Friday, 25 March 2016

This is my homage to Clint Barton (Burda 03-2012-127)

Finished Burda 03-2012-127 in cream and black arrows fabric
This finished Burda shirt from the 03/2012 issue comes at the end of a sad series of failed plans.

Actually, let me pause here for an aside. I was back-reading my blog a few days ago and realized I seem to write a lot about all the (many) times everything has gone pear-shaped when I sew. This is especially noticeable when I compare what I write to a lot of the blogs that I read, which are often all "here is my 86th gorgeous and successful project of the year!". I'm pretty sure I must come across as utterly incompetent by comparison. I suppose I could only tell you about my successes, but (a) uh, I'd have to post a lot less /o\ and (b) that was never the point of this blog, which was mainly about me documenting my sewing learning curve and only secondarily about entertaining other people. For me, there is no point in even talking about the learning curve if I leave out the bad days where everything goes wrong or if I stop being constructively critical of the things I make -- even when they went mostly right. That's my excuse, anyway.

Back to my failed plans. I started out with Plan A: Make a complete set of woven PJs including a top with a shirt-collar, using one of my TNT PJ patterns, Burda 8271. I've made the bottoms from this OOP envelope pattern on several occasions now, but the top part was new to me.
Plans A and B, and the only thing that resulted from them, a measly pair of PJ pants
I cut everything out of a large piece of inexpensive 100% cotton fabric I bought last year, with floral contrast fabric for the sleeve cuffs of the top and everything. I started out, successfully enough, by making the PJ bottoms. These of course took no time at all even if I do insist on french seaming every seam in PJs (90% for laundry longevity, 10% for reasons of Being Pointlessly Fancy About My Seam Finishes). However, I started to have doubts about the fabric as I worked with it. It's a very lightweight white cotton with a self-stripe and it frayed and pulled and definitely demonstrated the perils of cheap fabric.

Despite these doubts, I started the next day on the top, which should have been straightforward. The pattern is just a pullover shirt with a placket very similar to the grey and white Knipmode shirt I made recently. However, right at step one of the placket insertion I had a moment of really intense left/right right-side/wrong-side confusion and did something wrong. By the time I realized what I'd done, many steps later in the pattern, it had all gone completely and utterly wrong. I could possibly have fixed it, I think, though only with a great deal of effort. However, by the point I had to decide whether to unpick 90% of what I'd done so far, my doubts about the fabric had become much more serious. I really wasn't sure it would survive that much unpicking, it was NOT fun to work with, and I'd found a proto-hole in the body of the garment. After taking a break from the problem, I eventually decided it wasn't worth continuing and binned the PJ top (I kept the completed bottoms, of course). I then moved on to:

Plan B: Make a Grainline Morris jacket, the PDF pattern for which is visible in the photo above. Having seen many cute versions of this pattern made up recently, I was excited about this right up until I decided to flick through some reviews before I cut into the rather expensive striped cotton pique knit that I had been planning to use. It seems people who use soft, lightweight knits with this pattern routinely have a problem with the fabric sagging under the weight of the facings and were disappointed by the outcome they got. My striped knit is very soft and lightweight. Foiled again! I didn't have a backup pattern in mind for the fabric (and still don't! What will you become, expensive stripy knit?) or a suitable sturdy knit fabric in stash for the Morris, so I sighed, rolled up the pattern, and moved on entirely again to:

Plan C: Make a 70s raglan sleeved top pattern I own up in a drapey white viscose shirting fabric.
This was scuppered by discovering a flaw that runs right through my 2m of fabric and that I couldn't find a way to cut around. Eventually, I consigned the fabric to a pile ear-marked for lining and stuffed the pattern back in the envelope because I was beyond fed up of the sight of it it after playing pattern/flawed fabric Tetris for-freaking-ever. Ugh. Moving on again, I dejectedly got started on:

Plan D: Make a shirt using Burda 03-2012-127. And finally, a project on which I got some traction!

Burda 03-2012-127 Blouse with gathered collar
I would like to say I was personally able to look past Burda's styling (what is that shiny silver fabric, Burda?) and the uninspiring technical drawing to see that this pattern had some potential. However, in reality, I discovered it after I fell in a link spiral via Pinterest that led me to two really nice versions posted to here and here and hence to this pattern. Ah, the joys of having a Burda magazine collection! (This does makes me wonder though how many other Burda (and other) patterns are actually really great but I have recoiled from/overlooked them because of the horrible sample image.)

Burda 03-2012-127 Arrows shirt, front
I made a straight 44 with only my normal square shoulder adjustment for fitting changes. I feel like I need to also investigate and start doing a routine high round back (because of my hideous posture) and/or forward head adjustment (ditto) and that is something I plan to look at very soon.

As far as design changes go, this pattern is written with 7/8ths sleeves, of which I have an absolute horror. I like my sleeves elbow length or full length, but despise anything in between. Happily, Burda's instructions included the information that the sleeves were "10cm shorter than normal" so I just adjusted the length by 10cm. As I tend not to tuck shirts in, I also copied a moderately curvy shirt-tail hem off another pattern as I think they look nicer untucked than straight hems.

Burda 03-2012-127 Arrows shirt, back
This fabric is really great. It is 100% cotton and very easy to sew. It's from a relatively new online shop called Fabworks Online that I heard about on Instagram. They have a really great range of 100% cotton shirting fabrics, which is something I have often struggled to find online. I ordered three pieces of fabric, including this one, in a fit of retail therapy at the end of February, and I was really pleased with my purchases and the customer service.  (I am not in any way affiliated to the shop, just a happy customer.)

Front of the shirt, including my hilarious (to me) choice of heart buttons!

As much as I really like this fabric, however, it is not really the perfect match to this pattern. The instructions called for "lightweight blouse fabrics" and while it is indeed quite lightweight, this fabric is rather too crisp to really produce the best result with this amount of gathering. The gathers over the shoulders sit a little stiffly and the gathers at the back neck poof up a bit. I like the shirt very much despite this problem, but it's a useful lesson about patterns with a lot of gathering and using crisp vs. drapey fabrics. On the other hand, can we take a moment to admire my exceptionally good pattern matching across the front, with the arrows marching in nice diagonal lines across the shirt? I'd love to tell you I was 100% sure that was going to work out as it did, but, uh, I'd be lying. Also, I amused myself entirely too much by using little heart buttons (because arrows and hearts, get it? :D? :D? /o\ It is just as well I find myself funny, really.).

As modelled by yours truly
Finally, if you are wondering why I say this is my homage to Clint Barton (or you are even wondering who Clint Barton is) this might help:

Clint Barton a.k.a Hawkeye from the Avengers movies (as played by Jeremy Renner, who, alas, is evidence that just because you like a character, you should not ever listen to a word the actor says, since he's an ass)

1 comment:

  1. That is a very pretty shirt and material. Hope you enjo wearing it.