Monday, November 12, 2012

Quick knit top (in which The Sewing Lawyer gets grumpy about Burda)

Way, way back in the mists of time I showed you a gigantic mohair sweater, purchased with refashioning in mind.  It got put away over the summer.

In September, Burda published this cowl neck sweater/top in its magazine.

Hmmmm, I thought.  Maybe.  But what a completely unhelpful picture. What would that neckline look like if not completely distorted by a pair of sunglasses?  What's with all that probably clean, lustrous and lovely but so difficult-to-see-through HAIR?

[Reminder to Burda.  You are not a "fashion" magazine.]

Of course, there is a line drawing, which is a bit easier to read.  It looked OK.

So I made a muslin from some rayon knit.  The kind that will self-destruct in a short while, but I love the print and the colours.

Tracing the pattern revealed that the top is too long for a top and not long enough to be a dress.  I took a lot - 18cm (7") - off the bottom right away, and another 2.5cm in "hemming" (i.e. I neatened the raw edge) and it's quite long enough.

The sleeves are, quite simply, ridiculous.  I confirmed via wearing another Burda pattern (this funnel-necked top) that I really don't like sleeves that flop over my hands, even if they are sort of controlled through application of elastic at the seam.  So right off the bat, I took another 18cm of length off.  Burda says that the sleeves are intended to be approximately 5cm (2") longer than usual.  Really?  My arms are short, but not THAT short!  I am clearly not on the same "fashion" wavelength as Burda, or the hordes of people who think that sleeves are the right length if they cover the knuckles.

What else?

  • The shoulders are too broad for me (I traced the 36).  I think the quick fix for next time is to take about 1.5cm out at the CF and CB.  The quick fix in sewing was to add elastic at the back neck.  
  • The neckline is too wide.  (Oh yeah, that white thing showing at the model's left shoulder?  It's underwear of some kind.  Not for me, thanks.)  The same quick fix as above might take care of this too, for next time.
You can see both of these issues illustrated in the photo at right.  The edge of the paper is the CB as cut.  Elastic threaded through the neck facing (a strip cut on the lengthwise grain of the knit) has cinched it in to the line, which is the CB for next time.
  • The sleeves are sloppy wide though they were the right circ. at the hem.  I straightened the seam line.  
  • There is a smidge too much length through the armscye.  
  • The cowl is nice.  
So what do you think?  Should there be a next time?   


  1. The question is how much do you love this top? It reminds me of all the alterations that I made on Giorgio's top from Silhouette Patterns. For me it was worth it and I've made it three times plus the muslin. I don't think that this top is special enough to do that much work.

  2. Your top looks great; the model's, not so much.

  3. I've been thinking about this top, did you ruche the side seam? I like the neckline on you. Sleeves are pretty easy to narrow, I agree the extra length is silly.

  4. Now that you have beta-tested the pattern, I think it looks good enough for a next time. I'll definitely use your fixes for mine.

  5. I love your top! And I agree about Burda's trendy sleeve length problem on casual tops: completely useless unless standing around having one's picture taken. That said, it may fit differently in a jersey that is not that self-destructive rayon type. I know I've made a sleeveless Burda top up in 4 different knits, and ever single one had different fitting issues.

  6. I think that top would dress up a suit quite nicely!

  7. The length of the top and sleeves would be heaven for my 16yo

    1. ...and showing straps (bra and/or camisole(s)) is apparently required for her peers.

    2. That is so not my demographic. Just hearing about it makes me feel old, which could be another reason to be grouchy, I guess.

  8. It is a pretty neckline on you. Once you mentioned the excessive length in the body I looked back at the Burda picture. I think she has a belt on near her hips to take up some of the extra length. Not the best picture for showing the clothing off.

  9. Those extra long sleeves would drive me mad, especially as I push normal length sleeves up my arms. However the top looks very pretty on you and I like the neckline and your fabric colour.
    I can't understand why pattern magazines have to distort the garments they are trying to display. Vogue is not any better.

  10. There's so much to like about Burda, but I often have to neutralize some of their style elements which they take to extremes. Your top absolutely looks like it's worthy of being made again.

  11. Kay... at the risk of stating the blindingly obvious - if you have a long-sleeved T pattern that fits well...(like a Jalie...which we all know....) you could use that as a sloper for Burda's fashion forward mods - and just do the "fashion" adjustments on that, to make it look like the Burda "fashion" pic.
    How about ladies' lunch next week, nudge?