some patterns

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to make a comment on my little old blog. I am really grateful for anyone that stops by to read, and especially those who comment. I try to reply to comments, but sometimes stuff gets in the way and my would-be replies aren’t timely when I finally am able to make them.  I will answer any specific questions, even if I am a little late with my answers. I do appreciate all of you!

This year has brought some lifestyle changes for me. I’m now retired and working on establishing myself as an illustrator – which is the career I always, always wanted. Woo-hoo, I’m going to have it now! The change also means rethinking my sewing, because in the past most of my sewing was to clothe myself for the office. Now I’m at home, and almost all of my activities (I do still do some house-keeping) are creative ones. This has me rethinking what I want to wear and sew, and what activities I need to have outfits for.

You are probably familiar with the exercise to help focus on real wardrobe needs, the one where you identify what you do in the course of a year to get an idea of where you should concentrate your wardrobing. This is my little breakdown.

Of course I sewed for the fantasy category, the evening events, first. (The two silk jackets in recent posts.) Who among us has not been guilty of similar misplaced priorities? But really, this is for me the easiest category to visualize how I want to dress. The “events” category includes such things as symphony, theater, and gallery openings.  My category evening “social” means date night with spouse, dinner parties and the like. There can be quite a bit of crossover between clothes for the two evening categories. I still need to alter my silk pants and sew one other pair, plus maybe a nice tunic and that would cover the evening categories.

20% is for such things as professional societies (gotta network, you know), church, and any activity in that in-between area where you want to look put-together but not eveningish. This would be that “business casual” look that has been so hard for many people to nail. Now I want to incorporate a bit of creativity into this category, too. I’m thinking in terms of a simple interior column, like pants and matching tank, with a statement jacket for this category.

That leaves the big 60% everyday category. There are two thoughts about this.

One thing I did is go back through my last two years of Burda magazines and make note of the patterns I thought would work for my 60%, and compile them into a graphic for easy reference. Since I have many more years in the archive, I might mine them for additional patterns, too. My Burda subscription has lapsed, so I have no 2012 issues to pick from, but here are my picks from 2011 and 2010.

My tastes really run to the classic shirt/tunic & pants combo, and would shorten any dress patterns above to make tunics. Yes, I am currently liking shirts more than knit tops. They’re cooler, don’t cling, and I like sewing them more. When the urge to make a knit strikes, I turn to Ottobre.

There is another idea coloring my thoughts for the 60%, and that is Lagenlook. There have been a couple of threads on Stitcher’s Guild regarding this style.  I’ll include them with some other links at the end of this post. This is a look that is really growing on me, and I can see using many patterns that I already own to make up the look: Marcy Tilton Vogues, Cutting Line Designs, and Sewing Workshop. I also lucked into these old McCall’s patterns recently. They’re from the mid-90s, but are lagen-adaptable.

This first one is my favorite. I would make the pinafore dress as a top, and make the jacket more of a duster length. I would even make the pants from this pattern with the side drawstrings, but would probably pair them with a closer-fitting top. Big all over is big in lagenlook, but doesn’t do me any favors.

The second one has another top/jacket with a scoop neck. The pants from this pattern don’t look overly wide, but I have a nice Burda TNT for drawstring pants.

Lastly, this one. I’m unlikely to use the pinafore, but might adapt the square neck dress with the flange-y sleeves into a top. Might try the woven t-type top, too.

I think one of the thing about lagenlook that I like is that many of the shapes and styles are like big shirts, and I am really liking the shirts these days. There is also a very romantic, ruffled boho style that is on the lagen spectrum, but it’s not for me. I’m drawn to the simpler, more folkloric-looking styles. I’m not sure what will come off the sewing machine for the big 60%, but I’m in for some experimenting. It will be fun to explore some new things!

Yes, I am still making the Chanel jacket. It will fit into the meetings and evening social categories.

And now for some linky links related to lagenlook, mostly gleaned from the Stitcher’s Guild threads.

Stitcher’s Guild Lagenlook thread – Lots more links here, including bunches to the frilly boho looks.

Stitcher’s Guild Lagenpac thread

Eileen Fisher – lagenesque


Natur zum Anziehen

Amalthee Creations

Terry Macey


30 thoughts on “some patterns

  1. yes, I totally can see this as an alternative to tee and yoga pants. It’s more fun to sew and can be put together in a variety of ways. I just finished reading the new Alabama Chanin book and am loving that vibe also.

  2. That graph is really useful, Robyn. I suspect that it my case it would be 90% home/casual and 10% semi dressed up. The transition to retirement has been hard for me because what I most love to sew are fairly complicated jackets…and I really don’t need many for my new life. I need to start thinking about more dressed up casual clothing, like your ideas here.

  3. Thank you very much for doing so much homework for me! Our wardrobe “percentages” are very close and your Burda picks are an organized group of my back issues, too. Now I just have to keep a lookout for Lagen look OOP patterns at my thrift shops.

  4. Oh my, Robyn, you are an inspiration! I love what you chose as your personal style. Those patterns are wonderful. I have a few years in the early 2000’s of Burda, but I honestly haven’t tried any. I can’t wait to see some of your creations.

  5. What a wonderfully helpful post! In my last sewing project I was tempted to focus on the fantasy garment but thankfully I made something I could wear more often. You’ve offered me some great ideas for everyday sewing. Thanks so much!

  6. I like your analysis of percentages of garments needed, and will be thinking about that for my own sewing… While I like the lagenlook style, my tastes also run more towards the Gudrun Sjoden/folk garment end of things rather than the ruffly/steampunk/bohemian end, so I will also be looking to see what you come up with.

  7. I hear you. I seem to make many more things than I need and they just hang in the closet. Since retirement, soon to be 6 years ago, I don’t need so much. Look forward to your creations and how they fit in the 60%.

  8. First of all – BIG congratulations on the doing-what-you-want shifts! Secondly, a big HUGE thank you for that graph! I’ve been slowly learning to sew for my needs, as opposed to the bright shiny objects I get distracted by, but that graph really really helps 🙂

  9. The tricky thing about Lagenlook is getting the proportions right…not too big, not too long, not too floppy. May I suggest that you take a look at one of the Eskandar collections at I think Eskandar gets it exactly right, and I especially treasure his love of fabric and his pure, clear colors.

  10. Everyone seems to be making very organised plans at the moment – is it something in the stars? I really like your activity breakdown and would do well to make one myself. I am still as you said ‘distracted by the bright and shiny’ and really must sew more to what suits my lifestyle. Thanks for the reminder and tutorial! Off to dig out my old Burda and Patrones now.

  11. I made the dress from McCalls 6989 about 20 years ago (when I was 16). I made it with no changes at all and I loved it! I wore it to my cousin’s wedding. I think it is still the most favorite thing I’ve ever sewn.

  12. Thanks for enlighting me on the Laganlook. This is what I have been leaning to and wearing for several years. I love your collection of ’11 & ’10 Burdas. I will looking forward to those reviews in the future. And congrats on this blog!!!!

    • Thank you! Do you have the old, old Threads book called “Great Casual Clothes”? It’s a super reference for that kind of look, from back in the 90’s before lagen even existed!

  13. I am thrilled that you are exploring the lagenlook style. I have become quite enamored with it. I can’t afford the expensive outfits so I am trying to make my own. Unfortunately, there are a number of wadders!

  14. Robyn, Hello just discovered your blog on the Lagenlook, which i would love to explore in this new phase of my life retired,almost 55 with R.A..But as most have probably discovered to buy some of these lagenlook items they can break the bank, I just didn’t understand why they were so expensive especially for the stuff that looks like its bits an pieces of this an that ran through a wringer which i do like the look but alas my pocket does not…SO i started searching for patterns since iv’e sewn since i was a child and their you were,,As i see i’m not the only lovely lady out there who likes the look but doent have the funds in the ecomomy to justify such overpriced items ! look forward to following your site…thanks just one more thrifty gal

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