Category Archives: My life

Stuff I sewed …

So you think I’m not sewing.

You are actually right. You’d think that being a sewing pattern designer and teacher would mean that you got to sew all the time. But in reality, most days are spend at the computer, writing, doing taxes, editing, preparing for workshops etc.. And then of course I sew samples and muslins of my future patterns.

But every once in a while I find a slot of time (and energy. Let’s be honest. Most days, it’s not time, that is the biggest concern. If I have time to watch tv or re-read yet another crime novel, I’d have time to sew) and get a bit of sewing for me done.

Anyway. Here are a couple of things I sewed over the last weeks:

First: Another Olivia Oversize Tee.

Olivia Oversize tee in slightly over-the-top animal print

Olivia Oversize tee in slightly over-the-top animal print

I love to wear my Olivias. They are soft and comfortable and look great. Love them, I say!

The fabric: I got this zebra/leo/black/white print a while ago (August, I think?)  when I was just popping into the local fabric store to get something completely different. This just had to come with me, but I didn’t get muck fabric (It was less than a meter) – I think I had thought it wanted to be a Day to Night top.

But  as you know, plans change, and I had just enough to make a short sleeved version of the Olivia, only I had to make the narrow sleeve ribbing instead of the wide.


Second: Dress trousers.

Notice the left inseam at the thigh. I really need to get the ripper out

The pattern is one I drafted for my trouser-fitting workshop. They are simple slacks with back darts, straight legs and a zipper at either centre back or the side seam.

The fabric is a lovely grey-ish rayon/wool blend. It ravels all over the place and is very fluid, but drapes nicely.

The story: I wanted to tissue fit and pin fit these trousers (instead of just using my already fitted pattern to create the trousers I wanted) to practice and to remember how hard it can be to fit  sometimes.

See - it's even worse from the back. But you know.. Ripping! Hate it!

See – it’s even worse from the back. But you know.. Ripping! Hate it!

I followed the method I talk about in the trouser fitting series and had the pattern tissue fitted. Then I cut it with plenty of seam allowance, sewed the centre front and centre back seam (including the invisible zipper) and pin fitted. As you can see, I slacked a little when I sewed it up, though, the lines on the left back leg is probably because I accidentally kind of lifted up the back inseam at that side. Well. It’s close enough. I should rip it and redo it, but really. I’ve had enough for now:-) Maybe next week…

What am I sewing-for-me next, you wonder? I think I’m going for a batch of new Birgitte tees. And I have a Burda blazer ready to cut as well. And maaaaayyyyyybe just one more Olivia!



The Great London Trip!

It’s been almost two weeks since I was in London, already – Now I better tell you something about it!

First of all – I had a fabulous trip! I stayed at an airbnb which allowed me to live at Portobello Road for a forth of what it would have been had I stayed in a hotel – and also, it was a great experience, staying with locals! I highly recommend!

Portobello Green

Saturday I met up with Karin from Sweden. We’ve known each other for a long time and met at the first Patternreview European meet-up. We had coffee and then walked through Portobello Road looking at all the great stalls and shops. (My host later told me that there is a really good fabric vendor there (close to the Portobello Green) who has his stall up on Fridays! He apparently buys fabric from design houses in France and sells cuts at a really good price. Next time I’m going to go there on a Friday!!!) And we stumbled across yarnbombing at Portobello Green! We had to hug the trees!

Then we went to Islington (Angel tube station). What a lovely area! We walked around a bit and browsed the shops and stalls and suddenly we were right in front of the Loop yarn store! We had to go in, of course – having heard so much about it – and we might also have shopped a tiny bit…

Next up was Ray-Stitch. Great shop – and I got some pins etc and was very tempted to get some liberty jersey. I didn’t though, and now I so regret it. It was lovely and in greenish and teal toner. Would have been absolutely perfect for me!

Anyway.. I was there to meet Stephanie from Starcross Sewing for an interview. She is doing this thing where she sews from a new indie pattern company each month and then interview and review the products. Go visit her – she is having a give-away of one of my patterns!

Stephanie and me

The rest of the evening was spend with wine and dinner and when I returned home to my room, my host and her friends invited me to have cheese and wine with them. That was really interesting and they were very kind. I went to bed soon though because Sunday was the big Patternreview meet-up!

First of course I had to figure out what to wear:
prday outfit
Words can not really convey what a Patternreview meet-up is like. And neither can pictures, I’m afraid. It’s like being with your bests of friends and you just talk and talk and talk and have a great time. We started out talking about sewing but eventually we were covering other subjects such as husbands, driving, politics and pubic hair (yes, really, but that was a lot later and after a Gin & Tonic or two…)..


But before that, we were at the V&A and spend some lovely hours sitting outside in the sun and having lunch and just talking sewing. Later we went to Liberty’s (yes, I bought a piece of souvenir fabric) and after that some of us went to a pub for some drinks (and this is where the talking evolved somehow).. You can hear about the V&A – and my interview with Deepika from Patternreview in the latest episode of the twinneedle podcast.


I am so happy I finally got to meet Deepika – founder of We’ve known each other and talked via e-mails and on Skype for ages, and strangely it didn’t feel like we were strangers at all. It felt like we were friends, who had just seen each other last week, and will see each other again in a couple of weeks.

More wine and dinner on Sunday evening (a great Turkish restaurent in Lamberth!) and Monday I spend walking around London (I love doing the London Walks!) and then met up with Karin again for a lovely afternoon tea, before I caught the flight back home.

tea time

Can you tell I had a great time? I only wish I had been able to meet Rachel (House of Pinheiro) and Karen (Did you Make That) and Winnie (Scruffy Badger) and other bloggers as well. Well, I’m hoping to come back to London in January. See you then?

Oh, by the way… I’m in London!

I just realized that I have not told you about the plans for this week-end..


Well. I’m in London to be at the meet-up at the V&A Sunday. (Oh, if you can – you should totally come! It’s going to be awesome!!!)

I am staying here until Monday evening, meeting up with friends and bloggers and maybe also doing some of the fabulous London walks!

Will I see you here?

The Last Skirts of Summer!

How are you? It’s been some time, but teaching season has begun here – and I’ve been lucky enough to get quite a few classes and workshops at the community college. Besides teaching a bit of fitting, sewing and knitting, I’m teaching English and IT for senior citizens, and I love being able to wear my teaching wardrobe (with high heels!) again!

So I have been sewing a tiny bit for fun (and I didn’t take any decent pictures because I just wanted to sew!) – and just before summer ended (it ended last week, FYI), I decided I needed some new summer skirts. You know – the very last minute kind.
skirts by MariaDenmark

First up: The drape skirts.

You have seen these. They were all over the place last year, and I’ve seen some in stores this season as well. I like the drape – and when I finally figured out how to make them, I had to make a couple. Seriously – They took like 30 minutes each to make.

The first one ended up a little on the short side. I hadn’t taken into consideration that the drape actually takes up some of the length… As much as I love that one, I’m not really able to wear it outside the house – and especially not at the fabric store where I bend over a lot:-)

I really like the grey one with the ribbing (the others I just make a casing with elastic), and will try it out wearing it with tights – I don’t know if it will work or if it will get stuck. But anyway – I’ll let you know, and it’s great for wearing when it’s really warm!

As I said – really simple to make… Do you want a tutorial Tutorial HERE :-)


Secondly: The 50’s skirt muslin

I’ve had this pattern in my head for some time and had made the first draft of the pattern. I hadn’t had time to work much on my own patterns this summer, so I decided to see if I could make a wearable muslin from it. The aqua twill was perfect – even though it wrinkles somewhat easily.

I’ve made some alterations to the pattern and now I’m ready to try a winter version – in a herringbone wool with a satin lining.It would also be brilliant in a fake leather, don’t you think???



When in Rome.. (and also – a winner!)

So last Sunday, my husband came to me and said: “Tomorrow afternoon we are going to Rome to celebrate our anniversary Tuesday.”


We always go some where on our anniversary – but usually just in the immediate surroundings i.e. in Denmark or somewhere in Scandinavia. But since no one sensible goes to Rome in August (it’s warm! and there are no swimming pools!) it’s actually  a lot cheaper to get airline tickets and a hotel there than to drive and get a hotel here. So Dennis went to work in the morning and I took the train in the afternoon to meet him at the airport.

All roads lead to Rome, you see…

And off we went. And 3 hours later, we were at the hotel. I highly recommend this place, BTW. Very centrally placed (200 m from the Trevi fountain), Very designed, very Italian – Check out our brand new room (they had just opened these rooms the Friday before):

It’s leopard print fabric on the walls, people! You would have thought I had ordered it, but no! That’s just what we got! I know! Perfect!

So we went to dinner at a place that was recommended by the receptionist (we arrived at 10 pm – no problems, that’s when the Romans eat, and you know: When in Rome…. (also it was 30 degrees C. At 10 pm!). Delicious and very fair priced! Also nice wine.

Next morning – our anniversary – and first of two days we had in Rome. We had booked a tour at the Vatican. And that posed the first problem: To cover my knees and shoulders (as you need to do in the churches). In that kind of heat! I had tweeted and asked for help on Sunday and got some hints, but every dress I had that covered my knees was too thick for the warmth in Rome – so I ended up just buying a jersey skirt, which turned out to be perfect!
Listen! If you go to Rome (or Bali) – or somewhere else where you need to cover your knees in 30 degrees humid warmth – Make a quick stretch jersey skirt, elastic waist, preferably rayon. That’s what I’m bringing next time I go something warm. I didn’t much like the one I ended up buying (it was less than 10 Euro, so it was okay), but it was comfortable enough + (big bonus) if you make it maxi length, you can wear it with comfortable flat sandals!!! + (also bonus) you can roll it up and keep it in your purse, and when you need to wear it, you can just put in on over your shorts!

[I’m wearing a leo print oversize tee (pattern may come..) tied at the lower waist. feeling v 80s! And slightly out of my comfort zone]

Later we went to the Trevi fountain and threw a coin and to the Spanish Steps for drinks, then had dinner on a great restaurant somebody had recommended to us.
Anyway. Rome wasn’t seen – or build –  in a day, but we got close to see it all in two (no, not really)!

We interrupt with a fun language lesson: In Danish Rome (Rom) and rum (rom, the drink) is spelled and pronounced exactly the same. This has led to my mother turning the phrase “Rome wasn’t build in a day” into “Rum wasn’t drunk in one day”. I don’t know if this is just for my family… but alas…

2013-08-07 10.58.20

[In front of the Pantheon. Wearing no me-mades. Very rare thing to happen]

On the second day, we went walking all over Rome to cover all the places my mom had texted me I had to see (yes, I’m 38 in less than 3 weeks, but she’s still my mommy…): Pantheon, Colloseum, Piazza Navona, Forum Romanum etc, and walked to the island in Tiber and across that to get to a small restaurent in the Travestere area, also recommended to us. We had the best pasta there. It was truly amazing!

Obelix always said: They are crazy, those Romans. I didn’t meet anyone particular crazy this time around, all though I must admit that the shoes on the Roman women (walking on cobblestone, mind you) were crazy high, but we met a lot of nice and friendly Romans – and I think we will be back (but maybe not in August).

It was a great anniversary. I can’t believe we have been married for 8 years already.

2013-08-06 17.13.50

[8 years!]

And now: The winner!

The tired husband volunteered to play Lady Luck and here are the results:
Congratulations, Anna! I will mail it to you on Friday!

Here’s Edith: (you could win fabric!)


After months of drawing, drafting, cutting, printing, sewing, muslining, correcting, sewing and finally grading and writing (and you guys waiting), Edith is ready!

I was first inspired to draft and sew the Edith blouse, when I was looking through a photo album with pictures of my paternal grandmother (“Farmor” in Danish) from the mid 50s. So I named it after her.

This is one of the few pics I have at home of my grandmother Edith in the mid 50s. She's on the left with my uncle standing and my father in the stroller. It's her sister wearing a dress with a rounded lapel and collar on the right.

This is one of the few pics I have at home of my grandmother Edith in the mid 50s. She’s on the left with my uncle standing and my father in the stroller. It’s her sister wearing a dress with a rounded lapel and collar on the right.

Unlike what you see in tv series and movies, the dresses my farmor and her sisters wore were not as moviestar elegant and had much less width in the skirts. But the rounded collar and lapel details were really flattering and was just what I wanted. I didn’t intend then to make a pattern to sell, but when the people on twitter said they wanted one, I decided to give it a go.


Relaxing after the photo shoot. That’s my bathroom window behind me – with shampoo bottles etc.. ahem…

And here she is, finally!

So what is she like? Why should you make your own Edith?

Well, she is an absolutely timeless blouse or shirtdress, with softly rounded collar and lapels and is very flattering to all body shapes. She gently skims the curves, and you can wear her anywhere for any occasion – with out ever getting tired of her company.

Wear the blouse with skinny jeans or trousers for work or play and the knee length dress for a night out or for shopping, depending on your fabric choice. Put on a close fitting  cardigan to match the style in the autumn and winter. For hourglass or pear body shapes: Wear a belt with the dress to emphasise your tiny waist.

So how can you get this lovely pattern? As always, it’s available on MariaDenmark |, on and on

Oh, and I promised that you can win fabric!

That’s right! If you like the blouse I’m wearing at the picture above, you can win enough of the exact same fabric (95 cm of red polka dot cotton poplin) to make your own + some extras!


Here’s how: Talk about this pattern and/or share this blog post link (you can use the buttons at the end of this post) on Twitter, Facebook or on your blog and leave a comment telling me you did so before midnight CET August 10th 2013, and I’ll draw a winner randomly next Sunday..

Kittens And Cushions

Sorry to overwhelm you with cuteness, but take a look:

Kitten cuteness

I KNOW. Cute, right?

So this adorable kitten (still no name, any suggestions?) is an orphan kitten who was all alone and calling from the bushes in my garden all day long (this was two weeks ago). I heard her first time when I was sitting working in my office at about 2 in the afternoon. I registered that there a´was a kitten calling, and didn’t think about it any more as there are plenty of cats in the neighbour farm and they do of course sometimes wander into our garden as well. Well. When I was hanging up laundry at 5 pm, I heard the kitten cry again. I thought the kitten had been there a long time, but decided I would give the mother cat some peace and quiet to get her kitten, so I went back inside. At 7 pm I couldn’t take it anymore. The kitten was still crying, and I started pulling up the nettles and other weeds blocking the way to teh fence from where I could hear the crying. An hour later I found the small kitten (weighing less than 300 grams) and took her inside. SHe was terrified. ANd dehydrated. It was a Friday evening, but I called my vet anyway and he said I should give the kitten some milk mixed with a raw egg yolk. I had a syringe from when I had been feeding kittens before, so I gave her something to drink, and that’s about the time when she decided to give humans a chance.

Based on the weight, we would have guessed she was about 3 weeks old, but I think she was a little older. The very next day she was able to eat from a plate (cod eggs mixed with yoghurt) and use a litter box.

So, this has been taking a lot of my time recently, as well as teaching some great t-shirt workshops and
doing tons of translating and working on patterns.

Oh yes – and then there is this

{Not pretty - Yet! The bags are filled with cut fabric and finished cushion covers. I have 5 to go. Then I will have paid for the pretty sewing machine}

{Not pretty – Yet! The bags are filled with cut fabric and finished cushion covers. I have 5 to go. Then I will have paid for the pretty sewing machine}

The cushions I’m making for my mother’s couch. We all know that home dec is not my favourite thing, but can I just say – I’m getting the hang of it and I’m almost done. While my parents are travelling next week, I’ll go to their apartment and put the covers on the couch and I’ll remember to get a pic!

Oh, and then the other thing(s) that’s keeping me off line: The garden and the fact that we are experiencing a very nice summer here. In Denmark you never know with the weather, so when the weather is nice, you go outside as much as you can, it’ll be cold before we know it…

Here’s my garden right now (I took these pics half an hour ago). Dennis in enjoying reading a new book (and he usually only reads fiction when on holiday) and I’m ready for a dip in the pool.


I have a lot of sewing planned, though. Just waiting for finishing those cushions!

Photo shoot day!

IMG_4801 by mariadenmark
IMG_4801, a photo by mariadenmark on Flickr.

Today is photo shoot day and the chickens kept getting in the way. So I called them and they followed me to the coop. The photographer was very amused!I’m wearing the Just a Tank Top to be released this week-end!

WoW! It’s June allready! – More Me-Mades

Important notice for anyone who already got the Birgitte Basic Tee: Go download it again! I made a new and prettier better version of the pattern sheet (and so much easier to assemble!) and also updated the instructions.

Well, times flies when you’re having fun – as they say. And I AM having fun. Rambling ahead…

I’m very busy at the moment with translating gigs, drafting for others (getting paid to do so)  and teaching a great big bunch of T-shirt Workshops at night. Not that much time left for my own patterns – not to mention sewing or blogging about it.. (and then of course, there are still days in the fabric store…)


{And then the cat needed surgery – and I did sew: I sewed her a shirt/cape to keep her from biting the stitches – I present: Super Cat}

But I AM having fun! I get to make money talking, writing and drawing about sewing. And that is exactly what I quit my school teaching job for!


{One of the most worn combinations – jeans (or me-made shorts), Me-Made tank top and cardigan. Here at the hairdresser with my hairdressers Zanni (in the US tee) and Belinda}

Anyway. The Me-Made-May. I did a little better than last year in that I actually wore Me-Mades every day of May. But I didn’t do posts about it – or even upload to the Flickr Group – and that was sort of the point. But here is my sum-up:


Yixi, an online acquaintances and long time customers became a RL friend when she visited me in Denmark in May. The crazy eyes/smile is just me being super excited – and not very photogenic… I’m wearing me-made tank top

I wore a lot of me-made t-shirts and tank tops with jeans (not me-made) and shorts. I only wore my wide legged trousers once, and the skirts only appeared a couple of times as well. But my Minoru rain-jacket was a staple throughout May as was all my knit fabric dresses – Especially my Audreys – they were great when I needed something a little more dressy – like when I actually left the office in my house..

So, anyway. I hope you are still here – and I also just want to let you know that I’m in the process of editing all my pattern sheets (finally got a hang on how to fix the width of the lines) to make them prettier, easier to use and a lot easier to assemble. For now I’ve (as I said in the beginning of the post) edited the Birgitte Basic Tee and if you already bought it (in my shop or at you should re-download it. Go ahead!

Me made May 6th – and a modification of the lounge trousers

Monday (MMM day 6) saw me wearing my favourite pair of Laura Lounge Trousers. I haven’t shown them on the blog before – so it’s about time. Especially since these still very comfortable lounge trousers can actually be worn outside the house (For grocery shopping – and they were perfect when I wore them on the plane) – and they are very easy to copy.


I made these trousers in a grey sweatshirt fabric with dark grey ribbing. In short what I did was that I added patch pockets with zippers on top of the side seams, and added cuffs to the hem.

Here’s how:

I used MariaDenmark Laura Lounge Trousers and cut it per the pattern – except I shortened each leg by 3 cm.


For the pockets I cut 2 pieces of 16 cm x 13 cm (converter to imperial can be found here) and 2 pieces of 16 cm x 6 cm (to have two sets for two pockets). I pressed 1 cm under at the top of the large piece and the bottom of the smaller piece so that they now measured 16 cm x 12 cm and 16 cm x 5 cm. I then stitched the zippers in place. (not very straight, though. I considered pretending to you guys that I had had some child help me with the stitching – but really: It was just me in a rush to get these finished and I didn’t even notice until later..)

Then I overlocked (serged) around the edge of each pocket.

I had already sewn the side seam of each leg, but not the inseams. I placed the pockets where I wanted them (I just held up the trousers and decided and then pinned the pockets in place). I made sure the placement was the same on both legs, then I stitched just on top of the overlock seam.


Then I just did as the pattern says – inseam, crotch seam, waistband.

For the cuffs I cut 2 pieces of ribbing 25 cm x 15 cm, stitched the seam and folded and pressed it wrong sides together (just like the waistband).


I then sewed to rows of gathering stitches (long stitch length and loose needle thread tension) to the hem of each leg and gathered each hem to fit a cuff. I made sure to align the cuff seam with the inseam and to match the raw edges. I then stitched the cuffs to the hems, pressed the seam allowances up, and voila!


Monday was work-at-Mariadenmark-day so I was at the computer doing patternmaking stuff all morning, then at the post office and then had lunch with my husband at a café. Then I went home and the sun was out and it was lovely (20 degrees C (68 F)) so I went to work in the garden. I had planned to do some sewing later, but instead we made a bonfire to get rid of all the twigs and ended up cooking dinner on the bonfire.