Spring has sprung! It’s early morning, still dark, and I can hear birds chirping happily outside. My daughter is discovering things like flowers, robins, and mud, and I’m starting to plan sewing projects in cottons and linen – shorts, dresses, and things that invite a breeze to blow through instead of things to snuggle up in.
But hold up! I still have unblogged sweaters sweaters from January to share, and I really like this pattern so I’m not going to let them slide by the wayside. The pattern is Burdastyle 09/2012 #106C – labeled simply, “3/4 sleeve top.”
I am also CERTAIN this pattern is also available in printed form, but after poring over the Simplicity website for 20 minutes I still can’t find it. I wish I had been aware sooner that I could have bought this as an envelope pattern. I much prefer that over printing, taping, and tracing pdfs.
Like my last make, this is another pattern that I’ve had pinned for a long time. It feels very satisfying to finally turn inspiration into a finished project, and I love that Pinterest now gives you the option to check off the things that you’ve tried. I think it’s a healthy reminder that you can gather inspiration all day long, but you shouldn’t let this take the place of actually doing something.
I made my first version in an off-white rayon-nylon-lycra ponte from Fabricmart. I trusted Amanda’s wisdom and made this top a size smaller than usual. (For reference, my measurements these days are around 36.5-30-43.) I believe I cut a 36 throughout, and it looks to me as though I could have graded out at the hips like I usually do. Not sure why I didn’t do that this time – maybe I thought I could get away with it using a stretchy knit. It doesn’t bother me, although I might go back and shorten the length some day.
One style change I made was to turn the curve of the back neckline into a straight line. This was easy to do – just drew a straight line from the shoulder seam to the center back seam. You can see the difference between mine and the original in the photo below comparing Amanda’s top to mine.
I also added a button and button loop at the back that holds the neck band together. It’s really just for show, not functional. The pattern has you sew the neckline in the round, so there’s no need for a closure here. I did some fiddling around to keep the edges of the neckline separate, and it’s not exactly pretty on the inside. I’ll have to work out a better method for that next time.
This pattern has a couple quirks, first being the shoulder dart and the method for attaching the sleeve to the bodice. The instructions have you sew the sleeve to the bodice before closing up the dart, so you are not sewing in the round (bodice side seams are joined at this point, but not the shoulder seam). Then you sew the shoulder seam and dart in one pass. I really liked this, although darts in ponte are always tricky for me. I suppose if you were handy with pattern drafting you could also just get rid of this dart and sew a more traditional sleeve, but I found this an interesting variation.
The French darts on the bodice front are also unique. I think they give a lovely shape, although they can be tricky to sew. I was a good seamstress and thread-traced and then basted mine, which made the job much easier in the end.
Another pattern quirk is that the pattern calls for batting in the neckband. I used interfacing instead, but I’m kinda curious about trying the batting on another version. It would give the band a soft rolled look. You can see this in the Burdastyle photo of a different variation of the pattern below.
After the white version was complete, I quickly dove into a second version in black using a more treasured piece of fabric – a black wool doubleknit just like Amanda used (again from Fabricmart). I loooove the feel of this one. The darts also pressed more nicely, and although I will have to hand wash it, it will wear nicer in the long run.
I made this version slightly larger with the idea that I wanted to be able to layer it over blouses. In retrospect, that was a dumb idea. The neckline on this sweater just doesn’t lend itself to layering. I have a feeling it would look pretty awkward over most tops. I don’t mind the roomier fit too much. Maybe it helped with some of the swayback problems from my white version and the tightness in the hips, too.
I didn’t do as nice a job fitting the neckband to the sharp V of the back neck on this version. You can see it’s a little wavy and loose at the center back. It can be fixed, but unpicking mistakes in this fabric is a real challenge. My last piece of advice for this pattern is if you are using the “stretch-by-feel” method of attaching the neck band, don’t stretch it hardly at all as you are attaching it to the center front. If you do, your band will hug your neck, which is what you normally want for a knit neckband. With the high neckline on this pattern, however, a tight band will feel like it is choking you. Trust me. I had to unpick and redo this once. If you don’t stretch the band along the front, it will stand up away from the body, and that’s fine in this case. Then you can start to stretch it as you pass over the shoulders and onto the back neckline. Worked great for me.
I think that’s all I have to say about this pattern! I really love it, and I’d encourage others to give it a whirl. If you’re interested in reading others’ reviews, here’s a link to the pattern on Pattern Review. I always have trouble locating Burdastyle patterns on their site, because the number for Burdastyle downloadables is so wonky. Over and out!