Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


#SummerOfBasics Hug a hoodie

As everyone in the UK knows we have been basking in the most amazing summer weather this year. The only downside is that it has been difficult to really sew in this weather; sweaty fingers don’t hold pins, pressing between sewing steps is an ordeal and who wants to try on a snuggly hoodie when just the thought of putting on another layer makes you feel hot!

Burda #119 Hoodie

My sewing-time windows have been few this month, but unexpectedly my son went on a trip to the seaside with a friend and his family. I sent him off with sun-cream, a pack lunch and I parted with £20, way too much for an ice-cream and train fare, but all I had in my purse at the time. Master Steely is renowned for his spending habits and I doubted I would see a penny of my twenty pounds back.

But, now I had a whole day to myself for sewing and I sewed up a storm (well, I wished I could sew a few rainclouds, at least). I managed the majority of the sewing in a day. In fact, everything except the hood which was sewn on afterwards. I don’t think I’ve ever sewn in such a long stretch ever before. I always thought I was an incredibly slow at sewing, perhaps my usual 2- 4 weeks per garment is more a reflection on the intermittent nature of my sewing.

As for the twenty pounds….. I was surprised with Master Steely’s purchase – a boat! Yes, a two-seater inflatable dingy with paddles – I had to laugh! I actually think he did well to get a boat for twenty pounds and with all this great weather it has had a few outings.

Burda #119 Hoodie

Burda #119 Hoodie

A few notes on the construction:

The fabric is a Cosy Colours Sweatshirt fabric from Guthrie and Ghani. I’d previously made a sweatshirt in the teal colourway and was incredibly happy with this soft and cosy fabric. In keeping with the “Basics” theme, I’m sticking to my grey/navy blue colour scheme for my yoga outfit and this fabric is a grey marl with coloured flecks, including navy blue flecks.

Burda #119 Hoodie

The zip was an old zip saved from an ancient hoodie, which died a long time ago. I kept the zip as I really loved the star-shaped pull. I found some gold eyelets and a white cord for the hood. Sadly, these were all that were in the shop. I may try to find some navy cord at a later date to keep the grey / navy theme going, but so far no luck.

The pattern I used was the hooded jacket #119 from the January issue of Burda Style magazine. It’s a very relaxed fix and has all the features you’d expect from a hoodie – kangaroo pockets, a good-sized hood. It also has some unusual design elements such as the curved hem and the pleated sleeves. Since I wrote my Summer of Basics planning post, I have found some others who have made this particular sweatshirt – Dressmaking Debacles has made two, a grey one for herself and a beautiful mustard-coloured one for her daughter.  Coco’s loft has made this black version where she has stitched the sleeve pleats down and added a facing so that the zip tape doesn’t show. What great finishing touches!

Burda 01/2018 119 hoodie

The instructions with Burda, as always are brief, but I didn’t find too many difficulties with them. I did find certain things tricky such as making sure that the side seams were tidy with the edging aligned. I sewed them in place first on my machine and then used the overlocker. Getting the pockets lined up either side of the zip was tricky too. The method I used was to align the top and bottom of the pockets and when I found that the hem didn’t quite line up, I unpicked the hem of the side that appeared longer, trimmed it and reattached the binding. This seemed to work well.


The used the same fabric as the outside for inside the hood, but I think that perhaps using a jersey for the inside would have made the hood less bulky. Perhaps I’ll enjoy this extra thickness more in the winter. The hood, though is a good size as you can see:

Burda #119 Hoodie

Burda #119 Hoodie

I have only worn this hoodie for the purpose of photographing my endeavours. It feels very cosy (although with this heat, I’m not appreciating that!) It’s also sufficiently oversized and I believe my yoga movements will be accomplished with ease. The basement Yoga Studio that I go to is always cool in the winter so an extra layer will be handy.



Sewing The Seventies: Make 3 – More on Burda “Dusty” Dress

I was just looking through all the posts from my Sewing The Seventies makes and remembered that I hadn’t written a proper post about my third make the Burda “Dusty” dress. And because this is my first garment for the Burda Challenge I thought I’d better write a proper post.

The “Dusty” dress was published in the Burda 70s vintage edition last year. Does anyone know what this dress could be called? I’ve thought it might be a pinafore dress, because of the lack of a back, but that doesn’t really provide a good description of it.

Seventies Dress (Burda)

I was glad that I made a toile of this dress. I don’t usually make toiles, because I have found that I tend to make the same adjustments on all my makes and therefore a quick check that certain measurements, for example, the width across the back are adequate, I’m usually happy with the fit. However, I was scared of this pattern! It looks so different from anything else I’ve sewn, and I wanted to get the fit right. The toile gave me more confidence over the fit and also made it possible to mark some button and button-hole markings on the pattern, which didn’t exist for my size on the pattern traced from the magazine.

The construction was relatively easy, but the instructions needed re-reading a few times. I’m still a little confused about the step to tidy up the side seams; how should I secure the front facing where it joins the side seam at the waist? I actually haven’t completed this step as I keep on considering the fit of the skirt and wondering whether I need to take the skirt side-seams a little. So much for doing the toile! I suspect the fact that there weren’t button and button-hole markings for my size didn’t help here. I’ll probably give the dress another wear and come to some conclusions on this.

The fabric I had chosen sadly, frayed rather badly. I wish I’d finished the edges as soon as I’d cut out the pieces, because just manipulating the fabric just resulted in more fraying. This made the hand-sewing of the facings at the shoulder seams quite tricky and I’m still not convinced this is as neat as I would like.

Shoulder Facing Finish

Shoulder Facing Finish

With this in mind, I decided to use bias-binding to finish the skirt hem. This way any unfinished edges would be fully enclosed and wouldn’t present any fraying problems.

Hem Detail

Hem Detail

Burda Dusty Dress

Side View Dusty Dress

Here’s the unusual back view. Personally I think it looks best from the front and actually I’ve mostly been wearing it with a cardigan over the top anyway.

Dusty Dress Back View

I’ve worn the dress in combination with my deep purple shirt quite a few times now and it’s a combination I like for a day in the office. I do wish I had a non-bulky turtle-neck top that I could wear it with. I think this would be a good outfit for cold days and we’ve had a few of those lately.

Dusty Dress