Originally published August 12, 2011
.I’m in love with cowl necklines. I have one Butterick pattern 5472 which I truly love but the shoulder line and deeper cowl of 116 caught my eye and wanted to be made.
For some reason, every pattern in this issue (that I look at to actually make) uses stretch sateen. I don’t have much of that. I do have many knit fabrics and have decided to use a luscious rayon poly Lycra in pastel orange. Well maybe pastel is not the right adjective. This is a clear orange, orange, But not bright and yet it’s not really pastel. It’s a clear orange somewhere between orange orange and pastel orange. Hopefully picture shows accurately both here and at your house too.
I’ve changed my sewing procedures slightly hoping for better results from Burda patterns. Oh yes, I get nice garments, but they are never what Burda showed, sometimes not even close. Sometimes that’s intentional. Sometimes I’m interested in only a detail. Most of the time my alterations have been the result of fit issues. But too many times, my garments are a miss because I did something wrong. Like I missed a tick mark on the pattern or did not read that a piece should be cut on the bias. So I’ve changed my procedure. It goes like this:
- find style I want to make
- read directions noting details
- choose fabric
- Check with Sewing Angels at SG
- trace pattern
- compare with known fitting garment
- trim, pin together and check on Mimie.
- cut fabric
Sigh, so far I’m not doing much better than when I started but at least I’m making the effort. This style 116 was a bear to trace. First, I really want to make either high hip or tunic length. I didn’t want to make a dress. So that’s a minus against me. This pattern is laid out on Sheet C in red ink and 3 different pieces but there are only 2 total pieces. Which means that 2 of the 3 pieces have join lines. OK OK, I found the lines and traced. I traced a little longer than what I want and for the life of me couldn’t find the pocket lines. I’m pretty sure I can duplicate those on my own. But geesh, I’m looking for them. I should be able to find them. Nope ‘nother score against me. I also found the waist tick on the back but not the front. I need that tick mark. Another score against me. Then I want to check the fit against pattern that I know fits. In most patterns, I’m not tracing the design detail from the new pattern (no matter the pattern maker i.e. Burda, Vogue, Butterick etch) onto tissue over a known pattern. It’s the dressmaking sandwich I detailed several posts ago. It helps me skip a lot of fitting hassles. Even with the sandwich, I still pin the tissue together and check on Mimie. She tells me things about neckline and shoulder widths and helps me see the 3 dimensional garment I will be creating. I always have to do these things realizing that fabric will not act the same as tissue and be prepared to make final changes. Often though, I’m happy with the final result even if it is a little different from what I envisioned and so I leave well enough alone.
For this pattern though I was really concerned about the fit. How could I tell if that cowl was going to be too wide? How could I figure out how long to make the sides to have the length I desired? I traced the Burda pattern and then started trying to trace the style details onto my Butterick pattern. I must have spent an hour just smoothing comparing and making tick marks on the two patterns trying to copy the details from Burda to Butterick when I realized that all I might need is 1/4″ ease and seam allowances for the Burda to fit. I traced a 42 because the 42 is exactly my hip and bust measurements. This is becoming routine. I mean I trace the 42 because it should fit but when I compare to a known fitting pattern I add 1/4-1/2″ and the final garment is fine. I think I like just a little more ease than Burda allows (but still less than the Big 4 for whom I habitually trace one size smaller than recommended.)
I made 2 of these tops. The first one is a wadder and in the recycle bin. Totally my fault. I should have read Burda’s instructions this time. But who knew this would be the one time Burda’s instructions would be accurate and clear?? The cowl facing becomes a turtle neck in the back. To accomplish this you sew the vertical ends together and then fold in half meeting the raw edges with the back neckline. Then you stitch through all 3 layers (upper and lower collar and back of blouse) from shoulder to shoulder. I didn’t do this. When I finished the first I had this huge detached back collar. I tried fixing that with some joining stitches and a little hand sewing. But in the end, it didn’t work and needed to be ripped out. Rats! Instead of ripping I had enough fabric and simply cut a second blouse. I serge finished the cowl facing, both times, before sewing anything to anything. It was the right thing to do. I also serge finished the hem and the armscyes. But I turned and stitched the armscyes so that I would have a clean finish. I did not turn and finish the hem. I regret that I could not get the pockets worked into this design because as cut it is too short. Yet it seems a little long. I haven’t decided if it’s finished. I may want to turn up the hem and even tack the cowl into place.
So far the pics I’ve shown have been on Mimie as I’ve actually worn this garment. Frankly, the front cowl creates a massive mess and way too much ease. Plain, unstyled, this top is unflattering on me:
(getting a little round shouldered with age)
I will always be wearing a vest, cardigan, or jacket. As worn with the vest, I receive many compliments on the top. I was delighted with the many ways the cowl can be styled and fixed up a slide show to share with you.
This was an easy garment to make. My fabric choice was Right On! However, it is rather distinctive, especially in the chosen color. It’s the kind of thing that I will keep at least one copy in my wardrobe as long as the cowl is popular but I don’t think that multiples of the same top are going to be made.
Oh and BTW, this is the first completed garment of my Autumn 2011 6PAC!
PS I’m not sure why Photoshop’s Slide show works some times and not others.