Friday, August 12, 2011

Lousy Draft? Butterick 5387

I actually really like this and may even make it again. I do think it has major drafting problems as will become clear here in a moment. Unlike some I had no problem at all with the directions and actually thought the text was pretty clear although the tech drawings for #18 could be confusing.  I will run you through a detailed tute of how I did this neckline. (picture heavy)

First you stitch of the center front. I suggest you go up another inch and a half higher unless you really want the girls on display. The CF seam is catchstitched down to the fashion fabric inside before proceeding. There is a lot of hand stitching here. I think that fact could be why many did not like this pattern. It is not a whip through knit pattern. There are hand stitches and tweaking needed here. Also, before I forget, I cut my pieces upside down, so if you are following directions in the pattern, my blouse will look opposite, no biggy. Above you can see the neckband stitched to the bodice with the left and right extensions hanging free. The edge of the under band is shaped and pressed. 
 Here the outer neckband is stitched to the under neckband, still keeping the extensions free. The pleats are basted down and the outer band has the edge trimmed and pressed under
Once the two collar bands are stitched together the underband is understitched. I use a triple zigzag to do that. Learned that one from Nancy Zieman many years ago. It does a much better job at keeping it all flat than just one line of understitching. 
Here you see the completed neckband with the extensions still free. Now comes the part where many  poured that second glass of wine. 
Here you have the bodice laid out looking at you. The pleated extension goes on top of the free band and the non pleated extension goes UNDER the band. Importante!
Here comes the infamous step 18. Match the right side of the pleated extension (on top of the band) and the wrong side of the plain extension (under the band). This is your seam. Match at the seamline, not the edge. It should look like this with both extensions facing up. 
Here is where the drafting issues show up. I was extremely careful here but ended up extra fabric looping up from the flat extension. The seamline needed to be closer to the bodice where it connects. You can see here the tuck of extra fabric. The pattern tells you to hand stitch, once again, this area to the neck band. I did, taking the tuck until the fabric looked flatter. 

So when all is said and done here's what we've got: The flat extension requires fiddling because it will not lie flat with the seamline where it is. The pleated extension could use a bit more volume, something many eluded to on PR. I would do this next time by cutting and spreading the pleats further open. The neckline gapes, another sign of poor drafting. Many on PR complained of this too.

But like many on PR, I LIKE THIS PATTERN! I think my fabric pattern helped camouflage these issues to some extent.  l really like the way if fits as well, other than the gape. I did my usual petiting, cut a size 6 above the bust,  Pivot and Slided out to a C up, went back in at the waist and back out to a twelve at the hips. I wish this were a plain Tshirt. I do not like my knits to have negative ease. This just skims the body and I like that. So with some tweaking of the draft, I can see myself making this again. Would I recommend? Well, only if you don't get frustrated at tweaking, can possibly redraft the neckline, and don't mind doing handstitching. This is not a whip out but it took me maybe a total of 4 hours total to pull off.

Bunny with the peekaboo neckline and who just noticed that the print and neckline make one boob look bigger than the other. They are not but even if they were, so what?


  1. Thank you, Bunny, for this review. I enjoy your musings, from grandchildren to wadders, and all the terrific stuff in between. Keep it up! Beth from Philly

  2. Looks great! I'm so glad you got the pattern to work for you.

  3. Thanks for the detailed review and all the pics. It's such a neat looking top. I'm disappointed to read that you too experienced the poor drafting. I was hoping it was my fault and I could repeat with more care and be fine. Again, thanks for sharing your process.

  4. I knew you would master that pattern. The neckline looks origami-ish. Similar to the garments in the Japanese drafting books, "Pattern Magic".

  5. That's a lovely print Bunny. And I think you pulled it off just fine.

  6. Looks lovely! All the tweaking was well worth it.

  7. Funny...I was looking at this post and then looked at your post prior to this one (as I am a day behind in reading the blogs that I follow)...well, when I saw your first post about this pattern, I thought that it looked familiar! And, I just checked and sure enough it is in my pattern stash! Oh, I dare try it one of these days or do I not dare! lol One thing I noticed that is different on your pattern envelope front and on mine...look at yours and the tucks in the four views aren't on the same side...on my envelope front they all tuck in the same direction...perhaps this just goes to show the poor drafting...they can't even make a line drawing of it correctly! I will definitely study your steps very closely prior to me ever attempting it...that is if I ever attempt it!

    And, it does look great on you! Your tweaking and tucking, etc. paid off!

  8. I too will be using your tute. I've liked this pattern but those reviews made me put it way back in the pile. Your lovely version and great instructions have changed my mind. It looks fabulous on you!

  9. I think you top looks fantastic and much nicer than the pattern picture - would look to make this myself (but follow your neck instructions)

  10. Another great looking top and good tips to take note of. :)

    Love the tip on the triple zig zag for understitching - I've never heard of that one.

    As always, you make everything look great with your expertise sewing and pattern altering for fit!


  11. Thank you Bunny, for taking the time to do this tutorial. I believe I could tackle this pattern now. Don't you think that sometimes pattern instructions should be ignored and our intuition followed?

  12. It's an interesting top, but the drafting issues would definitely try the patience of a less experienced sewist. This is also why I am wary of patterns that only have drawn illustrations.

  13. Great work as always. I really enjoy your reviews. You point out the problems and find the solutions.
    Thanks for making such an effort.

  14. I love it, you worked it out beautifully.

  15. Ummm...I think 4 hours is a least it would be for me!

    This is a very pretty top...and it looks wonderful on you, Bunny.

    Thanks for the tip about the zigzag under-stitching. I have a knit top in the queue and I think I'll try it!


  16. Pretty pretty top! It reminds be of a Vogue 1980's blouse pattern in my stash, with a similar gathered piece that goes over the collar band. Same constuction method. A little unusual if you have never seen it before. Great tutorial.

  17. That top looks so nice - it was worth the trouble.
    Thanks for venturing into the mystery and reporting back to us. I'd love to have this in my closet, too.

  18. This is one of the two patterns I bought on my trip to the UK, just by the look of it. Have learned by browsing through reviews that it's more complicated than I thought it was. Thanks for this post, I will refer to it when making the top.

  19. Thank heavens for this post. I was pulling my hair out until I read your instructions. Thanks for the photos as well. I ended up with very little fabric on the rear tab so I tiwsted it, laid it flat and hand basted it to the back of the neckline then gently pulled the pleated tab across the front, over the neckline and basted that as well. It made no sense to sew the two together. Also had to tack the keyhole shut since I've had a mastectomy and no one needs to see that! I'm making the version with the flouncy sleeve. Hoping that isn't as challenging as the neckline! Thank very much for sharing your talent.

  20. Hi,
    I'm just about to get started on making this top, and thank goodness for Pattern Review, and for your blog posting! I definitely will not expect to whip this out in one day!! I don't mind hand-stitching, I actually enjoy it. So, crossing my fingers that this will go ok.


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