Monday, October 24, 2016

Sewing Bee Entries

This year I decided to enter Pattern Review’s Sewing Bee.  I made it to round two.  Maybe next year I can make it further but I’m happy with my makes regardless. 

Entry for the Bias Round
Pattern:  Autumn/Winter 2013 BurdaStyle "Classic" Special Edition #0005, View A.
I was drawn to the classic, simple style of this skirt. Actually, I've had it on my "to sew" list for a few years now so I was glad to finally get around to sewing it.

plaid 2

Size: The pattern goes from size 34-46. I chose to use size 42 because my waist fits in that size. Then I graded up in the hips to a 46.
This pattern has a slightly curved, lined yoke to help keep bulk around the hips low. It then flares outward and drapes down to create the lovely drape. Since the skirt is cut on the bias it gives it greater movement. The outer yoke pieces are interfaced; I feel like I should have used a softer interfacing because mine created some of the wrinkles in the yoke.

plaid 3

Instructions: The instructions were adequate.  This is a simple skirt with few pieces so it doesn’t take too much to put together.  I did use my 1970s Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing for pictures and instructions on putting in the invisible zipper.  (This book is an excellent resource that I think every sewist should have).  I made sure to hand stitch the lining of the yoke to where the side seam zipper attaches.


Thoughts: I knew from the start I wanted to do fringe trim. When my skirt was ready to hem I sewed two lines of stitching 1/2" from the edge and then slowly created my fringe by pulling out threads from the line of stitching to the edge. After I pulled all the strings out I went back and cut them all down to 1/2" in size. (The fringe took forever to complete).  I love the classic, simple design. I was very happy with the fit and the look of the bias with the plaid. I'm most pleased that I was able to sew up finally since it had been on my list for 3 years now.


Fabric: 2.5 yards of a Brown/Tan Plaid Suiting. It is a Rayon/Poly blend made to look like wool - but without all the itch. The fabric was 56" wide and I purchased it from Fashionfabricsclub in October 2013 for $4.75/yard just for this pattern. I used almost the full 2.5 yards even though the pattern called for less than 2 yards.


I really love the look of a bias cut skirt but I feel like it uses so much fabric! Cutting this skirt out took time and patience. I took great care in matching the stripes on the side seam, this made cutting a slight challenge. I also made my pieces full and did not cut anything on the fold. I find with bias it is much easier to cut a full size pattern - however, finding the space to do this is sometimes a challenge because the fabric is opened up all the way.

I had a great time sewing this skirt up, I love the look, and am completely happy with the fit. I can't wait to make the maxi length version!

Entry for the “Shorts” Round

Pattern: BurdaStyle 03/2011 #131B 

Size: I started with tracing a size 44 (2 sizes smaller than my hip size). This gave me the perfect thigh size. Then I had to add 1.5" to the back hip. I also scooped almost a full inch out of the back crotch curve; I've learned that my bottom sits lower than the crotch line and have to scoop that spot out or I look like I have a wedgie. I added 1.5" to the back rear by cutting/slashing on the hip line and pivoting only the back crotch curve - This helped to also raise the rise. I extended the front fly by 1/2" so it was a bit wider. This pattern has a curve waistband - great for curvy women. It also has two darts in the back for shaping.


Instructions:  This is the “sewing course” for the magazine so the instructions are well written with easy to follow pictures.  I always use Sandra Betzina’s Easy to sew flat fly tutorial when putting in a zipper fly. 


Fabric: 1.5 yards Abstract Painterly Print Sateen, a cotton sateen from FabricMart that I purchased in July 2015 for $11.99 total.  It has 20% stretch.


Thoughts:  I spent a lot of time trying to get the fit right on these.  I wanted a basic short pattern to fit right and then build off of.  I debated putting in the pockets at the hip because with my pear shape they usually gape open or add width to the hip – which I don’t need.  I used silky, thin pocket fabric and there is still added bulk.  I will go back and take out the pockets, making the side seams more smooth.



These were made the first week of September.  I’ve lost about 6lbs since then so they are now rather large on me.  I plan on taking off the waistband, slimming up the hips by removing the pockets, possibly add a welt pocket in the back, and making them slimmer through the waist.


All in all this is a great starting point for shorts.  I highly recommend the pattern. 

Happy Sewing!


  1. Both entries are beautifully sewn, but I am most drawn to the skirt. I love the classic lines and can also see looking great with boots this Autumn.

    1. Thank you Philippa! I can see you wearing a skirt like this. :)
      I do need a good pair of boots

  2. I'm going to try me some fringe! I LOVE both but especially that skirt!

    1. Thanks Nakisha! It was such a pain in the butt to do but I really love how it turned out!


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