Where we live, the temperature outside is now set to bake, the spring flowers are a seemingly distant memory, and the kids have been out of school for far too long. It’s definitely time to cool off by some water, grab the bug spray, and sport those fun summer fashions, in colorful floral prints. Finally, I can look forward to dressing for those opportunities to take our newest car acquisition, a fold-top convertible, out for a spin! Drive-in movies and drive-up dining is a par above now.
I do believe this post’s Burda Style make – fresh off the sewing machine – is the perfect thing I recently chose to put on for one of those occasions. In these times of social distancing and limited availabilities of the traditional summer entertainments, our new convertible is our current favorite Covid-precautionary way to get out, mingle, and enjoy the weather…as well as a very good reason for me to use fashion to slay for the day!
This is another one of those wonderfully easy-to-sew, wrap on, no closures needed, minimal fabric usage projects which I have been sewing lately. Happily, I made this work using a one yard remnant, yay! It has colors that pop like fireworks on the 4th of July. What more could I ask for?!
I only made the top you see here, and the vintage-inspired, high-waisted skinny jeans are RTW reproductions from Hell Bunny brand (‘Charlie’ capris that are full length on my petite frame). I can’t recommend this brand enough for quality denim bottoms which are the best of both modern materials and vintage fit with great details (not sponsored, just an ecstatic customer, by the way). My shoes are from yet another one of my favorite ‘modern with a vintage influence’ brands – Charlie Stone. My bright red lips are not going to get smeared around anytime soon, even with wearing a mask or a breezy car ride, as I used Maybelline’s SuperStay 24 hour color (in Optic Ruby). See? I am so totally equipped for convertible riding!
NOTIONS: lots of thread and several yards of (true vintage cotton) bias tape
TIME TO COMPLETE: Even with all the fitting fuss I had to do, still from start to finish this was a 7 hour project, and finished on June 9, 2020.
THE INSIDES: Part of the inside edges are covered because of the partial lining, the side seams are bias bound, and the complex front seams are raw as there is enough polyester in the fabric to keep it from unravelling.
TOTAL COST: The tropical fabric was bought at a rummage sale, where everything I bought was $1 a pound. As this fabric was a super lightweight poly blend, it cost nearly nothing on its own. The little bit of lining I used was from my scrap stash…so this is in total as good as free.
This is an old pattern by Burda Style’s standards on their website now. It is originally back from 2012, and this wrap top pattern was one of the very first that I bought from Burda (along with this dress pattern) when I first started up my blog. Yes, it has taken 8 long years on my sewing queue’s backburner before I got around to actually finding the right fabric for it, and then finally making it! I am getting around to completing so very many of these long planned projects ever since quarantine hit. At least my sewing mojo has not taken a hit through all of this mess! As I say every time I finish one of these projects, it feels so satisfying to finish such long planned ideas, also making them incredibly fun to wear!
Truth be told, this was a bit of a frustration to make, as I had difficulties getting it to fit me right. I chose my normal size with Burda patterns, and sewing it together with no changes gave me a garment which was quite loose above the waist and perfect below that. I had to sew slightly wider seam allowances in all the seams around my upper torso to evenly spread out to amount needed to take in. This process involved lots of try-ons and a little stitch here, a little unpicking there. All in all, I realized there isn’t a truly ‘perfect’ fit here since the fit of this top is fluid being a wrap-on. The way it hangs changes with how I move. Thus, the general fit I was aiming for was to eliminate any slop room for the wrap to have an opportunity to fall off my shoulders and gape. This was supposed to have been a simple project, but hey – it was worth it. I want every project I make to look its best…so I can look my best!
I stripped down the construction and instructions so make this as effortless and summer-appropriate as it looks. The design calls for full body lining and material such as twill or suiting. These would make it more like a menswear inspired structured vest – not the perfect material in my mind for something relaxed and casual, much less for something for hot temperatures. I only lined the center back panel to help the top lay flat against my back, use up a lining scrap, and cut down on the amount of visible raw edges. The dual back slit vents were ditched in lieu of basic straight seaming. Nothing was interfaced except for the faux pocket flap. I eliminated all facings along the edges and opted for a tiny ¼ inch bias tape hem which was then turned under. The amount of extra time I spent to adjust the fit was balanced out by the easy finishing techniques. Otherwise, everything else to the design lines and length proportions was kept as-is.
The pattern called for just over two yards of material originally, but if anyone knows me, you now I like to have my piece layouts be as efficient as is humanly possible. I also love to use up smaller scraps of material in the most inventive ways! So – yes – I somehow made this top work out of one yard. I slightly slanted the grainline of the front panels, but as the fabric weave was so tight I figured (correctly) that it would not make that big of a difference. I completely ignored the grainline to the pockets as well, since they are interfaced anyway. This is something I rarely do but hey, I was determined. I really felt this was the right fabric to pattern pairing and was going to make this work out in some form or fashion.
I must say I am so much more impressed with my new wrap top than I ever expected! I am sure the convertible drive while wearing it added to my preliminary love for my new project. Yet, the more I wear it, I still fall head over heels for it and want to say it’s my favorite. (All my projects are really my ‘favorite’, I never can decide when it comes down to it!) The interesting engineering, simple individuality of it is fantastic. It is a remote relative to these previous wrap projects (the 3 armhole 60’s dress and this halter 70’s dress) but only tweaked and worn backwards to great effect – a smarter blouse version, in other words. The front faux pockets and tricky seaming there added a touch of tailoring that confuses me but seems to balance out the longer length. It all works out so well together.
Oh, how I do love to go all out and wear my vintage hats and vintage scarves to keep my hairstyles in place when convertible driving for a practicality and to make a chic presentation! Ultimately, however, I do love the irony of this outfit – it is a German pattern design worn in a car from a German car company. For modern patterns, Burda Style is my preferred choice for reasons such as this top. German engineering always has been quite commendable. For being a modern car (I like 90’s and earlier sleek and fast sports cars normally), this convertible VW EOS is pretty darn cool, besides being a bargain of a deal, as well. The electrics of the fold-away hard top – hence why it is technically a cabriolet – are amazing (watch someone else’s video of the process here, if you’re interested, jump to time 2:25). It’s too bad summer weather here is such a short time out of the year!