Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Burda of the month: 7/2013 #110 Cowl neck top

After running late in finishing my June Burda project, I managed to finish sewing this one about a week and a half ago but it's been sitting on my dress form with various trims pinned on it while I was waiting for inspiration to strike. It just seemed to be a bit bland and needing something more, but funnily enough it was only when I gave up on it and just decided to photograph it purely so I could blog about it while it's still July that I realise it's fine as is. Actually more than fine, I'm happy with how it looks and I'll probably wear it.

burda-7-2013-#110-cowl-neck-top

I made the cowl neck top 7/2013 #110, which you can download from the burda style website here:


The pattern suggests sewing it from a softly draping jersey fabric with satin for the contrast straps, but I sewed mine from a silver lurex knit that I had in the stash because it was very drapey and I was hoping that the fabric would be a bit sparkly in a dressy but a not too over the top way.


I should have used some satin or other fabric for the straps as per the pattern suggestion because my fabric did not press or gather very well at all and when I tried to do rows of decorative topstitching it stretched out in all directions even with interfacing. I thought about putting some beading on the straps or some other form of trim but in the end I decided to leave the straps plain. I think they look extremely home made - a bit puffy and amateurish:

burda-7-2013-#110-cowl-neck-top

I probably should have also interfaced the back neckline and reduced the width significantly, because it gapes a fair bit although it sort of looks like a mini cowl to match the front so I can live with it:

burda-7-2013-#110-cowl-neck-top

But Burda's instructions are also very amateurish in my humble opinion. They instruct you to sew the straps on after you've sewn the cowl down and sewn the front to the back, just pressing and topstitching the seam allowances down, although they do suggest finishing the front strap by hand. They also instruct you to turn down and topstitch the seam allowances of the back neckline and back armhole edge, but the front armhole edge has the self facing of the cowl so that's two different finishing methods for the one armhole.

Instead I drafted a facing for the back neck edge to match the front, so that it not only enclosed the ends of the straps but also finished the neck and armhole edge much neater than I could achieve by turning under and topstitching. And I also ignored the pattern directions as usual and sewed it so that ends of the straps were enclosed in the facing at both the front and the back. 

For the front I slipped the ends of the straps in when I sewed the cowl down to the front at the shoulder seam and armhole edge right sides together, but not down the side seam yet:


And for the back I slipped the other ends of the straps in when I sewed the shoulder seams, armhole edge and back neck edge of the fabric and self drafted facing (right sides together), and again not down the side seams yet.


And then I flipped it all out the right way, and sewed the side seams in one seam starting from the top of the facing and continuing down the side seam:


It's certainly not rocket science or haute couture, but it's a much easier and neater way than the simple but crude way that Burda suggests. I sometimes don't understand why Burda does the things it does - it wasn't much harder to sew it the way I did and it only involved one extra piece but it was a much better and easier way of doing it.

28 comments:

  1. This top looks very, very nice and really lovely with those black pants. I have to say I really love the new close up photos and 'stylish' shots too.

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  2. Gorgeous top and very well constructed, love it completely.

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  3. I love the simplicity of this top. I don't think anything more is needed. It looks great.

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  4. I think it looks quite dressy. I really like it. Might I suggest one problem with the top is that it is winter ATM and when you wear it in warmer weather you will like it more, I hope so anyway. It would be a shame not to wear it. And I agree, you are becoming quite the stylist.

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  5. The overall look is really lovely, Kristy. I believe I have this envelope pattern and it is even cut and altered. Seeing your version makes me want to pull it out and make it now. I like the way you made the back facing and inserted the straps - similar to a camisole with a built-in 'shelf-bra', and a much cleaner finish than what Burda suggests.

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  6. This is a really great colour on you - and the cowl drapes so nicely in your fabric; I much prefer it to the Burda original. Oh, and I love these photos too!

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  7. I am totally digging this top (and the photography)

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  8. I love the top! From the photos I just can't see how the straps look puffy and homemade??? The whole thing looks polished and lovely. Also, the changes you made to the construction are great! If I ever make this top, for sure I'll be coming back to this post.

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  9. thanks for showing the alternative construction method. it's so much better than burda. i really don't like their instructions! lovely top too and great pics

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  10. Great top. The fabric is lovely. Your top is so much nicer than the Burda version.

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  11. This top looks awesome. Now you just need a dinner date with the man to wear it!

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  12. Love the top. The fabric is lovely. I think the straps look good too. I think the fabric speaks for itself and doesn't need any adornment. Lovely.

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing your changes to the Burda - it looks lovely, perfect fabric choice for the bodice.

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  14. pretty! I really like that silver fabric!

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  15. The fabric and colour suit you so well. This looks like a very wearable top!

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  16. I'm not usually a huge fan of cowls, but this top is just so pretty! The drape, color, and sheen all come together to make a really stunning garment.

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  17. I think when December comes around you will be pleased that you have made this top. It's a statement by itself and doesn't need anything else.

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  18. Lovely photos and the top looks beautiful Kristy! The style and fabric are so elegant, its gorgeous.

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  19. I like the lines of this top- it's a definite day to night (just remove blazer!). The instructions do sound a bit mawkish- your suggestions make far more sense!

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  20. The "cowl" in the back may be due to the knit fabric stretching. I wouldn't alter the pattern until testing it in another fabric. I like the straps. I think a contrast fabric would not work well with the knit.

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  21. Great top! You look very nice in it.

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  22. I like your suggestion for alternation. Leaping to the defence of Burda's drafter, I think they did it that way because their design calls for heavier fabrics like sequins on the straps. Your version looks great!

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  23. Its a lovely top, it looks perfect for Christmas parties. I fancied this pattern in the magazine and am very pleased to see your tidy alternative construction - I will be using your tips!
    You are very dedicated to your Burda a month makes, but isn't it difficult to be inspired to sew out of season?

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  24. This is lovely! I've actually made the same top (but have yet to photograph and blog it). I found the strap placement at the back very wide, so took width out the middle (removing the baggy bit) and transferred it to the side seams.

    I (sort of) followed Burda's instructions for the finishing, but I really like yours - this works really well on the drapey fabric you've used. I also don't think the straps look AT ALL puffy or home-made! In the photos, it actually looks pretty high-end to me... The colour looks fabulous on you too.

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  25. If you get a chance to check out the Sept Harpers mag (Aust) at p73, there is a top in similat fabric to yours, but nowhere near as classy looking. You may just change your opinion about your one.

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  26. I love it! I bet this is a great top to use up smaller fabric amts in your stash. It would look great with a blazer in the colder months too.

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  27. That is a very nice top! Nice pattern and lovely fabric. I don't think those straps and the join look amateurish. I think it works well.

    The way you described is how the instructions get you to do a Burda (not burdastyle, the one you get at Spotlight!) dress pattern I have. You're right. So much easier and nicer.

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  28. Love this top. I'm not sure how this looks less than RTW. It looks great.

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