Wearable Muslin Style 117 Burda 2/2000

When first issued, this pattern did nothing for me.  It was totally not-special. That’s because of Burda’s photographic philosophy.  IMO, their pictures failed to illustrate an interesting garment choosing instead to focus on a feeling of sexy. This blouse was illustrated twice in posts of dark red and dark blue. Neither pose reveals the design lines let alone fit. Fast forward to this year.  I was looking for summery styles drafted for woven garments. I don’t look at the magazine glossies during a hunt for a pattern. I look at my scans of the center illustrated pages. Then check the fabric requirements. Then decided to make this cute style.

Unfortunately I had an issue. The largest size is given is  2 sizes smaller than they recommend for me. Typically I prefer more ease and have to make Burda garments one size larger than recommended. Now, there are people who have no issues grading up. But for me grading just adds to an already  long process. If I grade patterns, I have to trace the pattern, then grade up then apply my personal, standard alterations the 1″ NSA and BWLs. Then  on Burda patterns I need to check for neckline depth. I actually had this pattern on my radar last year, but didn’t decide to do the work until this year… and it’s not done yet.

Instead of tracing and grading up, I found a Woven T style in Ottobre Design to fit. Otto 2/2014 #5 is a shell with vertical back darts and horizontal bust darts. It is cap sleeved with a scooped neck.  I could have used the Vintage Blouse for my purposes. But I feel like there are subtle differences in draft between a blouse and a shell that would cause me to be dissatisfied.  Also having changed sizes again, I wanted to test how the suggested sizing would work with my sizing. I did quickly compare the traced Otto 2/2014#5 with the Vintage Blouse. Assured there would be enough ease, I traced, cut fabric and finished the Woven T. I was pretty pumped about the fit. During wear it felt like a little too much ease across the front upper bodice. You know that area between neck and bust points. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see how to apply my NSA because the shoulder was drafted so narrow.  Still, I thought this Otto pattern would be a good place to start the new  Burda.

I wanted to try a differed method of grading/fitting. I’ve seen this done and read about it, but not tried myself.  I don’t think it has a name. It starts with a shell fitted to your preferences. That means, you can take the tissue pieces and with no further adjustments cut and sew woven non-stretch fabric into a shell that fits your body the way you like it. Generally this means

  1. All your personal standard adjustments have been made
  2. The highest neckline you are comfortable wearing is indicated (I also like to note my lowest)
  3. The perfect length plus hem allowance
  4. Slim-fit, long sleeves that are comfortable.
  5. For maximum flexibility, such a shell would include all the darts, front and back vertical fish-eyes and horizontal bust

IOW You should be able to complete a garment for which you can find nothing wrong (color doesn’t count).  For me I’m starting with my Woven T understanding that I still need to work on that sleeve and the ease across the upper bodice.

  • Step 1 Take this perfect, basic pattern and copy it.  I pulled out the tracing paper, put the pattern on top and rotary cut a new version.  I traced the darts and waist markings.
  • Step 2 Trace a copy of the new pattern.
  • Step 3 Quarter the new pattern i.e. cut the pattern in half vertically and then cut those pieces in half horizontally.
  • Step 4 Place the quartered portions of Step 3  on top of the Step 1 pattern and tape into place. This step is the most challenging. The patterns need to be aligned along the side , shoulder, hem and center lines but the waist and bust points also need to align. My new Burda has a cut-on center placket which hung over the Otto Woven T in front. I couldn’t find all the waist markings; and because I always need to shorten the back waist length, the new Burda pattern over lapped in the center. But dang, this was quick.


This method works in reverse as well. I mean you can grade down instead of up. For grading up the pieces are cut and spread apart. Grading down,  the pattern pieces will all be overlapped and can be folded instead of cut.

This method could be used for usual fitting as well as grading and is especially helpful if  your patterns need multiple adjustments to fit. Instead of tracing the pattern and applying personal, standard adjustment, trace the  Perfect Pattern; trace the new pattern; slash or fold the new pattern to fit the Perfect pattern. I may try this.  After all, once I get my basic patterns to fit I often simply “borrow” the design detail and use them with my Perfect Pattern. See, I’ve learned that  my shape is MY_SHAPE. So that means whatever pattern I use, its shape must be altered to MY_SHAPE at some point or I’m not going to be happy with the fit. If I don’t like the fit, I’m not wearing the garment.  The interesting note is that once a pattern is altered to my shape, it looks remarkably similar to MY_BASIC_PATTERN.

One of the funniest to me stories I’ve read was Debbie Cook’s post about her what happened after she created the perfect pant. I don’t have the link but I can summarize. She spent ages working on a single pant pattern until it fit just the way she wanted. It took a long time. Many yards of fabric were sacrificed in search of the perfect pant. She took a brief break from pant fitting ’cause a gals got to have  tops too and then decided she needed another pair of pants. (A gal needs more than one pair of pants.)  But this time she thinks to herself that it should be easier and quicker to fit a new pattern because she learned a lot about her shape as well as pants and how pants fit and won’t be wasting time or fabric making the same mistakes.  That was ton of knowledge acquired from great effort and some cost. It should make a real difference. So she starts with a new pant pattern. It does indeed seem to be a quicker and easier process. Not painless (maybe not painful either) because she knows that certain alterations are needed. She bites the bullet and makes the necessary adjustments before cutting  fabric. The new pair of pants is a success. They fit with minor adjustments. Debbie decides to transfer these minor adjustments back to the pattern. But wait, the new pattern looks strangely familiar. She pull out the tissue from the pants that-took-forever-to-fit.  The pants where she learned about fitting, her shape and pants. The pants that….  I digress…   The tissues are nearly exactly the same. The difference is a detail (think it was a pocket opening but I could be wrong). I laughed and laughed. Right here in front of my PC I laughed out loud. But it made a wonderful point to me: my shape is my shape ergo patterns that fit the way I like are probably very similar. 

I wasn’t entirely sure of the process just completed. I wanted a quick double-check. I pinned the tissue pieces on Mimie, my dressform. Actually they looked a little generous. I’ve overstuffed Mimie. It makes for a deep cushy place to just pop pins into. The downside is that I can’t tell exactly about the ease.  If it fits Mimie perfectly, it’s going to be slightly loose on me. If it fits perfectly on me, it will practically burst the seams on Mimie. This tissue was perfect from neck to empire line and had extra ease from there to the hem. I decide to add the NSA even though part of it falls into the neckline and to raise the neckline.  I continue to fuss about Burda’s necklines. I can’t believe that European women prefer necklines that end just above the navel.  I raised the neckline 3″. I don’t want to show any cleavage. This is to be a light-weight blouse; comfortable for summer.  I don’t want to wonder if the neighbor, handyman or grocery man is trying for a peek….

As usual a quick post has expanded. My fault. I don’t talk so much but I seem to write forever.  Tomorrow I’ll share the rest of the process and the final fit.



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