Sunday, June 19, 2011

Burda 3251 - The "Shuffleboard at 2pm" Tunic

I mentioned in my last post that I've been unfocused lately (mostly distracted by work) and it's affected my sewing. Seriously, what is UP with me? Apparently I am sewing for my alter ego and my alter ego is my grandmother-on-a-cruise. (Though both of my grandmothers passed long ago and neither one ever got anywhere near a cruise ship, but you get my drift...)

This is a long out-of-print Burda, but I really liked the silhouette and I thought it would work for me. Maybe it still would work for me in another fabric. Or a shorter length. Or worn with leggings. This is a fairly fitted top and I liked that. The button front is open below the waist and there are side slits. I like all of the above. Or so I thought.

I started with a size 16 (42) and altered the heck out of it. I usually start with a larger size, often a 20, but this time I decided to use my actual high bust measurement (42") and go from there. I think that did work well and I should do this more often.

The fabric is a pleated rayon that I bought at Yardage Town in San Diego last July. I intended this for a skirt that I drafted a couple years ago. I'm kinda sorry I didn't save it for that project. :/ This fabric is very stretchy (due to the pleating) and very unstable in the selvedge-to-selvedge direction. It also ravels easily and is very wiggly. And, of course, because it's a stripe, I had to match the pesky stripes. (It would be so much easier if I didn't like striped and plaid fabrics so much. :)

Materials and Notions:

  • Pleated striped rayon fabric from Yardage Town in San Diego.
  • Coordinating solid cotton for the facings, from Fabrix.
  • 4 7/8" buttons from Fabrix.
  • Twill tape to stabilize shoulder seams.
  • Fusible tricot interfacing for facings, also from Fabrix.

Alterations and Modifications:

  • This pattern has a dart and it actually pointed to the right place on me! (Wow, that never happens, though using a smaller-than-normal pattern size did raise it up a bit.) The dart was too long and too small, so I did my usual FBA, AFTER chopping the bottom of the pattern off. After the FBA I re-attached the two pieces, so the hip was not modified.
  • I lengthened the sleeves to below elbow length.
  • I shortened the shoulders by 1/2". Usually I have to shorten the shoulders by 1" when I'm using a larger size.

Construction Notes:

  • I stabilized the shoulder seams with twill tape cut to the length of the shoulder seam on the paper pattern.

    Stabilized shoulder seam and contrasting facing.

  • I did not want to use the same pleated fabric for the interfaced facings, so I use a coordinating solid blue fabric. It's a cotton "linen-like" blend. I have enough to make some coordinating pants. :)
  • I used 4 buttons that were larger than what the pattern called for. I found them in the giant button bin at Fabrix where you can buy 100 buttons for $5, but you have to sift through them to find matches. I used four buttons in three different shades of blue. Just for fun. You can see them in the pattern picture below.
  • I matched the stripes as well as possible. It wasn't entirely possible. For example, look at the picture below, where I am twirling. See how the stripe tilts down just below the armscye. This is because of the mammoth 6" bust dart. I matched the stripe at the top of the sleeve, at the CB, below the dart at the side seams, etc.

    Twirling exposes the stripe matching and the effect of the large dart (just below the armscye).

  • After the top was mostly completed, I tweaked the fit and removed even more width from the hip. I have started pinning the bust dart right on my body and, wow, does it improve the fit.

So, what do you think? I will wear this top, I'm sure, and maybe it will grow on me.


  1. I think you're on to something with the sizing -- love the way those shoulders fit! And you really look smashing in these blues.

    Shuffleboard? Nah. It IS unusual to see you with these lines; but it works, and I even think those are the right pants. Your version completely blows away those on the pattern envelope!

  2. :D Thanks, Noile. Though the problem with using a smaller size is that the bust dart gets so HUGE.

  3. I laughed out loud at your alter ego being grandmother on a cruise, mine seems to be grandmother before her first cup of tea.

    The top fits really well, and the shape is great. I do not see any grandmother about it at all, unless it is a very sharp and well dressed sort. Your stripe placement and matching looks impeccable.

  4. I love this top, love this look on everything about it! It's a style I would like for myself, so I will have to check my patterns!

  5. You made me laugh! At a glance, this is a perfectly pretty top that fits well and flatters you. Knowing the real shams, it is not as creative & interesting as your normal fare.

    Robin, alittlesewing.
    Blogger is making me post as anon

  6. ps, I really like the matching of the green motif across the upper bodice to the sleeve.

  7. I have trouble with darts and have learned to move them on the pattern. That works 'cause I tend to use a blouse/shirt pattern multiple times. When the dart is huge I use my serger and get rid of most of the bulk. Can't remember which workshop I learned that in. Connie Crawford I think.

  8. Your top looks impeccably done (as usual) & I love the color combo! As far as styling, maybe I'm getting bolder as I age, but I can really see it with leggings, big jewelry....just go all the way with A Look & have fun! It definitely looks fun to wear :)

  9. @treefrog, I do move the darts on the pattern, but I sew them in only after I have pinned them on the body. This is important because every fabric behaves a little differently and this approach accommodates each fabrication.

  10. I like your thinking, Jilly Be. :D

  11. The fit and the style of this tunic top are perfect for you. The stripe print in the turquoise and first thought on seeing the picture was 1980's But that may be because I lived through the 80's and wore striped (cobalt blue and turquoise) tunic tops just like this with elastic waist pants in a color that matched one of the stripes. These sets were very comfortable and flattering. I am seeing more and more 80's style coming back around.

  12. I like this shirt on you Shams. It really camoflages the girls. the color is good too. Keep up the great sewing.

  13. I think it looks great on you. :) As a not-model-slender woman myself, I might have been reluctant to do the horizontal striping, BUT !!! I love love love the way you matched the stripes across the shoulders and down onto the sleeves! Somehow it works really well with this pattern. It's a fabulous summery top, it looks nice with the pants you have on, and will probably ALSO work well with leggings.

    And yes, your version looks better than the pattern picture by a lot. :)

  14. Love the shirt and the fit across the shoulders makes the huge dart worth it in most ways. I also like Jilly Be's comment, go for it.

  15. It's a pity you're not keen, because I think its a great tunic. Maybe with leggings it would look less grandmotherly-on-a-cruise (and btw, LOL!!)

  16. I think it looks terrific! Wear it, and twirl, girl!

  17. I'm always in awe of your construction skills! Style-wise, those stripes have a lot of colour and impact. I might be tempted to lower the neckline a bit to balance it if you make another version in a bold fabric.

  18. I don't think you're channelling your grandmamas at all, Shams. I think the vibrant colors and the stripes make this a very flattering top on you. I agree that perhaps leggings are more in order with this tunic length, given today's trends, but only you can judge whether that would be a good (and comfortable) look for you.

  19. That shirt looks fantastic on you. I love your site!