Reversible Burda 2015-10-109 Sweater

This one snuck in just as I resumed my┬áSWAP Fall/Winter 2014…Because a slouchy pullover seemed so overwhelmingly right for this double-sided sweater knit.

The Pattern

To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure about this sweater pattern. I can’t decide if it’s ugly or is it cool. The low-lying horizontal styleline might draw too much attention to my low-hanging boob / middle age spread. This + the curved shoulder seams also look a bit American footballer-ish at the same time constrictive – as I’ve learnt from a previous Burda cape project with similar shoulder shaping. But as I’m using a knit, & I’m not afraid to tinker with commercial patterns, I thought I’d give it a go. I can always test with muslin first.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 TopShop Martha jeans; 2 Self-drafted straight skirt; 3 Re-fashioned gore skirt;

WORN WITH: 4 Burda 2015-03-116 flare trousers; 5 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt, Burda 2013-11-117 jacket, Self-drafted hat, Self-drafted mittens; 6-7 Self-drafted petticoat skirt; 8 Refashioned straight skirt;

Size Used

34 rather than recommended 36.

Changes Made

With the above doubts in mind, I was merciless with the pattern tweak even before I sewn up the first muslin.

  1. Shorten Yokes: Initially I remove an equal 2″. But when I made up the muslin, the styleline dip at the biceps & front. So I ended up shortening the front & sides further. Also, raising this seam lines also shortens them. As I was concerned about looking short-waisted & chunky – especially in a thick sweater knit – I opted to slim down the bodices & sleeves to match.
  2. Raise armholes: Again, paranoid looking short, I raised the armholes on the bodice & slim the sleeves the same amount to match so it won’t look like I only have like 3″ of torso.
  3. Forward shoulder adjustment: In the muslin the equivalent of shoulder seams definitely wanted to lie towards the back. So I move the seam slightly towards the Front (widen Back Yoke & narrow Front Yoke).
  4. Flatten shoulder curve: The muslin also shows weird bumps at the biceps as if the sleeves were mis-shapened set-in sleeves. I rather it look like slouchy kimono sleeves. So I flattened the shoulder curves on the Yokes.

For my wearable muslin made in a rather unstable cotton interlock from Tia Knight / Tissu Fabrics I stopped here. For the final reversible sweater I made some minor changes:

  1. For a more slouchy yet elongating look…Lengthened the bodices & sleeves, and exaggerated the high-low hem a bit more. I also smooth the transition of the hem at CF & CB for a less overtly edgy look.
  2. Cut Front & Back bodices on straight-grain on the CF/CB fold. Not sure the bias in the original adds anything if you’re not using a fabric with obvious pattern for that symmetrical chevron look. For mine it would just gobble up precious fabric & leave me not enough for 3 garments + 2 accessories!
  3. Because I want mine to be reversible & my fabric is too thick / spongy to double up, I cut the Yokes off at the fold lines.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • For the Wearable Muslin I followed Burda’s illustrated instruction exactly. And I kind of regret it. The stay tape on the Back Yoke-Bodice seams feel restrictive when I slouch / reach forward. It may be due to my alterations, I don’t know. Anyway, this step didn’t suited me. So in my final Reversible Sweater I omitted the stay tape on the Front/Back Yoke-Bodice seams.
  • And the obligatory Oops: This would have been a really quick make had I known ahead of time that the zipper wasn’t going to work with my sweater knit. The invisible zip worked fine in my Wearable Muslin (though I don’t seem to ever wear it unzipped). But for some reason the reversible zipper I used for the the final make was too stiff for the fabric. I did put it in, then had to take it out & redo the seam like on the other side. So in the end my Reversible Sweater has a symmetrical funnel neck. And I should have sewn in this order…

The Verdict

I like the sports lux feel of the final make. It reminds me of Alexander Wang aesthetic. Looking at the photos, I’m still not 100% about the silhouette. But it certainly feels very cozy & comforting to wear! And I got a slouchy-day wearable muslin along the way. I wear that like other non-office-workers wear their sweats. It most certainly is in heavy rotation around here ­čÖé

I think my fitting/design tweaks worked well.

  • Moving the styleline away from the fullest part of my upper torso was definitely the right thing to do. While my middle is still short & wide (in the side view), at least this sweater isn’t shouting about it.
  • And slimming the bodices & sleeves down in the process was a plus. It still has a ‘Relax-fit’. I can’t imagine how huge this would have been if I hadn’t done this. Maybe the original width would have worked in a drapier fabric. For my fabric however I think this sizing is just about right.
  • Lengthwise I probably have added back most of the length I removed from the Yoke to the hem, except in the CF. This does look a tiny bit short. I might lengthen CF next time. (This could also be due to the fact that I didn’t make any FBA. But I still haven’t decided where I sit when it comes to FBA on a slouchy oversized design – would it make the garment way to big?)

So yeah, overall I think it’s a pattern I could make again – when these two went to garment heaven, or if the perfect fabric comes along.

D&G Wannabe Python cardi

This one did make it to the party. It almost didn’t. I was still sewing the buttonholes at the eleventh hour. And this isn’t even like the Great British Sewing Bee. I had a whole month, not a meager couple of days for 3 projects. Again this should have been an easy make. But things didn’t go according to plan as I was trying new techniques that didn’t quite pan out.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Burda 2011-08-121 skirt; 2 Burda 2012-05-113 skirt; 3 Altered Victoria Secret dress; 4 TopShop Martha jeans; 5 Modified Burda 2012-04-128 camisole,  Self-drafted skirt.

The Design & Pattern

Dolce & Gabbana cardi featured in Vogue US This one is a double agent: It’s a wearable muslin for all the cardis I planned to sew. But I’ve also wanted to make a feature panel cardi ever since I clipped this inspiration photo from Vogue US. Didn’t realized at the time that it’s a Dolce & Gabbana design. So it’s only incidentally a designer wannabe.

Block Used:

Stable Knit Fitted Top Block (Bodice & Sleeve)
Drafted using Stretch Pattern School’s One-Piece Swimwear + Tankini + Sleeve┬á instructions using 0% negative ease. Note that the Tankini instruction does add a little bit of ease to the waist and hip. So this block does already have positive ease there.

Design Changes Made


  • Added extra ease to CF & CB, side seam, sleeve seam because this is suppose to go over other tops so can’t be too tight.
  • Lowered underarm slightly for the same reason.
  • Lopped off necklines & CF where I’m going to use binding for neck band & button placket.
  • Lopped off lower portions of bodices & sleeve where I’m going to use cuff ribbing.
  • Neck band & button plackets are rectangular binding pieces. They’re double layered with the fold at the neck / CF edge. The neck band length is length of the folded neck edge stretched at the seamed edge to match the bodice necklines to ensure that it’ll lie flat & smooth.
  • Bodice & sleeve cuff┬áribbing were originally going to be rectangular pieces as well. But I didn’t have matching ribbing fabric and my experiment with mock ribbing (see below) didn’t work. So I had to draft shaped bands instead. They’re also double layered with the fold at the bottom edge. I reduced the width a little bit to simulate the snug fit of real ribbing.

Things I’d do differently next time

  • I went waist length with the feature panel instead of the longer length in the inspiration because I thought blouson lower down wouldn’t work with my shortness & short-waistness. But as my mock ribbing idea didn’t work I think I might have gotten a better result if I had abandoned the blouson cardi idea and just made a fitted cardi top with the bottom band as a design feature.
  • 2-sew-details-3For this make I kept the bust dart. The font bodice is a layer of the thinner / drapier / stretchier New World Snake over a layer of the thicker / stiffer / less stretch Snake Bite Bandage. I was worried that the top layer might sag over time. So I sandwiched the dart seam allowances between the layers and tacked along the dart leg as extra insurance against downward migration of the New World Snake. Although my recent experiment with dartless stretch block didn’t work I might try again and see if I can get a dartless block for the other cardis.
  • I might also add more ease to the bodice & sleeve where they join the cuff ribbing for a more visible blouson effect. Otherwise the seam allowance shows through and the seam just look like a cutting mistake – like I cut them too short and had to patch with a band.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • 2-sew-details-1I had hoped the mock ribbing technique that the Sewing Diva tried and described in details in Threads issue #64 Apr-May 1996 would work for me too. So that I can make sweaters & cardis from more variety of fabrics without having to find matching ribbing. But mine came out really stiff. Too stiff even to use single layer, which I wouldn’t want to anyway as it’s made with parallel rows of twin-needle stitches, so the back side has threads that could easily be snagged. It also curls up if left single layer. Maybe my fabric which is mid-weight like ponte is too thick for this technique. Maybe it would work for thinner, drapier knits. In any case, I had to switch to plain bands. And I think I will have to abandon the cardi idea for my SWAP blue sweater knit because it’s again a bit thick and stiff already. And I don’t have a matching ribbing.
  • I’ll have to rethink the construction order as well. A couple of areas were made more difficult to stitch because I went on auto-pilot:
    • I couldn’t figure out how to top-stitch the cuff seam allowance to the sleeve after the sleeve has been sewn together. The Walking Foot that I rely on to make sewing knit easier is really bulky, so can’t handle the claustrophobic narrow sleeve. So I didn’t top-stitch any of the cuffs & bindings. Hopefully the seam allowances won’t flip the wrong way and create unsightly ridges.
    • 2-sew-details-2I couldn’t use my machine’s one-step buttonhole this time because once the placket/binding was sewn to the front bodice & the seam allowance hidden in the placket, it became too uneven layer-wise for the one-step buttonholer to feel its way around where to start & stop. I had to resort to manual buttonholing with zig-zag stitches. The result wasn’t pretty.
  • The button spacing on this one wasn’t ideal because I was one button short. If this snake didn’t have a party to catch I would have waited until I can find another set of suitable buttons. As it is, the CF gap a little at crucial points like bust & waist, especially when I move.

The Verdict

Despite the warts I still quite like the result. Definitely worth making again with tweaks.

Jungle Snake Pit The Origin

OK, this is what I would have brought to the Jungle January party if I had been more organized.


Yeah, it’s all fake. You would never find me near a real snake in this life time – too slimy looking. Damn you Pretty Grievances for enabling me to squander weeks on Jungle Makes & days on Photoshop Element Photomerge Compose instead of job hunting. I guess it’ll be pot noodles for the foreseeable future.

But I’m glad they’re all done now and The Stash is down 2 and a bit. I’m loving my Inner Scot and her mini-collection approach. I could never have squeezed 6 items out of these if I hadn’t done them as a batch to optimize cutting layout. I will go into more details about each later. But since they all use the same fabrics and the fabrics were the starting point for this lot let’s cover that off in one go shall we.

The Star: New World Python

cropped-2013-us-fabrics-93.jpgBefore I subscribed to Pretty Grievance’s blog I would not have had the courage for this mad print with a bit of everything: floral, damask, toile, paisley, and animal. But by her guiding light I now see how the craziest of prints can look great while having all the fun. So I took the plunge.

This mix reminds me of the Age of Discovery. All that heavy floral baroque prints, the conquistadors & their ladies. The Amazonian pythons sneaking up on them.

I got it thinking I’d make something like this Vivienne Westwood jersey dress I saw in the store.

c0e71f1a9d6c56c02259f36166b9709dI liked the asymmetric drape & sleeves (one side has drop shoulder with wider bodice). The fabric had similar drape & hand. But this catalog photo looks so unappealing that I was put off the idea. In any case I was too chicken to commit to a whole dress in this busy print. So I ended up using it mostly as feature panels. Plus one whole top as a compromise. Baby steps.

The fabric from NY Elegant is a wool / polyester / spandex mix according to my illegible notes (the NYC fabric stores aren’t so good with detailed descriptions). It has a really lovely hand similar to challis, and is warm & soft with not a bit of scratchiness. It stretches about 40% width- & length-wise, but sews easily with the aid of a walking foot. It does curl a little bit, so I also spray startched it before cutting & sewing. I bought this back in 9/2012, but it was still on display when I visited again in 10/2014.

Supporting Cast: Snake Bite Bandages

Now this light stone rayon/spandex “Morgan Crepe” from Tissu Fabrics was a bit of a disappointment when it arrived. I hadn’t intended to order yards of bandages. But that’s exactly what it looks & feels like. I was at a loss what to do with it.

So when I saw the Reiss bandage dress that Duchess of Cambridge wore to greet the Obamas I thought that was the answer. But being a more complicated pattern to draft it didn’t happen.

Then by chance it met the New World Python during one of my Get the Stash Out & Play Dress Up sessions. And it was opposites attract love at first sight.

vogue-floral-2 The cupid was this Dolce & Gabbana cardigan from a Vogue US clipping. Just the combination to tame the print while jazzing up the bandage. From there on the rest of the feature panel designs came tumbling out.

BTW, despite the humble look of the Snake Bite Bandages, like the New World Python it’s a pleasure to sew and wear. Equally soft, it’s heavier in weight, has the hand of ponte knit, and stretches about 30% width- & length-wise. And quite cheap too. I don’t think I will get any more, but I’m glad I managed to make something decent out of it.

So there you have it, the origin of this mini-collection of Jungle Snake Pit.

Wait! Wait for us Jungle January!

Jungle January 2015
Just as the gate is about to close on another year’s Jungle January,
my pet Snakes finally slither their way into the party…

Thank goodness the party’s held in the Americas, affording me a few extra hours to get them ready. This year’s Jungle Pets are actually quintuplets. Or maybe that should be sextuplets since I manage to squeeze a couple of scarfs in too. Unfortunately two of the batch didn’t hatch in time. So all you’re getting are these two + scarfs.

I really must start next year’s Jungle Beasts early…Like in Jungle June or July?

Knitting Wadder no more (?)

Last of my 2014 make was a fix. With your encouragements I took the plunge & refashioned my Michelin Man sweater into a Wang S/S 2010 Wannabe. To recap….

I wanted to go from this:

to this:

And here’s what I ended up with


Alteration Notes

I didn’t bother with pattern this time. Just wing it as I went along. I did manage to take some photos along the way. Pictures worth thousands of words innit!


The Verdict

As expected it’s still a brave silhouette to wear. Best on a feeling tall day. But because the sweater is so comfy I’ve been wearing it even on not my brightest days. So let’s call it a win even if the fashion police in you want to issue me a fine, okay?