I bought this fabric back in April of 2008, so I think it counts as fairly deep stash at a year and a half old. I bought it with the idea of making a skirt, but was totally not enthused by the idea and obviously didn't get around to it. Over time, I got the idea in my head that the fabric had an icky texture and I mentally wrote it off.
Then I had a sudden flash of inspiration to use it for this pattern with a bias cut lower band. I went hunting for it and thought I'd given it away in my Great Purge, but then I found it way back at the back of the shelf. And it turns out that it actually has a lovely hand, more beefy than an ITY knit but a very soft cottony texture (although I think it's actually poly). So then I was really excited to make the top!
When reviews for this top started showing up on Pattern Review I totally loved it (although my interest in the style was first piqued by Deb Thompson's review of New Look 6648 back at the end of 2006!), but didn't see the point in buying it because it would be soooo easy to draft. Of course, I knew I would never actually draft it. But then when I won the Refashion contest for my sweater hat the prize was a free pattern so I decided to pick it up, even though it would be soooo easy to draft and I was "wasting" my prize. And really, it would be easy to draft but you know what's easier? Using a pattern!
I was also inspired by the maternity wear of one of my co-workers (we had six pregnancies at once in my small division of around 36 people, so there was a lot of maternity fashion going on). She had a gray top similar to this style, but with more room for the belly of course. I thought it was very chic, and liked that it reversed the usual maternity style of more fitted on top and looser below. I complimented her on it one day and she said that her husband hated it and called it "The Sack." Men have no taste, LOL. Every time I saw her wearing "The Sack" it made me giggle to think of her husband asking, "Ugh, are you going to wear The Sack again today?"
This project, Burda 7866, was my first time sewing from a Burda envelope pattern, oddly. I found the directions more clear than in the magazine, and they were accompanied by helpful illustrations. The seam allowances are included, and are a standard American 5/8" (I wonder if they print different patterns in Europe with a different seam allowance?).
My dislike is that important information is printed on the pattern tissue--the cutting layout and the directory of symbols. I don't actually normally use either of those items, as I am familiar with symbols and jigger the cutting layout to fit my fabric, but in this case the upper bodice pattern piece is a little weird (it's hard to tell what are the sleeves and what is the lower edge) and I needed the cutting layout. I cut it off the tissue paper, but I hate that it is a fiddly little piece waiting to float off at the first deep sigh.
The neckline is bound in an interesting way to preserve the boat shape. Inexplicably, one of the neck binding pieces is about 1/8 inch longer than the other. They are treated fungibly in the instructions, so it's very unclear what the purpose of that small difference in length might be. I also found the bindings skimpy for the 5/8" seam the pattern is drafted for. They are only 1 1/8" (or 9/8 of an inch) wide, and if you sew them to the neck with a 5/8 seam that leaves you only half an inch to turn to the inside and stitch down. The illustrations seem to show a more substantial turned under binding, but nowhere does it say to use a narrower stitch at the neck. If I made this again I would definitely widen those bindings, and also cut both from the slightly longer piece (piece #5).
I shortened the lower pieces at the lengthen/shorten line to suit my frame. And having just made a BWOF that turned out way too large somehow, I decided to cut a 36 at the hip instead of my usual 38. However, the lower band still turned out way too large. My fabric isn't *that* substantial (not like a double knit) so to get the lower band to stay in place rather than just melting under the weight of the upper bodice (I think it looks best if it blouses over a little) it needs to be quite fitted with negative ease. I ended up taking a total of four inches of width off the lower band. Now it's snug but definitely not tight, and the band stays in place. Perhaps this is a design choice rather than a drafting error--the model's pose on the envelope (shown at right) makes it hard to tell how they envisioned this fitting.
I had only a yard of fabric and the pattern calls for 1.5 yards, but I didn't really have any trouble cutting it out. I liked that I had only small scraps leftover--easy to throw away! In the end, I'm not sure that cutting the lower band on the bias was the right choice, because I feel like it shows the bulge of my tummy more than a straight plaid line would. I happened to place one of the lower band pieces (there are two lower band pattern pieces but they are identical) so that the pattern is centered, and this one is the worst, so I wear it at the back. I love that this top is the same front and back, there's something hilarious about it.
With this project, I felt I was back to the good ol' days. I started it around 4:30 Friday afternoon before I was set to meet up with friends to go to a trendy wine bar around 8:30 or 9. It was a race against the clock, but the clock didn't stand a chance because it's so easy. I was done by 7, even with having to take apart the seam between upper and lower bodice, tighten the lower bodice, and sew it back together.
I totally LOVE this top now that I've finally gotten around to making it. It is very "now," trendy, and chic. And by "chic" I mean it will be a "what was I thinking?" piece in about three years. Heh. However, I am of the opinion that if you wear a garment knowing that it is a little silly and will eventually be horrifyingly dated, you probably won't look back on it with shame, but with a little bit of chuckling nostalgia at how much fun we had looking silly.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.
Gretchen the Household Deity