Favourite makes from the early days (2009-2011)

Favourites from the early days

A round-up of finished projects from the early days.

Not a very long list, as I haven’t kept too many makes from the early days. Some were just not good enough, others I don’t like anymore and others I just grew out of.

The scoop shirts

In a few words: In my first few years of sewing, my teacher used to say that I should stay away from Vogue patterns, as they are hard and complicated. This was the first exception, as I was so taken with the Andrea Katz for Vogue design that I could not resist. It was a bit tricky, but I got there in the end (under the careful supervision of my teacher). The navy version was made in 2011, and I made another one in 2014, but I’ll feature both of them here. The black version has a funny story, as the collar is made from a different fabric from the rest of the shirt. That was because I had had an aborted version that I ended up throwing away, in black polycotton. However, the collar had actually turned out great, so I kept it. And the silk was not enough to make the collar as well, so I reused the previous version.

Pattern: Vogue 1248, size 12 (navy) and size 10 (black)

Fabric: Navy raw silk, that I had brought with me from Romania. The black version is silk crepe, with a polycotton collar.

Notions:  Thirteen open ring prong snaps, interfacing for collar and button stand

Talking points: As much as I love this pattern, it is fiddly. 4 princess seams, topstitched, 3 (count’em) layered collars, plus the snap buttons. A lot of opportunities for things to go wrong. Plus the deep scoops on the shoulders must lay perfectly flat and not gape neither on the back nor the front. The first time around, I had my teacher around to help me fit, but the for the black version I actually had my custom made dummy, which made things much easier to tweak on the back. The prongs were a pain as well, but I recommend using a good brand, like Prym, scrimping will make your life harder than it needs to be. In terms of fit, the black version is definitely more fitted, as I always had the feeling the navy one was a bit loose around the waist. Probably the black version ended up a bit too tight as the lower part of the back button stand gaps a bit sometimes.


All in all, very elegant and nice to wear, dress up or down and even for work (with a nice jacket to cover the sexy shoulder line).

The Puzzle Skirt

In a few words: The first Burda Mag pattern I ever tackled and I think the name says it all in terms of how well that went. I had cut it all in 2009, but got absolutely stomped at the construction part, so it had to wait until 2011 when I started sewing again and my teacher showed me where I was getting it wrong. She nick-named it ‘the puzzle skirt’ and it stuck, but I absolutely love it and it’s still a staple in my wardrobe.

Pattern: Burda Mag March 2009 (Romanian version), size 38. I could not find it on the Burda Style site for illustration, but here’s a picture I took of the paper magazine entry to get an idea of the shape. Sorry, the text is in Romanian.

Burda Mag 03:2009 Skirt 104

Fabric: 1m cotton sateen

Notions:  28 cm invisibile zip

Talking points: A pretty straightforward construction (once someone shows you how to join two curves at the yoke) and I made no changes. If I were to make it again, I would probably line and add a slit, to ease walking. I really love this pattern and have used it again for a frankenpattern for a cocktail dress, the red leather posted here.

Cotton Jersey shirred summer dress

In a few words: The very first dress I ever made, in the so called ‘shirring period’. I kept it strictly for sentimental reasons, the finishing could certainly be improved, but overall, a neat little dress.

Pattern: sort of self drafted, more of a free-hand cut and stitch


Fabric: T-shirt 100% cotton jersey

Notions: Elasticated thread

Talking points: Suffice to say I would not show you the wrong side :). I would probably adjust the straps slightly, but can’t really be bothered, not really wearing this dress in the UK anymore.

Happy sewing!


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