Hot! The “Ode to 7th Grade” Ensemble

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image from assets.burdastyle.comThe Facts

Fabric: Plaid cotton, $12, brown knit, $3 from Fabric Outlet
Pattern: The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook Skirt
Year: c. 2011
Notions: zipper, eyelet lace
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: November 2011
Wear again? Yes


Over the past year, I've had a chance to spend time with some of the awesome folks at BurdaStyle — particularly Carol Cho, their Marketing & Partnerships director. In September, while we were hanging out at BlogHer Handmade/The Creative Connection, she asked me if I'd be interested in making something from their upcoming (at the time) book and being featured as BurdaStyle's Project of the Week! Of course I said yes, considering that I love what BurdaStyle does and because a huge number of talented bloggers I read were being featured in the book (including our very own Oona!)

image from assets.burdastyle.comThe BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook is all about making garments your own. While there are only five basic patterns (dress, coat, skirt, top and bag), the book illustrates (with the help of their contributors) some of the countless variations that are possible. That is perhaps the greatest thing about sewing: the ability to make choices — from fabric to embellishments to alterations — that result in a totally unique garment. There's a total magic in multiple folks working with the same pattern and each coming up with something that's uniquely them.

For my creation, I couldn't resist making the book's skirt. I have a thing for tiered skirts. Maybe it has something to do with
the fact that when I was in seventh grade they were all the rage and I had the most awesome three-level tiered skirt that I wore for picture day (complete with a black men's-style vest). Up until that point in life, my mom picked out all my clothes but for some reason for that picture day I was able to choose exactly what *I* wanted to buy and wear.  Hence, my love affair with the tiered skirt continues to this day.

For the BurdaStyle skirt, I went for a fabric that felt much more contemporary than the usual fabric I work with (vintage). I added the eyelet to make it a little more me (and more of a nod to the vintage
styles I work with).

The only modification I made was the skirt and overskirt's length. I added about 3 inches to the pattern (how to do this is explained in the book). Even with the extra inches, it's still a shorter length than I usually wear (hello, tights!). So if you like your skirts on the longer side, be sure to make that modification.

Of course, breaking habit is a good thing to do and my shorter skirt is all sassy and stuff!

The shirt is the BurdaStyle stripe top pattern available here. I'm actually a subscriber to the BurdaStyle magazine so I already had access to the pattern. That made it easy (no printing!) to get it all done in like 30 minutes. 

Head over to BurdaStyle to view my ensemble as the Project of the Week. And also, a big thanks to author Alison Kelly for all her assistance in making the Project of the Week come together!

Want to win a copy of The BurdaStyle Handbook? Just leave a comment over here (before 9pm Pacific on Friday, November 18th) letting us know which pattern from the book you just can't wait to work with. We'll randomly pick one winner to receive a copy of the book.

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Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. I would like to sew “Design 101” model

  2. Well, as i haven’t seen the book i don’t know what patterns are in it, but i do like the idea of the 5 basic ones that you adapt in different ways. I’d love to make a few dresses!

  3. I haven’t gotten to peruse a hard copy of the book but I know Casey of Elegant Musings has a piece in there so I’d probably give her version a whirl first!

  4. I like the whole styling you’ve done with the outfit – lovely. I don’t know this book – but some of the dresses in the preview are nice!

  5. I love what you did with this skirt! And your styling is perfect – very autumn :-).

  6. This skirt is fabulous! I would love to make the Jacket pattern, as I have yet to work myself up to make my own jacket.

  7. This is such a great idea. I love so many of the ways the blouse has been made.

  8. The shirt with a peplum looks very cute! I’d probably make that first. :)

  9. This book looks fab and so does your outfit! I think I would go with the blouse pattern if I had to choose, it looks so cute.

  10. Love this look – and fantastic styling! It was about a year ago that I followed a link from Burda Style that lead me to Sew Weekly and your sewing adventures … I’ve been following ever since!
    I was looking at this book on Amazon just the other day thinking “I need that book”! My first project would be the dress.

  11. I’m a sucker for dress patterns, so I would make that first for sure!

  12. What a sweet outfit!!! I personally, cannot wait to get this book (waiting for Colette’s to come out too so I can get them shipped free, Merry Christmas to myself) but if I won one, it would be a present from someone else…. LOL I love love LOVE this skirt’s pattern adn all of the variations!!!!!!

  13. LOVE it!!! You look fabulous in brown tones and that skirt is very sassy! Love the print and the trim!

  14. That’s pretty cool fabric – looks great made up with the tiers. (I think I would need to add about a foot – not merely three inches)

  15. The skirt pattern looks like it has scallops on the first tier, was that omitted? You look great in brown!

  16. I love these colors on you!

  17. I would love to work with the pattern for bags! Love making them and can’t seem to have enough!

  18. I’m so looking forward this book, specially for the dress pattern – and let’s be honest, to check out all the projects that my favourite bloggers have been doing in secret!

  19. I love, love, love everything about this skirt. I too have a thing for tiered skirts and although I wear skirts all of the time I don’t actually wear a tiered one at the moment so got to have a go. Very inspiring
    Thank you

  20. strangely.. I think I’d try the bag first… and make sure it had about a dozen pockets each lined with different print scraps to cheer me up while looking for the – biccies, drink, bib, spare clothes etc. etc. etc.

  21. Oh, the dress! The blouse! The jacket! They are all so terrific, how can one choose? All the variations make them that much more appealing– I know I can customize designs to my taste, but seeing it in living color is so inspiring. But if I had to pick one item to make, I think I would make the blouse first.

  22. Such a beautiful skirt – love the fabric and your take on this pattern!

  23. I have not yet had a chance to peruse the book. However, I really like this skirt! It’s cute…

  24. the dressed in the preview are amazing! but i don’t have the book so i can’t tell what pattern was used :(

  25. Your tiered skirt is lovely! I’d love to do a peplum blouse, if I can alter it to fit my no waist body;)

  26. I know we’re all looking at your skirt (and it’s VERY gorgeous, and looks quite designer-like! YAY) but I absolutely can’t stop checking out your shirt… so glad to see it’s a Burda one as well! It’s SO stylish and the batwing is perfect!

  27. That is a super-cute outfit! You look adorable. =)

  28. You look fab in brown, great skirt and great top, a perfect match.