ooobop! review: Burda Style August 2013

Burdastyle Magazine August 2013

Well hello August Burdastyle Mag with 16 Free Patterns. So very pleased to receive you!

This month veers completely away from the beach and heads into Autumn with a whole range of styles. Heaven knows how the Burda team keeps it up each month. It’s as much as I can do to come up with one style that I wan’t to actually make!

Neo Romantic a la Downton Abbey, makes a dramatic entrance with chiffon and ruffles. Very reminiscent too of my 80s New Romantic phase. I’d have killed for a neck ruffle like that back then… and actually maybe now! Don’t ask me about the Michael Jacksonesque lace blouse though. I actually don’t have words. But I did use to have a dress very similar to that white one, top right. Though mine didn’t look like I was wearing pants over the top!

neo romantic burda august 2013The lace dress in the centre is lined with silk. A fitted bodice and three quarter length sleeves make for a very special dress indeed. I don’t reckon I could carry off the Hong Kong Phooey look, alongside, though.

Bottom row left corner, coat is a very simple but stylish design and I might have considered it had I not have accidentally on purpose purchased a good looking coat pattern just recently 😉

I like the pinafore dress though. Very much. But it’s odd that the chiffon sleeves are joined on. I would defo leave them out and have the option to wear my own blouse under or not.

And that jacket, bottom right is really cute. I would defo have worn that in the 80s and I might be persuaded now. Leather puffy sleeves or not!

Described as having graphic inspiration from the 20s, I get an 80s vibe too from this next section: Form and Style. I don’t dislike anything from this section, I just don’t think it’s my thing. It’s a bit too ‘blocky’ and casual for me. I’m aware that it’s completely away from my colour palette (kidding myself I actually have one) and as much as I try and envisage the styles in a teal or a red or a black or an orange, it’s still not working for me. The skirt, top row centre, is quite interesting though.

Form and style section

And then enter the Style Icons!

Swinging London, rock ‘n’ roll meets bohemia. Now that’s very much more up my street.

I have had a blouse like the first one on my list for such a long time but the leopard print chiffon brings it up a line or two. I love the idea of leather drainpipes but might have to rein myself in a bit there! The jacket top centre is a very sleek chic sort and there’s a great step by step tute included for this one too.

Check out that cape! Kind of commands a big floppy brimmed hat to carry off the whole dramatic look and I might be inclined to add a pair of thigh high leather platform boots. (Woahhh…..there I go again!)

One of these days I will run up a maxi. I’m sure I won’t look back. I love the whole floaty nature of them but I just can’t seem to get going on one. Too busy eyeing up the leather pants and fitted jacket look! (bottom right)

style icons section

Am I just fickle or is the next ‘All in Red’ section the best? Am I blinded by one of my favourite colours or are all of these styles indeed strong, sophisticated and stylish, red or not?

all in red sectionOk, ‘all’ might be a bit of an exaggeration. The peplum is still hanging around. Just to annoy me. I got vaguely interested in creating something with a peplum at the beginning of the year. I toyed with it in my head and for whatever reason, now it just really annoys me. There is a ridiculous amount of volume in the front of this one too. I don’t need that kind of volume placement, I can tell you!

But I do like everything else. That gorgeous dress top left is made of washed silk. Red washed silk! So cool and soft and luxurious. I love that massive bow. But I dislike the pockets. I think they are too much for a fabric so delicate.

Red silk velvet for the dress 3rd one along top. I would make the front opening a tad more discreet but I do love an empire waistline. The collar stands higher at the front than at the back and again I love the three quarter length sleeves. Teamed with some 60 derniers and some Docs, I would be happy as some Larrys in that cheeky little number!

The coat is lovely but not as lovely as mine! 😉

The jacket bottom and bottom right is the one that has a supporting step by step tute. Such a versatile shape. Teamed with strides or a skirt. Dressed up or down. But properly bringing some class each time.

No little retro number for me to harp over this issue but there is a special Designer Style a la Wolfgang Joop. I had a ‘quick’ Google of the Wunderkind label and was pleasantly surprised. This dress pattern, though tamer than most of the dramatic styles I saw, is an attention seeker nonetheless. (Would be even moreso in red!) And oh how I love that style of fashion drawing. Going to teach myself how to draw like that one day.

Wunderkind dress

But it’s the Plus Fashion section that captures some fine vintage styling for me. I love all the styles apart from the crazy wide cut silk trousers. It would take someone special to carry them off. I’m getting closer in my quest to grade patterns, having just dipped my toe in with my latest dress. So I’m taking more notice of the bigger sizes with the hope that one day my grading skills will be enough to start with any size and make it fit me just so!

plus size burda august 2013

And so the Children section wraps up this issue. But not in such an uber dramatic way. The coat is lovely but Little Miss Ooobop didn’t look overly impressed. And both of us agree that the skirt looks more like a sewing fail than anything else! I’m sure the T-shirt pattern will come in handy at some point but hey. I’m not complaining. I could do without a small person adding more to my list!

burda kids august 2013Any faves? Any already made up? Do tell. x

Speed sewing for summer!

vintage rose dress

I am so loving this heat. You won’t ever hear a moan from me, however hot it gets. I’ve had my fair share of cold to last me a lifetime. My pace has slowed, my skin is glowing, my nails… I’ve actually got some. Bring on that Vit D, baby!!

My only gripe – well it’s not even a gripe, really – is that I don’t have nearly enough summer dresses. It’s only ever been necessary to make 1 or 2 with such poor rubbish excuses for summers that we have.

I had a lovely Email from a very dear friend last week, asking if I’d like to take care of his aunt’s sewing patterns and best of all his aunt’s beautiful sewing box. A no-brainer of course. The patterns, the box and it’s surprise contents are so deserved of their own post but what I do have to show you for now is the dress I ran up in haste this weekend for our lunch date with Nigel.

I cut it out on the Thursday night, sewed it together on the Friday night (legged it down to the market on Saturday morning to get a zip) inserted said zip and hemmed it up before our lunchtime jaunt to a lovely converted cricket pavillion pub for lunch.

vintage rose dress

In order for that kind of magic to happen I had to use a tried and tested bodice. And that of course is all credit to the lovely Elisalex pattern, brilliantly crafted by ByHand London. I replaced the skirt with a gathered rectangle using the full width of the 45″ fabric, and making good use of the selvedges to minimise neatening of so many raw edges!

I’ve had the fabric in Stash Mountain for so long, it felt like the dress was for free too, which is always a bargain!

Of course there were corners to be cut, namely a machined hem and I dodged hand stitching the bodice lining to the skirt seam. Don’t judge, just yet! This will most definitely be rectified as the complete sewing snob inside of me cannot stand to see that stitching. It’s just not right!

vintage rose dress detail

I’ve got another in the pipeline too, using some lighter weight cotton in a red rose print. Only this time I’m going to take the sound advice of BHL’s FBA instructions and give the girls an extra inch!

Is anybody else speed sewing for summer?

When I got back home I had a good old rummage in that lovely old sewing box. It was hours before I came up for air!

sorting vintage buttons

Princess Jessica’s Prom Dress

I think I have kept you all in suspense for quite long enough. This evening is Jessica and Tom’s leavers prom and so I am allowed to reveal the dress I have been working on for the last few weeks.

I was feeling a bit poorly today so Mr Ooobop, like the knight in shining armour he is, set off with his new birthday camera without sparing the horses. The following photos are some of the loveliest he has taken. And I think you will agree that the beautiful subjects contribute somewhat to the awesomeness too.

Meet Jessica. The most wonderful 16 year old daughter of my friend Tina. Can you now picture the pressure that was to create her a prom dress fitting for such a beautiful princess?!

Jessica having hair styled
Jessica having hair styled

Tayla Harris was in-house hairdresser for the evening and styled Jessie’s hair beautifully. Complete with little jewels to match her necklace.

Hair jewels
Hair jewels

And ooo… look. A cheeky first glance of the bodice! Such a tease, I know!

Hair styled with jewels to match necklace
Hair styled with jewels to match necklace

With make-up, hair and outfit complete, enter Jessie’s Prince Charming – the lovely Tom. I’m so pleased he liked his tie. He didn’t really have much choice in the matter, bless him. It was delivered seconds before this photo was taken. I only finished it this morning! And here we also have a side view of the prom dress. I’m getting there, honest!

Tom's arrival and receiving the tie
Tom’s arrival and receiving the tie

The tie was made to match Jessie’s sash as you can see. And Tom did a much better job of tying it than I did!

Tom putting on his tie
Tom putting on his tie
Tom looking more like Prince Charming every minute!
Tom looking more like Prince Charming every minute!

So now they were both dressed to impress, Mr O worked his magic and took some awesome shots of them together. Don’t they look adorable?

Jessica and Tom
Jessica and Tom
A beautiful portrait of the prom Princess and her Prince
A beautiful portrait of the prom Princess and her Prince

I would love to be a fly on the wall tonight and take a picture of them dancing together. The dress is a circle skirt underneath 10 layers of gathered polkadot tulle so you can imagine just how twirly and frothy it would be.

A little dance to limber up!
A little dance to limber up!

Jessie came to me with a firm idea of what she wanted and luckily for me there was a very similar pattern in one of my old Burda magazines. I’ve got quite a hefty collection now. It’s always a joy to go through back issues and see patterns you didn’t notice first time round. But this one was on the money! The only thing I had to do, knowing how standard the sizing works, was to do an FBA. And I had to learn how to do it pretty quick!

prom dress idea

Thankfully for me, and for Jess, I had recently come across a great set of instructions on the By Hand London site. These totally took the fear factor out of the whole process. And I learned so much. Not least of all to come down 2 sizes for Jessies petite body and then doing an FBA. It took just 4 fittings to get it right but oh it was so worth it.

Side view of the dress
Side view of the dress

The strapless bodice section of the dress is boned. For good reason! This was a first for me too. Though I did discover some fantastic boning in my local haberdashery department that sold pre-cased boning. I just had to sew it directly onto the open seams.

The front and back have rouched tulle stretched across 2 panels
The front and back have rouched tulle stretched across 2 panels

The front and back have rouched tulle stretched taught across 2 panels. I love the way they ‘butterfly’ out from the centre seam. And I love how classic and timeless they both look here. Reminiscent of the 1950s.

Full skirt. 3 layers.
Full skirt. 3 layers.

The tulle overlay is ivory in colour and works so well to soften the pink. Kind of like a frothy strawberry milkshake, don’t ya think?! Of all the techniques involved in making this dress, funnily (or not so funnily) the most tricksy part was gathering all those 10 metres into a 27 inch waist. I even made several gathering threads to avoid breakage but it was still a nightmare. I ended up gathering small sections at a time and pinning it on the underskirt, on the mannequin and then hand tacked it all together before I even thought of taking it to the machine!

The bodice and skirt are lined in full with a slightly darker pink lining. That was one of the easier bits! Unlike the Burda instructions, I sewed the circle skirt lining to the waist seam and then once the bodice lining was seamed at the top, I turned under and hand-stiched the waist seam of the lining over the raw edge of the skirt lining.

Oh yes! How could I forget? The shoes!! Check out these amazing Kurt Geiger shoes that Jessie snapped up in the sale for a mere £29! Pink patent leather with bows and bling!

Kurt Geiger shoes
Kurt Geiger shoes: Pink patent leather with bows and bling!

Have you got loveliness overload yet? I think I have. But hang on I forgot to show you the back. Pretty bow sash and all

back view of the dress
back view of the dress

And so the ‘royals’, unfazed by their impromptu photoshoot, bade their farewells and headed off to the prom.

En route to the prom
En route to the prom

I would so love to have seen everyone’s faces as they walked in together.

Outside the venue
Outside the venue

A massively big thank you to Mr Ooobop for these amazingly professional photos. I would never have got these together myself. I also have to thank Tina for asking me to make this dress for her beautiful princess. It has been such a huge learning curve for me. I don’t deny there was a fear factor involved. I had no choice but to get it right. But that’s how we learn fast, right?!

And last but not least for the ever obliging Jessica and Tom. You make just the perfect models and have brought such beauty to my blog! I am being totally honest when I say that these pictures brought a tear to my eye. I hope you guys had the time of your life! x

ooobop! review: Burda Style June 2013

Burda magazine June 2013

Can you believe this is the summer edition of June 2013? I can’t. I’m wrapped in my fleecy blanky, fingerless gloves no less, shivering my butt off as I point blank refuse to turn the heating on. My toes are curled for no other reason other than I can’t uncurl them because they are frozen solid. Is this weather for real?

I really want to get excited about summer clothes, really I do. But I’m struggling. So if you hear a slightly less enthusiastic tone this month, please bear with!

First section up is… Summer Fashion… ha! “Keep looking stylish, even in the heat…” is the opening line of the first intro copy.  Ha bloody ha! Rub it in why don’t ya!

Summer fashion Burda June 2013Ok. I’m going to try. I actually do really like the hand finishing on the brown shift dress, bottom left (above). Its a great couture technique that I’m thinking of employing on a future wool crepe dress I have planned.

The shorts, centre, bottom row, are not dissimilar to the plaid shorts I made. These ones are made with stretch pique which sounds more comfy. I will defo give these a go as one of my gripes was the lack of facing with with Simplicity ones. I know I could probably draft one but hey, I don’t need to now! A bit difficult to see in the photo (top row, centre pic) but that t-shirt looks to be a good fit with side panels and neat little sleeves. Don’t have an overlocker as yet and I’m wincing at the thought of messy insides so I’ll just hang on a bit for that one until I win the lottery. Boy I can’t believe how much those overlockers are!

My dislikes are the pink pants, bottom right. I love this look on the right kind of body. I don’t have that kind of body, unfortunately so they won’t be appearing on my list anytime soon. As won’t that dress top left corner, funnily enough. I say funnily enough because at first glance it looks like a classy dress. Save the pompoms! But it’s not even the pompoms that are putting me off. I quite like them. Its more the “artfully laid little pleats” that appear on the right shoulder aligned with the left hip. Even from the photo I can see some annoying crosswise folds that would annoy the heck outa me!

So who doesn’t like lots of dots? That’s the theme for the next section:

Lots of dots Burda June 2013I think I can safely say I like everything in this section save the long shorts, first column middle row. Just a bit unflattering and boyish for me. I love the shirt-dress top right, most of all. If Me-Made-May’13 has taught me anything it’s that I need more shirt dresses. I love how comfortable and stylish and edgy they can be. It’s not to do with cutting edge design. More clever choice of fabric that makes a great shirt dress. And I’d love to have one for every day of the week. This is quite a slim-fit one and it sure fits the bill as far as I’m concerned.

The shift dress, bottom right corner, has some great side panels that are piped. I still haven’t attempted piping but this would be a great opportunity to practice. It would also be a great chance to practise some colour blocking too. Employing some block colour in those panels would create a great slimming effect.

The cowl top with gathered sides (top left corner) is a firm fave too. Much more stylish to wear than a plain old T! And I love the yellow swinging full skirt. Perhaps not in yellow though. It’s got plenty inset godets on top of all the gathering. And a big bow at the waistband. Dead funky!

The next section is all about beach wedding/party dresses. I truly have goosebumps right now thinking about how the chiffons and georgettes might feel next to my skin, but there are some pretties…

beach beauty section burda June 2013The cowl neck dress, bottom left corner, is my favourite here. With its side gathers and simple shape I think it could be really flattering and perfect for a few evening cocktails on the beach. The dress, top right, is quite stunning and doesn’t look that difficult to construct but there is some yardage of crèpe satin going on here, so it’s not really for the ‘thrifties’ among us!

I don’t dislike the others. They all have their place. Apart from the strange diagonal pleated bodice dress, top left corner – same issues as that purple dress in the first section. Oh, and that one sleeve wonder dress bottom right corner. Not sure I could handle that!

So, swiftly we move on to ‘Surfer Girl’. Not me. Not any part of it. I have noted there are a lot of runners that sew. Or sewists that run! I wish I could say I was one of those. But I’m not so I will leave judgement in the hands of the “Sporty Spices” of the sewing blogger nation…

surfer girl section June 2013That said, the little jersey skirt in the centre, bottom row, could be a quick and easy casual make for holidays and weekends. The jacket is a bit 80s for me, mind!

The Mother & Daughter section is at the very least tweeee!

Mother and Daughter section June 2013Would anyone ever consider dressing to match their daughter?

I quite like the dress, top centre. Though it looks a bit starchy in the batiste. I might be inclined to use something slightly drapier. I do really like the idea of printing on the fabric though. That would totally seal the uniqueness of the garments. You could really create some signature pieces with a clever use of design. I just made a skirt, similar to the star-print one, top right corner, but from an old vintage curtain. I love the deep waistband. I need to finish mine but I hope it looks as good as it does on this mummy!

The Plus Section gets as much attention, if not more this month:

Plus fashions June 2013I love how each of these designs incorporate clever structured detail to flatter the curviest of bods. Simple lines and crepe satin exude the elegance and the loose cut sleeves and empire waistline of that red dress, bottom left is simple yet stunning. But the one I like most is the red dress on the right. Cute standy up collar and dinky button loops on a fabulous yoke bodice add perfect detail to really versatile dress.

So what do you all think? Any faves? Any absolute disses?

I’m off up the wooden hill to Bedforshire right now. I’ve given up trying to keep warm. But I’m still thinking shirt dress. Perhaps in some rockabilly print that I have in a box somewhere. I’ll dream about it and see how it looks!

Night all. And thanks so much for keeping up with my ramblings x

ooobop! review: Burda Style May 2013

May 2013 Burda cover

Well this review very nearly didn’t happen. Firstly because I was in a grump when I bought May’s issue – there was no way that anything was going to impress me that day – and secondly the usual onslaught of work that is always determined to steal my blogging/sewing time!

But do you know what? The delay in between purchasing the mag until now has been enlightening. I am seeing much more potential in designs that I had initially dissed and I am seeing some valuable ‘easy makes’ that might just dig me out of a hole for Zo’s ‘Me Made May ’13’! Admittedly I am in a better mood now the sun is shining so that also helps the different slant!

So without further ado, let me present Full Bloom, the Flower Fashion section.

Lots of pretty lightweight floral loveliness going on here. I so wish I had the guts to go for one of these jumpsuits/playsuits whatever you like to call them. They look such fun. I just don’t think I could take the heckling from the smalls!

May 2013 burda playsuits

A bit difficult to see the detail, but the gathered drawstring top (below, top left corner) looks to be one of those easy ones. I have a fine bit of floral chiffon that I think should do it justice. The bikini below that looks a bit homemade if you ask me. Possibly the fabric – metallic poplin? But that aside I do think with a long skirt attached to the bikini top, it could be transformed into a gorgeous maxi. But my fave by far, out of all these flowery numbers, is the green print dress, on the right. It has a flattering midriff section which I love and some cheeky patch pockets on the skirt front. Total win!

Burda May 2013 flower fashion tops and dresses

The top (below, top left corner) is a super easy make. Its a tulle lace top over a shorter jersey one, sewn together at the bateau neckline. If you don’t fancy the belly button action, you can always make it longer and I’m sure it would be just as pretty. The denim shorts are included too, though surely easier to cut some jeans down?

I keep coming back to the green, v-back flounce dress but I’m not sure I’ve got Twiggy enough bod for that. Pretty though.

The dress at the end couldn’t be simpler. A long straight cut shirt with low-cut armholes. Pretty much 4 rectangles! Made from transparent chiffon and worn with an underdress. In fact the underdress is far more complicated! Perfect for the beach or a picnic or wherever the sun shines!

Burda May 2013 flower fashion

Top Stars is next up. A great little collection of funky tops. The gathered draw-string top features again, in a plain brown crepe this time. Not much of a variation except for the length, I think but great to see it in a block colour. If it really is quick to whip up, I would love a few of these to stick in a holiday suitcase.

Burda May 2013 topsIt wouldn’t be a summer issue without a ‘whites’ section. So here are some of the more romantic looks this month. I personally could never leave the house in a dress as white as this and certainly wouldn’t survive more than half an hour in London if I did, but they would be well-placed on a sunny beach. The dress on the right probably shows in more detail how the upper section of the green print floral dress works.

Burda May 2013 white dresses

Add some blue to the white and behold my favourite section of the mag. The Vintage Style. This little beauty gets away with being so stylishly modern despite its top spot in the fashion charts circa 1965. Tricky to see but underneath the deep V-neck, it has a fabulous seamed empire line, finished with a cutesy bow.

Burda May 2013 Vintage dress

Given that my chances of a tropical holiday are very slim this year (or any year to be fair!) I’m finding it a bit hard to relate to the styles and colours in the Tropical section. 10 out of 10 for innovation though. I’ll wait till someone else tries that green knotted skirt!

Burda May 2013 Tropical

But I did pick a few tropical delights. Check out the gorgeous Maxi dress (below, left) in large print satin! How divine would that be as you floated off for a pina colada all tingly from a day on the beach! The centre top is a must-have too. I love all the rouched detail is in the back. And the dress on the right is such fun!

Burda May 2013 tropical favouritesI think the kids section is a little strange this month:

May 2013 Burda kidsApart from this little red number that I’m trying to persuade LMO to like!:

Burda May 2013 kids

But hey! I’m not going to push it too much. It’s not like I haven’t got enough on my list already!

And last but not least is the Plus Section. Not so hot this month. But some pretty functional pastels all the same. I really don’t think the shot of the pink jersey top and the grey taffeta skirt (bottom left) best portrays these styles. They both have fabulous details. The top has side gathers just over the bust and to the hem. And the skirt is a double layer, the over-skirt being pretty much a square which creates those lovely flounces. It also has a jersey waistband which would add a bit of comfort to the class!

Burda May 2013 Plus sizeSo there we have it, lovely readers. I do so apologise for the delay in getting this to you. No doubt most of you already have it in your clutches. But for those that don’t yet, I do hope it helps to bridge the gap until you get hold of your copy.

Happy sewing everyone! x

How my Elisalex ‘test garment’ happened!

So much has happened over this last week. Starting with last Saturday when Rachel hosted her massive meet up! There have been plenty of fine reports of that wonderful day so I am going to cheat big time and point you in the direction of here and here oh and here!

I will however post a few of the pics. Just because I think they are great and our photographer for the day, Digpal Singh deserves bigging up because he was amaaaazing!

Rachels meet up

Miss Demeanour and Me
Miss Demeanour and Me

Anyhoos. One of the meet-up missions was to shop till we dropped in the Goldhawk Road. By this time I’d been so excited to meet everyone, I clean forgot my fabric shopping list and got completely distracted by the presence of Elisalex dresses modelled so beautifully in real life by these lovely ladies:

Amy, Roisin (wearing Elisalex) and Nicole
Amy, Roisin (wearing Elisalex) and Nicole
Lovely ladies inc Tara (wearing Elisalex) on right
Lovely ladies inc Tara (wearing Elisalex) on right

So I bought this fabric with the Elixalex in mind. Got a great deal by tempting Roisin into sharing 5 metres of hefty, stretch-cotton floral with me. £12.50… bargain!

floral fabric for actual Elisalex dress

For those who have yet to discover this fabulous dress pattern (I’ve a feeling I might be one of the few!) It is so brilliantly and readily available from By Hand London. I loved meeting the brains behind this fabulous site on Saturday. Meet Charlotte and Elisalex herself.

Elisalex and Charlotte
Elisalex (left) Charlotte (right) also modelling the Elisalex skirt.

I ordered my pattern as soon as I got home that Saturday evening. A miracle given no of G&Ts that were consumed beforehand! And it arrived PDQ. I’m still so busy with work and there was little hope of me achieving anything else this week but I tell no lies when I say how quick it was to put together. The instructions are very clear and it really is such an adaptable pattern that will tranfsorm with any style skirt or sleeve option. And so here is my first ‘test garment’.

Elisalex test full length

I repeat ‘test garment’ because I had no intention of actually wearing this one out of the house. But Mr O insisted, if I wanted him to take the photos.

Elisalex test pleat

Why you ask? Because it’s made out of a Duvet cover! It’s a pretty 100% cotton, Ikea, duvet cover but bedding all the same! LMO insisted on an ice-cream so there was only one thing for it!  Elisalex test buying ice cream A trip to the local cafe, that sells what transpires to be the most delicious ice-cream ever!

Elisalex test licking ice cream

Elisalex test eating ice cream

I’m actually glad I wore it out. It was a good test drive. Whilst I’m completely smitten with this skirt style on everyone else, Mr O’s rendition of You Can’t Touch This, did nothing for my indecision! It does take a lot of getting used to. I kept the length… and it is quite long. But it does mean I have to take ladylike steps with a wiggly walk which I quite like. I also like very much, that despite the blustery weather, the wind could not blow this skirt up if it tried! Unlike my first summer dress of this year! Proper Marylin behaviour in that one! I Love the princess seams.

Elisalex test princess seam

And I adore the shape of the back… just pretend you didn’t see the bra strap!

Elisalex test back

And I just can’t wait to make the real one in the fabulous floral! I would now like to remove this song from my head. So please take it and enjoy! [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otCpCn0l4Wo&w=420&h=315]

ooobop! review: Burda Style April 2013

Burda April 2013 cover

And so, as I sit, still in the depths of winter, double wrapped for good measure, It’s small wonder that I am less inspired by this month’s Burda than usual.

This is April’s edition for goodness sakes. I should be so eager to set about some fluttery spring makes, but its all too much even for my vivid imagination!

The Holiday section tempts me with a batiste maxi a cute bouclé shift dress and a smart pair of cigarette pants but though the rest are very holidayish they do nothing to float my boat I’m afraid.

favourite holiday fashions

Having said that, I do keep coming back to that little white dress (below right) but would have to invest in some ‘fashion tape’ for modesty reasons!

holiday fashions

The retro section is always a sure fire bet for me and didn’t let me down with this adorable blouse, cute bustier top and equally cutesy dress. I wouldn’t change a thing about the blouse. It was undoubtedly designed with gingham in mind and the dress is a great showcase style for some statement fabric. Always sold on a sweet heart neckline. So flattering.

favourite retro fashions

I don’t dislike the others. I just feel retro is a bit of a loose term for the other garments in this section…

retro fashions

I’m a little bored by the business section. But hey it’s all very ‘fitting’! Some very interesting cuts even if they’re not my thang.

business fashions

That said, the little pink shift dress works well in a lightweight fabric too. Very simple to put together even though its been marked with 3 difficulty circles. Not sure why.

business pink shift dress

There’s a lot of pretty going on with the Plus Fashions. And a bit of an education for me too! I thought it was the lesser endowed that benefitted from an empire line. But no. Check out these delightful visions of ‘womanliness’!

plus fashions

And this one is my favourite. I particularly love the neckline and the slashed sleeves.

favourite plus size dress

An interestingly unusual suggestion for ‘Fathers and Sons’. Said parties in my house just gave me a ‘don’t even go there’ look before I even uttered a word! Shame really, because I think its all very charming!

father son vintage fashion

No further children’s section this month but for all of you crochet fans, there are some really gorgeous projects. I’m so seriously considering digging out those crochet hooks for some of this darling bunting!

crocheted bunting

crochet projectsOr perhaps I ought to consider a crocheted blanky to cover my knees while I work!

I do hope you continue to find these reviews helpful. I must say, in reviewing a lot of the styles grow on me from my first glances. There are always some surprising elements in a Burda pattern. Make no mistake!

Till next time, my lovelies. Happy sewing x

Party skirt for Princess Gabrielle

princess skirt collage

You may have seen me whinging (and crying) on Twitter about this skirt. And now I’m looking at it I really am bemused by how a tiny skirt for a 3 year old could have given me so much jip!

The skirt is made from 3 layers of the most atrrocious fabric: Purple polyester satin for the underskirt, purple soft netting to add poofiness in the middle, and a top layer of glittery pinky-purple stretch tulle… with an off grain ribbed effect which was already stretched out of shape.

So the first issues began with the cutting. Purple polyester all cool apart from the fuzzy fraying threads that combined when handled to form a faux cobweb mass much like you’d buy for decoration at halloween. I was covered in the stuff and even the cats managed to get it wrapped round their chops and were in a right old pickle till I unwound it from their teeth!

I telephoned my mum to ask for some advice on cutting the netting and tulle and she advised to measure and run a line of pins as markers. Great advice but I can’t tell you just how many pins I picked up from the floor afterwards! You have to weave them in and out or else they just drop out!

And lastly and most annoyingly that glittery stretchy nightmare stuff. Because it had a horizontal ribbing, I thought it would be a doddle to cut but nooooo. It was all wonky and stretched from the outset. I’m not entirely happy with the edge to this layer but hey its going to be on a twirling whirling 3 year old party girl who’ll be boinging on a massive pink inflatable castle for most of the day so I think it might go unnoticed!

Now I wasn’t going to admit to the most stupid mistake I made. Because I still can’t believe I was that stupid but hey. We all learn from them….

When I’d finished… or when I thought I’d finished… I thought the waistband was looking a bit too bulky and however much I trimmed the inside elastic, it still came up bigger than the intended 50cm. A lot of head scratching, a goodnights sleep and a eureka moment revealed that I’d cut the waistband not 2x the waist measurement but 4x the waist measurement. I’d measured the strip with it folded, like a complete dingbat!!! Here’s the evidence:

too much bulk on waistbandI did laugh at myself, through the tears. I have been so busy with work this week and I’m amazed I actually got any sewing done. But I’m so glad I did. Gabrielle’s birthday party is tomorrow and I can’t wait to see the photos of her wearing her princess skirt. I’m sure they will make for better viewing than the above! Watch this space 🙂

Kiki’s vintage cushion cover

When my good friend Kiki asked me to make a cushion cover from her late mother’s Biba skirt, I kind of refused. Big time! I love my friend Kiki so much and would do anything for her but cut up a Biba skirt?! She was going to have to drug me first!!!

She texted to say she was on her way with said skirt. It didn’t look like I had a choice. In fact she was at mine before I got back myself! Mr O had a cuppa on the go. I went straight for the wine. This was going to be painful.

Luckily for me, Kiki gets things muddled all the time. (I really should write a dictionary of exclusive Kiki words and terms. I’m sure it would be a best-seller!) What she meant was that the skirt was a Biba-esque-style maxi skirt that her mum had hand-made in the 70s. She couldn’t see herself in it and to be honest, neither of us could get it over our thighs!

Jean's original skirt

Well. That was a relief but still didn’t make for easy cutting up. But I warmed to the idea that Kiki would get daily pleasure from it being on her sofa instead of folding it away in the attic forever.

There’s quite a lot of fabric going on in a maxi A-line skirt. Plenty enough for a 50cm cushion pad!

But there was a moth-hole. Typically right in the middle of where I needed to cut.

moth hole

I’ve not used the darning stitch on my machine before now.

darning stitch

It doesn’t mend totally invisibly but far better than a poke in the eye and a fraying hole!

darned hole

Nothing complicated about the cushion cover itself. Just two squares. Zipper sewn to top edges first. Seamed all round. And Bob’s yer uncle!

Such a great geometric design on this fabric. It’s great quality cotton furnishing fabric of some kind.

geometric fabric detail

And I have to say – I think it looks great on my sofa! Kiki can take as long as she likes coming to collect it!

finished cushion

ooobop! review: Burda Style March 2013

burda style Magazine March 2013

If springtime Burda loveliness is what you are after then you should go grab yourself a March issue right now! The cover pic itself says it all. The goodies far outweigh the oddities this month. But as we know, it would be wrong to omit them completely! And no less than 12  ‘easy makes’ included. Great news for those who love a quick-fix project.

First up is Spring Fashion itself. It’s still sub-zero in the UK as far as I’m concerned. It read 2 degrees on the dashboard this afternoon but I’m sure that was a mechanical fault. I couldn’t speak for a frozen face when I got home from the shops! But the following pretties are a good reminder that Spring is on its way. Just feast your eyes.

spring fashions

The cover dress as I’ve already harped on about, was so going to be my first make. But she doth hideth one of those aforementioned oddities behind her back, that I will reveal when we get to the wedding!

I love the floaty dress next to it, second in from the top. The line drawing makes it look like an awkward piece but this lady wears it well and I love the choice of vintagy fabric.

In fact its true to say, I would love to make every piece from this section. I think that would just about get me through springtime… oh how a girl can wish!

If the mag ended there I would be happy but still, there’s more. I’d like to think I was a festival-goer. But I’m not really. Have never managed to dress down with much conviction and that is quite essential really! So these ‘Festival Styles’ don’t grab me as much apart from that little tiered mini skirt. I’ve never owned one but always wanted one. And now I have the know-how so no more excuses! Teamed with some statement tights and a pair of Docs… and Bob’s yer lobster!

festival styles

And here come the Wedding Belles! Not sure I like the strange ‘boob wrap’ on the title page. I can see where they are coming from and all, a kind of romantic Jane Austen empire type-ness I guess. But a little bit odd don’t you think? I do like the casual lacy top meets lacy skirt weddingy or not outfit. Very simple and very pretty. And there we have that odd back of the dress that kind of looks like you might be wearing an apron (top right). I have stared long and hard and tried to make myself like it. I admire the attempt to be a little bit surprising but I don’t want to be surprised that much. I just want a back to the lovely front of that lovely spring cover dress! I guess I’ll have to go figure!

Wedding Belles

But I have singled out a very timely dress from this section. Despite her drinking problem, this lady has provided great inspiration for a prom dress I have been asked to make for my friend’s daughter. I was a bit nervous at the prospect. Still am to be honest. But I am hoping she will like this little beauty, with a shorter skirt of course. Because not only will she look stunning in it, the pattern and the instructions look none too complex!

prom dress idea

Colonial Style features some casual fashions inspired by the Indian colonial style. Comfortable and chic. Now I’m all up for that kind of irony but I think there is more comfort than chic going on here. Do love that little rouched cardi though. And the placement of the buttons on the spicy orange shirt!

pioneer spirit

Vintage Pattern time is always a joy. I love how this one has been perfectly recreated from the 1952 lace blouse. But I wore one of these in the 80s when I was a New Romantic and I’m not sure I’m ready to repeat just yet. But it is very pretty!

vintage blouse pattern

The Plus Fashions really make their mark this month. Very bold, very monochrome and very stylish. Not so cashing in on voluptuousness this time but very strong and impressionable all the same

Plus Fashions

And if you are looking for some funky cool kid stuff, that’s all here too.

kids fashion

There are heaps of other styling ideas and easter crafts that you will have to seek out for yourself but I can’t leave without showing you these two cute ideas. Whomever would have dreamed up a cute carrot cushion? Only Burda! And I’m not hot on crochet – I don’t ever leave banging eggs hanging around long enough to need a hat – but just what joy would these little fellas bring to a breakfast table?!

easter craftsThank you Burda Style, for reminding me there is a Spring. There is a glimmer of warmth on the horizon and of course for these brilliant patterns that will serve to keep me pleasantly occupied in the meantime!

Happy sewing everyone x