Sewing Vloggers

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Butterick 5861 and I'm ready for Woodstock!


I really enjoyed making this top.  I know, the fabric is a bit crazy but I like it. I have always been a fan of Picasso and this print sucked me right in because of that.  The construction was unique and challenging, the fabric a delight to sew and the pattern a design that brought me back to 1968 and fantasies of bell bottom jeans with embroidered gussets and me and my friends with our thumbs out on the hiway hitch hiking. Yeah, we actually did things like that back then and survived.  

I have a lot to say about this top so grab a bev and have a seat. It was a fun ride, so much so that I've already started on tunic #2!


I saw this pattern, Butterick 5861,  made up in a FB group I frequent and just fell in love. I am generally not a tunic person but the style of this one, the options for embellishment, and the memories it brought back all came together to motivate me to search it out on the web. I kept waiting for it to go on sale and it just wasn't happening at that time.  Then one of my cyber sewing friends, una amiga Boricua, Ada Garcia, of Puerto Rico, messaged me and told me she had the pattern in my size, would never make it and would gladly GIVE it to me. What could I say? We talked, figured it out, and next thing I knew this lovely graced my mailbox. Thank you so so much, again, Ada. Besicos!

There are issues with the pattern so I will get those out of the way first. It is HUGE in the bodice. I made the smallest size, a size 8 for a 31 1/2 inch bust. The bodice for this size is 50 INCHES! What you see above takes out 4 of those fifty inches! Thank you, PR, for the heads up on that!  

Next the neckline, on a petite, goes lower than I am accustomed to. That's OK. Generally, I wear my necklines a little higher and have already cut version #2 without thinking but would cut it higher in the front. I also have two rather heavy beads on the front ties and I think they are pulling it down. So you may want to reduce volume if you make this unless you would like that extra ease. 

This is a pattern where you really have to pay attention. I will come right out and say this is not a beginner's pattern. You will quit sewing on those shoulder yokes. I will get into that further on. I love the shoulder yoke detail shape and placement.  They fit perfectly. 

This pattern is long as well.  I cut off 3 inches. I have a mini skirt on. It would have been as long as the skirt if I hadn't so watch that length!

Positives: The volume, while a lot, is comfy and gracious. I solved the volume issue with a thin belt. I prefer to emphasize my waist anyway. 

Much better proportion, don't you think? 

I also cut back my sleeve length two inches but that was a general petite thing. I love the sleeve fullness. 

This pattern has shirring in the back at the waist which I do like but it will get hidden by the belt. More on that in construction. 

The pattern offers 4 interesting views. Two button down the front with long tucks and one of those has a contrast band.  Then there are two that don't button down the front but have insets at center front. The CF insets have tie closures and surface embellishment that matches the surface embellishment also on the shoulder yokes. I love the shoulder yokes on this top. 

I did no surface embellishment or insets on my version. I wanted it very plain due to the vivid design of the print fabric.  I accomplished that by simply cutting the CF on the fold and adding a faced slit.  More on that in a bit. 


This is from and described as a "Telio rayon slub challis". It was a delight to sew. It had a tendency to shift and ravel like most rayons but this was tamed with spray starch. I cut out my pattern pieces and by the second piece saw this problem. I proceeded to cut and then  took them all to the ironing board where I sprayed each seam area lightly and ironed with a dry iron. Then I repeated the process. All seam edges got this double starching.  After that the pieces were put back on their pattern tissue and trimmed and recut as they had stretched out of shape in that process. You can see the distortion below. A lot of recutting and a lot of scraps to prove it! 

Starching kept the raveling to a minimum.  I would definitely sew this fabric again,


I made changes to the construction due to my fabric and style choices. First change was making all seams into French seams. Next I decided to use the Burrito method for the faced shoulder yokes but let's start with the elimination of the embellished inset at upper center front bodice first. I decided to make a simple slit neckline at CF and even did a practice version on a scrap first just to be sure I could pull it off.  There was enough going on with my fabric choice and I felt no further embellishment was needed. 

A line was established down center front. A piece of the fashion fabric was fused to woven cotton fusible. It was cut into the shape I wanted for the facing, which was small, and the edges were serged. 

I simply sewed down the slit in a 1/4 inch seam and sewed across the bottom in a small curve. No fuss. 

Next come my changes to the shirring on the back of all the views. I went into this in detail in a previous post as I know a lot of people out there are making shirred garments right now and those elastic threads are failing. This method, which I detailed here, is stronger and I personally like the look of the triple zig zagged elastic better. It's a little fussier but you don't have to wrap any bobbins with elastic thread and I do detest doing that. 

Now it was time to deal with the shoulders. The pattern has you simply treat the two layers of the shoulder yoke, top and facing, as one and sew it into the sleeve and bodice with a simple seam.  I wanted something cleaner than that. I did a classic burrito method which was really simple here. 

I sandwiched the sleeve between the fashion fabric and the facing piece and stitched all three layers together. Seam was then graded, pressed away from the sleeve and voila!  This unit was then attached to the bodice front and back with French seams, all clean. Nothing on the inside of this garment is open other than the serged inset facing edge and bottom hem. 

A lot of attention has to be paid her to where the yoke piece fits in on the sleeve. One maker on Pattern Review inserted it upside down/backwards.  The longest edge, opposite the neckline is stitched to the gathered sleeve. Of the two remaining short edges, the longest edge of those two goes to the front bodice and the short edge goes to the back bodice. Follow the notches down on the sleeve if you are confused, The pattern instructions are very confusing on this. Just take your time and it will make sense. Here is how it all lays out.

Like I said, this is not a beginner pattern. 

After this it was smooth sailing with French seams easily accomplished on this fabric. The last challenge was the neckline. This requires a long bias strip that was first sewn into tubes/ties other than the neck area. That was left open to be sewn separately to the neckline and then finished with hand stitching on the inside. I did mine opposite. It just seemed to lay better when tied if I did and I fell stitched it on the front side with tiny stitches. You can get a better idea of how that came out on the close up above of the shoulder neckline area. Just click these to get them larger. 

On my next version I will interface the bias strip in hte neckline area just to help it lay a bit flatter. We'll see how that goes. 

In Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this pattern. Why? It was very challenging, the fabric, the design, the construction, my chosen changes and the pattern itself. I really enjoyed making it. It is definitely not for a beginner, IMO, and that is something I very very rarely say. I am happy with the outcome, WITH A BELT, and know I will wear this a lot. I wore it on Thanksgiving and it was a hit. Left a lot of room for turkey, too! I recommend if you are up to a challenge and looking for a top that is comfortable and feminine and will work on any woman's shape.  You just never know when the sixties will call and want you back. You'll be ready!


This is a peek at version #2. The fabric is far less cooperative, a rayon georgette crepe or what we used to call "crepon". The shoulder insets and CF inset, well, I did my own thing. I made bias tubes, tied them in knots and ran them down the pattern pieces instead of the turned tucks the pattern calls for. More on that later! Six hours making  tubes and knots!!! Happy Sewing!...............Bunny


  1. This is such a pretty blouse on you. While not a pattern I would have bought for me I love it and what you did with it. I also appreciate all the sewing information. Your fitting and construction are impeccable as usual. Jean

    1. Thanks, Jean. I am trying to update my "colors". I know pastels look better on my now than the jewel tones I wore for years. But how do I wear those pastels and not look frumpy? I don't know about the garment but I don't think you could call the fabric design frumpy, that's for sure, interesting, maybe, but not frumpy. Haha.

  2. This is fun, beautiful, and so unique! I love the fabric and the fit. It really came together perfectly.

    1. Thank you so much. It was a lot of fun to put together.

  3. It is a highlight of my day when I find a post from Bunny in my blog feed!

    Your detailed explanations and photos always, always include tidbit(s) that will help my future projects. Thank you!

  4. I made View D of this pattern in a nice quality ivory poly. You are correct; it was challenging. For the back, I used an elastic that you sewed in and then steamed to shrink it. Fun to do, but I would prefer more control. However, the binding down the front had a tiny seam allowance, and the poly unraveled, so the two separated, and I was pretty sad because otherwise it was just lovely. Next time I will stay stitch and make wider binding. Live and learn!


Engaging commentary:

The "Imby Flowy Top"

  I absolutely  L O V E my Imby Flowy top. Can you tell? This was such fun to make, so easy and quick. It is also so very comfortable to wea...