Saturday, August 22, 2020

FibreMood magazine review with a couple of tops from Issue 10

This is the summer of trying new things in regard to sewing. Plus more indulgence of my new sewing obsession, pattern magazines. Now that I am a loyal Burda subscriber and stitcher, I expanded my outlook to try Patrones, a Spanish language one. Around the same time I kept seeing people sewing from FibreMood, which is a Belgium based magazine, fairly recently established and growing in popularity. I boldly asked if one of my European readers would send me a copy and 2 lovely people did so (again thank you to Sabine and Jacqueline 😘) thus I now have a choice of several FibreMood magazine issues to play with.

The question might arise if I'm interested in any other sewing magazines which are available. I'm aware of a few. La Mia Boutique is an Italian sewing magazine and you would think I would be interested in that as a student of Italian, however I have had a couple of issues and the styles have not interested me at all. The other one I know about is Ottobre, which comes from Finland (available in English) Their designs also seem to lean toward very basic, and probably a good wardrobe builder but not really of interest to me.

FibreMood magazine cover

Back to FibreMood. The magazine itself is gorgeous, the layout is so well done and the photography is beautiful.

I will come out with my conclusion right now and say that I probably won't sew very many things from the magazine, as most of the styles are quite simple or not not shapes that I want to wear. But I definitely wanted to try something from the issue and the top on the cover attracted me due to the very cute detail in the back.

This is peak stay-at-home sewing, rummaging through my fabrics, finding something suitable and sewing it up with not much thought about wearability.  Below I'll show you some details of the magazine using this pattern as an example, and then show you some more general info on FibreMood.


If I were trying to make something completely wearable, I would have changed the neckline slightly (too high for my comfort) and I don't think that front ruffle suits me. It seems a bit too childish for my liking but it was fun to try it out and I wanted to sew it exactly as the pattern was designed.

Here's the garment in the magazine, showing the front and back. The gingham does suit the pattern although it really puts in the prairie-dress category for me.


This was a good pattern to start with, as I could see how their pattern pieces worked, the tracing, cutting instructions  - the whole works. Also the sizing. I chose by my bust size, and I think I sewed a 38 in their sizing for the first magazine I had which was the Dutch edition. I also received a UK edition so that was in English, however I didn't really have any trouble using the Dutch edition as their instructions are in pictograph form (very similar to some Japanese sewing books) and it's not really all that necessary to read the words.

Note that they have all the instructions for their patterns available as FREE downloads on the website, in all the languages and measurements (inches and centimeters). You just have to register on their site but then you can really investigate a pattern more thoroughly or get the instructions in the language you need. So I did look at the US instructions  - just to make sure I was on the right track for size. Note that the size numbers differ a lot, so the size I made for 36" bust (93cm) is a UK 12 or a US 8 or a Spanish 40 or a Dutch 38.  Don't quote me on that but you get the idea. It's a good idea to stick with the measurements and go from there, ignoring the size number. Although you do need that size number for your pattern tracing. For every pattern they do give the finished garment measurements which is great.

Fibremood Lola tech drawing

I have to say from a graphic design point of view this magazine is far superior to Burda, they probably have fewer patterns in an issue, and the patterns are not as complicated, but they layout and instructions are so good. The section with the pattern sheets is printed on heavy cardboard, and has color coded illustrations of the pattern sheets, so you can open the sheet that corresponds to the one you are using, and then find the pattern pieces based on the key. For example the top I made, which is called Lola, is in green on the pattern sheets D and E. So they actually show you where the pattern pieces are on the sheet, see my bright pink arrows showing the sheets.

Fibremood tracing key


The pattern sheets are 33" x 23" so a very manageable size to put on your table and trace from. This sheet only has two patterns on it, one in green and one in red so it's fairly simple to locate your pattern pieces and trace.


Here's a closer look, one think that's both a benefit and a drawback is that there are a lot of sizes so it's a bit of careful work to trace your size, but it's nice that every pattern comes in the full range of sizes.  You can see that the markings are fairly minimal - a few notches and then the grain line (straight arrows) and items on fold line (arrows with half circle).  I found the markings were sufficient and this pattern had a lot of small pattern pieces but it sewed up perfectly.  The pattern sheets are on sturdy and opaque paper which makes tracing easy.


Here's the instruction sheet in the magazine, they include all the necessary information in a very neat and compact way. I have a difficult time judging the instructions as they seem just fine to me (a person who really doesn't look at the construction info for most any pattern) but I think they were clean and include a lot more help than the Burda stream of words which you have to puzzle through.


This top is all about the back, and I think I will play around with the pattern, probably change the front neckline and remove the ruffle, but keep that back opening which is really cute.  I love things that have surprise backs, like this dress that I made last summer for my vacation in Hawaii. (Sob, miss you beautiful Kailua).

Firbremood gingham top back view on form

Fibremood gingham top close up front

Here's a look at magazine layout - they give quite a lot of space to each pattern and the photos are lovely. Following the current trend the patterns have names not numbers. If they take up a page layout to show just the back of the pattern then it reappears in a more informational photo on another page layout. After all - we need to see the front and back of a garment, right?

Fibremood blue dress photo

Fibremood jumpsuit photo

I think their tech drawings are good as well, they show all the details and are not overly artistic or exaggerated.


That's a cute sundress and if summer weren't drawing to a close, and I hadn't just made something very similar I would be tempted to sew that one up. Note for next year :)

I decided to try another pattern from the issue, Ida, something very simple just to get more impressions of the pattern sheets, instructions etc.  This top is not really something I would likely sew or wear but it looked interesting and didn't take up too much fabric. I think if you made it in a really lovely voile or even the interesting textured fabric like they have it would work.


Fibremood front back stripe

I used some lightweight seersucker that was in my stash, perhaps a bit too much body for this style and I would never wear this - will probably cut it up to make masks. However the fit and sizing was fine. I think it's asking a lot of a pattern design to fit and look good front and back when there is no shaping.   See the image below, neckline edge also sticks up above her shoulders and doesn't really fit or land right. I think that in an inherent problem with this type of top.  Anyway - I just wanted to try out another pattern from the issue.

Fibremood Ida photo

A couple of other notable features of FibreMood is that you can purchase any individual pattern on their website, in a variety of languages. But I think they have buried the most fantastic feature, which is the 2nd bullet point in the text below. You can print a single size - with or without seam allowances AND on A4 or A) paper. I would just choose the size that fits your upper body and then print out and adjust as needed. Many of their styles are quite loose and I think the fit adjustments might be minimal.


They also have a very robust online community - plenty of help and also uploads of finished garments  uploaded by people who have sewn the patterns. A lot like the previous BurdaStyle website although actually a bit better perhaps. They also have sew-alongs and video for lots of the patterns.

On the whole if I were a beginning - intermediate level sewer I think it would be a great place to find info and inspiration. For me the patterns are not all that interesting although there are a few that are really appealing. Which is pretty much what you can say about any pattern company - not all are going to be my cup of tea but definitely some to try. (Cup of tea - why do I use that phrase?  because it's a good shorthand way to express the idea, despite the fact that I can't stand tea - coffee forever!!)

So that's the latest on my foray into FibreMood. I hope some of you give it a try and let me know what you think. Their website is really well done and easy to navigate, and the patterns are quite reasonable. ($ 8.49 US).

Thanks again to Sabine and Jaqueline and to everyone who reads and comments. I've found the conversations in the sewing world such a good escape from the current news. It makes me happy to connect with so many lovely people all over the world who are interested in this wonderful craft and hobby.

By the way - I have a fun online sewing class coming up in September, I will add the link here but will give more details next week.

Up next, my BurdaStyle jumpsuit, and today I picked up a big stack of fabrics that a friend decided to destash to me. Mostly winter wools and blouse weights in gorgeous blues and purples, but I won't be touching any of it until our weather cools down.
Sadly our fire season has struck even earlier in the year for 2020 - what else can this year bring? OK don't answer that - we are about at our limit with covid plus extreme fire danger. The smoke is lingering all over N. California and while I'm not in any current danger zone (as much as a Californian can be safe) the smoke is unbelievable and we are hoping that we don't have more lightening strikes or high winds.


Take care everyone, stay clear of whatever mother nature is throwing our way.

Happy Sewing,

today's garden photo, a cheerful dahlia that I rescued from it's previous spot in the front yard. The dahlia next to it had disappeared down a gopher hole, so I dug this one up and put it in a large pot. Finally it's putting out some cheerful blooms.



  1. That schematic for locating the pattern pieces is so cool!!

    I have some very old Burda mags and they have smaller sheets and more of them, so tracing is less onerous.

    But also, I find with Ottobre, the multitude of sizes annoys me more than helps me so I’m always grateful for Burda’s 5 (usually) sizes.

  2. Cute tops and lovely dahlia! I do love Burda patterns, and I hope that they take note of some of these competitors and improve their instructions. But that’s a dream many a Burda fan has thought before, I am sure!

    1. Not sure why I am appearing as “unknown”. Thanks for the review if Fibre Mood too!
      -JenL in nyc

  3. Thanks for sharing the Fibre Mood magazine. I have seen a few garments from this magazine and was curious about it. Your top is cute and the back is a great surprise.

  4. I am enjoying these insight into different sewing magazines. In The Netherlands we also have Knipmode, I think you may like it too. It's somewhat similar to Burda and usually has a range of beginner friendly to more advanced patterns. I've also used La Maison Victor which I think is Belgian. It's more glossy and the patterns are usually quite basic so I expect you will find it less appealing.
    If you are interested I could send you an issue of Knipmode.

  5. I wouldn't call the blouse childish exactly, but it is does suggest a pinafore because of the size of the yoke. Still, you carry it off very well. I agree with you about the gingham, I wouldn't use that and for my purposes, the bow tie in the back would have to go! I'd make a tab for a snap or a button instead. As for the style, I like a V-neck much better and I think the ruffle is just too big. I would change the neckline to a V, alter the yoke to a moderate V as well which would make it smaller, and make the ruffle half the width or less. The V would be a wide V rather than a deep one but I think it would lose the pinafore look. And come to think of it, wouldn't a pleated trim look more sophisticated than a ruffle? Just my 2-cents!

  6. Oh no, more fires. Good luck and I hope everything is okay.

    The back of that top is so cute!! I agree, I would lower the front neckline and change the ruffles in the front...maybe have them fade away into a princess seam? Looks like you got your money's worth of fun from this magazine.

  7. I'm so glad you reviewed FibreMood. I am kind of interested in checking them out. The fires are so awful. It's been very smokey up here. Sewing is helping me to stay calm and carry on. I can't wait to see what your class is all about.

  8. These reviews are done SO well! A ton of great information, and your personality really shines through. These are a pleasure to read. Thank you!

  9. Always lovely to read about a new-to-me pattern company - especially as these days I feel very behind on keeping up with all the new releases and pattern companies! I really like that ruffle tank top - although I can appreciate that you may not feel it fits your aesthetic. The back of it is particularly sweet, and the front reminds me somewhat of a Tessuti top pattern a few of my friends made (and which I loved the concept of, but that looked blergh on me when I tried their on... ah well!). I might pop on over and browse their site for a bit :)

  10. Thanks so much for this review Beth! I downloaded the Patrones app after your post but still haven’t got around to using it. Unfortunately for me 2020 has meant lots of time at home but conversely less time to sew! (My kids just can’t deal with the noise of the overlocker and get bored / mischievous if I try to use my machine). I guess I should focus on cutting out so I can hit the ground running when they start preschool in 2021, lol.

    I’m so sorry to hear about the wildfires. I hope you stay safe and my heart aches for all those affected.