Lately I've been on a mission to make some comfortable tops that I can wear to work on casual Fridays. An added challenge is the coming colder weather, as well as the fact that my office is also quite cold. Although jeans and sweatshirts are perfectly acceptable, I find myself wanting to step it up a notch.
I rediscovered this pattern while poring over back issues searching for something else. And I remembered this houndstooth ponte which I originally ordered "on spec" to possibly be made up into a shift dress. When it arrived, it didn't speak shift dress to me, so into the stash it went.
I figured why not give it a try with this pattern. I was hoping for a warm, snuggly top that was casual enough to wear with jeans, yet different enough to be work appropriate and not look like just another sweatshirt.
Here is the original top from the Burda issue. As you can see the fabric used is very lightweight and semi sheer. I knew going in that my heavier ponte might not give me the desired results, but I decided to forge ahead and go with my gut.
The pattern itself is quite clever. And EASY. This is the illustrated sewing course from that particular issue and the course, although quite helpful, could be simplified even more. It walks the beginning sewist through thread tracing the facing and the lines at the sides where the front edges line up, but none of that is necessary. You can literally just fold and baste.
All of that gathering at the neckline is the result of the long back yoke which scrunches up and falls in soft folds around the neck when worn. There is not a gathering stitch to be had in this pattern. All of the seams are straight or very gently curved, and of course, in a knit, gentle curves are a snap to sew.
I assumed when I decided on this pattern, that I would need a cami or a t-shirt underneath, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that my neckline came out very modest- no cami or even safety pins needed. This is probably due at least in part to my heavier fabric, which doesn't drape as much as whatever was used for the model. It's also possible that the magazine version fits the super slim fashion model more loosely...
You can see the seaming in the back below. The yokes are cut in one piece with the fronts. You fold one neck facing down and then wrap the other around it and sew the CB seam. When you pull the one facing out of the other, they both automatically fall into place with a nice enclosed seam and finished neck edge. All that is left at that point is to sew the lower back piece on with one long, slightly curved seam.
The pattern is offered in sizes 34 to 42. I graded up to a 44 at the bust and on to a 46 at the hip. It was very easy because all I really had to do was add to the side seams. I made my customary 3/8" petite adjustment above the bust and added 1 5/8" of length at the waist. Once I got everything basted together and tried it on, I realized that I really should not have added to the length at all. This pattern is drafted long. That's the first time I've run into this problem with a Burda pattern.
The extra length really worked against me. The pattern has definite waist shaping and is very straight at the hip, which you can see in the mannequin photo and the tech drawing. Not only did the top turn out way too long, but when I trimmed it to the desired length (I removed about 2.5") I ended up with some of the side hip flare at the hem. You can see it in a couple of the photos above. I really should go back and trim the sides to be a bit straighter and fix the hem.
I also shortened the sleeves by about 3 inches. They are drafted extra long. My arms are short and I didn't need the extra fabric calling attention to that fact.
The front is literally two mirrored pieces laid one on top of the other and you can see above that most of the front is two layers. I knew that could be a problematic with the heavier ponte knit fabric, but I also knew that warmth was a major consideration and I really like the way the ponte worked for this top. I wore this to work to road test it and it really was warm and comfortable, snuggly even, all day long. I felt like I was wearing a sweatshirt, but no one else knew because it didn't look like a sweatshirt.
I am seriously thinking of making this again and removing the extra waist length. I would also remove some of the back yoke length. You can't really see in the photos, but I get some bunching at the high back where there is just too much fabric and not enough neck to distribute it along. I highly recommend a muslin even though the top is super easy. I wish I had made one because I could have avoided these two issues and had a better garment. I still have a wearable garment, though, and wear it I will.
In other sewing news, I have four projects cut out and waiting to be sewn: A top and a dress for the Princess, and a top and a dress for me. There will soon be more sweatshirt action here at House of Frog.