Saturday, 28 March 2015

Butterick 5826; Or, Mediocrity All Round

Butterick 5826 in blue paisley viscose print
I am not very excited by the outcome of my sewing time this week, and I don't quite know whether to blame mediocre sewing on my part, a mediocre pattern to start with, or a combination of the two.

I recently bought a pair of chocolate brown cords, which is a slight deviation from my usual colour choices. I therefore decided I also wanted to add another top to my wardrobe specifically to go with them. I tend to wear either red or blue with brown, so when I ran across this viscose (a.k.a. rayon) print with a blue ground and brown paisley pattern I snapped up a couple of metres of it. I knew I wanted some kind of top and after some deliberation decided to make a pullover type blouse.

I looked at a few patterns, and I was going to use a recent Burda pattern that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago (Burda 12-2013-108) but in the end I landed on a recent Butterick pattern, Butterick 5826. Quite a few people have made up version C/D but I fixated on version B, which is very similar to a RTW top I used to own and wore to death.

Line drawing Butterick 5826
As my fabric has a definite wrong side, I decided against the sleeve tabs to roll them up, although in fact this top does in fact look a lot better with the sleeves rolled up, not least because of the uninspiring turned-and-stitched hems on the sleeves. I entirely meant to replace these with a proper cuff but then it went totally out my head when I was cutting out so I ended up with the sleeves as written.

After looking at the pattern (can I just say that I hate Butterick's decision to print the finished dimensions on the pattern itself? Ugh. Though, my inconsistency in finding that really annoying when neither Burda nor Ottobre give any finished dimensions at all is really dumb.) I decided to make more or less a straight 16 from the envelope with only three changes: I lowered the bust dart, I did a square shoulder adjustment and I shortened the top by 5cm. Unfortunately, all of these went very slightly wrong -- my bust dart ended a fraction too low, my shoulder adjustment a fraction too square, and somehow I managed to shorten the back slightly more than the front so the front hem dips just a bit -- it's the sort of dip you'd only notice if you were looking for and I stood still while you inspected it, but still: ugh. This is all extremely annoying as the last thing I needed to do was make the pattern worse by adjusting it.

Unsatisfactory details: neckband end botch job and awkward collar
The main issue, though, with the finished garment is the way it is put together as per the instructions. I absolutely hate the way the neckband and collar are sewn onto the garment in the instructions, and I really dislike the collar and the awkward way it fits into/over the neckband. The collar folds over at the back but it's as if the curve at the back is too tight for the fold, so the collar ends up sitting up unevenly, showing the neckband at the back but not at the sides or front of the top. My neckband ended up too short to do the little square of stitching to keep it in place -- frankly, the whole end of the neckband where it meets the shirt at centre front is total botch job that does not pass any kind of close scrutiny. Or even distant scrutiny. Or really, any scrutiny at all. The nicest thing I can say about it was that the botch job is not so awful that I can't wear the top, which is better than I hoped for when I was struggling to sew it into place. I also found the instructions for some other parts of the construction to be poorly and/or confusingly written, and couldn't help but notice that they didn't include an instruction to sew the side seams at all. (For reference, I sewed the side seams once the collar and neckband were completely finished, before starting on the sleeves.)

The problem is I can't really tell whether the problems I had were mainly due to user error or a poor pattern. Did I make a mistake cutting/sewing, and that's why the neckband pieces were too short? Or are the pieces just too short? Is the awkward collar because of poor sewing or poor design? Other reviewers around the internet seem to have experienced a mixed bag of outcomes (though people sewing view C/D seem to have had a better time of it overall and I can't find anyone else who made the collared version) so I can't really reach any conclusion from that either.

Although there are details I do like (the general shape, the fabric, my rather nice French seams and other finishing, the actual fabric and the way it looks as an outfit with the trousers I bought, which is exactly as I imagined) I don't feel at all enthusiastic this top, or more generally, about trying this pattern again. This is a shame as I really liked the idea of it and hoped it might be something I could make a few times. Still, I have a couple of other possibilities for similar pullover tops and so I think I will move onto those and abandon Butterick 5826.


  1. Aw :/ i sewed a New Look with that front neckline treatment and it went horribly bad. Maybe it's the pattern.

    It certainly is pretty. Hopefully the next one goes well.

    There's a Vogue I'm entertaining for this style top. Have to find the number...

    1. I cant even work out how to attach the collar so you are a better person then me

    2. I looked at that Vogue pattern too, but the price of Vogue patterns over here, and the fact I really didn't want the trouser part of the pattern meant I decided to substitute the Butterick pattern. Since then, there's been another similar McCall's pattern, M7094, but by that time I'd already bought the Butterick. Ugh.

    3. Bronwyn, I totally agree that the collar instructions are terrible. I sandwiched the collar between the neckband and neckband facing on the upper edge of the neckband (closest to my hairline, if that makes any sense!)

    4. Of course I thought about the McCalls pattern after the fact.

      Then on Monday a coworker had on a top of this style but in a knit with less opening at the collar, and it had an exposed zipper. I may have stared longingly.

    5. Oooh, that sounds nice. I haven't seen a knit pattern similar to this at all anywhere, even in my millions of back issues of Burda.

  2. It is definitely the pattern, not you! I'm struggling with it too, so I googled the pattern number and here we are. :) The back neck and back neck facing simply DO NOT MATCH. The back neck is too big, which explains your collar. So disappointing. Guess I'll have to tweak the neck to fit and then cut a facing to fit it.