Burda 2011-09-128 Live Model Pictures

Yes I’m still alive even after 4 days of rearranging the stash.


I did manage to wear my blouse on one day and take photos.  The blouse is comfortable to wear, except for the low front. As the day wore own and my body heat warmed the blouse it drooped lower and lower. I definitely need a dickie of some kind. My bottom button is too low and I ended up leaving it open. I had worried that my fabric would be too translucent, but it’s fine even in the pictures.  Once the starch an stabiliser was washed away it draped nicely.  Looking at the pics I would say I did not ver, solve all the problems at the tissue stage.


Let’s start with the back since that’s the area which concerned me so much at the tissue fit stage.  I still have a diagonal wrinkle from neckline to armpit, but only on the right.  To the left is a much smaller bubble. Both of which suggest to me that the blouse should be smoothed out across my shoulders.  Unfortunately, I’m not able to reach back there and do so.  I’m more concerned about the puddling just above the hips which suggests insufficient ease across the hips.  That’s rather surprising as the blouse has a good 8 inches of ease across my hips.


Part of the wrinkles seen here are due to the way I’m standing. The armscye seems to be a tish too low. I’m inclined to think the issue is the fabric warming and dropping.  If you look closely the hem seems to be uneven.  It seems to be higher in the back and lower in the front.  I think what’s going on here is a form of “Velcro but!”.  Velcro But! explains all the issues: uneven hem, puddles above hip and wrinkles above.  Too much fabric is being forced upwards.


The front on shows the same effect of the fabric being pushed up in the back and pulling with it the sides and pulling the center front apart. I do take note of the neckline pleats.  They were what attracted me to this blouse.  They need to be pressed. Hard pressed into sharp pleats.  I was hoping the fabric would drape into nice soft undulations and rolls.  Left to it’s own, the fabric is creating weird folds.


I think I like this pattern.  Will I use it again?  Can’t say for sure.  I’m wondering if I could fix this blouse by adding some weight at the hem.  If so, it’s too distinctive to have 2 in my wardrobe. If not, I like to make it in a different fabric. Something with a touch more body.  I would raise the neckline, which would raise all the buttons and the last button would not be too low. I also would recheck the armscye. I’m pretty sure the issue is with the fabric, but if the armscye is actually too low, I would do some petiting in the armscye.   I have noticed that blouse fashions are getting a little longer.  This is about mid-hip on me and works with most of my existing clothes. I like it and would keep the same length.  I might also want a long sleeve version– good for fall and winter. But this version is fine as a sleeveless (even with questions about the armscye), so I would borrow a sleeve and armscye depth from another pattern.


I do think that my unusual alterations fixed the problems noted in the tissue.  I was surprised having not seen those particular issue in other Burda tops.  AnnR commented upon the unusual armscye shape. I’ve admired AnnR for several years due to her wonderful sewing skills and fabulous garments.  Now I’m acquiring an appreciating for her ability to pick out the details of patterns.  Details which make or break a garment.


Burda 2011 Aug 128 Finished!

I’m sorry not to have pictures on me, but I ran out of time.  In all fairness, the blouse had to be soaked, washed, dried, and pressed before pics were possible.  I heavily starched the fabric before even laying out the pattern.  Heavy starch is a wonderful control method for these slippery, creeping crepe fabrics. (As I get older my grandmother, may she rest in peace, gets smarter.) My fabric is a synthetic fiber in  a crepe weave; although I detect a hint of twill on the reverse side.  It is both translucent and weighty producing a wonderfully body hugging drape.  My buttons are old, very old but I can’t date them exactly.  I know they were in my mom’s button box.  They are something she would have admired greatly but never purchased or used for herself.  She might have put such lovelies on clothes for her small girls, my sisters and I. But I doubt that she purchased these herself just simply because there are at least 15. One is missing it’s central jewel.  I knew as soon as I saw these (over10 years ago) I would be making something for myself to coordinate with these buttons.  It’s taken long, but I believe I’ve found the right garment.



I did try the blouse on for fit, even heavily starched and the embroidery poking funnily .  The heavy starch and 3 layers of stabilizer for the embroidery made it difficult to see exactly how the garment would fit or feel on me.  It tended to stand away from my body.  I was tremendously pleased to see in these pics that the crepe clings closer to the dress form beneath.  As expected, this is a slightly extended shoulder– a very good look for me the pear shaped, narrow shouldered woman. The V-neck is universally flattering and almost high enough.  Just 1/2″ more inch would have been perfect for me. (Why does Burda insist upon drafting necklines for trollops?)  The front yoke finished into an interesting raglin line.  Raglins are questionable for us pear shapped; so I’m doubly anxious to photo the blouse on myself.  The embroidery did interfer with how the pleats are laying.  I suspect that I shall be pressing these into a predetermined drape.  The unembroidered side, however, did lay nearly exactly as Burda depicted.


Although the front hem seems to swing forward a bit, that’s not what I’m really looking at here.  I thought I had a major faux pas.  You know how the experts reccommend choosing the darker thread when the choice is between two closely but not exactly matching colors?  I followed the experts advice and used the darker thread.  I was uneasy when I checked the first armscye.  I was displeased when I finished the second but continued to use the darker thread across the back neck for the sake of continuity.  I had a HomeDec teacher (with an excellent command of color) who reccommended if you made a mistake, repeat it twice more and make it look deliberate.  I’ve found this to be invaluable and extremely accurate advice.  But when I got ready to make the buttonholes, I could not tolerate the darker thread any more.  I switched to the exact matching thread which was my Maxi-Lock Serger Thread.  I prefer not to use serger thread at the sewing machine.  I have used it in the bobbin for machine embroidery.  But by-and-large I feel strongly that serger thread was manufactured for the serger and that’s the only place it should be used.  My buttonholes and blind-hem turned out extremely well; completely obliterating my misgivings about serger thread and blowing all my thread theories out of the water.


Of course, that’s partly because of my darling Ruby HViking sewing machine.  I was trememdously pleased with her stitching numerous times. She recommened the 2mm stitch length and oval buttonholes. Both of which are perfect for this fabric.  I was especially pleased at the bias tape application.  I cut the bias about 1/2″ shorter than the finished length of the armscyes and again 1/2″ shorter than the back neck.  I open up the bias on one side (I’m using prefolded commercial bias) and stitched on the fold with the bias edge lined up with the garment edge.  My garment is on the bottom where Ruby’s feed dogs can grab and push it forward, slightly easing the garment to the shorter bias tape.  I did not press (a complete antithesis for me) but turned the bias tape to the inside; lined it up even with the side edge and rolled just a scant amount less than 1mm of garment fabric to the inside. Then I stitched along the folded edge of the bias tape (again the garment fabric is down next to the feed dogs).  Ruby eased the garment to the bias tape and made perfect straight stitches on both sides.


Let me repeat that, Ruby made perfect straight stitches on both the upper side and the bobbin side of the stitching.  This was an extreme point of contention with Bernina over the 1530-1630 series up to the Aurora’s.  Bernina kept insisting that the stitch is perfect when the top thread is straight but the bobbin thread wobbles.  Bernina so insisted, even when people could bring in generations of Berninas that would stitch perfectly straight on both bottom and top.  I know Bernina lost a number of customers over that.  I myself felt insulted. It was one of the reasons when I went shopping for Ruby that I said “I’m not married to Bernina. Here’s what I need.”


But back to the faux pas.  DH took one look at the blouse on the hanger and said “that’s pretty”.  I said “It’s even better on me or Mimie” and my darling DH responded “Oh I’m sure that’s true.”.  (He is a keeper.)  What’s happening here is that I’m old school.  I think the color should match, or if it doesn’t match it should accent.  But in today’s sewing environment matching threads and fabric, for the home sewist, is darn near impossible.  Sure the clothing manufacturers can order dyed to match thread in the millions, billions, zillions of yards. But those of us at home who only need 300 yards/meters are stuck selecting from the colors offered. And the colors offered are the colors the companies, which cater to home sewists, can sell the most I. E. we use lots of white.  All the thread companies sell white in lots of varieties and yardage.  Not too many of us sew with flourescent green and those who do, don’t sew flourescent green often. Ergo, the thread companies offer a very small selection of flourescent green in few yardages.  We, the sewists, compromise.  We choose the best match.  To us of old school, it looks “Becky Home Ecky”.  But here’s the thing.  A very small portion of the population sews. That includes those that used to sew and those who never knew how to sew.  OK those who used to sew will see my stitching and may think “Becky Home Ecky”.  But the rest, about 93% of the population will see my stitching and think, “Hey a new designer technique.”.


AND the point is??? When DH said “That’s pretty”  instead of “why is the thread a different color” I decided, maybe it isn’t a major faux pas after all.


The acid test of a patter is “Will you make this again.”  Well maybe.  First, I need to take and analyze pic of this blouse on me. I’ve got most of the alterations done. I do need to raise the center front neckline.  I would like, but it may not be necessary, to have more shaping in the side seams.  The armscye is too low for the sleeveless blouse. I’ll probably be wearing a camisole with this first garment anyway, so it’s not such a big deal now. But I will need to raise the armscye if, I want to make it sleeveless in the future.  Burda includes a long sleeve dress version. I probably won’t make the dress. A long sleeve blouse is a real possibility.  Beyond that I can see dumping the pleats; adding ease to the front and gathering or tucking to the front yoke sem. IF, that is, if the pics on me show thisis a good raglin for me.  If it is, I could also see making a square neckline, a U neckline and maybe playing with different sleeve lengths.  So it has possibilities.  I can’t say for sure until I see the final pics.


–Apologies Blogger will not let me check spelling.  I’m having to depend upon my spelling and error checking.

Update Burda 2011 09 128

originally published Sept 9, 2011


.I starched the fabric 4 times with half strength starch. It just didn’t seem to be getting stiff in a hurry. I added about 1/2 cup to another sprayer and sprayed full strength on the fabric. I did that twice, once on each side and allowed the fabric to cool. Once cool it was sufficiently stiff to lay out and cut. As I was cutting lovely embroiderers kept dancing through my head. Finally I could not resist the call. I spent some time at the computer selecting designs and then altering colors. I didn’t quite want tone on tone, but I didn’t want something in-your-face either. The design I selected is approximately 4.5″ x 5.5″, has 4 colors and stitched out in 84 minutes. But I like the end result:

I’ve begun stitching the blouse together. I basted the pleats using water soluble thread and then folded and refolded until the upper edges lined up nicely with both the center front and the shoulder seam. Once I got that sorted, I basted the shoulders.


Then I pinned the fronts to the backs. WTF!!! The shoulder seams of the back were shorter than the front. My first thought was Burda scr@wed up. But I checked the pattern pieces and the shoulders of the pattern pieces fit together. I starched the fabric before cutting; so you can discount the iron stretching out the cut seams. I had starched and cut; found and altered the machine embroidery and marked ME placement the night before. The next day all my marks, the pleats, the notches, the embroidery placement had vanished. That’s a clear indication that high humidity was in effect. I’m guessing that the humidity was absorbed by the starch; the starch became flexible and the fibers relaxed at least along the bias edges allowing the front edges to grow. This meant I had to ease, using the thousand-pins method, the front shoulder to the back shoulder and then baste the 2 shoulders together. I did it this way to minimize those nasty little pleats, but alas there seem to be 2 on each shoulder. Well at least I was consistent. I serged the shoulders together and removed all basting—just as dinner was called. I flipped the blouse up onto Mimie for the night. Between all the starch and then the stabiliser for the embroidery, it looks pretty stiff.


I still have most of the construction left, but I’m pleased that the heavy starching seems to be warding off most fraying. I had just a tensy bit of fraying on one front shoulder (the front with embroidery).


I made another alteration this evening. I would not have known the blouse had a stand-up collar except that the pattern pieces listed what I thought was a facing as the stand up collar and indicate cut 2 on the fold. My decision was that since I originally thought the collar would be a facing, I was going with my original vision. Tomorrow I need to cut bias strips for armscye binding and neck binding. Fortunately I have commercial bias in my stash which matches nicely. I wouldn’t mind cutting my own bias except for 2 things. One of them is not the time. It takes only minutes to cut enough bias for these type of facings. No what I dislike is that

  • a lot of fabric ends up being used as I whack cut across a square big enough to create a long enough strip. Yes, yes I know I can join bias strips, but I don’t like to and my continuous is continually uneven. When practical, I much prefer to use commercially prepared bias.
  • Sometimes I have no choice but to cut small strips. I hate to join bias strips.


I have not selected buttons but I do have the front facings ready to apply. My plan is for a narrow, top stitched hem.




Burda 2011 09 128

originally published Sept 3, 2011



I’ve decided to quit apologizing for long posts, and to quit trying to trim them down to “sound bite” size. I am instead using this as my Electronic Journal.  Journal pages are usually more salient But they are also usually very personal.  Since I’m sharing my journal with the world, I feel the need to share a little back ground or how-did-we-get-here kind of information.   Expect to see more multi-posts on a single project.  I’ve found that these type posts help me think my way through.  I’ve had numerous comments that people like to follow my thinking/creative process.  I’m very grateful to you for sharing that support as well as tuning into my blog frequently.  Thank you and Hugs.


Last post, I mentioned that I requested input from Stitcher’s Guild. I’m eternally awed by this group of sewists. So much so that when something niggles me at the back of the mind, I “talk” it over with them.  With this pattern, I was concerned about the center back sticking up weirdly; the bulge in the back armscye and, not mentioned previously, the fact that there is a long-sleeve dress version of this very same garment, which uses exactly the same bodice pieces.  In my 50+ years of sewing, I’ve learned that a sleeveless and a sleeved garment need different armscyes to achieve satisfactory fits.  I was afraid that either the armscye would be too low thus revealing my underwear or too tight for a comfortable sleeved garment.  The responses from SG were simple and to the point:  make a muslin.


Simple, to the point and alas, highlighting one of my real weakness.  I don’t mind making samples. I don’t mind making tests. But I hate to spend hours making a garment fully intending to put it into the trash bin.


Sigh, I kept the front and back tissues pinned together but removed them from Mimie.  One of the wonders of the Internet is how much accidental learning can take place.    I had 2 dress forms before Mimie and never made much use of them.  They were sort of an ego trip.  I proclaimed loudly (though silently) to everyone who entered my abode that dressmaking was my creative venue. Mimie however has become one of my most used tools a result of all the pics, posts and comments I’ve read and received over the last 4 years. She is constantly in use.  I needed to remove the pattern pieces while completing the aborted 6PAC jacket, the Vest and a 3rd project still to be blogged. These other projects gave me time to contemplate possible actions and indulge in one of my favorite activities: reading other sewists’ blogs.


I know that I’ve read a few of the The Sewing Lawyer’s posts here and there, but only recently I began at the last post and worked my way all the back to her very first post.  I’m immensely impressed with the range of garments and fabrics she chooses to work with.  Often, her failures are turned into miracles.  Like so many of us dressmakers, she claims to have a “weird” figure; requiring many equally weird alterations to achieve her desired fit.  I do not have exact links to her concepts to which I will be referring but I wanted to repeat or at least paraphrase some of her insights which have had a huge impact on my thinking in just the last 2 weeks.


Notably, her figure doesn’t look weird. Why?  Because she invests the time in fitting, including tissue alterations and  muslins, adding and subtracting as needed.  About midway in her posts, she starts describing the use of her own excellent dress form. It’s clear but a little confusing, to see her  removing a wedge about 1/2″ center front above her bust and then adding a wedge about 1/2″ just below her waist.  The tendency is to say, “why bother?” Indeed many people did ask to which she replied that she was removing where it was too long and adding back where it was too short.  She was tweaking the pattern to follow the contours and volume of her own body.  The “net + or -” concepts described by other well known personalities was unimportant. What was important was putting the fabric where her body needed fabric and removing fabric where it didn’t.


On one post she said something to the effect, that she pinned the tissue together; pinned the tissue to her dress form and then starting adding and subtracting to the tissue pattern until it looked weird. Huh??? I thought. But then I said, Oh yes, I think I do understand.  I do something quite similar too.  I usually make 2 standard pattern alterations and then pin my pieces together.  I pin them to Mimie and start checking. Do I have enough ease? Are the shoulders still too long?  Is the neckline too high?  Too low?  etc etc. All the while, (and understanding that the tissue is not going to behave the same as the fabric), I begin changing the tissue to fit smoothly or with sufficient volume where desired over Mimie.   When I’m satisfied, I remove the tissue from Mimie, make final pattern alterations and begin the layout and cutting. But if I were to stop and compare my altered tissue pieces to the original, they would look weird.


I’m sure I’ll refer to The Sewing Lawyer, Kayy, again in the future.  She’s truly inspiring and, very importantly, truly eloquent.  Kayy, can make her point without creating long posts.  My point here, is that having read, digested and I think understood what Kayy wrote, I put my tissue back on Mimie and started making my pattern “weird”.


My pics didn’t turn out well, so try to visualize this (in your mind or on paper if need be.). Armed by the moral support received from Kayy (vicariously via reading her blog), I pined the tissue into place on Mimie, I cut a vertical slit 1/2″ from the center back starting at the neck and going downward about 7″. I place another slug of paper behind the split. After smoothing the tissue into place, I taped it.  Next, I trimmed the neckline to follow my best high neckline which has been marked on Mimie for sometime.  Now, that was a nice neckline both front and back.


I kept looking at the armscye bulge. Turning; smoothing; tweaking the pinning of the tissue to Mimie.  Finally I pinned the front armscye to Mimie separately from the back.  I smoothed the back armsyce around and into position. I trimmed a wedge off the back armscye at the underarm which was almost exactly the same wedge I had added to the back neck! De ja vue! So similar to Kayy removing 1/2″ above the bust and adding it back 1/2″ below the waist. Now I had a pattern with which I could confidently work.

As I wrote, these pics were somewhat less than informative.  The back neckline fits smoothly against Mimie and joins nicely with the front. The back no longer has weird bulges but fits smoothly against Mimie.  I do hope that this new “weird” piece does not alter the overall look of the blouse which I truly loved.  But no, I’m not making a muslin.  I did change my fabric.  I’m using a soft, light-rose crepe, again, of undetermined fiber but probably polyester, acetate or nylon. The new fabric is very similar in weight and drape as the first.  It’s greatest advantage is that as a WFO fabric, I have 4 yards to work with and can recut when needed.


I checked length and found that this blouse when untucked (which is how I usually wear blouses) would be longer than any of my jackets.  I rarely like the look of a blouse longer than a jacket.  Sorry, just me dating myself.  If you like that look, go ahead; enjoy. For myself I trimmed 2″ in length; AND then 2 weeks after first having been enchanted by September 2011, Burda Style Blouse 128, I  proceeded to the layout and cutting phase.

Burda 2011 09 128

originally published Sept 2, 2011


.Usually I have 2 sewing projects in process.  One I’m actually sewing and the other I am planning. Usually, but not always.  Travel and life’s activities can interrupt the flow and I have found that my slight A-ADD tends to jump in so I limit myself to 2 projects. Before I retired, I conducted marathon cutting sessions. Carefully cutting out fabric, collecting notions and placing all together on hangers in the closet for sewing that would take place over the next  6 weeks to 2 months. While sewing, I would be planning my next marathon cutting session.  But no more. These days it’s typically 1 project at the sewing machine and 1 in planning. Well wait a sec, sometimes I do have 1 at the embroidery machine too. But yes usually its…..  but I digress.  Point is, whilst sewing the aborted jacket for the Autumn 6PAC I began planning Burda Style 128 from September 2011.

I was enchanted by sleeveless summer blouse. Yet reluctant.  I wasn’t sure that the lines created by the neck pleats would be flattering to me… but I desired it and wanted to try the design. I’ve learned to look carefully and analyze Burda Patterns I see:

  • Extended Shoulder
  • Sleeveless/Cap Sleeve
  • Center front opening with 3 maybe 4 buttons
  • V neckline
  • 2 unstitched darts on both sides of the neckline which form the pleats
  • Blouse is tucked-in at the waist, so maybe a high hip length
  • Also, there might be shoulder pads. Not sure just looking at the photo

Looking at the schematic and pattern instructions, I also detect

  • Front yoke integrated into back pattern piece at the shoulder
  • Stand up collar
  • Separate front facing
  • Recommended Fabric: Blouse Fabrics


Ah not too hard, eh? Oh and rather than extended shoulder creating a cap-sleeve, it really does look like a sleeveless summer blouse.


So I trace the pattern pieces.  My measurements fit exactly a Burda Sytle size 42. However I’ve learned that Burda fits much closer and I will be happier with a size 44. Therefore, I traced a size 44 and added 3/8 seam allowances.  I’m satisfied with the 3/8″ SA.  Others prefer more “insurance” at the seam line.  That’s OK.  I’ve done that too.  But I’ve made enough Burda Style patterns to be fairly confident of the drafting and fit. (I’m also fairly sure of the instructions, but I can’t say anything glowing about BS instructions.)   I found the waistline marks on both front and back which happily means the first thing I could and did do, was remove 1″ from the back waist length front and back.  I’m shorter than the standard BS sloper. No problem. I make the pattern shorter above the waist. This brings hip and waist shaping up to my hip and waist.  I seem to have no problem with bust dart placement/length or armscye length.  I’m probably not a true petite. I’m just short in certain places where it isn’t expected. I pinned the pattern pieces together and tried them on Mimie, my dress form;   and then I unpinned them, because I had forgottten my standard narrow shoulder adjustment.  Sigh yes, it’s part of the classic, womanly, eternally feminine-shape-desired-and-sought-by-men-for possession,,, pear. It is rare that I need less than a 1″ alteration.   Once the NSA was completed, I pinned the front and back pieces together and then pinned them onto Mimie for a second time. Oh and BTW, I’m really glad I was able to find the shoulder line and most of the pleating marks.  Knowing where to pleat and how the pleats should look (from the pic), was a real help as I spent much more time than usual trying to figure out how to fold the pleats. OK, pleats aren’t my thing. I really don’t make many garments with pleats. But the other issues facing me were totally bewildering


Back neckline


is clearly sticking up oddly at the center back. From other view points, it’s also pulling forward and towards the side.


Back Armscye




has an awkward bump/bulge on the back armscye near the shoulder.



These two issues have never happened to me before. Ever.  The pictures are from before the narrow shoulder alteration; which neither improved nor worsened the two problems.  I’m not posting a pic of the front, because it looks fine. I’m not posting pics from after the NSA, because the only difference is a vertical line where my NSA takes place.


I’m planning to use a white crepe fabric.  It’s synthetic, though I’m not sure if the fiber is polyester, acetate, or nylon.  No matter the fiber, the fabric drapes, is translucent and I know from experience, very nice as a completed blouse but a bear to sew. I’m anticipating

  • fabric that crawls away from the scissors/rotary cutter
  • edges that refuse to stay matched during sewing
  • seams that pucker and refuse to lay flat without high temperature pressing which is of course is not recommended and might ruin the fabric
  • oh and many more difficulties.

Thing is, once complete it will be an elegant blouse, because the fabric, despite being a WFO, is wonderfully nice to wear.  My question is, will the fabric drape alleviate the issues above?  Will the heaviness and natural tendency downwards (like slinky) overcome the bubble at the back armscye? Will the back neckline be coerced into proper shape through the combination of the little stand up collar and fabric properties?  Or am I asking for a big, fat disappointment?


It was here that I requested input from the members of Stitchers Guild; and I will share all in my next post.