Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Burda Emily Shirt

Yesterday afternoon I sat down to do some sewing for a couple hours, but ended up getting so engrossed that I made a whole shirt!  I spent a total of about 7 hours on this, which includes about a half hour of set-up and clean up, and probably another half hour for going up and down the stairs to iron each seam.  So, about six hours from cutting out to finishing the hem.


The pattern is the Burda Style Emily Shirt, available as a download for $3.50.   I downloaded this pattern in early February, right at the beginning of my shirt-making frenzy and just after Sunni made her fantastic Amazing Fit shirt.  At the time, I didn't have that pattern, but felt like I must have a women's shirt pattern immediately.  Of course, it took me another two and a half months to get around to making it, during which time I acquired the Amazing Fit pattern!

I printed and traced out this pattern a good month and a half ago.  The sizing was a little confusing to me:  the finished measurements are given on the front piece for the bust, and each size had a corresponding finished measurement of that size plus 3/4" - e.g. size 36 gave a finished measurement of 36.5".  I'm never really sure how much ease I want in a garment, so I decided to trace out the size 36 at the bust, which gives me 4 extra inches above my 32.5" bust measurement, grading out to a 38 at the hip.  I also did a 1/4" broad back adjustment extending down from each shoulder.

This pattern does have some shaping:  the side seams are curved, there are two fisheye darts on the back, and bust and vertical darts on the front.  I've tried to show some of this in these pictures, but I found this fabric quite hard to photograph!




That said, the vertical darts as written are all quite narrow, so they don't really bring the shape in all that much.

This is the vertical dart on the front - only about 1/2" wide in total.

This is one of the fisheye darts on the back - about the same width as the ones on the front.

There are also two sleeve variations - the normal one which I did, and a super-long sleeve with ruching at the elbow and an extended, flared cuff.  The placket for the sleeve opening is the more feminine kind (I don't know its name!) rather than a triangle-topped placket like you'd find on a men's shirt.  The bottom (hem) edge is straight rather than curved.


Other than the broad back and hip adjustments, the only other change I made was to add a breast pocket.  I used the pocket pattern from Hubby's shirt, but trimmed 1/4" off all sides to scale it down.


Now, I didn't follow the instructions for this pattern; I've made enough shirts now that I was able to just make this one without looking at the instructions at all.  But I did read through them so I could report, and as you might expect from a Burda pattern, they're pretty sketchy.  If you wanted to make this pattern and needed some instructions to follow, I'd say you're better off using the instructions from a different pattern.

Construction-wise, I did things a little differently than I normally do.  I finished the shoulder and armhole seams with the serger, but did the side and sleeve seams as French seams.  Because of the extra 1/4" of width on the back from my adjustment, I had to ease the shoulder seam, so I felt I needed a more flexible finish.  However, this cotton/poly Swiss Dot chambray from Michael Levine frays like crazy, so I wanted the stability of French seams wherever I could use them.


Last week I ordered three types of fusible interfacings from Fashion Sewing Supply to try out different things for Hubby's shirts.  So I tried one of them in my collar and stand here.  I used the Pro-Sheer Elegance Medium.  It feels very soft and drapey on its own, but ended up giving me a slightly stiffer collar than I wanted.  It's really a process figuring out which interfacing to use!


The website doesn't say so, but I think this may be a weft-insertion interfacing?
 
And seriously, what is up with Burda and these enormous collars?

I also tried a trick I picked up from Susan via Pinterest - using a piece of bias fabric to ease a sleeve head.  It worked pretty well, and as I really hate gathering anything, I'll likely be doing eased sleeve heads this way from now on.


So, how does it fit?  Well, it looks OK on me, and anyone other than me probably wouldn't notice the little issues this pattern has that will keep it from being a go-to for me.  The fit is just off in too many ways that make this shirt not very comfortable to wear.  Despite my broad back adjustment, it still feels as if it's pulling tighter than I like across my back, and quite a bit across my upper arms when I move them.  And yet it looks a little baggy!  There may be a tiny bit of swayback action going on there too, although I think it's really just too long for me as well as a bit snug in the hip.  You can see below the pulling just under my arm at my latissimus dorsi, which have grown from all the rowing. 


The shoulders are too wide, and would have been even without that extra quarter inch.  The sleeve head hangs off my shoulder point:


Up front things are a little better, but the fit is somehow both too baggy and too tight at the same time!  Too tight at the bust and too loose everywhere else.  I probably should have actually measured the pattern pieces to see if the finished measurement is accurate.  And as I said, the collar is too stiff, so it doesn't drape in the way I wanted it to.  But I also feel the collar stand on this pattern is too tall for a woman - my neck is longish and it felt too high for me.




The sleeves are too long, which I was expecting because my arms are a little short and I didn't adjust the pattern.  I plan to wear them rolled (if I wear this shirt at all) so I didn't bother.  I also think the cuff is too wide to be fashionable.


So, although I had high hopes for this pattern, it just has too many problems for me to make it again.  Next time I make a shirt for myself, I'll try that Amazing Fit pattern.  I'm honestly not sure I will wear this shirt much - not only is it uncomfortable, but it really doesn't go with all that many things in my closet.  I just bought this fabric because I'm a sucker for Swiss dot and pink.  Combine the two and I'm pulling out my wallet! 

I admit I'm a tiny bit sad about it, because it looks so good on the hanger and, if I do say so myself, I did a very good job with the construction. 

Ah well.  It really is all about learning and practicing.

22 comments:

  1. such a bummer about the fit being off. i do love the fabric though! from the pics you could completely get away with wearing it (the construction looks really nice!) but i hate it when i wear something and i know all it's flaws... maybe turning it into a sleeveless top would make it more wearable for you?

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    1. I'm not really sure they're flaws; I think it has more to do with my unwillingness to be the least bit constricted or uncomfortable, combined with fit issues produced by my expanding lats. I still haven't figured out how to deal with it - I'm having that problem with all my RTW stuff too, which used to fit fine!

      Anyhow, I can certainly wear it, but it's not the comfy wear-all-the-time shirt I was hoping for.

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  2. The fabric is so cute! I'm sorry it didn't work out well for you.

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  3. As Kepanie says, the fabric is lovely. Such a shame it hasn't worked out as you hoped.

    I have to say, I don't think I own a single shirt - I've certainly never made one - and I don't think I have a RTW one, as I never find them comfortable at all.

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    1. I think I have much less tolerance for discomfort nowadays. Used to be I'd wear shirts and blazers and didn't mind feeling constricted. But now that I've spent so many years in t-shirts, it seems I can only stand the loosest of woven items!

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  4. You said it, practice and learn.
    You are analizing with a practiced eye the modifications you'll take under consideration for your next one

    Looks lovererly anyhoo

    Hugs

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  5. But the fabric is so pretty! Too bad about the fit, especially because of all the anticipation and work that went into it. Sounds like we are both on the hunt for a good button down shirt pattern.

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  6. I just hate that too big but also too small fit! I do like the shirt you made though, the fabric is great.

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  7. Sucks about the fit, really cute fabric tho:)
    Maybe you have a friend that is a little bigger than you?

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  8. I still think it's super cute, and I admire your marathon sewing sessions!

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  9. If yu adjust the shoulder, I think you will be more comfortable with the length of the sleeve. As for the fit in the back, I don't the shirt is too tight in the hips, I think you could make an adjustment in the darts and take out some of the fullness you are seeing in the back. The shirt is just far too nice to not make the adjustments.

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    1. Excellent ideas, Rhonda! Thanks for that feedback!

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  10. Too bad the fit is off, the shirt is lovely. Thank you for linking to the video of how to ease in a sleeve with bias tape. Amazing!

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    1. Isn't that great?! I didn't pull tight enough on the bias strip with the first sleeve, so I did have to do a little extra easing. When she says pull as tight as you can, she means it!

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  11. It's pretty - I love the back darts - they look very neat :)
    I'm feeling a little dotty about french seams right now - I have plans to use them!
    Grainline's Archer shirt looks appealing to me ... maybe in the Autumn.

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  12. Aaaaah, what a shame. The construction is great.. and oh those buttons are cute as with that fabric.

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  13. Awwww man, this is so pretty and so beautifully stitched! I hope you're able to do some adjustments to make this a bit more wearable.

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  14. Ooh, I'm glad to hear that bias trick on the sleeve cap worked... I so wanted it to! :) Love that fabric, but I understand where you're coming from. If it doesn't feel right, I'm likely just to toss it in the donation pile and move along. Sometimes trying to fix it takes more time and energy than starting again!

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  15. It's really a shame that the fit isn't right :( The fabric is fabulous and you did such a great job on the sewing of the shirt! I'm a sucker for such tailored shirts :)

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  16. It looks beautiful, so sorry it doesn't work on you. Maybe you can find someone that can wear it so that it doesn't go to waste? Love the tip about using a strip of bias fabric for the sleeve head - I've used a bias strip of tie interfacing to ease in the sleeve head on jackets, but it's too thick for a regular shirt. I'll be trying this the next time I make a blouse!

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    1. It really worked well. I just used a bias strip of the same fabric as the shirt, since the material is rather thin. If I were using something heavier though, like oxford cloth, I might try to find a voile or lawn to use.

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  17. It is soo cute, too bad about all the issues. Fitting is a pain!! :P

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