I wanted to make a couple of tops in lightweight cotton to wear with skinny jeans. I wanted them to be fairly relaxed in fit, and long enough to cover my bottom without drowning me.
I had Burda 7204 in my stash. I actually made a top from this pattern (view B) first time around some months ago in a cotton print, but what I found was that the cotton I used was just not lightweight enough. Hence the top didn’t drape as well as it should have in the front. Also, it was a little shorter than I wanted.
If nothing else, making this top in its multiple versions has taught me the lesson that fabric selection really is key!
Anyway, I bought some lightweight white cotton with a woven self stripe, and a cotton/ silk mix which is sooooo light and airy with a multi-colour print on it.
This first top I did in the white cotton. I decided to add the little flutter sleeves. But then I decided that the whole thing looked a bit boring, and added black bias binding around the neckline, arm holes and also along the edge of the sleeves. This decision was also made because I didn’t like the way the pattern suggested finishing these areas: by zig-zagging and sewing. The problem that adding the bias binding brought was that it made the sleeves quite stiff and they just didn’t drape right anymore! So to get around this I sewed two rows of shirring elastic just above the bias binding to get a puffed sleeve effect. I think it works…
The next version I did in the silk cotton mix. I decided to leave the sleeves off this one, and used a facing to finish the neck/ arm hole openings. I used french seams throughout when making both tops. The problem I had with this top was that I sewed the french seams on the shoulder seams the wrong way around and had already trimmed the seam allowance down before I realised this. So I lost maybe (guessing) 0.5 inch length from the shoulder straps. Who would have thought this 0.5 inch would be so crucial?!! But it obviously was because this meant the arm holes were made higher, and the whole top just felt tighter under the arms. I got round this by releasing some of the material from the pleats on either side nearest the armhole. Again, I think I got away with it….
Apart from using french seams and either binding/ facing to finish the seams I also decided to lengthen the pattern by 1 inch (as the first version I made was too short). This is where fabric selection comes in again, because in the end I ended up shortening both versions by 2 inches! (FYI I am 5 foot 3 and the back of this top, which is meant to be slightly higher than the front, comes just below the pockets on my jeans).
Conclusion: I have ended up with 2 easy to wash and wear casual tops which you can just throw on in the summer. I like the pleats and I like the length. I didn’t like the Burda instructions. I am definitely learning from my mistakes, which reminds me I must get organised for the sewing lessons which start on Monday…