Tag Archives: dennic chunman lo

The Last Skirts of 2013


Skirt #1:

The first skirt is a simple blue 1/2 circle skirt with pockets. I made it out of a fabric left over from my grandma, which turned out to be one of those tricky 70’s polyesters that wants to melt when ironed. Luckily I did find a temperature that didn’t melt it, so the seams are fairly nice and flat.

I’ve used this skirt a lot, and I adore the colour, so it was a good use of grandma-fabric.






Skirt #2:

The second skirt is a 3/4 circle skirt (I’m going through a bit of  a circle skirt phase right now, I admit) with patch pockets and a machine embroidered stag beetle on it. The fabric was a cheap polycotton I had in my stash.

The beetle was for our machine embroidery course at school, where we had to design an embroidery pattern and test it. I chose the stag beetle because they are really fascinating, and quite beautiful as well. Wouldn’t want one crawling on my pillow, but in pictures and nature documentaries they’re great.




I made a separate underskirt (again, 1/2 circle) out of a fabric I found in a charity shop at a ridiculously cheap price. I think it’s probably viscose, and it has a very soft and luxurious feel to it. Perfect underskirt material then.



I also made a simple bias camisole from the same fabric. The pattern for this was interesting (inspired by an example in Pattern Cutting by Dannic Chunman Lo), since while the camisole itself is on the bias, the seams are on the straight grain. You can actually see one of the seams in this picture, but it’s a bit hard to spot. Maybe I should just do a tutorial on how to make one of these camisoles or something since it’s pretty cool.


So there you go, my last sewing projects of 2013 :)

Also, an announcement:

A friend of mine is getting married this summer, and I’m making her the dress! It’s not going to be a huge ballgowny type thing, more like a 50’s tea dress, but still, SUPER EXCITED! I actually get to make two dresses for her, since the actual wedding will be in California, but they will have a smallish pre-wedding party in Finland as well, which also requires a dress. So be prepared to hear about that as summer gets closer. Be prepared to hear a lot about that, in fact :D

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A Top And Some Pattern Drafting

Firstly, a kimono-style top I made the other day:

I used pattern 120 from Burda 05/2008. The fabric was a little too stretchy, so the end result is slightly bigger than I intended. Also, I just can’t seem to be able to sew double-needle top-stitches straight! Argh!

But I like how it turned out, especially how it’s the most comfortable piece of clothing ever!


I also drafted my first basic bodice block and sleeve block using the instructions from a book I bought called Pattern Cutting by Dennic Chunman Lo.

Here are the pattern pieces:

And here’s the toile:


The fabric I used for the toile was too stiff, I was a bit lazy with the sewing, the sleeves came out a bit too tight — but I’m still really pleased with the result. I’m so excited about making my own patterns!

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A Bunch of Sewing Books

I recently got myself some new sewing-related books, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about them with you. (Please bare in mind that I haven’t read any of these cover to cover yet, but I have looked through them carefully.)

top: The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques by Lynda Maynard,Revised & Updated Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer, middle: Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi, bottom: Pattern Cutting by Dennic Chunman Lo, Classic Fashion Patterns of the 20th Century by Anne Tyrrell

Couture Sewing Techniques and The Dressmaker’s handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques

You may wonder why on earth I bought two books that are so similar. To be honest, I wonder about that too. I just couldn’t figure out which would be better, I guess.

There are some differences to these books, mind you.

The first one, Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer, focuses on vintage couture and sewing by hand.  The vintage pieces pictured in it are gorgeous, and it provides a lot of info on the history of couture and so forth.

The actual instructions however, only have tiny illustrations so they can be a bit hard to follow, especially with more complicated techniques.

As you can see, there’s a lot of text in this book. On the whole I would say that someone looking to make vintage clothes authentically would find this appealing. I myself would be tempted to use the techniques in this book mostly on evening wear, as they do seem a tad time-consuming (or maybe I’m just lazy). But if I ever do make myself an evening gown, I’ll be sure to consult this book.

The second couture book, The Dressmaker’s Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques by Lynda Maynard, is a little more practical than the first one.

The illustrations are large and clear, making the instructions easy to follow:

The thing that makes this a practical book is the fact that many of the techniques are easily useable in everyday clothes, and there’s much more machine-sewing involved.

The examples and illustrations are modern, usually catwalk-shots. This can be good or bad, depending on your taste in clothing. I think a combination of vintage and modern would probably be best.

Classic Fashion Patterns of the 20th Century by Anne Tyrrell

First of all, the title of this book is a bit misleading, as it only covers fashion from 1900 to 1970, and not the whole 20th century. Now that it’s 12 years since the start of the new millenium, and the early nineties are officially vintage, it would’ve been nice to have at least some mention of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in the book. But maybe I’m just a nitpicker.

This is a fantastic book for research. For a costume designer or something, probably a real treasure chest. This book doesn’t cover just vintage clothing, but style in general. For each period you get information on things like fashionable fabrics and colours of the period, what kind of undergarments were used, hairstyles, make-up etc. This information is given about men’s clothing and style as well, which is nice.

The book is a little imbalanced, as over half of it is devoted to 1900-1940 period. This could be a good thing in a way, as the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s do get a lot of emphasis when talking about vintage fashion.

Haven’t tried resizing any of the patterns yet, so I can’t say how hard it is.

what the patterns look like in this book

Pattern Magic by Tomoko Nakamichi

There’s been a lot of talk about this book, and everyone seems to love it (at least based on its amazon.co.uk reviews).

I have to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

I haven’t tried making anything from this book yet, and some of the ideas in it are a little bit too avant-garde for everyday clothes (for my taste at least, but I’m sure someone could pull them off easily), but I still love the book.

The thing I love most about Pattern Magic is that it’s SO inspiring. The wacky designs in it make me want to start experimenting what else one could do with fabric. It’s also interesting to see the conversion process, as every design starts off as a basic block.

Pattern Cutting by Dennic Chunman Lo

This is a really handy book for anyone looking for a basic guide to pattern making. It shows you how to make all the necessary basic blocks, as well as some hints on how to fit and adapt them.

The examples are from modern catwalks, and usually there is a technical drawing or an explanation of how the pictured garment was made, which is pretty awesome, if your a copycat like me.

– Sadie

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