top-halfs wardrobe

Burda Style 10/2015 #109

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

John has told me that this is his favorite top out of my Me-mades. He says it’s because it embodies my personality so perfectly; it’s structural with it’s lines and crisply starched cotton, but messy and organic in the way it drapes. He’s kind of right; I have a weird relationship with structure, where I crave it and I know it’s what works best for me, but, being a creative person, disorganization and mess tend to follow me wherever I go. I have to be extremely intentional about organization, especially as a freelancer, otherwise the moment I feel overly confident, everything falls into a crumpled pile on the floor.

When I can build structure and organization into my life, I feel like Super Woman, like I can achieve anything and like none of the boxes on my to-do list are safe from being checked off. But often, and especially the last couple of years as I was moving back and forth between two continents, I built my structure and habits in a way that necessitated tearing it down again. And even before I started the madness of living alternately on both sides of an ocean, I was continuously making choices for myself that kept me from having a consistent, sturdy foundation. I sometimes think of myself as a Type A personality who was never taught the tools of actually being Type A, so I’m left sometimes as an anxious human who copes with anxiety by tearing it all down and starting from scratch. Can any of you relate? Do you have any tips or tricks on how best to manage your own self and time? Do any of you keep a bullet journal, and how does it work for you?

Fortunately, life is long if we’re lucky, so I’m prepared to always be in the process of learning how best to thrive. And I’m finally officially able to settle into life in Germany rather than life as a nomad, and it feels really great to be building structure and routine back into my life in a more permanent way.

As far as this shirt goes, I’ve put off blogging it for a solid year now, and I’m not entirely sure why. I have a love-dislike relationship with this top, much like I feel about structure. And even though I had John take these blog photos last fall while we were in Vienna (on a very windy day, so excuse the windswept hair!), it took me another half a year plus to commit to sharing this post with you. Maybe I feel that, because I made it so long ago, it’s no longer actually relevant to the blog or my readers. But, with Me Made May upon us and with me sharing how I wear my Me Made garments, I think it’s time to do some house-keeping in terms of catching up on blogging my handmade garments. Be prepared for a backlog of past makes in the coming weeks.

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

Pattern: BurdaStyle 10/2015 #109 – Raglan Sweater
Fabric: 100% Cotton Speckled chambray from Fabric Depot
Size: 34(?)
Location: Welt Museum – Vienna, Austria

The pattern I used is actually intended for sweater knits to be made up as a raglan sweater. I fell in love with the seam lines, but when I sewed this up in January of 2016, I was still super intimidated by sewing knits. Every time I had experimented with knits before (a couple times as a teenager), I ended up with wavy seams or seams that snapped under tension, so I had written it off as something I didn’t have the tools for or wasn’t capable of sewing. Since I was still so enamored by this pattern, I made it in a woven chambray with zero stretch. I figured the amount of ease in the pattern would make up for any fit issues I’d have caused by fabric type.

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

Turns out I was totally correct that this top would work as a woven in terms of movement and getting it on and off, but I’m not sure how much I actually like the outcome. Like I mentioned above, I have a love-dislike relationship with this top. I do find it interesting, but I think the structure of the top makes it feel more like a windbreaker or sweatershirt and less like a blouse. When I have it on, the volume of the sleeves and neckline makes me feel like I’m wearing outerwear and a scarf, which feels especially weird during meals; I was taught as a tiny human that it’s rude to wear jackets at the dinner table, so this top somehow rubs me the wrong way while eating.

With that said, I actually do quite like the fit and drape, and I would 100% make this again in a sweater knit as intended if I came across the right fabric. And I find myself wearing this top quite often while gardening or working on a mildly messy project; I’m not afraid to get this top dirty, so in turn I find myself wearing it more than some of my other makes.

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

I spent some time last night googling this pattern and seeing some other versions by various bloggers, and there seems to be a 50/50 split in terms of loving the pattern and hating the pattern. The fit seems to vary depending on body type and size, with it sometimes being way more oversized than intended. I’d suggest sizing down in this pattern if you can, especially because it’s already oversized and the armpits land quite low so you’re not in danger of it being too small around your upper torso. I’m not sure if Burda provides finished garment measurements, but if you’re interested in making this top, I recommend starting there rather than in their size chart.

It’s been so long since I’ve made it now and my original pattern pieces are in storage in the US, so I don’t actually remember what size I made this in; I can only assume I made it in the one that mostly fit my measurements, size 34. However, as with all Burda Style patterns, this one didn’t come with any seam allowances, and if I recall correctly, I just eyeballed a seam allowance as I cut. It made no difference in terms of my pattern pieces fitting together nicely, but boy, I would never do that now, especially with the knowledge that there are tools out there that make adding seam allowances easier.

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

But even if I had bailed on cutting my pattern pieces accurately, at least I finished my interior seams cleanly with tape sourced from Josephine’s Dry Goods in Portland. I had originally picked this tape up to finish the skirt hem of the V1102 dress, but decided in the end to use plain black bias tape. I think I used this red tape for this top with the intention of being able to wear this top inside out as well, but I realized after the top was done that the tape emphasized the seamlines in a way that made it look too much like athleisure wear.

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

I made only two alterations to the pattern: one was omitting the zipper in the funnel neck (it being the same width all the way through, the zip served no functional purpose), and the other was removing the self-facing on the neckline and just finishing the neckline with more tape.

Overall, I’m happy with the pattern and happy to perhaps call this one a wearable muslin. This pattern is definitely earmarked for me as a reason to keep my eyes open for an interesting chunky knit, and I hope someday I’ll find one that fits the bill! As always, thanks for reading through. Have a wonderful week ahead!

saki jane - burda style #109 10/2015

14 Comment

  1. How did you use that tape? I’m the opposite, I feel most comfortable sewing with knits, so finishing seams on wovens is confusing me somewhat (as in when one is supposed to do what!).

    1. It’s a woven tape, not on the bias so it has no give whatsoever, but it does have finished edges, so I sewed it on top of the seamlines, with equal parts on either side of the seam. I hope that makes sense! I think most people serge or zigzag their seams in wovens as well, but I prefer to enclose all of my raw edges in my clothes, so I use flatfelled or French seams most often, and sometimes binding seams. It’s all up to what you prefer and what reduces bulk!

    1. Thanks Eimear! I hadn’t seen it made up either until I googled the pattern and saw that, not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only person who’s made this!

  2. I love the seam lines on this top too! It has a real couture vibe and I love what you said about wearing it a lot because you aren’t afraid to get it dirty. Elizabeth Suzann (designer and garment maker in the US) wrote a blog post recently about how she loves to see her clothes worn by artists who love to work in them – not afraid to get them messed up. They LIVE in them 🙂

    1. Thanks Kathleen! I think you’re right- the drape does give it a couture vibe! I’ll run with that when I’m wearing it! I love Elizabeth Suzann’a blog, too. I didn’t catch that blog post, but I’ll have to go back and read it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I have made this top in a knit. But there was too much of it and I never wore it. This looks great in pictures but I imagine might not be great to wear because of the structure. Looks really cool though!

    1. That’s the biggest complaint I’ve heard from other makers- “there is too much of it.” Also, it actually is bery comfortable- easy to throw on, easy to travel with, easy to make in, and it’s not at all constricting. It’s more the look of the structure that throws me off.

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