I don’t necessarily have much fashion that I consider perfect for a very-well attended, full-fledged pop-rock concert. Yet, something new, different, modern, trendy, yet comfy for a long night of dancing and milling with several thousand people was just what I needed recently to see the long trending group Maroon 5 perform in town. You see, my life’s bucket list is long and varied, and I have been fulfilling on that list some of the musical performances I have been wanting to be at for way too long. Maroon 5 has been a favorite of mine since their first big release in 2002, and so going to this concert has been long in coming. I enjoyed every second of that night and felt great in the outfit I wore, too. A six year old Burda Style pattern was updated and tweaked so I could be on trend with the asymmetric garments popular for this 2018.
This is my September submission for the “Burda Challenge 2018” for which I pledged a garment a month from them. My blouse is worn here with a skirt that I refashioned last year, which you can see in this post.
FABRIC: a printed 100% rayon challis
NOTIONS: I had everything I needed surprisingly – the buckle straps, thread, and interfacing
TIME TO COMPLETE: The final touches were put on the blouse the day of the concert – September 13, 2008 – after about 20 hours to make.
THE INSIDES: The hem is bias bound, but otherwise all seams are lovely and invisible as French.
TOTAL COST: This was a recent buy from my local JoAnn’s. A 2 ½ yard cut was about $25. This beats the $500 or higher price tags on a designer asymmetric shirt!!!
Asymmetric features keep popping up in the summer and fall 2018 seasons on the designer runways. It is incorporated quietly mostly into the hemlines of skirts, but also seen in dresses, peplums, jackets, and as part of both men’s (such as this shirt or this blazer or this jacket from Comme Des Garcons) and women’s shirts. I love the asymmetric trend luckily and I had the perfect pattern to put my own spin on it. However, it was actually much harder to find a way to like the trend on myself than I expected. For a blouse, if it’s asymmetric and a button down, it seems to look like either a spin on an ethnic garment or some sort of fancy chef uniform, especially in a solid. It seems that an asymmetric blouse has to be obviously haphazard or have interesting closure details to look otherwise, and I liked this striped version by Ji Oh in the 2018 Resort collection the best, as does Vogue. After all, Ji Oh is supposed to be the specialist in shirts. However, I went for a multi-season and slightly more feminine version with the white, rust orange, lime, and turquoise colored directional vine print. I purposefully trimmed the hem of my blouse fronts crooked (adapting the Burda pattern) and cut the two fronts on differing diagonals, much like this striped shirt from another brand that excels in asymmetric tops, Anouki. I must say that I had the idea for most of these details before I saw many of the inspiration pieces mentioned, but they gave me the guts to go ahead with my crazy thoughts.
Perhaps the craziest standout detail which sets my asymmetric blouse apart from any designer inspiration is my original and unique way of closing – faux leather buckle straps. Yes, they are fully workable and not just for display! Yes, it seemed kinda weird to me at first that this was the only way of closing that brought my top to another level of interesting and edgy. But I already had both of them on hand, and I love the crossover between jacket and blouse that it adds, so I tolerated the miserable amount of hand-stitching that sewing them down required. A small snap closes the wrap front on the inside opposite the buckles. I guess I’m stuck to only hand laundering this blouse because it only occurred to me after they were on that the buckle and straps are meant for purses and might not survive a soaking in the machine wash. I don’t really care too much. High fashion and my dedication to an idea rules over convenience in the case of this blouse. I truly love the result.
Now, as for any Burda Style pattern, printing and/or tracing is necessary to have a usable pattern to lay on your desired fabric. My pattern was cut out from a downloaded PDF assembled together after being printed out onto paper, but it can also be traced, using a roll of thin, see-through medical paper, from the inserts in the appropriate magazine issue (although the older issues are harder to find). It’s at this preliminary step that you pick out your proper size. Some people add in your choice of seam allowance width directly to the pattern while some do this as they are cutting out the fabric pieces. A scissor with a magnetic ruler guide helps immensely to quicken along the step to getting a finished pattern prepped. Sorry to repeat something you might already know, but this is just an “FYI” for those that don’t.
I must stress that this pattern seems to run very large. I chose my “normal” Burda size for this and it is quite roomy. I actually don’t mind, though. I don’t really think the wrap front look would have worked as well with a more form fitting blouse, and most of the designer asymmetric designs are loose and comfy in aesthetic anyway. It’s not that there isn’t any shaping, thank goodness. There are two fish-eye darts in the back, and angled half-French darts in the front panels.
There are large shoulder pads I added in the blouse and, as they blend right in (you’d never guess they were there, would you), I think the generous fit is all the better. Shoulder pads that are not obvious are when they are just what a garment needs. They add such a subtle definition to the shape here, squaring off the blouse strongly, besides picking up all the excess fabric I had drooping across my chest without them. Even if you are not a fan of shoulder pads and you make this blouse, please add them and you’ll thank me later.
Continuing the oversized fit, the sleeves were also very long. I was disappointed at first, but as I wear it more, the top the sleeves actually look good all bloused out at the wrist. That is how all the long sleeved asymmetric blouses are anyway – too long in the arms. It gives me full reach room as well! Yes – I know I should have checked sleeve length first – but Burda blouses have never before come out like this for me, and besides I was finishing my blouse just the day before the event I needed it for. I was definitely NOT going to undo the perfect tiny cuffs that were so hard to get right in order to change the sleeve length.
I swear, Burda must have been on crack when they came up with the measurements for the wristband-cuff piece because there is no way it works being that skinny small. I was in misery (cueing off of Maroon 5’s “Misery” song of 2010) literally just making mine work in conjunction with gathering the sleeve end in, too, not to mention no room whatsoever left for buttonholes. I merely did a thread chain loop and a metal hook to close the tiny cuffs. If you want to blow your brains out trying, follow their cuff instructions like me…otherwise add an extra inch in width and save yourself some grief. The delicate cuffs do look amazing, though, when I see them!
However, I do not want the sleeves always that long, and the rayon challis is so soft and silky that even rolling up the sleeves does not keep them up out of the way. This is why I added sleeve straps 6 inches down from the shoulder line. This is not something that is a part of the pattern and is a self-drafted piece which was entirely an idea of mine. Most shirts which do have such a strap for holding ones rolled up sleeves are cotton or more casual in my experience, but I like the extra interest it adds besides that fact I needed such a detail. To again break the trend, most mid-sleeve straps are button closed, but mine is fancier than that – a small fabric covered snaps do the job here.
The collar leaves me in awe, though. This design is first rate if only for the collar. As tricky and confusing as it was to assemble, it did turn out amazing. Everything matched up, and is actually the best collar (especially one with a collar stand like this) that I have made to date. The neckline pieces are so unusual and very steeply curved to accommodate the asymmetric front. You therefore end up with this lovely bias that still makes a difference in the way the neckline lays so nicely even though it’s interfaced. The right side collar that wraps around asymmetrically is actually wider than the other side and the bias starts right at the shoulder. The left collar is smaller and not as pointed. The neckline collar is rather oversized and almost overwhelming, reminding me of the 1970s, but hey – when it’s this special, you might as well flaunt it and make it noticeable, right!?
Not that anybody realistically noticed or cared what I had on probably with that many people there, but I am so happy to have matched with what Adam Levine, the lead and vocalist for Maroon 5, was wearing! Not to brag, but we had really good seats and for a good part of the performance we were within a few yards of him. It was go all out or nothing. Do you hear the excited squeals right about now through the screen? So amazing, sigh. Anyway, I did my research on the amazing designer track pants that he was wearing at the concert that night (they were really neat with full embroidery down the sides) and found out that they are Marcelo Burlon County of Milan x Kappa brand Logo Tech-Jersey Track pants, sold online here through Barneys of New York. “Their innovative aesthetic of streetwear with accents of intense color completes the label’s statement-making urban appeal” as described in Farfetched.
Oddly enough, the colors in Marcelo Burlon’s secretly feminine logo is pretty much the same colors in my print. We both were channeling New York shown designer style. Even if I was the only one to know (which I’m not anymore after writing this post) I would be happy. I couldn’t have planned it any better, but it wasn’t planned. I was just making something that seemed right. I guess it was just what I was supposed to make for the moment.