Life is still going to be a little bit crazy for me for at least the next two months - I have a major work project that needs to be delivered in mid July, my daughter's school fete is later this month which I'm part of the organising committee, and I'll be sewing 28 jackets for the dance troupe at my daughter's school if they audition successfully for the School Spectacular which is in September. Add to that all the usual commitments involved in being a wife, mother and friend - no wonder I feel like I'm busy every moment of the day!
Luckily sewing is not a chore for me, it's (mostly) a relaxing outlet, so I'm certainly still making projects. I was a few days late in finishing last month's Burda project, but it is done at last. And I'm continuing my love affair with colour - this fabric is a very pretty pale coral colour which received many compliments from my fellow sewers at my recent ASG sewing retreat when I started sewing it.
I decided to make 5/2016 #101, a simple looking top with interesting pleats at the neckline:
Unusually for my Burda of the month challenge, I purchased this fabric specially for this project - mostly I've always used stash fabric. The pattern requiring lightweight softly draping blouse fabrics, and surprisingly I didn't really have anything I wanted to use in my stash. Luckily I was at The Remnant Warehouse a few weeks ago buying gold sequin fabric for those 28 jacketsmy daughter's school dance troupe, when I spied this wonderfully soft polyester with a slight amount of stretch for some bargain price.
While the fabric itself is lovely, I'm not sure it's the best choice because those pleats at the front just seem to drape rather than keep the pleat lines like the magazine photo. Plus it's a bit sheer so my bra and the facings show through. I think a lightweight cotton like a cotton voile or thin poplin may have been a better choice. That's also the reason why I chose to leave off the turned up cuff on the sleeve hems, because in this fabric it just drooped and I didn't really want to topstitch the cuff.
Overall the fit was a little bit funny - it was very roomy under my arms and through the back, but there didn't seem to be enough room across the front when I pressed the pleats along the marked lines. Since I'm an A cup it seemed unusual for it not to fit across the bust - if you're better endowed than I and are thinking of making this top it is something to keep in mind. I ended up ironing the fabric flat to take out the pressed lines and have just left it draping where it falls.
Wearing this top tucked in looks nothing like the Burda magazine photograph - they must have a large amount of fabric pinned in the back to get the front sitting that smoothly. I tucked the top in and arranged it properly just to take this photo, but already it puffed out and sat awkwardly, and is especially billowy at the back:
Making this wasn't as easy as it looks though - working out the order of those pleats and the difference between the pleat lines and placement lines took a number of attempts and a whole lot of attention! Burda as usual gives very sparse instructions, so in case anyone else (or my future self) is planning to make this top, here are the steps for getting that neckline right:
First, you do need to mark all those lines on your fabric, because my lazy way of using pins will not work - you need to know the difference between the lines the fabric is folded and the lines that mark the centre front placement lines.
So the first step is to make an inverted pleat at the centre front, by bringing the lines on either side of the centre front to meet in the middle (ie 'first' and 'second' in the photo above). Press these folded lines for about 5cm down from the top.
The second step is then to fold along the left side pleat line (the purple line marked 'third' in the first photo), and then bring this to the centre front so that it lays diagonally over - the vertical orange line should line up with the centre front. Press that folded fabric down. Then do the same with the right side pleat line - you can see in the photo below how it sits diagonally, but the curve of the neckline lines up properly when it's all folded in place. Give it a final press and baste a few stitches across the top to hold it all in place.
It is quite bulky at the centre front though, with all those layers from the pleats plus the facing. Again, I didn't want to topstitch since I couldn't find an exactly matching thread colour. I hand stitched the front facing to the bottom layer of the pleats at the centre front where it wouldn't be visible from the outside and I also stitched it down at the shoulders. I've left the back facing free though - fingers crossed it doesn't flip out when I'm wearing it.
This is not my usual silhouette, and I'm not sure I'm going to call this one a success yet - I'll try it with a few different outfits before I declare it a success or not. If I do make this again, I think I'll use the front of this pattern, but use the back and sleeves of Burda 8/2015 #120 (this top with drape front) because that pattern has a neater fitting shape to it. I would also use a slightly crisper fabric to make those pleats stand out more.
I think this may be my first Burda this year that I'm no so happy with, so I guess 1 from 5 is a pretty good rate so far!