Monday, January 5, 2015

Burda 10/2014 #103 Envelope Top

While perusing the internet one day I stumbled upon this amazing Burda dress over at Frogs in a Bucket and knew I had to make one similar!  I have the issue, I even earmarked the top to make at a future time.  The best part is that I had just picked up some Ponte at Hancock's on sale that would work perfect.  The stars were in alignment!

Being the practical person I am, I wanted to try the top out and work out fit issues before moving on to the dress version.  I've lost some weight and my previous alterations just weren't working as before.

Burda 10/2014 #103

For my muslin I traced out a 38 shoulders/bust, 40 waist, and 42 hip from a super soft, brushed rib knit fabric.  This top has the envelope-look at the neck (which I love) so I didn't know how to approach a square shoulder adjustment. I just left them alone.
* added 1" to hip at back only for my large rear
* took 3" off sleeves (knew they were long going in and didn't want them that way)

When I put on my muslin the neckline was big on me. Too big.  The top looked all weird. Plus there was bagginess under my arms and through the bust.  I took in a TWO inch dart on the back neck and then 1/2" off the sides from armpit to waist. Tried it on again and it was much better. The sleeves are still too long and I'm not sure I like the length of the shirt.

The bad neckline. The bagginess everywhere. 

Now every review states how easy this top is to sew. So I began to think "what is wrong with me" when I just could not get the neck/shoulder stitching right. My brain refused to understand what Burda wanted.  "Lay back R sides together with front. Stitch upper edge of back along joining lines on front from each marking to seam #1"  From each marking? so do I stitch the triangle across the shoulder part even?  I thought the envelope front meant you didn't stitch the actual top shoulder. Sigh. Much frustration, seam ripping, flipping of material.  Whatever - I just did it my way. I put R side front to R side back and stitched across the triangle part where it shows on the front piece there.  Then I basted the armhole area. Done.
much better

Then we come to the neck "facing". Woah. So you sew this bias strip to the neckline but only to the marks. Then you flip it to the inside and it stops just before the front piece connects.  Well it's supposed to anyway.  Mine was a tad short so I suggest to leave extra on neck facing until you stitch it down all the way, then clip it, it can go under the front flap.

Clearly the rest of the shirt is easy peasy once you get past the neckline.  I did put the sleeves on in the flat - I don't enjoy setting in a sleeve. Also, what is up with Burda putting in 3" of ease in a knit sleeve?? THREE inches? WTH.

Fabric: Designer Brushed Baby Rib Knit Flowers Smoke, 65% poly, 35% cotton, Purchased Feb 2014 from for $4.89/yard. Used 2 yards. Total: $9.78

Top #2
I transferred all the changes to the pattern and set off again. This time with a cotton lycra fabric.
Alterations this time:
*kept 1" added to hip at back for large rear
*took an additional 3/4" off sleeves for a total of 3.75"
*took 2" dart off back neck, sloped to nothing at hem
*tapered 1/2" off armpit to waist
*reduced sleeve cap by 3/4" for a length of 17.5" instead of 19"

This time I sewed the neck with exposed bias and sewed the back crossover to the front as visible.  I like this look. Reminds me of the Bronte Top.

Fabric: Heather Grey Jersey Knit, 95% cotton, 5% lycra, 9.5oz/yard.  2.25 yards purchased August 2014 at $5.50/yard from fashion fabrics club. $11.00 (did not use all the 2.25 yards though). The bias strip is a scrap from Laguna Stretch Cotton Jersey Heathered Knit Pepper, Robert Kaufman.

I was all excited and tried it on. Too tight. UGH, what the heck!  Well, this fabric was considerably more stable and less stretch than the rib knit, I should have known better.  The saddest part is that I am in love with this version.
Hmm. Well....

Ugh. Too tight. 

In all fairness the pattern says to use a "fine stretch jersey".  The cowl draped way better on the rib knit, it tries to stand up on the jersey version. I'll have to think about this before I head into making the dress version.

** Thanks to Levone who pointed out to me that BurdaStyle offers a video "how to" of making this top, but in the dress version! You have to pay for the video $7.99, but it might be better to invest in a one month subscription to the videos with Burda for $19.99. **

~ Happy Sewing! ~ Kristin ~


  1. Awww it doesn't *look* too tight; but I know how that can be. It's so cute! And I love that little contrast.

    Also, 3" of ease in the sleeve? MAJOR eye roll.

    1. Thank you Nakisha :) The sleeves are choking my arms, lol. I'm wearing it right now because I just love it too much. And yeah, that sleeve ease was nutso!!

  2. I really like where you added the contrast band to the gray version. I may have to do something like this on my next version.

    1. Thanks Dawn :) It sure is an addicting top.

    2. That zig zag dress you made of this is stunning!!! I remember seeing it when you blogged about it :)

  3. I love it! It really doesn't look too tight on you, but not feeling good in something isn't fun either. Third time's a charm usually, right? ha ha You have a lot of patience and persistence to take the time to get it right. It is worth it though because it is beautiful on you!

    1. Thank you Shirley :) I wore it all day and it loosened up a little bit. It might be ok if I don't dry it in the dryer. I just love that one so much that I'm sure I'll try it again. I was looking through my stash last night to see if I had any rayon-y knit fabrics that would work better :)

  4. I love your tops! You're not the only one thinking the instructions for this pattern are not easy. I haven't sewn this yet, getting ready to. I read over the instructions already but they didn't click until I watched the video on making this top (I subscribe to Burdastyle videos). I hope your second version gets comfortable yo you be sues it looks great in the pictures.

    1. Thank you Levone :) I'm so glad I am not the only one who had issues with it. I didn't know they had burdastyle videos on making the items! I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

  5. This is something I struggle with - differing amounts of stretch in knits. I think for me it's because of my longer experience with hand knitting - all the hand knits have approximately the same amount of stretch, so it's easier for me to predict what the outcome will be. I'm sorry these didn't totally work out for you, but glad to know I'm not the only one who has trouble with this!

    1. Thanks Gail! I just lump all knits together - silly, I know. but I figure if it fits with one it should work with the other (forgetting about the amounts of stretch) hahaha. :)

  6. These are really lovely! Too bad about the fit on the gray one. I've run into that problem so many times. You do learn to judge knits better as time goes on, but you can never know for sure. It's not as if you can make a test garment for each fabric!

    1. It would be nice to have a test garment for each fabric, but so impractical and time consuming. I need to stop assuming that knit=knit because each type of knit stretches differently.

      Thanks Joy!


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