Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Butterick 5679 - Knit Top with Drapey Pocket

Quel surprise! I've made another knit top! Out of a rayon lycra!

I bought this Butterick pattern when it came out. I really liked View C, which has a single drapey pocket. Just my cup of tea. I went to Pattern Review and there was only one review for View C, by Ann Smith. (You need to create an account to view any reviews over six months - but a free account works.)

I found her review to be most helpful. She had all kinds of problems with the fit of the raglan sleeves and the neckline. So I approached the pattern with caution. First of all, the only thing I did not like about the pattern is that it has a boat-neck-ish shaped neckline. (Though it's not quite as wide as a true boat neck.) I have narrow-ish shoulders and I hate a wide neckline (though I think I know why they did it that way). I don't like my bra straps to show and I don't like a neckline to slide off my shoulders.

So the first thing I did was to raise the neckline at the sides on all the pattern pieces - tapering it to nothing at CF and CB. I planned to cut the final neck opening once I had the garment together, because I knew this shape wouldn't be right either, but at least I'd have enough fabric to work with.

The front pattern pieces. The neckline has been raised at the sides. And the 1.5" horizontal strip at the bustline is my only FBA.

The raising of the neckline for the sleeve and back. I tapered it to nothing at CB (and CF).

I was using a very stretchy rayon lycra jersey, a wonderful fabric that I bought on a recent visit to Harts, so I wanted 4" negative ease. I checked the finished bust measurement on the pattern piece and the size 16 had the fit I wanted. So I cut out a size 16 (quite a bit smaller than my usual size, especially if you count the 6" FBA I usually add). I sliced the pattern horizontally at the bust and added 1.5" to go up and over the girls. The only other alteration I made was to the sleeves. The sleeves looked incredibly long. I removed 3.5" at the "shorten here" line.

I cut out the fabric and started sewing. This pattern is very quick to sew. For one thing, the hem, the sleeve hem, and the top of the pocket are designed to be left as raw edges. It would be very difficult to hem the top with the sharp point, so it makes sense. I am not 100% in line with the raw edge movement, so I serged these edges. I can live with serged edges. ;)

The first thing you do, is to lay the pocket on top of the right front piece and sew them together at the hem and side. Because this is a stretchy knit, I used Steam a Seam Lite 2 to attach them to each other and then stitched through the sandwich. It worked great and there was no distortion.

The instructions for the neckline are to turn the edge under twice and topstitch. I assume this is why the pattern has a "softened" boat neckline which is easier to finish this way. I hate that sort of neckline finish. I just don't think it lies nicely against the body and it's hard to sew at the sides, where the greatest curvature is, without distorting the finished neckline.

What I did was sew all the CF and CB seams, and the raglan seams, so that the neck hole was formed, and then try it on. I then pin marked where I wanted the finished neckline to be. I removed more from CF and a bit from CB and the side seams. I then used the Sarah Veblen binding method. I am very happy with the final neckline. (I am getting rather tired of posting the Veblen link over and over, but I want it to be handy! Maybe I should just create a link page.)

I cut a 1-3/8" strip for the neckline and sewed it on with a 1/4" seam.

If you read Ann's review, you will see that she had to remove quite a bit from the raglan seams. Besides Ann, I have quite a few very accomplished, very prolific sewing friends who never post anywhere. I wore this top to an event they attended and two or three of them (I can't remember) had made this same top and had the same problems that Ann described. It took them a lot of fiddling to get a top that fit properly through the shoulders/neckline.

I did not have this problem at all. One of them said that the pattern lacks proper shoulder shaping - it doesn't go "in" like it should at the shoulders. Several of us were mulling over why I did not have this problem. It was suggested that perhaps it was because I was using a very stretchy knit. That is possible, so be wary of the shoulder fit if you attempt this pattern, particularly in a more stable knit. (And I think it's totally worth the trouble, because the pattern is great otherwise.)

The sleeve length was perfect after removing 3.5" in length, so it is quite long. Though if I were to do a turned-under hem, I'd want to add a half inch back. So check the sleeve length.


I was asked to show some up close pictures of the serged hem.

The pocket hem up close. I started serging at the back side seam, at the inner corner. I serged across the back around the side, and then across the front, ending at the point. I restarted at the bottom of the point and serged up, ending at the inner corner. A drop of Frayblock at the point, and then I trimmed off the serged threads.

The front and the sleeve hems.


In conclusion, I LOVE this top!!! My sewing friends told me it was one of the most flattering tops they'd ever seen me wear. I think it is best in a drapey knit fabric — that pocket is designed to hang and drape gracefully. You have to decide how you feel about raw edges. One friend, who doesn't like raw edges, just chopped off the pocket point and hemmed it straight across. It looks great that way too, though I do think the pocket point can create a slimming line.

Worn with my beloved Marcy Tilton pants, Vogue 8397, View A. It's now OOP, but well worth tracking down.