Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Butterick 5895, A Gertie top

I rarely even look at Butterick Patterns, having previous poor experiences when sewing from them, but their marketing is working on me. I recently bought 2 patterns by Gertie, because I fancied the look of them when I saw them on her blog.
Today I made up the blouse from the seperates pattern B5895.

Butterick 5895

Not having sewn from Butterick for quite a while, I was very careful to inspect the provided measurements.
My daughter is a size 8 in Butterick, according to the envelope body  measurements. That would be a bust measurement of 31 and 1/2 inches.
The finished garment measurement for this blouse (thoughtfully provided on the pattern tissue only, so you cannot check this before you buy the pattern) is 38 and 1/2 inches. That, dear readers, is a mere 7 inches of ease at the bust, which I do not believe is the ease shown in the garment worn by the model on the envelope, unless there is a large peg at the back which they are not showing us.


Feeling smug about catching this, I went on to look at the finished waist measurement, which is not provided. At a spot  somewhere considerably above the waist a "width" measurement is given as 29 and 3/4 inches for size 8. I imagined that this meant circumference, and again is somewhere between 5 and 7 inches of ease.


Progressing, I read Gertie's post about this garment, where she says that the model must be tall, as she had not  intended the garment to be midriff baring. I guessed this meant the garment would end at the waist.

My daughter measures 42cm, neck to waist, and the size 8 garment finished length is given as 40cm, however, the smallest size in my envelope, size 4, with a finished bust measurement 5 inches over for my daughter's measurements, is only 39 cm in length.

According to the pattern envelope, there is no provision provided for above waist adjustment.
I took this as a challenge. This blouse was not going to fit straight out of the envelope.

However, Butterick is not joking about the provision for above waist adjustment. There is a french dart, a shoulder dart, and the collar is continuous from the front piece. Although this makes the garment a breeze to cut out, with only 3 pattern pieces, and no fiddly collar or sleeve insertion, it does make it tricky to adjust.

Did I get out my rulers, and start adjusting? No, I wanted to whip up a quick little top, so I fudged.
I cut out at size 4 width, and size 12 length, moving all darts to the size 12 position, and keeping all dots in the size 4 horizontal but size 12 vertical positions. I then added 1cm in length to the back , the buttoning centre front sections and the sides of the front, tapering to the ties. Although technically, I should do a small bust adjustment for my daughter, I did not feel that this would make a big change to the fit of the blouse, as there was so much ease already.

I changed a few things in the construction.
My fabric is a lovely cotton seersucker from Michael's Fabrics. I did not want to fuse the enormous front facings and collar as instructed by the pattern, as this would reduce the coolness of the fabric, and permanently set the seersucker puckering in a fashion I find unattractive. Instead I used cotton batiste as the interfacing, and sewed it right sides together with the inner edge of the front facing pieces, then turned, for a clean, breathable finish.


I found a slightly confusing , possible hiccup in the instructions. You are instructed to reinforce the upper fronts "to the small circle" and then clip to the small circle. Unfortunately, there are actually two small circles at the upper front, one on either leg of the shoulder dart (unsewn at this point), and there is no illustration distinguishing between the points. As clipping is a permanent change, I read this twice, then worked out that possibly the clipping instruction had been intended for after the shoulder dart was sewn, which would place both small circles directly over each other. Clipping to the circle furthest toward the shoulder is necessary for the collar construction.


 In size 4 width, the small circles mentioned above, that should match in all 3 pieces, only match if the garment edges do not. I guess this is fairly typical of big4 drafting.

At the inner shoulder seam, there are 6 layers of fabric including the interfacing. I found this a bit bulky, and chose to finish the back neck with a strip of bias batiste rather then the interfaced back neck facing piece. This was overstitched to the shoulder seam - still bulky, but sits better than the 8 layers of fabric and interfacing that would have been here had I turned under the back neck facing for a clean seam finish at this corner where all the garment pieces turn.


I think this now fits in the way Gertie intended it to be worn.


This is a very cute little top. My daughter loves it.

Edited to add: Stashbusting statistics: 1.5m cotton seersucker, Michael's Fabrics 2012 about 0.5 m of cotton batiste 2009.


Suzy said...

Great review and your daughter looks so cute in this! I've been eyeing this pattern off in the hope of making it a bit longer, the pattern envelope is a bit off putting with how high the waist is, so it's great to see that you made it a bit longer.

Janine said...

You have pulled this pattern off. This will be very helpful for others sewing this. The finished top looks very cute.

Karin said...

It is cute on your daughter. Thanks for the thorough review!

Ruth said...

It is cute but it shows the problem of sewing something designed by someone with absolutely no formal training in dressmaking or design and less than five years' self-directed experience, but loads of self-marketing skills. Most obviously, the designer still hasn't a clue about the function of bust darts, where they are supposed to end and why. Obviously blogland is all about linking (I.e. "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"), but frankly blogland's "experts" are usually nice people, but anything but truly expert.

katherine h said...

I think other sewers will appreciate your thorough investigation and detailed review! Cute top. Kudos to you for pulling it off.

beurreblanc said...

Your story is why I stick with Burda. Very cute top though.

Kyle said...

That is super cute!!!

kbenco said...

In reply to Ruth, I do not think Gertie designing for Butterick is a problem. In my opinion, Butterick patterns are rife with design, drafting and grading issues such as misplaced bust darts without any input from Gertie. However, without Gertie, there are no cute looking garments for which my daughters beg me to buy the patterns.She has an eye for appealing outfits and styling, and she writes very well, which is great advertising for her patterns, I agree. As far as my blog post being written in a "you scratch my back manner" I have not commented on Gertie's blog for several years and have no connection to her what so ever. I do not feel that I am scratching her back because she has a blog, but providing a description of my experience with her pattern in the same way I write about other patterns. Personally, I prefer Burda to any other pattern line, but principally, I like to sew new things. This was fun to sew.

liza jane said...

It's an adorable top. Will I ever be able to wear something like this again?! *Sigh* Sorry. I'm just sitting here waiting on this baby to get out of my belly. Safe to say I'm a little moody these days ;) And hot. I really love the blouse. I don't make a lot of Butterick patterns for the same reasons you discuss, but this is one I'd like to try... one day.

Mary said...

This is really cute on your daughter. I laughed at your description of fudging the needed alterations. I do that too! Butterick has worked for me, but I have to say Vogue patterns are my fave.

fabric epiphanies said...

How frustrating to make something so simple and need to alter the heck out if it. I find a lot of Butterick patterns boring as well so I can understand why they would not normally appeal to a teenage girl. The finished product looks lovely and the seersucker is the perfect choice.

Ruth said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply at all that you were scratching anybody's back. That was not aimed at you at all. And Butterick's patterns may be like that too. I don't know. I don't use them. I am a Burda fan, myself (which is why I come by and check out your blog sometimes). But I stand by what I said about her lack of expertise and that this is exactly what I would expect from a pattern from someone with little experience or training - that also doesn't say much for Butterick, though.

Steph A said...

It's a really cute top, and it looks lovely on your daughter. Great job with solving the issues.

Paola said...

Lovely top. As to the excessive ease issue, I agree that Butterick patterns often have this problem. I've struck it quite a few times. I don't often sew from the Big 4, and Butterick in particular, for this very reason.

Sharon said...

You did an excellent job with this top as it has turned out gorgeous and looks fab on your daughter.

pdiddly said...

really cute top on your daughter - oh to be slim and young again. I mirror your comments on Butterick sizing. Having just completed the Pippa dress for one of my bridesmaids, if I took the pattern measurements she should have been a size 12 but decided to cut the next size down, and I still had to take it in again.

Carolyn said...

Both the blouses you made for your daughter are ultra cute. Thank you for this very helpful review :)

Jilly Be said...

You did a great job of making this into an adorable look :)

L said...

Very nice top for your daughter!

Allison said...

Sounds like it took quite a bit of work but you have certainly ended up with a cute top which fits your daughter very nicely. It's odd the way ease is built into the Big 4patterns. I find some of them have way too much and others way too little. I have had better luck with some of the independent pattern companies. Like the new look of your blog, BTW.

Rosy said...

You did a wonderful job with this top, your daughter looks beautiful and happy with it ... only see that look of happiness .. and you forget entire job.

Clare Szabo said...

This is really interesting. I literally just made this top up in muslin to test the fit. Terribly disappointed. It sits so high up on the waist and there is so much ease around the bust, it's silly. I doubt I'll bother to rectify this pattern, just not worth it to me as the time it will take to sort that, I will draft it up. Thought this looked easy but the fit is just ridiculous. Glad you managed to sort it out though, it looks really cute on your daughter and definitely what I imagine was the designer's intention.

lexi said...

This is so helpful - thank you! I was going to be cheeky and skip muslin, but I won't now. I don't think I'd be too quick to blame the designer, though, if Butterick patterns are usually like this. I've made a number of garments from Gertie's book and each one has come out beautifully, with minimal adjustment. I think this is a big pattern company thing, and it makes me wish sometimes that Gertie had gone down the indie pattern route (a la By Hand London, or Colette).

ps No relationship to Gertie here either! But I will say I have learned a lot from her vis her blog.