Do you follow pattern layout instructions?

Hi sewing friends! I am wondering today if you always follow the instruction on pattern placement? I for once never even bother to look at it and would play a Tetris on my fabric with all pattern pieces. It takes time but I like to be as economical as possible and doing my own pattern layout allows me to save extra fabric that can be used in next project.

Typically the pattern instruction would tell you to fold a fabric together along the salvage edges and layout the pattern as required following the grain line and fabric print direction if necessary. This is a good system if you have many pieces and not all of them are on hold, otherwise you are ending up with a lot of wasted fabric that may be to narrow for anything else. As example here I used pieces from Agnes top pattern (by Tilly and the Buttons) which would use about 120 cm of my fabric lenght as most of the pieces need to be placed on fold and if you look at fabric requirement for Agnes top with cropped sleeves this is exactly how much it is recommended.

What I like to do in this situation is to fold over one salvage edge to the middle of the fabric.

This way I use about 146 cm of my fabric lenght but also my left over piece is much wider, which would be easier to find usefulness in the next make. The best option however is to have an idea what other pattern might be used it for and cut it at the same time.

In this scenario I decided to make a Molly top ( by Sew Over It) with short sleeves, however the pattern pieces do not fit on the other half of the fabric.

That is when my Tetris game starts. I take the widest piece out of both pattern tops, measure its width so I know exactly how much fabric I need to fold on one edge. Next I fold over the other edge meeting both salvage ends. I lay out all pattern pieces to check if they fit and cut it out once I’m happy. This way I can make two tops out of 150 cm lenght of fabric, which is pretty good.

By follow this rule at all times and I managed to squeeze out those two tops from scraps of materials I used for Hibiscus, Frankie and Freya tops.

I had to be a little creative but I like the color combinations.

~what rules and instructions do you break?~

Monika xxx

Bomber jacket – Burda 11/2004

Hi sewing friends, today I am sharing with you my latest make from Burda magazine. This one is very old…year 2004 to be exact, from my time I went to Dressmaker Collage back in Poland. I had few copies of Burda magazine, so brought them to London with me because there are many projects that I would love to try out. One of them was a Bomber jacket.

I never owned one but I like the casual look and style of this loose jacket and I really wanted to make one to put on when I go for a run or a walk on a cooler mornings.

The pattern

For anyone that is interested the pattern comes from a copy of Burda 11/2004 and it is a model 115. It has a boxy and straight style with a front zipper opening and cut out shoulders and sleeves for a color blocking option as you can see on the photo below. It is recommended for a knit fabrics so I decided to use the leftover of my navy blue stretch velvet material that I made my Dressmaker Ball dress of. I had 150 cm left so it was a perfect amount for this project.

Pattern adjustments

I copied a size 44 and added extra 1 cm to side seams and sleeve seams because my measurements fall outside of the chart for this size then added the usual seam allowance. I like to have 15mm allowance everywhere apart from neckline and armcycle, where I only add 10mm. I always find it more manageable to sew this way.

I have not done any fit adjustments to this pattern, however I changed it a little bit to suit my taste. From the start I knew I wanted a Bomber jacket with contrasting cuffs and hem band. Also I needed to add some big pockets….It is a jacket after all….

First of all I skipped adding seam allowance to sleeve hem because I was adding a cuff so I thought there is no point. Next I cut out 7 cm off from jacket hem..It is a straight seam on sides so did not bother doing it in the middle as there is no defined waistline anyway. I was not sure exactly about the placement of my pockets but I envisioned them slightly slanted with matching zips. I placed the front pattern piece in front of the mirror on my torso and roughly draw a line where I wanted the pocket to be.

Sewing Bomber jacket

I had started to assemble the jacket by sewing the pocket on both front pieces. It was a bit tricky applying interfacing to strengthen the pocket opening seam because the qualities of a velvet material, but with lots of hand basting and patience I managed to do a pretty decent job.

It does not look as neat from the inside as I was not sure how this is exactly done in RTW jackets, so I went with my intuition here but for the first time it is good enough for me. I had learnt a lot and next time will see more improvement I am sure of it 😉

In the process of making a zipper pocket I had learnt how easy it is to shorten a metal zipper. Had to watch couple of videos on that, but it is as simple as ripping unwanted zipper teeth away from a tape.

Once the insertion of pockets was completed I proceeded sewing the jacket in the usual way…but first had an idea of giving a little more of pop of colour and sewn some strips of pink knit folded in half to a shoulder cut out seam at the front. I didn’t have enough of that pink fabric to do the exact color blocking as per sample in the magazine, but too be honest I like it even more like that.

After sewing the main jacket pieces together it came a part of making some cuffs and hem band. I cut two rectangles of pink fabric measuring 12 cm by 20 cm for cuffs, sewn the shorter edges together on each cuff and holding in half attached them to an individual sleeve. Next, I measured a circumference of the jacket hem and took about 80 percent of that number. I wanted my hem band to have some color blocking so had cut two pieces of velvet fabric measuring 12 cm by 12 cm and one piece of pink fabric 12 cm by 75 cm that would become my band. Had sewn two small velvet pieces into both ends of the long pink rectangle first and attached it to my bomber jacket hem in the same way as cuffs.

The final step was sewing the long front zip and attaching a neck binding. This was yet another difficult task, because the velvet fabric kept stretching out. I had to baste it a lot to keep it in place, but still ended up with uneven zip. It is barely visible, but I run out of a zipper on one side hence my neckline is a little bit wonky.

Final thoughts

Overall I really like the final product. I had spent over 5 hours making it and had learnt few things along the way. Next time I would make it a tiny bit shorter and would raise pockets by 5-6 cm. My sleeves could do with being about 3 cm longer too. I omitted sewing the back facing to the neckline because there ware too many layers of the fabric and my machine couldn’t handle it all. I am wondering now if this pattern would work for a woven type material??? Maybe I should test it hihihi

~Do you keep old sewing magazines like me?~

Monika xxx