Thursday, May 13, 2010
From "nice" to "interesting" - Burda 7760
When I have a sewing disaster I remember some of the things my sister has told me "if you're not making mistakes, you're not making anything," and "sewing is a journey," and "every garment is a learning experience."
And all of the above applies to Burda's version of the Jalie sweet heart top. I made a full muslin in viscose, which has similar properties to merino wool - it's spongey and slips around a bit and doesn't have great recovery. Only I did not bother finishing my hems, which proved to be my undoing.
The most important alteration with Burda: raising the neckline. They would have us sport a whole lot of cleavage. I take a tuck at the neckline reducing to nothing at the armhole and do the same to the facing.
After a number of other small alterations, I made what was supposed to be my final version in a rib knit merino. All was going beautifully - I used vilene bias tape to secure the edges, used a walking foot and a ball point needle, used a very narrow zigzag stitch for the seam to hold their elasticity and sewed it all up beautifully. When I got to the hems I decided I would use hemming web to secure the hem, and the super stretchy stitch. Well, the hem super stretchyied out - until I had a huge wavering mess. In a panic I took in the side seams, but this only contorted the fabric further, pulling the whole front further and further off grain.
When I tried it on, and looked in the mirror I said to myself, "no, not even for the Sally Army."
If you've ever tried to unpick the super stretchy stitch you'll know that is an exercise in vanity, and because I had to cut in to the fabric to take in the side seams there wasn't much left for me to fix.
I went out and bought some more merino, this time with some lycra to aid recovery. Oh yes that lycra sure does bounce back, it stretches and hugs every curve... and every bulge. Now the fabric was too tight, clinging ungraciously to every fault. I used a twin needle on the hems, as the pattern insisted, and it came out as planned, only I will never be comfortable sporting this degree of anatomical detail to the world.
At this point I considered my options: a fourth attempt, in merino without lycra and praying to the twin needle gods? Could I cut off the worst of the hemming mess on the second top and add a band? Could I wear the third top with a cardigan over the top and shapewear underneath? Should I take a "back fat be damned" attitude and wear it anyway? Or should I remove the bow and turn it into underwear given that this merino is a super soft and snuggly baby weight?
I decided I'd try the middle options. And that is what we have: Burda 7760 with hip band and Burda 7760 sweetheart top with back fat.
Overall I've learned a lot about sewing merino, and stretch, and fitting stretch, but I think the two previous reviewers on Pattern Review who said, "the Jalie one is better" are probably right.
However, there are two advantages to the Burda one: because it is constructed with a front facing instead of small bands to finish the neckline it works well with unstable knits, like merino. Secondly, the bow is super adorable. It's sweet and a little provocative - at the end of the day, it's the details on Burda that keep me coming back. They just know how to take a garment and add a little spice. And spice is what takes a garment from "nice" to "interesting."
The inside of the sleeve is gathered: