Monday, 24 February 2014

Reviewed: Burda 01-2013-130

Continuing my theme for February of everyday basics, the next thing on my list was a black wrap cardigan. I thought about a couple of different options but eventually settled on this month's Burda Challenge make -- unfortunately not from a February issue, so strictly it's not a very good fill for the challenge but whatever, it's still a Burda, I'm going to count it. I picked out a pattern from the Plus section of 01/2013, pattern number 130. I don't even know that I noticed the pattern when the magazine came out, but that's probably because the model wearing it is also wearing a jacket made of the pelt of a Fraggle she previously skinned and ate. That sort of thing distracts me.

Burda 01-2013-130 Wrap top. Images from Burda.

At any rate, this is a pretty basic wrap top, although I intended to use it as a top layer more than as a top on its own.

My version of the top, as modelled by Flossie. Observe the wrinkles :(

Pattern Description: From the magazine: "This is a comfy and body-hugging wrapped top. There is something seductive about this wrap-around shirt in super soft lightweight jersey, with its low-cut neckline and its neat fit around the waist."

Pattern Sizing: Burda European sizes 44-52. I made a 44. I am somewhere between a 42 and a 44 according to measurements in Burda. I made the larger size without alterations because I wanted to use it as a cardigan more than as a top on its own. This is probably just as well since it would be awfully low cut as a top.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, for the most part, although mine is not as smooth (my sewing error rather than a pattern problem).

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. This is a two-dot pattern and therefore straightforward. It's probably only two dots rather than 1.5 because Burda suggest you use two layers of the fabric, which I didn't do. The instructions are typically terse but I didn't think anything more was required.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This was one of those pattern choices where I had a specific thing in my mind's eye and had to go hunting for a pattern that would produce it. I was just happy to find something so close to the idea I had in my head. I liked the shape and length of the pattern (which I didn't have to alter). I am not entirely thrilled with the length and width of the ties, which I feel are too heavy for the garment.

Fabric Used: The Burda fabric guide is unusually unhelpful for this pattern. They chose to sew the sample in a double layer of a very fine knit in a narrow width, and so they suggest you might like to buy 3.5m to make this top in the smallest size, which is incredible for such a tiny item. Unfortunately I can't be precise on how much you need if you cut from a single layer because I cut two patterns at once from a large piece of fabric. Something closer to 1.75m than 3.5m, at any rate. I used a viscose jersey.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I really dislike darts in knits, so I took them out. I shortened the ties by about 20cm as they were rather too long for my preferences and to be honest even then they were still kind of too long for my preferences. If I were to make this again I would shorten them further and also taper the ends of the ties more.

I had to do surgery in the middle of making this top on the back neck of the garment. When I first tried it on after sewing the band on I found the back neck was a total mess, flopping over awkwardly. I think this was due to accidentally stretching out the neckline as I sewed. I unpicked the band and back bodice, ran some easing stitches along the seam to reshape the neckline,  removed about 6cm in length from the band and ran a seam in the centre back. It's unobtrusive and hidden by my hair, and it fixed the sagging back neck problem by about 90%.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would make it again! I am not sure I need another just like it at the moment, but I would definitely sew another one at some point. Yes, I'd recommend it to others, though I would suggest that they might want to think about the length/taper of the wrap ties.

Conclusion: I wanted a top just like this so I am thrilled to have one.

Additional wibblings:

Fabric: This is a light/mid weight jersey from Croft Mill that I bought in January and that arrived in Ireland on about 16 February, which probably makes this the fastest turnaround stash-to-garment item I have ever made. This was quite deliberate -- I refuse to stash plain black viscose jersey when I can buy it so easily. I only bought it from Croft Mill on this occasion because it was cost effective to do so while I was buying other, more distinctive, fabrics. I actually did not love this fabric all though. It's thinner than I wanted and also it stretched out horribly while I was sewing. I don't hate it or anything, but it probably wasn't worth as much as I paid for it, not compared to previous, less expensive viscose jerseys I've bought from Tissu.

Cost: I bought 3m of this fabric and the other part of that length is about to be turned into another top. I actually can't really tell how much I used for this Burda pattern vs. the New Look pattern that I cut out at the same time, so for the sake of argument I am going to say that it was about half. Total cost was therefore around £11, including p&p on the fabric & sewing overheads but not including the pattern.

Sewing: The sewing on this is actually not great. The problem was that you had to ease all the front bodice and then sew the band on, but all the gathering meant that I really struggled to avoid getting little tiny pinches in the fabric. It's one of those things where you can't see it from a metre away, so my instinct is to ignore it. The fabric really wouldn't have held up to being unpicked and massaged back into shape so I actually have no choice but to ignore it. It's still annoying though. Between that and and the problem with the back neck, there are lots of little wrinkles in this top. I'll probably like it more with a little more time and distance from the frustration of putting that band on, and in the meantime I'm hoping I do a better job on sewing the New Look top that I cut from the other half of the fabric.

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