Inside a Burberry Trench Part 2 – The Removable Liner

Almost four years ago, I wrote what has proved to be one of my most popular posts, Inside a Burberry Trench. While a Burberry trench is a wonderful lifetime-wear garment, it only sees three seasons in the Northeast. To make it warm for winter weather, you can add a removable liner. Let’s have a look, shall we?

The liner, installed in the coat

The Burberry liner is made of a medium-weight wool, polyamide and cashmere flannel in the classic Burberry plaid. It buttons into the coat, with roughly half an inch overlap on the coat’s facings.

And on its own

This is the liner turned inside out on Shelley. This is what would be against the body when wearing the coat.

There are some interesting details that you can see. First – the plaid’s major stripe is centered at the CB. There is no center back seam, just two side seams. The vent is off-center, to correspond to the vent on the coat. All the edges are finished with lightweight cotton twill tape binding.

The horizontal plaid is matched perfectly across all seams. Now, on the back side of the liner are some more cool details. All seams are finished with the same twill tape binding, so the liner looks good from all angles. The shoulder seams are generously wide (for RTW), probably to eliminate bulk when wearing the liner in the coat, and they are pressed toward the back.

There is a facing, made from the same fabric as the coat shell (cotton blend) that is about 2 inches wide. The edge is turned under and sewn to the liner. The facing is navy blue (my coat is navy), rather than a one-color-fits-all. It’s a nice detail that might go overlooked.

For a short coat, there are 12 buttons and buttonholes for affixing the liner to the coat. The buttonholes are spaced about 6 inches apart along the coat’s front, with two evenly spaced between the center back and the shoulder seams, and one at each shoulder seam. In a full-length trench, there are 14 buttons. The buttons are sewn to the coat’s facings, except at the collar and sleeves, where there is no facing.

The little buttons are for the liner. The big button is for the coat.

So that’s what the innards of a Burberry trench liner look like. That should give you some ideas if you are making your own. Hope this helps, and

Happy sewing!

Posted in Burberry Trench, Sewing, Style | 3 Comments

Shameless Plug – Susan Khalje’s Classes and Videos

Before I start with the subject at hand, let me apologize for not moderating the comments from last week. I don’t know what I did, but suddenly I stopped getting email notifications of comments waiting in the queue. They are all released now. I’ll try to get that fixed.

Image cribbed from Susan’s website

Now, where was I? Oh yes – shameless plug time! Susan Khalje is a dear friend and colleague of mine, but even if she wasn’t I would recommend her classes to anyone who wants to build their skills and take their sewing to a higher level.

Susan teaches classes all around the country, and she has several per year at her home in Maryland. I’ve taken her Sit and Sew classes, which she often teaches with Kenneth King, three times over the years, and I’ve also taken her couture sewing class. I learn so much from each class I take with her. There’s always something new for me to take away.

With Susan

I made this dress in Susan’s class

She also hosts classes taught by other couture sewing professionals. There’s a set of draping classes coming up, taught by Julien Cristofoli. One of these days I will take that class. Susan runs an annual guided tour to Paris, where participants get to visit couture houses and suppliers, take classes and soak in the atmosphere and knowledge in the City of Light. Sigh – that trip is on my bucket list.

But the reason I love her classes, and the reason I recommend her so highly is that she not only has mad skillz, but she also has the patience of a saint. Susan will take the time needed to explain something so everyone gets it. I have never seen her lose patience with any of her students, and she clearly cares deeply that each one of her students gets the most from her classes.

And hey – she also has video classes! So if you can’t make it to one of her in-person classes, you can take your time and learn at your own pace (in your bunny slippers if you want, always a plus). I’ve taken her Couture Dress video class and it was excellent. The first chapter alone was, for me, worth the price of admission.

So if you want to increase your skills under the tutelage of one of the best, I highly recommend Susan’s classes. NAYY, just a good friend and a great teacher.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Plugs, Susan Khalje | 3 Comments

Can You Stand Another Wrap Dress?

Tough, you’re getting one. ;)

As you may know, this weekend is both Easter and Passover. For the first time in a very, very long time we have no big plans. I’m not singing (yay, retirement from singing!), we don’t have a crowd coming over for dinner – heck, even DS the Elder is not coming home from college because he’s in the thick of studying for the next set of exams. But it’s a holiday, I like wrap dresses, I want to be a picture of domestic bliss cooking a ham dinner in a pretty dress, so I decided to make another StyleArc Kate Dress.

Okay well, seriously, I’ve been wanting to make another since I finished my first Kate Dress during last year’s Wrapapalooza. Easter as an excuse? Works for me!

You can read The Original Review to get the gist of how it went together. I’ll just highlight the differences in this one. First, I made it with Bamboo Nights ITY Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics (on sale this weekend for 20% off, BTW).

I loved this fabric when I first saw and touched it and I love it even more made up

The other difference between this version and the first version I made is that I finished the neckline edges with a ½ inch band, To do this, I measured the length of the neckline edge, starting at the belt, going up and around the back neck and down to the other belt (which in a size 10 is 40 inches – how convenient). I cut the band to be 38 inches by 1 ½ inches. I folded the band in half along the long edge, and serged it to the neckline edge, stretching the band to match the neckline edge. This snugs the neckline a bit.
Kate 2 Neckline Band Detail
It also adds just a bit more coverage at the center front, though I have found I don’t need more coverage with this particular pattern. You can make the band wider (or narrower) to suit your taste.

Finally I used Emma Seabrooke’s SewKeysE More than Extremely Fine SSI Knit Stay Tape at the hem (not the sleeves). I’ve heard good things about her tapes, and I have to say, so far I am suitably impressed! This makes it easier to hem, but doesn’t add any stiffness or bulk. I bought several different tapes from her last month, and judging from my first impressions, I think I’ll use them a whole lot in the future. NAYY

The dress went together beautifully, and here are pictures on Shelley. If the weather is good on Sunday (they are predicting snow????!!!) I’ll get pictures on me.



Kate 2 Back


And really, I do promise to do the post on necklines for wrap dresses. I just have to prep a bunch of samples and my sample mojo has disappeared… Soon, though.

Happy sewing!

Posted in Fabrics, StyleArc, Wrapapalooza | 7 Comments

Physics + Sewing = …

Posted in Miscellaneous | 3 Comments

Pattern Review: Burda 6984 Blouse

Pattern Description: From the website. Two delicate blouses with tiny front pleats, nicely feminine and absolutely top of the line. Either with gathered collar and sleeveless, or collarless with long, gathered sleeves with binding edges. I made View a, the collared, sleeveless version. A couple of additional notes: the collar is cut on the bias, and the armholes are finished with bias facings.

Neckline detail showing bias collar and pleats.

Armhole Facing

Sizing: 8-20. I made a size 12.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Chanel stretch silk charmeuse that I bought from my friend Alice at Mendel Goldberg (yes, I do occasionally splurge and support my colleagues, especially Alice, who gets fabric that I can’t).

It’s worth noting that this pattern requires a very drapey fabric to work well. I made a muslin with cotton muslin (naturally) to check the fit and construction, but I recommend silk or rayon wovens for this.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff home machine, Juki home serger, Naomi the Naomoto iron.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 65/9 needle, mesh tape invisible zipper, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, Scary Silks.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? Good. This is a very straightforward pattern to make, and it goes together well.

Construction Notes: This pattern fit the bill on all levels. I made a muslin before cutting into my fabric, and it didn’t need any big adjustments, not even an FBA. So away I went!

I used a 2.5mm straight stitch for the seams. I finished the seam allowances with a 3-thread overlock. I hand hemmed the bottom.

Hand hemming is one of the few things I can do while being sidelined by a really nasty cold.

Likes/Dislikes: I wanted a pattern that would let this fabric sing – i.e. not too many lines. Since I only had 1.5 yards, I wanted a sleeveless or short sleeved top, and I really like the collar treatment. I love the simple shape, and I’ll wear this top both under a jacket and by itself with jeans, if the weather ever decides to cooperate. It’s 31 degF outside my office right now, so I doubt I’ll wear it this week.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! This is a perfect pattern for showcasing a super special fabric. The simple lines and the lovely drape at the neckline let the fabric sing.


Conclusion: Love it! I hope I get to wear it some day, if spring ever comes. Here’s the full top on Shelley.

And back.

In other news, the big event this weekend (and next) is DS the Younger got the lead role in the High School production of “The Music Man.” It’s a blast to see him having so much fun, and the entire cast is excellent.


76 Trombones



Happy sewing!

Posted in Burda, Reviews, Sewing | 13 Comments

Website Review:

I’m making a sleeveless blouse, and the pattern calls for an invisible zipper at the neckline. Since I am using a lightweight stretch silk charmeuse, I want a zipper that won’t be too heavy for the fabric. When I was making my lace dress late last year, I bought a mesh-tape invisible zipper at Botani in New York. That type of zipper is perfect for this, but I don’t have near-term plans to go to New York again, and Botani doesn’t sell that type of zipper on their website. It was Sunday and they are closed, so I couldn’t call them to order one. Being impatient, I went online and did some hunting. That was how I found

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 4.34.28 PM
What do they sell? Zippers of all types, as well as other notions like chalk, interfacing, knit cuffs and waistbands for jackets, buttons, etc. I bought 10 zippers in all: 5 white mesh tape and 5 black mesh tape invisible zips.

How is the Selection? Pretty good. They have lots of colors of the more “standard” zippers. They only have 4 colors of the mesh-tape invisibles (black/white/pink/blue), so if you need a special color other than those, you can’t buy them on the website.

How are the prices? Excellent. My zippers were $1.79 each. I’m trying to remember the price of the zippers at Botani, and I can’t recall exactly, but they were somewhere between $7 and $10 each.

How’s their site? Good. Easy to surf, items are arranged in a way that is easy to find what you are looking for.

Is it a SSL (secure) website? Yes. They use

How is the customer service? Excellent. The order went through without a hitch. I was promised my zippers by Friday and they arrived today.

Where are they Located? They ship from Virginia

Do they ship internationally? Yes

So, thumbs up or thumbs down? Big thumbs up! Excellent prices, excellent service, lightning fast shipping. The downside is that you can’t get all the colors of the rainbow for that particular zipper, but you can’t beat the price.

These should hold me for a while.

These should hold me for a while.

I will definitely use ZipperShipper again, and I heartily recommend it!

Happy sewing!

Posted in Notions, Reviews | 7 Comments

Next Up, a Burda Top for Spring

If spring ever comes, that is. Here’s my WIP, a sleeveless Burda top.
Burda WIP
It’s a pretty straightforward pattern, with a cool collar. I’m waiting for some lightweight mesh-tape invisible zippers to arrive, then I can attach the collar. The zippers are supposed to arrive Friday, so I’ll finish it this weekend. With any luck I’ll be able to wear it some time this year! Brrrrr…

Happy sewing!

Posted in Burda, Sewing | 8 Comments

Fasten Your Seatbelts…

Goes the classic line from “All About Eve.” It’s going to be a bumpy night. That’s right folks. It’s Ann-Rant Time!

(Ed. Note: if you are easily offended or don’t get snark, you are advised to change the channel now.)

I put aside my plans to do the test on the wrap dress neckline. I promise to get to that this week. But in the meantime I got waylaid by an idea for a blouse that I want desperately to make, and then I also saw some posts at a couple of places that complained about how…

Sewing is so HAAAAAARRRRRRDDDD, people! Like, really, really hard! Like, stress inducing! Like, it can make you cry!

Puhleeze. Talk about a first world problem.

Sewing is a hobby for 99% of the people I know. Even my colleagues who do it for a living would not classify it as hard. It can be technically challenging. It can be frustrating. It can even be somewhat terrifying if you are about to cut into a $300-per-yard fabric for the first time. But it is not hard.

Giving up on a project that will never work is painful, but it’s not hard.

You know what’s hard? Finding a cure for cancer. Trying to find evidence of the Higgs-Boson particle. Going into coal mines day after day to earn your living. Visiting a parent who has no idea who you are because Alzheimer’s has robbed her of all her memories. Those are all hard. Sewing is not hard.

So please, when things get tough in the sewing room, do what I do. Take a break. Take a deep breath. Go for a walk, make a cup of tea, have a glass of wine, call a friend, hit the gym. But don’t cry. Save that for the things that deserve your tears. There are lots of them, and they will come up and whack you in the back of the head when you least expect it. Besides, if you cry you might drip mascara on your Gorgeous Fabrics, and that would totally suck.

My my my, didn’t I cause a tempest in a teapot! :)

Posted in Commentary | 21 Comments

Full Bust Adjustment for a Wrap Top or Dress

The good folk at McCalls are hosting a wrap dress sew-along, and they asked me to write a post about doing a Full Bust Adjustment for wrap bodices. I posted this on The Sewing Divas website several years ago, and it’s still my go-to-method for doing FBA on wrap-style dresses and tops.

If you’re like many women, the standard B-cup of most commercial patterns isn’t enough to cover “the ladies” without unsightly pulls and wrinkles. With the popularity of wrap tops and DVF-style wrap dresses, there are some small but significant pattern changes you need to make so your entire bodice fits well. Let’s have a look.

The method I use works equally well for mock-wrap bodices, where you often have separate pieces for the left and the right fronts, as for “regular” wrap bodices. In order to fit properly, you have to adjust for a full bust, not only on the actual bustline of the front pattern piece, but also on the wrap piece that extends under the bust on the other side. This is a fairly straightforward change, but it’s one that many people leave off, giving a happy-hands-at-home look to their garments. When I make a wrap dress that just has one front bodice piece (like my vintage DVF original pattern), I mirror and trace off the bodice so I have two separate bodice pieces to work with. It makes it easy to do this adjustment.

The first thing you need to do is your standard full-bust-adjustment, or FBA. There are many excellent tutorials for how to adjust a pattern out there. I won’t bother to repeat what has already been said so well. Here’s a picture of a top I made with my usual FBA.

My usual adjustments

This will leave you with enough room over your bust on the primary side of your pattern piece. However, if you look at the picture of the un-adjusted pattern piece (on the left), laid on top of the adjusted pattern piece, you’ll see that the side seams don’t match:

Check out the side seams on the right side of the picture

Even if you do a FBA on both sides, when you line up the center fronts, you’ll find that the side seams are out of alignment, and this will cause distortion when you wear it. To fix this, lay your pattern pieces over one another, lining the center fronts up. Using a clear gridded ruler, trace a line over the slash line for your FB adjusted pattern piece, as shown:

Slash your pattern piece along that line, all the way from the top to, but not through, the bottom. Spread it so that it matches the spread on your FBA adjusted piece.

Slash, tapering back down to the waistline.

Repeat this whole process on the other side. Once you are done, you will have two pattern pieces that have two sets of slashes for the bust, and your top will fit great!

This is a small adjustment that makes a big difference. Enjoy your wrap dresses and tops. And as always,
Happy sewing!

PS, for other hints and tips on making wrap dresses, I did a whole Wrapapalooza series last year. Check it out – there are some tidbits in there that might be helpful.

Posted in Fit, Wrapapalooza | 20 Comments

Pattern Review: StyleArc Sammi Pant

Pattern Description: From StyleArc’s website, “PANT:This is basic pant woven pant (sic) which sits just below the waist line, featuring a buttoned waistband which is contoured and a fly front. A slight boot leg makes this pant very flattering.

Sizing: 4-30. I made a size 10.

Available as a PDF? I don’t think so.

Fabric Used: Japanese Satin Finish RPL, sold out, sorry, from Gorgeous Fabrics for the bulk of the pants, Cotton with a very cool contemporary Aboriginal artist’s print that was a gift from Chloe at StyleArc a few years ago, silk habotai for the pockets.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff home machine and Juki home serger. Naomi the Naomoto.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 70/10 needle, interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, lace seam binding, zipper, trouser hooks and eyes, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, J? or L?, Template for Fly Topstitching.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, with a couple of minor exceptions.

How were the instructions? I didn’t really use them. StyleArc isn’t known for their instructions, so I just wung that mother, referencing my trusty Vogue Book of Sewing when I needed help. Did you know, BTW, that StyleArc has tutorials for how to sew things like a trouser fly, invisible zippers and other construction techniques? I just found that out myself when I looked at the instructions for the pants. At some point I’ll check them out.

Construction Notes:
I made a muslin to check the fit, which also helped me run through some construction points. I reversed the closure from a right-over-left fly front to a left-over-right, which is more to my liking.

I added a CB seam to the back waistband, along with belt carriers. I used a contrast, lightweight facing for the waistband,

Isn’t that a cool print?

and I added two back welt pockets to hold my cell phones, using the technique from David Page Coffin’s Etsy Craftsy (thanks for that catch Angela!) Class on Pant Details (an excellent class, BTW).

I opted against a button closure, instead using trouser hooks and eyes at the waistband, since I’ll be wearing these pants with a belt most of the time.

I sewed all seams with my Pfaff machine, and I finished all the seams with the serger. I used lace edging at the hems.

Likes/Dislikes: This pattern is really well drafted and sews up beautifully. I like the shape of them, and they will look great with heels. I haven’t been able to get any pictures of them on me. I’m going to wear them this weekend when I go to my uncle’s memorial service in New York, but I doubt I’ll get pictures on me then. I’ll try to get some when I can, but in the meantime here they are pinned on Shelley to give you a slight idea of how they look.


And a really bad picture of the back, sorry!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes! I really like this pattern. I want to make a couple of slight tweaks to it, but I would definitely do another pair or two. This was a good pattern to start my “pants journey” with, and I do recommend it wholeheartedly.

Conclusion: Classic pants, beautifully drafted. It’s a winner!

Posted in Fabrics, Patterns, Reviews, StyleArc | 2 Comments