Pattern review: Burda – Girl’s A-line Dress


I am a mother of 3 boys – and boys are a lot of fun. I loved the little cars, lego and wrestling of their early years, and now the dirt bikes, cars …. and wrestling, of their teenage years. Pretty much the only thing I missed in all those years were cute little dresses and tights (and maybe a few minutes of peace and quiet now and then 😉 ).

Now I have several little nieces and a desire (and finally a bit of time) to sew cute little dresses for them. One of my first pattern choices was this Burda pattern. Alterations to the pattern: I decided not to make the back of the dress button up and instead cut both the front and the back on the fold.  I added a slit at back of the neckline  with a loop and button closure.

I chose a light-weight plaid suiting for the dress and made the bow out of broadcloth.

As always, I find the instructions for Burda patterns are a bit vague. The pattern is considered “novice” and it is a simple dress to sew together. However, if I didn’t already know how to do a neckline with bias tape drafted from my own fabric or how to gather and set in a sleeve, I’d be quite frustrated. I also found the bow instructions amusing. It was easy enough to figure out, but if you were a novice sewer, the instructions would end leaving you to wonder exactly how to finish it.

I do, however, really love Burda patterns. I find them quite stylish and modern and I find styles there I can’t find in the usual McCalls, Vogue or Simplicity. I also really enjoy being able to download and print a pattern when the urge to sew hits me. It seems a little intimidating at first, but once you’ve taped together your first Burda pattern and traced it (remembering to add seam allowances) it’s not that bad.

I like the old fashioned feel of this dress and have already made it more than once. I am biased of course, but I think my niece looks adorable in hers.

This pattern can be found online as a download at, “Girl’s A-line Dress 03/2015“.

I started with Burda patterns, but downloadable patterns can be found all over the place now, I really love them. It’s wonderful for making multiple sizes of one pattern and for drafting alterations. I find having a master copy of your pattern on white paper that you can pull out and trace at any time is both practical and economical.

Question: Have you tried a pattern download? Do you like them (as much as me 🙂 )? What are your favorite sites for downloading patterns?


(the oldest Nuhn girl)



Narrowing down choices for the 30s Sew-Along

I’ve been lured into a 30s sew-along by Norma from She Sews You Know . She’s promised me a “very slow 1930s sewalong … No rules no pressure – just 1930s and encouragement”. It sounds about my speed. I absolutely love vintage clothes and the cut of a 30s dress is one of my favorites. They are hard to find though, and expensive when you do find them, so why not make my own? I’ve narrowed down my options to four choices of reproduction patterns:


This pattern from 1930 has a beautiful cut. I like the middle, long sleeved option with no cape.


This rare pattern put out by Butterick in 1933 is a design for a dress and jacket “as worn by Miss Hepburn in an R.K.O. Radio Picture”. It’s an amazing jacket – although I don’t know how many occasions I would have to wear it. I like that I could make this outfit in a light weight wool.


This 1936 dress is a more practical choice, but not quite as exciting as the cuts of the earlier 30s. I really do like this sleeve though.


Finally, this 1931 dress was one of my first choices. I like the first long sleeved option. I’m just not sure how hard the curved yoke would be…

Which one to choose? Any preferences, comments or suggestions on my choices? Although I sew a lot, I am a novice to vintage sewing so I’d appreciate any advice.


The Oldest Nuhn girl.



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Going Old School- my Grandma’s sewing machine

Although I’ve often wanted a new sewing machine, I’ve always had a soft spot for old things (and great deals) and that spilled over into my sewing machines too. A hand-me-down treasure or a garage sale find of a solid old machine was good enough ($25.oo for a machine AND an amazing sewing table? Sold!)- and I’d use the machine and get the last bit of life out of it before moving on to my next treasure. A sample of my past babies:


This past year, however, I ended up with two new treasures. First of all, I finally bought myself a brand new machine. A Singer Quantum Stylist 9980. I love it. The thread cutter alone gives me a huge thrill, not to mention all the amazing stitches and the button holes. (Oh the button holes) It’s also powerful enough to sew right through you’re forefinger… but that’s another story….

My Baby – Singer Quantum Stylist 9980

Not long after that, in the fall of last year my elderly grandparents moved in with my parents. While helping them move, my Grandma gave me her sewing machine. It was the one she purchased just after they got married. The machine dates back to 1948. It came in its original case with a bunch of accessories and even the original instruction manual. I remember sewing Barbie clothes on it as a little kid. My Grandma said it still worked really well, but I was just thrilled to have it and would have kept it in any condition. (I may have a bit of a problem with that…)

So for the last 6 months it sat on a shelf while I sewed away with my new machine – until last week when I had a little thread cutter incident. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but there was a thread jam, and some rubbing noises, and when I took it apart to check, the little blade in the thread cutter popped out. The lady at the sewing machine store said she had never even heard of that happening (great) but that they would put a rush on it for me. And it’s covered by warranty so it’s cool.

In the meantime though, I’ve been getting a little antsy. The repair could take up to 2 weeks and I’m part way through several projects. Yep, that’s how I roll. So a few days in, I hauled out one of my oldies to do some simple seams. It was terrible. I don’t know how I used to work on it – see, now I’m spoiled. So I put that one aside to send to charity. Then, for fun, I decided to get my Grandma’s machine out. To my huge surprise, it sewed wonderfully. And it even has a ruffler foot, a hem attachment and some funky looking button hole dies. It was fun to spend an afternoon sewing on my Grandma’s old machine. Even when my baby is back, I’m going to keep her old machine out where I can use it now and then.

And with my last old beast of a machine going off to charity, I’m down to 5 sewing machines – wait, that’s good for me! My new machine, my grandma’s machine, my serger and two pretty cool old decorative machines.


They don’t make ’em like they used to. 🙂


(the oldest Nuhn girl)


My Exciting Vintage Store Find: 1920s sewing patterns




Vintage Clothing has always been a love of mine. I have been wearing vintage clothing ever since I was a teenager – and it was hard to come by in the small town I lived in. In my 20s and 30s I had an online vintage clothing business and now my closet is filled with genuine vintage and vintage inspired clothing. (my teenage dream!)

In the summer I found an amazing new vintage clothing store filled with the beautiful 40s and 50s dresses and suits that I love to wear. So exciting!

On my most recent trip into the store I saw these vintage 20s patterns and I had to have them. They are in quite good condition for their age and I think they are all unused. The McCall pattern has a date of 1921 on it, the Butterick is 1923 and the Ladies Home Journal pattern is undated.



My first thought when I bought them was to make the dresses for myself. What a thrill that would be! However, after bringing them home, the thought of using and (potentially) destroying them seems out of the question. (I do my best to be graceful, but I have a terrible clumsy streak.) I am also pretty sure that these patterns would be a couple of sizes too big for me. These patterns piqued my interest in vintage sewing though, so I started doing a little searching and found that reproduction patterns are available for a fairy reasonable price at sites like Past Patterns.

So, my vintage patterns will likely remain unused, but they have sparked an interest in me to make a genuine 1920s dress. I’m eager to choose a pattern and find some fabric to get this project started. Vintage sewing seems to be an interest in a lot of the bloggers I follow as well. After noticing the Vintage Pledge badge on a few blogs I checked out A Stitching Odyssey. They invite you to join them in their third year of pledging to make at least one garment from a vintage or reproduction pattern. So I guess I’m in. 🙂 Let the fun begin.

Have you ever sewn with a vintage pattern? How do you choose a fabric for a vintage project? What would you do with these patterns? (Oh, I have so many questions…)


(the oldest Nuhn girl)


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