Saturday, December 5, 2009

Burda World of Fashion -- Knot Front Top (#111 from 5/2004)

Years ago I compulsively bought Burda sewing magazines and never once made a pattern from one. Those magazines are long gone, along with my entire fabric and pattern stash from back then, but last August I saw this post on Ruthie K's blog and I loved that Burda top with the twist. So many twist tops position the twist at the fullest part of the bust which creates a plunging neckline. Even with a cami underneath, this is not a good look for me.

So when I saw her blog entry, I asked Ruthie which issue contained this pattern. After learning it was Burda World of Fashion (WOF) May 2004, I was on the hunt. Ebay had no copies, but I managed to get a copy when Patty B, on Stitcher's Guild, was clearing out her back issues. Thanks so much, Patty!

Even though this pattern comes only in sizes 34 - 40, I was not daunted. I figured if I could see how it's made, I could draft it in my size. So, when DD2 needed a black outfit for her winter concert, I decided to make this top for her. I traced it off in a size 34 (my first time tracing a Burda multi-line pattern!) and made up a sample. You can see on the photo that the top has a front slit under the knot and, yes, it went well below the bra, so I sewed it up higher. Other than that, it was perfect so I made it up for her in a wool jersey. (This pattern requires a thin knit with good drape.)

Note that the back and the upper front of this top have no seams. I believe that is why Burda only offers it in small-ish sizes. Even in a wide fabric, I had trouble cutting out the back and upper front pieces because the fabric has to be wide enough to span the body, from wrist to wrist. Luckily my daughter has short arms or the sleeves might have ended up as three-quarter length, and the dress code for the concert required long sleeves. I list some possible ways to overcome this limitation below.

With that one caveat, it is very easy to draft this top in any size. I was planning to do just that, when I noticed a pattern released from Butterick last week: Butterick 5429. This top is the same design as the Burda top, except that it is sleeveless. Again, this makes sense given the fabric width limitation. Butterick can offer this pattern for all sizes because they have avoided that issue. However, if you want to add long sleeves to the Butterick pattern, you could do one of the following:
  • Attach the sleeves separately (so they would be dropped sleeves).
  • Extend the armholes to create a dolman sleeve (like the Burda pattern) and convert the back pattern piece to use a CB seam and the upper front piece to use a CF seam. (Although adding a seam on the upper top piece would add undesirable bulk to the knot and the wrong side of the seam might show, so be aware of this.)
  • Cut out the back and upper front piece on the cross grain of the fabric. This only works if the knit has 4-way stretch.

Pattern Review has some very helpful reviews of this pattern, though I didn't think to look them up until I had finished the top. Some sewists refer to this design as a raglan sleeve, but it is actually a dolman sleeve.) I still may draft this in my size (rather than buying the Butterick pattern), because I have a dolman top I drafted for myself that fits well. I definitely wouldn't want it as tightly fitted as the original Burda design. :)

Anyway, here's the finished outfit:

I'm sorry it's so hard to see the top, but that's black for you. She is wearing the skirt I made for her from the same pattern I made for myself: the pencil skirt with flounce I blogged about a couple days ago.

The performance was great. My daughter plays the vibraphone in the orchestra, but we also heard the chorus, the guitar class, the drumming class, the world music class, and the jazz ensemble. They performed in a church near the high school where the acoustics were amazing!


  1. Your daughter is so pretty and her outfit is lovely!!!

  2. What a classy-looking ensemble for your DD to wear to the performance, Shams. She looks amazing in it. I bet all her friends want that outfit as well!


  3. Great outfit. Your daughter is a very pretty young lady.

  4. The two pieces are made for each other. Literally and otherwise! Great outfit.

  5. Sharon, this is wonderful....and your daughter is sooo cute in her new outfit!