One easy pattern, two simple (shapeless) tops

Burdastyle magazine this year has had seveal easy patterns that are quick to sew but have potential to be shapeless. A few too many, in the opinion of half the sewing blog world.

Just two pattern pieces is tempting though, despite the threat of shapelessness….

And thanks to the power of belts, I can still have a waist.

Pattern: Burdastyle 05-2012-110B and A

Size: 34-44. I made a 42.


Style B is in a white with small black polka dot cotton knit

Style A is in an ombre silk cotton woven.

Changes I made:

Burda instructs you to cut 110B out on the bias with a recommended fabric of jersey. Not sure why this is necessary. I didn’t have enough fabric to do this so I cut the pieces out on the straight grain. My knit is super stretchy and has excellent recovery and the cowl still drapes nicely. Its not a proper cowl – there is no facing.

I cut out the ombre woven out on the cross grain, so that the colour graduation went from hips to shoulders rather than side to side.

I sewed the side seams up a further 3 cm (for the woven) to 5 cm (for the knit) into the armscye. Now my bra (and belly button) does not show when I move my arms…

What is it with Burda and low armscyes?

The top is quite long and shapeless unbelted.

Isn’t the ombre lovely though? I used the last 25 cm to make my sash.

The neck tuck is a silly idea, but a cowl on the straight grain with no facing just doesn’t work. I liked the tuck pointing towards the side better than the way Burda suggested.

My conclusion on this pattern?

There are better cowl neck top patterns out there. This one is probably best in a knit or woven on the bias, and the neck tuck on the woven version cut on the straight grain is just lazy.

Despite the shortcoming of this pattern, I do like both tops, and they have already been worn to work. I think that says something about the lovely fabrics I used.


On a serious note, I have found it very difficult this weekend to think of anything else but the families and friends of the children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I hope they can sense the love and support pouring into Newtown from around the globe. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.


16 thoughts on “One easy pattern, two simple (shapeless) tops

  1. Love, love, love the ombré version…just great with that skirt! I think a woven version works better than a knit…at least in my experience…I made this hoping for a universal back top…but turned out to be a saggy mess which was summarily binned. Re Newtown…yes, they’ve been our prayers too…one small glimmer, I thought, was the report from Baltimore were citizens have voluntarily commenced a program of relinquishing guns at a local retailer…hope this catches on ….

    1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if something good like gun reform came out of this. For all John Howard’s sins, he was right about gun reform in Australia following the Port Arthur tragedy.

  2. The ombre top is wonderful especially with the belt! Why do Burda put out so many shapeless sacks? They only work on tall slender models IMHO.

  3. I like your tops. I parsonally stopped using Burda patterns as I found them too big – I had to make too many adjustments. Anytime I make someting from Burda it is shapeless, looks different then expected… Long ago when I had access only to Burda magazine I had no other choice but now I prefere to use Vogue, Butterick or McCall’s patterns.
    Nethertheless – your creations are outstanding!

    1. I hope my post didn’t sound critical of Burda. I find that their patterns suit me very well, with just a few minor tweaks. And if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll see that I sew almost exclusively from Burda. My preference is for their more tailored fitted styles. And these tops are not either of those!

      1. You are doing great job! It is good to be critical… Vogue (or other) patterns are not alwayes perfect as well. It is imprtant to know who to change them to be perfect for ourselves – and that’s what you have been doing! I ma looking forward to see more from you!

  4. I love the dotty with the dotty tights 🙂 I’ve made this pattern a couple of times and it’s so comfy to wear that it’s in my TNT list. I totally agree that it either has to be tucked in or worn with a belt.

  5. I agree that there are better cowl tops, notably a Simplicity? wardrobe pattern that uncles dress, top , pants and loose fitting jacket. But your top looks fantastic and great for summer office wear – my current obsession

  6. Nice! I know what you mean about needing a belt but I could see the ombré top with a black or very dark navy skirt and no belt. I think with your circles skirt there’s bit too much going on. That particular skirt is fab and needs to be the centre of attention!

  7. I have made this last Summer ( and even as a beginner I couldn’t for the life of me understand the “knit on the bias” thing.
    Mine was in a woven plaid and I cut the back on the straight grain and the front on the bias, to show off the plaid and to practise doing things on the bias. I did a narrow hem throughout and I wear this on casual days so I don’t mind it untucked.
    Even as a beginner I think there other, equally easy top patterns that are more flattering than this. I love, love, love the ombre fabric! 🙂

  8. Both tops look very nice. I love ombre fabrics so that is my favorite one. I tend to find that using a simple pattern with a interesting or unique fabric results in a succesful garment.

  9. I like both tops too – though the neck tuck is a little odd but does add some interest to the neck line. Yes please with a belt even if you lose some of the impact from the lovely ombre colour lines.

    I hope you had a most excellent Christmas.

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