The Burda blouse that tried my patient patience is a lengthy tale. Why not grab yourself a cuppa, get comfy and keep reading for all the gory details…
So as I browsed my Burdastyle magazines, I was drawn to the notched neckline, the not-too-roomy-fit and the lovely ruched lower sleeves of Burda 106 09/2019 (ps, I can’t link to the pattern at the moment as the Burda website is under maintenance), and I thought it would be perfect for my beautiful house print fabric. The fabric came from Patterns and Plains. It’s a viscose twill, is really soft and drapey and has lovely, fun and quirky house sketches all over it. The neutral colourway goes with most of my bottoms and will be really versatile.
I started off really keen on this blouse project. I checked the sizing and went for a size 40. Then I did a minor forward shoulder adjustment and lowered the bust dart by half an inch.
I got as far as finishing most of the body and then did a mock-up of the collar after already lowering the front curve of it. Then I tried it on and I thought it seemed fine so I went ahead and completed it, and then I tried it all on again. Now, I’m a bit funny where my necklines are concerned because I can’t bear anything that cuts me right across my throat The finished collar had me pawing at it immediately and I wanted to tear it off and pull it down…ugh!
Plan B: A different neckline
I started to try and reshape the existing neckband pattern for it to sit even lower and faffed with that for a while. Then I did another mock-up but it still didn’t seem right.
Plan C: Another neckline!
I finally settled on going with a simple bias binding which still kept the centre-notch detail and this seemed a much better solution, but guess what? I tried on the top and realised that it seemed a little stretched out and loose, but then as I was assessing how to improve the saggy binding I realised how I disliked the look of the shoulder line of the blouse.
The shoulders were kind of droopy and the silhouette seemed sloppy. Also, it dawned on me just how low the armhole was and that something seemed off at the back neck too! Whatever next?
This project was doomed… what I really craved was a set-in sleeve and neat high armhole that gave me a good arm motion… but how could I do that?
After sending my blouse to the naughty corner in disgust and walking away from it for a while, I came back the next day with a plan that involved four steps. These steps were:
- Unpick the sleeves
- Lift the blouse from the top and reshape the shoulders and arm holes. This was possible because I had plenty of body length
- Join a piece of fabric at the top of each sleeve to enable me to cut proper sleeve heads.
- Add a new binding to the reshaped neckline.
Burda Blouse, The Project That Tried My Patience…A Happy Ending?
Plan Z worked! Hurrah!
I love my finished blouse now which still has some of the essence of the original Burda design but now feels infinitely more comfortable and so much more like me. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have chosen this design in the first place but we don’t always know until we try, eh? And maybe if I had sized down around the armholes and shoulders it *might* have worked, but either way…I worked through it and came out the other end with a garment that I really like.
I should mention that I also didn’t add zips to the sleeves as the original design shows because I could easily get my tiny hands through the narrow cuffs without them, and it wasn’t as much work :). Oh, and also you can barely see the joins across the sleeves near the top because of the busy pattern, which I’m relieved about.
Good grief though…what a journey this blouse was It really tried my patience, but I’m glad I stuck with it because I love the result and I didn’t want to spoil my lovely fabric. Don’t you just love a happy ending?
And on that note, I’ll love you and leave you and see you next time.
Oh, and by the way…have you sewn a project that had a rough journey like mine? Tell me about it in the comments.
I have to *really* stare at the sleeve to see the seam. Would not have known it was there if you hadn’t mentioned it. Great save! Your blog is a good lesson to all us home sewers not to give up on a project.
Thank you so much! I think the sleeve seam is hidden by the pattern a bit more on one sleeve than the other, but even I have to stare at them a bit. I was lucky!
That is such a lovely blouse! Can easily see how you must have struggled with too high neckline, too low armholes and sloppy shoulders. i hate all that too and would have either tried to fix that or abandoned the project altogether. Well done for being able to rescue it! I have had my fair share of trying projects – from a coat to blouses. Have always managed to somehow get away with a number of fixes, but it was such a struggle every time!
Thanks ever so much, Giedre! Yes, the struggle is real sometimes and it’s sometimes tricky to know when to persevere or when to decide that it’s not worth the angst.
well, it’s a triumph now! I love the fabric and the unique details of your blouse, but I am sorry you had so much trouble. However, your superior skills won out and it’s gorgeous.
That’s lovely of you to say, Sue, Thank you!
I just love the blouse you created, Diane!!! Love your abstract houses fabric (we’ve built 2X and remodeled to the studs 1X, so I like homes!), the front slit with bound neckline (elegant), the sleeve detailing, and the back closure: really so pretty.
You have the patience of Job, I must say!!! I looked VERY closely to see where you changed your sleeve cap! The new upper bodice and sleeve do fit you beautifully. Wish you had shown us some of what it looked like in the first go-round: that would have been interesting.
Re. difficult projects: I have both numerous completely finished garments that are unwearable (bad decisions resulting in something I’m not proud of), and a HUGE # of unfinished projects, many of which are now something I would not wear (due to taste change, aging, living in a different climate and more casual locale…). And I have been unable to let go of any of them! I really MUST get rid of them!!! 😉
I actually live in fear of making mistakes, and it is a huge problem for me with my sewing. Must get over that and just SEW!
Ohhh, thank you so much, Joan! The house print really is great, isn’t it? I have to say that I’m kind of kicking myself that I didn’t get photos of the ‘before’ blouse but when you’re in the moment it’s easy to forget that it would be useful to share such things.
A lot of the reasons you cite for your selection of unfinished or unworn garments ring true to me and that happens a lot. I just don’t always mention them here. I think if you go through the pile and see what can be rescued, then part with the rest, you’ll feel a sense of relief and clarity.
You definitely have a lot of patience. It it obviously paid off as you have made a lovely blouse which I am sure will get a lot of wear. As I think Morecambe and Wise used to say “I can’t see the join”!
Thanks, Chris. I’m glad I finished it as I really love how it turned out in the end.
Your M & W comment really made me chuckle. Loved their programs!
Have to admit Burda patterns try my patience most of the time, can’t think of one that I have actually finished, much more impatient than you obviously. I have a pile of “unfinished” which I occasionally go back to, and sometimes recut. At the moment I am recutting several blouses into smaller sizes, enough to try anyone. Love the end result of your blouse, what fabulous fabric.
Glad you like it, thanks, Roswyn. Hmmm, I’ve generally not been too bad with Burda and have made a few things that I really love. This is the first time that I’ve had a real debacle with one of their patterns. I’m glad it did work out though because I hate having to refashion or rescue things. Good luck with your blouse recutting.
You have more patience than me, that’s for sure. I too would have consigned it to Work In Progress pile…..it’s a biggie!
I love the end result, especially the ruched lower sleeve, and back fastening.
Thanks ever so much. Sally. I love that sleeve detail too; I bet it would really show up nicely in a plain fabric.
Really looks beautiful on you. 💐 Can’t believe the hard work! I confess I would have crumpled it up and tossed it out.😥 You truly have a LOT of patience. 💕
Ohh. thanks, Karen. I must have been in a determined mood with this one because I’ve also been known to just call it a day and consign something to the scrap donation bag.
You basically had to draft your own style! Hopefully you modified the pattern too, or will you go through all that again even? The end result is very nice by the way!
Thank you, Angel! Yes, I did kind of draft my own. I didn’t bother to save the new pattern though as I doubt there would be another exactly like this one. I love the end result though and could always use the sleeve ruching part of the pattern on another blouse style.
What an excellent save. The sleeve head adjustment worked as I can’t see a seam there at all.
Thanks so much, Vicki. Yeah, I think the seam shows a bit more on one sleeve than the other because of how the pattern is disrupted. I’m glad it all turned out well in the end though.