Munich Fabric Start 3-5 September 2013

A brief post to give you a heads up about the upcoming international fabric trade fair in Munich, Germany.


What:  Munich Fabric Start international fabric trade fair

Why:  International suppliers to the fashion industry will be showcasing their wares for the Autumn Winter 2014/15  ‘Awesome Assemblage’ collections.

Where:  Thomas-Wimmer-Ring 17, 80539, Munich, Germany

When:  3-5 September 2013

How:  More info from Visitor telephone hotline – +49 (0)89 45 22 47 0.  Visitor passes can be ordered online at

If you are interested but unable to attend the event, you can still buy a directory with listings of all the exhibitors attending or the colour cards and trends for the AW14/15 collections. These can be bought from

Vintage Lace Blouse Burda 3/2013 #137

Today I want to share with you a review of this vintage lace blouse that I made using pattern 3/2013 #137 from the BurdaStyle magazine and let you know about a good online source of organic fabrics that I found here in Germany.


But first the review.

I’d had this vintage cotton lace in my stash for literally years.  In fact I’m shocked when I think of how long it’s actually been!  It was vintage when I bought it and must be uber-vintage now! How time flies, especially after you’ve had children!  Anyway I bought it on a flea market during a holiday in Provence in the south of France many moons ago.


It had matured in my stash ever since, just waiting for a suitable project to come along and then I saw this blouse pattern in Burda Style and thought that finally it was a chance to give this lace a life.

Vintage cotton French lace from the South of France.

The pattern is rated as intermediate in the magazine, which I think is fair.  The main body of the blouse is made from a very fine organic cotton batist that I bought online at  I bought ten metres of it in the end of summer sale last year for forty euros and it was such a good buy – I’ve literally used it for everything!  I’ve lined so many dresses and skirts with it because it’s so soft and fine, it feels great next to the skin.

Organic cotton batist vintage lace blouse
Organic cotton batist vintage lace blouse

The cotton is so fine and transparent that I’ll have to be more careful about what I wear under it in future. As you can see in the above photo, a white vest is not recommended! It didn’t seem so see-through on the day that I wore it until I saw these photos – Oops! The camera never lies as they say! The cotton is natural coloured so I can obviously only get away with wearing cream or nude coloured under-things.

This was also why I chose to do French seams on all the seams, because I knew that they would be visible from the outside.  This made the construction of the blouse much more time-consuming and trickier than it should have been.

The basic construction of the blouse isn’t really complicated, just very fiddlely.  BurdaStyle magazine is available here in German although I’d downloaded the sewing instructions in English from the website. And as anyone who has made anything from Burda magazine knows, the sewing instructions are often complicated to understand and the lack of pictorial guidance to further assist only makes matters worse which made wading through these instructions bad enough but it was those front and back yoke pintucks that caused the most headaches – and I’m sure added to my growing collection of white hairs!

buttons on back opening and close-up of pintucks
buttons on back opening and close-up of pintucks

French seaming everything made it really difficult to match the pintucks up on the joining seam of the yoke to make a nice and sharp ‘v’ shape.  They fitted together nicely for the first seam and then were all off for the second.  So finally after unpicking them several times when they refused to match up neatly, I surrendered and made the extra effort of basting them first to make sure they lined up correctly before I sewed them.  Thankfully, this worked!  They are not absolutely perfect, but nothing that I make is and I can live with that.

I left off the neck piece of lace mainly because I didn’t have enough lace left but I also thought it would have pushed the laciness of it over the top.  I was actually thankful to have run out of lace because all the lace on the front and back yoke pieces was hand-stitched down and I’d simply had enough by that stage!

I’m not a patient sewer. If truth be told I prefer quick and easy projects. Fast sewing. It’s just where I am right now.  I have a toddler at my feet most of the time, what more can I say!

Burda 3/2013 #137
Burda 3/2013 #137

Overall though, I’m pretty happy with this blouse.

How about you?  Do you like quick and easy sewing or slow-burn projects?

Smile you look beautiful!


Every time I go into town, I see this and I thought the message was worth passing on!

The funny thing about this is though – I’m in GERMANY so it’s an odd choice of advertising slogan.  I may be the only town resident who even understands it!

Personally I think the apostrophe should be at the end but that’s just nitpicking and it doesn’t really detract too much from the feel-good message.

Anyways, smile and enjoy your day!

July Jumpsuit Trio

I’ve had a bit of a thing for making jumpsuits lately.  In fact, I’ve already made three!  What can I say other than -I like them – you get the fun of a dress with the practicality of trousers.

This blue one below, made up in a Liberty print tana lawn cotton, was inspired by a Liberty cotton jumpsuit I saw on the A.P.C. online shop earlier this year which unfortunately I don’t have a link to.  The A.P.C. one was retailing for nearly 300 euros!  Needless to say, mine cost a fraction of this price to make!

Liberty jumpsuit with side pockets P1230051

I found the pattern in this Japanese pattern book ‘Dressmaking at Home’ by Machiko Kayaki ISBN 978-4-579-11393-4.

It was really straightforward to make.  It consists of a top with an elasticated neck and wide leg pants which are then joined together in the middle with an elasticated waist and a drawstring with silver beads on the end – from La Droguerie in Strasbourg and in-seam side pockets. You get the whole thing on through the neck – this is the only opening so before I joined the top to the pants I checked that I could get my shoulders and hips through the neck opening.

The A.P.C. version had almost an identical looking neckline but it had a button opening on the front of the top from the neck down to the waist, which would make it a lot easier to get on and off.  I did toy with the idea of trying to copy this by altering my pattern and cutting the front top piece into two and adding a button placket.  But finally I decided against it.  I thought I’d make it up as it is first to see how it turned out.  Maybe I’ll make another with buttons next time.

In the book the pattern had been made up in viscose and was a bit wider and had more drape than mine in the tana lawn cotton.  So I took mine in a few centimeteres at the side seams and a bit in from the leg width because I was worried that it would be a bit too wide. Now that it’s made up though, I think a bit of extra width at the sides would have been ok.

The next two jumpsuits of the trio are two versions of the same pattern from this Japanese book – ‘Lots of Liberty print! Dresses and tunics’ ISBN 978-4-07-277210-2.

Liberty jumpsuit with patch pockets and tie-neck Liberty jumpsuit with tie-neck

This is another easy pattern that has patch pockets at the sides and separate belt at the elasticated waist and a tie halter neck top, which I also added beads from La Droguerie on.  This green one is another Liberty print tana lawn cotton lined with a very fine cotton batiste.

Lightweight denim jumpsuit with Liberty contrast belt

The final version is made up in a lightweight denim bought at the Hollander Stoff Markt in Karlsruhe, with a belt with a contrast side in Liberty print tana lawn – which can just be seen in the above photo.

I made them all using French seams and I would recommend adding a few centimetres to the leg length because I always find the Japanese patterns to have short legs – and I’m not tall at 162cm!

All three have been really easy and comfortable to wear and I’m really happy with them.  I’ve got a bold print drapey viscose that I would like to make a drapey neck version of the jumpsuit in.  All I need now is a few more hours in the day!

Have you made any jumpsuits?  Which patterns did you use?  I’d love to hear about them.

Citronille patterns no. 181 ‘Susanne’

I mentioned the French pattern company Citronille in my last post and so I thought I’d add a quick review of their dress no. 181 ‘Susanne’.

I have this pattern in the children’s and adults version.  The children’s sizing ranges from two years to eight and the adults one in French sizes 36 to 46, although I’ve only made this up in children’s age two and four so far.

The pattern is really simple and easy to make and the instructions are available in French but they also have an English version.  I have the pattern in French and even though my French isn’t that good it doesn’t matter – you don’t need to be fluent in the language to be able to make sense of the patterns because the instructions are also illustrated for most of the steps.

I’ve made this dress several times mainly because it is so quick to make and easy for the kiddies to wear but I only have photos of one of them to share with you here.

Citronille pattern 'Susanne' Japanese double gauze cotton

I believe that the sizing is a tad on the small side because I think that this was the age four size and here it’s being modeled by my not-yet-two-and-a-half year old!  So the sizes run from age two then four, six then eight so I would suggest that if you are between sizes then it may be better to size up.  The only issue that we’ve experienced with this, is that the dress is just a little too wide across the shoulders and slips off a bit but she’ll grow into it soon, right!?

I made it up in this double gauze Japanese cotton designed by Kayo Horaguchi in the pink colour-way. I really love this interesting double border print with its crazy mix of giraffes and climbing foliage and leopards and think that it suits this dress design really well.  What do you think?

If you want to find out more about Citronille patterns, you can check out their online shop and also there is a blog for fans of their patterns – Citronille fanblog.  This is useful if you are thinking of purchasing these patterns because the blog is organised in such a way, that there is an easy reference column where you can see all of the different patterns available  – arranged by pattern number and in alphabetical order of the pattern names – and then you can click on each model and view all of the posts relating to that pattern and get an idea about what it is like when it is sewn up – as well as being able to get some design and customising ideas and tips from other makers of course!

The patterns cost around ten euros each and are available to ship internationally.

That’s all for the ‘Susanne’ dress.

I’ll be back soon with a bunch of jumpsuits to show you, of all things, that I’ve been busy making. In fact, I may need an intervention to stop me making these – I’ve made three so far and I’m day-dreaming of a fourth! Don’t ask me why, I just like them!

Review of Wiksten Tank pattern

A linen Wiksten Tank on tour in Italy
Wiksten Tank on tour in Italy

To kick off this blog, I’m starting with a review of the infamous Wiksten Tank top pattern which I actually made last year but haven’t got round to blogging about until now.

This was a really simple, quick and easy pattern to make.  Jenny Gordy, the designer of Wiksten patterns, gives very straightforward and clear instructions which are accompanied by photos to guide you through every step of the making process.

Apart from the foolproof instructions in the patterns, the real genius of Jenny’s designs are how basic they are and how seamlessly they can blend into every wardrobe.  The pattern comes in two lengths – tank top and ‘dress’ – although I would describe the dress as a tunic.  They can be made up in a variety of fabrics, each giving them a unique look and purpose.

On the downside, I don’t think that this top is particularly flattering on my body shape.  It’s cut quite low at the front so I have to double tank it to make it decent!  It’s probably more suitable for people more generously endowed than myself.  When I make this pattern again, I’ll raise the front neckline a few centimetres.

The fabric I used for this top is a lovely lightweight linen that I got online at France Duval-Stalla.  As the name suggests, this is a French store that stocks many organic quality and Made in France fabrics.  The quality of the linen is excellent – lightweight enough for a summer  top but substantial enough so that it is not too sheer and see-through, which is just as well because it wasn’t very cheap.  However so far it’s wearing well.  It’s been thrown in the washing machine several times and is still looking crisp and white so hopefully it was money well spent.

Overall, I’m really happy with this top.  It was a satisfying and easy make and a good basic addition to my summer wardrobe.





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