Saturday, January 11, 2020

Ready for spring: an out of season shirt plus pattern storage idea

Here's something I sewed up on a rainy day in December, and the whole time I thought "well this will go in the closet until spring arrives". However I had the chance to take some outdoor pictures last week on a beautiful sunny day.

Blue voile shirt 3

Although I should have known better than to stand under an olive tree - these trees are common around here and while they give a nice mediterranean touch to the landscape there are a lot of fallen olives to step on and make a mess on the bottom of your shoes. Everything is so green right now and we Californians have to enjoy it while it lasts. I have so much sympathy for everyone in Australia, the fires are devastating as we here well know. But the scope of their situation is mind boggling and I hope it settles down soon.

Back to the mundane details of my new shirt. This is from Burda Magazine, January 2019 #109 which I made last year in March. That version was also a print so the design lines don't show there either. That was in a wool challis which I paired with an ultra suede skirt - a successful sewing of two pieces that I wear often. Keep reading to see the interesting pattern pieces that make up this shirt.

The fabric is from Mood, I ordered it last summer and it's a silk and cotton voile. 60" wide, I ordered 1.5 yards which is enough for me to make a shirt. I posted this recently on Instagram asking if it looked too "geriatric palm beach style" but it got a lot of positive feedback. Not sure why I saw it like that, maybe working up close with the leafy print it seems a bit much. However now that it's finished I do love it. The colors are among my favorites.

blue voile shirt 8

Blue voile shirt with jacket1

Plus it goes so well with my blue wool blazer that I posted about previously. Please ignore my pocket flap which is annoyingly out of place in that picture. Also it's interesting how the iPhone reacts to the light, photos taken seconds apart can have such a different tone.

I thought it would be interesting to show you the pattern pieces for this shirt. It's a raglan sleeve where the yoke is incorporated into the top of the sleeve, with a dart at the shoulder. The front has a facing instead of a button band (facing not pictured, also the collar and stand as they are just like any other shirt.)

Burda raglan sleeve shirt pattern pieces

But I think this is a clever design and results in a nicely fitting shirt. Plus it is super quick to sew. I don't think this is the last time I will use this pattern.

blue voile shirt 7

Blue voile shirt 5 Blue voile shirt 1

Yep those colors definitely make me smile. I think turquoise is my basic black, if that makes any sense 😄.

Since I've been sewing so many Burda magazine patterns I have plenty of tracings like those shown above.  I find you have to be systematic with labeling - nothing worse than looking for a pattern piece for what seems like hours. Sometimes I've search for days and finally the missing item turns up when I stop looking for it, although that applies to any pattern, not just Burda.

For my envelope patterns such as Vogue, McCalls etc, I put the pattern pieces and instructions in file folders, and label the folder with the pattern brand, number and then a note for whatever garment I first used the pattern for. Example: "Simplicity 2339 blue silk charmeuse". It's far easier to remember the specific garment than the pattern. By the way - when I open an envelope pattern I look through the instruction sheets and get rid of unnecessary ones (typically in other languages) and just use those sheets for scrap paper note writing. Anything to make the file folder less bulky.  I'm lucky to have a big file drawer cabinet where I store the file folders in hanging files but it's getting stuffed and so probably time to cull a few of the ones I'm never going to make again.

This label system also applies well to Burda since they have issue and pattern numbers. However with Burda all I have to file is the traced sheets and it seemed like it would take up too much space to make a file folder for each pattern I traced. So one day I thought about putting them in binders, and this is what I came up with.

The clear page covers hold two patterns, and I keep all the pattern pieces together with a paper clip, then put a post-it on the bundle with the magazine year/month and the pattern number PLUS my description of whatever I made first with that pattern. It's quite easy to flip through and find a pattern.

Burda pattern storage binder

I have about 10 patterns in the binder now and will put the rest of my traced patterns in there. I think having a few of these binders on the shelf is a lot easier than an individual folder for each pattern. In fact I could see having a different binder for each category once I get a sizable quantity of patterns traced.

So that's the scintillating scoop on my pattern storage, ha ha. Onward to the next project. I had some lovely burgundy corduroy and had the idea to make some trouser style pants with slant pockets and a front pleat. Which may or may not be a good idea, pleated pants can be friend or foe, a lot depends on shape and style.

Anyway, here's a peek at the pants.
Cord pants patttern and skirt

I'm not 100% happy with them despite the fact that they fit very nicely above the knee. Which is usually the trouble zone but they are a winner there - however the legs are more tapered than I would like. I think if they were straight legs or wide they would look better with the pleated top. So I am playing around with the seam allowance on the legs and seeing if I can adjust a bit. I have a lot of the corduroy remaining so I think I'll make that skirt pictured to the right. And if I could order those long legs and the boots that would be nice also :).

Blue voile shirt 4

Enough hanging around - I think happy hour was calling my name right then.

Tomorrow I have a full day of classes at Hello Stitch, it's our Intro to Sewing class and in the first session I explain how to decode all that info on the pattern envelope and discuss fabric choice, pattern markings and all the other stuff that is so helpful to know when you begin making your own clothes. I really enjoy it plus I bring a bunch of things I've made to compare with the pattern envelope. I think when you start sewing that's one of the trickiest things to master, matching or visualizing the fabric with the pattern. It's fun for me and the most common comment is "I would never have imagined that garment based on the picture on the pattern!" Which once you get going is the fun part of sewing and making clothes that are your own choices.

Blue voile shirt with jacket2

Next up, maybe those corduroy pants and a new to me shirt pattern (Vogue 9029) with a good result but some interesting observations.

Happy Sewing,

Today's garden photo, reaching among my flower photos for something blue and came across this one. It's Vinca minor which is a nice ground cover and I should get outside and take some cuttings to make more. Or stay inside and sew :)



  1. I've been sewing for years and I still struggle to visualise finished garments from daggy pattern envelopes! Your blouse is lovely; that yoke makes for an interesting design detail.

  2. I store my burda patterns like that, but I also take a photocopy of the instructions and put that in the file too.

  3. I store mine like that, but organised by the type of garment, and also I make a tiny scribble drawing of the garment on the post it for quick recognition. :)

    Nice design shirt indeed! And that fabric must be a dream on your skin :)

  4. Very nice shirt, I like the colors of the fabric, too. Thank you for drawing my attention to this pattern, the raglan sleeves are special.
    My pattern storage-system is almost the same. Plus - I put a sample of the fabric in the envelope. That helps to remember which garment I made.

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  6. I love those colors! I have a skirt I made years ago that's the same color as your jacket. I DO have to be careful not to put too much of it on my upper body because I'm very fair and have old-lady white-ish blond hair, so it can make me look washed out. But with your lovely dark hair and eyes, it looks GORGEOUS on you. I've been sewing for about 60 years but still learn from you - thanks for all the tips and instructions you share so generously.

  7. I love you shirt, the Miami beach geriatric quip made me laugh:). I can't find the pattern in the Jan 19 issue, do you know if it is available on the bursa website?

  8. Love the way your shirt turned out, never would have imagined that shoulder would fit so well. BTW, the photo of the legs and the boots is WAY foreshortened, take another look at it!

  9. Putting a paper clip on the pattern is a great idea and so is the post-it. My storage method is pretty similar.

  10. Great pattern storage idea, when I have more than 2 traced I will use it but not yet :) Lovely colour on you and I do like the sleeve/shoulder treatment. I love the silk/cotton voile, not available in my neck of the woods and postage would prob cost a bomb to Australia. Thank you for your thoughts on our bushfires. I live about 200kms from them but we have smoke drifting over and staying with us regularly :( Most of Aust is not burning to a crisp but those areas that are will take months to get back to some sense of normality. The roads alone will take over a month before access to the areas is opened up. Thankfully most people are aware now to just get out and go away from fires otherwise we would have had such a loss of life! Fingers crossed that Eastern Victorian is the only area impacted by fires this summer however we still have over 8+ weeks to go.

  11. I'm a lover of blue/teal/turquoise too. A nice shirt. I've save my Burda's in a box. I like your method though and might upgrade :)

  12. I can’t believe you made pleated pants! 😱 I think they look great but I do love a skinny jean. They’d look cute wider, too.

  13. You always look great in turquoise shades of blue. I have heard the print, you used for your blouse, referred to as a "shadow print". The shapes and shading of overlapping leafy branches. Not geriatric at all.