Pattern Review: Butterick 5388C (Sew Geeky Spring/Wardrobe Contest Item #2)

This is the second item for my spring capsule/Pattern Review Wardrobe Contest.   I’ve entered the top-making phase of the contest, one down and 2 to go.  This isn’t the sort of top I typically wear, but I actually really enjoy the shape of the sleeves and relaxed fit.


Here is my version:

Here is my official pattern review:

Wardrobe Contest Notes: This is the first of the three tops for the Wardrobe Contest.  It is also part of my larger spring capsule wardrobe sewing plans, and my year-long “Sew Geeky” self-challenge.  My inspiration for spring was Hunchback of Notre Dame, one of my favorite books/movies/stories from when I was young.  I felt that the sleeve shape and flowing, loose fit of this top fit in nicely with my style inspiration mood board.

Pattern Description: Women’s top with collar, length and sleeve options.  I made view C – the shorter top with the open neckline and poofy 3/4 length sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: Butterick sizes 8-14 and 16-22.  I made a size 8 and graded out to a size 12 at the hip.  I’m usually a size 12/16, and this is still a very loose fitting top, so I would definitely recommend reading the printed pattern measurements, marveling at the insane amount of ease, then going down at least 2 sizes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t have a problem with the instructions, but I also changed things up a bit.  I’d read in other pattern reviews that people were very perplexed by the sleeve stays – basically, yes, you cut double sleeves and make an elastic casing at the opening.  While I appreciate that the stays will help with the poof and drape of the sleeve, I left them off.  Without them, this is a very basic raglan sleeve top with a few darts and a neck facing.  Pretty straightforward, and the order of construction in the instructions is fine.  I used my serger for the main construction, coverstitch for the hem, and the sewing machine for the pleats, darts, and understitching.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope once you were done with it?  Yes, totally!  I even used the same teal green color.

What did you particularly like or dislike about this pattern?  Likes: I’m obsessed with the sleeves.  The drape and shape is exactly what I wanted!  I also like how quick this is to put together.  Typically I don’t like super loose tops, but I’m sort of enjoying this one, it is really comfortable.  Dislikes: The neck facing wants to flip up A LOT.  I tacked it down by hand as much as possible, and I under stitched as instructed, but my knit is pretty thin, so, even with interacting and pressing, it doesn’t really want to stay put.  Also, the neckline for this top is SUPER low.  I might need to adjust it upwards a bit if I make this pattern again.

Fabric used: A remnant of some sort of (possibly?) rayon knit from the Michael Levine Loft.  Nothing like a new shirt for under $5!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I added 1.25” of length because I like slightly longer tops for myself.  I also left off the sleeve stays.  My thought process was something along the lines of (1) do I need this? (2) won’t it be hot? (3) oh hey, I’m cutting out the regular sleeve with giant chunks missing from my seam allowance because I barely have enough fabric as is, but it’ll be ok because my serger is just going to cut off the rest of this, right?  So yeah, no sleeve-stays.  I don’t think they are really necessary anyway, and it is much cooler without a double sleeve layer.

Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?  I could see myself making this again, especially in one of the other views with the cowl neck or in the longer tunic length.  If I make this view again I would probably play with raising the neckline a bit. and trying stiffer interfacing for the neckline facing to see if I can’t get it to be a bit more stable.

Conclusion: I’m surprised at how much I enjoy this top.  It was something that I thought would work well in my capsule, but is very atypical for my personal style.  I’m a bit disappointed with the neckline – I think the facing does create little divots where it is tacked to the seams – but overall I’m more pleased with this top than I expected.  Hopefully it looks good with my capsule bottoms!

20 thoughts on “Pattern Review: Butterick 5388C (Sew Geeky Spring/Wardrobe Contest Item #2)

  1. Congrats on great looking top! It looks sophisticated and relaxed. I personally always have reservations when it comes to pleats on jersey but it looks just right. What coverstitch machine you’ve used on this top?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That top is very flattering on you! When I have facings that won’t stay in place, I use small squares of hem tape or iron-on interfacing to “glue” them in place. I test on some scraps first to make sure it won’t show through the fabric. I also stitch in the ditch along sleeve seams, but you’ve likely tacked it there already.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hey,

    This doesn´t have anything to do with your post, sorry about that. I just don´t know who to ask. I started making top 120 from the February issue of Burda style and everything went well until I came to the part where you attach the neck band to the neck line. It turned out that it´s way too short. I double checked everything but couldn´t see where I had gone wrong so I measured the parts of the top that the band need to cover, minus darts, gathers and folds. I got a lenght of 110 cm (for size 38) but the band lenght for size 38 is only 84. I do have enough fabric to make another band but I don´t know how long I should make it. Should I make it 110 cm or slightly shorter? Do you think there could be an issue with the pattern sheet for this design? The pattern sheet says to “Stretch” the band but I find that odd as the design calls for “blouse fabrics” such as silk satin…

    Sorry for hijacking your comments field!


    1. Hmmmm. That is odd. Usually the Burda draft is pretty good, but it is possible there is an error or that they calculated for fabric with more stretch. I’d cut it a little shorter than the 110cm, but how much would depend on the fabric. If it is absolutely no stretch at all I’d make it pretty close. If it has a lot of stretch I’d do 2/3 – 3/4 the length, which sounds like what Burda did.


      1. Thanks, I`ll try that. Sent a mail to Burda as well asking about it, will write their reply here when they answer.


    2. The band is cut on the bias and even if silk should therefore have stretch which is why the pattern piece is probably shorter. I know you probably have done but did you cut the pattern piece on the bias?


  4. As I was tracing off another pattern from February Burda I got tape measure out and measured neck and band pieces for 120. Yes band is 84 cm length and other pieces I got to around 106 cm minus darts, pleats and gathers, so yes it seems a big difference of nearly 20 cm even for bias on none stretchy fabric. I’d do what DrT suggests and cut a long enough bias band. As you don’t really know how long you need the band I’d leave sewing CB seam on band until last and attach band starting at CB stretching as you go (make sure you leave enough for CB seam on band at beginning of band). You can always cut off any excess when you get to end of band and then seam CB of band together. I do this a lot when I make my own bias facings. I’d rather cut too long a piece and trim after attaching than end up short.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I *did* manage to stretch the 84 cm band enough to go around all the way but had to stretch whilst sewing. Needless to say I had no control at all over where the seam was going and had to rip it all up. Just thought I`d at least try it before dismissing it but think I`ll just make a band 5-10 cm shorter then the circumference or so and like you say leave the center back seam until I know how much of the band I need to go around. It´s so good to have people to ask when you´re stuck!

      Liked by 1 person

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