Pattern Review: BS-12-2015-109A

When the preview for the December Burda went up, I was incredibly excited for the new issue.  When it arrived, there were two patterns I knew I wanted to make right away – the wrap skirt and the pleated back tunic top.  I traced both of them, but the top got sewn together first.


Here is my version:


And here is my official Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: A tunic length top with pockets and a low pleated back.

Pattern Sizing: Burda sizes 36-44.  I used a combination of size 40 at the neckline and size 44 everywhere else.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Normally I don’t have too many problems with the Burda instructions.  And actually I think the English translations were better in this issue.  They even made it more obvious when you have to draft your own pattern pieces.  With all that being said – no, these instructions were awful.  Well, actually, only one part of the instructions was awful – but it was the only critical step in the process!  This pattern uses a facing to finish the neckline, and create the beautiful drape in the back.  The instructions start off telling you to sew the shoulder seams, and then take a left turn into Confusionville.  I still have no idea what they were trying to tell me.  I’m like 98% sure I didn’t do it right.  The only thing that I’m pretty sure was important was stitching the facing to the “fold” line across the pleating in the back, and not stitching it to the seam allowance I added.  Otherwise all the instructions about sewing and clipping into corners and flipping things around and having something free made no sense.  At this point I don’t even really know what I did except try to follow the instructions, have the sinking sensation I’d just “trimmed” all of the facing I was supposed to be sewing, fiddle with it for a bit, stare at the instructions some more, decide to just sew the darned facing on and hand tack it to the pleats on the inside, and call it a day (or night.  At that hour it is impossible to use proper terminology).  Regardless, the best advice I can give is read the instructions, but be creative and resourceful when it gets time to apply the facing to the neckline.

Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it?  I think so!  Even with the wonky instructions and my fake it ’til you make it attitude, it turned out really well.  I even used the same color as the original garment photo, so it looks very similar.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I love the length!  It is long enough to cover the bum, so you can wear it with trousers, longer skirts, or even leggings and look respectable.  I LOVE the pockets.  Love them.  It gives the top a casual vibe, but the neckline keeps it classy.  I also really like the darts in the front – it makes it more fitted and gives a better shape, despite the relaxed fit.  Then all the volume and drama is in the back, but the balance of fit and volume helps the top not look like a giant puffy sack.  Dislikes: The arms feel a bit tight?  Not sure if it is the pattern or if it is just me.  Though it might be intentional, because the fitted arms do help the top stay in place despite the large neck opening.  The only major dislike was the instructions (see above).

Fabric used:  Navy ponte knit that I got from Jo-Ann fabrics.  It is a lighter weight, and very soft.  It has a higher rayon content than what they usually carry, and it was lovely to work with.  It is really comfortable to wear too.  Perfect for cool weather when you don’t quite need a jacket, but want something a bit warmer.

Pattern alterations or design changes you made:  I didn’t make any alterations other than making it up as I went along with the back facing.

Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?  On one hand, I don’t think I need a million of these tops – they are pretty distinctive.  But I do really like the way it fits, and it is super comfortable.  I might make another after this one gets worn, or if I find another awesome lightweight ponte knit.  I would recommend this pattern if you are willing to deal with the instructions.  If you don’t let them fluster you it really is a very easy top to sew, quick to put together, elegant, and comfortable.

Conclusion:  Love my top!  I wore it out to my sister’s birthday celebration the day after I made it, and I wore it again for family Thanksgiving.  I’ll have to plan something else for Christmas, I think, but I’m going to see how many events I can get away with wearing this to before people start to notice.

9 thoughts on “Pattern Review: BS-12-2015-109A

  1. I’m still stalking the bookstore shelves for the December issue. This top will definitely go on my “to make” list. Whatever you ended up doing with those back pleats, they look great! Love that blue too.


  2. This is definitely on my list too – moving up it now I’ve seen yours, it does look just like the magazine one. I need some tops that cover the backside now jeans weather is almost here and I love this whole dressy sweatshirt thing. Off to rummage in stash………


  3. Hi Doctor T, I have bought the same pattern and want to make the dress version. I totally agree with you about the instructions to attach the facings, they just don’t make any sense!! Have gone over them time and time but they get more obscure!! I so want to make this for xmas day, I have bought a black crepe which drapes really well but am panicking now that it’s going to be a disaster. I wonder if you have had any more ideas about how it should work? I have sent an email to Burda asking them for some drawings. Any one out there with another review of this pattern, please help.


    1. Best I could figure is that the facing should be stitched to the “fold” line on the pleats, then under stitch the facing. I know there are instructions about clipping into corners and all that, which I did but then basically restitched because the instructions made no sense.


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