Burda 7204: a tale of two tops and some lessons learned.

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.

Burda 7204
Burda 7204 view B
Burda 7204 line drawings – note the little pleats at the neck which give the top a little more shape around the bust

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…

Burda 7204 white version

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….

Burda 7204 silk version
Burda 7204 silk version

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…

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By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at sewmanju@yahoo.co.uk

2 thoughts on “Burda 7204: a tale of two tops and some lessons learned.

  1. Both tops look lovely on you. The sleeveless printed top is my favorite. I bought this pattern today and decided to see if anyone had made it. So nice to see this made up. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’m so excited to see your blog. I found it by using the key word Burda 7204. I was hoping someone had something to share about their experience with it. This is just what i was hoping for. I found a beautiful shirt at a garage sale once and bought it. It was to small for me but my daughter lives in it. It was a very light slinky silk. 100% What cought my eye was the raw edge in the neck line. I thought it was so elegant, sofisticated, daring and what a beautiful way to dress up bum jeans. It was perfect to wear with pearls and bare feet on the beach. Rarely does a shirt knock my socks off! Then, there it was, the pattern at my local fabric shop!
    I busted it open tonight. I want to make a quick shift for my aunt who’s coming tomorrow and i want to surprise her. I like to cut at night then sew in morning. It’s more fun that way! Lol. Well after reading your post i hope it turns out ok. Im using a two sided chinese silk which is s little on the heavyer side. I’ll take a pic and let you know. Thanks for your vivid descriptions of all your trys. I really enjoyed your read.

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