Here is a fun twist to the traditional one piece top. It is one project with at least three wearing options – two separate tops can be worn layered to look like one, or each dual piece can also be worn individually as a separate garment for an overall versatile creation. I pushed the boundaries even further by turning a knit pattern into one for a non-stretch woven.
FABRIC: a 100% polyester buff satin in a dusty light pink color with black stars tiny enough to look like polka dots unless you take notice at close distance. It was bought at Hancock Fabrics store.
PATTERN: Burda Style Double Layered Shirt, 04/2015, #101A. This pattern is available for download on the Burda Style site or from the April issue of the European magazine edition (04/2015).
TIME TO COMPLETE: Both tops were made very quickly, and not just because of my sewing skills – they really are so easy to make! From start of tracing and cutting out to my project being finished and wearable took me one evening, about 5 hours. My tops were done on May 23, 2015.
TOTAL COST: Well, this project was made with a 1 1/3 yard piece leftover from making the rest into a fancy 1940’s decade dress, which I have yet to post. I paid about $3 per yard, so I suppose my dual Burda Style tops cost me little dough (less than $4).
My favorite smart feature to this pattern’s design is the self-faced neckline, which ends up pretty much the same as a bias facing. The slanted neckline naturally works as a bias facing because the rest of the top is cut on the straight grain. Just don’t forget (like I did) to draw on the facing to the pattern top piece. I’m not used to self-facing but it’s smart when it works the way it does for this pattern.
As for any Burda Style pattern, printing and/or tracing is necessary to have a usable pattern to lay on your desired fabric. You can download and print and assemble or trace out from the insert in a magazine. It’s at this preliminary step that you pick out your proper size and add in your choice of seam allowance width. Sorry to repeat something you might already know, but this is just an “FYI” for those that don’t know.
There are only a few things changed about this top combo. The primary modification is the fact I made my shirts out of a woven non-stretch fabric instead of a knit, as the pattern recommended. After reading the reviews of this pattern by other members on Burda Style.com, I took note of the almost unanimous opinion that the tops run a size too large. This was a good sign because whenever I switch a knit pattern to a woven material, I always go up in a size to accommodate having no stretch. Thus I stayed with what is my normal size for Burda patterns and the finished fit turned out just perfect! Take note, I did have to add a long zipper into the side seam of the full length shirt to get it on myself. I also, had to shorten the length of the long top by about 3 inches since the hips were a bit snug, wrinkling up as it didn’t stretch, and looked better (in my opinion) as a mid-hip length. My sleeves were changed a bit, as well, being laid out and cut on the bias instead of on the straight grain, so that I would get a little natural stretch from the fabric’s grain and have some forgiveness in the fit.
I found the shaping and the darts engineered very well for fitting as a double layer. The one detail to notice is the difference in the cropped tops’ left and right bust darts. I really appreciate this feature and was unsure why the right bust dart was a full dart while the left one is a half tuck. Not knowing why, I still followed directions and – hey – it does work out better. Who thought of this?! The tuck opens up nicely over the dart in the top underneath. I love curious features!
After my tops were completely done, I ended up (out of personal taste) bringing in the top neckline slightly at the shoulder tops. They were fine the way they were but I didn’t want to have to worry about coverage in the front dipping too low when wearing each top separately. I took in a small ½ inch dart tapered to nothing where the shoulder seam meets the sleeve, and I can take it out again at any time, too.
When it comes to the delicate matter of what lingerie to wear under such a creation, I would recommend a brassiere with convertible straps. This way you can unhook or un-clip one strap as needed. A bandeau wrap and even a simple strapless bra would work, too, but I’m probably stating the obvious. Or if you have no plan for wearing each piece separately, there’s no need to even worry about this question. Crop tops are in fashion this year, so I’m willing to wear mine separately and try something different, despite my self-consciousness about my belly.
Not too often do I actually imitate the cover model picture for a pattern but as I had this fabric on hand, so close to the original, it just couldn’t be helped! My starry fabric (like I mentioned in the facts) had already went towards a year 1943 swing dress I made for World War II Weekend here in April, but I hardly have anyplace to wear this dress and show off my interesting fabric – bummer! Now I have the opportunity to let my fabric show off on a more regular basis and party in a different era.
By now, you must have already been wondering, in the light of my “Retro Forward with Burda Style” blog series, “What makes this vintage inspired?” Especially since I styled my outfit as modern, or at least outdated 90’s modern with my black denim skirt and my pink fabric tennis shoes. Well, truth be told, one-shouldered, doubled layered bodice fashion is nothing new but has been widely used (as far as I know) in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Vintage methods were very creative with their ways of doubling up the fun of adding on layers to offer various options to an outfit. Check out the inspiration collage pictures of my favorite examples of vintage double layers (none of these do I personally own)
In the 1940s, these two patterns have creative ways on adding on another shoulder. Hollywood #1759, from 1945, has a dress where the shoulder panel buttons on and off of the dress. Simplicity #1674, year 1946, has a shawl-like piece that can tie on the other shoulder over the dress. In the 1950’s, the duo of pattern shown do more than just add-on a shoulder. Advance #6539 starts off with the basic “block” of a killer-hot one shouldered wiggle dress. Then, it adds on a full-skirted dress panel with the other shoulder. The shoulders are both classic 50’s kimono sleeves, with ruching gathers to boot, and a slit opening in the full over-skirt to show off the design. ‘Wow’ is the only word appropriate description for this pattern. The other 50’s pattern, Simplicity #1605, is a summer play-suit ensemble, all in mix-and-match individual pieces to add on and take off – two one-shoulder tops, shorts, and a skirt. I love the way the pieces’ edges are on the border print, but I makes me wonder how different the grain and the layout is different from my Burda Style tops.
Versatility and economy were undoubtedly some of the reasons for some of these vintage designs shown, as ladies did not always have money and availability of fabric as we do nowadays. However, I can’t help but credit the beautiful ingenuity of the designers back then as well, that inspire the designers of today. I am tempted to play with this Burda Style pattern for Double Layered tops and make my own spin on the style, and make a whole different look than the original. Imagination is as boundless as you take it to create your own fashion when you sew your own clothes!