Pattern Review – BurdaWOF 08-2011 121 Tunic

Ah, Burda, how you taunt me. Every time I am tempted to make one of your patterns, I am confronted with your spaghetti bowl of patterns that I have to trace off.

And then I have to add seam allowances.

And then I have to decipher your lousy instructions.

Add to that my compulsion to run up a muslin and work on the fitting issues of anything that has more than a few pieces, and I usually say, “Nah.”

Allow me a mini-rant here. I know that many people adore Burda World of Fashion – renamed a couple of years ago to Burda Style. To me, the fact that they cram a ton of patterns on one page and make the user both trace the pattern out of the spaghetti dinner on that page AND add seam allowances is lazy and disrespectful of their customers. Other pattern companies are able to put out stylish patterns on a regular basis, but they also manage to add seam allowances, and some of them even manage to put decent instructions out there. Not Burda, so I have never felt the love. End of rant. Now back to the review.

For this project, I had a specific look I wanted, and I didn’t have time to go to the local JoAnn or scour the internet to order it. I have several years worth of BWOF magazines gathering dust on my shelf, so I flipped through one and found the tunic I was looking for. It’s Tory-Burch-esque. I can’t find a picture online of it, so I’ll snap a photo later from the magazine and add it to this review.

Pattern Description: Pullover tunic top (also dress-length) with deep banded neckline, side slits, long sleeves with banded hem.

Sizing: 38-48, IIRC. I made a 40.

Fabric Used: Fabulous M!lly silk/cotton voile from Gorgeous Fabrics

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needle, thread. That’s all. I skipped interfacing because I wanted this to be very airy.

Tips Used during Construction: Sew from Wide to Narrow (Video Here)
And Now, A Word from the Pressinatrix (Video Here)
Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, more or less.

How were the instructions? Pfeh. I didn’t use them.

Construction Notes: I did a few things differently from what I think the instructions were trying to tell me. I decided as I was tracing the pattern that I would construct the band like the neckbands on the last few StyleArc patterns I made. So I cut out two of each neckband and sleeve band. I doubled the layers of the neckband and the sleeve bands, sewed them together, understitched them and then applied them to the bodice and the sleeves. Here’s a picture of the bands sewn together, waiting to be attached to the top:

Neckband on the right, sleeve bands on the left.
Neckband on the right, sleeve bands on the left.

Doing it that way necessitated my cutting a band out of the main front piece:

I cut out the insert for the band.
I cut out the insert for the band.

I lowered the bust dart one inch, sigh…

A couple of other things to note, and I’ll get pictures later to show. At first, I used white thread. But I noticed that, since this fabric is quite sheer, the white thread showed through, especially if there were any loose threads or basting sandwiched in the bands. So I switched to a tan color thread that blends much better into the riot of colors in this fabric. Second, I applied the neckband, and I finished the seam allowances by running them through my serger. I didn’t like the results – too much thread on this delicate fabric. So for the seams and sleeve bands, I ran a second line of straight stitching a scant 1/8th of an inch away from the seam (inside the seam allowance) and I trimmed very close to that. That gave a more satisfying result.

I made a 5/8 inch narrow hem at the side slits and the bottom.

Likes/Dislikes: As I say, this pattern was almost exactly what I envisioned for this fabric. I’ll wear it next week in FL when I see my kids march down Main Street at Disney World. DS the Elder will be leading the band and conducting! It’s a well-drafted pattern, which is a big plus. And I do really like the fact that Burda doesn’t put too much ease in their sleeve caps. You already know what I don’t like.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? With all the caveats about dealing with these patterns. I wouldn’t recommend against it; if tracing/adding SAs is something you enjoy, then go for it.

Conclusion: A nice, breezy top. Here’s a picture on Shelley:

Mrs. Roper? Is that you?
Mrs. Roper? Is that you?

Happy sewing!

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Gorgeous Fabrics

I own an online fabric store, The name says it all!

28 thoughts on “Pattern Review – BurdaWOF 08-2011 121 Tunic”

  1. One does have to be of a certain age to get the Mrs. Roper reference. The good news is that you bear no resemblance to Mrs. Roper–you are so much prettier and younger–and the tunic is great. Have fun in FL.

  2. Ann, Love your tunic! Just gorgeous! As far as your coments on Burda Style….exactly how I feel! ~Valerie

  3. LMAO Mrs. Roper. What am I going to do without you? I love the fabric you used and it is perfect for FL. Have fun down there with the boys!

  4. Ann, the weather in central Florida is so beautiful right now! This top will be perfect – it was 86 and sunny today! Despite the pattern challenges, it’s a gorgeous tunic.
    Style Arc has a great tunic pattern, I believe it’s called ‘Sandy’.

  5. Mrs. Roper!! Oh my goodness I nearly spit tea all over my computer. And though I have more than a few Burda Styles kicking around, I’ve never quite been brave enough (or patient enough) to actually try one. All those lines…

  6. Mrs Roper? No way! This looks a bit crazy for Boston, but just right for Florida. You’ll appreciate it in the heat and humidity, and you’ll look great too!
    Congratulations to your son, I am sure Disney doesn’t invite just any band to come and play. I hope he and his friends have a blast.

  7. Love that tunic! The fabric is beautiful! I was JUST looking through all the pattern websites last night for a nice “Tory Burch-esque” tunic with little success. I started sewing last year and made the mistake of buying fabric with crazy (but pretty!) prints. Since I’ve realized I won’t wear them often in my daily life, I thought they would be perfect for swimsuit cover ups and tunics with white jeans for summer. The idea of adding seam allowances still scares me, though, so I will keep looking!

  8. That top looks amazing! No way you’ll be Mrs. Roper-esque. Speaking as a native Floridian who avoids the parks like the plague – look on the bright side – you’ll be there in April, not July/August. Have fun!

  9. Lovely and breezy… it makes me feel like starting some summer sewing, even though we’re forecast to get snow around here tomorrow!

    I’m a Burda pattern enthusiast, but mostly because I can get a whole magazine of patterns for ten bucks. The tracing off is highly annoying, but I actually don’t mind the lack of seam allowances because it’s easier to make my standard pattern alternations without them and I can add different width SAs depending on the project and the seam.

    1. I totally agree! I love Burda patterns for the fact you get many within one magazine; and because they do NOT have seam allowances. There always seems too much fabric to trim when using a seam-included patterns.

  10. Bowl of spaghetti? I never thought of it like that, but your characterization is totally right on. Last weekend, I girded my loins (metaphorically) and traced a pattern out of the latest issue. Putting aside for the moment that the finished (well, pretty much finished) garment is so terribly wrong for my body configuration, it was maddening to (a) decipher which page the pattern was on, (b) which color to look for, (c) follow the damn colored lines (luckily I’ve been sewing for decades so I could kind of guess where the lines ought to be found when they disappeared into the morass of other lines), (d) remember — later — that I should have added seam allowances (thank goodness this was a flowy top), and (e) remember that Burda’s instructions are a bit minimalist (again, thank goodness I’ve been sewing forever and half the time don’t use instructions anyway)… I keep wondering why I renew that blasted subscription each year… Thanks for the post, and your tunic is FABULOUS!

  11. Love that fabric and I love seeing what people make with the voile. I’m afraid to buy some and then find it’s too sheer for what I want to make.

    I feel the same way about the Burda-monster. However, I broke down and not only bought a magazine but also traced off four of the patterns. A small independent local fabric store just started carrying them and as I told her, “I don’t know if I’ll ever use it but I’m going to buy it just because now I can!” (Well, you know without having to order it.)

  12. Your tunic will be splendid and am thrilled at the thought of a justifiably very proud mother watching her sons.
    tI do hesitate to disagree, but I am not with you on patterns without seam allowances. The stitching lines are what matter and it is good to be able to mark them – by chalk, fading marker, dressmakers carbon, thread tracing, baste and loop, whatever, without having to go through tissue. I spend a lot of time drawing stitching lines onto pattern paper for the big four patterns! My sewing has got so much more accurate since I really paid attention to the stitching, not cutting lines. I like choosing my own allowances – 1/4 inch for set in sleeves, 1 inch for seams I might need to adjust or fabric that frays, and so on – and it isn’t hard to mark the cutting lines directly on the fabric with chalk or washable marker ( or even not washable – you are going to cut it off!) or use a rotary cutter with a guide.
    Have a wonderful time at Disney

    1. Oh, I have no problem with folks disagreeing with me- it makes life interesting, no? But IMO, those three things combine to irk me no end about BurdaStyle magazine patterns. Marfy also doesn’t include either SAs or instructions, and I’m much more sanguine about them. It all starts with the spaghetti.

  13. So, I want to make this tunic. And Im going to have to reread this. I read it a few days ago, in bed, on my iphone. But, I’ve been wanting a nice tunic pattern to show off a beautiful print I got in China. Thanks!

  14. I think it is a bit unfair to compare the burda pattern magazine to individual, single patterns. Burda does offer those too, and though they don’t have seam allowances included (which was more or less unknown in Europe before we started to get access to Vogue patterns and the like and seems to be something common in the US) you don’t need to trace these patterns but can cut them out directly – and the instructions that come with them are way more detailed than what comes with the magazine.

    Just imagine you would try to put something like 20 Vogue patterns into a magazine (including the pattern themseleves) plus adding the detailed instructions that come with them – guess that would be a rather heavy magazine….

    1. I think it’s entirely fair to compare them. Many companies put lots of patterns in different sizes in one envelope. Think of Vogue wardrobe patterns. They lay them out in a way that doesn’t aggravate the user’s astigmatism, and they add seam allowances, and they ship globally. I stand by my opinion.

      And remember folks, that’s what it is – my opinion.

  15. 100% agree with you on the (old) BWOF’s. It’s so tedious to trace patterns from the pages, and I’m completely cross-eyed by the time I’ve finished. I let my subscription lapse. On to your top, it’s beautiful, I’ve had this fabric in my stash for some time, your finished result is beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. I love your tunic and I adore this fabric. I found a maxi dress pattern designed for wovens and if I weren’t a newbie, this would absolutely be my fabric of choice!

  17. I was looking at images of Mrs. Roper (after looking at Ashley Olsen) and look what pops up!

    I love your tunic and I’m inspired to use one of my more colorful patterned fabrics to make my next tunic (no caftans here!).

  18. I’ve got a different problem to you regarding Burda Style 7239 (maternity pattern). This pattern has seam allowances included BUT after cutting out the pattern (in 3 different fabrics mind you) I discover in the making up instructions that for neck and armholes prior to attaching the fabric strip I HAVE TO TRIM AWAY 1/4″ of FABRIC. Every other pattern I have used has the pattern seam allowances determined prior to cutting out the fabric with the measurement for any non 5/8″ seam allowance noted on the pattern piece. GRRRRRRRR. Not happy. I don’t mind trimming away after attaching a strip of fabric but before. Well I think I may have just given myself a solution – I’m going to increase the width of my fabric strips by 1/2″ and use those and trim. Well it was worth having my rant because I think I have solved my problem. Cheers ladies (and men if there are any). BTW I will steer clear of purchasing Burda patterns, but if in the future I do, I will sit down and read all of the instructions prior to cutting out the pattern.

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