Saturday, March 24, 2012

Burda 7287 Dress Turned Top

I always enjoy hearing the story associated with the following sewing blog sentiment: "...and this is why I sew." The blogger will be expressing how a particular item is something that couldn't be obtained through any means other than to make it oneself or have it made.

This is not why I sew, however. I sew because I literally don't think I can help myself. Even if the outcome is just equivalent to what I could buy and at a similar price, I still need to sew to be happy in my life.

Still, this top is the type of thing that I can't see being available at retail. It is a fitted wool jersey long-sleeved shell or t shirt. Only Eileen Fisher or a similar designer would offer a basic but not sporty top in wool jersey, and then likely not in a color that would suit me (oh, the endless black!). The additional limitation of being firmly in the petite category further restricts the possible offerings. In this instance, sewing enables me to have something I value that I could not otherwise find or afford.

This pattern interested me for its french darts, a curving dart that starts just above the waistline. The sewing literature occasionally mentions this type of dart as offering more attractive and subtle shaping throughout the torso than a more typical straight dart. I've wanted to try one, but hadn't found the right pattern. This one looked promising and I was not disappointed. The fringed cowl, capelet and arm warmers make me laugh, however.

Here's a closer look at that dart. I shortened it a tad, maybe just a tiny bit too much. Other alterations to the size 8 were a 3/8" reduction in length at mid-armhole on the front and back. I altered the sleeve pattern to match, and then shortened it a good bit more. After a test version, I found the sleeves to have too much width for my taste, and I slimmed them down considerably toward the wrist, maybe 5/8" per side. The cuffs I added due to fabric limitations, but they work nicely to give a little bit more detail to this very basic garment.

I didn't really change anything about the back (other than the petite adjustment already described).

The side view really tells the story of the benefits of the french dart. Without controlling the fabric needed to cover the bust, the shirt will be very shapeless. By removing the excess fabric gradually, the shaping can be spread over a larger area. There can be no doubt that I have a considerable swayback. In a t-shirt without darts, I look as deep as from the apex of the bust to the apex of the fanny (barrel-like), and the back hem rides up on my rear.

The neckline has a doubled binding which is turned completely to the inside and topstitched in place. After making and wearing so many tops with more open necks, I enjoy the coverage this one provides as a change of pace, even though all the style advisers will say that a short person benefits from showing more skin. But look! If the neck were more open, I wouldn't have room for this beautiful pin, inherited from my late, great Great Great Aunt Ethel. And it points downward, which is lengthening! So this gives me ideas to perhaps apply to other pieces.

Another idea for accessorizing this top: my recent eBay purchase. It's an Oscar de la Renta silk scarf from (I'm guessing) the seventies, and I do love it so! I feel very inspired to go crazy with scarves and pins. Burda 7287 is a good canvas!

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