Friday, February 24, 2012

Burda shorts and Liberty tank

Burda  8087

This is my first attempt at shorts, or even pants for that matter. I made them using a lovely turquoise cotton from EmmaOneSock. It's a textured fabric of a medium weight.

My biggest gripe with this pattern is that the waistband sits too high for me. It sits a fraction above the belly button which feels all a bit odd, frumpy, nanna-ry, dumpy and a tad daggy. I've always preferred to wear my pants below my belly button, as do most women of my generation. I wore them to work today and felt a bit self-conscious. I know that if I'm going to get lots of wear out of them, I'm going to have to remove the waistband and back pockets, re-do the zip and lower the waistband. I'm trying to decide whether this is worth it or not...or am I better off giving them to my mother? After all, apart from the height,  they're great! They're been well made and the fabric is lovely. 

- back view -

Unfortunately, this particular fabric gives the illusion of the pants being too tight across the buttocks, which is not actually the case. The fit is actually good. Within half an hour of ironing, the fabric ridges up. In fact, when I was making the shorts, each panel decreased by approximately 1 inch across when lying flat. Consequently, the legs suck in, while the fabric across the butt, looks like it's pulled tight. This isn't really concerning me. I mean, how can I let a little thing like that worry me when my pants are sitting so damn high!

I used scraps from the lining of my winter coat to line the waistband and the pockets. It's a Japanese lawn and it is so pretty.

Liberty Tank

This racerback tank is actually a refashion of a shell top I'd sewn previously using Simplicity 2599. I always felt that the original top was a bit of a dud. I think it was the back view in particular that I disliked. It just made me look ridiculously broad across the shoulders. Almost reminiscent of those female Olympic Chinese swimmers that were all over the news many, many years ago. Do you remember? Seems like such a long time ago, but the image still sticks.


Old back view

Anyway, Chinese swimmers aside, racerback tanks seem to be all the rage at the moment and I've become quite fond of them. I actually have another one almost finished made from a lovely silk. I think this style of top is a more flattering shape for broad shoulders.

 New back view

 New front view

Old from view

I used Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tank for the shape of the armholes and neckline. I then used a RTW exercise top to get the shape of the racerback. Once I cut the new neckline I ended up with a few gaping issues around the front. To alleviate this problem I added a row of gathers at the base of the neckline at the CF. I finished the armholes and neckline uses ready-made bias-binding using this fabulous technique

I sewed up the opening at the CB and removed the back darts. I didn't adjust the sideseams, front darts or hemline which made for a really quick project. Very satisifying.

side view

I'm so much happier with this version of my Liberty top. I think overall, it's a much younger style than the original and much more flattering to my shape. I also like the fact it's a bit more casual. I'm confident I'll get a lot more wear out of it now. Now if I could only decide what to do about those bloomin' high-waisted shorts.


  1. Your top's a definite win - love the refashion, but then I am a bit partial to the racerback myself. As for the shorts I think they look great on you, but if you feel frumpy and daggy in them then they'll never get worn. Pass them on to Mum or pull out the seam ripper :)

  2. I like the unexpected contrast of the Liberty in such a modern kind of style. Cool.
    That photo of the Chinese swimmer is still pretty bizarre isn't it.
    As for the shorts, I also feel uncomfortable in waistbands above my navel... I think fitting issues are the reason I've never tackled any kind of pants for myself yet. Skirts are so much more forgiving! Hmm... but if the rest of the fit is good... well hey you managed to make the Liberty top work with some tweaking, didn't you? Does seem like a lot of work though. Not sure if I'd have the patience!

  3. Such a pretty top! I like a racerback, too. Great for hot summer days. I also love that textured fabric. But I agree with Robyn- if you feel frumpy in them they'll never get worn. So I say fix the waistband.

  4. Here's another way to look at it - embrace your inner frump- enjoy the fact the higher waist band will hold in any over indulgence at a ladies' lunch. No fear of a muffin top with this baby, no need to fear bending over is going to expose grubby knickers. If you are going to wear tops out (not tucked in) no-one's ever going to know.

    The whole outfit looks wonderful. Enjoy what you have achieved.

  5. YOur racerback top is terrific.
    I am with Mary Nanna, you don't post many photos with your tops tucked in, so if this reflects your real life style, no one will know about your secret nanna-ry waistline except your internet sewing admirers. My completely unsought advice is to look in the mirror only after putting on your top to avoid feeling frumpy. ;) I could not face replacing the waistband and know such an attempt would sit on the mending pile for months making me feel guilty whilst I sewed other things instead, and I far prefer guilt free sewing.

  6. I would wear them a few times to see if you can get used to the higher waist. It is a lot of work to undo them and go again. You haven't shown us a photo with you top down and the whole length shown, to see what this length looks like.

    I like your top but I liked the old one also. Both lovely, just with a a different vibe. Do you have a racerback cra for underneath?

  7. My sixteen year DD - and would be fashion queen - just bought some high waisted shorts. The shorts look great and if you are concerned maybe wear the tshirt over the top.

  8. I would go with the status quo with the shorts and just refrain from tucking in. It seems an awful lot of work for very little gain. I love the top refashion though. Racer backs are my new favourite this year.

    I found your vogue top and it looks quite different in the print doesn't it. I might have to try a print next have inspired me.

  9. The top looks cool and so do the short-maybe wear the shorts with a shorter singlet (knit) if you think that'd suit?