  woven tee – Grainline Studios

I made mine from a fairly lightweight and fine linen and so it isn’t as structured looking as it would be in a heavier fabric like denim. I paired it up with my Breton-striped Scout Tee by Grainline Studios and together they made a very easy to wear and comfortable summer outfit.

I like this colour combo
I like this colour combo

I really want to make another one in a heavier fabric for winter, especially after seeing the lovely denim version that Tilly recently posted on her blog. It’s definitely a skirt for all seasons and I can’t stop making them!

Have you made a Miette skirt yet? If not, what’s stopping you??

In other exciting YoSaMi news, very soon I’ll be hosting this new blog’s first ever give-away. So stay-tuned for more details to follow shortly!

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