Wednesday, May 10, 2017

No. 8 Svaneke by How To Do Fashion

Today I'm FINALLY blogging about How To Do Fashion's No. 8 Svaneke Pattern. It was kindly sent to me for review purpose last summer. Yes, big time yikes I'm so sorry for the delay!

Before I accepted this gift I made sure that I was still able to make an honest review and it was granted with an "of course". I like companies and designers that are confident in their product and in this case the confidence is justified. It's a great pattern!

No. 8 Svaneke is made in collaboration with vintage queen Pia Storm. I don't know much about her but it only takes a second to scroll through her fantastic Instagram feed before you understand what I mean. Nice!
Svaneke is a multi style pattern and you get two shirt styles (a moderate crop top and a peplum shirt) and (kind of) two skirts (use 4 or 6 panels for different width).

I just have to talk a little bit about the name Svaneke. If you are English speaking it is probably gibberish to you. If you are Danish then you know it's a small charming town on a small charming island called Bornholm in the very eastern part of Denmark. But it's also the island I was born and lived on until I moved away from home at age 19. It is quite a popular vacation destination so growing up there, we had the highs of summer and lots of life and the lows of winter where the place was very quiet - some would probably say it was the opposite, ha. I didn't quite appreciate the place very much growing up - I just wanted to be a big city girl. But now as an adult I can definitely look back and understand some of the magic. See for yourself HERE.

Okay, moving on from the geography lesson and back to sewing.

So I actually ended up making sort of a hybrid between the two original Svaneke shirt patterns. I had this pretty embroidered mesh and some double gauze and they matched up to perfection. I really wanted to make the peplum version but didn't have enough mesh for the actual peplum. After lots of thinking, I made it with the double gauze as the peplum. But that was a mistake. The double gauze simply didn't have enough drape plus it looked dull compared to the mesh. Also me trying to hem it by folding twice was also a bad idea. I can normally do this fine but again double gauze did not play along. Seriously, is it just me who thinks double gauze is much harder to sew with then you think?! 
I tried to overlook the mistake all the way to the finish line....I even made the buttonholes. And then I hung it in my sewing room and starred angrily at it for a week, haha. Finally I was ready to rip off the placket with the buttonholes, cut a new one and also shorten the peplum to sort of a bottom hem band, draft, cut and interface an inside bottom hem band to make sure the finish was nice. Aaaand make new buttonholes. I'm SO happy with that decision. Perseverance paid off this time, phew! 

And if you wonder where I bought the embroidered mesh, then I so sorry but I don't remember. I had it for years and years.

The skirt is a pretty simple style. You get two pattern pieces. One is a rectangular waistband piece and one is the shaped skirt panel piece that you can either cut 4 or 6 times depending on how much width you want. This is the 4 piece skirt. In this fabric the center front and back seam totally disappeared as you can see....or not see, hehe.

I made it from fabric that was made for a skirt like this. Drapy drapy rayon from Imagine Gnats Shop. It's sold out now but this type of fabric is not hard to find. A cotton voile, lawn or even a soft poplin could totally work too but then you just get a more voluminous look. Which can look fantastic but that was not what I was looking for this time. 

The small flower print was crazy hard to photograph but here is a close up. That helps a little bit I think.
I already mentioned that the waistband is one long rectangular strip. Those usually don't work on me because of my narrow waist. I'm literally not the same measurement at the top of the waistband as I am on the bottom (unless the waistband is very narrow of course). 
I do realize that this skirt is designed to sit at the true waist but I knew that I would use it more if I lowered it a bit. So I cut a size that fit that lower measurement, split my waistband in a front and back, kept the front waistband straight and then I use the slash and gather method to curve the back waistband juuuust a little bit. Success, great fit!

The sewing instructions which you find on the How To Do Fashion website, suggest you sew the waistband on the gathered skirt panels first and then insert a invisible zipper all the way through the waistband. As much as that is a great method, I don't have great experience doing it in narrow waistbands like this and even less in thin flimsy fabrics like this rayon. So I added an overlap in the front waistband's left wearer side, installed the invisible zipper before I sewed on the waistband to the gathered skirt panels and then in the end closed the waistband with a buttonhole/button. That worked great.

You can see that the bottom hem band on the shirt is flaring out from my body which is of course on purpose. The peplum pattern piece is of course drafted with the intent of adding volume to the lower part of the shirt, so it's a curved pattern piece.

I could have fitted the shirt more to my waist but I was worried that the mesh would not hold up very well in a slim fit garment plus I also liked the idea of more of a small jacket look.

The pattern both have side bust darts and darts from below the waist. That creates lots of room for a bust which is awesome! I don't really have any though, haha, so I made my darts a bit smaller both the side ones and the waist ones. Making the waist darts (or they are really pleats) smaller also helped with the no-so-fit-in-the-waist 'problem', so that was a two in one fix. If you do want the waist pleats smaller but still slim fit in your waist you just sew in the side seam. 

The How To Do Fashion's website has lots of amazing fitting advice for all the different patterns. Also for small bust, narrow shoulders etc. Find the one for No. 8 Svaneke HERE.

If I were to make it again I think I would draft a different collar. Not because there is anything technical wrong with this one. Not at all. But it is a combined collar and collar band pattern piece. So just one pattern piece. This is just a matter of personal taste but I like when they are separate. It sort of holds up the collar more plus I got some creases in the fold between collar and collar band. That could be caused by my choice of fabric and interfacing though. Hard to say.

I also wanted to show the shirt styled with jeans because I think that gives a bit of a different look. Btw I'm wearing a nude knit tank top under. I'm thinking a stripy or a solid contrast colored one could actually be fun too but I didn't have enough time or patience to experiment the day I took the photos.

I really think the fit is fabulous on this shirt. This is btw my general impression of How To Do Fashion's patterns. I have previously made all three versions of No. 3 Kastrup. See the blog post HERE.

Got to make sure the plackets are lined up for photos, haha. Check out THIS tutorial of mine to see the correct placement of buttons in vertical buttonholes. It might not be what you think?

Get your own No. 8 Svaneke pattern HERE.

Thank you!


  1. Beautiful details and fit. I appreciate your thoughtful review and geography lesson.

  2. Gorgeous shirt, I love the changes you made. How funny that it is named after the place you grew up.

  3. Beautiful Mie! I love the way it is. I know the design included the preplum, but this way is super prettier. Can we call it happy accident? The skirt is lovely too, the right length and that fabric looks lush!

  4. Wonderful post with so many great sewing tips (of course!!)! Totally worth the wait ;) I can't tell you how much I love this top. I am obsessed with it -- to the point where if I had seen it in a shop I would have bought it full price rather than waiting for the sale (hahaha, did I just give away how cheap I am in a public forum?). I love those pictures of Bornholm, too. What a beautiful place you grew up in!

  5. Oh I loved the geography lesson, such a beautiful place. Also, I find double gauze so hard to cut and sew with- yay it's not only me! Finally, I just love this so much, it's a little vintage but a whole lot of modern- the perfect combo. Oh and you look fab as always. <3

  6. I love it! it's quirky and retro and all sorts of cool! I would wear it to threads!

  7. Mie, I love this outfit! Every piece can be worn in so many ways. The blouse is the work of love for sure! I am glad you made it work, it looks fabulous :) Thank you for the geography lesson too :)

  8. Gosh I love your version of the top so much, perfect fabric pairing, I think I'm a bit obsessed with that mesh, did you sew it with French seams or...? What's your preferred way? This is totally one of my favourite outfits and looks fantastic on you!❤️❤️❤️

  9. That is really a gorgeous outfit! Love the shirt, the band on the bottom is a great choice! And I am just a little jealous of your waist. :)


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