Little Black Dress and Comfy Cardi

LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comHello lovelies! Guess what? I’ve got a new favourite outfit (again).

I have to admit, not much planning went into this. The cardi was on the bottom of a to-do-list in the back of my head, for when I would run out of ideas (ha!) and the idea for the dress was born in the second I saw that fabric. Buying the fabric, making a sketch and a pattern and sewing the dress all happened on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Although I have millions of projects on my to-sew list I always end up with these spontaneous projects! Most often these end up to be my favourite garments, though.
LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comTHE CARDIGAN

The Fabric: Those of you who have been following this blog for a while (and have an incredible memory) might recognise this fabric. It’s a really stretchy, loose wool knit. I got it from Minerva Crafts and initially wanted to use it for a Donna Karan Vogue Pattern, which never happened. Instead, I made this super cosy cowl dress. The Burda Cowl Neck dress pattern didn’t require as much fabric as the Vogue dress, so I had plenty left. I always had a cardigan in mind for it but couldn’t find a pattern I liked. As a knit fabric, it didn’t really fray much, but I overlocked all edges anyway.

LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comI hemmed the sleeve by simply overlocking the raw edge, turning it in and top-stitching it in place with a narrow zig-zag stitch. All the other edges – bottom hem, neckline and front – are one continuous line I wanted to bias bind initially. Mid-way through the project I remembered that I had bought lots of stringed sequins a while ago. So instead of bias binding, I finished the edge with my overlocker, not turning it in. I sewed the sequins in place along the stitching of the overlocker.

I really like the finish as it adds to the lightness of the slightly sheer fabric. Also, no one minds some extra bling, right?
LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe Pattern: The cardi pattern is completely self-drafted – with a cardigan in mind that my sister bought when she last visited me in London (I think she got it from Primark). I took some rough measurements in order to recreate it at some point. I found the sketch a little while ago and thought of it when I was looking for a quick and easy project last week. The drafting didn’t take too long. With the very loose fit I was going for the measurements didn’t  have to be exact. The fabric was cut out quickly and the actual sewing did not take much longer. Applying the sequins probably took as long as the whole drafting and sewing process together. I didn’t mind – given that I have the time for it, I find hand-sewing so relaxing!

LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comTHE DRESS

The Fabric: Now let’s talk about the dress! As far as I can remember, it’s the first LBD I made and it’s very likely that many others will follow! The day I spotted this fab jumbo ribbed jersey, I initially wanted to buy some zips from my local fabric store. I never really buy fabric there, it’s a really dodgy shop that mostly sells waxed table cloth stuff and trims. I spotted the fabric and a vision of this dress came to mind immediately. It was 60 inch wide and only £1.50/m. I bought 2m and started planning as soon as I came home.

The sleeves and waistband are from a recycled cardigan which I got from my mum-in-law. It’s quite a heavy knit. Looking at the label it must have been from some sort of boutique and appeared to be really good quality – even after all those times in the washing machine the fabric looks as good as new. The sleeves were big enough that I could squeeze both sleeves and waistband out of them. I kept the hem, which was really convenient and made the sewing process so much quicker!

LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe Pattern: It’s a proper Franken-Dress – the pattern is part Lady Skater (Kitschy Coo), part Ultimate Pencil Skirt (Sew Over It) and part self-drafted.

I started of with the Lady Skater bodice, which is a TNT for me when it comes to dress patterns for knit fabrics. I lowered the neckline to a boat neck shape. These is no need for a shoulder seam on this one! Sewing front and back onto the sleeves was a bit tricky as the corners had to match up exactly at the shoulder mark on the sleeves, but it worked out fantastically.The sleeve pattern is from the  Lady Skater, as well.LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe skirt pattern is based on my beloved Ultimate Pencil Skirt. I lowered the high waist down to my natural waist and then had to do a lot of thinking in order to get the waistband right. I shortened the bodice quite a bit and added a 5cm wide waistband between bodice and skirt. Instead of going with the darts from the original skirt pattern, I turned them into pleats to give the skirt a bit more volume. I know this is a bit risky, especially when you normally don’t want to attract too much attention to this area, but I put all my trust in the Elisalex once and it worked out fabulously, so I tried it again. I really like the shape and don’t think that it makes me look much bigger than I am!LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comAll raw edges were finished using my overlocker. When using Jersey I sometimes sew all seams with the overlocker straight away because it is so much faster than my old little sewing machine. Because the dress’ fit is quite snug I thought some extra strong seams were quite a good idea and sewed all seams using a narrow zig-zag stitch before running the raw edges through the overlocker. Also, I needed to do quite a bit of matching with the sleeves and also with the pleats, which is so much easier on my regular machine.LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe facing is also cut out from the recycled cardi and interfaced with black iron-on interfacing.The facing is quite wide and attached to neckline and armhole seams, so the bodice is almost half-lined. It makes the facing lie really flat so that it’s practically invisible.

The skirt hem is turned under once and hand-stitched in place.

LBD and Cardi by thisblogisnotforyou.comLBD and Cardi by

I really really love both dress and cardi and love wearing both together. They’re both super comfy and warm which is the perfect combination right now! I have quite a bit of the jumbo ribbed jersey left and am planning a kimono sleeve cropped sweater – let’s see how that goes!

Happy sewing!


Stay in touch!

Once upon a time…I made a red hooded cape.

little red riding hood cape by

Ooops. How did that happen? Does she know this looks a bit…a a fairytale costume?

Yes, she does!

Sewing a hooded cape using a bright red knit fabric, I was aware of that. And I love it. Not only do I love fairytales, I also think that the cape looks chic enough to be actually worn, not only on costume parties. (I hate these by the way. Except for when they’re Star Wars or Burlesque themed.)

How did it happen?

Well, I’ve been wanting to sew a cape for ages (A proper cape, though. One you wear instead of a coat). But I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish it this season. And I’m Stash Dieting, as you know.

I bought this red knit fabric about a year ago (Yes, I’m a hoarder). I wanted to make a cardigan originally, but when draping the fabric over my dressform the other day, the drape looked like a hood and I immediately wanted to make a hooded cape. I started looking for inspiration and then made these sketches:

little red riding hood cape by thisblogisnotforyou.comlittle red riding hood cape by
little red riding hood cape by thisblogisnotforyou.comlittle red riding hood cape by

Pretty close, eh?

No, no magic happened between making these sketches and the finished garment.
What actually happend was hours of research and drafting.
If there was some magic involved, then it came from this book, which is awesome btw.

Patternmaking for Fashion Design – Helen Josph Armstrong

Following the step-by-step instructions, I drafted a cape pattern and a pattern for a loose hood. (This book is wonderful, but veery expensive. It’s worth it though. It also helped me immensely when drafting the bridesmaid dress.)

little red riding hood cape by

Drafting the cape, based on a standard Burda bodice pattern.

little red riding hood cape by

Drafted hood pattern – really no magic involved. Just a lot of measuring, drawing and patience.

little red riding hood cape by

I was afraid that my 2m of knit fabric wouldn’t be enough, but in the end I even had some left. Whoop, whoop!

After cutting out, I sewed all the darts. Then sewed the hood and cape together. Then I cut out a 13cm wide rectangle of the leftover fabric and sewed it on the right center front (right sides together) like so:

little red riding hood cape by

Patience, young padawan. It will (hopefully) make sense in a minute.

Folding this strip over, I sewed it onto the left center front of the cape (left sides together!!) like so:

little red riding hood cape by

I ended up having this: little red riding hood cape by

I folded it over, so both center front parts overlap and the corners of the hood meet at the center.little red riding hood cape by

I decided to skip making real buttonholes (after making sure I could fit the cape over my head) and sewed on 10 buttons which also secure the flap and help it stay in place.

I spent most of my sewing-time hemming the cape and hood by hand. Yes, it’s masochistic, but it looks so much better!

little red riding hood cape by thisblogisnotforyou.comAnd garment #18 of my challenge was done! (Less than 10 left – happy dance!)
little red riding hood cape by

little red riding hood cape by thisblogisnotforyou.comlittle red riding hood cape by thisblogisnotforyou.comlittle red riding hood cape by

As I said, there was no magic involved but there was a unicorn. A grumpy unicorn:little red riding hood cape by

I’m really happy with this make, especially since I’m quite proud that the final result looks so much like what I had in mind.

Although the drafting process was quite tricky and took most of the time, the sewing was super quick. A handful of straight seams and a few darts. Super easy! Should I ever be bored and have loads of time left (haha!), I might even manage to upload the pattern for you guys. Let me know what you think!

In the meantime, may the unicorn be with you! Peace out.

Stay in touch!

How to draft flared half-circle sleeves (plus more close-ups of the bridesmaid dress)

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

Heeeello everyone!

As promised, here are more pictures of my self-drafted bridesmaid dress and a brief tutorial on drafting flared half-circle sleeves.

If you think you’ve seen enough of that dress already, feel free to skip this post – there will be a massive amount of pics 🙂

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

Btw, this is the original sketch of the dress. I was thinking about adding some fabric-covered buttons in the back, but discarded that idea pretty soon after starting to draft the pattern. It just didn’t fit in and would’ve been even more time consuming.

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by thisblogisnotforyou.comself-drafted bridesmaid dress by

As you can see in the above pics, the colour of this dress is absolutely ‘unphotographable’. Neither of the two colours is quite right, it’s probably something in between.

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

That’s what the dress looks like without the belt. Not bad, but I personally prefer the contrast of the creme coloured belt.

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by


The bow can be worn the classic way, in the back, or, with the flower on top, in the front.

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

The flower is made from two cut-out circle. A bigger one cut out fo the creme fabric and a slightly smaller one in blue. Both hemmed with a narrow hem foot, sewn together in the middle and then gathered rather randomly, creating the flower shape.

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

The dress is fully lined. The lining (same fabric in a contrasting colour) is right side up. Both layers, dress and lining, are made from the same pattern, same darts etc. The only difference is, the lining has a slightly different (higher and rounder) neckline, so it shows under the v-neckline and the circle skirt is about 4”/10cm longer. The sleeves are not lined.

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

Both layers are handsewn together at the shoulder seams and waist seams and machine stitched around the armskye.self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

I inserted the invisible zip with my sewing machine, the lining around the zip is handsewn with a slip stitch. When attaching the lining to the zip, be careful to leave some space between the folded edge of the lining an the zip. Otherwise the constant opening and closing of the zipper will tear all your handstitching over time.self-drafted bridesmaid dress by


How to Draft Half-Circle Sleeves


To get the right amount of flare for the sleeves, I tried out different styles, but decided to make half-circle sleeves in the end. For drafting these, you basically begin with a simple sleeve pattern. If your bodice pattern does not have sleeves, you will have to draft one according to the bodice pattern and your own measurements and liking.

how to draft half-circle sleeves by

After cutting out the sleeve pattern, you divide the pattern into six pieces (or more if you like) by putting five folds in the sleeve foundation or marking the lines with a ruler.


Before cutting up the folds, measure the lentgh of the sleeve curve, so you can check the measurements of the sleeve cap with the armhole later.

how to draft half-circle sleeves by

Now cut up the folds and spread into a half circle, making sure to keep the strips together at the cap end (to make this easier you can tape them together).

how to draft half-circle sleeves by

Tape the strips evenly spaced onto your new pattern paper. Check the measurements of the sleeve cap with the armhole and adjust if needed. Raise 1cm at the sleeve cap. Shape sleeve cap smoothly with a flowing line.

Make a muslin and see if the sleeve has the right length for you, adjust the pattern if needed.

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

I played around with different lengths and shapes.

You can always adjust the amount of flare and fullness by reducing or increasing the spread of the pattern pieces.

Please note:

Before hemming your half-circle sleeves or circle skirts, adding binding etc. – Always leave the cut-out fabric hanging for at least one day/over night (works best with on a dress form if you have one)!!

The parts that are cut on the bias (something that is inevitable when cutting out circles or half-circles) will probably stretch after hanging for a while.

self-drafted bridesmaid dress by

As you can see in this pic, the hem is slightly uneven after hanging on the dressform for two days. Carefully even out the skirt and sleeve hem by cutting off the excess fabric before hemming or adding binding to the edges. I recommend finishing the sleeves’ raw edges with a narrow hem, or binding off with bias binding made from the same fabric or in a contrasting colour.

Before wishing you all a happy weekend full of sewing, let me share this gem with you 🙂

half-circle flared sleeves tutorial by

How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern

how to make an asymmetrical hem dress by

We all love pattern hacks, don’t we? I really do like patterns, especially the Burdastyle ones, and there are so many that I’ll never be able to sew them all. Nevertheless, sometimes you just want to add your own personal touch. And when you have a certain design in mind, but you just can’t find that particular pattern you’re looking for anywhere, you probably have to.

Summer is (hopefully) coming soon and last year’s asymmetrical hem maxi dresses are in stores again (I like!). I actually didn’t buy any last summer, but I’m totally planning on sewing loads this spring. A lot of the patterns I have are from last year and older and Burdastyle didn’t have too many good asymmetrical hem dresses so far.

That’s where the pattern hack comes in handy. You can just pick whatever dress pattern you like and change the dress skirt pattern into an asymmetrical one. You can also start drafting one from scratch and combining it with your favorite bodice pattern.

A lot of people are afraid of drafting patterns. Yes, it’s complicated. Yes, you need to learn a lot of technique before you’re getting good at it and yes, it’s not too much fun in the beginning. But seriously, no one expects you to become a Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs or Michael Kors overnight.

I found that it’s less frightening and really fun to start with trying out minor pattern hacks, changing patterns you’re already familiar with. As you’ve seen with my waterfall dress, I just used a simple Burdastyle pattern and changed it a bit.

As promised, I’m going to show you how I did it. Furthermore, I’ll show you what other changes are possible to get slightly different looks – there are so many different asymmetrical hem dresses!

THE FIRST LOOK: oval shaped with a straight hem in the back

How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by thisblogisnotforyou.comThis is a draft of an asymmetrical hem that just about the same as the one of my waterfall dress. As shown in the picture below, the hem is straight in the centre front, sloped down at the sides and is quite straight (although not a 100%)  again in the back.

How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by thisblogisnotforyou.comWhat you need to do is either shorten your pattern in the front or lengthen it in the back. Since I made the hem shorter anyway, I made the changes in the front. To get a more softer edge instead of a very triangular shape, you can’t just draw an asymmetrical staight line. The slightly s-shaped curve creates a smooth transition between front and back. You also see the line sloping down more steeply only after it reaches the middle of the front pattern piece. There are only small changes to the back pattern, to make the changes look  less abrupt and to avoid having it look like you combined two different pattern pieces.

It’s also very important to make the pattern pieces the same length at the side seam.

How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by thisblogisnotforyou.comHere are some pictures from the modified Burdastyle pattern:
How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by

Burda 2/2013 #114 by
THE SECOND LOOK: oval shape in the front, slightly longer v-shape in the back

How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by thisblogisnotforyou.comI very much love this look, because it looks quite romantic. Here the shape in the front is almost like the one in the first look, but the back is much longer and the transition from front to back is very smooth and it’s much more asymmetrical.
How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by thisblogisnotforyou.comTo get this look you have to shorten the front and lenghten the back quite a bit. If it’s a knee-length dress, I’d suggest shortening the front by at least 20cm/8” and lengthing the back by about 20-25cm/8-10” or more. Give the line a smooth curved shape in the centre front and back to avoid awkward triangular edges.
How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by
THE THIRD LOOK: straight in the front, maxi v-shape in the back

How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by thisblogisnotforyou.comThis is my favorite look and I’m de-fi-nite-ly making a dress like this for summer. It’s such an awesome femine look. Here, the front is straight almost until it reaches the side seams and then steeply slopes down to that long flowing train.
How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by thisblogisnotforyou.comThe front will be almost miniskirt-length, the back about ankle-length. (Take your measurements, waistline to ankle,  to get the right length)
How to draft your own asymmetrical hem dress pattern by thisblogisnotforyou.comWhat you should always consider is the width of the hemline:

To get a beautifully flowing skirt, you need not only to lengthen but also to widen the pattern. You could also just use a gathered-skirt pattern, if you don’t feel confident enough to make the changes yourself. If you have one that fits you well, use it and simply make the changes described above.

Here’s an example of an asymmetrical dress with a very wide hem (which also means you’ll need loads of fabric!).

If you use a pattern of a slightly flared skirt it will probably look similar to this:

found at Bershka

found at Nordstrom

When you do not widen the hem of the pattern, the hem will probably end up looking like the one in the picture below. It’s also nice, but less romantic and flowing and probably more suitable for sporty and casual looks.

found at Zara

I hope this was somewhat helpful and I’ll see loads of pretty asymmetical dresses in the upcoming months!

In case you decide to hack your pattern to make an asymmetrical dress for the summer, I’d love to see it when it’s done!

Just send me a picture to hello(at)!

One last picture I had to share! 😉

Stay in touch!