Too easy!

Last year I published a post about calculating your perfect skirt length based on your height. The principle behind it is Golden ratio, and skirt lengths calculated using this principle will be most flattering for you.

This blog post is still one of the most popular blog posts I have written to date, so to make it even easier to find your perfect skirt length I made you a handy little calculator.


Just type in your height in cm and it will calculate all skirt lengths just for you.

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Addition to "Extra valuables"

I am so proud. I have finally finished my eBook on measurements!

There is a bit of a story to it. As many of you have standard bodice blocks ready to be adjusted to your personal measurements, I was going to write several blog posts on how to do it. But every time I’d write ” Okay, so all we have to do is to take this, this and this measurment, add this ease, distribute it like this and voila! ” and then I would think: “But how do I know if I mention such-and-such measurement everyone will understand what I mean?” There are so many books on sewing, and so many ways to take measurements. Sometimes they are called differently, and sometimes they are called the same, but measured differently.

Like that chest width measurement that is taken above bust in Aldrich and across bust in Müller, it got me wondering in circles for hours!

Anyway, I started writing about measurements, then about the best way to take them. Then I had to mention anthropometric points and calculation formulas. And finally I ended up with 20- page book on 41 measurements, 12 anthropometric points and 11 formulas I use all the time.

Having this book as a reference I can now start writing about alterations being absolutely sure that there will be a crystal clear understanding of what I am trying to convey. I will be referring to this book often in my future posts on pattern alterations.

This eBook is not just for experienced seamstresses that venture into personalizing standard block. I think it will also be of help for those just beginning to sew: getting fundamental knowledge right from the very beginning will save you from making many annoying  mistakes ( ask me, I made all of them ).

Read more about “All about measurements” e-Book


Imogen answers part one

Today I am proud to present a first part of several blog posts on style. Stylist Imogen Lamport is answering your questions on style, colour, trends, wardrobe and more.

Is little black dress a really necessary item?
Absolutely not!  In fact for many people a colour other than black is much preferable.  It’s good to create an ‘evening’ capsule in a colour that suits you so you have something to wear out when the occasion calls.  It doesn’t have to be a dress, and definitely doesn’t need to be black.  My post here has a black dress because black suits me, but substitute another colour – aubergine, deep green, chocolate, navy instead.
How to build an evening wear wardrobe
Which prints are the most flattering for larger figures?
Depends on your personality – but prints that are dense not sparse, with low negative space and go for a medium sized print, neither too tiny or too large. High contrast makes prints appear larger, low contrast makes prints appear smaller.  Here is more information
How to choose a print garment
What is the bigger sin:
to overdress or under-dress?
Under-dress – my philosophy has always
been that it’s better to raise the tone than lower it.
How to wear colours that I like but are not “mine”?
Wear them away from your face.
Don’t put them on body parts you’d rather attention wasn’t drawn.
Ensure the rest of your outfit is in fabulous colours that really suit you.
How to add trend colours that don’t suit you to your wardrobe
Which trends would you like to see disappear?
I don’t get the open toed boot.  Really.

 Dresses and Skirts – Why Don’t I wear Them?
I don’t feel comfortable in skirts and dresses. Is there a skirt or dress for me?

If you don’t like them, don’t wear them!   Without knowing why you don’t find them comfortable it’s hard for me to judge.  Comfort can relate to the fit, the fabric, the style, your personality.

I love dresses because I find them easier to fit (no rise seam that runs through your crotch), I buy them in fabrics that drape (so they move with my body) in fabrics that stretch (so I don’t feel constricted by them) and in styles that don’t draw attention to my flat butt (the way trousers do), and that suit the feminine part of my personality.  They make me happy, but not everyone has to wear them!
So ask yourself in your quest for the skirt or dress to make you happy:

  • What is my body shape?  Which shapes and styles will flatter me?
  • What are my body proportions?  How long should my skirt or dress be?
  • What is my personality?  Do I like prints or patterns or not?  Do I like stretch fabrics or wovens?  Do I like close or loose fitting garments?  Do I like lace or do I like unusual construction?

All these questions will help you find the right kind of skirt or dress for you.

Useful reading:
Body shapes explained, How to measure your body proportions,What is your style recipe

Making Chanel jacket video

I saw this video discussed on Pattern Review and decided to share it with you.
I am surprised to see Chanel seamstresses using plain sewers, fusible interfacing, buttonholer… They are sewing over pins ( wouldn’t industrial machine simply bend them all? )
I thought Chanel was sewn exclusively by hand? What happened to couture techniques? I am confused.

What is your opinion on this?


I know what you are thinking : “Gosh, that woman has been sewing this purple jacket forever!”

Well, not really. It only took me a week to finish it, but describing the process takes much longer than process itself! I even wore the jacket a few times ( one of them to the playgroup ) and my incandescent purple self was sticking out in the crowd like a sore thumb :)

Ah, I was feeling so bright on that rainy day!

So today I am going to sum up my purple jacket post series. Previous posts are here:
Burda 7579
Puzzling discovery
Ode to a pocket
Oh yuk!! ( a brief life of an ugly collar )

What happened next

So since I made my sleeve vents and they came out rather nice and sharp, I finished the sleeves and proceeded as usual to set them in.
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That puzzling distance at the knee


Linda asked me about that distance K K’ on trouser draft ( now shown in green ) I displayed in my knock knee alteration post.

This draft is taken from a book on menswear tailoring, and I have not seen this straight distance on any other draft before or after this book. It only confirms that there are as many ways to draft a pair of trousers as there are people willing to do it :)

The book says :

… find a knee level by dividing distance between seat line and hem line by two. Then mark a point 6 cm above the knee line and mark it K’. If the trouser pattern you require is not of a classic cut, then don’t mark point K’ and proceed usual..

This is it, no further information is offered on the subject,  barely enough to satisfy our curiousity!

Knock knee alteration

I was asked to show a knock knee alteration some time ago. Sorry it took so long, but I finally got there!

Let’s talk “knock knees “.

Genu valgum, commonly called “knock-knee” or “inward knee rotation”  is a condition where the knees angle IN and touch one another when the legs are straightened. Women have a wider pelvis than men and a relatively shorter length of the thigh bone, and as a result, have a greater static genu valgum than men.


Trouser fit flaw caused by knock knees looks like diagonal folds starting at inside of the knees and pointing towards hips and hem.

In order to perform this adjustment you’ll have to take an additional measurement. This measurement is taken between legs at ankle level. Let’s call it ankle distance and call it Z.

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